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148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - Top 10 Local Multiplayer Games

Posted by Campbell Bird on December 27th, 2013

When people think of multiplayer gaming experiences nowadays most envision players sitting alone, staring at a screen, and maybe (just maybe) communicating with other players from across the world using a microphone or chat window.

Of course this isn't how it's always been. In the days before multitudes of multiplayer games took advantage of the internet, playing games with other people was social experience. People would gather around a TV or game board and interact with each other; both in the game world as well as reality. This layered interaction - with its ability to have player actions outside of the game create meaningful consequences on the world inside the game - adds a richness and complexity that is unmatched in most online games. Of course, this isn't to say that the ability to hop into matches with anyone that is immediately ready, willing, and able to throw down through the power of the internet doesn't have its own set of advantages, but rather that there is still inherent value in local multiplayer.

Luckily, there seem to be a number of game developers out there who agree with that sentiment. 2013 was a surprisingly good year for me in terms of enjoying local multiplayer experiences on iOS. With a slew of great board game ports, as well as more unique experiences best enjoyed with good game-playing company, I spent most of this year either scoping out the latest Playdek releases or digging into the back catalogue of overlooked awesomeness from years' past. Because of this, I decided to make a list of my favorite titles that scratched my local multiplayer itch the best. Although all these games may not be from 2013, here's what I had the most local fun with throughout the year:

10. Kingdom Builder


Kingdom Builder is a quick-and-dirty worker-placement game, at least in its iOS form. Players have to build their kingdoms based on terrain cards, and random elements like scoring cards and the modular board design can help keep it feeling fresh. Kingdom Builder is good for local play mainly because it is a port of a board game, and it is a relatively quick play. I know its a bit of an older game, but it's has been made more playable within the past year and is worth revisiting.

Beyond the Dead Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 8th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: RATHER STIFF
This zombie-themed pseudo CCG is a real looker, and is an interesting take on a rather saturated genre, but it's also pretty slow.
Read The Full Review »

Dead Trigger 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Mike Deneen on October 28th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: GOOD GETS BETTER
Surviving the sophomore slump, Dead Trigger 2 aims at being the mobile equivalent of games we've seen on consoles.
Read The Full Review »

Halloween - Zombies, Run has Joggers Running Away from Zombies

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 25th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: TERRIFYING EXERCISE FUN :: Read Review »

Zombies, Run! is all about zombies. So, uhh, run!! This fitness first app gets inside the head of the runner as they go on their jog, making them run just a little bit harder as they hear the zombies getting closer. While running, users will also earn supplies that they can use to build and grow a home base by the time they're done with their jog.

Need a reason to run a little bit faster or to make running a little bit more interesting? Throw on some headphones and begin running away from the zombies!

Zombie! Zombie! Zombie! Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad only
By Andrew Stevens on October 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: KILL KILL KILL
Zombie! Zombie! Zombie! is a free-to-play action-packed match-3 title with a deep campaign and survival mode. Match zombies to kill 'em or toss a grenade for even more damage - it's all good!
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: October 7-11, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on October 12th, 2013

Expert App Reviewers


So little time and so very many apps. What's a poor iPhone lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we've ever written.

Monster Adventures

I enjoy Roguelikes. I have a thing for RPGs. I love action-adventure games. I even dabble in monster-collection fairly often. But in all honesty, would anyone expect all of those great tastes to taste great together? Turns out it doesn’t matter because Foursaken Media has mixed them all in the big proverbial jug that is iOS, and the result is so good it just has to be fattening. Monster Adventures begins (and pretty much stays in) the town of Yerpa. It’s a quaint place surrounded by forests, mountains, and snowy plains, all of which are crawling with monsters. Fortunately our hero/playable character stumbles upon a friendly critter in the town’s well, and the duo set out to be the very best. Possibly like no one ever was. --Rob Rich


Gunner Z

There haven’t been a lot of serious attempts to replicate the formula of Zombie Gunship, which is unfortunate: that game made zombie killing fun in a special way. Gunner Z is one of the few that takes it on, but it struggles due in large part to its structure. The game puts players in the gunner seat of a truck that’s out to go blow up some zombies and the human sympathizers that seem to all have military ranks. Players can raise or lower their height to get the perfect angle against zombies, though it never feels like it’s of much practical use. Players get a standard gun of their choice with unlimited ammo, and a set of rockets that can be used to help take out more powerful enemies and large groups of zombies. If the zombies get close they’ll do heavy damage to the truck, and if the truck runs out of health it’s mission over. --Carter Dotson


