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Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the app store

GTA: Chinatown Wars coming to the iPhone

Last week, as most of you know, Rockstar Games announced that it was porting its critically acclaimed GTA: Chinatown Wars to the iPhone. Not only is this great news for fans of the game, though we do already have the superb Gangstar, but it also shows how seriously the iPhone is taken as a gaming platform. Rockstar is not a company to make gratuitous ports for every platform available (I don’t think the Wii will be getting GTA anytime soon), so this upcoming port shows that Rockstar believes in the power of the iPhone. If Rockstar will port GTA for the iPhone, what other big-name developers will follow? The days of the iPhone being a phone that you could play some gimmicky accelerometer games on are over. Sony, I would be afraid.

New ngmoco FPS trailer, now called Eliminate, reveals the use of micro-transactions

Ngmoco has released a new trailer for their upcoming Eliminate, and while the game is looking awesome, most people are fixating on another detail: you will only be able to play so many matches online for credits in one day, and if you want to play for credits again without waiting a day, you have to buy an “energy pack” using real money. So what’s the big deal? Well if you ask me, as long as ngmoco doesn’t abuse this, nothing. Here’s the kicker: if you run out of energy, you can still play online, you just won’t win credits. So the only people who will buy extra energy are the perfectionists who have to show how good they are. For people like me, who just want to play a game to have fun (isn’t that what a game is for), you can play however much you want and still have fun. So really, this is a great idea as long as two things hold true: the game is not originally priced above $6.99 and the amount of energy you get per day is reasonable. What do you guys think? Sound off in our comments below.

C64 Emulator finally approved by Apple

After months of back room deals, Apple rejections, and Apple non-communication, Manomio has finally gotten their superb C64 emulator has been approved! Obviously this won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re one for nostalgia, at $4.99, it’s worth picking up because of the high level of polish and solid controls. The emulator comes with five fully licensed games, but no BASIC emulator as was originally included, though it’s apparently suspiciously easy to enable the BASIC if you’re SSH savvy. Future games will be available via DLC at prices to be determined by the original IP holders. Next up, Manomio, a legal Atari emulator (I wish)!

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-05 :: Category: Games

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

Smule’s “I Am T-Pain” is the number one paid app in the entire app store. Enough said.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-04 :: Category: Music

Contest!
This, week, as a first for MMAHQ, we’re holding a contest where you can be the lucky winner of a $15 iTunes gift card! To enter, simply comment on this article with your prediction for what will happen at the 9.9.09 Apple event on Wednesday. What will the new iPod Touch look like? Will any huge games come out (like Madden)? Will Steve Jobs be there? The winner will be the person who has the most accurate or funniest prediction will be deemed the winner (that’s right, this is completely arbitrary)! Hopefully we can get some good participation, and if all goes well, we might have some more contests later on.

Apps of the Week

Modern Combat: Sandstorm

Modern Combat is the most visually impressive title on the iPhone to date, bar none. Models are good, textures are sharp, and everything is fully and accurately 3D. Not only this, but Gameloft actually nailed the controls, a first for an FPS on the iPhone. The gameplay, specifically the AI and level structure leave something to be desired, but Sandstorm remains a great accomplishment nonetheless, and it comes with a solid recommendation at the low price of $6.99.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-02 :: Category: Games

Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Samurai is one of the coolest games I’ve played on the iPhone. It’s a hack-and-slasher with great graphics, perfect controls, and gratuitous blood! Controls involve different combinations of swipes, and the gameplay is actually somewhat strategic – you have to balance small attacks with huge combos, because if you miss a huge combo, you leave yourself very prone to an attack. Execute moves correctly, and you might be lucky enough to see the body of the opponent samurai stop, then fall on the ground in two pieces, with blood squirting across the screen. Samurai comes with both a story mode and an endless or “dojo” mode. My only complaints about this game are that once you figure out the controls, it’s too easy – there’s an uneven difficulty curve, and that it does get repetitive at times. Still, I found myself playing this $2.99 gem much more than Sandstorm. Expect a full review soon, but until then, you really have to see a video to appreciate the awesomeness of this game.


$0.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-09-01 :: Category: Games

That’s it for this week, tune back in next week for the winner of the contest and some more MMAHQ. Have a great week!

Monday Morning App HQ

Random musings of the App Store.

