Monument Valley is my pick for iOS game of the year; a twisting, gorgeous, MC Escher-style puzzler that’s spellbinding from start to finish. And given that it has received upwards of 1 million downloads, I’m far from alone in thinking that way.
Which is why it’s great to hear that the game is set to receive its first expansion on November 13. Titled “Forgotten Shores,” the expansion will plunge players back into the world of Princess Ida, as she travels through eight entirely new levels, with a slew of fresh puzzles to solve on her journey.
My daughter wishes these math apps worked better. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
My math-averse daughter wanted to cheat on her algebra homework. So we downloaded PhotoMath, a free app that lets you take a picture of your mathematical and algebraic equations, solving them for you and showing the steps to the solution.
PhotoMath has been at the top of the App Store charts for a couple of weeks, hitting number one on the Education, Kids Games and Top Apps lists. Small wonder, as it seems like a great way to get out of doing homework.
However, despite the concerns of some parents and teachers, apps like PhotoMath just won’t help when it comes to cheating — they’re far too limited. Still, it’s a promising technology that, once it matures, might actually turn into the type of wonder tool for education we’ve long been promised, turning our iOS devices into useful educational tools that will help kids actually learn math, rather than simply giving them a shortcut to homework answers.
WireLurker is “the first known malware that can infect installed iOS applications similar to a traditional virus.” Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
(Updated with Apple statement below.)
A new class of malware targeted at OS X and iOS is spreading like wildfire in China, according to new research by Palo Alto Networks. Dubbed WireLurker, the trojan hides itself in apps distributed through a third-party Chinese app store for OS X and side-loads itself onto iOS devices via USB.
What sets WireLurker apart from other malware is that it is capable of infecting non-jailbroken iOS devices, and it heralds “a new era in malware attacking Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms.”
What were you doing when you were 17? Probably not publishing a book on how to program 3-D terrain in video games.
Game developer Trent Polack did just that. He’s been playing games since, well, forever.
“My mom says I’ve been playing games since I was 2,” he told Cult of Mac, “but I don’t think that’s possible.”
That lifetime of experience is paying off for Polack, creative director of Team Chaos, a small game studio based in Austin, Texas. His team’s latest project is a collaboration with Rooster Teeth, a video production house beloved by gamers for its hilarious machinima, or films created using video game engines (most notably Red vs. Blue, based on the best-selling Halo series).
In the Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, which should hit mobile devices in late November, the Rooster Teeth crew gets turned into cannon fodder as they face off against a swarm of zombie aliens. Cult of Mac talked with Polack about that noteworthy project, his gaming roots and his knack for crafting crazy publicity emails.
Android is still king in market share. Photo: Google
Android has yet again increased its lead in U.S. market share as its rivals give up precious points, according to the latest data from Kantar WorldPanel. Google’s popular platform now commands an impressive 61.8 percent share of the smartphone market, which is close to double the 32.6 percent now held by iOS.
Apple Watch UI comes to the iPhone. GIF: Lucas Menge.
The user interface for iOS hasn’t changed much since the introduction of ‘iPhone OS’ back in 2007. Sure, Jony Ive has added some tweaks over the last few years, but you still swipe around between rows of tiled icons.
Apple’s UI for the Apple Watch though is radically different that iPhone, with circular app icons on a homescreen that can users can zoom in and out of to find their apps easier, so Lucas Menge decided to take the pretty bubbly design and bring it to the iPhone. The results are pretty amazing and bring an entirely new look to the iPhone homescreen.
I still think it’s a mini miracle that Rockstar Games managed to compress the gang-banging goodness of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas onto a device thinner than a deck of cards and capable of fitting in my pocket.
That’s exactly what happened last year, however, and courtesy of a new update, the game’s remastered, high-resolution graphics now look pristine on your brand new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus thanks to the addition of native-resolution support for Apple’s next-gen handsets.
If you’re looking for a fun puzzle game to play over the weekend you can do a whole lot worse than RGB Express, Apple’s “App of the Week” which has gone free in the App Store.
Arriving on iOS one month ago, the game is a charming strategy title in which you play the route planner for a fleet of trucks, responsible for plotting their paths through increasingly complex neighborhoods, always ensuring that every home receives its package.
Starting off simply but getting increasingly complex as the game goes on, it’s an entertaining challenge, spanning 200 levels in all, that’s sure to appeal to the kind of iOS gamers who also enjoy titles like Blek.
First arriving on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) way back in 1992, Final Fantasy V is one of the greatest RPGs ever made — and thanks to a new update by Square Enix, its iOS port is now more playable than ever.
Following on from Apple’s Handoff feature for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, the update similarly encourages you to pick up play on whichever iOS device is closest to you with a new iCloud save syncing feature. What this means is that game data saved using iCloud can now be shared across devices, so you can enjoy working through Final Fantasy V on an iPad at home and an iPhone while on the move.
Gotta catch ‘em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International
The Pokémon Company International just took another step towards iOS domination with its free-to-play game, Camp Pokémon, now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This new game will let children of all ages explore Camp Pokémon, learning to become a Pokémon trainer.
This is a big step in the right direction for Pokémon video game players, since Nintendo has as yet refused to put it’s incredibly lucrative Pokémon RPG games on any platform besides its own. However, The Pokemon Company owns the rights to the card game; they can put it on any platform they choose.
“Kids will have a blast exploring Camp Pokémon as they immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe in a fun, interactive setting,” said The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith. “Parents will love watching their little campers participate in fun activities and create memories at the virtual Pokémon island.”