Dual-stick geometric shooter

AbstractWar is a fast-paced, top-view, vector-graphics-based arcade shooter, with multiplayer options over Bluetooth.

AbstractWar gives you several interface options, for both your POV and controls, and none of them is particularly good: in the game's Options page (in Spanish only), you can switch between virtual joysticks or accelerometer control (tilting your device to move), and you can choose from various views, including always-centered and stationary ("Classico") modes. "Classico" is often easier because you can see all your enemies, but if you're using virtual joysticks (which are more responsive and reliable than the accelerometer controls) … Read more

Start your streak and swing to win: iPhone apps of the week

Probably like many people reading this blog post, I experienced firsthand the trouble Apple and AT&T had with the overwhelming number of preorders for the iPhone 4 on Tuesday. I thought I was being smart by deciding to skip the long lines and get the iPhone 4 delivered to my house, but I ended up getting nothing but errors after only the first few steps into the process.

After several attempts, I decided to wait a couple of days before trying again and ended up buying the black 32GB model through Apple on Thursday. Unfortunately, with the enormous … Read more

Hand-drawn havoc

Buster Red is a vertical-scrolling arcade shooter with frenetic pacing and a cool and colorful pen-and-ink aesthetic.

Your ship is constantly firing in Buster Red (no fire button needed), and you control movement by touching and dragging around the screen--a system that works surprisingly well most of the time, although occasionally your finger does get in the way, requiring quick repositioning. You also tap the screen to activate temporary or one-off "Buster Moves," such as a forward-firing beam, screen-filling electricity, or a giant, slow-moving fireball. Your ship can hold two "Moves" at once, which you pick … Read more

New iPhone games of the week: Bruce Lee, Crash Bandicoot 2, Karate Champ

Everything old is new again--or at least resurrected. This week's batch of new games includes an early arcade classic, the sequel to an early iPhone smash, and the martial-arts legend himself, Bruce Lee. Get your trigger fingers--er, screen thumbs--ready for all kinds of crazy action.

Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior  This is a must-have for fans of fighting games, Bruce Lee brings incredibly fluid 3D motion capture to the experience. In other words, martial-arts smackdowns never looked so realistic. The game has five modes of play, including an interesting chapter-driven story mode. Alas, there's no multiplayer, at least for now, so you're stucking whooping AI butt. Price: $4.99.

Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2  The original Crash Bandicoot was among the first and most popular games for the iPhone. The sequel is more of the same kart-style racing on a dozen new tracks, but with one major improvement: multiplayer. Up to four players can compete online in three different race modes. That's a splendid addition, but is it worth $9.99? Come on, Activision, you know you'll end up dropping the price in a month or two anyway. Make this $4.99 and be done with it.

Karate Champ  Karate Champ is one of my all-time favorite arcade games, this pixel-perfect recreation gets everything exactly right: the look, the sounds, and even the "upright arcade cabinet with dual joysticks." However, as with so many games, the controls can be frustrating. Sliding onscreen 'sticks is just no substitute for pounding the real deal. Plus, you can't resume a game from where you left off. Like the arcade version, if you walk away, you're done. On the plus side, there's local multiplayer! Price: $1.99.… Read more

Is Pac-Man for iPad worth the price?

As more games are released for Apple's tablet device, some of the old stand-up classics are making the jump to the touch screen. The iPad version of Pac-Man is almost identical to the original in every way, with the same ghost paths, same fruit bonuses, and same intermission movies. But can Pac-Man still be anywhere near as popular as it once was, with today's smooth graphics and multilevel arcade game offerings?

Before you head to the App Store and spend your hard-earned money, there are a couple things you should know about the iPad version of Pac-Man. Though … Read more

Stand-up arcade classic on the iPad

As one of the definitive arcade classics, Pac-Man needs little in the way of introduction. We're sure that many readers can still remember putting quarters up on a Pac-Man machine at the arcade waiting with anticipation for their turn to play. You may also have played on numerous other platforms since the game's release in 1980. Whether you're an old Pac-Man vet or you're one of the few who has never experienced the pill-eating arcade classic, the iPad version is very good, with only a few minor annoyances.

For the uninitiated, the object of the game … Read more

Bring out the heavy artillery

Heavy Gunner 3D is a satisfying if repetitive sci-fi-themed arcade shooter with short, fast-paced levels and an RPG-style system for buying and upgrading weaponry.

Heavy Gunner 3D's most striking feature is its 3D-ness: from your fixed first-person perspective, you look down the barrels of your two guns (one on the left, one on the right, controlled with touch-screen thumb-joysticks), but you can tilt left or right to rotate your view 360 degrees, and you can tilt forward and back to look up and down. This makes for physically involving gameplay, as you rack up kills and chains on large … Read more

Crave 01: Bar bubbles and crotchbots (podcast)

The Crave video podcast returns! Donald Bell and Jasmine France review a weird and wonderful week of posts from CNET's Crave blog, highlighting a new robot from Honda, a vintage video game sound box, a Kug, a cooler, and a privacy helmet that should come with its own spit valve.

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DIY Weekend: Sonic sculpture for arcade lovers

Artist/nerd Steve D'Angelo calls this a sculpture, but we think it's more than that. It's an awesome sculpture.

It's called Action Buttons, and that's exactly what it is. Steve, a Crave reader in Pennsylvania, has put a collection of arcade game buttons on the surface of a small plywood box and wired them up to old-school audio samples downloaded from the Web that play when the arcade-like buttons are pressed.

The sounds aren't from specific games but sound like they could be, with titles like "energize," "fire laser," "… Read more

Old school shoot-'em-up action

StarCannon is a remake of classic arcade shooters of the past, with 2D shoot-'em-up action and challenging boss fights. The graphics are smooth even on the older iPhone 3G. The controls are mostly effective, but can sometimes feel sluggish using a touch-to-move system rather than an onscreen joypad. Your ship fires automatically as long as you are touching the screen so you can play the game using only one finger or your thumb.

You can acquire three different weapons as you play and, just like top-down arcade shooters of the past, StarCannon lets you upgrade each weapon with more … Read more