This week felt like the proverbial Christmas in July when it came to new games for iOS devices. In addition to the fine list I’ve compiled below, gamers were treated to a quirky tower defense game called Vampire Season. You are Dracula’s right hand man, and you must use a crazy assortment of ghouls and what-not to keep those pesky humans from finding Dracula’s coffin. If you’re more into RPGs, Squids Wild West might float your boat. This sequel to last year’s acclaimed aquatic tactics game (TMA Review) takes a whole new look at the concept of cowboys. For those that want something completely different in tone there’s Frisbee Forever 2, the game that lets you show off your virtual disc throwing skillz. It’s free and looks to be sporting some pretty sharp graphics for a game about tossing a plastic object through the air.
There’s no question that Temple Run added a whole new dimension to infinite runners with it’s over the shoulder view, ability to slide in that view, and cool mechanic of turning to continue down a winding path. There are even times when I’m playing Zombie Run that I think to myself how the game feels like Temple Run with a different skin. Zombie Run bears many similarities to its predecessor, yet it still manages to be entertaining in its own right. I’m not saying I’ve forgotten you, Temple Run, but now you have to share the spotlight.
Once again there was a nice variety of games to report on this week, and the highlight of the week for me was the adventure game Yesterday from BulkyPix. After spending just a few minutes with this game I felt like I was playing an old masterpiece from Sierra Online or LucasArts, but one that had been given an interface boost that makes it perfect for touch screen devices. The causal RPG fan should check out Elphis Adventure, a new free offering from Com2us. You take on the role of Red Riding Hood in an attempt to rescue your grandma by traveling through different fairy tales and historical time periods. For those that are interested in learning Magic The Gathering, or those that are just looking for another avenue with which to play the game, Wizards of the Coast offers up Magic 2013. You can sample the card based strategy game for free, but if you want to test your mettle against other humans you’ll need to buy the premium edition.
Many gamers, myself included, might liken The Act to a modern day Laser Disc epic, and at first glance that seems to be a fair assessment. For better and for worse that is not really the case, however. Aside from the visual aspect it doesn’t play like any laser disc game I’ve ever tried, and it is far from epic. The kicker is that it was actually a great experience. Unfortunately, I was a bit more than surprised when it was suddenly over. Not that I didn’t see it coming, but I just couldn’t believe how soon it came.
There’s an old adage that says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Apparently the developers of Letters From Nowhere took that to heart, because the sequel feels identical mechanically to the first game. Thankfully that’s not a bad thing at all, as I have become just as engrossed in this one as I was with its predecessor. Since this is a sequel I will just highlight the finer points, but I suggest checking out my review of the original Letters From Nowhere, because everything pretty much still applies.
There were some rather interesting titles this week, but in the end cuteness prevailed. If you like matching games (and who doesn’t), Piston Games released Gemibears. Instead of simply matching objects of the same type you have to match halves of bears to form a whole of the same color. And when you want to take a break from playing the game you can visit their Youtube channel for some Gemibears cartoons. For those that prefer some good old fashioned platform gaming there’s Mike & Milkbox, the story of a detective chicken that must save the world. The mechanics are a lot like Super Mario, but the physics elements give it a fresh feel. Finally, I actually found an online game I might spend some time with. It’s called Throw It, and the basic premise is simple: you chuck objects at your opponent. The concept and graphics are cute, and I can play against other humans without having to actually be social.
There was a time when I was really into the original Diablo, and like many players I thought I was going to wear out my mouse with all the button mashing. Mad Acorn is that game for my iPod Touch. In fact, sometimes I get worried that I’m going to leave a finger indentation on the screen where my thumb is most active. Then I forget about my concerns as the next wave of bad guys roll by. I’ve never been a fan of Tap Tap Revenge style games, but when a game in an established genre tightly integrates music into the mechanics, that’s a whole different story. Not to mention that Mad Acorn is the cream of the crop in that regards.
When I first saw Rune Raiders I had a feeling it would be something different, and it turns out it really is. You’ll find it often referred to as a RPG, but it’s a slick little strategy game that might best be described as Fire Emblem for the iPhone, and that’s not even a good analogy. Suffice it to say that if you like the atmosphere of a dungeon crawl, the need to think instead of simply slash your way to victory, and game design that doesn’t fit the standard mold, Rune Raiders is a good choice for you.
Are you ready for another week of iOS gaming? It seems the mid-year Christmas is over for now, but there were still a few titles worth taking a look at. While I’m not typically a fan of rhythm games, I checked out the demo version of Mad Acorn and instantly got hooked. This platform game with a wicked beat is sure to keep you tapping your screen all the way to the end. Another fun diversion is Frisbee Rush. The game itself is actually browser based, but thanks to WiFi you control the Frisbees via your iPhone. If you’re looking for something to get the whole family playing, WePad Party 1 just might fit the bill. The mini-games aren’t overly exciting, but the fact that you can play with eight people on the same device at the same time could prove for some amusing situations.
You’d think by now that “infinite runner” games might be a bit stale. Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but I certainly have thought that from time to time. As I play through GoNinja I’m once again reminded that this theory isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the atmosphere, a perpetually moving protagonist on a constantly scrolling and somewhat generic background can still be entertaining. Apparently, a merciless ninja slicing down everything that crosses his path is just such a scenario. It works just fine for me, at least.