TouchArcade iOS Gaming Roundup: Bridge Constructor Portal, Fez, Inside, and More

December historically has been the busiest month for iOS game releases, and so far this year has not disappointed. We're absolutely drowning in unbelievable ports, great game releases, and even more amazing titles scheduled to launch next week. The only problem is how truly spoiled iOS gamers are when it comes to choice -- If you're at all into mobile gaming, you probably have a massive backlog already. Whether you download these games now or just mentally bookmark them, they should at least be on your radar.


Gorogoa is a puzzle game where players are put to the task of manipulating four panels of illustrations. Playing the game involves discovering the puzzle's goal, and trying to execute on it using familiar touch gestures of zooming and rearranging these panels around. Here's an excerpt from our review:
With its sense of artistic cohesion and its inventiveness, Gorogoa impressed me as few other puzzle games have, and I can't see any player who enjoys puzzle games even a bit not enjoying it. It might not be the longest game in App Store history, but it also doesn't overstay its welcome, which can be an issue with story-heavy puzzle games. Gorogoa really is a gem of a game that belongs on most people's devices and one that will cast its magic on you as soon as you start playing. ...Read More

Fez Pocket Edition is a pint-sized version of Polytron's hit puzzler, Fez. The game is a 2D platformer, but its main puzzle mechanic involves rotating the 2D world in 3D, exposing new faces of the world to explore. For instance, a tiny platform in one dimension, when rotated 90 degrees, suddenly could become a walkway. We also reviewed Fez:
Fez is a very good game, and I love how the player never really faces any consequences for failure. It goes a long way in creating an experience that's fun from beginning to end, instead of being loaded with frustration because you ran out of continues and missed a jump. The virtual controls are basically in line with most other games that have reasonably decent virtual button configurations, but the "real" way to play Fez is with an MFi controller.

Whether you pair a controller, or wrestle with virtual buttons, as long as you're actually playing Fez, you'll be in for a great time. ...Read More

Square Enix has been all over the App Store lately, and Life is Strange is an incredibly welcome addition. It's a point and click adventure game with a unique twist: Your character has the ability to rewind time, which allows you to alter the story both in good and bad ways. We absolutely loved it in our review, and the only thing stopping us from scoring the first episode higher was some annoying technical issues which I'm sure will be ironed out in future updates:
Since this is the first episode, Dontnod did a great job with making me hate the episodic format upon release. The first episode literally had me craving for more and the wait for episode 2 was unbearable. You won’t need to worry about that because Episodes 2 and 3 are available right now via in app purchase with the remaining episodes launching early next year. I hope the visual issues and some performance issues are ironed out because this could end up being the best way to experience Life is Strange. The lack of proper controller support is baffling because this exists on multiple consoles. Out of all the point and click adventure experiences available today, Life is Strange is my favourite by a long shot. I hope this does well for Square Enix so they can port Life is Strange: Before the Storm as well. ...Read More

Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! has tons of history behind it. It's a ground-up remake of the original Oddworld released on the Playstation, which eventually made its way to PS4 and now to the App Store. Gameplay hinges around solving puzzles and platforming by controlling other creatures in game with a feature called GameSpeak which was incredibly innovative in its day. We have lots of good things to say in our review:
Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty! is a faithful port of an excellent classic remake. If you game with an MFi controller, it's a ridiculously easy title to recommend. In the absence of that option, you need only ask yourself how well you can cope with what is a relatively complex layout of virtual buttons. If nothing else, the controls are better here than they were in the other mobile Oddworld titles. If you were okay with those games, you'll be more than fine here. If not, you may want to skip this one. But I really do suggest giving them a solid go. The game is fantastic, and if you have to spend a little time adjusting to the controls to experience it, you'll still find the effort worth it in the end. ...Read More

It's wild just how many Ace Attorney games there are on the App Store, and Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is the latest to join the long list of titles mobile gamers have to choose from. This time around, we follow Phoenix Wright's rival and sometimes-ally, Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, and the game virtually abandons the courtroom in favor of focusing on the investigations themselves. Here's an excerpt from our review:
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth is a little different from the usual Ace Attorney game, but it carries a similar feel and quality that should please fans of the other games. The mobile version is sensibly improved from the original Nintendo DS release, as well. Adventure game fans would do well to give this game a look. As with other Ace Attorney games, it's a bit of a long haul, with over 20 hours of play required to reach the ending, but you won't notice the time passing by for a pretty good portion of that. ...Read More

