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. Gameloft's dramatically enhanced racer Asphalt 8: Airborne leads the week's offerings, along with great endless runner RunBot, plus intriguing freebies like Smash Bandits, The Impossible Line, and Dream House Days stand out amidst the rest of the new releases.
Adventure games aren’t dead (and they never really were), but we’re long past their best days, when companies like LucasArts and Sierra bashed out a new comedic masterpiece every year, and more cerebral titles like Myst and Riven dominated sales charts. We’re in the midst of a genre revival at the moment, spurred by collective nostalgia and a slew of re-releases and remakes of the all-time greats. Want to relive — or catch up on — the genre's glory days? Luckily, you can do so on iPad and iPhone, and these 10 point-and-click classics from yesteryear offer a great selection of old favorites.
By the eighth entry across nine years, you usually know what to expect from a game franchise – and in the case of Gameloft's Asphalt, that typically meant solid but inconsistent production values, and decent arcade-style racing action that never quite matched the flashy console games it emulated. It was "pretty good – for a mobile racer," but Asphalt 8: Airborne finally sheds that qualifier, and essentially feels like a reboot in terms of quality. It's actually rather amazing, especially for a mere dollar.
The words "battle train" immediately bring to mind that cool scene from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, wherein Max and his hardscrabble crew are strapped into an armored doom-train, fighting off psycho marauder goons in post-apocalyptic hot-rods. While nowhere near as gritty and ultraviolent, Lionel Battle Train takes that core premise and spins it out into a fun, though sometimes also frustrating rail-bound combat adventure.
Mac gamers have waited nearly two years for Tropico 4 to make the leap to Apple hardware, but fortunately, Feral Interactive’s excellent port of the Gold Edition provides countless hours of micromanagement, world building, and tongue-in-cheek humor in a single, complete package. It's a title that should be in every Mac strategy fan's collection – that is, unless you already got your fill from the very similar Tropico 3: Gold Edition.
Assuming that the old adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery still holds up in the App Store era, the makers of Kingdom Rush should feel downright exalted by Pirate Legends TD. Copycats are nothing new in the iOS space, but while subtler "tributes" might try to disguise their inspirations, Pirate Legends TD makes no such effort. From the tower selection to the upgrade paths, placement approach, and UI design – plus the between-mission upgrades, map screen design, and use of heroes – this tower defense affair barely diverges from the uniquely fantastic concoction of elements brewed for Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers.
RunBot (out this Thursday) is a game about urgency and immediacy that tests how well you can multitask under pressure. Playing as a fugitive robot running away from his creators, you must dodge obstacles, lasers, and enemy drones, all while picking up batteries to ensure you don’t run out of power. It’s an endless runner that rewards you the more you play, and its easy controls and fast-paced gameplay luckily make it difficult to put down.
There's no wrong way to play Gone Home, the quiet, thoughtful, and deeply introspective first Mac game from the newly-minted Fullbright Company, but there is an ideal way: at night, lights off, with headphones wrapped around an open mind.
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. Plants vs. Zombies 2 makes a big free-to-play splash this week, while fellow tower defense entry Pirate Legends TD also seems worth a strong look. Several other new games are profiled, as well, along with a huge update to Super Stickman Golf 2 that's sure to hook old die-hards once more.
PopCap's original Plants vs. Zombies – a streamlined twist on tower defense that put the fate of a suburban home in the hands of undead-fighting foliage – debuted before the freemium craze, and it was a huge hit on numerous platforms, even becoming one of the best-selling iOS apps of all time. As a free-to-play affair, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time expectedly strikes a different tone than its premium predecessor – and it's not the time-travel theme that most strongly defines the direction of this initially iOS-exclusive sequel.