By the eighth entry across nine years, you usually know what to expect from a game franchise – and in the case of Gameloft's Asphalt, that typically meant solid but inconsistent production values, and decent arcade-style racing action that never quite matched the flashy console games it emulated. It was "pretty good – for a mobile racer," but Asphalt 8: Airborne finally sheds that qualifier, and essentially feels like a reboot in terms of quality. It's actually rather amazing, especially for a mere dollar.
The words "battle train" immediately bring to mind that cool scene from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, wherein Max and his hardscrabble crew are strapped into an armored doom-train, fighting off psycho marauder goons in post-apocalyptic hot-rods. While nowhere near as gritty and ultraviolent, Lionel Battle Train takes that core premise and spins it out into a fun, though sometimes also frustrating rail-bound combat adventure.
Assuming that the old adage about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery still holds up in the App Store era, the makers of Kingdom Rush should feel downright exalted by Pirate Legends TD. Copycats are nothing new in the iOS space, but while subtler "tributes" might try to disguise their inspirations, Pirate Legends TD makes no such effort. From the tower selection to the upgrade paths, placement approach, and UI design – plus the between-mission upgrades, map screen design, and use of heroes – this tower defense affair barely diverges from the uniquely fantastic concoction of elements brewed for Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers.
In theory, an app-based social media platform for creating shareable stories — by stringing words, animated images, and audio together — sounds pretty cool. NARR8 aims to do all of this and more, but it fumbles the process so badly that the intriguing idea alone won't warrant your time. The overall quality of the available reading content through the app (both user- and developer-generated) is lacking, and building your own stories is an unintuitive process rife with unnecessary hoop-jumping and technical issues.
RunBot (out this Thursday) is a game about urgency and immediacy that tests how well you can multitask under pressure. Playing as a fugitive robot running away from his creators, you must dodge obstacles, lasers, and enemy drones, all while picking up batteries to ensure you don’t run out of power. It’s an endless runner that rewards you the more you play, and its easy controls and fast-paced gameplay luckily make it difficult to put down.
So it's Friday, and I'm sure some of you are really looking forward to watching Ashton Kutcher's new biopic about Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, it appears as though you might want to think twice about rushing out to the theater and seeing it, as the reviews are in and most aren't pretty.
There are plenty of free iPad apps for entertaining toddlers, but few have much real educational value. This isn’t a problem for Learn with Homer, an app created by top literacy experts that overflows with well-crafted early learning content. Aimed at ages three to six, Learn with Homer makes reading fun and instructive. Upon launch, up to three different little ones can customize the app with a photo from the front-facing camera, which is then decorated with one of several virtual “thinking caps.” It’s a fun way to set the stage for what lies ahead.
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.
Radio isn’t dead yet, but it has evolved to be something that you listen to on your own terms, picking and choosing programs to check out at your convenience. AGOGO gets this, bringing you personalized audio programming with a slick interface and a number of curated channels. It pulls in the latest radio and newswire archives, podcasts, your local and online music collections, and other audio selections across many different areas, establishing itself as an excellent one-stop shop for your mobile listening needs.
Just as Disney has long made drawings come to life with its many classic animated films, the Disney Animated app makes what could have been a solid, static book feel exuberant and entertaining as an interactive experience, full of behind-the-scenes footage and touch-based activities. The iPad app explores the long history of Disney's in-house animation efforts, breaking down the process step by step while explaining its many aspects using more than just words.