Inside hit the App Store this week, and its just as brutally unforgiving as its predecessor, Limbo. This 2.5D platformer begins with a boy running through the woods in a surreal dystopian world filled death. The amount of times you'll die playing through this game is unreal, and deaths are particularly gruesome. That being said, even though we didn't have a ton of fun with the game, we gave major props to what a high quality port it is in our review:
I probably would've scored Inside quite a bit lower had the port not be so unbelievably well done. I started playing it on my iPad, and it occurred to me that I should check and see if it's iPhone X optimized. I downloaded the game on my iPhone, and not only is it in full iPhone X widescreen, but it just automagically loaded my save game from my iPad on the first launch without me needing to do anything. This kind of cross-compataibility and iCloud syncing magic is the exact kind of future I want to be living in. Developers bringing their games to the App Store from other platforms should take a good long look at Inside.

If you enjoyed Limbo (or similar trial and error puzzle games), chances are you didn't even need this review to smash the buy button- You'll really dig Inside. However, if you're like me and aren't really into the obtuseness of it all, there's a lot to like about it but I'm not sure I'd consider the game a must-have. ...Read More

Next week Bridge Constructor Portal hits the App Store (on the 20th, to be precise), and we absolutely cannot wait. The Bridge Constructor series of games have been among the best bridge builders on the platform, and who doesn't love a completely unexpected Portal mashup? GLaDOS coming to iOS seems like a dream come true, and I really hope they manage to slide in some additional Portal world building. Needless to say, when this launches, we'll also have a review up.

That's about it for the world of iOS gaming this week. This is just a tiny, tiny snippet of what's been happening, so if you're even remotely interested in mobile gaming be sure to follow along with the day to day developments over on TouchArcade.


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Samsung to Announce New Flagship Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus Smartphones in February

Samsung is planning to unveil its next-generation Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus smartphones in February of 2018, just a few months after the launch of the iPhone X, reports Bloomberg.

The two devices could be introduced as early as late February with a launch following in early March. Last year, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus were unveiled in late March and released in April.

Samsung's Galaxy S8

The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus are said to be similar to the current Galaxy models that are available, but with upgraded camera systems.

The two smartphones will likely also include upgraded processors and will continue to offer features like fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, and iris scanning. A feature equivalent to Face ID is not likely to be available, however, as Android manufacturers are further behind on development of 3D facial recognition techniques.

Samsung's upcoming smartphones will directly compete with Apple's latest flagship iPhone, the iPhone X.

Tag: Samsung

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Apple to Open First Store in South Korea on December 30

Apple's first official retail store in South Korea is set to open just before the end of the year on Saturday, December 30, reports Korean site ETNews [Google Translate].

Much of the work on the upcoming store in Seoul's Gangnam district was finished in November, and the construction company that renovated it says that Apple's plan is to open it up on December 30. Barring any special problems at the last stage of construction, the store is likely to open up on that date at 10:00 a.m. local time. Hiring and training for the store has also been completed.

Image via ETNews

Apple retail store chief Angela Ahrendts is rumored to be planning to attend the opening of the first Korean Apple Store, which ETNews says features the same modern design that's been introduced in many Apple Stores around the world over the course of the last couple of years.

Specifically, the site says there's a wide glass front and 18 product tables showing off iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and MacBooks. This is a two-floor store, and other areas like the "Today at Apple" meeting place and the Genius Grove may be located upstairs.

The store is located in the upscale Garosugil shopping district in Gangnam, which houses ritzy restaurants, cafes, and high-end stores.

Apple has recently opened several new locations in Asia, including Taiwan and Singapore. This particular store in South Korea could be Apple's 500th store, so long as no additional Apple Stores open before December 30.

Apple currently has 499 Apple retail stores around the world, not counting Apple Watch boutiques and taking into account the recent closure of the Simi Valley Apple Store. Apple's new Visitor's Center at Apple Park was the 498th store, while the 499th is the new store located in Downtown Brooklyn, which opened in late November.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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iTunes Not Coming to Microsoft’s Windows Store in 2017

At its Build developer event earlier this year, Microsoft said Apple was planning to bring its iTunes app to the Windows 10 store, making it easier for Windows users to find the software.

At the time, Microsoft said the app would be available in the Windows Store "by the end of this year," a deadline Apple now says it's not going to be able to make.


"We have been working with Microsoft to deliver the full iTunes experience to our customers and we need a little more time to get it right," an Apple spokesperson told ZDNet.