The Cave

Back before there was ever a Master Chief or even an Angry Bird, there was once an adventurer named Guybrush Threepwood. Ron Gilbert was one of the brains behind the success of LucasArts’ original run of Monkey Island PC titles, later departing from the studio to pursue other projects. Fast forward to 2011, Gilbert re-teamed with fellow LucasArts alum Tim Schafer to re-imagine the adventure game for the modern generation. Has The Cave recaptured the magic of old, or is this a nostalgic trip down frustration lane? Adventure games have had a long legacy of turning a player’s mind to mush. For this reason, it only seems fitting that The Cave harkens back to the classic Maniac Mansion, where the player is faced with selecting which three of the seven available characters to use for the entirety of the game, right out of the gate. Decisions, decisions. Depending upon the selected avatars the puzzles and story may be modified slightly, lending itself well to a least two additional replay sessions. --Blake Grundman


Perfect Shot

Capturing that one perfect shot of a group of friends can be difficult. There’s almost always someone who is blinking, not looking at the camera, or forgetting to smile. Now there is an app available that solves all these problems and more. Perfect Shot couldn’t have a better name since it essentially describes exactly what the app does. Designed specifically with iOS7 in mind, Perfect Shot detects the number of individuals in a photograph and can detect their eyes and smiles. What’s amazing about this app is that it automatically captures a photo once everyone in the group is smiling and not blinking, so there’s no need to press the shutter button. Of course, eye and smile detection can be turned on or off by tapping on the gear icon in the lower right corner. --Angela LaFollette


Toca Cars

I am pleased to have had a chance to review Toca Boca’s new app, Toca Cars. As many may know, Toca Boca is known for their wonderful digital toys based on the real world playthings children use every day, and Toca Cars continues in the footsteps of their other great apps. It is worth explaining that Toca Cars is not so much a first-person POV driving simulator. Instead, it allows one to drive a car around a track with the drag of a finger. More impressive is the chance to drive and crash into the landscape the track has incorporated within; including many various buildings, street signs, a few animals or other characters, colorful ice cream puddles, ramps, and many more details too numerous to name. --Amy Solomon


Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Autumn Dynasty

Good pure RTS games aren’t exactly easy to find on Android. Sure, there are a few good ones, but few can match the strategic depth to be found in Autumn Dynasty. Autumn Dynasty tells the story of a Royal Scholar, an important, intelligent man sent on a routine journey by the ruling government. He runs into a spot of trouble and, after proving himself against his enemies, you’ll follow his story as he grows into a leader and unearths a sinister plot. AD tells a great story and the very well done character art and interesting dialogue really drive the game’s story onwards and gives a lot of incentive to complete the next mission. --Allan Curtis


Evomail

Evomail is part of the new generation of email apps, ones that shoot for a greater degree of accessibility and inbox management. But for me, Evomail comes with one killer feature: the ability to remove emails from the inbox temporarily by ‘snoozing’ them. On my iOS devices, Mailbox’s ease of use and interface has made it my client of choice. This is a problem because I rely on its ability to easily delay emails to a later time to help keep my sanity. Yet despite Mailbox’s expensive acquisition by Dropbox, it’s still an iOS-only affair. It’s frustrating, because it’s something Google has yet to add in as a built-in feature despite making the Android Gmail app more like Mailbox and Evomail with things like swiping actions. So now Evomail is on Android, and with it, the ability to procrastinate on answering emails. But it’s not quite the great email experience that I wanted. --Carter Dotson


PinWar

Pinball is one of those old-school games that are almost always perfect as-is. Why? It presents the perfect union of physics, chance and human skill. It’s beautiful… even the electronic versions seem best when they are presented “traditionally.” Maybe, just maybe PinWar is an exception. “The” exception? In this game, basic pinball gets souped up into a battle zone that pits fast reflexes against human opponents or artificial intelligence. There are a few different play modes. In Quick Battle, it’s a war of attrition; play continues until one side loses all available tokens, with friends being expended with every pinball conceded. This mode is s quick shootout. --Tre Lawrence

And finally, this week, Pocket Gamer took a look at the new and noteworthy iOS games, including Costume Quest, KAMI, Duet, and Ring Run Circus. It also investigated Codea, an app that lets you make games on your iPad. And the site reviewed huge new 3DS adventure, Pokemon X and Y. Take a look, in PG's weekly wrap-up.

