Classic Sonic sequel is a 16-bit masterpiece

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Full disclosure up front: I was a huge fan of the Sonic series back in the day. As a result, sitting down to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 I was of two minds: one part of me happy to be replaying a game I had enjoyed so much in childhood; the other part worried that this would be a lazy cash-in on the part of Sega.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 by SEGA
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $0.99

Was I right to be concerned? Yes, is the short answer. Ever since the late 1990s, Sonic games have been the model of inconsistency: good efforts at reviving Sega’s flagship character quickly brought back down to earth by frankly shocking attempts at new installments.

I didn’t play the first stab at bringing Sonic 2 to iOS, but reportedly it was pretty uninspiring stuff — featuring sound problems, rubbish virtual controls, a windowed play area and (perhaps worst of all for our speedy hedgehog friend) slowdown issues.

So how has the game fared this time for the re-release?

Speed to the App Store for Sega’s super Sonic the Hedgehog sale

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Anyone whose iOS device is missing a certain speedy blue hedgehog can rejoice this week, thanks to a new sale that has seen Sega drop the price of several of its Sonic iOS games.

Currently both Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 can be picked up for just 99¢ each (down from their normal price of $2.99), while Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is now available for free.

Badland game adds a new set of bad-ass missions

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Frogmind’s excellent Badland has just been updated — adding ten new levels to what was already a fantastic game.

For those who haven’t played it before, Badland is well worth downloading. It’s a flapping game, but one that will cleanse your palate of the sour (if slightly addictive) taste of Flappy Bird, thanks to its gorgeous graphics and well-designed level layouts.

Injustice: Gods Among Us To Unleash Multiplayer Mode & New Characters

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DC Comics comic game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, will be getting a new mobile multiplayer mode and tons of new characters, according to reports coming out of WonderCon.

Developed by NetherRealm and published by Warner Brothers, the fighting game is one of a very select few that gets it right on touch-based devices — faithfully translating the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 console game to Apple’s mobile operating system.

Until now, however, playing the game on iOS has been a solitary experience. That looks like it will be rectified in a future game update, as a video from DC All Access reveals a multiplayer mode in the works.

New Monument Valley Levels Are In The Works

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Who wouldn't want the team behind Monument Valley rethinking the way we drive. Photo: Ustwo

If there are two things you’re likely to hear from Monument Valley players it’s this: “Wow, what an incredibly original game” and “That didn’t take long to complete.”

Both statements are totally factual. Ustwo’s puzzle game masterpiece is one of the most original games of the year, but also an experience that flies by all too quickly.

With that in mind, the developers have confirmed that they are, in fact, working on extra levels to bolster the game.

But they’re not just doing this for the sake of doing it. According to Neil McFarland, ustwo’s director of games:

Apple Is Beating Google When It Comes To iOS Game Exclusives

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Plants Vs. Zombies 2 was one of several iOS exclusives upon its launch.
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.

Last August, Apple struck a deal with EA to receive a two-month exclusivity window for Plants vs. Zombies 2, which did not arrive on Android until November.

A similar deal saw the popular sequel to ZeptoLab’s puzzle game Cut the Rope arrive on iOS in December — but not make it to Android until late March this year.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 iOS Game Is Good Enough You’ll Stick Around [Review]

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Despite being Cult of Mac’s resident comic book fan, I’ll admit that I was apprehensive about Gameloft’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 by Gameloft
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $4.99

A movie tie-in (strike one), based on a sequel to a totally uninspiring reboot (strike two), and developed by a team who haven’t always had the best reputation for turning out quality products (strike three) — those three facts combined meant that my spider-sense regarding which games to be excited about, shouldn’t have exactly been ringing at the prospect of this title.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel to (believe it or not!) Gameloft’s 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man. That game was actually better than many expected, however, and from the looks of the sequel’s teaser trailer, the developers have been hard at work to make this a stronger follow-up.

So is it as “Amazing” as the title would have you believe?

Hearthstone Is Most-Downloaded iPad App In 34 Countries A Day After Launch

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Move over FarmVille, Candy Crush and all those other freemium games whose developers (presumably) sleep on top of a pile of money with beautiful ladies in it — we may have a new contender for app overlord of 2014.

Blizzard’s turn-based iPad game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was released Thursday, but already it’s the No. 1 most downloaded game in 36 countries, and the most downloaded app overall in 34 countries.

The Simpsons: Tapped Out Gets An Egg-cellent Easter Overhaul

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One of the cool things about the era of over-the-air updates is that developers can add tweaks and features specific to certain times of the year, without having to build them in from the start.

That’s what EA’s The Simpsons: Tapped Out iOS game has done for Easter, adding in features specific to this time of year as a way of giving a seasonal nod to Simpsons’ fans. In the same way that the game was overrun with snakes for Whacking Day, so too for Easter has Springfield been overtaken by bloodthirsty bunnies, which players must stun into submission.

Watch This Lego Robot Play Freemium Games On An iPad [Video]

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Ever think that the majority of freemium iOS games are basically mindless tap-fests, with demands only for cold hard cash, and none for meaningful strategy?

Take Jurassic Park Builder, for instance: a game I reviewed back in January, and was forced to grudgingly admit was “effectively FarmVille with velociraptors” thanks to in-app purchases (IAPs).

The game looks nice enough but — unless you’re happy to cough up money to get goals done quicker — all it asks of players is to tap the screen every few minutes to check on their dinosaurs or earn in-game currency.

If that sounds the kind of job a dumb robot could do, you’re not wrong — that same idea occurred to senior art director and amateur robot builder, Uli Kilian, who built a Lego robot to carry out the task for him.