Both companies are still working to get iTunes into the Windows Store, according to ZDNet's sources, but there is no updated timeline on when it might be available. Apple also did not provide details on why it's taking so long to wrap up the transition to the Windows Store.

Most Windows users can download the iTunes software outside of the Windows Store, but Windows 10 S users will need to do without iTunes for the time being as that's a version of Windows that can only run apps available in the Microsoft Store.


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MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Messenger Bag or iPhone Camera Bag From WaterField Designs

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with WaterField Designs to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win either a Vitesse Messenger Bag or an iPhone Camera Bag.


The Vitesse Messenger Bag, priced at $159 (or $169 with cycling strap) is made from a stylish waxed canvas in brown or navy. It holds up to a 15-inch MacBook Pro in an unpadded laptop pocket, and it also has several additional pockets that can hold an iPad and other accessories.


In addition to the laptop compartment, there are two waterproof zip pockets at the front, a main inner compartment, a hidden ultrasuede-lined phone pocket, and three accessory compartments for cables, battery packs, and other small devices.


The Vitesse is designed for commuting, with a nylon adjustable strap and optional stabilizer messenger strap, but it also looks nice enough to take into the office.

WaterField Designs' iPhone Camera Bag, priced at $99 for black ballistic nylon or $129 for leather, is designed to hold an iPhone, mobile lenses, and a small tripod, while remaining compact and easy to carry.


There's a pocket for holding a cell phone and battery, a mesh zipper pocket for accessories like cords, and a customizable lens pocket with four dividers that can be rearranged to fit each user's needs.


The body of the camera bag is lined with foam to keep everything safe, secure, and protected from drops, and soft lining prevents scratches. Using a set of straps at the bottom, you can also attach a small mobile tripod. It can be used with either a shoulder strap or hooked into a belt using leather loops.


We have one of each of these bags from WaterField Designs to give away. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winners and send the prizes. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page.

Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years or older and Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) who have reached the age of majority in their province or territory are eligible to enter. To offer feedback or get more information on the giveaway restrictions, please refer to our Site Feedback section, as that is where discussion of the rules will be redirected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (December 15) at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on December 22. The winners will be chosen randomly on December 22 and will be contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen.


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Sam’s Club Launching Member Exclusive Event Tomorrow With Discounts on iPad Pro, Apple Watch Series 3, and More

Sam's Club is launching a member exclusive one day event tomorrow, December 16, with discounts and promotions on the iPad Pro, Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 2, iPhone X, and a few Beats by Dre products. To gain access to the deals, you'll need a Sam's Club membership, which start at $45/year.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Sam's Club. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The sale items will be available to purchase in your local Sam's Club store (beginning at 7:00 a.m. ET) as well as online (beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET), but the retailer noted that there are limited quantities on all items. Some products will see discounts only lasting December 16, while others will run through Christmas.

Below are a few of the Apple products and accessories with promotions or deals at Sam's Club tomorrow (note that the Beats Solo 3 deal is already up):

Although $25 off isn't the best deal we've seen for Apple Watch Series 2 models this season, it is one of the first straight cash discounts on Series 3, which as of yet have only received promotions for store credit of some kind, like at Kohl's on Black Friday. This should knock down the non-cellular Aluminum Series 3 devices to about $305 for 38mm and $335 for 42mm. Cellular models in Aluminum will be $375 for 38mm and $405 for 42mm.

Check out the catalog for the December One Day Only event at Sam's Club for a longer list of products, and then head over to our Deals Roundup for more holiday sales.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Restoring a Bricked iMac Pro Requires a Second Mac and Configurator 2

If an iMac Pro becomes unresponsive and requires restoring, like if there's a power failure during a software update, there are a special set of instructions iMac Pro users must follow, which require a secondary Mac.

As outlined in an Apple Configurator 2 support page, an iMac Pro restore requires a second Mac running macOS High Sierra with internet access and Apple Configurator 2.6 or later installed.


The iMac Pro will need to be connected to the secondary Mac with a Thunderbolt or USB-A or USB-C to USB-C cable. From there, iMac Pro users will need to plug the cable into the Thunderbolt port closest to the Ethernet port and then connect the iMac Pro to power while holding the power button.

Apple Configurator must be used on the second Mac to select the iBridge device and then restore. After the restoration process, the iMac Pro will reboot, making it accessible again.

This restore process is similar to what must be done for an iPhone or iPad that is unresponsive, and it is necessary due to the extra security afforded by the Apple-designed T2 chip.

