You’re going to need a few good action games to break in that new Apple TV.
The latest version of Apple’s multimedia streaming box represents the company’s first big move into a console market that’s historically been dominated by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. During a press briefing in San Francisco, Apple announced that the new Apple TV will have its own App Store and a redesigned remote control that works as a gaming controller. It has built-in motion sensors and a touch surface on top that you can click on. It can also receive voice commands via Siri.
This could have huge implications for existing App Store games if developers take advantage of the new input device. Independent studio Hipster Whale already showed an example when it went on stage to demo multiplayer for the first time in its popular Frogger-like game Crossy Road. Here are 10 action games (see this list for more) we’d like to see enhanced for the new Apple TV.
The number of multiplayer online battle arena games on consoles is still small compared to the PC, where the likes of Dota 2 and League of Legends bring in millions of dollars every year. But developer Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory is in a good position to take over the living room. When Vainglory officially launched out of beta for iOS and Android devices in July, the developer announced that it already had over 1.5 million monthly active players.
Introducing new Apple TV owners into that community could help it grow even further (and perhaps even cement it as an esport).
Infinity Blade III
The Infinity Blade series has always been a graphical showpiece for new iPhones and iPads, and the Apple TV should be no different. Though Infinity Blade III is almost two years old now, it still looks fantastic, and I’d love to see it optimized for a bigger screen. Developer Chair Entertainment would have to make some changes to the control scheme (it uses a lot of specific swipe gestures for its 1-on-1 battles) since the remote’s touch surface is small compared to an iPhone’s screen. But I can see it playing just as well on the remote.
Marvel’s famous wall-crawler hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to starring in great console games, but Spider-Man Unlimited might be his best shot yet. It packs the most thrilling parts of Spider-Man’s abilities into bite-sized gameplay sessions that puts him (or her, depending on which version of Spidey you collect from a multidimensional portal) up against bad guys from various corners of the Marvel universe.
Gameloft is surprisingly quick with putting new content into the game as well, often adding plot details and characters from recent comic book events like Spider-Verse and Secret Wars. As someone who reads those comics every month, it’d be great to play with those characters on TV while the story still feels fresh and exciting.
The App Store has literally hundreds, if not thousands, of games with zombies in them. But I’ve been having some fun lately with Unkilled, a first-person shooter that seems self-aware of how crazy its premise is. It takes care of the shooting for you: You just have to aim your gun at a zombie’s head and the bullets will start flying. The Apple TV remote doesn’t have an analog stick or D-pad for movement, but the touch controls feels smooth on an iPhone, so I imagine the remote’s touch surface would be fine as well.
Modern Combat 5: Blackout
The Modern Combat series was basically Call of Duty for mobile devices back before Call of Duty games ever came out on the App Store. However, I didn’t like Modern Combat 5 when it debuted last summer. Its biggest flaw was the controls, which made multiplayer practically unplayable. Back then, I assumed that the experience would be radically different if I had a controller to play with. Now that Apple has its own solution, I’d like to return to the game (as well as other shooters I gave up on) to see if I was right.
Giant Boulder of Death
As the name implies, you control a huge boulder that smashes almost anything — cows, trees, villagers, soldiers, and even yetis — in its way as it rolls down a mountain. On an iPhone, you can use the motion-sensor to tilt the boulder in the direction you want it to go in, which makes Giant Boulder of Death perfect for the new Apple TV remote. It also has a catchy yodeling soundtrack that makes you feel good about all the destruction you caused.
Midnight Star is still the best FPS game I’ve ever played on my phone. It did what others were afraid to do: break away from virtual buttons for controls that actually feel intuitive on a touch screen. So it’d be interesting to see developer Industrial Toys go the other way around and introduce controller support. It might not work for the existing game — Midnight Star isn’t a cover shooter and you can’t move on your own — but I’d like to see some version of the story-driven shooter on Apple TV.
Punch Quest is so ridiculous that it deserves to be played on a TV. It’s a side-scroller where the more you punch, the faster you move. It has gorgeous pixel art, a creepy gnome who gives you new quests, and plenty of fun superpowered moves to pull off.
Dungeon Hunter 5
If Gameloft’s Modern Combat is supposed to be Call of Duty, then Dungeon Hunter is its Diablo. You can play as different warrior classes to fight against the demon horde while earning gold and new equipment for your character. While Dungeon Hunter 5 already supports online cooperative multiplayer, it’d be great if we could play with two remotes for local multiplayer.
Breakneck isn’t as violent or deep as the rest of the games on this list, but its futuristic setting would be right at home in an Apple console. You’re constantly on the run from an alien invader — if they catch up to you (seen with the meter on top), you’re dead. Power-ups help your ship fly faster through the dystopian landscape. Breakneck uses simple controls to move left and right, so the developer shouldn’t have much trouble mapping that to the remote.