5/5

Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past provides fun mutant action for story purists

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Days of Future Past

Maybe you’ve just seen the latest X-Men film. A lot of people have, so odds are pretty good. And if it left you wanting to know more about the original Days of Future Past storyline, but tracking down the trade paperback and then, like, reading it sounds like a lot of work, here’s a game you’ll want to check out.

Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past by GlitchSoft
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $2.99

Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past is out now for your favorite iOS device, and it aims to faithfully re-create the source material the way it originally appeared. This means that it’s the assassination of Senator Kelley that brings forth the robopocalypse (that character died in the first film, so he wasn’t available to die in the new one), and it’s Kitty Pryde, not Wolverine, who goes back in time to set things right.

Sure, you can play the whole game as Wolverine if you want, but if you’re a purist, you have a chance to do it “right.”

Table Tennis Touch captures all of the fun of ping-pong with none of the humiliation

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Table Tennis Touch

I suck at table tennis. Like, it’s embarrassing.

I’m alright at serving, and I can usually return, but if anyone smashes at all or puts any spin on the ball, I fold faster than a laundry robot. I still like the idea of table tennis, though, which is why I’m glad we have video-game versions.

And Table Tennis Touch, which is out now for all of your iOS devices, is easily the best one I’ve ever played.

Bricks puts a new spin on block destruction

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Bricks

I know I’ve said it before, but video games hate bricks.

And to that end, here’s yet another title about destroying those square bastards. It’s called Bricks, and it has a novel approach to smashing things that gets as fast-paced and exciting as it does embarrassing to be seen playing.

It’s probably not that bad if someone catches you, but you may raise some eyebrows. Here’s why.

Defend demons from 8-bit fairies in adorably addictive tower defense game

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Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Demons vs Fairyland takes the tower defense genre to devilish new heights. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

When your girlfriend grabs the iPad and won’t give it back, you know you’ve got a hit game in your hands. Well, her hands. Seriously, I had to arm-wrestle her to get the iPad back so I could do this review.

Demons vs Fairyland seems at first glance to be yet another cute, fixed-path tower defense game with free-to-play in-app purchases, but the sheer breadth of options available to upgrade your tower defenses, along with the adorably cute artwork and epic music, take this game to a whole new level of awesome.

But seriously, she still won’t give the iPad back.

Twin-stick shooter Ekon the Cyborg is the best kind of throwback

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Ekon the Cyborg

I really can’t get enough of twin-stick shooters.

Ekon the Cyborg by Wicked Dog Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: Free

I don’t know what it is, but they have a very specific kind of frantic energy that appeals to me without being overwhelming. And I like them so much that every time I have an opportunity to play one on iOS, I give it a chance despite the fact that my iPhone has no sticks to twin, so the touch controls usually suck.

Ekon the Cyborg is a new two-pad shooter that somehow has controls that work. And I’m as shocked as anyone. But beyond that, it’s a nostalgic and colorful romp that is pretty much made of my childhood.

Rhythm runner Record Run makes your music collection more fun

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Record Run

If you like rhythm games at all, stop reading right now and go download Record Run.

Record Run by Harmonix
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad iPod Touch
Price: Free

I can elaborate if you insist, but here’s what you need to know: It’s from the developer of Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central. It’s a colorful runner with simple gameplay and personality for days. And with a few taps, the game will make a level from any song stored on your iOS device.

Oh, and it’s free. Just go get it right now.

Lumena beats you senseless with rhythm

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Lumena

Once again, I’m here to tell you about a little minimalist game that has completely kicked my ass.

Lumena by Elevate Entertainment
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $1.99 (promotional price, reg. $2.99)

It’s called Lumena, and it doesn’t look like much until you play it and fail in like two seconds. And then you try again, and again you fail because the game is, in fact, so minimal that it doesn’t even bother to tell you how to play it. But after a while, you figure it out (it’s not really that complicated), and with newly found confidence, you give it another shot. And you lose in five seconds.

