Play This, Not That: 5 Alternatives To Popular iOS Games


Temple Run

Note: This article originally appeared in the Cult of Mac Newsstand issue, Game On!. Grab yourself a copy or subscribe today.

You’ve heard of them: the heavy hitters. The mobile games so big, so profitable and so frustratingly popular that you refuse to play them out of spite. Or you do play them, and you genuinely enjoy them, which is also totally fine.

But we’re all about self-improvement and actualization here, so here are a few alternatives you might consider instead of those gaming equivalents of high-school quarterbacks.

Angry Birds Star Wars II Doubles Down On Fan Service To Great Effect [Review]


Angry Birds Star Wars II

I have a confession to make: I was probably the only human being on the planet not playing the original Angry Birds when it came out all the way back in 2009. As much as I love both birds and giant slingshots, I never really saw the appeal. I played for about five minutes, shot some birds into some things, and then shrugged and gave up.

Angry Birds Star Wars II by Rovio
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99

Apparently, the game’s developer, Rovio Entertainment, saw this happen and did not approve, so it spent the next few years trying to come up with a way to get holdouts like me to buy in to its anti-pig propaganda machine. And so we received Angry Birds Star Wars, a dangerous cocktail of addictive, deceptively simple, physics-driven gameplay and just straight-up, unabashed nerditude. It was in many ways the perfect mobile game: accessible to everyone and irresistible to giant geeks like myself. But still, I resisted.

Now Angry Birds Star Wars II is out, however, I’m totally in.

Jony Ive And iOS 7 Just Ruined This Kid’s Day [Video]



iOS 7 came out yesterday and if early adoption numbers are any indication, people love the hell out of it. Well, everyone except one young kid who hates that Jony Ive just changed everything. Check out the video Derek Colling posted to YouTube of his sons reaction to iOS 7.

Colling said he knew his son would be surprised, but a full-on mourning of Forstall’s fine green felts and leather stitchings came as a bit of a surprise. But hey, when you’re a kid and the smallest of changes feels colossal, is it too much to ask that your Angry Birds playing device have the same UI consistency throughout your tenure at pre-school? #firstworldproblems

Via: Twitter

Publisher’s Letter



When I was a kid, my dad had a book of record covers called “The Album Cover Album.” It was a big, glossy coffee table book of the classic LP covers from the 50s to the 70s.

My brothers and I spent hours copying the trippy Grateful Dead covers by artist Rick Griffin or making paper models of the San Francisco Victorians on Jefferson Airplane’s “After Bathing at Baxter’s.”


Growing up in Britain in the 70s, at the height of Two Tone and punk, everyone was music mad. Music was everywhere. It determined how we dressed (as punks), where we went (punk concerts) and who our friends were (other punks). Culture rotated around music.

These days, culture is defined not by music, but technology. The bull’s-eye logo of The Who has been replaced by the Angry Birds icon. The cover of “London Calling” is the cosmic wallpaper on your iPhone.

Apple’s iOS 7 is a big step forward in that evolution. Gone forever are the vestiges of interfaces of old; the skeuomorphic references to desktops, trashcans, leather and wood. iOS 7 is another step towards interfaces of the future. And with 500 million almost-overnight downloads, it’s going to be everywhere.

For me, one of the most interesting things about iOS 7 will be watching it bleed out into the wider culture. Just as the iPod launched a million gadgets in white plastic, iOS 7 will inspire countless website redesigns and scores of apps with minimalist interfaces. We’ll see lots more of that fashionably slim Helvetica Neue font and transparent tickers on TV shows.

Earlier this year I talked to Professor Andrew Hargadon, a design and innovation professor at University of California at Davis. Hargadon told me that when the iPod came out, it showed everyone what a good MP3 player should look like. Likewise with the iPhone. Everyone hated their cell phones before the iPhone. Not any more.

“Nowadays, we expect many things to have better designs,” he told me. “Because of Apple, we got to compare crappy portable computers versus really nice ones, crappy phones versus really nice ones. We saw a before-and-after effect. Not over a generation, but within a few years. Suddenly 600 million people had a phone that put to shame the phone they used to have. That is a design education at work within our culture.”

I’m hoping that iOS 7 will also be a design education. I’m hoping it’ll inspire new DVR menus and the telemetrics system in my car. I’m hoping it’ll inspire my kids to make paper models of their favorite app icons.

They’re already fans of The Clash.

Leander’s new book about Jony Ive and the Apple design studio is out in November.
“Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products” is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Rovio Reveals Nine New Character Videos On YouTube For Angry Birds Star Wars II



I can remember saving up my allowance in the late 1970s and early 1980s, itching to get just one more Star Wars action figure from the local department store. When I’d get there, money clenched in my sweaty little hand, I would bliss out at the sheer variety and number of action figures on display.

Which to choose? That robot bounty hunter looked super cool, but it certainly wasn’t Boba Fett, who took my money that day. My younger brother opted for Bossk, because apparently we’re a family who loves bounty hunters.

Today, however, you won’t have to choose. There are nine new videos detailing nine characters from the upcoming Angry Birds Star Wars II game, set to release on iOS on September 19th.

‘Angry Birds Star Wars’ Will Fly Onto Gaming Consoles October 29th



Rovio Announces Angry Birds Star Wars II To Launch September 19



Rovio announced this morning that the next game in its blockbuster Angry Birds franchise will be Angry Birds Star Wars II. Following up on the success of the original Angry Birds Star Wars, the new game will be based off the events in Star Wars episodes I-III.

So far, details on the new game are fairly light, but we do know that it will feature new characters such as young Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Darth Maul, General Grievous and even Jar Jar Binks. Players will finally get to join the dark side and play as one of the villainous pigs too.

Rovio also announced that it’s creating a line of  toys called Telepods that interact with the game and teleport characters into the map.

Here’s the trailer: