The Wikipad GameVice straps to the sides of your iPad mini, adding buttons to your large screen. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
As a gamer, I want a controller with buttons. I lust after this new product category like I do any new gadget that I think will improve my gaming experience. I think that if you play games with any frequency, you’ll want them too.
Unfortunately, I also think the majority of mobile gamers are making do just fine with touch interfaces, thank you very much, and that these lust-worthy devices will soon find their way to the dustbin for most who buy them. Not because the controllers, including one that straps to the sides of your iPad mini like the loving embrace of an alien face-hugger, aren’t any good. On the contrary, these are solid, high-quality gaming peripherals that will make certain types of console-like games (platformers, open-world sandbox games, first-person shooters) much easier to play.
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.
Two coders who’ve never met sat in their respective man caves 1,400 miles apart making a game that proves once and for all that whiz-bang graphics aren’t necessary when it comes to building a hit.
Called A Dark Room, their “minimalist text adventure” has stormed the App Store — averaging 10,000 downloads a day (at $0.99 a pop) and currently holding the No. 1 position for paid iPhone games (see our review here).
Roll the dice, as many times as you like, and add the results together to create a huge attack number. Use that number (and a ridiculously large sword) to bash in the heads of random dungeon monsters.
Roll a one, though, and your turn is over. This cost-benefit system comes right out of a slot machine in Vegas and it’s got me hooked.
As the game editor here at Cult of Mac, I spend a lot of time with a controller or touch screen in my hand. Of allthefungames out this week on the iPhone and iPad, I’ve got to say, Tiny Dice Dungeon is the one I’ve spent the most time playing.
If I was forced, say, to choose my iOS Game of the Week (and I’m not), I’d pick this one.
Plants Vs. Zombies 2 was one of several iOS exclusives upon its launch.
One more way that Apple is challenging Google is by pushing for exclusive games on iOS, claims a new report.
The Wall Street Journal reports that as Android’s influence has grown, Apple has been offering games developers promotional perks — such as premium placement on their app store home pages — in exchange for first rights to particular titles.
Why yes, those *are* Gunnar gaming glasses; why do you ask?
Eli Hodapp is the Editor in Chief of popular iOS gaming site, TouchArcade. He’s just released his vanity project, Hodappy Bird, a humorous take on the Flappy Bird phenomenon. The game plays just like its inspiration, with a bird that looks a lot like Hodapp and a Chicago skyline background (Eli lives in the city). Hodapp gave developer Paul Pridham $50 as a joke to build the game, and Pridham made it in the course of a weekend.
It’s all in good fun, of course, but also perhaps a commentary on the recent explosion of Flappy Bird into the market. We wanted to know more, so we contacted him.
Eli took a few moments to chat with Cult of Mac via email today about his project.
Games make up more than 65 percent of downloads in the App Store and Google Play, and a whopping 90 percent of mobile gaming revenue is generated by a freemium business model, according to Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of App Annie.
These are just two of the insights that came from a trends panel at the Game Developers Conference last month in San Francisco. The panel also included folks from gaming engine Unity and publisher/developer Pocket Gems.
Godus is the upcoming game from god-game specialist designer Peter Molyneux. The game will play on Mac and iOS seamlessly, letting you create and nurture your own little island paradise on one platform and then watch it develop on the other.
“We want to reinvent the genre of god-games,” Molyneux told Cult of Mac from his vantage point in a suite at the swanky Intercontinental Hotel.
Look, Legos are for everyone, ok? With the huge success of the latest Lego Movie, it’s clear that playing with the building bricks isn’t just for kids anymore, if it ever was.
If you’ve been in a comic, toy, or hobby shop lately, chances are you’ve seen the little random minifigure bags that you can buy, not knowing exactly which minifigure is contained within, like a mini treasure hunt.
Funcom is banking on this craze with its upcoming release of Lego Minifigures Online for iPad, Android tablets, and PC, hoping to trade on the fact that one of the coolest features of the modern Lego experience is the little people that seem to come with every construction model set sold.
Sadly, there’s no Mac version planned as yet, but the iPad game will play the same as the PC and Android versions, on the same servers.
Cult of Mac saw a preview of Pirate World for Lego Minifigures Online last week at GDC, and we’re finally allowed to post it below.