Lat­est iOS games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

The past month was a huge one for iPhone hard­ware, from the now-re­leased iPhone 8 and 8 Plus to the up­com­ing iPhone X, but you don’t need a new de­vice to have a lit­tle fun right now. We saw loads of in­trigu­ing new iPhone and iPad games de­but. Th­ese are the games that made the strong­est im­pres­sion, from the ethe­real Flower and puz­zling The Wit­ness to the fran­tic on­line bat­tles of Mod­ern Com­bat Ver­sus and the glossy hoops ac­tion of NBA 2K18.

1. Flower Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/y924oxcs

First re­leased for PlaySta­tion 3 in 2009, Flower is one of my all-time favourite video games, so imag­ine my sur­prise when it popped up on the App Store. It’s a quiet, al­most med­i­ta­tive ex­pe­ri­ence in which you con­trol ac­tual flower petals, be­gin­ning with one and then guid­ing it around open spa­ces with the breeze to ac­ti­vate other flow­ers and re-beau­tify the sur­round­ings.

Yes, it’s an 'art game’, but it’s a re­ally gor­geous and un­ex­pect­edly emo­tional one. And it works pretty well on iOS, let­ting you tilt your de­vice to send the petals soar­ing around as you tap and hold the screen. I can’t rec­om­mend it enough.

2. The Wit­ness Price: £9.99 from tinyurl.com/ycuqr7tc

Six months af­ter its Mac de­but, The Wit­ness is now also avail­able on iOS, and it’s surely one of the meati­est and most en­gross­ing puz­zle games found on the App Store. This first-per­son ex­pe­ri­ence finds you on a vi­brant, de­serted is­land filled with hun­dreds of puzzles, and you’ll wan­der about the world and try and solve them to fig­ure out the mys­tery at hand.

The brain-teasers start sim­ply enough with lit­tle maze puzzles on plac­ards, which you’ll solve by draw­ing your fin­ger from start to fin­ish, but they quickly be­come sig­nif­i­cantly more com­pli­cated and start to be more in­ter­twined with your sur­round­ings. It could take you dozens of hours to play through The Wit­ness, but it seems like it’d be time well spent.

3. Mod­ern Com­bat Ver­sus Price: Free from tinyurl.com/yd­daloty

Gameloft’s Mod­ern Com­bat se­ries has been a re­li­able source for on­line mul­ti­player thrills over the years, even if it’s pretty much been a car­bon copy of Call of Duty – and this time around, there’s no sin­gle-player cam­paign mode to pull you away from the com­pet­i­tive ac­tion. That’s right: as the ti­tle sug­gests, Mod­ern Com­bat Ver­sus is all about on­line play. Luck­ily, it’s all pretty im­pres­sive. This is eas­ily one of the best-look­ing games I’ve ever played on iPhone or iPad, ramp­ing up the ‘con­sole-qual­ity’ claim to new heights, and the con­trols are a bit sim­pler this time around to make the first-per­son blast­ing even more man­age­able. It’s still a free-to-play game, so there might be some an­noy­ances along the way, but the core ac­tion is stronger than ever.

4. NBA 2K18 Price: £7.99 from tinyurl.com/y9t­zoorc

Look­ing to shoot some hoops on your com­mute? 2K Sports is back with NBA 2K18, which de­liv­ers an­other im­pres­sive on-the-go sim­u­la­tion. While it’ll never be quite as flashy or fully-fea­tured as the con­sole game, the iOS ren­di­tion does a stel­lar job of cap­tur­ing the qual­ity of the larger ex­pe­ri­ence in a much cheaper pack­age. The play­ers look (mostly) life­like in mo­tion and the game­play is re­al­is­tic and en­ter­tain­ing, plus there are in-depth modes avail­able be­yond do­ing quick pickup matches. For ex­am­ple, The As­so­ci­a­tion mode lets you guide a fran­chise across mul­ti­ple sea­sons, while the MyCa­reer mode has you con­trol just one player dur­ing his NBA as­cent, in­stead of a full team. It’s pretty flashy for £7.99, con­sid­er­ing the source ma­te­rial.

5. Push & Pop Price: Free from tinyurl.com/y6ud­hhxs

Look­ing for some­thing free and fun to fill a few min­utes dur­ing the day? Push & Pop might do the trick. This lit­tle puz­zle game is hugely ap­peal­ing, bring­ing to­gether el­e­ments from Tetris and mod­ern mo­bile clas­sic Threes. In essence, you’ll push around boxes to cre­ate com­plete lines and clear them from the board, cre­at­ing space in the process.

How­ever, in a very Threes-like move, the ac­tion takes place in a very com­pact area, and ev­ery time you move, a new box comes onto the screen. That means you’ll need to con­tinue steadily clear­ing lines to have room to keep play­ing. It’s claus­tro­pho­bic but re­ally com­pelling, with the thump­ing synth sound­track and chang­ing colours keep­ing the ex­cite­ment high all the while.

6. Iron Marines Price: £4.99 from tinyurl.com/yby43e95

The King­dom Rush tower de­fence se­ries just kept get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter, but rather than pump out a fourth en­try, de­vel­oper Iron­hide has turned its at­ten­tion to real-time strat­egy with Iron Marines. It looks much the same as the pre­vi­ous games and even has a sim­i­lar in­ter­face, but in­stead of hold­ing down the fort by build­ing of­fen­sive tow­ers, you’ll ex­plore alien plan­ets and blast their ag­gres­sive in­hab­i­tants to bits. Even with the shift in game style, it doesn’t feel dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent from King­dom Rush, but’s that’s be­cause it’s just as smartly stream­lined and built for on-thego ac­tion. It’s pretty hearty, though: Iron Marines has 14 main cam­paign mis­sions, 10 more spe­cial ops, an ‘im­pos­si­ble mode’, and loads of up­grades to un­lock.

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