Those of us in the United States are recovering after an extended Labor Day weekend, but there was plenty of tech news that just could't be contained by the unofficial end to the summer season. There's a lot of ground to cover, so let's dive in and get right to it, shall we?
PopCap's original Plants vs. Zombies – a streamlined twist on tower defense that put the fate of a suburban home in the hands of undead-fighting foliage – debuted before the freemium craze, and it was a huge hit on numerous platforms, even becoming one of the best-selling iOS apps of all time. As a free-to-play affair, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time expectedly strikes a different tone than its premium predecessor – and it's not the time-travel theme that most strongly defines the direction of this initially iOS-exclusive sequel.
It's the moment many of you have been waiting for -- tomorrow, August 15, Plants vs. Zombies 2 will be coming to the App Store. The news was announced (in a manner of speaking, at least) via Apple's App Store page on Facebook via the image of a hand-drawn zombie hand reaching out the the ground.
We've proudly been iPhone users since the day they were first available six years ago, but along the way we've heard the siren song of the occasional Android or Windows Phone as well. There's just one problem: Manufacturers and carriers tend to junk up Android handsets with custom software, making it hard to find devices with the real stock experience. Now, two of the best are available direct from Google — find out which ones in today's recap.
PopCap's Bookworm Heroes launched on the App Store last week, and following the game's success on Facebook and the previous entries' widespread popularity, fans of word games were particularly excited to pop in and start flinging word attacks on iOS devices. However, as we discovered in our review — which posted yesterday – the game's free-to-play model proved a bit severe, and made it difficult to simply play the game without feeling obligated to spend money. Acknowledging the feedback and criticisms, along with the first week's worth of player data, PopCap reached out to let us know that going forward, players will no longer need to spend in-game currency to "rent" a hero character. One will be available free each week in a rotating fashion, with Lex currently useable without charge.
In a marketplace chock full of free-to-play word games, Bookworm Heroes plays like a clear attempt to take back the mantle. PopCap didn’t invent casual word puzzles, but its Bookworm franchise certainly had a hand in its popularity. This asynchronous multiplayer entry boasts spritely animations and well-balanced word fighting mechanics, and serves as a nicely modernized successor to the franchise's name.
Like Bejeweled Blitz before it, PopCap's Solitaire Blitz takes a classic game premise – in this case, the single-player card game Solitaire – and emphasizes bite-sized play sessions with amped-up game speed within a free-to-play structure. And just like the Bejeweled variant, Solitaire Blitz is a Facebook favorite that's an excellent match for the iPhone and iPad, not to mention incredibly tough to ignore.
Well, Halloween is over. A bummer for sure, but now is that glorious time of year when parents can sit around eating all their kids' leftover candy. PopCap and the American Dental Association had a novel idea this year: how about giving kids a hit video game instead of delicious -- tooth rotting -- candy?
Christmas Day is just around the corner, and that means one thing for iOS gamers: lots of new iOS owners. Why is that good news? Because companies are crawling over themselves to get a piece of this massive new influx of gamers. So while you might not see a ton of new games releasing this week, all the best older ones are on sale. Set aside some money this year and stock up on games for the next couple months.
While the game release season is finally cooling down on the PC and console side of things, iOS gaming isn’t even stopping for gas. There are so many great games on this platform that every month of the year is full of amazing releases. You don’t need to look further than this week’s games (Lunar Racer, The Sims FreePlay, and Batman Arkham City Lockdown) for proof.