So who here is still playing games on their iPhones or iPads? Maybe I’m just jaded and cynical thanks to the once-bright gaming future that Apple never quite delivered on. While I can understand that many may disagree with me, it is hard to ignore how different things are at the moment in comparison with the salad days of 2009-2012, when apps were all the mainstream rage and games were at the heart of it all.
The App Store is replete with driving games, the majority of them arcade-styleracers. Every week a few more take their place amid the millions of apps in the store. But very few of them are worth your $0.99, or even more importantly, worth your time. Polarbit games, the people behind the Reckless Racing franchise have done a great job of making a fun and compelling top-down arcade racer for the iPad, three times running. Each Reckless Racing game combines detailed arcade-style graphics, rich multi-mode and multi-level race opportunities, and super-accurate controls that let you win or lose based on your abilities.
All three games share the same top-down view of the race course, your car, and your competitors. In race mode, you line up against five other competitors and steer your car around a dirt and/or tarmac course as fast as you can without spinning out, or driving into obstacles such as trees, ditches, or off a bridge into the water. There is a lot of bumping and pushing going on between cars, and you can use this to your advantage but also get abuse from your competitors as well. You start out with a basic race car and as you win races you earn money to upgrade your car or buy a faster one.
Let me say at the outset that one of the main things that sets the Reckless Racing series apart for me is the accuracy of the controls. There are three steering setups available: gyro, mini-steering-wheel, and left/right arrows. You can also alter the sensitivity of the steering, which I use to keep from overcorrecting after every turn. Polarbit has taken great pains to get the controls right and precise, which makes a huge difference in how enjoyable Reckless Racing is to play. While, sure, these kinds of arcade racers are an un-serious escape or time filler, still, nobody likes to be leading a race and have ham-handed controls send them off the short end of a pier to lose the race; it’s just frustrating. With Reckless Racing your little car will respond exactly to your inputs as you would expect. There are also controls for gas and brake and in versions 2 and 3 you can even move the buttons around the screen. After practicing with all three steering setups I like the left/right arrows the best, but obviously your preferences may vary.
The App Store offers a wide range of featured sections and app collections to highlight some of the best and most interesting and useful apps.
One of its newer collections is Pay Once & Play – found in the Explore section this one features iPad games that do not include any In-App purchase options. Just buy the game and play it to its fullest without the need to be nickeled and dimed to get a better experience with it.
This is a great idea for an App Store collection, and one I’m sure many iPad gamers will welcome.
Another great-looking strategic war game title has hit the iPad App Store this week. It’s called Ancient Battle: Hannibal, and of course it’s centered around Hannibal’s legendary battles against Rome in the Punic Wars.
The game is from Hunted Cow Studios, who have already brought a number of excellent strategic war games to the iPad, including the superb Civil War: 1863.
Here’s a slice of the App Store introduction for Ancient Battle: Hannibal:
Ancient Battle: Hannibal is the newest edition to the Ancient Battles series. Experience the magnificence of the Punic Wars, as you follow Hannibal on his crucial campaign against Rome. Based upon, and a major upgrade to, the game system developed for Ancient Battle: Rome, a game that was the No.1 strategy game on the App Store in 8 different countries. Ancient Battle: Hannibal introduces many new game features including multi-level hills to elevate your strategic opportunities when commanding vast armies.
Fight the battles of the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. Each campaign is themed around battles between Hannibal’s armies and their cunning opponents in the four geographical regions of Italy, Spain, Sicily and Africa. Hannibal’s inspired tactics and leadership made him one of Rome’s most dangerous enemies and possibly the greatest general of all time. Can you match his achievements on the battlefield?
One of my favorite old board games was a Punic Wars title, so I can’t wait to try out this game on the iPad.
Well this looks like some great news for all of us who enjoy the heck out of iPad wargames. Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein is the latest iPad wargame title from the clever folks at Sheandoah Studio – makers of the excellent Battle of the Bulge and Drive on Moscow iPad strategic wargames.
Desert Fox is coming to the iPad very soon. In the meantime, take a look at the trailer above for a great look at what this title will bring.
