Supercell's Boom Beach sticks close to the basic formula established by mega-hit predecessors Clash of Clans and Hay Day, but it brings an enticing new combat system that grants you greater control over your own fate. It's war of oceanic proportions, as you work to liberate the natives of one island after another from the evil Blackguard (as well as from rival players). Your goals boil down to two needs: keeping your headquarters protected from invaders—with help from an assortment of mines, defensive buildings, and strategic placement—and building up an army strong enough to take down the headquarters of any island not under your control.
First Strike grants a God's-eye view of the end of all things, and inadvertently shows us the beauty in chaos. Like trout leaping from water, nuclear bombs plop down to Earth, slaughtering millions. Mushroom clouds bud like fungi on lumber, and the stars, unjudging, watch Ragnarok in the inky blackness beyond. Were it not for radial menus popping up and shifting national boundaries, a passing observer might mistake it for a new feature in Google Earth.
Prefer Apple's metal iPhone casings over the plastic used for the iPhone 5c (and many other smartphones)? It turns out that there's a small chance they could save your life. That's what Utah soldier Shaun Frank found out after his iPhone 5 protected him from shrapnel that might have killed him while on duty in Afghanistan. Frank has since sent a letter to Apple expressing his thanks.
Block Fortress: War tries valiantly to narrow the focus of its stellar, open-ended base building and first-person tower defense predecessor, but it misfires repeatedly and never quite lives up to its potential. Foursaken Media once again tackles a Minecraft-esque universe of war-torn block races, this time constructing a campaign around relatively linear battles wherein you have partial command of a hero and his minions, plus full control over the placement of defensive blocks, turrets, and bombs.
Atypical Games made a name for itself with Sky Gamblers, a series of combat flight sims with an emphasis on sharp visuals and energetic dogfighting. Its latest outing, Battle Supremacy, trades B-15 bombers for Panzer III tanks — and speed for lumbering, destructive power. Sluggishness makes the campaign seem slow and plodding, but it turns Battle Supremacy's multiplayer skirmishes into tense, purposeful chess matches.