Gunner Z Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on October 7th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: DEAD GAME WALKING
Gunner Z has plenty of zombie-killing action, but does it ever get to be fun?
Read The Full Review »

ReKillers Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Stacy Barnes on September 27th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WORTHWHILE ZOMBIE MAYHEM
Had enough of zombies? I don't think so. The undead live on in hair-raising fashion in this grotesque zombie apocalypse scenario by Fossil Software. Pick up a chainsaw and join the mayhem!
Read The Full Review »

Infectonator: Hot Chase Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 16th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: INFECTIOUS
Perhaps not the smartest of games, Infectonator: Hot Chase still manages to ensnare its players and refuses to let go.
Read The Full Review »

2013: Infected Wars Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on September 10th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: DEAD ON ITS FEET
An infectious multiplayer mode saves 2013: Infected Wars from becoming just another generic zombie shooter, but only barely.
Read The Full Review »

Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on September 5th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIGHER EDUCATION
Zombie Highway: Driver's Ed is all about precision driving. And killing zombies.
Read The Full Review »

Dead Defence Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: SOULLESS
Offering fairly drab tower defense gaming, Dead Defence is something we've seen before, too often.
Read The Full Review »

Zombie Ragdoll

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on August 28th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: IMAGINATIVE ZOMBIE-SLAYING
Destroy zombies in a multitude of creative ways by firing them from a cannon onto various lethal contraptions.
Read The Full Review »

Minigore 2: Zombies Now Free To Celebrate Game Series' 4th Anniversary

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on July 31st, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: THE WALKING DEAD :: Read Review »

Blocky, gun-toting mercenary John Gore must fight hordes of murderous chefs, giant lumberjacks, killer penguins, three hundred rabbits, an entire undead army, and one single moose in Minigore 2: Zombies.

Lucky for you, he's doing this all for free, for a limited time, as developer Mountain Sheep has dropped the price of its latest dual-stick shooter to zero to celebrate four brilliant years of the Minigore franchise.

Action Mobile Games Sets Sights on Co-op with 2013: Infected Wars

Posted by Rob Rich on July 26th, 2013

Whenever zombies and/or mutants have overrun the Earth, iOS gamers are always more than happy to take to the streets and start blasting. However, they haven't had many opportunities to do so with friends. That's why James Petty, president of Action Mobile Games, and the rest of the development team have been working on 2013: Infected Wars. They're hoping to push the limits of what iOS gamers have come to expect from their action games, and James was gracious enough to answer a few of our questions about their soon-to-be-released project.

148Apps: What made you decide to create a co-op action game as opposed to a more typical single player affair?
James Petty (JP): There were a few reasons for that. One, it has never been done before on mobile so I wanted us to do something new and fun to try and stand out. Two, I thought it would be really well received by the community since playing multiplayer is always more fun. Three, because it is so difficult to pull off; my hope was Apple would feature us in the App Store at release.

148Apps: I was also wondering just how big the environments might be. Are there multiple paths to explore?
JP: They are not as big as some of the huge PC or console hits that many of us are familiar with. There are different paths you can take to some extent but we had to be creative to allow for the large number of creatures spawned at any given time. I wanted to make sure the player felt like the world was covered with infected. Most people probably don't notice, but on mobile each unique creature takes a ton of resources which is why many games with higher end graphics will cap them at 3 or so. This wouldn't work at all if we wanted to create hordes of enemies. So we were able to optimize the Unreal Engine to such an extent that we can have around 10 at any given time and have some amazing graphics to boot. With our custom spawn system you often don't even notice the cap as we can have another enemy spawn as soon as one dies to really give you the feeling of an enemy 'horde'.

148Apps: It looks like there’s a good mix of classes available (Field Support, Marine, Sniper, Sapper). Do you find that some compliment others better, and was it tough to balance them out?
JP: Yes, this was extremely tough to balance out. It would have been easy to just get rid of the classes and have a bunch of weapons but I think that removes some of the depth you can achieve when you get to choose a strategy and see if it works. The field support in my opinion is the easiest class to master, and I suggest this for any player who isn't as experienced with mobile gaming. The sniper and Sapper are the most challenging and work better in multiplayer.

148Apps: What sort of persistent character progression can we expect in 2013: Infected Wars? Do the characters actually learn skills or become more powerful, or is it more of a rank-based system that unlocks new gear?
JP: There is no gear unlocking in 2013: Infected Wars; instead, the more money you earn from killing infected and the less you die the more money you have. However each class gets benefits with certain weapon types, and as you level up the weapons in that class become more affordable. You also get unique bonuses for each class but there isn't a special move per say. The game is designed to offer fun replayability and you are meant to die. If you challenge players and they realize a mistake is going to cause them to die, lose weapons, and then have to try a mission again it really ups the intensity. I believe the mobile gaming community is really wanting a challenge and I stand 100% by 2013: Infected Wars being the most challenging mobile shooter that will be in the App Store.


148Apps: What would you consider to be 2013: Infected Wars’ most significant feature?
JP: Definitely the fact we have a true full co-op campaign with a ton of content and true hordes of zombies and other infected to kill. And larger than life bosses that actually move around. This has never been done on mobile before and I really hope the community enjoys it. In fact we are already working on our first new content update before the game even hits the App Store.

We'd like to thank James again for taking the time to answer our questions. If you're anxious to get your co-op mutant blasting on, keep an eye out. 2013: Infected Wars should be hitting the App Store within the next couple of weeks and set you back $6.99. Expect a full review from 148Apps when it does!