A few days back I mentioned a great looking soon-to-be-released iPad game called Red Herring. It’s the latest game from the makers of the fantastic 7 Little Words game.
Well, today that great looking game hit the App Store. I just took a look at the Top Charts section and Red Herring is sitting at the Number 1 sport for free Word games. That’s great to see, and having spent 10 days and many hours with the game I can tell you it’s well-deserved success.
I’m more than a little addicted to the game already, and my 11 year old daughter is pretty much fighting me for the iPad to play it too. As of today she can get her own version – phew.
I’ll do a review soon, but in the meantime my advice is go get this game – it’s a super fun word game with logic puzzle and trivia elements thrown into the mix. Here’s an App Store link for Red Herring; it’s a free game with lots of free content and only very reasonably priced In-App purchases ($0.99 to $1.99) for additional puzzle packs and hints.
Botanicula is a just-released new iPad game with one heck of a fine pedigree. It’s described as a humor-filled adventure game and is the latest game from the makers of the superb and award-winning Machinarium game.
Here’s the initial story line for Botanicula and a few of its features:
Five friends, little tree creatures, set out on a journey to save the last seed from their home tree which is infested by evil parasites.
– Relaxed game perfect for hard core gamers, their partners, families and seniors.
– More than 150 detailed locations to explore.
– Hundreds of funny animations.
– Incredible amount of hidden bonuses.
– Award winning music by Dva.
The game is already getting rave reviews and I can’t wait to try it out. Actually, I have to wait to try it out – because my daughter absolutely loved Machinarium and I think she’d never speak to me again if I tried this one out without her.
Here’s an App Store link for Botanicula; it’s priced at $6.49.
Hey everyone! Beth Elderkin from iPad Insight here, checking out some interesting games for this week’s “5 Under $5.” If you want to see more about Hitman Go, fellow reviewer Thomas Wong will be doing a review soon. Be on the lookout for that!
**Note: In the review, I wrote the first game as “The Amazing Spiderman 2,” when it’s actually “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Disclosure: These games were independently observed or purchased by the post’s author. For more information on our site’s review policies, visit the About page.
Games Featured This Week:
Red Herring is a soon-to-be-released new iPad game from the makers of the excellent 7 Little Words game. Here is the developers’ short introduction to the game:
Red Herring – containing word game, logic puzzle and trivia challenge elements – is about organizing words into categories while keeping an eye out for sneaky “red herring” words that are only in the puzzle to confuse you.
They promise that the game is simple and addictive – two words that perfectly describe their 7 Little Words game. I did a review of 7 Little Words for iPad here last year, and it remains one of my all-time favorite iPad word games. The developers were kind enough to let me try out Red Herring prior to its pending release – and I can tell you it is a uniquely challenging and fun game. I’m already hooked.
Check out the trailer video above and look out for Red Herring hitting the App Store very soon.
iOOTP Baseball 2014 is the latest, greatest version of the excellent baseball management game for the iPad and iOS. It hit the App Store yesterday and it’s got quite a nice set of new features for this year’s edition, including:
• Real Opening Day 2014 rosters. Every player on every major league team is available, along with the top 20 minor league prospects for each team. Major league player ratings are based on PECOTA by Baseball Prospectus, the best player projection system available today.
• Player Editor. Players can edit everything from names and biographical information to hitting, fielding, and pitching ratings.
• Improved AI, including a direct port of the new player evaluation AI from OOTP 15
• Retina display support
• iOS 7 support (iOS 4.3 is the minimum required)
Age of Empires: World Domination will be the first title from the classic Age of Empires real-time strategy franchise to hit the iPad and iOS. It’s due for release this summer, and it looks pretty great in an early trailer video.
It lets you choose from any of the game’s 4 most popular civilizations – the Celts, Vikings, Franks, or Huns – to do battle online in multiplayer combat.
I was a huge Age of Empires fan back in the day, so I’ll be curious to see how well it translates to the iPad. Here’s that trailer video for Age of Empires: World Domination for mobile: