On the heels of Super Mario Run’s debut on Android, Nintendo released a big update to the iOS version of the game that adds new features and refines gameplay.
Parts of Super Mario Run are free to play. Unlocking the remaining levels requires a one-time In-App Purchase. Nintendo has been criticized by some for making too few levels available for free. Version 2.0 addresses that criticism by letting players unlock courses 1-4 after completing one of Bowser’s challenges. Clear courses 1-4, and new Toad Rally courses are unlocked too.
You can now play Toad Rally with different colors of Yoshi, which will unlock Toads of that same color. Also, Nintendo’s release notes say that new buildings will be available in an upcoming event. The remainder of the updates to the game consist of tweaks to gameplay such as an expansion of the availability of Easy Mode and changes that make it easier to earn Rally Tickets for Toad’s Rally.
The update to Super Mario Run is free and available on the App Store.
Chicago-based Untame released Mushroom 11 on iOS this week as part of Apple's Celebrating Indie Games promotion. Mushroom 11 started as a PC game, but its unique gameplay works especially well in a touch environment. You play as a green blob of goo in a post-apocalyptic world populated by mushrooms, glowing jellyfish-like creatures, and the ruins of the present world. To get around you erase behind the blob, which regenerates on the opposite side. It's a novel mechanic that forces you to approach the game's challenges in a different way. The result is perplexing and fun.
In a continuation of its current promotion of indie games, the App Store has now added a new section dedicated to featuring indie titles.
Chelsea Stark of Polygon adds:
The section kicked off today and will run indefinitely, according to Apple, featuring new games daily, along with highlighting older titles. The games are a mix of free-to-play and paid titles, all selected by the same editorial team that has been highlighting games through the App Store’s history.
The indie games section can be accessed by tapping the 'Celebrating Indie Games' banner at the top of the App Store. Currently it includes featured columns like:
- Our 25 favorite indie games
- Indie game debuts
- Newly discovered indies
- Indie greats: 99¢ for a limited time
- Indie games celebrate innovation...
This new dedicated hub for indie games is available on the tvOS App Store as well, highlighting the kind of quality games that are available not only on Apple's mobile devices, but also its television platform.
Though Apple has stated that the indie games section will be a permanent fixture, it's unclear at this point in what location it will live on. After the current indie promotion ends, will it remain as the top featured banner a while? Or in another featured banner further down on the App Store page? We'll have to wait and see. In any case though, in an App Store that's often dominated by big players, it's exciting to see extra attention pointed toward indies.
The first game review I ever wrote on MacStories was for a delightful puzzle game called A Good Snowman is Hard to Build. The team behind Snowman is back with a new game called Cosmic Express that brings toy-like charm to this challenging puzzle game through playful animation, bright colors, and sound design that perfectly complements the artwork.
Every so often the mashup of familiar game styles results in something unexpected and delightful, which is precisely what Vienna-based Miro Straka and kunabi brother have created with Euclidean Lands. The game has been compared favorably to Monument Valley and Square Enix’s Hitman GO from a design and gameplay perspective. The comparison is apt but doesn’t capture the uniqueness of Euclidean Lands.
Link Twin is an atmospheric puzzle game from Bucharest-based indie development studio Lorraine that follows the story of Lily and Tom, twins in search of their lost parents. The constraint that defines the way each puzzle works is that Lily and Tom can only move through their world in tandem - moving one character forward necessitates moving both forward. It's a simple mechanic that's beautifully implemented through great art and sound direction combined with challenging puzzles that evolve over the course of the game to keep it intriguing.
The App Store looks a little different today. If you opened it and thought you accidentally landed on the Games category page, it would be understandable. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, Apple has launched a major promotion of the finest indie games available on iOS. According to the App Store Games Twitter account, the promotion is running for the next twelve days.
There are many classics featured: Super Hexagon, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery, Monument Valley, Severed, Her Story, and Space Age to name just a few standouts. In addition to indie classics, the banner across the top of the App Store is promoting Mushroom 11 a new game by Untame that looks great, though I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.
The sheer volume of games on the App Store can make the choices feel overwhelming at times. That’s why it’s great to see Apple spotlighting the very best indie games available on iOS. With 12 days to go in the promotion, I expect it will be worth revisiting Apple’s picks. There are currently some gaps in some of the categories highlighted that I expect will fill in with more games as the promotion continues.
The Escapists is an award-winning indie title from Mouldy Toof Studios and Team17 that has been available on consoles and PCs since 2015. This week marked the title’s first appearance on mobile systems, though, with simultaneous releases on iOS and Android. The goal of the game is straightforward – escape from a series of prisons with varying levels of security – but there are so many complex variables at play that The Escapists is good for many hours of exploration.
Many of the best games I've played on iOS recently remix elements of existing genres in new and unexpected ways. Evergrow by Imagility does just that, mixing puzzle, action, and tower defense elements into a fun, colorful game that keeps things interesting by throwing new details at you throughout the game.