FIFA Mobilelaunched this week, bringing a lighter, certifiably mobile football experience.FIFA Mobilepairs card collecting with team management, crafting, and straightup football competition with a bunch of new systems that might bear a little explaining. Use this trusty guide to get your off on the right foot.
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Fans of the SimCity series will be thrilled to hear that EA's SimCity BuildIt, a mobile version of the game, will be coming to the iOS soon. Players will be able to build their city in high quality 3D graphics, and the app allows you to pinch, zoom, and rotate your city 360 degrees so you can see it in all its glory.
You will, of course, still have to worry about keeping your citizens happy by managing and expanding your city.
EA hasn't announced a release date or pricing for SimCity BuildIt yet, but they assure us it is coming "soon."
After Homer accidentally caused a meltdown that wiped out Springfield, it was up to you to rebuild it.
Now The Simpsons Tapped Out, by EA Games, asks us to prepare for battle with their new Clash of Clones update. You can raise up your army of nerds led by a barbaric Homer to raid your neighbors' castles. Just make sure you don't neglect your own defenses.
You can download The Simpsons Tapped Out for free on the App Store.
Bop It!, the frantic reaction based game, is quite a hit here with my young cousins, much as it was when I was a kid. So it's nice to see Bop It! offered in another format. Sure there was an iPhone version earlier this year but what child can resist an iPad version of Bop It!? Exactly.
Priced at $2.99, Bop It! HD offers everything we all know and love about the original Bop It! game. Fast reactions and careful listening are vital in order to succeed with the choice of playing alone or teaming up with friends in the new All Play mode, only available in this iPad incarnation.
Multi-touch controls and the accelerometer ensure that the only restriction here is the player's ability to react in time. 4 different modes, Classic, Basic, Extreme and Blitz, keeps the action feeling fresh. Players can even unlock Bopjects as they progress.
All the fun with a cool modern twist. The ideal way to entertain the kid and at a mere $2.99. Check it out now.
When the iPad first launched, there was some muddle on the App Store about how to distinguish regular iPhone-sized apps from iPad apps. After some experimentation (XL was floated for a while), most developers settled on using "HD" to denote iPad-specific apps. For example, "Angry Birds HD" is Angry Birds...for iPad.
Now EA Games has to go and mess things up with NCAA® Football by EA SPORTS HD. Guess what? It's an iPhone 4-exclusive title.
Does your head hurt yet?
Look, EA, we get it. Your football game has fancy graphics that take advantage (nay, require!) the iPhone 4's Retina display. And I know that you're a gigantic company, but big companies have to follow the rules, too. And the rules of the App Store, informal though they are, state that the "HD" moniker is reserved for iPad titles.
This does bring up an interesting point, though—how do we differentiate between all of these platforms? We have apps for iPad, for all iPhones, for iPhone 4's; and then we have universal apps, some of which are optimized for the iPhone 4's Retina display and some which aren't. And what about the next iPhone and iPad? My guess: other than "HD" for iPad, we'll have to rely on app descriptions, unless Apple steps in.
Still, EA, as it stands now "HD" signifies an iPad release. You're doing it wrong!
Christmas is quickly approaching, and sadly, so is the end of many of these deals. But don't despair yet, because the sales just keep rolling in. Namco just kicked off their "winter sale" yesterday, and EA is back in the game, too!
At least this is a nice surprise from EA! EAMobile just sent out two tweets saying, "The following titles will be up to 50% off for the rest of the holiday season! Happy Holidays everyone! Boggle, Madden 10, NBA Live, Rock Band, Surviving High School, Wolfenstein RPG, American Idol, and more!"
"And more?" Shockingly, that "and more" includes the likes of Scrabble, Tetris, and Need for Speed: Shift. Mysteriously, some titles that were supposed to stay at $0.99 'til Christmas are now at higher prices (Auditorium is still on sale but now at $1.99), so don't trust that these sales will last...especially on the games not named in that tweet. Grab 'em while they're here and all that.
Today's Appvent Calender freebie, Sponge Dude, is a physics-based combination of puzzle and platformer. The main character is an elastic sponge, who is sadly missing his arms and legs—meaning that you need to help him reach the end of each level using different mechanics like bombs (open doors and propel the sponge) and balloons (for flying). It looks a bit crude, and certainly isn't on the level of previous offerings like MiniSquadron, but might be worth a look.
