In September 2015, not long after the unveiling of the fourth-generation Apple TV, developer Legendo Entertainment confirmed three games for the soon to be launched platform: Armada of Undead, Pure Pinball, and Dracula Twins. With no sign of those games over a year later, I reached out to Legendo for comment and received the exciting news that the excellent Dracula Twins would be “hitting the tvOS App Store soon!”
“We were/are waiting for the platform to mature,” replied Einar Charles of Legendo Entertainment, “and now that Minecraft is available, I think it may be getting its legs.” With Minecraft seeming to be the catalyst for Legendo to head to Apple TV, I wouldn’t mind betting that other developers will be thinking along the same lines, meaning we might see quite a few exciting releases on the heels of Mojang’s juggernaut.
A very stylish 2D action platformer, Dracula Twins should be a nice addition to the Apple TV’s catalogue, and I look forward to seeing how it translates to the big screen. In the meantime, while waiting for its release, Apple TV gamers have some excellent options with which to scratch that 2D platforming itch. Check out the platforming section in ATVG’s Best Apple TV Games: Year One. Titles such as Dan The Man (full review), Rayman Adventures, and Tons of Bullets are easy recommendations. Also, I’ve recently discovered the brilliant Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire, which I’ll have a full review of in the near future. Spoiler alert, it’s c’est magnifique!
Putting together the list below has caused me to make a decision: I’m no longer calling Apple TV a ‘microconsole.’ With the quality of games on the fledgling platform it seems like a superfluous label that takes away from what’s on offer.
‘Console’ is just fine from now on.
Sure, it’s a different level of gaming to PS4, Xbox One, and high end PC gaming, but if you have a fourth-generation Apple TV in your lounge room and you love gaming, then throw some money towards a compatible controller and you’ll soon discover some excellent titles that you can’t play on big screens elsewhere. And some that you can, which is why I’m dispensing with the ‘micro.’
For more on who The Apple TV Gaming Blog is, and why it’s here, mash this link.
To find out what the best games are for your Apple TV, read on.
Mojang’s ultimate sandbox found its way to yet another platform today, sneaking in a mid-week release just in time for the holidays. When teased on stage by Apple a few short months ago, with a simple slide and a promise of releasing before the end of 2016, it wasn’t clear whether it would be the Pocket Edition or the full version. Turns out it’s neither. Welcome to the all new Minecraft: Apple TV Edition.
Here’s what you’ll get for your hard-earned, straight from the release notes at minecraft.net:
“Minecraft: Apple TV Edition currently includes the Holiday 2015, Town Folk, and City Folk skin packs, along with the Plastic, Natural, Cartoon, and Festive 2016 mash-ups.”
The release coincides with – and also includes – The Ender update (dragons!), finally bringing the game up to version 1.0.
Mojang has also promised to include support for Minecraft Realms and Xbox Live in the “near future.”
It’s extremely encouraging for the platform that Mojang have released such a feature-packed version, and with a promise of more support to come.
Keep in mind that Minecraft: Apple TV Edition requires a game controller, which is actually another sign of Mojang taking the release seriously.
Check out the trailer for The Ender update:
Apple TV’s App Store refresh hits just before each weekend, with the first few tiles being replaced each week by featured new releases. In this relatively early stage of the platform’s life, it’s especially exciting to switch on each week to see the catalogue evolve. Watching which games get featured by Apple will also be an important part of determining the direction Apple TV gaming heads as far as style and substance goes, and while free-to-play has its place, it’s nice to see priced games getting a nod as well.
This week we see Square Enix’s trio of “Go” games taking pride of place, which have been very well received mobile distillations of triple A counterparts Hitman, Deus Ex, and Lara Croft.
The essence of these franchises are boiled down into a mix of puzzle and action, with a stylised board game aesthetic. It’ll be interesting to see how they translate to the big screen.
Next in line is Hipster Whale’s Disney Crossy Road. The original Crossy Road was a launch title for Apple TV, and saw the hit iOS smash translate to the big screen with an excellent multiplayer addition, which is great frantic fun. I haven’t had a chance to try out the Disney version on Apple TV yet so I’m not sure if it includes the multiplayer mode as well, but the description doesn’t mention it. It would be a shame for it to miss out, because it’s really what makes the big screen version shine, but I’ll update this post if it does have it.
With one more week of releases before Christmas, it’ll be very interesting indeed to see which games score these few featured spots. Minecraft was hinted at releasing before the end of the year at this year’s WWDC, so watch this space.
Many reviewers have spied the now ancient Lunar Lander within the DNA of developer bitWeird’s Atomic Super Lander, with the studio even referencing it within its promotional material.
It’s a great jumping off point, but I’d like to propose a much more modern reference, that of Elon Musk’s reusable rocket program. Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has pioneered the space age equivalent of reverse parking, and you’ll need to master the technique in order to succeed within Atomic Super Lander’s wonderfully fun gameplay loop.
After touching down on an extinction-level meteor, action then switches to 2D platforming with a very specific focus – blow shit up, get the hell out of Dodge, rinse and repeat.
It’s a simple concept that bitWeird have executed with style and humour.
Rayman Adventures was a particularly fascinating launch title for Apple TV in 2015, as it saw Ubisoft exploiting a loophole in Apple’s developer rules.
At the time, all games had to be playable using the Siri Remote, which saw some developers mapping awkward control schemes to the device in order to get games onto the new platform. Obviously they were aiming for the crowd who had bought controllers to go with their Apple TVs, but still had to work within the requirement.
Thinking outside the box, as they do, Ubisoft employed a contextual control scheme that saw Rayman Adventures function as an auto-runner when being played with a Siri Remote, and as a fully-fledged 2D action-platformer when using a controller. With the remote, players could change directions but never actually stop running, yet a controller enabled full control over Ubisoft’s mascot.
Apple has thankfully since done away with the requirement, with Halfbrick’s excellent Dan The Man being one of the few Apple TV titles currently taking advantage of the option to go controller-only, and is all the better for it.
Rayman Adventures is a typically beautiful looking outing for the IP, and with a controller it’s an easy recommendation. If you’ve exhausted the content available over the last year, then now is a great time to jump back in as Ubisoft has just released a free update with no less than 200 new levels.
I’ve really only scratched the surface of Rayman Adventures, but I intend to remedy that as soon as possible and post a much more in depth look at Ubisoft’s contribution to Apple’s gaming console. It’s free-to-play so check out the trailer below and if you like what you see (and it’s hard not to) then hit that “Get” button and have fun!
The concept behind Halfbrick’s excellent Dan The Man is something you could easily imagine being born from within a cloud of smoke shared between two stoners at opposite ends of a couch: A seven part animated web series inspired by classic video game tropes, with the eighth part – the series climax – playing out within an actual video game.