The design philosophy behind many free-to-play games seems to be latching onto players’ bank accounts and doing as much damage as possible. This is usually achieved by limiting essential resources, or by holding the shiniest, most powerful items behind a fat price sticker. This is all fine and well, so long as the core mechanics remain fair and engaging. That's not the case with Monster Paradise.
It's far too easy to sit down with the intention to get lots of work done only to wind up wasting half of the day away checking e-mails, playing games, fiddling with random junk, and being bogged down by other myriad distractions. 30/30 offers a great alternative to having your boss or significant other standing over your shoulder to crack the whip when you have important tasks that need tackling. This simple, attractively designed task manager lets you plan out your day into neat and tidy blocks of time, then helps keep you on track.
A follow-up to the popular Tiny Tower, NimbleBit's Pocket Planes offers a charming, well-presented take on airline management that kept me hooked for hours, ferrying passengers and cargo from one place to another in planes of varying capacity, range, and speed.
Adventure Time’s weird brand of off-beat humor has struck a chord with children and adults alike, so it’s no wonder that Cartoon Network hustled to get an app released on iPhone. Legends of Ooo is one of the simplest point-and-click adventure games ever made, which actually fits the show’s content well, since the duo spends more time helping strangers with menial tasks than they do actually battling monsters. That said, it’s a little too simple for its own good.
Now that music is in the cloud, the embarrassment of riches can lead to decision-making paralysis. What do I listen to now? Services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio can play you never-ending stations, but require fees, and the Genius Mix feature in iTunes is limited to music you actually own. Which is why Songza is my new jam.
We’ve all been there: Awaiting a loved one’s arrival at the airport, only to discover that his/her flight is delayed. Never again fear such predicaments, because Just Landed has been cleared for landing on your iPhone. Combining GPS-based location services with up-to-the minute flight data, Just Landed knows exactly where you are and how long it will take to get to the airport. Run errands, have a bite to eat, or watch TV from the comfort of home, and the app pings you when it’s time to head to the airport.
Riding high off of the smashing success of the Temple Run and the theatrical release of Disney/Pixar's Brave, Temple Run: Brave blends the properties for a sharp-looking take on the former's speedy running approach, and aims to attract new players with a family-friendly resin. The beautiful update doesn't come without some issues, though, as the $0.99 price tag raises the barrier to entry ever so slightly over the free-to-play original.
No matter how far technology advances, some things manage to stick around. For Virtua Tennis Challenge, that means doing its best to convince the player that it's not just Pong in a fancy new package. While the graphics are impressive and Sega's modern offering serves up more game modes than the 70's classic, it also falls short in some areas where even the simplest of games have excelled.
Checking in to a location within moments of stepping foot through the door has become such a familiar part of the iPhone experience that it's almost instinctual for many users. For me, though, that Foursquare familiarity turned to disinterest some time back, as I stopped caring about the points-based grind and whether or not I was still the virtual mayor of the ratty mini-mart down the block. Foursquare's recent 5.0 version reboot seems an attempt not only to pull back lapsed users, but also expand its reach and compete with myriad other social discovery apps.
Card battling warfare and real-time tower defense make for a surprisingly great mash-up, but it's the hilariously gruesome moment where Alexandria Bloodshow's stylized Egyptian and Greek warriors start disemboweling one another on-screen in sprays of gore and flying appendages that sticks in my mind. This addictive sequel to Samurai Bloodshow certainly doesn't skimp on the over-the-top gore, though it's the underlying strategy of collecting cards and playing them to deploy units onto the battlefield at just the right moment that held me glued to the screen.