New Release: 2-Bit Cowboy Free

A free and ad-supported version of the excellent retro-styled action platformer 2-Bit Cowboy is now available. Just like the $0.99 paid version, this free version is compatible with both Standard and Extended layout MFi controllers.

2 Bit Cowboy Free Screenshot Afterpad
Classic, retro platforming action

I covered the original version of 2-Bit Cowboy in a lengthy review, and I don’t have much to add here. It’s a fun, solid, game that does a great job harkening back to the pixel-art platforming games of the NES and GameBoy. If you’re a fan of that sort of game, you should definitely give this game a look. Especially now that you can do it for free.

Updated: Secret of Mana

Recently, Square Enix saw fit to release a surprise update for Secret of Mana, adding controller support, and tweaking some of the visuals.

While controller support is a welcome addition, of course, some of the visual changes are a little less welcome. New is the “widescreen mode”, which basically adds unnecessary green bars to the sides of the screen, rather than allowing the standard letterbox black bars. Also new is “retina” graphics, which basically amount to a blur filter dropped over the previously-beautiful pixel art.

Secret of Mana iPhone Controller Update
A bit blurry and with tacky borders, but controller support more than makes up for it

These changes are perhaps unfortunate, but they certainly don’t ruin the experience. Secret of Mana is one of the most beloved and respected RPGs of it’s generation. Seeing the iOS version get ANY love is always welcome. And the control improvements really are a massive improvement. In addition to full controller support with both Standard and Extended layouts, movement now takes place over 360 degrees of motion. All previous versions of this game locked motion along preset axes.

Razer Junglecat Image Gallery

With the Razer Junglecat scheduled for release within the next few weeks, I figured now would be a good time to upload some additional pictures of this highly anticipated controller.

The Junglecat will be available in both the white version pictured here and a black version. The model pictured here is close to final, and should be very similar to the version that will be on sale soon.

Razer Junglecat empty picture
Without the iPhone, the Junglecat weighs close to nothing
Razer Junglecat iPhone removal picture
Remove the side piece of the Junglecat and slide the iPhone in when you’re ready to play
Razer Junglecat KOTOR gameplay picture
KOTOR never played this well on a handheld
Razer Junglecat picture
Customize the Junglecat’s controls with the companion app
Razer Junglecat PSPGo comparison picture
The Junglecat is styled similar to the PSPGo, but is a far superior play experience
Razer Junglecat vs Logitech Powershell picture
The Razer Junglecat and the Logitech Powershell compared
Razer Junglecat open back picture
The back of the Junglecat, with camera hole
Razer Junglecat sideways thin picture
Extremely thin design
Razer Junglecat closed Sonic picture
The Junglecat is elegant, small, and pocketable when closed
Razer Junglecat Kraken picture
The Razer Junglecat controller and Razer Kraken Pro headset - serious iOS gaming
Razer Junglecat EarPods picture
Of course, the Junglecat works perfectly well with Apple’s EarPods
Razer Junglecat Angry Birds Go picture
Racing games play much better with physical controls than they do with touch or an accelerometer
Razer Junglecat back closed picture
An embossed Razer logo is the only obvious design flourish; everything else is understated and clean
Razer Junglecat Jet Set Radio picture
The Junglecat makes a lot of iPhone games that never really worked on a touchscreen completely playable
Razer Junglecat Profile picture
Razer is undeniably serious about iOS gaming

Horipad MFi Controller Available August 31st from Hori

Hotly anticipated PlayStation-style iOS controller to be released August 31st for $79

Details about Hori’s upcoming MFi controller are finally starting to take shape. We’ve learned that Hori intends to launch the controller for $79 on August 31st, with worldwide availability. There had been some concerns that the Horipad would be exclusive to Japan, but that turns out not to be the case.

Hori Horipad MFi Controller Release Date Images - Profile
The Horipad, head-on

The Horipad was revealed during the launch of the Japanese version of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite for iOS. Since then, it’s quickly been one of the most hotly anticipated of the upcoming controllers, especially among fans of the PlayStation controller layout.

Hori Horipad MFi Controller Release Date Images - Box Art
The package we’ll soon be seeing in Apple Stores everywhere

Throughout the course of E3, TouchArcade managed to get a hands-on with the Horipad, and they were impressed with the build quality. That isn’t particularly surprising, as Hori is generally regarded as a quality brand, at least in terms of their fighting game joysticks and accessories.

Hori Horipad MFi Controller Release Date Images - Stand
Stand your iPhone or iPad up while you play

Hori has opted to include a stand with the Horipad, allowing players to mount their iPhones and iPads on a table or desk while playing. While perfectly suitable for iPad users, this is perhaps less useful for iPhone owners. Many upcoming controllers from other manufactures incorporate some form of clip on the controller itself, allowing the iPhone to be held in place during play, rather than requiring the player to stay close to a stationary table or surface.

