Hopefully you have your shiny new iPhone, and you can now begin the long wait to buy the new iPad. Oh the tortured life of an Apple fan. Kidding. (Kind of.) Whether you have a new iPhone or are still rocking your 4S with pride, we have some new games for you.
iFruit – iOS(Universal)
Okay so this might just be a backdoor way to talk about the behemoth that is Grand Theft Auto V. While the console game itself is busy convincing family values types that our society is doomed, Rockstar took their immersion a step further by giving you a second screen app to go with their new game.
While iFruit doesn’t replace your in-game cell phone, it does ape it. It does offer some actual functionality for your game. You can customize new cars for your characters, which are then delivered to your game. (This does require a Rockstar Social Club account, and linking your XBL or PSN account.) You also can play with your in-game dog, Chop. In addition to a little Tamagotchi like feeding and play area, there are mini games where you use to Chop to defend objectives. These reflect in new tricks and collars for your console dog. Like a lot of the immersion touches in GTA games, it’s a novelty. However, it’s a nice little touch that ties into your main game.
What’s Good: Interacts with your console game. Fun little mini-games.
What Sucks: Not a lot of content here, could have more second screen features.
Slender Rising – iOS(Universal)
The original slender was a Game of the Week, back when this feature post was a footnote to a dormant, not dead, feature here at Macgasm. Slender was an extension of a Reddit project to create a truly modern mythos, and a horror meme was born. There are plenty of games on the App Store that bare the Slender Man name, but Slender Rising is the first one that recreates the simple terror of the original.
The premise is simple, you find yourself in a creepy area searching for notes with increasingly threatening messages. Beyond the sounds of footfalls, or the rain if you chose that setting, the setting is silent. Then you spot a shadowy figure in the distance. You turn around and retreat almost by instinct. Each note you find brings your pursuer ever closer, until he grabs you. Unlike the original game you can swipe wildly trying to escape as you’re wrapped in spider like limbs, but it’s already too late. You’re greeted by your score, and it’s back to the main menu. Slender Rising adds new levels, as well as new settings. You can search during the day, with night vision, and during a thunderstorm. The default mode is survival, you keep searching for notes until Slender Man is unstoppable. You can also play the classic game, where you search for seven notes before escaping.
What’s Good: Even with the lights on this game gets creepy. The options really expand upon the original idea enough to keep the game fresh.
What Sucks: Difficulty is a little unrelenting, may turn off some players.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for a lot of horror atmosphere without overwrought plotting check out Slender Rising for $2.99 on the App Store.
Pro Strategy Football – iPhone
Madden games are little more than an arcade football game that relies far more on player stats than strategy. Fantasy Football has a lot of strategy, but you need to wait each week for more games until you see how you did. If you know the difference between a Screen Pass and a Flea Flicker, Pro Strategy Football is your game. You can play the entire season from the sidelines, or just quick exhibitions. Just to be clear, you’re never actually controlling the players, the entire game takes place in the playbook. You do get to see your chosen plays acted out in some low-res glory.
There was a bit of an annoyance with the game when you pick perfect plays and then there’s a penalty on the play. It’s realistic, but annoying. Like the wind turning against you in Axis and Allies, strategy games are about the realism, not enjoyment. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a lot of enjoyment in figuring out how to predict your opponents plays, and hedging you bets to score a big play. The game doesn’t have any players names, and only names the teams by color and city name. It supports asynchronous multiplayer as well, making it a perfect between game fix for football fans.
What’s Good: Strategy take on the game actually shows that there’s lot going on in football beyond million dollar contracts and concussions. Asynchronous multiplayer is a nice touch.
What Sucks: If you’re looking for action, most of that is left up to the AI. Some times the penalties get frustrating
Buy it?: If you’re looking for a football game that has a little more depth, grab Pro Strategy Football on the App Store for $4.99
Decoder Ring Gold – iOS(Universal)
Decoder Ring Gold seems like the product of a wild night in the newspapers offices. The crossword and cryptogram editors had a few too many daiquiris and after an awkward tryst in the copy editor’s office, they created Decoder Ring gold. If you’re not a pencil and paper puzzle player, then you likely have no idea what a cryptogram is. It’s a phrase where you discern a substitution code by reasoning out what letters go where. Applying this to a whole crossword sized puzzle could be completely tedious on paper, but on the iPad it works perfectly. When you try out a letter, the entire puzzle fills out with your choice. (It will also optionally check your decision, to notify you if you’ve made a bad choice.
The free game is essentially a demo with five puzzles. You can solve these at various difficulties, reducing the number of letter filled by default. Unfortunately you only get those five and then it’s time to pay up. You can unlock three more packs of five at $1.99 each. That’s really the only draw back, that’s a tad bid expensive for only fifteen puzzles.
What’s Good: Fun mixture of game types, neat use of tech to improve on pencil and paper puzzles.
What Sucks: New puzzles are on the expensive side.
Buy it?: You can try Decoder Ring Gold for free on the App Store.
Infinity Blade III – iOS(Universal)
Infinity Blade has almost defined iOS gaming as a platform. It was one of the first iOS exclusive IP’s that qualified as a real game. It has inspired tie-in novels, and even had its own vaporware spin off. So what is next for the defining series? Apparently more of what players are looking for from the franchise. It also has a lot of story, with full voice acting. There’s a lot about the Deathless, and the game’s weird mixture of fantasy and sci-fi. To be honest, story is usually worth paying attention to, but there’s a reason the first game was light on narrative.
Though the story is a bit on the silly side, the gameplay itself is still really fun. Feel free to hold down fast-forward to skip ahead to the sword fights. The game now features dual wielding as a class of weapons, as well as a bunch of new bonuses to unlock. There’s enough new to keep you interested if you’ve maxed out the first two games, but I am not sure that this franchise is even accessible to new players. Not that it isn’t fun, it’s just the story and attempts to make the game feel more like a full-fledged console game, feel like they’re in the way of a nice little Arcade/RPG hybrid.
What’s Good: Game play gets some new elements, expanded market and bonus system.
What Sucks: Story seems to be more in the way, as pretty and well acted as it is.
Buy it?: Fans of the earlier games should grab Infinity Blade III on the App Store for $6.99