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. Intriguing indie releases anchor the week's lineup, notably Double Fine's pulsing Dropchord, challenging endurance test Pivvot, and dazzling minimalist strategy game Rymdkapsel. Plus there's The Drowning, a first-person shooter with an innovative new control scheme, and My Muppets Show, which puts the lovable characters at your command.
If Cold War is any indication, the Sky Gamblers series may have reached maximum altitude with last year's stellar Storm Raiders. Sure, there's still plenty of high-flying dogfighting action to be found in this latest entry, but there's a legitimate question as to whether this fourth outing on iOS is running on fumes after so many entries in a relatively compact span of time. Thankfully, Cold War does bring some fresh ideas to the table, and the online multiplayer still provides the best aerial combat on the App Store. But the core campaign experience of Cold War is a bland and tired-looking stroll through what is an otherwise fascinating portion of American history.
Easily one of the more adorable iOS game offerings of late, Sky Tourist certainly doesn't skimp on innovation. A young boy's airborne journey through a diverse medley of colorful cosmic realms – while tethered to twin rockets – proves to be a wild and imaginative ride. But beneath its bubbly charm and unique ideas, frustration lurks throughout this upward adventure, waiting to pounce right at the moments when you're starting to have fun.
Like a cross between the critically acclaimed PlayStation 2 hit Shadow of the Colossus and Forbidden Forest for the Commodore 64, A Ride Into the Mountains asks you to hop on your pixelated horse and shoot odd floating monsters with arrows until a distant relic regains its luster. This shooting mechanic is core to the experience, involving an Angry Birds-like slide gesture whereby you pull back and drag to aim and fire — with a bigger gesture needed for longer shots. Most enemies must be hit in a particular spot, too; otherwise arrows are ineffective. It's basic, but tough to master under duress from enemies and their projectiles.
Don't be surprised if a simple app named "MyStache" suddenly makes it to the top of the App Store's charts by the end of the day; as reported by 9to5 Mac, the app ostensibly does little more than help you add a mustache on a photo, but in reality it serves as an emulator for ROMs for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), the Super Nintendo, and the GameBoy.
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. Visually impressive action games top this week's lineup, notably Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame and Bloodmasque, as well as a couple of alluring racing games in the form of Riptide GP2 and Delta-V Racing. An intriguing mix of other games, such as Sky Tourist and A Ride Into the Mountains, lead the rest of the bunch, meanwhile.
For many, video games are an opportunity to live out a fantasy. And in the case of Bloodmasque, it's possible to actually watch yourself take on the role of a vampire hunter (via a photo-snapping feature), hacking and slashing your way through a macabre version of 19th-century Paris. But after the initial amusement of seeing your own head atop a game character wears off, Bloodmasque struggles to keep things interesting
Loveshack Entertainment's upcoming iOS and Mac game Framed really stood out at the PAX Australia pop culture convention this past weekend. Not for flashy graphics – although the stylized painted visuals are impressive – but for the way in which it combines comic books, games, and animated storytelling in a fascinating, immediately compelling experience.
League of Geeks' debut game Armello was one of the stars of the show floor at the PAX Australia pop-culture convention last weekend. Coming next year to iOS, it's a gorgeous turn-based strategy offering that draws elements from card and board games, as well as several popular video games — most notably Sid Meier's Civilization series. We spent some time with a pre-alpha build, and walked away impressed.
Creative Assembly, developer of the hyper-ambitious Total War strategy franchise, has charted a more focused course with Napoleon: Total War. Even though the Gold Edition — brought to Mac by Feral Interactive — includes three add-on packs with more units, battles, and countries in tow, the mission of the game is clear: To use the Total War framework to tell a personal narrative of one of history's most determined, megalomaniacal, and successful conquerors.