Phew...this article is getting pretty long. But one quick PSA: If you own an iPhone and have yet to experiment with a GPS app, you may want to give Copilot a try. Don't worry—this one isn't one of those $100+ apps; instead, it's normally priced at $35 and is on sale for a mere $19.99! Here's what founder Jeff Scott had to say whilst reviewing it in our September GPS round-up:
"CoPilot live is one of the newest contenders in the iPhone GPS arena. And I must admit that before the iPhone version I had never heard of them before. This could be why I was so pleasantly surprised by this GPS app. It’s fairly full featured, fast, and I think it’s my new favorite GPS app."
It's a newbie in the arena, sure, but given both its solid performance and its killer price, brand name doesn't matter all that much!
We have three deals for you folks today. First of all, EA has ten games on sale, many of which are a measly 99 cents. Some of the higher-priced ones are still good deals, too; Command & Conquer, for example, just received a multiplayer-enabling update and is now half-priced! EA Games has announced that these ten sales will last 'til Christmas, with no new ones forthcoming. Check out the list from yesterday's post here.
Now for our normal Appvent Calender goodies. "Cabby" is a flying taxi game with 3D graphics, and it looks pretty darned good! Here's the description from the developer:
"Cabby is a side-on 3D thrust-based game which puts the player in the driving seat of a flying taxi! Select from 10 different vehicles and fly through 15 unique levels, collecting customers and parcels as you go. Get your customers to their destinations as quickly as possible to earn a big tip!"
Sporting ten different vehicles, fifteen levels, and both Career and Arcade modes, Cabby looks like a nice little game. And, heck, who doesn't like flying taxis?
In keeping with the Appvent Calender theme, the developers of Cabby have decided to make one of their other games free, permanently! Air Cadets is a simple airplane simulator with accelerometer controls. If you're looking for a new toy, you might as well give this one a shot.
Meanwhile, we have yet another free app for you folks to try! Squarepeg Game is billed as "Sudoku, but with shapes!" It's a different spin on the traditional peg puzzle, in which you must get all your shapes down their appropriately holes. This free brain teaser comes with 16 free levels for your enjoyment, though you can also download more. The graphics aren't what I'd call slick, but, hey, it's a free puzzle, right?
That's it for today's Daily Double! Let us know if you plan on delving into EA Games' mega-sale...I'm curious as to what you think. Personally, I was hoping to get The Sims 3 at a lower price or something, but it's not a bad deal nevertheless.
Well, well, well. Apparently EA Games doesn't want to put some of their top-selling titles like Tetris, Sims 3, and Scrabble on sale, because they've changed the terms of the 25 Days 'Til Xmas Sale. Instead of offering a new game for sale each day, ten games will be on sale for the remainder of the holiday season. These are mostly ones that we've seen before. Here's the full list, with brief descriptions:
Spore Origins is based around the first stage of the Spore PC game, in which you play a tiny creature (your "Spore") and must swim around the "primordial ooze," avoiding larger creatures while devouring smaller ones. As you eat, you'll eventually evolve, adding parts and customizing your creature. On sale for $0.99.
Snood is an age-old game that everyone should recognize. While it's a classic, we unfortunately found this to be a "baffling, inexplicable, and aggravating" port. Besides, there are plenty of bubble-popping clones to choose from if you really, really need this kind of game. If you're a diehard fan, though, this is probably the time to get it. On sale for $0.99.
I've repeatedly praised Auditorium for its uniqueness and polish. You manipulate a stream of light to create music using "controls," which alter gravity, directional flow, speed, and more. Auditorium is both soothing and challenging, and a worthy addition to any library. On sale for $0.99.
EA Games' incarnation of Sudoku oozes polish. Sure, there are free versions out there, but if you're looking for a well-done paid app with a sleek oriental theme, look no farther. Speed demons might be annoyed by EA's signature insistence on animating things, but there's no denying that it look pretty. On sale for $0.99.
The iPhone version of Connect 4 doesn't add anything particularly exciting to the age-old game, though it's certainly a decent port. The graphics are good and there a few bells and whistles to spice things up, such as a myriad of multiplayer options (local only, though, via Pass 'n' Play, WiFi, or Bluetooth). If you're dying to get it, now's the time; otherwise, there are more engaging concepts out there than this one. On sale for $0.99.
