Angry Birds Star Wars II is once again a colorful, pull-and-fling interpretation of the films, this time focusing on the events and characters of the prequel trilogy. But while it's another amusing, well-produced nod to the Star Wars franchise, the quality of the core game experience lacks that inspired edge of its predecessor. In fact, it lacks nearly any edge at all, as the expected puzzle-solving aspect that typically defines Angry Birds is rarely seen throughout. More stages than ever can be cleared with a single and typically obvious opening shot, and while it's entertaining to watch the destruction, such an approach fails to tax the brain to any real extent.
Launching alongside a couple of other juggernaut releases – the iPhone 5s and iOS 7 – Infinity Blade III concludes the trilogy in expectedly slick fashion. The single-player quest trumps its predecessor as the best-looking iOS game to date, with fantastic detail throughout the environments and an array of wide, swooping camera shots to create the sense of an epic scale on even a small iPhone screen. And while the combat remains reliably enjoyable, the grinding nature of the series' campaign approach makes this third entry feel a bit more tiresome amidst the overall triumph.
Each week, we highlight a selection of the most interesting, exciting, and unique new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch titles released on the App Store. Alongside the launch of iOS 7 comes a huge week for iOS gaming, marked by juggernaut franchise entries Infinity Blade III and Angry Birds Star Wars II, along with the Disney Infinity Toy Box and intriguing indie, Incredipede. Several notable free-to-play affairs are available this week, as well, including CastleVille Legends, Deer Hunter 2014, and DuckTales: Scrooge's Loot.
Tell us if you've heard this one before. In Dead Effect, you assume the role of an elite soldier aboard a spaceship, where an infection has turned everyone into zombies. Odds are, this setup is not unlike one you've seen numerous times before, and unfortunately it's not just the story that proves so familiar. The weapons, setting, music, and enemies are all equally uninspired, and the gunplay is too weak to compensate. As a result, Dead Effect is a thoroughly run-of-the-mill first-person shooter.
Two thoughts will probably consecutively enter your mind upon first booting up Strata: first that its visual design is beautifully, almost sinfully elegant, and second that you have no idea what’s actually going on. Don’t panic. Like many of the artfully abstract-chic brainteasers that often pop up in the App Store, Strata is conceptually pretty simple, even if its confusing layers of colored lines might have you initially thinking otherwise. The easiest way to describe Strata is to say that it’s essentially a visual logic puzzle.
Using your device’s front-facing camera, Go Dance turns your iPhone or iPad into a motion-capturing sensor, providing you with a dance game experience like you’d normally find on home consoles. While the game looks and plays like the popular Just Dance titles, it only comes with two songs and lacks distinct features to choose from. Go Dance may not be very robust, but its simple controls and cheap price tag make it easy for any iOS device owner to get up and groove.
Grand Theft Auto V is out on gaming consoles tomorrow, and it's apparently an unqualified hit: it's currently sitting on a stunning 98 rating for Xbox 360 and a 97 for Sony's PS3 on Metacritic. Sadly, a Mac version isn't currently on the radar (or a PC version, for that matter), but if you'd still like to interact with the game through your iDevice, you can do so via an app that developer Rockstar made just for iOS.
Where’s My Water? is Disney’s best-known original mobile smash, with a couple of successful spin-offs following since, so naturally a proper sequel couldn’t be far behind. Where’s My Water? 2 might seem like a sure thing, as such, but it sadly squanders the well-earned respect of its predecessor. Its few new ideas simply aren’t enough to justify a fumbling attempt at injecting free-to-play hooks.
Each week, we highlight a selection of the most interesting, exciting, and unique new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch titles released on the App Store. Disney sequel Where's My Water? 2 makes the biggest splash due the series' enduring popularity, but the week is otherwise largely dominated by fresh fare like first-person shooter Dead Effect, the camera-enabled Go Dance, and charming low-key puzzler Strata.
The appearance of a traditional Call of Duty on iOS is long overdue – with the gap ably filled by Gameloft's lookalike Modern Combat series – as earlier entries focused on the Zombies survival side mode from the console games. But much as Call of Duty: Strike Team resembles its big-budget brethren on the surface, it's not quite as typical as it seems thanks to the ability to switch to an overhead tactical view and control multiple squad members with simple taps. And that's a very good thing, as the mobile-friendly perspective is actually the better half of this glossy military shooter experience.