App roundup: Best AirPlay-enabled games for your new iPhone 5sWith the release of two new iPhones, iOS 7 and a fresh Apple TV update, now is a great time to test out iOS' AirPlay capabilities, especially for iPhone 5s owners, who can now take advantage of the speedy A7 SoC by throwing games onto the big screen.
With the iPhone 5s, Apple introduced the 64-bit A7 processor, complete with quad-core GPU capable of handling the most demanding iOS games. Paired with the Apple TV and AirPlay, the setup makes for a potent combination that can offer users a more immersive gaming experience by streaming content from a 4-inch iPhone screen to an HDTV.
In light of Apple's release of iOS 7, a number of developers pushed out compatibility and optimization updates for their AirPlay-compatible games, and AppleInsider has wrangled up three of best.
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders is one of the best flight combat simulations on the App Store, with tight controls and impressive graphics joined by online multiplayer options. Campaign maps and missions are inspired by real life events from World War II, while online multiplayer options include both dogfight and cooperative gameplay.
The game takes visual cues from other titles in the Sky Gamblers series and builds in console-level graphics like bump mapping, atmospheric scattering and other advanced effects. Detailed scenery adds to the historically correct locations, while realistic weather brings a moodiness not usually found in an arcade-style simulation.
For the latest version of Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders, developer Atypical Games boosted effects and graphics for the iPhone 5s, which translates well to an HDTV.
Asphalt 7: Heat
Gameloft's Asphalt 7: Heat features an extensive list of 60 drivable cars that can be raced on 15 different tracks, each with its own style and hazards. Car renderings are impressive, with marques including Ferrari, Aston Martin and the classic DeLorean represented. Each ride has its own driving characteristics and while physics definitely skews toward the arcade, the controls are easy to master.
Online play is supported for up to five friends, while a matchmaking system can pit users against random opponents.
Gyroscope controls make for decent handling, but some elements are still on-screen, making AirPlay a significant bonus for those using an iPhone to play.
Real Racing 3
Real Racing 3, from gaming giant EA, is more of a driving simulation than Asphalt. Controls have a steeper learning curve than other titles in the genre, but this results in more satisfying gameplay where every move counts. Fans of the franchise will be at home with the setup, as the physics engine has not changed significantly from Real Racing 2.
Aside from the detailed models, of which there are over 50, races include 22-car grids for a more authentic experience. In addition, real raceways and tracks are reproduced faithfully, while players can take part in over 1000 different events.
The Mint 3 graphics engine allows for persistent crash damage, dynamic reflections, a functional rear-view mirror, and more to create a vivid environment that translates well over AirPlay.
EA has included what it calls "Time Shifted Multiplayer," which populates a course with interactive AI-controlled versions of races previously logged by Game Center friends, Facebook friends and other online players. Basically, the feature allows two or more players to race the same course at different times.
N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
N.O.V.A. 3 is a first-person shooter that has been on the market for some time, but is still among the best-in-class for the genre. With the third installment, Gameloft advances the story of Kal Wardin, who is tasked with saving mankind amidst impossible odds.
Set pieces are graphically detailed and level design is well thought out, especially for multiplayer modes. Control relies on a virtual analog stick and buttons that reside at the edges of the screen, making space a bit tight. This is not a problem with an iPad, but AirPlay streaming comes in handy for the iPhone.
Multiplayer options are substantial, with 12-player fights supported in seven game modes across seven maps. Voice chat is supported for iPad 2 or later and the iPhone 4S or later.
Developers are continually updating their apps for iOS 7 compatibility, though many have yet to implement the AirPlay protocol. This should change as Apple TV marketshare rises with Apple's continued rollout of enticing features for its set-top streamer.
Most recently, Apple released Apple TV software update 6.0 with AirPlay over iCloud, a feature that allows iOS device users to stream purchased content to an Apple TV that is not configured with their credentials. Instead of using on-board information for authentication, an iOS device provides the appropriate digital certificates wirelessly.