It's pool. With multiplayer. To be precise, Facebook multiplayer, which means that finding an opponent shouldn't be too difficult. We haven't reviewed this one, but it looks promising enough that, coupled with the new price, fans of pool games should definitely take a look. On sale for $0.99.
Zombies & Me
In this little game, you're in charge of protecting Granny from the hordes of zombies outside her house. To do so, you must run around in circles, attempting to lure the zombies into designated "blast zones." It's simple, but the graphics are solid and it should be worth a chuckle or two. On sale for $0.99.
Jewel Quest Mysteries
This cheesily-themed game is combo of the match-3 and hidden-item genres. It's managed a rather incredible feat, however, maintaining a 5-star App Store rating. While I doubt you'll find much innovation here, it looks like it maintains the addictive qualities so important to its genre along with enough polish to make it a contender. On sale for $1.99.
Mystery Mania is a collection of small puzzles with limited challenges and low replay value, but, heck, it's a quarter of the price it was when we reviewed it. If you're looking for some light mental exercises wrapped up in a Halloween theme, at least give Mystery Mania's light version a spin. On sale for $0.99.
Command & Conquer Red Alert
Command & Conquer is a pricey RTS based on the popular franchise, but at least the price has been slashed! We gave it a solid four stars even at its former $10 price point, but if you were on the fence before, there's no excuse to skip this one now. On sale for $4.99.
And...that's the end of EA's list. Good lord, that should keep everyone occupied for a while...though I am disappointed that blockbusters like the Sims 3 won't be on sale.
Let's return to normalcy, shall we? Here's the Appvent Calender's offering for today:
The cat is trying to attack you again! In this fun puzzle game, you are a mouse who tries to steal cheese without setting off the traps set by the cat. However, everytime you move, the cat would move the cheese away from you, unless there’s no space for it.
I haven't tried Cheese Collect for myself, though the App Store reviews have been overwhelmingly negative. Oh, well...at least it's free, right?
That concludes our Daily Double for today!
We continue our Daily Double article with another bonus freebie in addition to the Appvent Calender. While the Appvent Calender is offering Balcassa, a slider puzzle-Rubik's Cube combo, Gogogic has just released their multiplayer game Soft Freak Fiesta, and it's only free for today! Not to be left out, EA Games is throwing us a familiar puzzle game, Sudoku, for the rock-bottom price of a buck.
Oh, Sudoku, the puzzle that took my school system by storm. I think I've seen enough of these boxes to last me a lifetime, thank you very much, but if you're a fan of the games, EA's version is sure to delight. While it might be one of the older apps in the store, it retains all of the graphical glitz of all of EA's apps. Unfortunately for speed-demon serious players, the animations might get annoying as they slow you down. We looked at it in February, and found it to be a slickly presented clone of an age-old concept:
"Sudoku’s presentation is top-notch. The whole user interface is very slick and has a nice oriental vibe to it. Actual game play is very refined and the way annotations and hints are integrated is simple and easy to use. Initially three difficulty levels are available. You accrue Sudoku points by winning games and those are used to unlock two additional difficulty levels.
When you start a new game you can turn on error checking. This will instantly reveal whether you’ve correctly filled in a cell or not. In-game hints can reveal a particular cell’s value, and you can ask the game to annotate all cells if you wish. These all reduce the number of Sudoku points earned. In-game help explains all modes and aides."
It's not going to get any cheaper than this, folks. Grab it quick!
Soft Freak Fiesta
Yeah, it's not part of the normal Appvent Calender, but you can't pass on this one! We previewed it a few weeks ago and thought that it had a lot of promise, given a large-enough player pool. Obviously anticipating that a lot of players are necessary to make this game work, Gogogic has made Soft Freak Fiesta free for its first day! Here's a snippet from our preview article:
Soft Freak Fiesta is a sort of last man standing game take on marbles played out in turn on various game boards. While there are various game modes, they all have you aiming, bouncing, and rebounding your characters in the quest to destroy the players on the other team.
Complete with cartoony graphics, 3 types of Soft Freaks, 3 modes, and 5 levels, Soft Freak Fiesta looks like a lot of fun. You might as well give it a go while it's free, right? You can connect with friends using WiFi or Bluetooth, or play with anyone on the game's servers.
