by Godzilla Smith
So much for the rise of mobile gaming killing off home consoles. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 went on sale last night to fanfare, lines, more fanfare, and more lines, looking to eclipse the sales of the earlier Black Ops title in the process. MW3 is set to boost gaming sales on consoles from Xbox to PlayStation 3, giving gamers even more reason to avoid ever seeing the sun again – perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the game launched in the middle of the night. Even as an ever growing number of casual gamers shift their gaming efforts to devices like the iPhone and iPod touch and titles like the intentionally simplistic Angry Birds, the latest Call of Duty installment demonstrates just how sophisticated full blown console gaming has become for “real” gamers, the kind who queued up for Modern Warfare 3 even as their non-gamer friends are still sleeping off the all-nighters they pulled trying to get their hands on an iPhone 4S last month…
So which trend is correct, then: is this the era of the casual gamer who’s content to use their phone as their primary gaming device and stick with touchscreen games found in the App Store? Or is this the era of the console gamer who demands increasingly complex Xbox games which can be played on their home television screen? Apparently, it’s both, at least for the foreseeable future. Game developers win either way, so long as they can keep pulling off the impressive sophistication of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3… or the simple charm of Angry Birds.
In honor of Labor Day Weekend, many iPhone and iPad apps are on sale! Be sure to get them as soon as you can! These sales won’t last long!
Monopoly – is a must-have game for your iPhone and iPad! Send your Prius, Battleship, Thimble, etc. across the board as you purchase and trade properties! Play in various modes — against the computer, against your friends, and even via wifi/bluetooth. The animation is a lot of fun! Normally $9.99 for the iPad version, on sale for just $1.99 this weekend.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99 – 80% off)
Words with Friends – This is one of the most addictive Word games across many platforms, including iOS, Android, and Facebook. Play one-on-one games with your friends. Connect to Facebook to find all of your friends too (recent new update). Enjoy an ad-free version for just 99 cents this weekend — both on iPhone and iPad! Normally $2.99.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version (99 cents)
Angry Birds Season – I’m sure by now you know what Angry Birds are! The latest update to Seasons version has 30 new levels for the Moon Festival celebrations! Find and collect the hidden moon cakes and have fun! The new obstacles are absolutely adorable.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($1.99)
Zombie Infection – Action-adventure game where you fight your way through hordes zombies. Amazingly realistic graphics that’s a must for zombie lovers. Be aware of realistic violence. Game is available on both iPhone and iPad platforms. Normally $6.99, this is a sale too hot to miss! iPhone Version (99 cents) | iPhone Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version (99 cents)
Scrabble – Gather your friends around to play a round of Scrabble — everyone’s favorite word game! In party mode, the iPad becomes your game board. Have everyone else with iOS devices download Scrabble Tile Rack (Free) and they’ll be able to throw their letter pieces onto the board! It’s quite amazing to watch how the devices communicate with one another. Other modes are also available, but Party Mode is certainly the most entertaining. Best of all, you won’t lose any game pieces when it’s over. Normally $9.99, it’s on sale for $1.99 (iPad Version).
iPhone/iPod Version (99 cents) | iPhone / iPod Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version ($1.99 cents)
Max and the Magic Marker – This game is so much fun! It’s the winner of the Independent Games Festival 2010 (IGF) D2D Vision Award and I can see why. Take Max on journey and draw with his magic marker to get him to avoid obstacles or capture more ink plots! Normally $4.99 for the iPad version, it’s on sale this weekend only for 99 cents (for both iPhone and iPad versions)!
