I found a new tower defense game called Defense Zone 3 Ultra HD. I love the tower defense genre. I’ve written up the Kingdom Rush franchise many times, for instance. Defense Zone 3 is similar, but it uses photo realistic graphics with modern and slightly-futuristic weaponry and enemy soldiers, tanks, and aircraft. Mindless hordes of enemies rush headlong down a path, and your job is to stop them. in some ways, it reminds me of a tower defense game crossed with Galaga/Galaxian. One of the things I like is that it’s difficult. I personally “need” to get through every level without losing a single health point (letting an enemy through), and that is frankly tough. There are only eight maps, but each one is long. Very long. YMMV, but I enjoy lengthy scenarios where I get to keep building and improving my defenses. This game is US$2.99—there are in-app purchases for boosts, too, but I enjoy the challenge of getting through these games without such boosts. I’ve already played this one for at least 10 hours, and it’s burning a hole in the back of my mind even now. Map 4 is killing me. One last note, it’s a hybrid app for iPhone and iPad, but I can’t imagine playing it on an iPhone. Maybe a Plus, but I love this game on my iPad Pro (9.7-inch).
Check out Kult of Ktulu: Olympic. It’s a textual narrative game, but what hit me were the gorgeous graphics backing up the narrative. Players take on the avatar of a young girl named Elena on a ship crossing the Atlantic in the early 20th century. Elena is investigating the Kult in a world built from H.P. Lovecraft imagery. I haven’t played it yet, but it looks lush and delicious. It’s currently in the App Store as a free download with in-app purchases. It’s in Google Play, too, if that’s your poison.
Civilization Vi got its first expansions Wednesday with the release of the Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack and Vikings Scenario Pack. The Polish pack includes the full Poland civilization, which includes the ability to take over tiles by fortifying their borders. The Poland scenario is a 60-Turn game where you defend Poland, Prague, and Vienna from Teutonic Knights and Ottoman Turks! Sounds awesome. The Viking Scenario includes new City-States with new benefits, and a 100-Turn game where you invade England, take Paris, find Vinland, or raid the Mediterranean. I’m slacking off from work just thinking about it. Each pack is $4.99, and is available through both Steam and the Mac App Store version of the game. Civilization VI itself was released in October for $59.99, and Wednesday’s update includes a variety of bug fixes, balance changes, AI tuning, and a new Earth map (standard size).
Feral Interactive announced Friday that ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion would be coming to iPad in March! This was originally an expansion for ROME: Total War on Mac and PC—Feral ported that game to iPad late last year. I’ve played ROME: Total War on iPad, and it’s an amazing conversion to a touch interface. Feral and its developers did a remarkable job. Barbarian Invasion was a terrific expansion of the original game, too, and I can’t wait for the iPad launch to suck ever more hours out of my life. 😂 Barbarian Invasion is set three centuries after the campaigns of the original game, and players can play either a barbarian commander out to bring Rome down, or a Roman general defending the empire. The game will be exclusively in the App Store in March at £3.99/US$4.99/€4.99.
Can you kick it old school enough to remember DONKEY.BAS? It was one of the first racing games on DOS, and it was coded by a young tech exec named Bill Gates. Maybe you’ve heard of him. In any event, XVision has recreated this game on iPhone and Apple Watch, and they call it DONKEY.APP. It’s a, “super simple but frustratingly hard retro arcade game, inspired by Bill Gates’ one-and-only DOS game.” The player is a old-fashioned race car, only there are beasts of burden standing on the road. The player taps to change lanes to avoid the beasts, making it a game all about precise timing. It’s not particularly easy, either. Retro gaming is all the rage, and you can revisit this slice of tech history for US$0.99. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Couldn’t snag an NES Classic this holiday season? You can still relive some classic gaming memories with the launch of the original six Mega Man games for iOS & Android, each updated to support touchscreen play.
NVIDIA’s ‘GeForce Now’ service will let Mac and PC owners rent access to a high-end GTX-powered gaming PC in the cloud, with full access to Steam, Origin, and other gaming platforms.
Many hoped that Nintendo’s single in-app purchase approach for Super Mario Run would save us from the microtransaction free-to-play hell that is the iOS App Store. And while heavy marketing from Apple and the Nintendo brand gave it a boost, in the end only about 3% of users are estimated to have paid.
Niantic came through on its promise to release Pokémon GO for Apple Watch before the end of the year. The Apple Watch version is a companion app for the iPhone game that lets you log your walks and runs to hatch new characters, and alerts you to nearby Pokémon and PokéStops.
Super Mario Run for the iPhone and iPad is free to play, but that’s a little misleading. Without making the US$9.99 in-app purchase to unlock all of the game’s levels, there isn’t much you can do. Read on to see what your ten dollars gets you.
When Firewatch launched on Steam back in February the internet pretty much went crazy over the game, and now it’s available as a native Mac title. The game tasks you with solving a mystery while working as a firewatcher in Wyoming. The graphics are beautiful, the story is intriguing, and the only help you get comes from another firewatcher talking over your portable radio. Firewatch costs US$19.99 on Apple’s Mac App Store, and if you haven’t played it yet get ready to have a very unproductive weekend.
Nintendo released Super Mario Run for the iPhone and iPad Thursday afternoon, and by early Friday morning it was already the top grossing and top free title on Apple’s App Store. The game is a free download with a US$9.99 in-app purchase to unlock extra levels, and considering Mario’s top spot on the App Store plenty of players are happy to pay up.
As promised, Super Mario Run for the iPhone and iPad launched on Apple’s App Store on Thursday. The game marks Mario’s first official appearance on Apple’s mobile devices and was first teased this fall, and if the hype is any indication productivity is going to take a serious hit for the rest of today.
The Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro may be functional, but it can be fun, too. Henry Franks makes that point perfectly with his Pac-Man clone, called Pac-Bar, for the Touch Bar. It’s just like the classic arcade game, complete with Pac-Man and his “wokka-wokka” munching sound, ghosts, and music. The maze is a little limited since you can only go left or right, although the intersections do jump you to either end of the Touch Bar. You’ll need to use your MacBook Pro’s arrow keys to play—sorry, no touch controls here. Click the Clone or download button on Henry’s Github page get Pac-Bar.
If you’re planning on playing Super Mario Run on your next flight the plane better have WiFi because it requires an always-on internet connection. Nintendo says that’s by design because they want to prevent game piracy.
Tetris lovers, I have a game for you called 1010! (The bang is part of the name.) 1010! is clearly rooted in the tradition of Tetris, but it changes some things around. It’s fun, challenging, and has that just-one-more call.