Last fall's release of the HeroClix TabApp tried to bring together the worlds of physical and digital games, letting users place specialized figures from the HeroClix tabletop game series on an iPad screen and transport them into a game. Unfortunately, while it did a solid job of recognizing the figures, the game itself was an utter mess: Painfully repetitive, both ugly and filled with lag, and lacking the strategic spirit of the tabletop source material. The brand new HeroClix TabApp Elite forges a fresh path with distinct gameplay and much different figurine implementation, but while it's thankfully a much smoother experience, the game itself still isn't strong enough to warrant the investment.
Games are a relatively young narrative medium, and plenty of them boil down to punching and/or shooting the bad guys. But wherever you find a canvas, a painter can’t be far behind to turn it into a masterpiece. The App Store is no exception, and creative minds have already used the platform to tell their own interactive stories on the ubiquitous iOS devices. We’ve compiled a list of games to satisfy the story itch, from the playful to the spooky and downright bizarre.
Button-mashing brawlers make for a great time when you've got real buttons to mash, but they don't always translate so well to iOS touch screens. Rather than attempt to shoehorn all of the intense fighting action into a traditional arcade-style control scheme, indie studio The Game Bakers concocted a fresh touch-centric battle system for its quirky new face-pummeling fighter. Combo Crew's fast-paced fisticuffs and streamlined combo system hinges on simple swipe controls that are far more satisfying to wield than you'd expect from an iOS beat-em-up.
The Fast & Furious movie franchise has gathered a cult-like following of fans who enjoy the intense action and tricked-out vehicles, with the sixth entry expected to dominate the box office once more this weekend. Fast & Furious 6: The Game is true to the elements that made the film series such a smash, with beautiful graphics and plenty of extras relating to the films – though the actual racing in this free-to-play affair can get a bit dull and repetitive after a while.
A slick cyberpunk vibe with a futuristic neon glow sets the stage nicely for Frozen Synapse's brain-twisting tactical combat encounters. When it first launched on Mac and PC, this cool indie strategy game garnered high praise for its unique asynchronous take on turn-based combat and play-by-email style multiplayer matches. This iPad port gloriously packs all of the clever strategizing and insane resolutions of the original – and even lets you play against desktop users – without losing anything in the jump to the portable format.
If you have kids, you have photos. And if you have an iPhone, you have lots and lots of them in your pocket at any given time. There are plenty of apps that'll help you personalize your favorite pictures by adding captions, colors, and effects, but they all require a hefty dose of effort – especially if you've let a lot of birthday and vacation shots pile up. Disney's Story understands that most parents probably have a couple hundred photos and videos sitting in their Camera Roll, but don't know where to start with organizing them. With an emphasis on speed and simplicity, the app will help you effortlessly create personalized stories out of your favorite moments without having to pore over dozens of unrelated pictures.
In the tradition of Plants vs. Zombies, Go Home Dinosaurs delivers streamlined tower defense action on iPad under a delightfully absurd premise. As a projectile-tossing gopher, you'll collect coconuts to fill each stage with an array of offensive turrets and structures to ward off colorful dinosaurs attempting to disrupt your precious BBQ. And the game even adds in a puzzle element, as the defenses arrive on Tetris-like pieces that must slot into the purposely cramped grid layouts. While not always the most electrifying mash-up, Go Home Dinosaurs still charms as it (lightly) challenges.
Classic Note doesn't exactly bring anything new to the world of iPhone text editors, but as a magazine with "Mac" in our name, we couldn't ignore it. Basically, it's an homage to the early days of the Mac System Software, with monochrome accents, bitmapped corners, and crude springy animations. There's a delightful simplicity to its interface that harkens back to a time when docks were still control bars and dogcows roamed our screens, and anyone who fondly remembers extensions and longs for the original Chicago typeface will adore it.
Geocaching is not for the casual urban adventurer. The concept is simple enough – seek out a hidden treasure by following a specific set of GPS coordinates – but there's a reason why it never caught on in the mainstream. Not only does it command a giant commitment of time and energy, but there's also a pretty steep learning curve for new users. Wonderground is geocaching for the rest of us. Created by General Electric (yes, that one), the scavenger-hunting app challenges users to explore their favorite cities with the promise of the ultimate reward: Knowledge.
When you can't help but whip through a couple dozen attempts each time you open up a game, it more than likely has its hooks plunged quite deep into your psyche. Luckily, Impossible Road is a game worthy of such obsession, as the unflinchingly difficult quest to guide a ball along an endless roller coaster track into the abyss rewards persistence, and wastes no time in getting you back into its dazzling world upon inevitable failure. And trying to circumvent the typical rolling approach to maximize your score? Well, that's just part of the appeal.