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version (99 cents – 80% off) | iPad Lite Version (Free)
James Cameron’s Avatar – Enter the beautiful, yet dangerous world of Pandora. The game takes place two decades prior to the movie and you get to be the first experimental avatar. Experience your new powers in your new body as you and the Na’vi become one. The graphics are just amazing and is like watching the movie as you play. Definitely worth every penny. Once $9.99, this beautiful game is now only 99 cents, so get it before the sale is over. The iPhone/iPad version is not on sale, but there is a lite version you can try. The game is huge, so be sure you’re on wifi before downloading. iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Version ($99 cents)
Geared – a beautifully designed puzzle game where you try to fit gears into place to make them spin like clockwork! With over 150 unique levels, this game is quite challenging and an excellent brain teaser. The iPad version is free for this week only.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite (Free) | iPad Version (Free) | Geared 2 – Universal App (Free)
Zombie Highway – Who doesn’t love fighting zombies while speeding down a highway? Steer your device and smash into debris to get them off your car, or have your backseat passenger shoot at them. Normally 99 cents, but free for a limited time.
Universal App (Free)
Halftone – Add a beautiful vintage halftone-style printing effect to your photos. Choose from 21 paper styles, 9 layouts, and 6 talk bubble styles to decorate your photos. Take photos right from the app, or import from your photo roll. Fun app to create comic-like photos. Normally $1.99. Universal App (Free)
by Steve Loopipe
Friends, let’s not beat around the bush. Siege Hero is pretty much Angry Birds from a first person perspective. If you’re over Angry Birds, there’s really nothing to see here; there are plenty of other fine app reviews at Beatweek to peruse. If, on the other hand, you’ve sent every pig to the great beyond and you still get a tingly feeling when you see a wood and stone building collapse to the ground, then carry on, dear reader, because Siege Hero may be just the game you’re looking for.
The premise of the game is fairly simple: You take a tour through the ages, avenging peasants who have been put upon by evil marauders of all types: Pirates, samurai, barbarians, etc. These evildoers are holed up in buildings made of wood, stone, and ice, and you launch different projectiles at the building to try to topple it onto the heads of the bad guys. The main difference from other games of its ilk is that, instead of launching woodland animals at the building from a side-mounted slingshot, you attack the building directly from a first person perspective.
That sounds like a minor difference, but the shift to first person actually makes a distinct impact on how the game plays. Instead of aiming in the general direction of where you want the projectile to land, you just tap on where you want to shoot and that’s where the projectile goes. In fact, if you want even more precision, holding your finger on the screen brings up a magnifying glass and crosshairs so there’s no blaming the game for screwing you out of the perfect shot. What this ultimately does is make Siege Hero play more like a straight puzzle game than most other games of its type, since the whole “try to figure out the exact angle of where you want to launch the projectile” aspect of the game goes away and all that’s left is where to place shots in the correct order to bring the building down.
There are a couple of other areas where Siege Hero tries to differentiate itself as well. The weapon selection is interesting; while it starts out with the standard stones and bombs, eventually it introduces firebombs which burn away a single beam, grappling hooks which completely remove one piece, and tar barrels which kill the marauders without doing any damage to the building. The latter becomes important once the game places peasants who need to be preserved into the buildings. Killing the peasants doesn’t prevent clearing the level, but it does provide a score penalty.
Despite these new elements, however, it was hard to shake the feeling that I’d played through this game before. There are those aforementioned differences, but the rest of the gameplay is too similar to Angry Birds for my liking, especially given that I’m more or less over Angry Birds and have moved on to greener pastures. The graphical style is uncomfortably similar as well, down to the pause menu that slides out from the side. Unfortunately, there isn’t any option to be able to bypass a difficult level like the Mighty Eagle in Angry Birds, so if you do get stuck on a level then you’re not going to be able to go any further until you solve it.
All this is not to say that Siege Hero isn’t a fun game. It is, and the change to first person adds some novelty that other would-be successors to Angry Birds lack. However, the fact remains that Siege Hero is very firmly in the Angry Birds genre, and if you don’t like that game (or have played it into the ground and are looking for something different) then you’re going to be better off looking elsewhere. If you can’t get enough of virtual demolition, though, Siege Hero has 130 more levels to plow through, and it will do an admirable job of filling the time between Angry Birds updates.
