There were certainly enough new arrivals to keep even the most discerning gamer busy on their iOS devices this week. The biggest surprise to me was Final Fantasy Dimensions, the newest offering from Square Enix. I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I had no idea this game was coming to iOS devices, and you can even try the prologue for free. If you’re more into puzzle games Illusion Labs has resurfaced with their latest concept called Blast-A-Way. This 3D brain teaser has plenty of explosions, cute robots and even more adorable mischief makers. If you just want something that proves you’re never too old to have fun, check out Granny Smith from No Can Win. This quirky racer has you trying to recover apples before a rascally thief, and oh the places you’ll go.
In my humble opinion, if ever there was a style of game that shouldn’t be so fun or addictive, it would be the mini-game collection. After all, doesn’t such a design simply mean that the developers couldn’t come up with enough material for a full fledged game? Well, okay, I am being a bit harsh, and I really don’t believe that, but it still amazes me that I fall so easily for this type of gameplay. The latest captor of my time is Tap The Frog 2, and this game is insanely addictive – even though concept wise it’s so simple a little kid could grasp it with ease. I just wish I had the native iPad version, because I find that my overcompensated fingers like the big screen better. Thankfully, the app is remarkably playable on 2x mode on my iPad 2.
I remember fondly spending a lot of time with adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s when the likes of Sierra Online and LucasArts reigned supreme. TellTale Games has done a good job of recapturing that magic, as has Bulkypix with their recent release of Yesterday. Now you can add Daedalic Entertainment to that list with Edna & Harvey: The Breakout. This adventure game about a young lady and her bunny has humor to rival the best Sam & Max installment, artwork that is quite delightful and some great voice acting. There is plenty of game play as well, which oddly enough might be its biggest detractor – there’s almost too much to do. Still, this is one nuthouse I don’t mind visiting.
My most eagerly anticipated game this week was One Tap Hero. I got to play this one a while back, and since then have been reall anxious to see it officially released on the App Store. The title that has really captured my time from this group, however, is The Lord Of The Roads. This RPG / scrolling shooter hybrid is unique and addictive as anything I’ve played in a while. And the game in this list that I haven’t had the chance to try yet but am most looking forward to is Olly Low Poly And The Zombie Tower. Besides the odd yet amusing name, it looks fashionably different and of course I love me some zombie slaying or dodging or whatever it is you ultimately do with them in this game.
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.