Fist of Awesome is a game with time-traveling bears, a talking fist, and bears being uppercut by said fist. Suffice it to say, it's all a bit absurd; when your character is told not to think too much about what's going on in the story, it's advice that you would be wise to follow yourself. Underneath all of the silliness and some less-than-enjoyable attempts at humor, though, is a surprisingly fun action game when played in short bursts.
In Device 6, a new spy-themed interactive fiction game from Simogo (Year Walk, Beat Sneak Bandit), text is used with verve and clarity, as sharp prose maps out protagonist Anna’s journey around a mysterious island. It’s not just that Device 6 is text-based – it’s that the text dances around the iPhone or iPad screen. As Anna turns down a hallway, the words also bank at a hard right angle; when she climbs a spiral staircase, her story and your device screen spin with her.
Square Cash is a deceptively simple new way for consumers to send money using only email and a debit card. Unlike competing payment services, there’s no password to remember, no fees at either end or an account to set up, although you can use an existing Square login should you have one. Here’s how it works: Open the app, enter a dollar amount on the keypad, tap "Attach to Email," and enter the recipient’s email address. After you hit send, the app’s job is complete – Square replies via email, requesting your debit card number, expiration date, and zip code.
Me vs. You captures much of the competitiveness and fun of air hockey in an abstract, single-screen two-player game, though you should be wary of who you play it with. It’s actually three games in one, each with a distinct set of rules and interactions that could make or break a relationship, and all unified by an elegant minimalist aesthetic and a beautiful soundtrack. With both tactical and physical components to all three games, it's definitely one for competitive types.
Every new to-do app that hits the App Store claims to be innovative. Most manage to put their own spin on things with a fresh interface or a clever concept, but for the most part they're all pretty much interchangeable, no matter how much we may favor one over the other. Tick breaks the mold. There are no new methods here – it's still just a place to keep your many lists – but Taphive has designed a unique interface built for speed and organization that puts the app in a class by itself.
The debut of Avira Mobile Security is something of a head-scratcher: iPhone owners generally have little reason to worry about the security of their device, at least on the software front. Apple works hard to keep its mobile operating system locked down tight (often to the dismay of developers), and quickly plugs any holes that do crop up. Avira’s app scans any device it’s installed on for malicious processes, along with offering tips on how to make the most of available storage and battery life conservation.
Codemasters has a seasoned pedigree when it comes to racing games, and it shows with F1 Challenge for iPhone and iPad. As the name suggests, F1 Challenge is an officially licensed Formula One game, but this top-down racer’s real draw is its unique control scheme. Instead of virtual buttons dedicated to left and right steering inputs, F1 Challenge uses a vertical slider to control the angle at which your speedster approaches each track’s hairpin curves.
One of the true rewards of playing a monster-training game is the ability to create your own cool-looking creature and customize it to your liking. Monster Adventures not only lets you decide what such a beast looks like, but its mash-up of role-playing and roguelike genre elements makes each play session an exciting and slightly addictive foray into its vibrant world. Monster Adventures starts you off with a basic creature, and it’s your job to train it and enter it into tournaments to bring pride to your village.
Survival and dependence take on new meaning in Duet, an abstract minimalist game of two tethered dots navigating a perilous world of unforgiving white shapes. It’s full of contradictions — the game is both brutally hard and beautifully meditative — and will leave you tearing your hair out, but Duet offers up something special beyond its intense challenge.
Crafting homemade costumes and prepping for nocturnal adventures to forage for sweets is a favorite youthful tradition every fall, and Double Fine's charming Halloween-themed role-playing game is well timed to get us all in the spooky spirit. Costume Quest expertly captures the sense of imagination and wonder that made trick-or-treating with friends back in the day such a blast. But far more than a grand fetch quest full of tooth-rotting bliss and crazy getups, this cartoonish romp throws giant robots, goblin warriors, and supernatural shenanigans in to sweeten the pot.