Rating 3.5 stars out of five • Price: free • Siege Hero in the App Store
Yes it’s true! It’s February, and everyone is falling in love… including birds and pigs! Recently updated, Angry Birds Seasons for iOS is filling fans’ hearts with that mushy-love-feeling inside, and just in time for Valentine’s Day too. The 15 additional new levels are immersed in red floating hearts, sweet pink trees, boxes of chocolates, and puffy white clouds. As usual, the graphics are simply beautiful. I also have to mention how adorable the birds and pigs look with pink bows on their heads. Now you can get into the Valentine’s Day spirit and your Angry Birds fix at the same time.
In a send-up of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the resulting cyber attack against Mastercard, SNL set its sights on Amazon, FarmVille, and Angry Birds. The skit had a fictional Assange breaking into a Mastercard commercial to name upcoming hacker targets. Those who order gifts from Amazon will see the comically incorrect book delivered to the recipient, while Assange threatened to ruin FarmVille by leaving it alone and allowing users to continue harassing each other with requests. The final WikiLeaks inspired attack is said to be against Angry Birds, which Assange threatened to turn into “Good Natured Birds” which would take all the fun out of it.
Angry Birds has become a worldwide phenomenon, with the iPhone app having become one of the most popular iPhone games of all time. Meanwhile, Julian Assange (the real one) is in a British prison where it’s unlikely he has access to Angry Birds or FarmVille.
Addicts and pop psychologists can debate all day what it is that makes Angry Birds for iPhone and iPad so darned popular, but it’s the fact that it’s so popular on both devices that makes it something of a unique phenomenon. Angry Birds is far from the first game to offer both a three inch and a ten inch version of itself in the App Store. But while Apple’s own apps such as Mail go out of their way to take advantage of the larger real estate on the iPad and conversely to slim things down on the Mail app so they work well within the confines of the iPhone and iPod touch, far too many third party apps are simply the same app on either size screen – and since any singular design is going to work better at one size screen or another, it means that the app will be more suited for either the iPad or the iPhone, and thusly more popular on one or the other. Angry Birds, however, is number one on the App Store charts on both the iPhone and iPad sides of the fence.
So is Angry Birds legitimately different enough on the iPad vs the iPhone to warrant both versions being so popular, or is it just that the phenomenon is so heightened right now that addicts want to play it on any device they can? Different users will have different answers to that question, based on their own experiences with the game. The iPad version currently carrying a price tag five times that of the iPhone version tells you that its developers would certainly like to think so. Regardless of pricing, the overwhelming popularity of both versions says that Angry Birds must work sufficiently well on both sized screens or else there would be nonstop griping from those same iPad and iPhone users who are so addicted to it in the first place.
Those looking for a measuring stick between the iPhone 4 and Android experiences need look no further than what’s currently playing out on the latter platform when it comes to the popular game Angry Birds. On the iPhone side there’s one version of Angry Birds because there’s one iPhone. But on the Android side of the fence, users of “lower end” Android based phones are struggling to get Angry Birds to work because their hardware is underpowered, according to PC Mag. To which iPhone users must either be shaking their heads or laughing hysterically.
For every geek criticism of the iPhone platform for not offering enough choice, for not using multiple manufacturers, for not employing models with different screen sizes and hardware makeups, there’s the cold hard fact that the more “open” a platform claims to be, the more fragmented is by definition. The stunning level of fragmentation that exists from one BlackBerry model to the next has made it nearly impossible to successfully develop anything for that platform. And now the Angry Birds debacle shows that the Android platform is just as fragmented.
