Free-to-play games aren’t exactly a new phenomenon on the App Store, but it felt like the balance of power really shifted away from premium affairs in 2013, with a much larger chunk of the notable new releases each week favoring the freebie model — even those from developers that had seemingly thrived with paid games in the past. While there’s still plenty of grating, energy-limiting, and paywall-inhibiting junk in the free mix each week, the surge of noted creators embracing the model means that there’s also quality to be found. Here are our picks for the 25 best free games released in 2013 for iPhone and/or iPad, which cumulatively deliver loads of entertainment without demanding a dime in return.
It’s been another exciting year for iOS games, with 2013 offering an amazing set of intriguing and innovative indie games, stellar sequels and pristine ports from other platforms, and increasingly blurred barriers between the worlds of free and premium games — a good thing, in this case. And we ramped up our coverage in response to the ever-growing flow of new iOS games, reviewing more than 200 games over the last 12 months. Picking just 25 of those to spotlight as the cream of the crop was a challenge, but we’re pleased to present our picks for the best iOS games of 2013.
First released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas still ranks among the biggest, most ambitious, and most impressive games ever made. With an open game world that spans three distinct cities and miles of open countryside in between, it tells a story that starts with petty gang wars in a facsimile of early '90s L.A., and eventually balloons to include government conspiracies, jetpacks, and massive casino heists that lead to absurd wealth. The idea that it's now playable on our phones is a little mind-blowing — and yet here it is, without visible sacrifice or compromise, looking, sounding, and playing just like we remember. Well, almost.
The App Store is home to plenty of digital journal tools, but all of them require effort from the author to be useful. Heyday solves this problem in a very elegant way – and one that actually makes us want to participate. The free app converts existing photo libraries from an iOS device into an automatic journal of your life, complete with geolocation data and time stamps. The speed and accuracy at which Heyday accomplishes this task is nothing short of amazing, but the occasional coarse location can be confirmed or updated as needed. On days when photos aren’t taken, the app continues to work in the background with minimal battery impact, capturing key places visited.
It’s a wild week for new releases before Apple closes off the submission pipeline for the holidays, with Republique, Colossatron: Massive World Threat, and The Shadow Sun standing out as interesting original releases, and Walking Dead: Season Two, Cut the Rope 2, and Ridge Racer Slipstream delivering notable new entries in popular franchises — and there’s quite a bit more out there beyond the 10 titles spotlighted here. Enjoy the holidays with these and other new iOS releases, and keep an eye out for our year-end gaming lists in the coming days.
We'd like to simply associate the holidays with the good times we have with our family members. Unfortunately, we all know the hassle that comes before you ever walk in the door and get greeted by your loved ones. Traveling during this time of the year is more painful than any of the awkward moments you may experience gathered around long-unseen relatives, but you can cut out some of the stressful parts of making it home for the holidays with the help of these eight apps. Sure, they can’t quite teleport you to your destination, but at least the trip there will be a little smoother.
Apple seeded the second beta of iOS 7.1 to developers today, and Cult of Mac has put together a handy collection of GIFs showing the most significant changes we can expect on our devices in the coming weeks. On the face of it, the update may seem minor since it doesn't include any major new features, but it does include a few tweaks that aim to address some of the complaints users have had with the operating system since it first appeared.
It's a hot week in the news if you're interested in the future of cellphones. Carriers are getting shut down on the lock-out while one of the nation's biggest providers thinks the same big bucks they've been raking in over the years isn't quite enough. Plus some holiday classics get the iOS treatment. That and more under the fold, so dig in.
As we near the holidays, the App Store is unsurprisingly being flooded with big-name releases, including Angry Birds Go!, The Room Two, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. However, a couple of promising under-the-radar entries — like Fiz: The Brewery Management Game and AntiSquad —could prove to be just as interesting picks this week.
Winter is upon us, and with it comes the holiday traditions. We come back to our routine year after year because it's comfortable and we've created a precedent for it, but there comes a time to update those customs. We can help you bring the old holiday tales you’ve come to know, love, and learn by heart into today's technologically-powered world with the help of eight great apps. These apps put the classics on display in fresh ways on a new platform that’s perfect for reliving the stories, or even introducing them to a new generation. Hit the App Store and make your iOS device part of your holiday tradition.