Like I said, Balcassa is a slider puzzle/Rubik's Cube combo. It looks pretty complex at later levels, so puzzle fans looking to stretch their brains a bit should be interested. Here's what the developer has to say:
"Balcassa includes a variety of games offering hours of increasingly challenging game-play. The object of each of the games is to rotate a number of cubes into a sequence, a pattern or orientation by moving them around the screen. In some games it may be enough to get each cube into position with the correct side showing, while in other games rotation of the cubes must also be considered. The idea is simple, the solution is not!"
If you're interested, remember: this "sale" is one day only!
Well, the weekend might be over, but the sales certainly aren't. EA Games has Auditorium on sale for $0.99, and the Appvent Calender is giving away Elf for free.
I think I'm suffering from de ja vu...wasn't Auditorium on sale earlier this month? It was, actually, but if you missed it then this is the time to get it. I gave it a 4/5 and praised it for having all of EA's signature polish along with the inventiveness of an indie title. Auditorium is a puzzle "of light and sound" in which you manipulate a stream of light particles to get it to reach its intended destination. Once you fill the "Audio Containers" with light, music starts to play. While it's a bit hard to explain, it's incredibly intuitive and very soothing. For $0.99, this is an absolute steal.
"The puzzles will make you think, and it feels almost like an art piece at times. But it’s a vibrant, beautiful game, and thoughtful gamers may find themselves in love. The only downside is the (relatively) short number of included levels, though more can be obtained via in-app purchase."
The developer Matmi brings us a jump-higher game with an appropriate theme. Elf's graphics are light-hearted and well-done, and the game as a whole looks pretty good. Sure, it might not be that different from other App Store mainstays like Doodle Jump, but it's free, and sports much-appreciated functions like global and local leaderboards. Here's what the developer has to say:
It’s Christmas morning and there’s magic in the air, enough to send an elf soaring into the stratosphere. While Santa’s away, Irving the Elf like nothing more than leaping skyward, stepping on stars and bouncing on baubles trying to get as high as he can! Build your boost and collect candy canes for a point bonus while you help Irving hit the heavens, but watch out for the twisted tinsel, its pointy prickles will put a real crimp on your day.
It's hard to believe that our countdown to Christmas is halfway over. (24 days in December before Christmas, and today's the 12th!) I hope you all have your holiday shopping done. This Saturday morning comes with our two daily deals. Today, EA Games has Spore Origins on sale for $0.99, while the Appvent Calender is featuring iPharaoh Episode 2 from Studioufo.
Early perusers of the App Store may remember Spore Origins. I know that when I first bought my iPod, Best Buy was giving free copies of the game away with every iPod Touch...that seems so long ago! Anyway, while this game is over a year old, don't let that deter you. Spore Origins is based around the first stage of the Spore PC game, in which you play a tiny creature (your "Spore") and must swim around the "primordial ooze," avoiding larger creatures while devouring smaller ones. As you eat, you'll eventually evolve, adding parts and customizing your creature. One word of warning: it appears to use accelerometer controls without calibration options. If that's not a problem for you, go ahead and try it out!
iPharaoh is an original action-puzzler with a delicious mummy theme. I'll let the game's description speak for itself:
Your Pharaoh, peacefully resting inside an ancient Egyptian tomb is disturbed by the sound of hammers pounding away at his tomb.
Your mission is to defend your Pharaoh and his treasures from greedy treasure hunters by using the Pharaohs mighty powers to control mummies, giant cube stones, sliding doors and moving walls.
It looks surprisingly good, and it's far more original than many games in the App Store. You'll need both strategy and speed to excel here. Listening to the YouTube video, it sounded like the audio might become annoying after a few plays, but the mechanics looked solid and addicting. Heck, it's free. App Store reviews have been largely positive, and the developer clearly plans to update: an endless survival mode is promised with the next one. Grab it before the day's out!
Now for a truly awesome deal: Super Monkey Ball 2 is now 50%, which drops it from the premium tier down to an easier $4.99. The original Super Monkey Ball was one of the earliest and most ambitious App Store games, though it was plagued by rocky controls. Its successor has souped-up graphics, 115 levels, and Wi-Fi multiplayer. Be sure to read our review:
"Super Monkey Ball 2 is a huge step from its original self. While some isolated reports have come in of problems with the game crashing on the second generation iPod touch, in my experience of playing on an iPhone 3GS, gameplay was both smooth and fluent. Within superb in-game graphics, and an upbeat infamous sega-esque soundtrack to boot, Super Monkey Ball 2 is just one of those games you can pick up and play."
Seeing as its original price is $9.99, this is the day to get it if you're on the fence. The sale is for this weekend only!
