Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 12th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Warhammer Quest has been updated with new content that’s available through in-app purchase. The Undead Horde DLC comes with new monsters featuring their own unique abilities that can change the tactics on the battle. Players can purchase the new content for $1.99 each, including the Witch Hunter Hero pack, Skeletons and Necromancers Enemy pack, Zombies and Vampires pack, and Undead Castle Tileset pack.
The week is almost over, and the holidays are that much closer, but those gifts won’t find/buy/wrap/give themselves now will they? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.
Today’s guide centers around iOS gamers. These are the folks who love their portable games and spend most of their morning commute matching pieces of candy or fighting immortal titans. If you’d like to make the gamer(s) in your life have an overall more pleasant and convenient gaming experience, or simply get them some really cool stuff to play, check out our list below for some ideas.
MOGA Ace Power Gamepad
The MOGA Ace Power Gamepad ($99 – iPhone/iPod Touch) has several distinct advantages over the other controllers in this list: it’s collapsible so it’s easy to carry while still acting as an extension of the iOS device, it’s the first official MFi gamepad for iOS devices, it uses dual analog sticks in addition to buttons and a D-pad, and it comes with its own battery that will help to extend the amount of time iOS gamers can play things while away from home – or at least a charger. The noticeable downsides are that it’s rather heavy thanks to the internal battery, and it doesn’t support portrait orientation. [Our Review]
While you’re considering the MOGA Ace Power Gamepad, you should probably also think about software to go with it. I’d recommend Oceanhorn ($8.99 – Universal), Dead Trigger 2 (Free – Universal), and Silverfish ($1.99 – iPhone) since all three are not only good games in their own right but also confirmed to be compatible. I’m sure there are plenty of other games out there that will work with it as well, but if you’re trying to put some sort of package together it would probably be best to stick with what you know will work.
MOTO TC Rally
There’s also the option to mix things up and use and iOS device as the controller for something else, rather than attaching a physical controller to it – hence the MOTO TC Rally ($99 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch). This is more than just a RC car with an iOS controller: the free app used to control it adds quite a few gaming elements to the physical racing. Users can race their friends and cause virtual damage -that actually affects performance- through special impact sensors, use power-ups, customize their car’s performance and more.
LEGO Mindstorms EV3
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit ($349 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is another great option for those looking to venture a little off the beaten path. I mean it lets users basically build whatever the want, then control it with their iPhone or iPad. How cool is that? It’s got the universal LEGO appeal, the remote control angle, and taps into those creative juices for potentially limitless amounts of fun. [Our Review]
iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5
The iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 – iPhone) is certainly something to consider for the iPhone 5 or 5s gamers in your life. The lightweight case doesn’t block any ports, and it allows users to recharge their phone on the go. Perfect for lengthy trips or holiday visits with relatives where someone (not naming any names here) inevitably forgets to bring their charging cable. [Our Review]
What games go best with a phone-charging battery case? Battery hogs. There are a fair number of them out there and they can usually be picked out by their super-pretty graphics. A couple of great-looking (and just plain great) games you might want to consider are Warhammer Quest ($4.99 – Universal) and, of course, Infinity Blade III ($6.99 – Universal). However, XCOM: Enemy Unknown ($19.99 – Universal) is by far the biggest battery-muncher and would definitely benefit from something like the iKit NuCharge case.
Mophie Juice Pack Pro
The Mophie Juice Pack Pro ($129 – iPhone) may not be the most elegant-looking case, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in functionality. This is one very durable charging case that will keep batteries going longer and protect the phone from minor splash, dust, and more serious impact hazards. It’s a good fit for camping trips or gamers who are particularly brutal with their devices. [Our Review]
The Mophie Juice Pack is another charging case, sure, but it’s also quite durable. So it should be able to stand up to a little punishment when you toss your phone across the room after a particularly rough game of Tilt to Live 2 ($2.99 – Universal) or Pivvot ($2.99 – Universal), and will let World War II turn-based airplane strategy buffs like our own Andrew Stevens keep playing Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies ($4.99 – Universal) through just about any harsh weather conditions.