Retro Invasion

Retro games are appearing in the App Store in droves! Pac-Man Remix, Q*Bert Deluxe, and of course, the incredible Space Invaders Infinity Gene. All of these are updated in some way from the classic games. Q*Bert has updated graphics, Pac-Man Remix has updated graphics (though they are still not too hot on the iPhone) along with power-ups that sometimes feel gimmicky, and Space Invaders is a complete re-imagining of the classic game. Of these, the only game that really captivates me is SIIG. In my opinion, retro games are retro for a reason – frankly, they’re boring and outdated. However, the concepts are still good, and if they’re updated for modern gamers, they can turn out like SIIG. To go with these retro games, there are plenty more on the way: Snood, a classic match-3 shooting game, TAITO’s Bust-a-Move, and most importantly, Pac-Man Championship Edition. Pac-Man CE, for XBLA, is, along with SIIG, one of the best re-imaginings of a retro game I have ever played and, if the controls are changed from Remix, should translate fantastically for the iPhone.

Pac-Man CE, a great re-imagining of the classic game

Pac-Man CE, a great re-imagining of the classic game

Gameloft coming on strong (maybe)

Along with NFL 2010, Gameloft has an upcoming FPS, Sandstorm, and a GTA knockoff, Gang$tar in the works. These games are particularly of note because it seems as if Gameloft is attempting to directly compete with other developers. NFL 2010 was notably released before EA’s upcoming Madden 2010, and at a lower expected price point – $7.99 compared to $9.99. Sandstorm seems to be in line for direct competition with ngmoco’s upcoming FPS (as yet unnamed). Gang$tar looks to have a huge advantage on current App Store GTA-a-likes with a fully roam-able 3D world. If I was a betting man (ok, I am a betting man), though, I would count on the other two games losing out. If there’s two things Gameloft games have in common, with the notable exception of Castle of Magic, it’s lackluster, on-screen controls, and uninspired gameplay. Gameloft seems to put all of the genre “requirements” in their games, without doing anything truly unique to make the game their own. They seem stubborn about their controls as well, always opting for mediocre on-screen d-pads or joysticks, rather than attempting any innovation for the iPhone. NFL 2010 is a solid football game with licensing, and I’m sure Sandstorm will be a decent FPS. However, neither if these titles, probably, will be great.

Get out of my games, stupid pygmy

Get out of my games, stupid pygmy

Games requiring 3.0 software

I wanted to briefly address a common complaint springing up various places: games requiring 3.0 software or higher. Developers are excited to utilize 3.0 features and making their apps 2.2.1 compatible takes a lot of time, resources, and extra testing. Look, I know that the update is $10 for iPod touchers (whoops, that sounds weird), but that’s really not a lot for a major software upgrade, and if these stubborn users don’t update soon, they’re going to find themselves left out in the cold for some of the App Store’s best apps and games.

This week’s sign of the apocalypse

First Doodle Jump, now Harbor Master; the Pocket God pygmies are invading other games! It was bad enough that I had to look at those stupid pygmies while playing Pocket God, thinking I would eventually like it. But no, that wasn’t enough, now they have to ruin games that I actually play! I really want to kill a pygmy, and in a way so that they can’t be magically dropped from the sky a few seconds later.

Apps of the Week

Gomi

Gomi, an app of the week!

Gomi, an app of the week!

Last week, I previewed Kevin Calderone’s new game Gomi, mentioning the staggering amount of content. Now, the app is out, and not only is it huge, but all that content is actually worth playing! In Gomi, you clean up the world by eating pollution and the like while spitting (?) out trees and flowers. You have to eat smaller things to build your appetite, eventually building up to shopping malls and the like. The regular levels are great, the boss battles are challenging and clever, and the game is seemingly endless with 140+ levels, eight mini games, achievements, and online scoreboards. At the low price of $1.99, Gomi is a unique game and a highly recommended bargain. Expect a full review soon (sorry, I’m on vacation).

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-08-06 :: Category: Games

BargainBin

BargainBin is an app that allows you track other apps; creating wish lists with target prices and viewing the newest apps, updates, and price drops. BargainBin recently was updated with two major improvements: a nice UI update and a killer feature: push notifications. Now, whenever an app you’re tracking reaches your desired price, you’ll instantly receive a push notification without ever having to open the app. Finding the App Store’s best deals has never been easier!

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-26 :: Category: Productivity

Well, that’s it for this week, and I’m still loving writing this column! Apparently, I messed up the links for the previous articles, so commenting was impossible. This has been fixed, so hopefully this week my begging for feedback/comments will succeed!

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