When I was in high school I spent a lot of time playing games like Bard’s Tale and Might & Magic (back when they were RPGs and not strategy games). After spending some time with QuestLord I remembered why I used to like these games so much. Sure 3D open ended worlds are nifty – I guess – and there’s no question that action / RPGs have their place in this fast paced mobile world. Still, there’s something to be said about old fashioned tile based world exploration, and it manages to engross me just about every time. QuestLord is no exception to that rule.
Sporos is one of those games that makes you wonder why they haven’t done something like it before. The game is like a chain reaction puzzler except that instead of trying to destroy objects and clear the board you’re attempting to fill the board with the few objects you’re given. It’s a clever take on the genre, and if it’s been done before I must have missed it. Whatever the case I’m glad I’ve been introduced to the idea now, and Sporos is certainly a great starting point for getting acquainted with this type of gameplay.
This past week was a great one for games, which correlates nicely with the fact that the impending snowstorm where I live will make it feel a lot like Christmas. One project I found rather interesting was The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters. This “sequel” to the 30 year old Gamebook was apparently officially sanctioned by the authors of the original tale, which is definitely a selling point. Unfortunately the game isn’t really ready for prime time yet, but I’ll be eagerly watching its progress. On the other hand, Alone In The Gloom 2 was a nice surprise and a worthy follow-up to the first installment. You once again must help a little critter escape a multitude of caverns, but your only “guiding light” is a flicker of lightening at the beginning of the level to show you the cave’s entire layout. If you’re tired of the infinite runner (and my constant babbling about them), you might appreciate Mr Jabbs: Epic Waste Of Time. Sure there is running and jumping, but you can also warp into many hilarious situations that sound like entertaining mini-games.
I’m all for the latest trends in technology. In the end, though, I just want my games to be fun. If there’s one thing the METAL SLUG series has proven over and over again it’s that you don’t need the latest 3D accelerated graphics or quad core processor to make an enjoyable game. In fact, as a whole it seems like ports of older games provide some of the most intense scrolling shooter experiences available on the iOS platform. Besides, there’s something about awesome pixel art and classic 90’s video game tunes that’s hard to beat these days.
This week had a lot of titles that were both entertaining and cute, starting with the new puzzler Goats and Gadgets. Your task in each of the 40 levels is to get one goat to the desired apple, mastering all the different gadgets at your disposal and dealing with things like yetis and trolls. If platform action is more your style you might want to give Burt Destruction a shot. Spending just a little bit of time with this game was enough to realize the developers have some familiarity with classic platforming romps, and the sense of humor is actually quite funny. Now if you want something that’s just downright silly the Bunny Hill is the game for you. This 2D side view racer takes place between a bunch of cube shaped animals, and while there’s really not a whole lot to it before long you’ll find yourself tilting your device in a vein attempt to make your rabbit go faster.
I’ve always been partial to turn based strategy games because I tend to have difficulties processing everything that’s going on all at once when the action is real time. However, I began taking an interest in the real time side of things again when I was introduced to what I call “strategy lite” games where you basically have one screen full of stuff to deal with and the action is mostly relegated to simply trying to take over your opponents’ structures. With no resource management, no complex troop management and advanced quests providing fun but unnecessary diversions, games like Mushroom Wars still provide a decent level of strategy but supply it in a nice pick up and go package.
One of my favorite titles released this week is actually a fairly straightforward port of an almost 15 year old game. Metal Slug 2 hit the App Store with guns blazing, and just like its predecessor proved that you don’t need 3D to enjoy lots of things blowing up. The action is intense, the visuals are quite detailed and turning into a zombie temporarily never gets old. For the puzzle aficionados we have Stick To It!, a game about knowing when to hold it and when to let go. Instead of swiping or launching or otherwise interacting to get your character from point A to its mother’s arms you simply touch the screen to make him stick and let go to let him roll. If you prefer your action in the sky instead of on the ground you should give After Burner Climax a try. This is a port of a 2006 game whose roots go back to the late 1980’s, and gives you the chance to pilot one of three sleek jets as you take on tons of enemies across more than 20 different landscapes.
It’s that time again. Actually, 2013 is going to be a big year for Tin Man Games, and they’re kicking it off with the release of Fighting Fantasy: House Of Hell, the next in their line of Fighting Fantasy adventures. This one takes place in a creepy mansion and in addition to all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect adds the element of fear to keep you on your toes (literally, it’s a new skill that gets tracked). Racing fans that like something besides the traditional Daytona type fare should check out Table Top Racing. This over the top racer actually takes the micro machines approach to the genre with 8 tracks, 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade and several multi-player options. If you’re looking for some lite strategy Monsterra could be just the game for you. The rules are simple, individual games go quite quickly and you can either play against the computer or another player depending on your preferences.
If you know who you’re going to call, raise your hand. That’s right, the Ghostbusters are back for their third adventure on iOS devices, and this time around the story actually unfolds based off of events from the first film in the franchise. The plus side is that the game has a lot of potential, but on the other hand it could turn into a grinding IAP fest. Speaking of grinding fests, if you’re a Diablo fan Dungeon Lore could be of interest to you. This quest based crawler offers class-less leveling, plenty to do and elementals to fight at your side. The real question is how turn based combat will affect the flow of the game. If you want a game you know will always be full of energy, check out Cracking Sands from Polarbit. This title is their attempt at a Mario Kart style game, and from everything I’ve seen so far it might just make iOS gamers go “Mario who?”
Lately I’ve been more focused on RPG hybrids when it comes to my match 3 experiences (like Dungeon Story), but I’m all for a good old fashioned pure match 3 romp, given the right game. Sadly, those options don’t come along much any more. Now we have Jelly Duel, however, and my faith in the genre is slowly returning. Unfortunately, this game will only do you some good if you have WiFi or data connectivity since it is an online offering. Still, as much as I don’t like “connected” gaming, I’m seeing a lot of potential in Jelly Duel.