5 new iOS games that will destroy your weekend

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Smack your weekend right in the face with these great new iOS games.
Smack your weekend right in the face with these great new iOS games.
Design: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s a new year and a new you, and your iOS device just might be crying out for some new gaming titles to keep you fat and happy while you manage all those resolutions.

Whether you enjoy a deeper role-playing and crafting adventure to keep you tapping well into the evening over a long weekend, a musical adventure that you can create yourself, a Mad- Max-inspired demolition derby, or a quick brain-booster puzzle or two to keep your wits about you, we’ve got the five best on offer right now.

In no particular order, here are the best new iOS games that we’ve culled from a long list on the App Store.

In Rogue Agent, you’ll do more running than spying

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rogue-alert-gameplay - 4
This fun new puzzle game will give you a healthy dose of anxiety.
Photo: Roguebox Studios

You aren’t just any agent. You’re a rogue agent. And you’re trying to escape before the enemy agents find you. That’s the plot behind — you guessed it — Rogue Agent, a thrilling new puzzle game on iOS.

With 52 different worlds, several mini-games and a few power-ups, the spy game makes you constantly try to escape without getting caught. Don’t worry about whether there’s a concrete reason for that because, trust me, you’ll get hooked anyway.

Lara Croft Go puts exciting tomb raiding at your fingertips

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Lara Croft Go screenshot
You're about to murder so many snakes, you have no idea.
Screenshot: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

I’m anxiously awaiting Lara Croft’s next outing on consoles this fall with Rise of the Tomb Raider, but in the meantime, developer Square Enix is tiding us over with Lara Croft Go, a miniaturized adventure starring the iconic graverobber and dinosaur fighter. It’s out now for iPhone and iPad (reviewed version), and like its predecessor, Hitman Go, it’s more about strategy than all-out action.

This game diverts slightly from Hitman, however, doing away with the board game/diorama theme and just sticking our hero into an ancient, turn-based ruin. But that doesn’t diminish its charm or fun at all.

Picorama puts a cute face on tricky strategy gaming

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Picorama for iPad
Picorama's cute, but it will also mess you up.
Photo: MicroCosmos

I like strategy games as much as the next person, but they’re all missing something. Like maybe they could use a pink bunny that tickles opposing pieces to death, or a little, blue, tentacled … thing that can distract enemies with its soothing singing voice. And for good measure, maybe they could throw in a green guy who can fire deadly shots out of his head and an orange monster that eats lightning and fireballs.

Picorama has all those things, and it’s as weird, silly and fun as it sounds. But the iOS game’s innocent art and adorable characters belie a title that will quickly test your strategic and problem-solving skills and have you staring at your iPhone or iPad trying to plan your next move.

This War of Mine brings the horrors of conflict to your iPad

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Make difficult choices in this compelling survival game, now on iPad.
Make difficult choices in this compelling survival game, now on iPad.
Photo: 11 bit studios

Phenomenal survival game, This War of Mine, is now available on your iPad (and select Android tablets).

The team did a fantastic job of creating the atmosphere of war from the perspective of the civilian’s caught up in it. The game’s visuals, music and play mechanics all work together to create an utterly compelling experience as a non-combatant trapped in a war zone, hungry and vulnerable.

It’s something every one should play, and now that it’s on sale for mobile tablets, everyone can. Check out the launch trailer below.

Party Hard: a retro, stealth game about stabbing your neighbors

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Party Hard
Prepare for a fun night out of stabbing.
Gif: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

We’ve all had terrible neighbors who throw loud parties that last all night, even on Mondays. Party Hard, an upcoming game for iOS, is about bringing those annoying gatherings to a halt. With a knife.

Developer Pinokl Games has released a new trailer for its “third-person urban conflict simulator” ahead of the Electronics Entertainment Expo trade show next week, and you can check it out below.

Battle over the Empire’s ragged remains in Star Wars: Uprising

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Star Wars Uprising
You just can't make a Star Wars game without putting Hoth in there.
Photo: Kabam

An upcoming mobile game will throw players into the struggle immediately following the death of the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars: Uprising, which is due out later this year for iOS and Android, is a real-time strategy game that picks up after the destruction of the second Death Star at the end of the third film as the decapitated Empire struggles to maintain control over the galaxy.

Check out the announcement trailer below.

4 amazing speedruns that put your gaming accomplishments to shame

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You don't have to look like this to be really good at video games. Luckily.
You don't have to look like this to be really good at video games. Luckily.
Photo: South Park

If you’re a gamer, odds are you have a perfect run, high score or really impressive combo that you list among the highlights of your “career.” Personally, I TKO’d Mike Tyson in Punch-Out!! when I was 10 or 12, and I did it when everyone else was out of the room. But I swear it happened, you guys.

Unless you have enough free time and determination to play one thing until you can beat it with your monitor turned off and your keyboard flipped around, however, your greatest moments can’t hope to compete with the four amazing speedruns shown in the videos below. These players have left “good” far behind them, passing through “really good,” across “crazy good” and over “suspiciously good” to enter a realm of pure skill in which merely beating a game is considered “a start.”

These people play a bunch of difficult titles pretty well, is what I’m getting at.

Vainglory’s biggest update yet brings character skins to the MOBA-fest

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Six new hero skins are here! Photo: Super Evil Megacorp
Six new hero skins are here! Photo: Super Evil Megacorp

If you’re like us, you’ve been playing the crap out of the amazingly addictive online arena game, Vainglory, since it came out for the iPad and iPhone, ganking enemies from the safety of the bushes, releasing the Kraken, and pushing down the lane to smash the opposing team’s base crystal to win the game.

While the development team at Super Evil Megacorp has released updates in the past, they’ve just dropped the most major update yet: the introduction of a character skin system to customize the look of your heroes as they dash across the map, wreaking havoc and crushing the enemy team.

There are six new heroes with two tiers of customization out in the update today, with a ton more to come.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

Blizzard’s addictive card game Hearthstone is now on your iPhone

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I can play this anywhere? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I can play this anywhere? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Hearthstone addicts players rejoice! Blizzard’s incredibly compelling digital card game is now optimized for your iPhone or iPod touch.

We’ve heard rumors that some folks even use their iPhone while in the bathroom. Gross! If you’re one of those people, though, get ready to never stop playing Hearthstone again.

Sure, the video game company behind mega-hits World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, and Diablo III has had a version of this easy-to-learn, hard-to-master two-player collectible card game on the Mac and iPad since 2013, but this is the first time you’re able to play it on the small screen without any jailbreaking or hacking needed.

Hearthstone is now officially supported on iPhone and iPod touch,” says the App Store description. “…Featuring an all-new intuitive interface hand-crafted for the mobile experience, it’s never been easier to take Hearthstone with you anywhere you want to play.”