Nothing says “Holiday Season” like an Advent Calendar, right? Well the folks at Pocket Gamer, in collaboration with a lot of very generous and generally awesome developers, have set up a special one just for you, the iOS gaming enthusiast.
Starting next Monday, 12/8, they’ll be giving away one top-rated premium game for $0, for 24 hours. After that a new game will go free for anther 24 hours, and so on. And it will continue right up through 12/19. That’s ten days of freebies!
All you have to do is check this list each day between 12-8 and 12-19 to get those free games. Simple, right?
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing.
Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists!
Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why we’ve put them all into one handy list for you all to enjoy. It’s a nice list, too. Lots of variety and even a few free downloads that are worth checking out. So give it a look, and if you agree (or even if you disagree) please chime in below!
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth feels like a breath of fresh air compared to most everything else I played this year. It’s a fair free-to-play puzzle game that encourages and rewards patience in all of the best ways and none of the bad. It’s also a platformer that requires forethought and strategy rather than reflexes.
Unlike other mobile games like it, Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is not pushing players to make huge combos or speed-run through levels. Instead they can take their time planning out the best courses through a cave, much like an actual spelunker might (albeit with the power to carve out paths by magically matching blocks). It’s a super well made game that isn’t scared to have players get lost in its levels for a good while, which makes it unique as a puzzle game. For a mobile title, it strikes a fantastic balance of being engrossing, replayable, rewarding, and light enough for playing on the go, all of which lend to it being my favorite mobile game of 2014. – [Campbell Bird]
When I heard that an original Hitman game would be coming to iOS, like plenty of other people I couldn’t wait to cheese wire a guy to death while disguised as a security guard before popping another target in the face with my silenced pistol, all while waiting for a bus. When Hitman GO was released, many were initially disappointed to find that wasn’t the case. However, after playing what is a deceptively simple and infectious game of strategy for a short time, many (including myself) were hooked.
Hitman GO looks like the board game you wish your family would play at Christmas (put away the Cluedo box, grandma) with its sheen and minimalistic graphics that just ooze class akin to the suit Agent 47 is known for. Combine that with accessible gameplay that calls for multiple play-throughs thanks to the variety of challenges available, forcing players to tackle levels in different ways, and you have a winner in Hitman GO. It’s a game that should be on everyone’s hit list – [Lee Hamelet] Continue reading Game of the Year 2014 – 148Apps Staff Picks »
Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
CastleStorm, by Zen Studios, is getting a new update called Free to Siege. Now you’ll be able to challenge yourself to see how long you can last against wave after wave of pillaging vikings. Each wave survived will net you some fame and Pearls.
You can now train your troops and upgrade your weapons to level 20. And you’ll need them to work toward taking first place on new Survival Mode leaderboards.
The Survival Mode update is available for download now, and you can get CastleStorm for free on the App Store.
Eh… What’s up, doc? Wanna talk about Looney Tunes Dash!, do ya?
Sorry. As a long-time Looney Tunes fan I couldn’t resist. But Looney Tunes Dash! is a real game – a lane-based runner from Zynga – and it’s really out now. We were able to watch an extended gameplay demo, courtesy of John vanSuchtelen (General Manager) and Michael Waite (Creative Director), so here’s what you can expect.
It’s not an endless runner, though. Instead, you’ll be progressing through several levels with a definitive beginning and end. These levels are grouped together into ‘episodes’ that all involve specific themes, locales, and characters. For example, you can play as Bugs Bunny as he tries to outrun Elmer Fudd in an obvious homage to the classic “Wabbit Season/Duck Season” cartoon.
There’s a lot of character variety, including favorites like Bugs, Daffy, Tweetie, and the Road Runner, with even more planned for future updates. And of course, in addition to the effects of all the different power-ups like coin magnets and the like, each character has their own unique abilities to make use of. My personal favorite from what I’ve seen has got to be Daffy donning his Duck Dodgers outfit and blasting obstacles in his path.
Recreating the Looney Tunes feel was one of the biggest goals with Looney Tunes Dash!, and I have to say that there definitely seems to have been a lot of TLC poured into Bugs & Co. The animations are fairly reminiscent of the classic show, many of the individual personalities of the characters come through in their behaviors, and many of the voices are supplied by Jeff Bergman himself.
The levels themselves also displayed a fair bit of variety. There are branching paths in each, and some of them offer far greater rewards but also increase the risk. So not only will you have to keep an eye on the path ahead, but at times you’ll need to decide how you want to progress as you try to complete a level or maximize your score. And you’ll probably want to maximize your score when you can as you’ll be competing with your Game Center friends’ scores on each stage.
Looney Tunes Dash! is available now as a free download. And a big thank you to John vanSuchtelen and Michael Waite for letting us take a look at their game!
Recently, Time named inkle’s 80 Days their #1 Game of the Year. It plays out as an interactive fiction game with a steampunk reimagining of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.
inkle has updated 80 Days with the new polar expedition, which adds approximately 30,000 words to 80 Days’ branching narrative. The game lets you explore an entire 3D globe with 150 cities and race your friends to see who can circle the world the fastest.
Join in the race with 80 Days for $4.99 on the App Store.
TheCodingMonkeys has recently updated Carcassonne, the tiling laying board game app, with two new expansions: the Winter Edition and the Double Base Tile Set.
