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Save big bucks on games so good you’ll stay inside all summer

Hotline Miami

With summertime here in the northern hemisphere, it’s definitely time to get outdoors and sample all that the world has to offer.

Of course, if Steam or GoG.com have anything to say about it, you’ll stay inside working on your pasty complexion playing all these amazing games for very little money.

Both gaming digital distribution platforms have their respective summer sales on right now, and you can grab some amazing games without emptying your wallet. All of the games below are playable on Mac or PC, so pick your poison.

Just lay off the sunscreen, ok?

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Crush your enemies like Churchill in Civilization Revolution 2

your days are numbered

The sequel to one of our favorite games is headed to iOS this July 2. Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 will be a premium title for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, so get ready to strategize your way to victory with new leaders Churchill and Kennedy on the go.

This is the first Civ game developed especially for mobile devices with new gameplay and controls that work well on touch screens. You’ll get the same core strategic and tactical joy the series is known for, but with more user-friendly controls and interface. You’ll also get some new historical leaders — like Churchill and Kennedy — who will take their place alongside favorites Ghandi, Lincoln, and Napoleon.

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These free-to-play mobile games are surprisingly great

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

A pair of games by DeNA prove you don’t have to pay to play something great. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

LOS ANGELES — Free-to-play games don’t enjoy the same cache as games that cost money right out of the gate. Sure, they’re at the top of the “making money” charts, as gamers download freebies by the bucketful (and apparently purchase loads of virtual stuff from them), but ask any gamer what they think of them and they’ll typically give you a blank, slightly annoyed stare.

So I honestly didn’t hold out much hope that I’d see anything super-interesting at an Electronic Entertainment Expo luncheon sponsored by free-to-play mobile game maker DeNA last week.

However, the developer showed off a couple of pretty damn good games at the event. We saw the recently released Transformers tie-in game and several others, including Peter Molyneux’s latest effort, Godus. But what really stuck out for me were Royal Defenders and WARP.

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Take a quick time machine trip through video game history

Tilt your way to innocent joy with Grub’s snake-style game

Grub has super solid tilt controls -- a rarity in iOS games. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Grub has super solid tilt controls — a rarity in iOS games. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Every once in a while, it’s good to take a step back from the more intense flavors of gaming available on your iPhone or iPad and just play a game that’s pure fun.

Grub, sequel to the hit game from independent game studio Pixowl, Greedy Grub, is one of those purely fun experiences that just begs to be played.

Last week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, I got a chance to try this delightful little Snake-style game out on the developer’s iPad, and was enchanted by the visuals right off the bat.

Take a look at the video below to see what I mean.

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Hands-on: Evolve releases the Kraken in monstrous new game

Evolve

In 2K’s upcoming game, Evolve, I was a monster.

It was my job to stalk the surrounding map, eating smaller creatures in order to build up my armor and get evolution points, which would let me add and strengthen my special monstrous abilities.

I had to do this while being hunted by a team of four humans, each with their own specialty: the heavily armored, damage-dealing Assault class, the crafty Trapper with her energy-field dome to fence me in, the Support class, with a variety of ranged weapons, and the Medic, who kept healing those bastards as I hit them with my own smart bombs, electric attacks and sharp claws.

It was a heady, scary time, but I persevered. I flew up to the sky, hurling furious attacks upon their heads. I ran away, hiding behind huge rock columns to avoid their deadly assault. I ate and evolved.

Then, after about 20 minutes of furious action, I died, the victim of their unwarranted greed and violence.

I loved playing Evolve, and so will you. Check out the trailer below to see the Kraken, the second monster revealed for the upcoming console and PC game.

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Hatch pocket pets can now play in the Pocket God universe

Hop from one virtual pocket to another.

Hop from one virtual pocket to another.

Chances are you’ve heard of Tamagotchi, the little handheld virtual pets that took over the world during the first decade of the 2000s, selling more than 76 million little egg-shaped devices as of 2010.

Hatch is one of the many virtual pet apps out there, but it’s an adorable one. You may even recognize the little Fugu creature from its own Facebook Messenger sticker series.

Virtual pets aren’t anything new to the iOS ecosystem, but this new collaboration between Hatch and super-popular video game Pocket God is something new. If you’ve ever thought about doing more with that little digital pal in your pocket, now might be the time. Check out the launch video below for more.

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Get Jetpack Joyride and 7 other great iOS games absolutely free

Ride the dragon to victory in Jetpack Joyride, now totally free.

Ride the dragon to victory in Jetpack Joyride, now totally free.

Halfbrick Studios, the folks behind massively popular endless-runner Jetpack Joyride have decided that the best way to get you to play their games is to give them away for a grand total of nothing.

The Brisbane-based game development studio was founded in 2001, and has gone on to make a ton of popular games across iOS and other platforms, including fruit-slashing hit Fruit Ninja and tongue-in-cheek giant robot game Colossatron.

There’s also Fruit Ninja Puss in Boots, the endless-runner Monster Dash, the song-creation game Band Stars, dual-stick shooter favorite Age of Zombies, and the wacky Fish Out of Water, where you get to flick various marine creatures across the top of the ocean for distance and style-based high scores.

All of these games will work on your iPhone or iPad, and — since you’re buying them at the free price now — you will own them into perpetuity.

You can grab any one of Halfbrick’s premium games for nothing right now, so head on over.

Killer console apps: PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One

Your smartphone is an increasingly important battlefield in the ongoing war of the gaming consoles. Companion iOS apps for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One aim to enhance the way you interact with your gaming system. These apps let you access your gaming achievements on the go, communicate with friends and even use your iOS device as a remote for your console.

In today’s video, we’ll give you a look at how the PlayStation and Xbox One SmartGlass apps compare.

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Everyone’s a winner in golden age of iOS gaming

Games like Leo's Fortune are putting a new face on iOS gaming. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac.

Inventive titles like Leo’s Fortune are putting a new face on iOS gaming.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A simple glance at the stunning games perched atop the App Store game lists reveals we are experiencing a golden age for mobile gaming.

From the surreal, mind-bending Monument Valley to the Pixar movie brought to life that is Leo’s Fortune, 2014 has seen some of the most startlingly original gaming experiences in years arrive on iOS.

“I do feel like we are in a boom period,” says John Comes, design director at Uber Entertainment, the company behind games like the newly released Toy Rush.

Although Apple has been a hub of gaming going back to the glory days of the Apple II, today’s crop of hot titles are reshaping the landscape like never before. The present explosion of innovative iOS games results from several fortuitous factors coming together. Here’s why there’s never been a better time to be a gamer.

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