Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AR Missile HD turns your iPad 2 into an aperture of destruction in our Games of the Week

When I showed my wife AR Missile HD, her first reaction was: “You mean I could take a picture of an old boyfriend and then blast away at him with missles? That’s awesome!”

Given that we’ve been married for 16 years, I’m thinking she meant “current husband.” That said, this is a fresh iPad 2-only app that turns your shiny-new camera into an aperture of destruction, and it leads our Games of the Week round-up.

Add in an always-fun ragdoll physics puzzler/shooter, a pipeline puzzle app that challenges you to connect things like gasoline sources to thirsty consumers, and a full-on strategy, hex-based board game set in a post apocalyptic/cyberpunk futurescape, and you’ve got yourself a solid set of fresh titles for your Apple tablet.


AR Missile HD
iPad 2 owners: This augmented reality app allows you to shoot missiles at anything in your camera’s sights, then share the carnage via Twitter.

Nuclear Ragdoll for iPad
Load your cannon with ragdolls and blast away at the targets across 30 challenging levels.

Gas Tycoon 2 HD: Water World
Connect natural resources with consumers in this pipeline-laying puzzler.

Neuroshima Hex Puzzle
Strategy hex puzzler that lets you blast away at raging mutants, bloodthirsty gangs, and evil machines.

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


AR Missle HD ($.99)

Smartphone users have been using their built-in cameras to augment reality (AR) for a few years now. AR apps let us find fast food locations, star clusters, live Tweeters and their Tweets, and more, just by pointing our cameras at the space around us.

Now that the iPad 2 sports a pair of cameras, it only makes sense that games would start to emerge to take advantage of AR on our new tablets.

In this instant classic, you can take a picture of anything – oppressive dictators, a broken-down car, your mother-in-law on the 9th day of her visit – and then shoot a hail of virtual missiles at the subject. The app’s AI does an excellent job of rendering “attack points” across your image, smartly locking into things like heads, sharp edges, even small animals in the frame, then letting you tap away to send up to 16 missiles at your target. The icing on the cake? You can take a picture of your most vicious attacks, then post them to your Twitter feed. TAKE THAT!

Nuclear Ragdoll for iPad ($.99)

Boasting 30 levels, an unlimited supply of hand-drawn ragdolls, real-time physics, and absolutely no time limit, Nuclear Ragdoll for iPad will have you shooting hapless, cart-wheeling avatars at various targets for days to come.

At a dollar-menu price, it’s hard to shoot any holes in this fun offering. Load your cannon with a ragdoll, drag your finger to aim and increase the power of your shot, then release to FIRE! Your avatar will hit objects and platforms as it flies across the screen, all in an effort to crash into the very large, shiny, red target. Hit the target, and its on to the next level. Miss, and it’s time to reload and re-think your trajectory. The hand-drawn levels, rendered on top of a crumpled up piece of graph paper, give the game a down-home feel that will keep you coming back for more.

Gas Tycoon 2 HD: Water World (FREE)

Our ocean is filled with any number of natural resources. Lucky for you, a ready-made set of pipeline pieces have been arrayed between each resource and any number of containers, gasoline pumps, etc. Your job is to tap each pipeline piece and container so the resource flows from the ocean floor to all destinations simultaneously.

Sound easy? On paper, sure. In reality, these extra-large play fields (over the other Gas Tycoon titles) can be frustratingly difficult to line up perfectly. But that’s what puzzle fans crave, right? You’ll spend hours working your way through this free set of puzzles, and will likely want to grab the full version to get all 10 skins of this popular series, including: Oil Tycoon, City Tycoon, Bamboo Tubes, Flying Land, RailRoad Tycoon, and more. New animations, bonuses for nailing each puzzle quickly, and the calming under-water theme is sure to please.

Neuroshima Hex Puzzle ($2.99)

It may be the end of the world, but who says you can’t go out with a bang? This strategy hex puzzler lets you blast away at raging mutants, bloodthirsty gangs, and evil machines. If you’re confused by the term “hex puzzler,” don’t worry.

Here’s the jist: You’re presented with a post-apocalyptic game field of approx. 20 hexagonal tiles. Your headquarters takes up one spot, while your enemy fills a second. It’s your job to place attack tiles on the board near your opponent, the rotate their attack points so they inflict damage (reduce the HP or hit points of other tiles.) The winner is the side who’s HQ has more HP than the enemy’s at the end of the battle. As you can imagine, there are any number of special tiles to place in very specific locations across all 100 levels of this monster, and rotating the tiles so their attack points line up perfectly is a real challenge as the levels wear on.

Plan your attacks wisely, and you’ll be the next Mad Max blazing a path beyond the Thunderdome. Take too much damage and you’ll be scavenging for food with the rest what’s left of humanity. Serious strategy puzzle fans will revel in the artwork, game play, and uniqueness of this app.

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