Ultimate Ears Mini Boom
Doubtless we all know at least one audiophile, and the Ultimate Ears Mini Boom speaker ($99 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is definitely something to consider for them. It’s easy to connect to any device via bluetooth, is durable, a good size for travel, and produces some impressive sounds even by itself. It’s a great way to enhance anyone’s iOS gaming experience. [Our Review]
Of course if you’re looking to get some nice speakers, you may want a game or two to go with it that put the enhanced sound to good use. I’d recommend The Last Door – Chapter 2: Memories ($1.99 – iPad) for those who love a good scare as it’s a ridiculously creepy game without any audio enhancement whatsoever, so you can imagine what some high-quality speakers will do to it. Home ($2.99 – Universal) is another excellent choice for the same reason. LEGO Lord of the Rings ($4.99 – Universal) is another good option because, come on, who doesn’t want to hear that epic score and the official movie dialogue on something more substantial than their iPhone/iPad speaker?
Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated game ideas.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 2nd, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Warhammer Quest gets a new expansion pack, The Brutal Tribe, that costs $4.99 and adds a new region with 9 new settlements and 14 new story quests. Players can also stumble across more enemies enemies and loot as they fight their way through caverns full of orcs. Additionally, for $2.99, players can purchase a hero pack that adds three new playable characters. This includes Shadow Warrior, Ogre Irongut, and Bright Wizard.
Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Over the past five years, many thousands of developers have tried their luck in creating the next big hit for iOS gamers. While some were there right from the beginning, others have found success in only the last couple of years. I took the time to chat to four relatively recently successful developers to find out exactly why they were so interested in pursuing the App Store route, and how they’ve found the experience so far.
“First and foremost it was the ease of development and getting things…running quickly, with no development kits and long processes of approval,” explained Simon Flesser of Simogo (most famous for the rather exceptionally spooky Year Walk). “That coupled with us being interested in the iPhone as a gaming platform and the different features it provides, touchscreen interaction, motion controls, constant internet connection…”
Simogo’s Year Walk
Barry Meade of Fireproof Studios (makers of BAFTA award winning The Room) had similar views: “As a small team with little resources to draw on, the fact you could self-publish on the App Store was a huge enabler for us…The Room might never have been made if we’d had to rely on a publisher as it was a bit too unusual…they would not have believed in the game like we did.” As he pointed out, “the App Store allowed a team from nowhere to make a small game and see big success.”
The Room‘s Fireproof Games is one such team made up of ex-AAA developers, with the studio formed by six ex-lead artists from Criterion Games’ Burnout franchise. Similarly, Warhammer Quest‘s Rodeo Games came from such a background. Formed from executives previously working for the likes of EA, Lionhead, Criterion and Codemasters, Rodeo Games were provided the opportunity to pursue something new, thanks to the App Store.
“Well, we’d been in the AAA games industry for many years and had been talking about how to take steps in setting up our own company. The App Store was just flourishing at the time. It was this awesome, new, bold place for smaller dev teams to put their games in-front of a huge audience. So we crafted a plan with the mindset of making the very best turn based strategy games on iOS, and Rodeo Games was the result,” Ben Murch, co-founder, explained.
Fireproof Games’s The Room
Neil Rennison of Fighting Fantasy developer, Tin Man Games, enjoyed a similar revelatory moment, after a move to Australia, gave him the chance of starting his own indie development studio, just as the iPhone and the App Store came to fruition: “I was originally running a small games art outsource company in the UK and then…I…moved to Australia with the dreams of starting my own indie and making my own titles instead of working on other people’s games.”
How different do they all think things would be if the App Store didn’t exist, though? “Very! Certain types of business models and certain types of games would probably not exist without the App Store,” Simon reckoned. Ben offered similar views, although noted the loss of the “middle tier” of gaming: “The gaming world would be a very different place right now. Just think about how many small companies and jobs have been created just from iOS gaming alone. Before the App Store, there was this surge towards “middle tier” gaming, i.e. titles coming out in the £10 – £20 bracket. I guess that market would have grown more and become an eco-system in itself. However, thanks to the App Store, creators who were interested in that model shifted into the mobile market, effectively crippling the whole “middle tier” gaming sector.”
Rodeo Games’s Warhammer Quest
Mention was also made, by Neil, of the fragmentation of the mobile phone operator universe, something that was a significant problem before the advent of the App Store. “Apple’s stock would be worth a lot less”, noted Barry. All quite rightly pointed out that none of them would be in the position they’re in today, if it wasn’t for the ease of the App Store.
