Okay, you’re probably getting sick of reading about infinite running games right now. Unfortunately, they are sort of my genre-level addiction at the moment, so you’ll just have to bear with me until the phase passes on. At least I’m just trying to share with you the quality titles, and there’s no question that One Epic Knight falls under that category. Brought to us by the folks that designed the creative tower defense game Tiny Heroes the twisted humor of the developers carries on to this offshoot title. From the opening calisthenics to the nice dent you leave when you collide with a wall, One Epic Knight is all about being epic… epically funny that is.
This week saw the release of Horn, Phosphor Games’ follow-up to their interesting title Dark Meadow. Horror has been replaced with fantasy, on-rails movement with full 3D roaming, and the graphics have been kicked up a couple of notches as well. Tread of the Dead is a slightly different take on the whole zombie hunting theme. Instead of relying on brute force and lots of ammunition you’ll have to skillfully cut down the undead hordes with a chainsaw that you toss at them and then control by tilting the screen. Platform gamers will enjoy Random Heroes, the latest offering from Ravenous Games. It looks to combine the level design goodness of League Of Evil with the hero and gun swapping craziness of Super Crate Box.
Lately I’ve been touting how sometimes it seems like the simplest games are the most engaging. Unfortunately simplicity can have just the opposite effect, and I think Canyon Dash is almost to that point. The concept of a runaway mine cart on a dangerous track has always been intriguing, but there’s not much more than a concept to go on here. It’s not that Canyon Dash is a bad game, it’s just that there are other offerings on the App Store that make the renegade mine cart notion a lot more entertaining.
One of the staples of my game playing diet growing up was the adventure game, whether it entailed a text only affair like Zork or a sprawling 16 color extravaganza such as King’s Quest. Sadly, it seems as technology has gotten better the gamers’ taste for epic narratives and thoughtful puzzle solving has diminished, or so the folks in charge would have you believe. Thankfully the mobile renaissance has rekindled the spark for puzzle games, and amazingly enough it seems even for the full fledged adventure game. One of my favorite original IPs in this genre where iOS devices are concerned has always been The Secret of Grisly Manor, and after playing through its spiritual sequel – The Lost City – I can’t wait to see what this developer offers up next.
As always there were some fairly interesting games this week, but in particular a couple brought a twisted sense of nostalgia to my heart. Activision released a re-imagining of their classic hit Pitfall to coincide with its 30th anniversary, and instead of going a more traditional platform route they chose to emulate the Temple Run formula. The thing is, from the few moments I’ve had a chance to play so far, they might have actually done it better. On the flip side of things is Organ Trail: Director’s Cut. Rather than a simple retooling of the original Oregon Trail, this version takes the same basic game play and swaps out the pioneers setting for a station wagon and some undead adversaries. Not to be left out of the “what’s old is new” jumble, Elevate Entertainment has published their take on the much abused brick breaking genre. For Draw Breaker, however, instead of moving a paddle around you just draw one in where you want it, which adds a whole other dimension to the game.
For me the big news this week was the release of Gamebook Adventure 8, the first tale of Judge Dredd. You can read about that below, however, so instead let me mention a couple games that didn’t quite make the main list. Full Fat released its first freemium game in the form of Agent Dash. Yeah, it’s another Temple Run-esque game in a genre that’s starting to get overdone, but you have to love secret agents, and based on the game play trailer this looks like lots of fun. The latest offering from FDG is the physics puzzle game Chicken Raid. Instead of launching things to break other things, however, this game has you tapping breakable objects to cause chain reactions. The less interaction on your part, the higher your score. Megatroid looks like a Metroid / Mega Man style platform game. In this instance, though, you have a robotic cat for a sidekick and the levels are procedurally generated for a whole lot of replayability.
Team 17 made the idea of militaristic worms amusing, and of course we have Rovio to thank for the prolifiration of birds in way too many physics based games. Now Chillingo brings the two together in its latest published puzzle game, Worm vs Birds. I was a bit worried this was going to be another Angry Birds style game, but instead it plays a lot like Stupid Zombies, and quite frankly has me just as hooked as that one did. Three star junkies can rejoice as well, because this game really makes you work hard at earning that last star on some levels.
Gamers that remember the “good old days” have a lot to check out this week. Blazing Star blasts onto the iOS from SNK Playmore, and faithfully recreates some side scrolling shooter memories from the Neo Geo era. If you’re more into stealth and sabotage you might like Spy vs Spy, the reboot of the old Commodore 64 / Atari computer game that pits two bumbling agents against each other to see who can recover the top secret briefcase first. Play the updated version, or switch to the pixel perfect retro mode for lots of nostalgia. And, while it’s not really a remake or reboot or anything, Giant Monsters Ate My City might just remind you why you used to love the wanton destruction you could cause in the old favorite Rampage.
There’s a popular saying that “there is nothing new under the sun”. The video game industry is a prime example of this, as most popular games these days can be broken down into a handful of categories, and it’s not uncommon to see the word “clone” in a review. Still, with all the games that are released on the App Store each week, there are a few that feel fresh due to atmosphere, mechanics or some other aspect of the game. Knights of the Round Cable happens to be one such game.
In the beginning it seemed like most of the adventure games popping up on the App Store were ports, but now we’re seeing more and more original IP make its way to the iOS platform. About To Blow Up Part 1 is one such game, and it’s clear the developers have a heart for the genre they’ve embraced. The game is quirky, interesting and above all fun. Unfortunately, it’s also a tad on the short side. Thankfully it leaves you wanting more in a good way.