The weekend approaches, which means it's time for GameSpot's weekly look at the most interesting recent releases on Apple's App Store. Think of it as our gift to you--our lovely, lovely gift where GameSpot editors from around the world get to play games on their iPads and iPhones and tell you which ones are worth a look. So it's a win-win for everyone, really.
Shadowgun--iPhone and iPad
Let's get this out of the way early: Shadowgun is eye candy for mobile devices. This third-person shooter was built on the Unity platform, and it looks extremely impressive, particularly on the larger screen of the iPad. The Gears of War series is the obvious inspiration, with gruff protagonist John Slade (a moniker that sounds like it was spewed out of a random tough-guy name generator) looking more than a little like the boys from Delta Squad. Cover is the key mechanic here, and you simply need to walk up to any appropriate cover surface for Slade to stick. Controls are surprisingly tight; touching any part of the left side of your device's screen controls Slade's movements, while the right side is used for fine aiming. Controls work well, although it's still not quite the level of accuracy you'd get from PCs and consoles. It's not all great, though. Enemies are as dumb as planks of wood and often happy to expose some part of their bodies as a meat catcher for your bullets. The weapons all lack real punch, and the levels feel sparse and lack personality. It may not have the finesse or brutal fun of Gears of War 3 (but let's face it, few games do), but it's still a decent shooting romp for the few hours it'll take to complete the campaign. And did we mention it looks good?
Boss Battles HD--iPhone and iPad
Shoot-'em-up games (shmups for short) are a niche genre for a reason; they're often ridiculously difficult, with play screens filled with bullets, lasers, missiles, tentacles, and all sorts of other hazards to avoid. Boss Battles HD eases you into bullet hell, with this shmup featuring levels with a nice difficulty curve, starting you off with the extremely manageable to the downright insane. It also helps that the controls are tight; you use your finger to move your ship around, and all the actual shooting is taken care of automatically. Navigating the ship with your finger is an extremely intuitive control scheme for a shmup, and the controls respond well to your movements. The game also has a quirky sense of humor (taking a leaf out of the Starfox series, all of the characters here are animals). There are upgrades and new weapons to buy, as well as pods to assist your ship with extra firepower or defense. Best of all, it's free, although you will have to view some static ads once in a while.
FIFA 12--iPhone and iPad
We loved the latest version of FIFA for consoles (check out our review here), though we haven't spent as much time with its portable version. But we think we might end up loving it as well. FIFA 12 for mobile devices is an impressive package, featuring dozens of licensed leagues, hundreds of real teams, and thousands of players. It features your standard match types, and it also has a full-featured manager mode that allows you to take control of your favorite club over multiple seasons and control transfers, staff, training, finances, and more. You'll also get control when it comes to match day, and the controls are pretty slick. As well as using a virtual pad to control the action, you'll need to use swipes and gestures to perform more complex moves. It all flows quite well, and the player physics and animations are again top notch. There's a lot of content packed into FIFA 12, and it's a great way to continue your football obsession away from the console and couch and on the road.
Katamari Amore--iPhone and iPad
Ah, king of all cosmos. It's nice to see your tight-pants-wearing, mustachioed self is still sending your long-suffering prince out into the universe to collect all manner of strange objects using his sticky, sticky ball. Katamari Amore is the latest iteration of this long-running series to appear on mobile devices, and it comes with all the ball-rolling charm of previous games. As always, your job as the prince is to roll a katamari ball around, picking up objects to expand the size of your ball; the bigger your ball gets, the bigger the objects you can carry. Katamari Amore features three different control schemes: one uses a single virtual joystick, one uses two for tanklike controls, and one uses the iPhone/iPad's tilt sensors (we preferred the second option). As always, there are plenty of strange objects to collect, and the graphics may not be outstanding, but the kooky charm that Katamari games have always possessed still shines through here. Katamari Amore is a free download, but you only get one level and mode to play through with that, so expect to shell out some real cash to buy extra levels if you decide to (ahem) stick with the game. Geddit? Stick?
GameSpot's weekly mobile games recommendation list aims to bring you a snapshot of what games the editorial team members around the globe are enjoying on their phones and tablets. For a more in-depth explanation of GameSpot's mobile games coverage policy, click here. For more games, be sure to check out our previous coverage:
Top iPhone/iPad Games - September 23, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - September 9, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - September 2, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 26, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 19, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 12, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - August 5, 2011
Top iPhone/iPad Games - July 29, 2011
And for even more mobile videos, check out our new show Appetite for Distraction.