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. EA's long-awaited Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar headlines the week with its release in the United States, while Amateur Surgeon 3, Mikey Hooks, and Worms 3 offer follow-up entries to some established iOS favorites. And we've also got a handful of totally new games in the roundup this week.
Rymdkapsel is what we imagine playing an isometric, real-time strategy space game on the Atari might have been like back in the day – if the genre had existed then – and it's fabulous. The complexities that come from gathering resources, expanding your space station, generating new minions, and defending your galactic turf from waves of invading aliens contrast wildly against the simple 8-bit style aesthetic and tightly focused scope. There's a certain charm to its simplicity, but enough depth to back it up and keep you immersed in the fascinating task of building out your tiny space station empire.
There's apparently still a lot of you running around with older iPad models out there, and quite a few of you were disappointed to learn that Deus Ex: The Fall wasn't playable on the iPad 2 despite Square Enix's original marketing to the contrary. Fortunately, today Square Enix proved that the original listing wasn't a typo after all, as the famed publisher announced full support for the iPad 2 in the recent patch notes.
Following a tutorial outlining its unique controls, The Drowning tasks you with a reasonable mission for a game about shooting zombie-like creatures: Clear out the area around a potential headquarters. Two minutes later, you might be confused as to why it's over when there are still enemies to slay. Soon, it becomes clear that that's all there is to the game's approach – a series of two-minute time attacks against endless waves of brain-dead enemies. It's not really a bad thing, as it keeps the game playable on the go, but you'll soon find that freemium drawbacks stack up in a hurry and take away from the enjoyable and uniquely controlled combat within.
Since film reboot The Muppets was released in 2011, the furry creatures have skyrocketed back to a level of popularity they haven’t enjoyed since the 1980s. My Muppets Show gives players the chance to put on their own titular performance, inspired by the classic television series, by tackling myriad tasks around the stage. While the Muppets themselves are true to form, the gameplay is of an ilk we’ve seen many times before with no real improvement on the basic design.
If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, it’s almost impossible not to see Pivvot as a response to the abstract dodge-or-die arcade design of Terry Cavanagh’s indie hit Super Hexagon. Both games require you to rotate a small on-screen point around randomized geometric shapes flying at you from changing directions. Both also use increasing speeds and nervy, thrumming soundtracks designed as much to distract as thrill. But where Hexagon’s tension and fear came from the panic of trying to guess (and keep pace with) its breakneck shape changes, the linear track Pivvot runs on changes its feel a bit.
It looks as though EA Maxis will be living up to its promise that we'd see SimCity 2013 for Mac by August, after all. Barely, anyway. As reported by Polygon, EA Maxis announced today that the long-delayed release of the game's Mac version will arrive on Aug. 29.
From action blockbusters like Iron Man 3 and World War Z to kid-friendly fare such as Despicable Me 2 and Turbo, most of the biggest films of the summer generated iOS games, including many free-to-play options. With endless runners, racing games, and high-impact brawlers in the bunch, there's plenty of variety on offer, though the quality swings wildly between them. Here's a look at 10 of the most notable games based on summer blockbusters, and how they turned out compared to their big-screen inspirations.
Double Fine is a studio known (and beloved) for incredibly eccentric affairs, like Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and Stacking, but by contrast, Dropchord seems remarkably straightforward. It's an arcade-style high-score game released under the guise of a music game – which makes sense given its fantastic electronic dance soundtrack and visualizer-inspired look – but the beats and gameplay feel disconnected. So it's not a rhythm game; that's not a problem. However, the game approach itself never provides as strong of a hook as the presentation, feeling more like something to occupy you while you watch and listen rather than a central pull of the experience.
Riptide GP2 is a straightforward racing game on a platform full of them. Piloting jet skis – called “hydros” in the game – is a fun twist on the typical four-wheel affair, but the structure will be familiar to anyone who’s browsed the iOS racing scene. Luckily, the water effects contribute a real sense of speed and pace when combined with Riptide’s responsive controls, and there's loads of single-player content to enjoy.