I've spent the past few days zapping aliens and manoeuvring troops in the iPad version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and I'm happy to report that it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown on iPad, which is really all that you need to know.
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Everybody loves quick time events, those timed button presses utilized in today's high-tech interactive entertainment programs to help the user feel a modicum of control over grand cinematic sequences. the problem with quick time events, however, is that the graphical spectacle going on behind the prompts always threatens to steal attention away from important prompts. In John Burton's QTE: Press X to Not Die there are no annoying cinematics -- just 30 seconds of pure, unadulterated button pressing.
Since the early days of the Cyberpunk pen-and-paper role-playing setting, I've been fascinated by the idea of highly skilled computer hackers roaming the plains of cyberspace looking for a fight; digital cowboys with their fingers twitching inches away from their plastic 101-shooters. The realisation that real hackers are just normal people tapping away at standard keyboards was something of a letdown.
As a rule, I like sports in video games better than I do in the real world. For someone like me who's never been great on the court or field, taking an athletic endeavour and adding a layer of the fantastic to it is one of the best joys that a sports title can offer. It's a joy that Super Stickman Golf 2 delivers in spades.
Whenever I feel like the physics puzzle format is completely played out, Fahey slides me another download code, and the thing turns out to be pretty good. Stick To It, ahem, adheres to the basic principles of the genre, but shows there are still clever ways to challenge players to finish a puzzle with an economy of moves.
Swapping colourful objects to create rows of three or more is about as simple as a puzzle game can get. After years of playing titles like Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga, seeing the patterns that make the best matches is almost second nature to me. Then came CocoaChina's 7 Elements, changing everything by adding two more fingers to the mix.
The iTunes description for Heroes & Castles, a new third-person tower defence game that hit iOS yesterday, says it has "incredible console quality graphics". Really, they should've stuck with mobile-quality graphics. Maybe some nice 2D sprites and backgrounds. Then maybe this game would be more fun to play.
It's been a silly week for mobile games with suggestive names. First there was this. Then Fahey handed me something called Noble Nutlings for the iOS. Its icon was a beetle-browed, bucktoothed squirrel. I had no idea what to expect.
When I first caught wind of Hello Games bringing their stunt-racing hero Joe Danger to iOS, I imagined a straight port of the original PlayStation Network release, complete with a screen cluttered with virtual controls. Instead they've delivered a game that fully embraces the touch-based platform, one that's as refreshing to play as it was for the company's founder to develop.
You know what Temple Run is missing? Kids with guns.
I want to go fast -- faster than modern day street vehicles are capable of travelling. I've felt the need for ground-based speed since I was a small-ish boy, so games like F-Zero, Wipeout and Extreme-G (remember Extreme-G?) have always been a passion. Plenty of mobile developers have attempted to capture the power and energy of the futuristic racer. Not many have come close. Pixelbite's Repulze is nearly there.