4 episodic games for players who love cliffhangers

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Don't worry; we'll resolve all of this next week. Photo: Capcom
Don't worry -- we'll resolve all this next week. Photo: Capcom

You don’t always have to sit down to an epic, 100-hour slog to get your gaming in. Developers are delivering plenty of great bite-size, episodic games that (usually) release one part at a time.

If you’re looking for something you can play in installments, here are four great places to start. These games are all fully released, so you won’t have to wait for the next episode if you can’t stand the suspense. This is great if you’re like me; I watched all of Breaking Bad in a week once it was all up on Netflix. That’s just how I roll.

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.”

How two Sonic fans brought an aging franchise back to life on iOS

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Sonic the Hedgehog. Photo: SEGA
Sonic the Hedgehog lives on in iOS, thanks to Stealth and Taxman. Photo: SEGA

In the summer of 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was, quite simply, the greatest thing Simon Thomley had ever seen.

At the age of 11, Thomley had graduated to the SEGA Genesis gaming console after years as a Nintendo Entertainment System player. Sonic had lured him to SEGA’s system, and he wasn’t alone: The spiny blue speedster captured the hearts of gamers everywhere. By the end of the year, SEGA had sped past Nintendo on console sales.

A series of sequels followed. While many people remember the Sonic games primarily as a relic of the ’90s, they become an unlikely career for Thomley and his developer friend Christian Whitehead. Better known as Stealth and Taxman, they brought remastered versions of classic Sonic games to iOS for a new generation of gamers to enjoy.

“This has always been my hobby, but I’m lucky enough that this has now become my full-time job,” Thomley tells Cult of Mac. The pair brought finely tuned official versions of Sonic games to iOS — although recent turmoil at SEGA has thrown the future of their highly regarded work into doubt.

Indie dev hopes Zombie Match Defense will chew its way to the top

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This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — After his best friend deemed it impossible to make a fun game using the oversaturated staples of mobile gaming — match three, tower defense and zombies — indie developer Jake Sones made a bet.

Now Sones and his three-person team at Shovelware Games are ready to win that bet with upcoming game Zombie Match Defense, which makes players defend a row of scientists against an attacking horde of zombies by matching three or more brains of the same type. It’s as if Plants vs. Zombies and Candy Crush had a goofy baby and invaded your iPad.

How a 25-year-old dev made 600 apps without being able to code

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There's money to be made in them there App Stores. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
There's money to be made in them there App Stores. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

John Hayward-Mayhew is one of the most prolific iOS developers ever to peddle a blackjack game. Over the past four years, the 25-year-old entrepreneur flooded the App Store with an astonishing 600 separate apps — everything from endless runners such as Dangerous Caveman Bum Runner to dentistry games like Emergency Dentist Race — raking in close to $1 million in the process.

The most miraculous part of all? He can’t even code.

But by taking advantage of one of the App Store’s great weaknesses, and borrowing a game plan from one of Hollywood’s most unusual impresarios, he’s built a one-man gaming empire.