Developed by Angry Birds creator Rovio, The Croods is a village-building game inspired by DreamWorks’ latest CG animated film. With these two studios behind it, you might expect the game to be a sure thing, both as a promotional tool and as a fun iOS game for all ages. Instead, this freemium title isn’t the least bit charming, and all it seems to want is your money. Your objective is to create resources for the prehistoric Croods family by trapping, taming, and caring for wild animals, but the game downplays its characters in favor of a hollow gameplay approach.
Like Angry Birds Star Wars before it, Star Wars Pinball pairs the beloved sci-fi franchise with a proven mobile framework. In this case, it's the excellent Zen Pinball, which serves up original digital tables that look and play like the real thing. Available as a universal standalone app, Star Wars Pinball delivers a great table based on The Empire Strikes Back, complete with moving sections that take after film scenes. Additional tables are sold within, and all can be purchased and downloaded within the main Zen Pinball app, though this is the only way that iPhone 5 players can currently experience the tables in full screen.
NightSky is the kind of game that drops you into its world without a whole lot of explanation. Start a new file and you'll see a luminescent sphere, your charge that must be navigated over various physics-based environmental challenges. But you don't need much else to go on, really. In the opaque opening, you wonder over the origins of this mysterious object. Is it alive? Is it a crystal? The answer is unknown. You'll soon find out how effective a premise it is for the game’s atmospheric, ethereal tone.
It's amazing what a simple change in perspective can do. Dropping the third dimension of typical sims in favor of a side-scrolling approach made the original Super Stickman Golf a revelatory mobile experience, both with its puzzle-platform single-player courses and the raucous speed-based multiplayer showdowns. Considering the ample success of the debut, Super Stickman Golf 2 expectedly doesn't mess with the formula too much, employing the same mechanics while adding fresh courses, customization options, and another gripping multiplayer mode.
The endless runner genre has been particularly well-plumbed on Apple's devices. Some of the App Store’s best-selling games are not only endless runners, but sequels, spin-offs, and imitators of existing genre entries. This environment leaves very little room for plucky upstarts like Danger Boat, as it accents similarities and demands innovative differences for a title to really stand out. Danger Boat is, at its core, very much like others in the genre. From an overhead perspective, you'll use tightly responsive tilt controls on your iPhone or iPad to steer past obstacles such as missiles, rocks, and depth charges.
Those who live and breathe presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote have little trouble working up great-looking slide decks with minimal effort. Meanwhile, the rest of us struggle to find the right backgrounds, graphics, and fonts for effectively conveying our message – a task now made effortless with Haiku Deck. Available free for iPad, Haiku Deck uses slick themes to help users create stunning presentations in as little time as possible.
For avid gamers who clock major hours in virtual worlds, getting the opportunity to see the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes work that goes into making these intense interactive experiences is a rare treat. Pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of the game development world, veteran game journalist Geoff Keighley digs deep into the Tomb Raider franchise and unearths some fascinating stories in The Final Hours of Tomb Raider, a multimedia app for iPad.
Catching scads of fish at once and then blasting them with a firearm as they're launched into the sky? It sounds like dumb fun – and it is, at first – but also potentially a flimsy gag concept intended only for shock and momentary diversion. Luckily, there's much more beneath the surface of Ridiculous Fishing, and that's not simply an easy water pun. It's the difference between a game designed for laughs and an experience made with heart, and the distinction between a title you'll pull out for moments and one that'll command your attention as you plunge into the vivid depths.
Liberation Maiden has all the makings of a title by Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda51), the eccentric creator behind console games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer7. In this iOS shooter, you play as a Japanese schoolgirl named Shoko and blast robotic terrorists aboard your flying mech suit; on top of that all, she’s also the president of New Japan, set 100 years in the future. Its bizarre premise brings with it shooter action that’s beautiful to look at and fun to play, but ultimately leaves you hungry for more.
No, it wasn't just you: Digital comics provider ComiXology has gone public with its epic fail for the Marvel #1 promotion, which left eager fans unable to download content, assuming they could even purchase it to begin with. The company plans to make good on the more than 700 free comics sometime in the near future, so read on to find out how to be notified when that goes down.