Republique (Credit: Camouflaj)
Still working your way through the Great Video Game Flood of Holiday 2013? The past few months saw the release of two new consoles and huge games like Assassin’s Creed IV, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and on, and on, and on.
But while that stack of big name games is certainly appealing, there’s a good chance you’ve taken your eye off your iPad and spent most of your gaming time on the couch. And if that’s the case, you missed some killer games.
The Room Two ($4.99, Fireproof Games)
Released quietly at the beginning of December, this follow-up to the award-winning The Room takes its MYST-like gameplay a few steps further. The goal is the same -- twist, slide, poke and prod your way through a series of deviously locked boxes, cabinets and chests -- but the locations are significantly larger and the puzzles far more intricate. It’s occasionally maddening, always riveting stuff, and while it also works just fine on your iPhone, it fares much better on your iPad’s bigger screen.
Duet ($2.99, Kumobius)
Sometime simple is best, and it doesn’t get any simpler than Duet. Your task? Keep the two colored dots from hitting the gray obstacles by spinning them in a circle. This premise quickly evolves, however, into a rhythmic mind-stretcher that will push your hand-eye coordination skills to the breaking point. Minimal, addictive, and stylish, it snuck out in October smack between the releases of Call of Duty: Ghosts and the PlayStation 4. Don't let it sneak away.
République - Episode 1 ($4.99, Camoflauj)
Big Brother is watching your every move in this episodic stealth game. A Kickstarter hit, République tasks you with helping fugitive Hope escape from the clutches of an Orwellian regime. But you’re not just controlling her actions -- your iPad is a window into the operational grid of the facility in which she’s trapped. You’ll hack into cameras, unlock doors, and trigger diversions, all handled with elegant one-touch controls that keep the gameplay simple but the stakes high. It’s a technical showpiece, too, with top-notch visuals and exceptional voice work by the likes of Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect trilogy, Halo 4), David Hayter (Metal Gear Solid) and Khary Payton (Teen Titans).
The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 1 ($4.99, Telltale Games)
Forget the TV show -- the best Walking Dead experience out there is this episodic gaming masterpiece from Telltale Games. Season 1 was an emotionally draining doozie, charging gamers with helping convict Lee protect young Clementine from the insanity of a zombie apocalypse. The second season kicked off across various platforms in mid-December with “All That Remains,” the first of five two-hour installments. You’ll want to have played through the first season before diving in. You’ll also want some thick skin, because playing as a slightly older Clementine presents plenty of moral quandaries and quick decisions. But it’s also some of the most compelling storytelling you’ll find on your tablet.
Skulls of the Shogun ($4.99, 17-Bit)
Gamers died and went to turn-based strategy heaven when this colorful game hit the PC and Xbox 360 in early 2013. But few were aware that it popped up in the App Store just before Thanksgiving, and that’s a shame, because it’s great. As an undead shogun out to enact revenge on your traitorous companions, you’ll summon a skeletal army, tactically outmaneuver enemies, and roar at the sharp writing and smooth, cartoony graphics.
- Video Games