The iMac Pro's T2 chip is a second generation version of the T1 chip that powers the Touch Bar in the MacBook Pro. The T2 chip integrates the system management controller, image signal processor for the camera, audio controller, SSD controller, a Secure Engine, and a hardware encryption engine.

Among other improvements, the T2 chip encrypts all of the data on the iMac Pro's SSD using dedicated AES hardware that doesn't impact the performance of the SSD. It also ensures a secure boot up process, making sure no unapproved software loads at startup.

(Thanks Łukasz!)

Related Roundup: iMac Pro
Buyer's Guide: iMac Pro (Buy Now)

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Apple Signs Deal for Space Drama From Battlestar Galactica Developer Ronald D. Moore

Apple has picked up a third new television show, placing a straight-to-series order for a space drama developed by Ronald D. Moore, known for his work on shows like "Battlestar Galactica," "Caprica," "Helix," and "Outlander," reports Deadline.

The show, which "explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended," comes from Sony Pictures Television and Moore's Tall Ship Productions. It was created and written by Moore and "Fargo" co-executive producers Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi.


The new space drama is Apple's third series that's in development. Apple in October inked a deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and Comcast's NBC Universal to create new episodes of sci-fi series "Amazing Stories." "Amazing Stories," created by Spielberg, originally ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987.

In November, Apple picked up an untitled "morning show drama" that will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston as morning talk show hosts, examining the cutthroat world of morning TV.

Apple's original content push is being led by former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who joined Apple in June of 2017. Van Amburg and Erlicht, who produced shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Crown," and "Better Call Saul," are running Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale under iTunes chief Eddy Cue.

Apple has been steadily building out its video team in recent months as it continues to pick up shows to better compete with companies like Netflix and Amazon.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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Xbox Party Chat Coming Soon to iOS and Android Apps

Microsoft this week announced that the beta for its main Xbox iOS app will soon allow testers to enable party chat and speak with friends who are in a party on Xbox One, with a wide launch expected to follow. Those interested can sign up for the Xbox app beta, run through Apple's TestFlight program, on Microsoft's website. The party chat mode is already available on the Android beta of the Xbox app, as spotted on Reddit (via Engadget).


Details on the party chat feature are scarce, but it appears that it will work similarly to Nintendo's Switch Online mobile app, although likely won't be as game-specific. Nintendo's app was created due to the fact that the Switch console itself lacks a voice chat feature, so players in online games like Splatoon 2 are required to use the Switch Online app if they want to talk with friends. As of today, Splatoon 2 is still the only game supported in the app, despite numerous other online games being available for Switch, like Mario Kart 8.

For the Xbox app, players will be able to chat with their friends who are playing on Xbox -- or on the mobile app themselves -- even when not at home near their console. Otherwise, the app allows users to view their friend list, send messages, post updates and game clips, purchase games on the store, and more. The Xbox app is available to download for free on the iOS App Store [Direct Link].


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Huawei and Xiaomi Aiming to Rival iPhone in United States With AT&T and Verizon Sales Partnerships

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi are reportedly in discussions with carriers AT&T and Verizon, who may begin selling each company's flagship Android smartphones in the United States as early as next year.


The negotiations are still in progress, and it's possible no final agreements will materialize, according to Bloomberg News.

The news echoes an earlier report from The Information that claimed AT&T has tentatively agreed to sell at least one Huawei smartphone, which was believed to be a high-end model resembling the company's flagship Mate 10 handset.

A partnership with AT&T and/or Verizon would be a major win for Huawei, already the world's third largest smartphone maker by market share behind Samsung and Apple, which dominate the smartphone market in the United States.

Huawei is the most popular smartphone maker in China, and it has aggressively pushed into Europe and Canada, but it has considerably less brand awareness in the United States since no major carriers sell its smartphones in the country. American customers currently have to resort to retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon to purchase a Huawei smartphone.

If it wants to achieve its lofty goal of becoming the largest smartphone maker in the entire world by 2021, Huawei will almost certainly have to secure these types of agreements with AT&T, Verizon, and other carriers.

Huawei remained in third place with an estimated 39.1 million smartphone shipments worldwide last quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics, while Apple reported sales of 46.7 million iPhones over that period.

In the United States, Huawei held just a 0.2 percent share of the smartphone market as of June 2017, according to Counterpoint Research.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi said it aims to roll out smartphones in the United States within two years. Xiaomi is also considering opening retail stores in the country to increase its brand presence, according to the report.


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