Games - Mobile App Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Tools

Our three favorites:

Avengers InitiativeAvengers Initiative 
(Developed by Marvel Entertainment)
Available for: iOSAndroid 
Release: September
Price: $6.99

Most comic book-inspired games don't really adhere to the medium's storytelling roots. They neglect the world-building narrative possibilities inherent in serialized graphic storytelling in favor of self-contained gameplay experiences. Avengers Initiative vows to change all that, rolling out an ongoing series of interconnected installments that gradually reveal new characters, events and challenges adding up to a whole that's even greater than the sum of the title's individual parts. If the first chapter is any indication, mobile gamers are in for something truly special: The battle scenes are over-the-top and intense, bolstered by exceptional HD graphics and responsive controls supporting a variety of attack and defense moves. You also can customize the Hulk with additional armor, weapons and powers, earn achievements and unlock bonus content.

BladeslingerBladeslinger 
(Developed by Luma Arcade)
Available for: iOS, coming soon to Android
Release: November
Price: $2.99

A thrilling mashup of western, horror and steampunk tropes, Bladeslingersets new standards in mobile gaming graphics and storytelling. This hyper-violent third-person shooter follows war veteran and all-around badass William Glaston as he returns to his native Hammer's Peak, a once-thriving Wild West community transformed into a ghost town crawling with scary monsters and super creeps. Armed with a hybrid six-shooter/sword, a mechanical left arm and mystical powers, Glaston must rid Hammer's Peak of the ancient evil consuming it. Bladeslinger's character designs and environments are imaginative and richly detailed, and vivid shadow and lighting effects further enhance the game's cinematic textures. The gaming controls are no less impressive, exploiting touchscreen-based swipe-and-tap interactivity to support a wide range of easy-to-master moves including combo attacks, split-second dodges and monster punches.

PunchquestPunch Quest 
(Developed by Rocketcat Games)
Available for: iOS
Release: October
Price: 99 cents

If your initial response to Punch Quest is something along the lines of "That is an awesome title for a game," then this old-school, arcade-style platformer is unquestionably for you. Rest assured that the game doesn't skimp on the punching or the questing: Your hero rushes headlong through a monster-packed dungeon, throwing haymakers at everything in sight--ogres, zombies, priceless pottery, whatever. Along the way you can unlock special skills and "supermoves," ride a dinosaur that shoots lasers from its mouth, don stylish hats and destroy a supernatural egg that transforms you into a magical gnome. And if you think that last sentence is over-the-top, just wait until you play the game.