It’s not, you know, pretty pretty, but Bloodborne’s grim Gothic setting does have its charms. Photo: Sony
Bloodborne’s village of Yharnam is a dangerous place. It’s full of werewolves, trolls, giant pigs and a host of other terrible beasts that want to kill you. And they can. And they will. But that’s all part of the fun.
Yharnam is a towering, Gothic, often claustrophobic place with buildings piled on buildings and dead ends everywhere. It isn’t a vacation spot, and it isn’t here to make you happy. It exists to give those who venture within exactly what they deserve, for good or ill. The village rewards those who take their time, study their enemies, and plan their moves carefully. And it punishes those who rush or are otherwise careless.
If you want to survive Bloodborne, you must be careful and learn everything you can about both your own and the monsters’ capabilities. This might take a while, but it’s a game in which progress really feels like progress, and you have nobody to blame for failure but yourself.
The Resident Evil franchise has suffered a bit of an identity crisis in recent years, straying from its survival-horror roots toward something considerably more action-based. The latest entry, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, tries to have it both ways by splitting its four-chapter tale between two storylines. One features two frantic survivors struggling for resources, and the other has you playing as a heavily armed man of action.
It seems like mixing these two extremes would end up diluting them both, but somehow developer Capcom managed to take the best of both play styles and create something distinctive, harrowing and still damned scary.
This weaponized recliner represents sloth. But not so much sloth that you lack the energy to kill every demon you see. Photo: Deep Silver
Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a weird game. And I’m not just saying that because it’s about two members of a street gang going to hell to rescue their boss before he or she is forced to marry Satan’s daughter. Because that’s super-weird, don’t get me wrong.
Other than that, Gat is an expansion to 2013’s Saints Row IV that doesn’t require you to own the main game but doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you haven’t played it. It has a six- to eight-hour story with an additional dozen or so hours of open-world gameplay. Whether you’re new to the series or not, you’re in for its special brand of relentless fun.
Death is inevitable as you battle your way through a labyrinth of dungeons in Hellraid: The Escape.
I’ve been trying to slip past demonic guards to escape magical chambers for the past few hours as I fight my way through the horrific world of Hellraid: The Escape. At its best, the game is gruesome, bloody and full of suspense, but it can also be painful and highly frustrating.
Because in this iOS game, death is no stranger: Die you will, over and over — that’s bloody guaranteed.
I’m a bit of a sucker for anything remotely magical, and I love the idea of blasting spells around to save the world. If you’re also excited by that, and love hordes of monsters too, then Storm Casters will be right up your alley.
Packing a library of spells so extensive that even the great Gandalf would be in awe, Storm Casters’ enchanting design aesthetics and whimsical outlook will make you a fan straight off.
Get Set Games (developer of Mega Jump) has a lot to be proud of when it comes to Storm Casters. The company’s latest dive into the world of dungeon-crawling and spell-casting is especially appealing to newcomers as well as fans of the roguelike gaming subgenre.
Nightmare: Malaria is the story of a little girl with malaria. In her dreams, she is thrust into a horrible nightmare world where she is trying to save her teddy bears from a horrible world infested with malaria-carrying mosquitoes and vats of bubbling disease. Your goal is to guide her through the world and hide in screened tents to ward off the infected bugs.
Nightmare: Malaria by Psyop Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: Free
You can download the game for free, but between each level you’ll see a prompt for a microtransaction. This won’t unlock features in the game, and you don’t need to contribute money to win, but the $3 purchase is actually a donation toward providing mosquito nets to people at risk for contracting malaria. You can donate as often as you want, and the whole game is designed to educate players on the dangers of the disease. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Against Malaria Foundation work tirelessly to help eradicate malaria, but your small contribution can provide preventative measures to people who can’t help themselves.
Disney’s mobile gaming efforts are surprisingly good! Stack Rabbit joins Where’s My Mickey and Where’s My Water as another easy-to-use app designed for children, but with enough appeal that adults can find plenty to enjoy. In Stack Rabbit, you play as a kindly rabbit trying to take care of his sister’s children while she’s on vacation. To do this, you have to hastily stack veggies on your head and hop away before the snoozing guard dog wakes up.
Stack Rabbit by Disney Mobile Category: iOS Games Works With: iPad, iPhone Price: Free
Each round you’re limited to a certain number of stacks and have to gather matching sets of vegetables to clear the level. The poor overworked rabbit can only carry so many vegetables at once so planning out your matches is a must unless you want to sacrifice time by dropping all the food you’ve collected.
If you’ve ever wanted to make viruses fight, Pathogen will help you realize your dreams. Pathogen is a board game that has you infecting tiles to eventually take over the entire playing field. You can play versus the computer in an increasingly difficult campaign mode or challenge your friends.
Pathogen by Gameblyr, LLC Category: iOS Games Works With: iPad, iPhone Price: $2.99
Perhaps I’m not quite as good at “Go” as I thought I was, but Pathogen’s difficulty is undoubtedly the first thing you’ll notice. The computer in the campaign is prepared to take advantage of your mistakes at every turn.
I’ve frequently been so close to winning a match only to have the computer claim victory because I forgot to take over one of its pieces butting up against my wall of viruses.
Getting kids to read 19th century literature is virtually impossible unless you attach a grade to it these days. While I was content with thick tomes of Brönte(s) and Austen in high school, my classmates were quick to avoid most books not written by popular authors within the last 20 years. If only someone made an infinite runner with book passages as the levels so children would have to look at words when playing games!
Stride & Prejudice by No Crusts Interactive Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Price: $0.99
Stride & Prejudice by No Crusts Interactive is a surprisingly simple yet elegant way to read Pride & Prejudice without abandoning your love of repeatedly tapping your phone. You control the novel’s heroine Elizabeth (Lizzy) Bennet as she leaps daringly from sentence to sentence. Depending on which gameplay mode selected, you can actually read all of Pride & Prejudice at a leisurely pace.