Featuring a battle system that feels like the perfect blend of fighting and role-playing encounters, Super Nintendo classic Tales of Phantasia was kept out of Western gamers' hands until it was ported to the Game Boy Advance nearly a decade later. Now almost 20 years after its original release, this classic Japanese RPG makes its way to the App Store in a universal iOS release. Unfortunately for those expecting a seamless port, its new free-to-play format and associated changes make it a less-than-enjoyable trip back in time.
Q-Games' PixelJunk series has always strived for simplicity in both its mechanics and monikers, but the title assigned to PixelJunk Shooter has long seemed a bit off. First released on PlayStation 3 in 2009, the methodical, puzzle-tinged adventure lacks the kind of frantic, intense edge you might expect based on its branding, but the freshly-ported Mac experience still quietly captivates with its smart challenges and offbeat presentation.
When PixelJunk Monsters debuted as a downloadable PlayStation 3 game in early 2008, it proved a real diamond in the rough – and something of a revelation. This was before tower defense games exploded in popularity, and still months before we had an App Store, let alone one eventually filled with numerous great genre options. To see a game mine such rich strategic complexity out of a simple approach was so impressive at the time, and I fondly recall pumping dozens of hours into the game, alternating between extreme emotions of glee and rage as I stared into the cartoonish glow.
Riding the success of Disney Infinity's huge console launch last month, the Toy Box app for iPad allows players to build and test their creations from inside Infinity's creation mode, and then transfer it all back to your console. It benefits from the intuitive nature of touch controls and portability that the tablet allows, but struggles with keeping a constant frame rate even when dealing with a low number of items in your world. That takes some of the shine off of the experience, especially when transitioning from a glossy home console game.
New Sony boss Kazuo Hirai is determined to to return flailing Sony to its former days of glory in consumer electronics -- not to mention profitability -- but the road ahead will be paved with pink slips as the CEO regroups into “One Sony.”
If the current crop of Android-based tablets have been unable to dethrone the iPad, perhaps Sony will succeed where others have failed. That’s the logic behind a pair of tablets launched at a media event in Japan overnight, although you’ll have to wait for the leaves to start falling to get one.
Perhaps one of the worst-kept secrets in the cell phone industry since Gizmodo exposed the iPhone 4 last year, Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play has been widely documented in the tech press, particularly with a lengthy exposé or two on Engadget -- despite no official word from the hardware makers themselves. But that all changed Superbowl Sunday, with a bizarre ad featuring Google’s Android mascot having thumbs surgically attached in a dark Chinese warehouse, claiming “Android is ready to play.”
While we’re not sure that this Frankenstein-style approach is the best way to promote PlayStation’s arrival on a phone, there’s no denying that gamers will be salivating as they wait for its arrival. But does Apple have anything to fear from Sony’s PlayStation on a phone?
Tech fans will have plenty to be thankful for come Turkey Day next week -- The Beatles are finally on iTunes, Google Voice is on the iPhone, Twitter has push notifications for iOS and Hulu Plus is finally out of preview mode, officially landing on Roku boxes everywhere.