EA Games has given us a great gift in preparation for the weekend: we have not one, but two great franchises on sale for $0.99. Both Boggle and Life have had their prices slashed to just under a dollar, while the Appvent Calender is featuring Crazy Snowboard, a 3D snowboarding game from eZone.
I looked at Life myself a few months ago, and it's a great port of the classic board game. Almost every element makes the transition well, from the spinner to the colorful graphics to the fortunate and unfortunate events that happen to your poor character. Playing board games solo can be a lonely experience, but Life's AI's are competent and you can fast-forward through their turns; on the other hand, if you actually have a group of friends who want to play Life, EA's Pass 'n' Play is here too. There are no corners cut when it comes to production values, and this is just one more great board game port in EA's giant stable. Sure, it relies heavily on "traditional" family ideals (everyone gets married, everyone gets a house, unemployment blissfully lasts for a few seconds at most), but if you're nostalgic for the old game, go for it while it's cheap.
Boggle is another great game, and one that word fans should love. When we looked at this September, it had all the bones of the great game but sadly it was missing some things:
I was interested to finally see Boggle launch on the App Store and more than ready to try it out. What I found was a good 1.0 game with an interesting approach but lacking a lot of the polish that the veteran apps have added along the way…There are some great features in the Advanced mode of this app, but the rest seems like it needs time and polish.
Take that recommendation with a grain of salt, however. Since we reviewed it, much-wanted updates have brought new features like Pass ‘n’ Play, and some bugs have been ironed out. Plus, hey, it’s Boggle. Any word fan can tell you that along with Scrabble, crosswords, and word finds, Boggle-style games are a nearly-ancient standby. You won’t find this game for cheaper—at least not an official version—so if you’ve been on the fence, this is the time to buy.
And, finally, the Appvent Calender brings us Crazy Snowboard. Not Crazy Snowboarding, mind you, but Crazy Snowboard. What can be crazy about a simple board, I wonder?
Anyway, this looks like it follows the familiar track of snowboarding games. The graphics are great, and there’s a lot of content, too; thirty missions are included and you can unlock a number of boards and riders. You can grind on rails, boxes, logs, and candycanes, and it just looks like an awesome freebie for fans of such games. Future updates promise to add Plus+ support and leaderboards. For a sports game, this seems to have quite a bit of depth, and you can’t beat the price.
Today is a great day for freebies! Not only is the Appvent Calender featuring Blimp, a great steampunk-themed flying "platformer," but we also have a bonus treat. Elf Command, a simple holiday game, has just been released and is also free. EA, on the other hand, has Mystery Mania discounted to $0.99, but I'd pause before jumping for that one.
Let's start with Blimp. Like I said, it's got a steampunk theme, and as such you play the captain "Zed Pelin," who has his very own airship (er, blimp). The production values are top notch; eye candy and awesome music are both amply present. You have three main tasks: transport passengers, collect war supplies, and bomb enemies including tanks and other blimps. The gameplay is relatively simple but looks rather fun, and you can't beat Blimp for polish. Make sure you grab this one before the day's end, because it's an absolute steal.
Now for EA's Mystery Mania sale. The good news? The game's only $0.99, and it's packed with plenty of puzzles. The bad news? It's not quite up to par with EA's other releases. This "spooky" puzzle adventure was dubbed "slow" when we reviewed it in October:
The complete game consists of 27 spooky rooms full of “crazy conundrums, perilous traps, and intriguing secrets”. I can appreciate what they have tried to do here with the puzzles and solving the mystery, but it just was far too lackluster for me. All the puzzles seem to be at level 1, and when you progress from room to room, they don’t seem to get any harder. Most are so obvious and easily solved that you can, at times, feel like you are just going through the motions.
Still, that's not to say that Mystery Mania isn't worth looking at; $0.99 is a lot better than $3.99, and fans of lighter, simpler puzzles might find themselves happy.
We'll wrap up today with a bonus freebie: Elf Command, a new game from Retro Dreamer, makers of Sneezies and Eyegore's Eye Blast. It's simple, but both addicting and difficult as the game moves on. The screen is split into two halves; each half has a conveyor belt, a robot, and two shipping stations. Pictures flash on the shipping stations' screens, and you have to direct the robots to snatch the right toys from the conveyor belt. For a free holiday game, it's surprisingly fun. Definitely check this one out if you need another little time-waster.