Depressed by its bleak perspective, alone and freezing in the digital marketplace, Don't Starve survives solely on mystery and cheek. The first self-released offering from developer Klei Entertainment – best known for attractive consoles side-scrollers like Shank and Mark of the Ninja – Don't Starve drops the player into an unforgiving boot camp in wilderness readiness.
Everything about Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles -- from its overhead camera to its unit building mechanics -- resembles a real-time strategy game. The adorable characters and familiar Star Wars iconography could have made this free-to-play affair a worthwhile introduction to the genre for newcomers, but for a game with all the trappings of a strategy title, it curiously lacks any real strategic decision-making.
Angry Birds Friends brought the fowl-flinging sensation to Facebook, and unsurprisingly, it proved hugely popular in that format. Now the socially-connected spin on the franchise makes the return trip to iPhone and iPad while maintaining the distinct, free-to-play approach that defined that browser-based take. On a platform that already hosts five distinct Angry Birds games packed with several hundred total levels, the prospect of playing in one six-stage tournament per week may not seem remarkable, but it's the competitive aspect that puts an interesting tweak on the usual formula.
Though it draws heavy inspiration from a particular sci-fi franchise well known for boldly sending a spaceship full of uniformed crew where no one has gone before, Star Command doesn't fiddle around with any namby-pamby prime directive. The galaxy is full of danger and backstabbing aliens looking to get a piece of your sweet tech. Sure, diplomacy is sometimes an option with the strange crafts you encounter in this slick pixel-based quest, but it's just way more fun to blow your adversaries out of the stars or die trying in an often intense and chaotic adventure through the cosmos.
It's that time again, where we at Free App Friday headquarters take a closer look at some of the more basic apps out there that are worth your time. Not unlike a fine IPA, just because they're smaller servings, doesn't mean they lack a punch.
Storm Raiders is the best entry yet in the Sky Gamblers aerial-combat franchise, sending you soaring through two separate World War II campaigns—the Battle of Britain and Asia-Pacific War—packed with diverse missions, intense action, and impressive visuals. Even more notable are the eight-player dogfights, which span a large number of play modes (like team deathmatch and capture the flag) and deliver ample competition whenever you want it. The Mac version doesn’t control quite as comfortably as the iOS version, but it’s still plenty enjoyable.
Getting from one place to the next is trickier than it seems in Hairy Tales, a colorful Mac puzzler that finds you moving and turning various tiles to send the hero safely toward a goal. Initially, this means little more than evading hazards and creating a safe path forward, but as the 70-plus stages progress, you’ll encounter new obstacles, like enemies and fixed arrow tiles. It’s solidly smart and only occasionally frustrating, though the samey puzzles turn a bit monotonous before too long.
Draw Something 2 is exactly the kind of sequel we'd expect from a casual gaming juggernaut like Zynga: It's slickly refined, nicely expanded, and slathered with silly marketing tie-ins. Seriously, when will pop starlet Carly Rae Jepsen continue the game that it made us send "her" during the tutorial? All the same, this follow-up builds upon the sketch-guessing sensation by adding more social features and ways to interact, while wrapping everything up in a flashier package.
The gang's all here for LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes, a decidedly goofy clash between iconic comic-book superheroes and villains modeled with digital plastic bricks. While Batman and Robin are the centerpieces of this silly iPhone and iPad romp through a LEGO-fied Gotham City, they're joined by more than 80 unlockable characters that add tremendous variety to your quest to stamp out evil. The silly antics and block-smashing fun found throughout this original adventure will feel familiar if you've played any of the other recent licensed LEGO games, but it's an amusing time nonetheless.
After utilizing an open-city design for its premium Iron Man 2 movie game – complete with the requisite array of screen-cluttering virtual buttons – Gameloft opted for something simpler, swifter, and certainly cheaper for the next tie-in. Released in advance of the latest live-action Marvel Comics romp, the free-to-play Iron Man 3 sends Tony Stark soaring ahead through multiple locales, with alternating sequences that find him swiftly dodging traffic and aerial obstacles, zapping waves of foes, and even fighting through narrative-led boss battles. Blazingly fast and initially quite fun, this gratis game easily warrants a download from fans, though the thrills are short-lived.