More often than not, I play video games to relax. I’m not sure why, but given the choice between something new and something I have played a dozen times, I’ll usually choose the latter. I’ll played through Fallout: New Vegas five times (there’s literally nothing new left for me to find in that game) – but I keep going back to it. Games take the place of Reality TV for me, when I need something unchallenging, something that seems familiar even when I’ve never seen it before. Even though it’s a brand new title to me, Youzu Games’ League of Angels – Fire Raiders for iOS devices immediately falls into my category of “comfort games”. Although it seems like there are a lot of complicated elements and plenty to learn, the game almost plays itself on your behalf. Some people might want a lot more control and strategy than this title gives them – but I dug it, and the hours disappeared the first time I played it.
There are so many options for gaming now – more than there have ever been. Folks that like to chill at home can purchase a console, or build a gaming PC, while those who spend time on the go can rely on their tablets, laptops, or portable gaming systems (3DS or Vita, for instance) to help fill their gaming needs. Of course, most people can’t afford every system that they might want – and sometimes, practicality dictates that a tablet is the best option for one’s all-around needs. But tablets like the iPad have some decent games, and have a screen large enough to counter the need to squint – plus, with a relatively cheap attachment, can output their screen contents to an HDTV or projector. The only thing lacking in terms of the console experience would be a nice, wireless controller – unless, of course, you happened to own a SteelSeries Stratus XL. SteelSeries sent us one of these devices to check out – and after spending some time with it, I have to say that this controller does nothing but add to the positive experience of gaming on iOS – and I’m not talking Angry Birds.
Over the holiday season I picked myself up and iPad Mini (with retina display), so when the opportunity came up to review Gearbox Software’s Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War (iTunes or Android), I put up my hand. As a lover of first-person shooters, I was curious to see how this genre made the jump from the console systems and PC to the hand-held device. I must say that I was impressed with the game-play and that I have continued to play the game after the completion of my review. However, as fun and entertaining as this title is, the game-play is detracted from – but not for the reason that you may think.
Last year, we reviewed the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, a great solution for folks that want a better way to interface with the iPad for creative projects. Well, it looks like the bar has been raised once again with the Wacom Creative Stylus 2. Compared to its predecessor, the new Stylus 2 is more comfortable, less expensive (from a market introduction perspective), and more functional. If you’re looking for a great pressure-sensitive stylus, you really can’t go wrong with this choice.
Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get children interested in things that are good for them. Vegetables, chores, school – these are things that cause some parents to rely on bribery to achieve a reasonable result. While Budding Biologist can’t really help with the consumption of greens, they have made a very interesting app for iOS and Android devices called Lizard Island: Observation to help generate interest in science. This app allows your young scientist to experience some of what biology has to offer. What’s interesting about it is that it does offer a level of challenge that makes it far more than a passive experience.
It’s not a property you’ve thought about in a long time, but PAC-MAN really is a title that’s ripe for reinvention. Just think about Donkey Kong – a title from the same era that was reinvented not once but dozens of times (Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Mario Party, Wario Land, Paper Mario…) With all of the games squeezed out of some guy in overalls jumping over barrels and climbing ladders, surely we can make something exciting and new out of an eating-disordered yellow sprite and his undead nemeses, no? Well, Bandai Namco Games’ PAC-MAN Friends for iOS and Android.
Some of the older readers might remember a show called The Twilight Zone. This television show was all about reality going askew, with one aspect of normality being played in a different direction, resulting in some thought-provoking drama. Of course, there were equal parts cheese in the recipe for the program as well, which sometimes resulted in a half-baked thriller that was more amusing than anything else – but the show was always entertaining. Fezziwig Games’ Escape the Hellevator! reminds me a lot of The Twilight Zone on many levels. With an interesting premise (and a fair amount of it’s own kind of cheese), this iOS/Android title will probably keep you entertained – though at the moment that might not be for as long as you might like.