Like other popular games ported to iOS, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has spawned an abundance of "me too" clones attempting to cash in on the game's prolific momentum. Block Fortress certainly looks like just another carbon copy to throw on the pile, but it's a very different experience once you dig beneath the surface. Instead of grand exploration and adventure, this frenetic tower defense game mixes first-person shooter combat, base building, and an addicting RPG progression and unlocking system to create something that feels fresh and fun.
Liberation Maiden has all the makings of a title by Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda51), the eccentric creator behind console games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer7. In this iOS shooter, you play as a Japanese schoolgirl named Shoko and blast robotic terrorists aboard your flying mech suit; on top of that all, she’s also the president of New Japan, set 100 years in the future. Its bizarre premise brings with it shooter action that’s beautiful to look at and fun to play, but ultimately leaves you hungry for more.
As it stands, 2013 isn't looking like a particularly stellar year for games based on the Aliens franchise. Alien vs. Predator: Evolution is not quite the high-profile disaster that Aliens: Colonial Marines was on other platforms, as it does a valiant job of creating a longer-form brawler for iPhone and iPad – but the game is sadly plagued with consistent crashes and occasionally infuriating mechanics. Somewhere under the problems, there may be a really enjoyable title here. But without some polish, Evolution will remain a mediocre allusion to a beloved old PC game.
Gun Bros 2 is Glu Mobile’s latest take on the twin-stick shooter formula, which maintains much of the same action-packed approach as the original while adding new elements. Unfortunately, nearly everything added here has sullied the Gun Bros experience, and feels misdirected and actively anti-consumer. In the game, you'll make your way through arena-style levels filled with oncoming waves of enemies, which you can dispatch using the two virtual sticks that respectively let you move and fire weapons.
"Are you sure it is a good day to Die Hard?" asks a terribly voiced Russian enemy as our hero perishes for the umpteenth time. The corny, self-aware line would almost make sense in the universe of Die Hard films, where cheesy one-liners are expected. But in the case of the A Good Day to Die Hard tie-in game for iPhone and iPad, it's just another example of an altogether laughable licensed title, one that's plagued with monotonous gameplay and horrid in-app purchase pandering.
Sometimes, it feels like it’s hard to say anything new about the Call of Duty franchise. Foreign extremist group threatens the world, the hero shoots scads of terrorists in the face — you know the drill. But Black Ops manages something unique. New additions to online multiplayer offer an incentive to keep returning to the well, the zombie-blasting mode returns in a big way, and the entire affair is wrapped in one of the craziest, most exciting narratives in the series.
With its shiny trappings, familiar wasteland heroes, and cool top-down perspective on Pandora's desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, Borderlands Legends HD makes an impressive transition from a first-person shooter on other platforms to an iOS hybrid of real-time strategy and tower defense. The slick presentation is deceiving, however, since muddling through battle after battle is more often then not an unwieldy, unsatisfying experience.
In a world crawling with undead, it seems the opportunist is alive and well. A bespectacled Los Angeles film director wants to make zombie films, and he needs a murderous star. Enter your broad-shouldered, square-jawed avatar. Zombiewood is, through and through, a twin-stick shooter. One virtual analog stick dictates movement; the other controls which direction your hot lead flies. Using pistols, machine guns, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers, you’ll mow down hundreds of zombies as they vie for your noggin.
Last week in Free App Friday, we took a look at Fix-It Felix Jr., a movie tie-in app for the celebration of retro gaming taking place in Wreck-It Ralph. However, if I were going to be completely honest, as fun as Fix-It was, that was a representation of a bygone era even by the time I first held up an NES controller. This week we celebrate a free app that harkens to a time that thumbs were blistered, giant robots and monsters were slain, and the guns were entirely unrealistic and awesome.
When Max Payne was first released on PC and consoles in 2001, there was nothing else like it. Featuring exceptional voice acting, a gritty storyline that could have been ripped from the pages of a James Ellroy novel, and action-packed gameplay that felt like it was on loan from a John Woo film, it quickly became the blueprint for countless other games. Slow-motion shootouts? Firing two guns whilst jumping through the air? You can thank Max Payne for them both. Now, more than a decade later, it’s finally available for iOS gamers to enjoy as Max Payne Mobile.