But stick with it because it’s way better than I’m making it sound.

Fiasco turns spelling into an action-packed race against time

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Fiasco

I like words. I like writing them, I like spelling them, and I like picking the perfect one for the sentence I’m creating. And I like playing with them, too, if you couldn’t tell from all the word games I choose for reviews.

Fiasco by Blinking Pixels
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99 (promotional price; free version available)

But even if you aren’t a Word Nerd like I am, you’ll probably enjoy Fiasco. It’s a moderately paced competitive spelling game in which you create as many words of three or more letters as you can by dropping tiles, Tetris-style, onto a board.

You can get time and point bonuses for longer words, which is basically the only way to win. Because this game is pretty challenging.

It takes a ‘stache to recover your stash in the fun and adorable Leo’s Fortune

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Leo's Fortune
Photo: 1337 & Senri LLC

Leo’s Fortune is one of the most beautiful iOS games I’ve seen in a while. But beyond its good looks, it also has an intriguing story, fun puzzles, and a ton of personality.

Leo’s Fortune by 1337 & Senri LLC
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $4.99

And I could stop right there, but then you wouldn’t hear about the cool physics and simple controls and the fact that the hero is a Star Trek Tribble with eyes like a Muppet and an undeniably amazing moustache.

This game basically has everything.

Slingshot-wielding David faces a colossal and difficult task

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David

David is a brilliant and challenging game about a little square facing off against some giant, cheap-as-hell foes with nothing but a minimalist game version of a slingshot.

David by Fermenter Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $0.99 (promotional price)

You can see what they’re going for here, but it’s more than just David and Goliath; this plucky little game reminded me a lot of Shadow of the Colossus, one of my favorite-ever PlayStation 2 games. It was also about a little guy killing giant things, but unlike that title, which is ambiguous about whether or not you should be destroying these beasts, David is pretty confident that these geometric a-holes gotta die.

And killing them will not be at all easy.

Sinkers lets you tap, swipe, and curse your way to victory

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Sinkers

Sinkers has been out for a couple weeks now, but if you haven’t played it yet, you should.

Sinkers by Bitzerland
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: Free

It’s a minimalist puzzle game with two controls: You tap to remove all of the pieces of the same color that are touching, and you swipe up to “sink” the board and fill in the gaps from the pieces you’ve removed.

You have 20 moves to make as many points as you can. And that’s basically all you need to know, other than that this game is worth your time.

SideSwype Is So Fun, You Forget It’s Basically A Match-Three Game [Review]

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SideSwype

If you like Threes but wish it was less numbery and more Tetris-like, SideSwype might be for you.

SideSwype by Radiangames
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

It’s a puzzler in which you, you know, swipe. To the side. And when you do that, you move every block on the board as far as it can go in that direction. So you might want to plan ahead a little.

Your goal is to line up three or more blocks of the same color to clear them, and it throws in some complications and special pieces too because otherwise it would be boring. But luckily, it has those things, and it is not boring.

Wow Your Friends And Enemies In Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Review]

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photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
photo: Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a digital collectible card game in the vein of Magic: The Gathering, only set in the high-fantasy World of Warcraft universe. The Mac and PC version came out last month after an extended open beta period.

What may not be apparent from the above is that Hearthstone is hands down the best card battler I’ve ever played. Putting it on iPad makes it that much more habit-forming. The game is full of awesome and bad Scottish accents, which makes it all the better. (“UUUUUUUUUther versus Jaaaaaaynuh.”)

It’s really not fair — I was just starting to leave the iPad at home in favor of only the Macbook Pro in my bag. Now I need to take the tablet with me once again.

The Ruins Of Civilization Make For Some Sweet Ramps In Trials Frontier [Review]

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Trials Frontier

If I’ve learned nothing else from science-fiction shows like Firefly and Cowboy Bebop, it’s this: If society crumbles, even a little, we will revert back to a Wild-West mode of life.