For the most part, all four of our interviewees were very positive about the App Store’s impact. Each citing how it’s “paved the way for many small developers”, as Simon eloquently put it, and enabled them to try riskier material. As Ben pointed out, “Without the App Store, it would be nigh on impossible to get your strange little game idea in front of….well, thousands of people would be a struggle. Suddenly, anyone can release something that has exposure to HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of potential buyers. Just thinking about that blows my mind.”
Financial barriers are also lowered, as Barry explained: “The relative cheapness of mobile games development allows niche ideas to thrive.” Neil reinforced that point, citing how the games industry “was slowly becoming a bloated AAA only console game market and traditional game developers were beginning to struggle as the mid-point of the market was getting squeezed. The app revolution helped give developers options and in a way created its own new market in which everyone had the same opportunities from the big publishers to the lone bedroom coder…[it] was a perfect springboard for budding entrepreneurial devs like us.”
Tin Man Games’s Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom
Simon was slightly more cautious, enjoying the risks that were possible to take, but also citing how it’s “paved the way for some very questionable money-grabbing schemes… the market place has been somewhat flooded with low-quality software. It might have lowered the quality bar for what is considered to be a release-able piece software.”
That’s clearly a thought that runs through each of the developers’ minds, given that each recommends changes that make it easier to find good apps and games. Ben would appreciate a better quality Related Apps section and a twist on the Genius section, “Some form of “We recommend these Apps for you based on what you’ve downloaded already” type thing.” Discoverability is a big thing for Barry too, “There should be a lot more ways to format the lists of games when browsing the store. A chart by user rating is very needed for those smaller companies who make great games but get buried by the marketing clout of richer but arguably less skilful publishers.”
Higher “quality control” is an important wish for Simon, while Neil would appreciate a way to reply to App Store reviewers.
Rodeo Games’s Hunters 2
For the most part, though, all four developers were, understandably, happy with how the App Store is performing, both in terms of business and personal use.
“I think Apple does a marvellous job at finding and promoting good games. It’s so nice that they can give small developers, such as us, a big spotlight if they find something that is good…it’s almost…unbelievable that something as strange as Year Walk can get the same type of exposure as a mainstream game from a big publisher,” beamed Simon.
The “open territory” of the Store was appreciated by Barry, also, “You can upload a game to the store and be published in 150 countries within 24 hours – this is really quite incredible when you compare it with how difficult it was to get a game onto other platforms only a few years ago. It’s pretty much a revolution in terms of enabling creativity,” with Neil offering similar views.
Simogo’s Bumpy Road
As a consumer, it’s also proved quite the hit with Ben pointing out, “it’s that feeling of being able to browse a huge catalogue of games from your sofa, eventually finding something that’s right up your street. They have great landing pages in the App Store making it easy to find great games that you may not have heard of previously.” Neil appreciated the vast wealth of games, too, “it’s enabled me to play games that I haven’t played in over 20 years and also experience new innovative game designs from some truly talented people that wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to shine.”
While it’s clear that the App Store isn’t perfect, mostly in terms of offering great visibility to the titles that deserve it, these four developers have clearly found it an overwhelmingly useful experience. Each of them, from different backgrounds, have found great and deserved success, highlighting the best of what can come out of the App Store in terms of original efforts.
We’re certainly fascinated to see what will come next from these relatively new developers, part of the next generation of exciting game makers.
Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.