The Winter Edition adds a custom interface, new tiles, and the Gingerbread Man to your game. The tasty treat is a delicious holiday bonus for towns that passes from player to player. The Double Base Tile Set expansion lengthens the game by simulating playing with two Carcassonne sets at the same time as many long time players often do with the real board game.
The Winter expansion can be purchased in-game for $1.99 and the Double Base Tile Set expansion is $0.99.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 17th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Caramagic Ltd has just launched the MagicFriends Xmas app. The app lets children talk to Santa, Sam the Snowman, Candy the Elf, or Prancer using an iPad or iPhone.
Using a second iPhone or iPad connected via Wi-Fi, a family member can animate the character your child is talking to and hold a conversation with them. The app can change your voice to match each character so that you don’t spoil the illusion. The controls for the characters are simple swipe or tap, so it is easy to make them jump, wave, wink, dance, and twirl.
You can download MagicFriends Xmas for free on the App Store.
Herotainment has released a major update for Mighty Smighties. The update comes with 100 new element-themed levels and Smighty bosses. Each level will have events and more Smighty character cards to collect, and your cards can also evolve now!
You’ll need to strategize on which cards to combine and evolve in order to create mighty superpowers. Some of the evolved powers include Blink, which makes your opponent’s cards invisible; Tangle, which grows roots that hold down your opponent’s cards; and Drain, which decreases the power from your opponent’s deck in battle.
You can check out all the new additions to Mighty Smighties by downloading it for free today.
Plague Inc., by Ndemic Creations, has discovered an all new mutation: Santa’s Little Helper. A new update adds a new Christmas scenario where you infect the world with the holiday spirit. Governments have banned the joyous holiday and it is up to the Neurax Worm and Santa to bring the world to its knees with happiness.
The update brings some upgrades, too. Using highly advanced technology you can now teleport to other countries using portal. The progress screen has also gotten a bit of a redesign so now you can see your completion % and challenges. Several diseases, including Parasite, Prion, and the Neurax Worm, have mutated and the humans are getting smarter so the game will now be a bit more of a challenge.
There is so much to to explore – just try not to catch the flu while you do. You can check out the cheerful new Plague Inc. for $0.99.
The original Out There, by Mi Clos Studio, is a space exploration game where you are an astronaut just awakening from cryonic sleep. The game is a huge text adventure with multiple endings and a crafting system with alien technologies to discover.
The game will be getting a new update, the Ω Edition, for free in early 2015. This update will give players new graphics including a dozen new backdrops for planets. You’ll also encounter new alien races, 50 new interactive stories, find new ships, and a experience a brand new ending.The soundtrack will also have a few new tracks by composer Siddhartha Barnhoorn.
There is a lot to look forward to in this new version of Out There, and the wait is almost over.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 16th, 2014 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
SimCity BuildIt, by EA Games, has finished construction for the holidays. Now you can enjoy hours of constructing your dream city in 3D. You can pinch, zoom, and rotate your city 360 degrees to catch all the action.
Just like other SimCity games, you must strive to keep your citizens happy. Prevent traffic problems, fires, and pollution, and keep your services like electricity and entertainment balanced, lest your people start looking for someone else to be mayor. You can also create and trade resources with friends and other cities for more interactive fun.
Check out SimCity BuildIt on the App Store for free.
Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 16th, 2014 iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
The Checkmark 2.5 update, by Snowman, is now available in the App Store now.
The update introduces new features such as the Checkmark Widget that allows you to see any tasks that are due today by swiping down from the top of your screen, and interactive notifications that easily allow you to mark tasks as complete. The app has also been optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and has added iOS 8 support.
To celebrate the update, Snowman is offering Checkmark for 70% off, which means that right now you can buy it for just $2.99.
This new update supports iOS 8 as well, and iPhone users will be happy to hear that it now properly supports the iPhone 5 and up. Players will also be able to enjoy searching for the Mirror of Smoke in central America with new high-resolution visuals.
Check out the new and improved Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light on the app store for $4.99.
DeNA has announced that Blood Brothers 2 is currently in development. It’s the sequel to Blood Brothers, obviously; the dark RPG where you must battle enemies across the world of Arnashia.
The game is set one century after the first installment. You’ll be building and recruiting your armies as you explore. Blood Brothers 2 will also feature ongoing weekly game events and strategic player vs. player (PvP). This time your friends will be able to join you in the quest to save the world.
“Blood Brothers was massively popular, spending seven consecutive months as a top 10 app on US Google Play’s top grossing chart,” said Kaz Kondo, Head of DeNA Studios West. “Having worked on the original, we know what fans liked most about the game. We want to deliver again the fast-paced RPG battles and iconic characters fans enjoyed, but we’re also introducing new art style and spellbinding adventure that will be fun and fresh for everyone.”
Blood Brothers 2 will be coming to the iPhone and iPad in 2015.
The biggest update yet for Ernest Szoka‘s Only One has arrived on the App Store, bringing new enemies, abilities, and classes to play as into the free-to-play arena fighter.
Players can now take on the hordes of enemies as either the Barbarian, Valkyrie, Ninja, or Only One, with new ‘Inferno’, ‘Cripple’, and ‘Bloodlust’ abilities available as well. Bat, Skeleton, and Golem enemies have also entered the arena, along with twenty more levels and two new levels, optimization for iPhone 6, a retina-quality interface, and big fixes rounding everything out.
Only One is available to download from the App Store now and will cost you only one moment of your time to get.