Trials Frontier by RedLynx
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s just more simple. Maybe it’s more practical. Odds are, though, that it’s just a cool motif for a story, and if you can get some spaceships or motorbikes in there, too, it’s like a bonus.

Trials Frontier, the latest in publisher Ubisoft’s physics-driven racing game franchise is out now, and it takes place in a rustic, post-apocalyptic world. But if you don’t care about that stuff, it’s also the series’ first appearance on mobile. And it’s free to play. And it’s really, really good.

Hectic Space May Be Crazy, But It’s Also Super Accommodating [Review]

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Hectic Space

Here’s yet another retro-style arcade shooter you might want to check out.

Hectic Space by James Swiney
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

Hectic Space is as pared down as you can get. It’s just your ship, a bunch of nasty enemies, and one simple control. You can only move up and down, so you can just drag anywhere on the screen to line up your shots, avoid the bad guys, and grab power-ups. But it’s not so bare-bones that the screen isn’t always full of … just … stuff.

Crazy stuff. All the stuff, basically. It’s nuts.

Sometimes You Die Is The Latest ‘Brilliant, Minimalist Platformer You Must Play’ [Review]

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Sometimes You Die
Sometimes You Die attempted to strip all the fun out of 2-D platformers. The result was amazingly good fun.

What are you doing?

Sometimes You Die by Philipp Stollenmayer
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

You would tell yourself, “I am reading a review for Sometimes You Die.” You take it for granted that I am going somewhere with this. My opinion is just a shadow. A number.

Alright, I can’t keep that up, but before you leap into the Internet and punch me in the face, know two things: First, that was a taste of the narration for the oddball minimalist platformer Sometimes You Die. And second, I’m still recovering from my last face punch, so don’t be a jerk.

As for the game, it’s brilliant. You don’t even need to read the rest of this. Just go buy it and get it in your brain-hole.

Words and Cards Combines Scrabble And Poker Into Something Amazing [Review]

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Words and Cards

I like Scrabble and poker, and I’ve often wished that there were some way to combine them. We could call it “Scroker.” Or “Pabble.”

Words and Cards by Ayopa Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

I haven’t, actually, because who would think of doing that? Plus, those awesome names are copyright me. Don’t steal them.

Anyway, Ayopa Games did think of it, and now we have Words and Cards, a catchy and fun social mobile game that will have you spelling and trying to remember if a flush is better than a straight. Spoiler alert: It is.

Adventure Beaks‘ Adorable Penguin Squad Will Slide Right Into Your Heart [Review]

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Adventure Beaks

Penguins are pretty amazing.

Adventure Beaks by GameResort
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

Maybe you’ve seen March of the Penguins, and maybe you haven’t, but they’re brave little creatures who just happen to be food for some terrifying creatures. But they don’t let that get them down because they’re penguins, damn it, and that means something.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but Adventure Beaks is a really fun new free-to-play iOS game where you lead an elite squad of penguins through a platforming adventure for fortune and glory. And you can jack some seals up while you’re at it, so that’s like icing on the cake.

But it’s the Antarctic, so it’s basically all icing, but you get my point.

Bonza Word Puzzle Challenges Your Mind And Vocabulary [Review]

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Bonza

You never know how many words you know until a game or puzzle calls upon you to pull them up.

Bonza Word Puzzle by MiniMega
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

And you also never realize how many words you forget until the same thing happens. A good word puzzle is neither too obvious nor too obscure. It makes you think of concepts in different ways. And it lets solvers surprise themselves with their mental gymnastics.

Bonza Word Puzzle does all of these things, and it’s worth a look.

Dark Guardians Delivers Beautiful Production Values And Endless Ass-Kickery [Review]

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Dark Guardians

I like endless runners as much as the next person (which works out well considering how many I review), but I’m not opposed to a developer trying something new with them.

Dark Guardians by Studio Baikin
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Dark Guardians is one such attempt, adding rhythm-game elements and arcade twitch play to the well-trod genre. And it’s an experiment that pays off big, resulting in an exciting and all-around fun title.

