G.I. Joe fans no doubt remember their collection of action figures and the fun times they spent going on imaginary missions against Cobra’s army of evil. It's no surprise, then, that the action card game G.I. Joe: Battleground rekindles some of those memories as you assemble your squad and recruit your favorite soldiers for combat. It may not always be the most exciting experience, but it’s a quality card game that doesn’t require much effort to enjoy.
Contra has never been easy. Like many of Konami’s old-school ‘80s arcade games, the punishment in this run-and-gun series is designed to come quickly and often, as you attempt to break through endless hordes of enemies using only your reflexes and aim. Death is only a hit away, so winning means memorizing every attack pattern the game throws at you. If and when you screw up – losing one of the few precious lives given from a finite supply of continues – the loss really hurts. Strip that necessary roughness from Contra’s bones and all that’s left is a sad husk trading on a venerable name. This is essentially what Contra: Evolution does.
Imagine waking up in a strange house and having no recollection of what happened to your wife, your friends, your job, your home, and the rest of your life as you know it. Only by meandering through the darkness and stumbling upon grim clues can you begin to piece together the horrific tale that lies at the heart of Home. But exactly what that tale is depends on the choices you make and how you perceive each twist you encounter along the way. An experiment in interactive storytelling, Home is equal parts unsettling and puzzling. It's an absorbing – albeit terribly brief – journey that will ultimately leave many of your burning questions unanswered.
Shovel Knight — a side-scrolling, retro-styled action game that successfully earned more than $300,000 on Kickstarter back in April — is on its way to Mac. The development team at Yacht Club Games is currently hard at work on the title, preparing it for a tentative holiday 2013 release, but company “captain” Sean Velasco took some time out of his hectic schedule to tell us why we’re gonna dig this whimsical, retro-inspired adventure.
If you were a gamer with an Apple II in the mid-'80s, there are a few names likely to stir nostalgic echoes somewhere deep in your heart; names like Choplifter, Hard Hat Mack, Ultima, and (most relevant to this review) Karateka. The first-ever game by Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, Karateka finally reappeared as a rhythm-based remake in late 2012, but now Mechner's giving old-school Karateka fans what they really want: the unvarnished original, adapted for iOS and fitted with tweaks designed to tug at our sense of nostalgia (while also making the game less frustrating).
Classic Note doesn't exactly bring anything new to the world of iPhone text editors, but as a magazine with "Mac" in our name, we couldn't ignore it. Basically, it's an homage to the early days of the Mac System Software, with monochrome accents, bitmapped corners, and crude springy animations. There's a delightful simplicity to its interface that harkens back to a time when docks were still control bars and dogcows roamed our screens, and anyone who fondly remembers extensions and longs for the original Chicago typeface will adore it.
Bustin Beaver and his beaver bandits have stolen your wood, and being the cartoonish lumberjack that you are, you must punch them to get it back – or something like that. It doesn’t really matter; the motivation behind the fast-paced, hard-as-nails lumber-fueled platforming isn’t important. What matters is that Lumber Jacked delivers plenty of quick-hit fun, which it accomplishes via a mix of speedy sprinting, colorful action, and charming presentation.
If good artists borrow and great artists steal, how do we classify the artists who break and enter but leave the real treasure behind? It’s not difficult to spot the commonalities between The Other Brothers and Nintendo’s classic Super Mario entries. Both are side-scrolling platform games, feature a damsel in distress, and are rendered in wonderful pixel art. Both even star a pair of silly mustachioed men who wear caps and overalls. But The Other Brothers sadly does not capture its spiritual predecessor’s signature feel.
Back in 2000, Jet Set Radio was nothing short of groundbreaking, with slick cel-shaded graphics, a fantastic soundtrack, and a skate-punk aesthetic that seemed daring in the pre-Grand Theft Auto III era. Twelve years after its release on Sega’s Dreamcast console, it’s been popping up again on nearly every available gaming device — including, most recently, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Platformers often come with an expectation of nostalgic bliss -- that starting the game will bring back feelings of blowing into a large plastic cartridge. Mikey Shorts nails its 8-bit-inspired aesthetic. It looks like an HD-infused Super Mario Bros. and sounds so Eighties that it should have the faint noise of a Metallica album behind the chiptune score, as if it's creeping in from behind the closed door of an older sibling's bedroom. The simplicity trickles down to the controls, which consist of a two-way directional pad and jump and slide buttons.