There’s a reason why the Windows platform is a pile of crap which goes even beyond Microsoft’s total lack of taste or understanding of user needs; even if those things weren’t true, Windows has to be developed on such a generic level so as to run on every jalopy piece of PC hardware out there that the end result is a desperate level of dumbed down in the name of avoiding fragmentation. Google’s Android operating system, designed not to work well with a specific piece of hardware but instead designed to work merely adequately with any random piece of hardware, faces the same crippling issues. It may not keep Android from being popular, but it’ll keep Android from ever being any good. Meanwhile, on the iPhone side of the fence where the operating system and the apps are designed to work with the iPhone 4 and not with a thousand different random pseudo-iPhone devices, such issues as the Angry Birds debacle simply don’t exist. The fact that Angry Birds for iPhone 4 also seamlessly works on older models like the iPhone 3GS and offshoots like the iPod touch merely goes to show that variety without fragmentation is possible when well thought out in advance. In contrast, it’s increasingly clear that the Android platform, like BlackBerry and Windows before it, wasn’t thought out in a practical sense at all.
Looking for new apps? Start October off right with some great iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad games and apps at the best lowest prices!
We City – Love the city? Why not build your own city from scratch? From the makers of We Rule and We Farm comes the new We City! Start out by building a school, factory, and a few houses and apartments. Collect money from taxes and selling products to build a convenient store, fast food restaurant, pet store, and much much more. The graphics are gorgeous and music is quite soothing to listen to. Best of all, it’s free! Use your Plus+ account to find your friends and purchase items from their stores! iPhone/iPod Touch Version (Free) | iPad Version (Free)
Super Monkey Ball 2 is a popular hit on the iPhone! Dive into the new 3D world of Super Monkey Ball 2 with your favorite 4 monkeys! If you love this game on other platforms, you’ll love it even more with the iPhone’s accelerometer and touch screen. Have better control as you launch your monkeys off of various ramps and collect bananas. There’s also plenty of mini games to keep you busy, including Monkey Golf, Monkey Target, and Monkey Bowling! This game is jammed-packed! Originally $9.99, this game is on sale fr 99 cents for a limited time.
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($7.99)
Osmos – You get to play the part of a moving orb, or mote as the game calls it. Your mission is to move around and swallow up orbs smaller than you. Move around by tapping in front and slow down by tapping in back of your orb. It gets really addictive! Normally $2.99, it’s now 99 cents for a limited time. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($4.99)
Angry Birds – This popular game has been recently updated to include Game Center. Now you can climb up the worldwide leaderboard! Slingshot birds to knock out the pesky pigs! Score big points when you do it in just a few shots. Definitely worth the 99 cents!
iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free) | iPad Version ($4.99)
Sparkles the Game – Your mission is to save Crowberry Woods! The game play is pretty simple. As a row of snake-like orbs enters the screen, tap where you want your orb to land. Match 3 or more orbs to make them disappear! Make several matches in a row to receive powerups. But be careful, don’t let the orbs fall into the abyss! So work quickly! Normally $2.99, but on sale today for 99 cents. There is a free version, so try before you buy!
iPhone/iPod touch (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free)
Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2 – Take home the world’s fastest hedgehog and race with him into all sorts of adventures! Run around on loops and spins, and hold on to all your rings! Sonic the hedgehodge is a speedy one, can you handle him? Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2 are both available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Originally $5.99, they are both on sale for $1.99 for a limited time.
Sonic the HedgeHodge 1 / iPhone ($1.99) | Sonic the HedgeHodge 2 / iPhone ($1.99)
Spore CreaturesTM – Create, explore, and evolve! Create your land creature and explore the big wide open spaces while eating lower lifeforms. As you grow bigger, evolve and gain new abilities! It’s survival of the fittest! This game is an excellent follow-up to the hit Spore Origins. Normally $6.99, it’s now 99 cents for a limited time!
