Okay, let’s get back on this horse and see if we can find some water. It’s been a while.
The last six months have been a little quiet, both in terms of Apple TV game releases, and in general here at ATVG, with posts averaging around one a month, if that.
I can fix the latter, but not the former.
In regards to the latter, there’s only about two months – give or take (depending on the whims of the Apple gods) – until Apple Arcade arrives to rearrange the furniture (complete with DualShock 4 and Xbox One controller support). And with that in mind, it’s time to get cracking once again, building some momentum and scoping out the lay of the land in preparation. So here I am. Plus there’s a particularly exciting piece of news I want to share with you all which I’ll do in the next post.
In regards to the former, I suspect developers are still playing a cautious game of wait-and-see, holding back from going all-in on Apple TV as a gaming platform until Apple Arcade comes along and boosts it to being a viable place to release games. Or not.
Thankfully, not all studios have been as cautious, with some willing to roll the dice and help populate this strange little undiscovered country that is Apple TV gaming.
For those who’ve disembarked here only recently, having navigated the wild trade winds of a hopeful Google search, the best way to start exploring is by checking out ATVG’s Best Apple TV games of 2018. Let it serve as your initial world map, and from there, you’ll gradually unlock new areas (games) to explore. Promise.
For those of you who are returning after forced exile, due to a lack of new words from yours truly, welcome back, and thanks for your patience. Over the page you’ll find three games which haven’t yet been written about here at ATVG, which is a pity, because they look like they’ve got the goods.
Proper, big, fat, traditional video games.
With lots of juicy gaming meat to gnaw on while Apple Arcade bakes to a lovely, golden brown.
Horizon Chase – World Tour (Aquiris Game Studio)
Turns out I’ve stupidly ignored Horizon Chase for far too long. I’ve been aware of it. I’ve seen the icon countless times on the App Store looking out at me hopefully, silently pleading me to mash the Get button. It’s even free-to-try with an in-app-purchase that unlocks the full game, so it would’ve cost nothing to at least dip my toe in the water.
But time is finite and the world is full of distractions.
What finally got me over the line was World Tour’s big console brother – Horizon Chase Turbo – coming to the PlayStation Plus service a couple months ago. After some quality time with the PS4 version, I hit the track on Apple TV to compare the two and thought, okay, my readers need to know about this. Although my readers probably have more brains and have probably been enjoying it for many moons.
Better late than never.
Outrun is the obvious comparison, with studio Aquiris nailing the retro aesthetic of its ’80s inspiration, while adding modern conveniences such as tonnes of tracks, and collectible cars that can be upgraded.
Mastering the drift mechanic and judicious use of your boost ability are the keys to victory, as you glide over smoothly rolling hills through pixelated countryside, seaside, and cities.
MFi controllers are supported too, completing the tvOS console experience.
Aquiris has found that one-more-go sweet spot with Horizon Chase World Tour, and it’s the kind of game you’ll download to quickly check out, only to find that evening has become night has become late night.
Rush Rally 3 (Brownmonster Limited)
For those who may have been put off by Rush Rally 2’s dated graphics (also available on Apple TV), Brownmonster looks to have taken everything from the previous iteration and dragged it kicking and screaming about two console generations closer to the present day.
Check out the video above and you’ll see the mod-cons of a 2019 racer, with light reflecting beautifully off lovingly modelled carbon-emitting beasts as they blast through the particle effects of dirt, gravel and snow, all in buttery smooth 60 frames-per-second.
Full disclosure, I haven’t gotten my hands dirty with Rush Rally 3 yet, but if it handles like its predecessor (a very satisfying challenge), then the additional eye-candy should make it a pretty sweet ride for fans of rallying.
As with Horizon Chase, MFi controllers are supported.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (Lizardcube)
If I had any 20-cent coins when I was a kid, I never had them for long.
Around the halfway point on my short walk home from primary school in the mid-80s, a conveniently placed convenience store had exactly one arcade machine standing in the corner. The machine would rotate through whatever games were the flavour of the day, and for a while the original Wonder Boy was the reason to stand in its glow.
I kind of sucked at it myself, but remember admiring local hotshots when they acquired the skateboard, and with blistering speed went cloud-hopping through levels.
The team at Lizardcube that brought this version of Wonder Boy III to modern consoles, mobile and Apple TV have an impressive resumé, having collectively worked on titles such as Tearaway and Dreams for Media Molecule, with Michel Ancel on WiLD, and animated for Dreamworks. Publishing has been handled by the very retro-capable Dotemu.
It’s no surprise then that The Dragon’s Trap looks as good as it does.
The team has included a fun feature allowing players to toggle between an 8-bit graphics and audio version, and the modern HD version, so you can see what we had to put up with 30 years ago.
As you’ll see from the video, The Dragon’s Trap is a 2D action-platformer, and the HD version gives me a very Dracula Twins vibe as far as looks go, which ATVG has been following with very keen interest.
For readers wanting to go deeper into the making of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, there’s some development diary entries over on the game’s site, going into the music, sound design, art, and even a discussion with Ryuichi Nishizawa, who was with the team behind Wonder Boy III’s 1989 outing (studio Westone).
(And yes, MFi controllers are supported).
It’s good to be back readers, and hopefully you’ll find something to your liking in these three very solid looking, very video-gamey video games.
As teased in the intro, I’ll be posting some exciting news on an upcoming Apple TV game shortly, ideally within the next 24 hours, so be sure to check back soon.
Cheers for now.
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV games of 2018 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.