There are several games out on various mobile App Store which require players to use “virtual joysticks”, where you must slide your thumb along a smooth surface to simulate moving a “real” joystick. Unfortunately, this system has never worked well for me. ThinkGeek finally has a solution for us gamers yearning to use real joysticks on our iOS devices: The Joystick-IT. Basically, the Joystick-IT is a small joystick made from milled-aluminum which a padded base and suction cup. The base is capacitive screen-compatible and it the entire stick pivots on the suction cup. Installing the Joystick-IT is very simple. Just make sure you clean the surface of your iPad or Android tablet carefully and then pop the stick onto it. It holds very well, even when inverted, and should not pop off accidentally. Moving the Joystick-IT is a very nice experience – whether it be Galaga or Pac-Man, the movement felt natural and I saw immediate improvement in scores over the standard virtual joystick. The only think you have to be careful with is that you position the Joystick-IT exactly on the on-screen virtual stick. Otherwise, of course, you will not get the Joystick-IT to contact the virtual stick when in use. You can also use multiple Joystick-ITs on your screen at one time, suffice it that the game offers more than one virtual joystick.
The Joystick-IT for iPad and other tablets retails for $17.99 for one and $29.99 for two. ThinkGeek also makes a Joystick-IT for mobile phones, which is a bit smaller than the tablet model.
Phosphor Games has announced The Dark Meadow, an upcoming action-adventure title on the iOS platform. The game is due out later this month and utilizes the new Unreal Engine 3 as its visual powerhouse. In addition to the announcement, Phosphor Games also released the game’s debut teaser trailer:
Namco Bandai has released iGunCon, a new iOS application that will allow you to use your iPhone 4 and iPad 2 devices as a GunCon controller for their popular iOS shooters, TIME CRISIS 2ND STRIKE for iPhone and iPod touch, TIME CRISIS 2ND STRIKE HD for iPad and TIME CRISIS 2ND STRIKE. Please keep in mind, this means you will run the game on one iOS device and the iGunCon app on another – this does not allow you to use your iOS device as a GunCon controller for console Time Crisis games.
For us smartphone users, aside from cell connection, the thing that matters most is our precious battery life. As phones draw more juice with faster processors and bigger screens, power is at a premium. Tennrich International Corp and XPal Power have released the PowerSkin line of smartphone battery cases. We managed to get a hold of their iPhone 4 version, which fits both AT&T as well as Verizon iPhone 4’s.
The PowerSkin case is pretty thick, making your iPhone 4 increase girth to 0.77 inches. The width and length of the units also increase, making the iPhone 4 5.1 inches long and 2.5 inches wide – so it definitely makes your iPhone 4 larger than you are used to. It could be an issue for those people who keep their iPhones in cargo and carpenter pockets, so be sure to take note prior to purchase. The case itself is an attractive black silicone with a nice rubberized feel.
Inserting your iPhone 4 into the case is exceptionally easy – in fact, far easier than most cases I have seen. The phone simply slides into the case, bottom-first, then the top part of the silicone case snaps over the top of the phone. Along the bottom side of the case are four blue LEDs which display the battery cases current charge level. By pressing and holding the button on the bottom-side of the case, you can power on and off the PowerSkin. Once plugged in, I got about a day and a half out of the case with a standard amount of usage. Taking the phone to Disneyland today, I got about a full day’s worth (in the amusement park, I took hundreds of images and video for an upcoming segment).
PowerSkin was taking photographers into account with this case as well as the camera port is tapered to allow for a full field of view. Also, the material is a matte finish so you will not get any strange reflections from it onto your lens. In fact, it has enough depth to actually shield the lens from the sun in outdoor conditions while still allowing for photos to be taken.
The PowerSkin uses a mini-USB cable to charge and dock it to your PC. Thankfully, the cable allows for full iPhone 4 sync and charge functionality so you won’t be missing your standard iPhone 4 cable anytime soon.
Overall, I am very impressed with the iPhone 4 PowerSkin battery case. It features a smooth, sexy design with outstanding battery life. Plus, at $79.99 (right now on sale for $69.99) the unit is very reasonably-priced!
Backflip Studios and MGM have announced the release of their new tower defense game based on the cult-status IP, Army of Darkness. Army of Darkness: Defense retails for $2.99 on the iPhone/iPod Touch platforms and $6.99 on the iPad platform. The game puts players into the boots of wise-cracking time-traveler Ash as he fights off hordes of evil Deadites.
For those of you interested in Hector: Badge of Carnage, but don’t want to play it on the Windows PC platform, Telltale Games has announced that the game will be hitting the iPad platform this Thursday for a price of $6.99. If you missed it, you can read our full review of the game for the Windows PC platform. Telltale also annoucned that episode 2 and 3 of the series will be released later this Fall on the Windows PC, Mac, and iPad platforms.
Backflip Studios and MGM Studios have announced that they are working on a new tower defense title for the iOS platform based on the Army of Darkness IP. Army of Darkness: Defense will be out on Thursday, May 12th for $0.99 on the iPhone and $2.99 on the iPad. The game puts players in the role of former S-Mart employee, Ash, as he defends the Necronomicon from the armies of the dead.
“If given the choice of which film would make the best castle defense game, you would be hard pressed to find a better fit than Army of Darkness, and I’m thrilled to be working with the fine folks at MGM to get Army of Darkness: Defense launched,” said Julian Farrior, chief executive officer and founder of Backflip Studios. “We are all massive Army of Darkness fans and it’s been unbelievably awesome to have access to some of the greatest dialogue and characters in film history. We’ve created a truly compelling mobile defense app with this terrific and rich IP that already has an enormous following. This will be a blast to play for both the hardcore AoD fanboys and the newbies alike.”
In honor of Star Wars Day, iPad case developer ClamCase has announced a special ‘Trooper’ edition of their popular iPad ClamCase to ship this Summer. Featuring a Stormtrooper white design, the ClamCase allows users to utilize their iPad in a netbook-style capacity with a build-in keyboard. The regular ClamCase is available now for for an online price of $119 and an in-store price of $149.
Electronic Arts has announced that it is buying popular iOS game developer, Firemint. Firemint developed the popular iOS titles Flight Control and Real Racing, to name a couple. Financial details were not disclosed in the announcement, but we will update this story if we learn more in that area.
“The Firemint team is remarkable for its critical and commercial success,” said Barry Cottle, Executive Vice President and General Manger of EA Interactive. “Having them as part of EAi will accelerate our position as worldwide leader in game development for mobile devices and online gaming platforms.”