Following a stellar effort last year, it feels like 2K Sports phoned in the latest mobile edition of its highly regarded basketball simulation series. NBA 2K14 is essentially NBA 2K13 (minus the commentary), albeit with updated rosters and a new mode focused on superstar LeBron James. It feels incomplete, thanks to awkward gaps in the presentation where you'd expect commentary, plus a host of other minor glitches and issues. But, as with last year's effort, there's a decent – albeit barebones – basketball simulation under the hood.
FIFA 14 continues the fine form set by last year’s edition of the popular soccer simulation, mixing in a compelling free-to-play Ultimate Team mode and an all-new gesture-based control scheme that dramatically alters the feel of the game. It goes much further towards defining the mobile series as distinct from its console brethren, with both the new controls and the lightweight design providing more of a streamlined experience that’s sure to please casual players. There’s still plenty on offer for the hardcore, too – even without paying a cent.
Building a budding railroad empire is hard work. You have to take whatever jobs you can get, which means hauling everything from giant vats of maple syrup and pickles to arcade cabinets and ethanol to maximize your profits. Growing your snaking network of train routes – and fleet of trusty engines to traverse them with goods in tow – hits a delightfully upbeat stride in Pocket Trains, the adorable spiritual successor to Pocket Planes and Tiny Tower. Despite the similarly cutesy sheen of this new venture in the world of pixelated "bitizens," plenty of depth, fun, and accessibility are balanced throughout the clever design.
We've had to wait six months since the new SimCity first made its appearance on Windows systems, but as of today, EA's update of the popular city simulator has at last made it to the Mac. (Just like old times, eh?) The long delay was apparently intended to "ensure a great experience" for Mac players, but judging from early reports, those great experiences aren't necessarily happening.
Apartment living isn’t always the easiest thing. Between bills, managing limited physical space, and juggling a social life, ambition, and sanity, one’s existence in a hundreds-square-foot box is tough enough to maintain alone. Now imagine looking after 10, 20, or even 50 residents, all with their own faults and goals – not to mention keeping up with the maintenance and improvement of the building they live in. This is the task Dream House Days asks of you in assuming the role of apartment manager.
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.
Rymdkapsel is what we imagine playing an isometric, real-time strategy space game on the Atari might have been like back in the day – if the genre had existed then – and it's fabulous. The complexities that come from gathering resources, expanding your space station, generating new minions, and defending your galactic turf from waves of invading aliens contrast wildly against the simple 8-bit style aesthetic and tightly focused scope. There's a certain charm to its simplicity, but enough depth to back it up and keep you immersed in the fascinating task of building out your tiny space station empire.
Since film reboot The Muppets was released in 2011, the furry creatures have skyrocketed back to a level of popularity they haven’t enjoyed since the 1980s. My Muppets Show gives players the chance to put on their own titular performance, inspired by the classic television series, by tackling myriad tasks around the stage. While the Muppets themselves are true to form, the gameplay is of an ilk we’ve seen many times before with no real improvement on the basic design.
It looks as though EA Maxis will be living up to its promise that we'd see SimCity 2013 for Mac by August, after all. Barely, anyway. As reported by Polygon, EA Maxis announced today that the long-delayed release of the game's Mac version will arrive on Aug. 29.
If Cold War is any indication, the Sky Gamblers series may have reached maximum altitude with last year's stellar Storm Raiders. Sure, there's still plenty of high-flying dogfighting action to be found in this latest entry, but there's a legitimate question as to whether this fourth outing on iOS is running on fumes after so many entries in a relatively compact span of time. Thankfully, Cold War does bring some fresh ideas to the table, and the online multiplayer still provides the best aerial combat on the App Store. But the core campaign experience of Cold War is a bland and tired-looking stroll through what is an otherwise fascinating portion of American history.