Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Act of War delivers tower defense goodness with an urban warfare twist

This week’s top new game is a tower defense game. Before you say “been there, done that” keep in mind that Act of War is set in an urban defense environment, and its artificial intelligence (AI) for sending the enemies from one side of the map to the other is truly unique and spot-on. Atari, you’ve outdone yourself.

Add a zany zombie-themed traffic control game, plus a lightning-fast rat brawler with a horde of cheese at stake, and there’s many hours of fun to be had. Finally, Bowmaster HD brings a truly immersive archery experience to your iPad. Do you have what it takes to join Robin Hood and the Merry Five?

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.


Act of War: Urban Defense HD
Finally, a fresh tower defense game with an urban defense theme and an AI that will keep you guessing. Thanks, Atari!

iZombie Traffic
Wannabe traffic stoplight engineers, and fans of interstellar zombies, will find hours of enjoyment in this newcomer.

Fat Rat
Forget about who moved your cheese. In Fat Rat you’ll need to roll your rat to collect the most cheese. Let the multiplayer mayhem begin!

Bowmaster HD
Grab a virtual bow and arrow, don your felt hat, and take on the role of a bowman who’s trying to join the Merry Five in this instant virtual archery classic.


Act of War: Urban Defense HD ($2.99)

Tower defense fans, rejoice. Our friends at Atari have just released their newest game, and it’s a solid tower defense game set in the sprawl of the eastern United States. There are legions of enemy tanks, fast-attack Jeeps, helicopters, and stealth baddies doing their best to cross from one side of your cityscape to the other.

As usual, it’s your job to place machine gun bunkers, missile launchers, stealth detection radar sites, and more, all of which will scan for and directly engage the enemy. Unlike other similar titles (Fieldrunners, I’m looking at you) placing turrets won’t always predictably alter the paths of the oncoming units. Sometimes a new turret will cause the baddies to completely avoid the new tower, rendering it useless. Other times, a pair of turrets plopped down in exactly the right spots will get the job done with great prejudice. A visually appealing, top-quality game that every tower defense fan will want to pick up, pronto.

iZombie Traffic ($.99)

Unlike Flight Control or Harbor Master, iZombie Traffic instead puts you in control of an intersection. And instead of crazy drivers trying to beat the yellow lights to get through your four-way stop, you’re in control of letting zombie aliens cross an intergalactic crossroads. Tap the controls to let the backed-up alien craft sail through, or let them back up behind each other to wait their turn. Some ships move faster than others, while some craft outright refuse to obey your commands.

You’ll need to be quick, smart, and focused to make it through each round. Be patient and try a few different approaches before giving up on this gem; it may have shipped without a tutorial, but it isn’t without a serious amount of fun, especially for the younger iPad owners among us.

Fat Rat (FREE)

Who’s up for some family-friendly single, tabletop, or wi-fi multiplayer fun? Fat Rat’s theme is simple. You’re a, well, skinny rat who’s trying his or her best to get rotund. In the single player mode, you do this by tilting your iPad to roll your little self around the top of a barrel, upon which yummy bits of cheese are dropped. The better your balance and rolling skills, the more cheese your eat, and the larger you’ll become.

With four single modes to nosh through (appetizer through to dessert), there’s lots of full-screen action to be had. Next up is the tabletop mode, where up to four players can use an onscreen D-pad to control their players and compete to eat the most cheese in the shortest amount of time. Finally, there’s the local wi-fi multiplayer mode, where you can create a room and battle it out against an opponent using the accelerometer. A fun, kid-friendly game that’s free for a limited time. Go get it!

Bowmaster HD (FREE)

If you’ve played Dead Space for iPad, you know what a truly unique control scheme feels like. And Bowmaster ups the ante in this department. On the surface, it’s a superb archery game, challenging you to hit the distant targets with your arrows using the touchscreen to aim your arrows, control their speed, and finally guide them to their proper destinations.

On a deeper level, the developers at Chrome Gekko have added an additional layer of fun by taking full advantage of the iPad’s multiple control schemes. You tilt your tablet in ever direction to find a target, use your left hand to aim your bow, then choose your arrow type then draw your bow with your right hand. Add a blinking “on target” indicator when you’ve lined up your shot correctly, and a basic AI that will take down targets with one shot if you hit the head area, and you’ve got yourself a free, fun game that pushes the boundaries of fun on the iPad.

Do you have what it takes to join the Merry Five. Have it it, Robin of the Hood!

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