Ten years ago, BioWare released the revolutionary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). This took the Dungeons and Dragons combat that BioWare were masters of in the PC niche they had carved out, placed it in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and had a non-linear story where decisions have a major role in what happens. BioWare made all this complexity accessible in a way that both new and existing audiences–including console gamers–fell in love with KOTOR. The success propelled the gaming company to become one of the most important game developers of the past decade, with wildly successful original franchises like the Mass Effect series. Flash-forward to today, and a new generation of gamers gets to play KotOR thanks to renowned port producer Aspyr, known for bringing many titles to the Mac. While the game isn’t always a perfect fit for the iPad and shows its relative age in spots, KotOR is still as transcendent an experience as it was a decade ago, thanks to its sheer depth. –Carter Dotson
Rodeo Games knows strategy. Hunters was a fantastic game that seemed to come out of nowhere, and Hunters 2 pretty much set the bar for a lot of iOS strategy RPGs that would follow it. In fact, they set the bar so high I was worried that Warhammer Quest wouldn’t quite measure up. Either that or end up feeling like more of the same. Turns out I worried for nothing. Warhammer Quest puts players in charge of a group of warriors as they travel the realm seeking fame and fortune. Mechanically the gameplay is similar to Rodeo’s earlier titles with its top-down view and simple but intuitive tap interface, however there’s a much bigger emphasis on close quarters combat since there aren’t any sniper rifles or machine guns to be found. There’s also a liberal sprinkling of more traditional RPG elements such as extra dungeon encounters or even random events, such as a hero getting partially digested by a slime monster, that can keep even the most well prepared players on their toes. –Rob Rich
Find it tough to wake up? I know the feeling. While I struggle to get to sleep at night, I have as much trouble trying to wake up. That snooze button is all too tempting. Wake Alarm is out to stop any such problems and ensure that one gets up at the time they want to. Immediately simple to look at, the app works on a scroll wheel basis, one that’s immediately reminiscent of the classic iPod interface. Simply spin the virtual dial to set the alarm and away it goes. That’s the most basic way to use Wake Alarm, but there’s a little more to it. –Jennifer Allen
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:
Recently, I was given the chance to try out the Crayola Light Marker. This piece of hardware, as the name may describe, allows children to use this chubby crayon-like tool – part laser pointer of sorts – to draw and in other ways interact with the free app associated with this Light Marker. Included with the Light Marker is a simple but nicely functional green plastic stand for the iPad that is thoughtfully included as this app is used on a propped iPad, with children standing between two and three feet away from their target. –Amy Solomon
Jazzy World Tour is a delightful exploration of music around the world, including the same characters and watercolor stylings as seen in the earlier companion app, A Jazzy Day. This app opens up with different countries marked with a flag on a world map. Tap to select a flag to explore the related country. Three sections are included, specifically Learn, Play, and Create. –Amy Solomon
The Conduit HD is probably the finest console-quality FPS available on mobile because it actually is a console FPS on mobile. Originally released as a Wii game by High Voltage Studios, they have now brought it to Android with a fresh coat of paint for HD devices, but with the same gameplay. On mobile scale, it’s quite an achievement, but does the title actually work on mobile? It’s a mixed bag. Players control Michael Ford, a government agent who soon finds himself facing down an alien invasion after being betrayed by a shadow government, and forced to work for the ‘terrorist’ Prometheus who may not be as bad as he seems. Players swap between a variety of weapons and use the “All Seeing Eye” to activate switches, unlock doors, and find hidden items and messages spread throughout the game world. –Carter Dotson
I’m a brave man. I believe a couple centuries ago, I would have been an explorer of sorts. I love a challenge, and few things scare me. Except spiders. In any case, the prospect of switching from a device with a physical keyboard to one with a virtual one made me nervous. I was okay with switching from from one OS to another; I had done my research, liked the new ecosystem and liked the hardware available to me. The thing that really bothered me was the eventuality of having to peck on a touchscreen. I’m here to tell folks: Swype made the switch possible. –Tre Lawrence
“And lo, the hero’s adventure did come to an end because he couldn’t unlock the chest in time.” This is something that does happen in 10000000, the indie match-3 RPG from EightyEight Games (aka Luca Redwood) that has been brought to Android. Sometimes it’s not the enemies that fell the player, it’s the inability to get the keys to unlock doors and chests, leading to one’s doom. Wait, why? Well, in the world of 10000000, players exist on a horizontal scale where they need to keep moving, and anything that slows them down or keeps them from advancing it a threat. Sure, the enemies are greater threats because they’ll actually knock the player back, stopping them on their quest to get ten million points and free the protagonist from his mysterious imprisonment. –Carter Dotson
Waiting for the Warhammer universe to come to your iPhone or iPad? RodeoGames plans on bringing it to you in 2013, according to this post at GamesWorkshop:
This is very exciting news for us here in the office, as not only do we get to tell you all about a new computer game, but we also get the exclusive on it. That’s right, you heard it from us first! Today, Rodeo Games announced that they are working on bringing a Games Workshop classic – Warhammer Quest – to the iPhone and iPad in 2013. As the first Warhammer title to come to a mobile games platform, we were thrilled to find out more about it.
Check out the trailer below, and head over to the blog post to see more images and details for Warhammer Quest.
Remember when Minecraft – Pocket Edition first came out and people were disappointed because it paled so much in comparison to the PC version? Well those differences have been slowly disappearing over the past two years. In fact, this latest update (0.8.0) is purported to be the biggest one yet. And based on what I’m […]