Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shadow Vanguard HD leads our iPad Games of the Week

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Shadow Vanguard HD ($6.99)

Like its console predecessors, the first-ever iPad edition of the Rainbow Six game series brings all the best in tactical, team-oriented combat to our tablet’s intuitive first person shooter controls. N.O.V.A. 2 owners will recognize many of the elements, which blend well into the usual routine. A near-dozen single player campaign, where you sneak into a location, take out the bad guys (triple taps, please), and save the innocents. The levels themselves vary nicely, both in terms of the their play style and size (some big some small), and your pair of AI-driven squad mates handle themselves with great aplomb. Be careful to aim for the head (duh) and take out as many as you can on your own. You’ll earn precious XP, which gives you many unlocks, new weapons, fresh armor, and other goodies between levels. These items follow you into both multiplayer modes. So master the campaign and prepare to dominate online. (Which reminds me, where did I put my snake cam? Don’t head into the field without one!)

Pocket RPG ($2.99)

Let’s get one thing straight: Pocket RPG isn’t big on storyline. If you want a plot, read King Lear. No, this little gem of a dual-stick shooter comes off as a Gauntlet hack and slash clone, dropping you right into the Swing! Slash! Kill! action, with one interesting twist: Your character’s development is linked just to the dungeon you’re crawling at the moment. All of the rank increases, power ups, loot, and other items you earn during each session are available for just that level. Once you move on, it’s back to Level 0. Loot whores, be warned. Still, it’s a fresh approach, and it works well. Forget filling your bags with useless junk, or swapping out those level 0 spells for level 1, 2, and 3 as they drop. With six areas to explore, and several unique classes to play (each with their own save slot), there’s plenty to do in Pocket RPG, and everytime you pick up your iPad, you start fresh. Adventure awaits!

Reckless Getaway ($2.99)

Third person view racing fans, you’ve found your new addiction. Reckless Getaway drops you into the getaway driver’s seat for a wholly original experience: You and your mates just robbed a bank, and it’s time to get out of Dodge! (Strangely enough, in a vehicle closely resembling a vintage Dodge. Who knew.) The cops are always just a wrong turn away, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you through all 16 levels of getaway mayhem. Try the freeway, then take an exit, drift through oncoming traffic, and hit the dirt side roads. The physics are spot-on, with flipping police cars and other bystanders soaring past your screen in geometrically correct angles and speeds. Sadly, all of the cars in the game were gassed up within minutes of getting on the road, so there’s explosions aplenty. And with gas prices this high, that’s a real shame. The best part? You’ll need to try various crazy driving maneuvers to earn points. It only adds to the craziness of just trying to get away from the Fuzz. “Hit it!”

Onslaught! ($1.99)

I was an 80’s era dungeon-crawler fan. Yes, first of the paper variety (D&D, anyone?), but soon 8-bit incarnations of my favorite pastime hit the Commodore 64, Atari, and other platforms. Onslaught! is a love letter from this awkward era, when entering a virtual dungeon of wizards, orcs and goblins was de regeuer for middle school-aged boys everywhere. You’re dropped into a dungeon arena where you’ll need quick dual-stick shooter skills to take out the pixel-rich baddies, bosses, and lil’ bats of badness. The music is 16-bits of solid throwback goodness, with a massive play field to get medieval on the bad guys. The newest update brought a thoroughly modern HTML5 Shield to the in-game store, Gold (bling) Armor, and more. While away your middle-age, children of the 80’s. I’ll join you!

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