Back in January we gave Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed a "good" rating, calling it a "entertaining burst of nostalgia-drenched fun" while noting a few downsides as well. If those minuses were enough to dissuade you from its original $4.99 asking price, you'll be happy to know that Sega's spirited race is now free to play on iOS as of today.
Crazy Taxi is meant to be played in short bursts — which makes sense given that it started out as a quarter-munching arcade game. The pick-up-and-play nature of Crazy Taxi makes it ideal for mobile devices, as the 2012 iOS version illustrates. But as fun as that game was, it was still just a port. Now Sega has a brand-new entry in the franchise that was made specifically for mobile devices — Crazy Taxi: City Rush.
A reimagining of the 1990 Sega Genesis game of the same name, Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a creative, whimsical platformer featuring the world’s most recognizable rodent. The action is as traditional as it gets — Mickey runs and jumps through predominantly side-scrolling levels, all the while hopping on baddies, grabbing collectables, and leaping over bottomless pits — but the gameplay stays compelling and fun thanks to well-designed stages, interesting environments, and ample charm.
Blending a borrowed approach from Mario Tennis with elements from Sega's own Virtua Tennis franchise, Sega Superstars Tennis is an entertaining bit of fan service that delivers on-the-court action plus a bevy of racquet-based mini-games with Sonic the Hedgehog and compatriots in tow. Recently ported to Mac by Feral Interactive more than five years after its debut on console systems, this colorful affair serves up simple and approachable tennis action, and is decent fun for fans of Sega's back catalog.
Using your device’s front-facing camera, Go Dance turns your iPhone or iPad into a motion-capturing sensor, providing you with a dance game experience like you’d normally find on home consoles. While the game looks and plays like the popular Just Dance titles, it only comes with two songs and lacks distinct features to choose from. Go Dance may not be very robust, but its simple controls and cheap price tag make it easy for any iOS device owner to get up and groove.
On consoles, The House of the Dead: Overkill took one of the most well-trodden premises imaginable – shooting zombies in first-person, on rails – and used it to create one of the most memorably over-the-top games of all time. Taking tropes from grindhouse horror movies and cranking them to ridiculous levels, HotD:O was gruesome, hectic, and – as its characters awkwardly shoehorned f-bombs into nearly every sentence – so deliberately crass that it was impossible to see it as anything other than a comedy. The iOS version, subtitled The Lost Reels, scales all that back considerably.
Sonic the Hedgehog's rough modern history on consoles is well-documented, and his traditional iOS entries have likewise been hit-or-miss. Lately, Sega's tried to improve the blue blur's fortunes on the App Store by pairing his iconic look and abilities with tried-and-true mobile formulas. Sonic Jump aped the Doodle Jump formula with middling results, and now Sonic Dash aims to put the hero into a behind-the-back endless runner. While it's certainly a better thematic fit than the former title, this awkward entry never quite finds its footing.
Sometimes, you don't want things like "depth" or "complexity" from a game. Sometimes it's enough to control something very fast as it fills the sky with explosions, and in that regard, After Burner Climax delivers beautifully. An iOS port of a 2006 arcade shooter, Climax keeps it fairly simple: as the pilot of one of three high-end fighter jets, your job is to target and destroy everything in front of you until it is no longer in front of you. And even if that doesn't sound appealing, the ridiculous speed and raw destructive capability Climax offers may be enough to draw you in.
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.
Sonic the Hedgehog's many previous App Store exploits have all been ports of past favorites or newer multiplatform releases, so to see Sega pursue a brand new mobile experience in the form of Sonic Jump is encouraging. Granted, as you'll notice immediately from the screenshots, "new" may not be the best word to describe a title that pays very obvious tribute to Doodle Jump and its ilk. That's not necessarily a problem, as Namco Bandai showed that such a pairing can work wonders with Pac'n-Jump, but Sonic Jump doesn't quite find the sweet spot between its disparate origins.