Closer ever closer we creep to a potential release date for the newest iPhone. Will it look like these mockups? Probably, as despite Tim Cook's promises, leaks are endemic up and down the supply chain. And have we seen what the newest iPad Air will look like too? Yeah, probably that too. Nevertheless, there are still some Cupertino surprises we haven't anticipated, but let's take a look at some that might not be surprising anymore, as well as some other news percolating out there in the wide, wide world.
Most adventures that send you slicing and spell-flinging through pixelated dungeons lead you along the path by dangling some form of juicy carrot, whether it's a quest to save the world or amass a trove of cool gear. Wayward Souls buries its carrot under a foot of concrete and suggests you dig for it with your bare hands. This brutal retro “roguelike” game walks a fine line between the grueling and fun sides of intense challenge, often robbing you of your life just when you feel like you're making good progress. The real question, then, is what is it about this brawler that’ll keep you pushing onward, death after death?
Few games have seen as many downloadable content additions as Borderlands 2, but the today that long string of releases over the course of 18 months comes to an end with the release of Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of Crawmerax. And just as with the previous 13 content releases, we Mac players get to play it at the same time as our PC cousins.
Replace trainers with keepers and Poké Balls for monster traps and you’ve got Monster Legacy, a game that offers a glimpse of what a free-to-play Pokémon could play like if Nintendo ever took its popular franchise mobile. This means fighting alongside a team of monsters, training them to evolve, and even completing missions for rare items. But before you dismiss this game for another creature-catching clone, Monster Legacy mixes in various clever elements and modes that make it more than just another Pokémon wannabe.
Without question, LEGO Legends of Chima Online is geared towards younger gamers. It is, after all, based on a toy line and a CG-animated TV show on Cartoon Network. But don’t write it off just yet — this is a massively multiplayer online action-RPG in which a driving motivation is to collect loot. In many ways, Legends of Chima Online is like a simplified Diablo, and that’s why it can work for older gamers, too.
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.
The heroes of The Banner Saga, the debut effort from a three-man upstart called Stoic, are rarely heroic: one is dashed against an outcropping of boulders after he falls off a cliff, while another assaults a young girl and takes an arrow through the eye for his trouble. The backdrop of The Banner Saga may be Armageddon — or Ragnarok, in keeping with the game's Norse theme — but its characters are merely, tragically human.
Hauling around a heavy backpack crammed with a Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, dice bag, pewter miniatures, and other tools of the tabletop RPG trade can be exhausting. Luckily, Dungeons & Dragons action is more portable than ever thanks to the iPad re-releases of BioWare’s celebrated Baldur’s Gate games, and 2000’s Baldur’s Gate II is the latest to make the leap. This return romp through the Forgotten Realms definitely recaptures the magic of playing AD&D 2nd Edition long ago, but the old-school design doesn't make a perfectly smooth transition to iPad.
Romancing socially awkward elves might be on the outs in this free-to-play spinoff, but Heroes of Dragon Age for iOS nevertheless manages to capture the spirit of BioWare's beloved dark fantasy series from consoles and PC. However, the familiar music and faces merely amount to a pretty show. Strip away the ambiance, the lore, and the heroes, and this could be any one of the better collectible card games crowding the App Store these days.
There’s a strong sense of déjà vu that comes from playing Oceanhorn. This mobile adventure stars a brave boy that sails to different islands, overcomes puzzling dungeons, and gains the tools necessary to combat evil and essentially save his kingdom. Despite not featuring princesses or golden triangles, there’s no denying that the game draws heavily from Nintendo’s iconic The Legend of Zelda series, particularly Wind Waker. However, instead of merely giving us a facsimile and porting it to iOS, Oceanhorn handpicks what it borrows and creates an experience well worth playing.