It’s also smart and good-looking. And the music is excellent. Basically, I’m a fan.

Glorkian Warrior Is For The Marshmallow-Cereal-Swilling Youngster In Everyone [Review]

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Trials of Glork

I have fond memories of waking up Saturday morning, pouring myself a bowl of Marshmallow Mateys (because Count Chocula was out of season), and plunking down on the couch to watch my favorite cartoons. And then, when the cereal was gone and the show was over, I opened my laptop and cranked out that review of Demolition Crush that went up Monday.

Glorkian Warrior: Trials of Glork by Pixeljam
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $2.99

I am not an adult, is what I’m getting at here.

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork is a collaboration between developer Pixeljam and comic-book artist James Kochalka. It feels like a mashup between classic arcade shooter Galaga and Adventure Time, which means that it hits all the right notes for people whose favorite breakfasts still end in bowls full of chocolate milk.

Burnin’ Out Your Fuse Out There Alone Is Even Harder Than You Think [Review]

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Out There

The cosmos has a bunch of ways to kill you, and in Out There, one of them will probably succeed. And it’s just as well, really, because I have it from a reliable source that it’s lonely out in space.

Out There by Mi Clos Studio
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $3.99

But if you insist on surviving, you’re in for a challenge because this game is as cruel and random as life itself. You play the role of a lone astronaut who wakes up from cryosleep to discover that your circuit’s dead, and there’s something wrong. And now, you’re stuck in uncharted territory with limited resources.

It’s up to you to get the stranded hero across the map, but it’s not at all easy.

Wave Wave Goodbye To Your Sanity And Sense Of Competence [Review]

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Wave Wave

Wave Wave reminds me of the end of a story called “Blind Alleys” from an old Tales from the Crypt comic. It’s about the residents of a home for the blind seeking revenge on their unscrupulous caregiver by setting him loose in a maze lined with razor blades with a starving dog. He’s running from the beast, slashing himself to ribbons but still staying ahead, “And then some idiot turned out the lights.”

Wave Wave by Thomas Janson
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $2.99

Why does this twitchy arcade game remind me of that sadistic story? Because it hates me in the same way, starting me out at a disadvantage and then continuing to throw in sudden changes until I lose.

It’s a random, cruel, mechanical bull of a game, and you should absolutely play it.

Brains Are Just As Important As Bombs In Demolition Crush [Review]

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Demolition Crush

I like Angry Birds as much as the next person, but it’s a little too, I don’t know … angry.

Demolition Crush by Ganimedes Ltd.
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

Sure, those birds have valid beef with the egg-stealing pigs, and destroying their blocky structures is a lot of fun, but I don’t find any joy in it. Revenge is a rough business, and it takes its toll. Just ask the eponymous villain from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Oh, wait, you can’t — he’s dead. And also fictional, but whatever.

Demolition Crush, however, is a new free-to-play game that brings fun back to rampant and wanton destruction, and it’s worth your download.

Don’t Starve This Adorable Bunny In Eets Munchies [Review]

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Eets Munchies

I play a lot of games about getting one thing and maybe getting three other things along the way if I can (or feel like it). I just reviewed one Wednesday, in fact. But it’s a solid premise, and as long as getting all those things isn’t boring, developers can keep making them until everyone’s thumbs fall off.

Eets Munchies by Klei Entertainment
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPad
Price: $2.99

Developer Klei Entertainment’s first mobile title, Eets Munchies, is another “one and maybe three” game, but it’s also a clever puzzle title that is equal parts Lemmings and Rube Goldberg. It’s the latest in Klei’s debut series, and it’s interesting to see the company go back to the cutes after its recent dalliances with hyperviolence in games like Shank and Mark of the Ninja.

Don’t let the adorable graphics fool you, though; once you really get into it, this game is to difficulty as cake is to delicious flavor.