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iPad reviews of the week: NHL 2K11, Super Soviet Missile Mastar, Time Geeks: Find All!, Truck Jam, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? 2011

Game: Time Geeks: Find All! HD
Price: $1.99/£1.19
Size: 38.1MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

We showed Time Geeks! Find All HD a little love in our 50 best iPad games of 2010 feature, but with a recent free update adding new play modes and challenges, it seemed appropriate to finally spotlight the app in our weekly iPad article. Time Geeks! isn't alone in the Where's Waldo-like hidden image category – Little Things and Pictureka! are other popular options for iPad owners – but the alluring pixel art, diverse challenges, and amusingly wide array of pop culture references go a long way towards making it one of the most entertaining apps in any genre.

What makes the recent version 2.0 update so worthwhile is the addition of the Find All mode, which kicks the timer to the curb and offers up a randomized array of stages and challenges. You'll now be able to peruse each stage without the clock breathing down your neck, but more notably, you'll have all the time in the world to dig into the pixel-perfect murals and locate all of the popular entertainment references. We quickly noted clear nods to Ghostbusters, Angry Birds, Pokémon, Iron Man, Star Wars, Up, and Winnie the Pooh in a single stage, and that doesn't even consider the full LOST-inspired island level.

Luckily, if you've already pounded through all the standard stages and challenges of the original release, the update also adds a new mission with 20 fresh tasks, as well as a fresh Find Worms mode, a new mini-game, and an updated menu interface. Time Geeks: Find All! strikes a near-perfect balance between simple visual fun, engaging aesthetics, and entertaining pokes at pop culture icons, and remains an excellent pick at two bucks, especially with this latest refresh.


Game: Super Soviet Missile Mastar
Price: Free
Size: 1.6MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

No, you're definitely reading that right – Super Soviet Missile Mastar (misspelling intentional) weighs in at just 1.6MB; you could almost fit this one on a floppy disk, assuming anyone still used or cared about such things. Missile Mastar isn't a large or particularly enthralling game, but this free entry caught our eye for one very significant and worthwhile reason: it's developed by The Behemoth, the indie team responsible for the wonderful Castle Crashers and Alien Hominid, as well as the still-incoming BattleBlock Theater.

Super Soviet Missile Mastar began life as an Alien Hominid mini-game and later a Flash game, and now this universal iOS release brings the simple approach and ultra-retro, red-and-white aesthetic to both iPad and iPhone free of charge. Which isn't really a surprise – the entire game revolves around guiding a missile around birds and helicopters towards the United States, all crudely designed with giant, Atari-stylized pixels. It's a one-note experience, highlighted by gif-ready visuals of the Soviet pilot tossing up dual middle fingers after a successful detonation, but it's a pretty amusing trifle of an iOS game, not to mention potentially uncomfortable for conservative America. But it's all in good fun, of course.


Game: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? 2011
Price: $2.99
Size: 60.2MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? has chugged along in syndication in the decade since its sensational original network run, and the familiar game show has proven popular with mobile gamers across a wide variety of iterations. So what makes this new iPad version special? Aside from being an affordably priced universal app that also works on iPhone, what sets the 2011 iteration apart from earlier releases is a significant shift in the way the game is played.

But it's not a change made exclusively for the sake of this game – the syndicated series actually shook up the rules last fall to stave off stagnation. Following the new approach, the first 10 multiple-choice trivia questions are assigned one of 10 randomized values between $500 and $25,000, with the final four questions climaxing towards the ultimate goal of winning a million bucks. Just three lifelines are available: you can skip a question twice, or poll the audience for their pick on any single question. Otherwise, Millionaire remains the same – simple, suspenseful, and sure to make you scream at your television when some buffoon flubs an easy question.

The iPad version lacks much of the fanfare of the televised version, but this attractive, low-frills app is an entertaining pick for trivia buffs looking to showcase their non-essential knowledge. It's a quick play, and with the form factor of the iPad, this is a great option for sitting on the couch with a friend or loved one and working together to solve the wide range of questions based on history, sports, pop culture, and more. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? 2011 promises only about 1000 questions, though, so hopefully you won't notice any repeat questions anytime soon. But likely due to international rights issues – not to mention distinct currency – this version of the app is not available in the UK.

Mar 3, 2011

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