iPhone/iPod touch (99 cents) | iPhone/iPod Touch Lite Version (Free)
PAC-MAN Championship Edition – Think you’re the ultimate Pac-Man fan? Play Pac-man in various modes including Mission, Championship, Challenge, and Online Tournament (using Facebook). Complete each mission and see who is the dot-chomping champion! Normally $2.99, on sale now for 99 cents. iPhone/iPod Touch Version (99 cents)
Glee Karaoke – If you love singing and you’re a Gleek, this app was made especially for you! Sing your favorite Glee song while earning fans and plenty of starburts! Everytime you sing a song, you’ll earn starbursts as a reward. Sing better, follow missions and share your recordings to earn even more starbursts. The latest app updates include a one-time practice for any track before you buy as well as support for iPod Touch 4 users. Normally $2.99, get it for 99 cents. Universal App (99 cents)
Star Wars: Cantina – If you enjoy time management games, as well as Star Wars, you’ll love this one! You get to play the part of galactic adventurer Nia Adea, running your little cantina on Tatooine! Serve drinks to your customers quickly and accurately because they could get a little difficult! Originally $6.99, it’s now only 99 cents.
iPhone / iPod Touch Version (99 cents) | iPad Version ($4.99)
Diptic is a sweet little photography app that lets you combine multiple photos to create new image. Adding and updating the image is really easy. Export to your photo roll or email to your friends. Originally $3.99, now free just today. iPhone / iPod Touch 4 Version (Free)
That’s the premise of Angry Birds, a physics-based puzzle game by Clickgamer, published by prolific iPhone publisher Chillingo. Each stage presents the pigs ensconced in some sort of precariously (or sometimes not so precariously) assembled stronghold, and your job is to fling the birds from the slingshot at the weak points of the building to cause it to collapse on top of all the pigs inside.
This would be entertaining enough if that was it, but there are also several different species of birds, some of which have special abilities activated by tapping the screen mid-flight. Blue birds can split themselves into three, yellow birds can get an extra burst of speed, back birds can blow themselves up like bombs, and white birds can drop exploding eggs from above. So part of the challenge is just figuring out the right angle, and part of it is knowing exactly when to activate these abilities for maximum damage. It’s all a lot of fun, and there are generally several different ways to go about each level. As far as content is concerned, a recent update added 42 levels, bringing the total over 100, so there’s plenty to do.
The art style is like something straight out of the Saturday morning cartoons, which is very appropriate for this type of game. Defeated pigs simply disappear in a puff of smoke, as do the used up birds. Everything runs very smoothly on my iPod Touch 2G. The sound leaves a bit to be desired, though, with no background music to speak of and just angry squawks for sound effects.
While Angry Birds is a lot of fun, there are a couple of issues I have with the game. First of all, the only way to unlock a level is to complete the level before it, so if you get stuck on a particular puzzle, you can’t do much else with the game until you get past that, which can be extremely frustrating. Similarly, while there is a lot of content, there’s not to a ton of replay value; once you’ve beaten a level, while you can go back and try to get a perfect star rating, you typically won’t want to. There’s also a certain amount of imprecision built into the game that’s a bit atypical for a physics puzzle game, so it’s hard to tell if you’re just missing your targets or if your strategy is fundamentally flawed. (It’s worth noting that the game does show you the trajectory of your last bird, but even that sometimes isn’t enough to guide you where you’re supposed to be aiming.) Finally, the order in which the birds you have at your disposal is fixed, which limits your strategy somewhat.
All in all, though, if you like any sort of physics puzzle game, you’re going to get a lot of enjoyment out of Angry Birds. Even if you don’t typically like these types of games, the gameplay is interesting enough to keep you engaged; even being stuck on a particular level is still fun in its own way, and the early levels are easy enough that you won’t get stuck for a while anyway. Angry Birds is quirky, easy to pick up, and difficult to master, and it’s loads of fun all the way through. Angry Birds is an easy recommendation at its regular $2 price, and a complete no brainer at its current sale price (as of this writing) of $1. Unless, of course, you’re a pig; then you may want to stay away.
Learn more about Angry Birds for iPhone and iPod touch in the App Store