Otherwise great platformer is virtually unplayable in VR Mode [Reviews]

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Space Box
Space Box is a decent platformer, but its hook doesn't quite work.
Photo: Tom Graczyk

Let me say this up front: Space Box is a fantastic game. It’s challenging, fun, and has some really great mechanics and art. And if you have a set of virtual-reality goggles to plunk your iPhone into, you can even play it hands-free in 3-D using head-tracking controls.

And that’s where it runs into some trouble, but you shouldn’t let it ruin the game for you.

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New December iOS games to jingle your bells

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Best ios games December 2015

Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

We’re finishing up 2015, and now that you’re all good and tired of your families, we’ve checked out some great December iOS games to help you decompress in solitude.

This month’s offerings should cover all of your needs, whether you like to relax with a simple match-three title or need something more strategic. We have high-def graphics, pixel art, orchestrated music, chiptunes, straight-up fighting, and strategizing. December had something for everyone.

In no particular order, here were our favorite diversions from the December rush.

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Temple Run 2 gets largest expansion yet, ‘Frozen Shadows’

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Wish you were here.
Wish you were here.
Photo: Imangi Studios

With over 1 billion downloads, Temple Run and it’s sequel, Temple Run 2, are the very definition of mobile gaming success.

It’s even better that husband and wife developers and co-founders Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova are such incredibly nice people. Their startup, Imangi Studios, has found the gold at the end of the rainbow, and they’ve no intention of stopping.

“Frozen Shadows” is the latest (and largest) free update to the franchise yet, giving you new characters like Guy Dangerous and Scarlett Fox to run through a brand-spanking-new ice world. You’ll also get new artifacts, winter costumes, and an absolutely terrifying new demon monkey to run from. Yikes!

“We’re really trying to expand the Temple Run universe,” Shepherd told us on the phone, “in much the same way as a novelist or storyteller would.”

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Skip the grind: 3 fun mobile games that (almost) play themselves

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Look, ma, no hands!
Look, ma, no hands!
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I just leveled up while I was driving to pick my kid up from school. I set up a digital battle using my iPhone while sitting in my driveway, hit “Go,” and then just put my iPhone down on my dashboard while I drove to get him.

I’ve been calling these types of games “auto-battlers” for their central feature: letting you skip tedious, grinding gameplay that tends to be a feature of traditional role-playing games. I don’t have time to micromanage my iPhone; chances are neither do most people, which explains the rise of casual gaming over the past five years or so.

Here are three fun mobile games that let you experience more depth than a typical Flappy Bird clone, but still don’t require too much input to enjoy.

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New Walking Dead game will turn you into a f2p zombie

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Turn-based combat and city building action.
Turn-based combat and city building action.
Photo: Scopely

Hey, check it out — another free-to-play game with typical energy mechanics and city building aspects that will be familiar to anyone who’s played a similar build and battle game in the last year or so.

Unlike the other games, however, this one is set in Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series. Titled The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, it’s set in the fortified town of Woodbury just prior to The Governor’s arrival. Fans of the story might enjoy messing about in the universe, especially with the fantastic, comic book-style art that infuses this whole project with an authentic zombie-apocalypes feel.

Check out the gameplay video below to see what I mean.

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Words With Friends gets new bestie: Apple Watch

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Get your Words With Friends game on with the new Apple Watch update.
Get your Words With Friends game on with the new Apple Watch update.
Photo: Zynga

If you’re one of those word game fiends that has a list of Words With Friends games as long as your arm, you now can actually use that long arm to wear your games on your wrist.

Zynga just updated its hugely popular Words With Friends app to include Apple Watch features, so you never have to go another second without knowing when it’s your turn to spell “ZA” or “MUZJIKS” for the win.

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3.1 billion deer died for Dominations to slay mobile gaming

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That's a lot of dead deer. And soldiers, I guess.
That's a lot of dead deer. And soldiers, I guess.
Photo: Big Huge Games

Dominations is one my new favorite games on my iPhone; it combines the gameplay of Clash of Clans (build a city, attack other cities) along with a more historic approach. You’ll take your city from Bronze Age to the Space Age, upgrading your warriors and defenses along the way.

Developer Big Huge Games has scored a big huge hit with this one, garnering 7.2 million downloads across the App Store and Google Play in the space of 60 days.

Players have racked up some serious activity in game, too, as you can see in the infographic below, prepared by Big Huge and publisher Nexon Games.

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Blizzard’s addictive card game Hearthstone is now on your iPhone

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I can play this anywhere? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I can play this anywhere? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Hearthstone addicts players rejoice! Blizzard’s incredibly compelling digital card game is now optimized for your iPhone or iPod touch.

We’ve heard rumors that some folks even use their iPhone while in the bathroom. Gross! If you’re one of those people, though, get ready to never stop playing Hearthstone again.

Sure, the video game company behind mega-hits World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Diablo III has had a version of this easy-to-learn, hard-to-master two-player collectible card game on the Mac and iPad since 2013, but this is the first time you’re able to play it on the small screen without any jailbreaking or hacking needed.

Hearthstone is now officially supported on iPhone and iPod touch,” says the App Store description. “…Featuring an all-new intuitive interface hand-crafted for the mobile experience, it’s never been easier to take Hearthstone with you anywhere you want to play.”

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Apple’s nod turns maddening Mr. Jump into an overnight sensation

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The power of the Apple can be a crazy thing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
The power of the Apple can be a crazy thing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Getting your game featured by Apple is the best way to jumpstart your indie game success. Sometimes, even games that seem rather basic at first glance can become powerhouses.

Mr. Jump is seeing some phenomenal success with five million downloads in the last five days since its release. It’s shaping up to be another Crossy Road-style success story, and the developers at 1Button games attribute the game’s instant success to Apple.

“I think that being featured by Apple in most countries has initiated the buzz,” says
Jérémie Francone, one of the co-founders at the studio. “That’s what really launched the game.”

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