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Let’s play pretend. Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal announces that he’s got a game coming out. Despite a few forays outside the realm of sports (remember the magic of Kazaam and hard-hitting rhymes of “Biological Didn’t Bother”?), you assume this venture will have something to do rebounds, layups and fast breaks.

Well, that’s partially true of Shaqdown, but the complementing points of the plot are closer to The Walking Dead than SportsCenter. In the game, Shaq is the Justice Bringer, thwarting mutant zombies with slams, uppercuts and laser beams.

You’re clearly confused by this intro. But you’re also interested in what the heck is going on with this game and how exactly Shaq came to be fighting the supernatural. Read on after the jump to get the gist and to find out if Shaqdown is good for more than just a few laughs. (more…)

Flow Free is a puzzle game that involves connecting colored dots on a grid. The concept is as simple as can be, and yet as the levels progress, this becomes more of a challenge than you might think.

If you like puzzles that require some meditation and strategy, and if you’re the kind of player who just has to dominate a level — not matter how many times you have to replay it — before moving on to the next, then Flow Free is right up your alley. Click “more” to take a look. (more…)

Jordan Mechner, later responsible for the Prince of Persia game franchise, released his first game in 1984 for the Apple II. This game was Karateka. It’s a side-scrolling game featuring industry changing one-on-one combat about a lover trying to save the Princess Mariko from Akuma’s castle fortress. It’s a simple, classic video game story.

Mechner returned to his independent roots earlier this year to remake the game in HD. First appearing on consoles, the remake has an all-star developer team: Screenwriter John August (who is listed as a producer), Grammy-winning composer Christopher Tin, and artist Jeff Matsuda were all involved in the production. I never played the original, so I’m walking into this with fresh eyes. And I was not disappointed. (more…)

Ever walk into a mall and see some kid wearing an Angry Birds T-shirt? Maybe there’s a friend of yours who has a stuffed animal shaped like the red bird in the game. Possibly your dad is hooked on the app like crack — you get the picture.

That game was developed by Rovio, and recently a few of their developers spun off to create their own company, Boomlagoon. Their first release is called Noble Nutlings, and it’s the tale of three squirrels, a car and a bunch of acorns. Did they create the next Angry Birds or will these rodents go feral? Let’s find out after the jump. (more…)

It’s always nice to find something with a truly new and inventive look, and that’s what I found with Clay Jam. The graphics are really surprising and charming to say the least, reminiscent of stop motion claymation. After downloading Clay Jam based solely on looks, I wondered if there was anything to the gameplay. Would this be just another pretty face that relied on nice graphics? Or is the action a match for the animation? (more…)

I have mixed feelings about most games that I play on my iPhone. Sure, they’re fun, particularly for quick spells here and there, but put me in front of something that takes more time and I just lose interest.

But then there are games that go above and beyond the normal. They’re easy to pick up and play, yet addictive enough to lose yourself in for hours. They’re puzzlers, yet there’s something still beneath the surface. That, in essence, is Hundreds. (more…)

When the world’s greatest superheroes unite, it’s guaranteed to be a game-worthy event. No, we’re not talking about the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk of Marvel Comics’ Avengers team and some spin-off app. Today, we’re talking about their DC Comics counterparts, the Justice League, and its roster of icons, specifically Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash, all of whom appear in Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense.

With such well-known playable avatars running around your iOS screen, can this Justice League role-play save the day from lackluster adaptations of the past? Read on after the jump to find out. (more…)

I wasn’t one of the guy who latched onto the Grand Theft Auto series when it first hit big in the late 1990s. Instead, I came along in 2002 when Grand Theft Auto: Vice City first was released, and I burned away my 20s trying to get 100% completion on the console title as well as all of its sequels (and eventually, GTA: III). Man did I love that game.

But the GTA series on iOS has been a bit more finicky for me. GTA: III was too difficult to control, and I never saw the appeal in Chinatown Wars. At the time, I chalked it up to my awkwardness with a virtual controller combined with a faulty UI, but Rockstar promised that all that went away with the 10-year anniversary release of GTA: Vice City on iOS. Did they succeed in making the classic game fun to play on a touchscreen device, or is it just more of the same? Let’s find out after the jump. (more…)

Beat-’em-up games have sort of a base appeal. While playing them, you essentially keep hitting things until there are no more things to hit. Along the way, you might integrate strategy to achieve this task faster or find ways to hit harder, but the formulas found in these games — especially when it comes to enemy attacks — keep them mindlessly simple, unrivaled fun that probably encourages violent behavior in the real world.

Ah, well.

Several games surround their brawls with heroic stories of saving the day and rescuing enslaved denizens of fictional cities. Not Beatdown. The premise in this punch-packing bout is all about revenge. If you’re ready to take out some aggression, Beatdown might just be the game for you. Find out why after the jump.

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It’s hard to say exactly what it is about Pudding Monsters that makes it so addictive and so easy on the eyes, since it scores high marks all around. You could chalk it up to slick 3-D graphics, the cute characters, the smooth animation, the pleasantly quirky sound effects, and of course, the simple-yet-not-so-simple puzzles.

But really it’s the balance of all of the above that makes the game such a winner. Like my favorite Pixar films that I can watch over and over, Pudding Monsters is a game that makes me smile every time I play. (more…)

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