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.
This was another strong week for iOS game offerings, so I decided to once again to use the intro to mention games that didn’t make it into the main list. The theme this week is “free”, and they just happen to all be RPGs as well. First up is Immortal Dusk, which is described with words like “infinite” and “endless”. There’s also talk of the number 99 not just being a number when it comes to levels, so we’ll have to see what this new franchise from Gamevil has going for it. Next on the list is another Gamevil game entitled Fantasy War, this one which may or may not be an MMORPG. The interface looks like an MMORPG, though with decidedly nicer graphics than most, and there’s talk of conquering other players, but it also gives a vibe like there are single player elements. Finally there’s Heroes Call. This one comes from a relatively unknown developer, but it has a nice Diablo style look to it, and with more than 100 types of creatures there should be plenty of game play. Of course all of these titles are free, so try them all and delete what you don’t like.
In January of last year a unique new puzzle game called Cardboard Castle hit the App Store. If I were to quickly summarize Valentin – The Valiant Viking I’d say it was a “spiritual successor” to Cardboard Castle, even though it’s not by the same developers. The game has a similar knack for silly solutions to thoughtful puzzles and the visuals were clearly inspired. Still, Valentin does an excellent job of standing on its own two feet, and it throws a wrinkle or two into the mix to make sure it is a completely different game.
Every once in a while there is a week with so many solid new games released that it’s hard for me to decide which ones to write about. This was one of those weeks. So, instead of recapping some of my entries in the intro, I’m going to mention a few that didn’t quite make my list. Tennis fans should check out Virtua Tennis Challenge, the first installment of SEGA’s hit franchise to make its way onto iOS devices. You’ll compete against 50 different computer players on 18 courts across the globe, or you can challenge your friends via WiFi and Bluetooth. Chillingo fans were treated to 3 new games this week, but the one I’m most excited about is Air Mail. You’d never suspect that delivering packages would be so adventurous, but the brief teaser video shows you travelling to exotic locations and getting shot at repeatedly. Gamers that love side scrollers might be interested in Dragon Evolution. If the simple fact that you get to play a dragon isn’t enough, how about 80+ missions, 36 skills and the ability to customize said dragon?
It seems like so many in the puzzle genre revolve around physics based gameplay that it’s nice once in a while to load up a game like BrainJewel. After playing this offering from TribePlay for a little bit you suddenly realize how nice it is to simply fling stuff at other stuff and get points for it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that physics games aren’t fun, nor am I claiming that this isn’t a good game, because neither statement would be true. I’m just suggesting that if you’re going to tackle a title like BrainJewel, you might want to have a game around that won’t require nearly as many brain cells when you need to take a break every once in a while.
It’s that time of week again, and I’ve got my list of games that will hopefully tickle your fancy. NerdHerder is a free experience that lets you get exercise your geek wrangling skills. Unity 3D graphics, an AR interface with virtual fishing pole and lots of misguided office inhabitants running around should make for an interesting time. If you’re more into quick play time and immediate feedback you’ll love Mini Mix Mayhem. This mini-game marathon lets you play 4 games at the same time in single player mode, or a whopping 20 in the same game on the iPad. If you’d like a world building experience like Minecraft but want something a bit more, you might consider The Sandbox from BulkyPix. This pixel art universe creator throws physics into the mix, and even gives you the chance to make your own music.