Hori Horipad MFi Controller Release Date Images - Profile
The Horipad, in profile

The layout of the Horipad borrows heavily from the PlayStation Dual Shock design, with two analog sticks parallel to one another beneath a d-pad and face buttons on the home row. Notably, the actual design of the analog sticks is much closer to those of the Xbox 360 than of the Dual Shock, with the sticks featuring a concave center instead of a rubberized convex one. Also notable is the rear of the device, which eschews the modern practice of using triggers for the lower shoulder controls, instead opting for the PlayStation 2 style design of using buttons for the R2 and L2 controls.

The Horipad looks like it will be a worthy contender for iOS gamers looking for a more substantial Bluetooth gamepad than the diminutive SteelSeries Stratus controller. Assuming Hori keeps to the August 31st release window, they might just beat their competitors to market with the first full wireless gamepad. Judging from the demands I’ve been hearing, there are a lot of gamers willing to jump on such a product.

Link: Afterpad, now on Facebook

Facebook users now have one more option to get the latest news from Afterpad, thanks to our new Facebook presence at facebook.com/Afterpad!

This website will still remain the primary source of information - the Facebook page is simply another option for fans of that social network. It joins Twitter (twitter.com/Afterpad), Tumblr (tumblr.com/follow/Afterpad), as well as our traditional RSS Feed options.

Review: Transworld Endless Skater

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets Temple Run

Transworld Endless Skater, a recently released skateboarding game for iOS, takes on a difficult task of merging the twitch-reaction lane changing gameplay of Temple Run with the combo-based extreme sports gameplay pioneered by the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. After spending some time playing this game, I’m happy to say it executes that mash-up splendidly.

Transworld Endless Skater tasks you with transversing a series of levels which are presented in a straight path, with a variety of lanes. Your goal is to trick, jump, and grind your way across various obstacles and jumps, while at the same time changing lanes to avoid hazards and find the best trick spots. i

Controller support is mixed. Extended controllers are fully supported both in-game and in the menu, but Standard layout controllers like the PowerShell and the Junglecat don’t work properly. Changing lanes requires tapping the left and right bottom trigger buttons, which Standard layout controllers don’t have. Hopefully this will be fixed shortly, because aside from this one complication, there doesn’t seem to be any issue playing with the Standard layout controller.

Other than that, controls are mapped very similarly to the old Tony Hawk games - A to jump, B to grab, X to trick, Y to grind. It’s a welcome familiarity, considering just how much time I put into the old THPS series on the Playstation! This is one of those games that plays so, so much better with a controller than it does with a touch-screen.

Transworld Endles Skater iOS Review
Indoors and outdoors, often throughout the same level

Transworld Endles Skater does a great job bridging the extreme skateboarding genre with the lane-based reaction genre. Fans of either would be wise to give it a shot. It’s free to download, with a “Gamer” in-app purchase to remove ads and increase cash drops.

Update

Good news: according to the developer’s comments at the end of this review, an update has already been submitted to enable full control with Standard layout controllers!

New Release: Manuganu 2 Lite

A lite version of the recently released twitch-reaction-platformer Manuganu 2 just hit the App Store, and like its full-featured sibling, features full MFi controller support.

manuganu 2 review image swinging
Fun, polished platforming across colorful worlds

I reviewed Manuganu 2 a few weeks ago and quite liked it. If you’re still on the fence, check out the review, or just download the lite version - it is absolutely worth the few minutes it takes to give it a shot.

Link: 'Implosion coming soon'

Mfi4Gamerz posts a nice round-up of Implosion, an upcoming sci-fi themed action game with MFi controller support. Looking forward to this one.

Link: 'Metal, a new graphics API for iOS 8'

The developers behind Unity share a brief rundown of some of the benefits of Apple’s new Metal API, as well as discussing how it relates to the Unity engine.

Based on our testing so far, we have seen API+driver overhead vanish to just a few percent of CPU time. That is a tremendous improvement comparing to 15-40% of CPU time that it used to be before! (…)

We’re also looking forward to using Metal ability to do rendering submissions from multiple threads; this opens up very interesting optimization opportunities as well.

Read More

Unity is the engine behind a massive number of iOS games, from flagship graphics powerhouses to indie classics. Metal is going to be a huge deal for a lot of developers.

New Release: Table Top Racing Premium Edition

A new, premium version of the classic iOS kart-racer Table Top Racing was just released on to the App Store.

Unfortunately, this has been a bit of a controversial release. The original version of Table Top Racing was initially released as a premium game, and was then converted to freemium in a subsequent updated, leaving the people who originally purchased the product with a significantly worse experience, filled with ads and freemium aspects.

This version of the game restores things to the premium structure they originally were, and is a much better game for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything to help the people who were screwed over by the freemium bait-and-switch undergone by the original app.

The developers seem to acknowledge the mistake they made, and are attempting to at least give hardcore gamers what they’ve been asking for. As long as this version actually stays premium this time, this one is an easy recommendation for racing game fans.