“Stealth board game” isn’t exactly a common genre, but it’s the best way to describe Hitman GO, the debut project from Square Enix’s new Montreal studio. It strips down and repurposes classic stealth mechanics from the popular console and computer assassination game series, and the result is a novel experience that’s perfectly suited for the App Store. Hitman GO takes place on a series of game boards with a grid overlay, populated by security guards, night watchmen, and unwitting police officers.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the last 2D entry in the "numbered" Final Fantasy series, so it's hardly surprising that Final Fantasy VI has followed its predecessors in getting an expensive, visually overhauled iOS remastering. What is surprising is how engrossing it still manages to be, two decades past its prime and with a strange, purist-infuriating paint job. Final Fantasy VI's leap to touchscreens is hardly flawless, but it's nonetheless impressive, and it's an easy way to slip into a true classic of '90s console role-playing games.
Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot (newly ported to Mac by Feral Interactive) is a game about searching: for ancient relics, forgotten tombs, and undisturbed grottoes, yes, but also for the self-assurance necessary to transform from a shy archaeologist into a brutal killing machine. Lara Croft's baptism in blood — her own and, often, her enemies’ — takes place on a fictionalized Yamatai, a hidden Japanese island full of pristine forests, snowy mountain ranges, and a sect of violent cultists who worship the shaman-queen Himiko.
If current trends hold their course, it looks as though we may end up with that highly anticipated iOS port of Final Fantasy VII after all. But first we're being treated to Final Fantasy VI, which makes its first appearance on the App Store today (well, following yesterday's sudden appearance on the New Zealand app store).
Many iOS gamers have been hoping for a version of Final Fantasy VII to come to the system for years now, and today Square Enix dropped some news that suggests it could very well happen. As reported by Kotaku, a modified version of Final Fantasy VI (known as Final Fantasy III when it was first released in North America 1994) will make its way to both iOS and Android this winter, with VII possibly not far behind in the future.
For many, video games are an opportunity to live out a fantasy. And in the case of Bloodmasque, it's possible to actually watch yourself take on the role of a vampire hunter (via a photo-snapping feature), hacking and slashing your way through a macabre version of 19th-century Paris. But after the initial amusement of seeing your own head atop a game character wears off, Bloodmasque struggles to keep things interesting
Well, that didn't take long. Barely two days after Deus Ex: The Fall's release, publisher Square Enix has already backtracked on its controversial decision to disable gunfire when playing The Fall on jailbroken devices. An update that remedies the issue is expected to appear soon.
Creating a new installment in the Deus Ex series is ambitious by definition. To meet the lofty expectations of fans (who've been perpetually on guard since 2003's disappointing Deus Ex: Invisible War), the games need to deliver freely explorable, believable worlds; unique characters who react to (and remember) your actions; multiple paths through their environments and multiple solutions to every problem; and smart, cleverly written storytelling rife with philosophical ruminations on the relationship between humans and technology.
To attempt all of this on a console or PC is tricky. To attempt it on iOS seems impossible, but — surprisingly enough — Deus Ex: The Fall does a competent job replicating the gameplay of 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, albeit as a somewhat stripped-down companion story.
For avid gamers who clock major hours in virtual worlds, getting the opportunity to see the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes work that goes into making these intense interactive experiences is a rare treat. Pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of the game development world, veteran game journalist Geoff Keighley digs deep into the Tomb Raider franchise and unearths some fascinating stories in The Final Hours of Tomb Raider, a multimedia app for iPad.
Chances are, if you grew up playing Final Fantasy in the ‘90s, you’ve probably got a soft spot for at least one of the old-school entries in the venerable RPG series. Assuming that’s true, Square Enix’s latest iOS spin-off is aimed squarely at you. Don't believe the hype — on paper, the premise behind Final Fantasy All the Bravest sounds interesting, but banal design and a complete reliance on in-app purchases make for an insidious attempt to prey on nostalgia.