Nostalgia gaming is one of the trending areas of the App Store and it’s getting more and more attention from various developers. With the current power of mobile devices –almost tenfold that of PC’s 10 years ago — it’s quite an attractive idea to simply port original games to the platform at a fraction of the cost of developing titles from the ground up. And interactive movies certainly fit the bill perfectly. With only the slightest adaptations of controls required, you can be rewarded with an instant hit like Dragon’s Lair (TMA Review) or the PC original – BrainDead 13.
One of the genres that fit especially well on an iDevice are first-person adventure games. These echoes of the golden age of adventure games, ones that actually helped usher in the CD era at some point (see my Myst review), are quite playable even on the smallish screen of an iPhone or iPod Touch and are surprisingly popular on these platforms. Enter The Secret of Grisly Manor, promising over 50 locations to explore and solve. Let’s take them up on that offer!
Amazingly, the age old Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style gamebooks are having a surprise resurgence on the iDevice platform. We’ve seen both a re-imagining of the classics, like Steve Jackson’s Fighting Fantasy titles (i.e. Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (TMA Review)) and original titles developed exclusively for the platform in the Gamebook Adventure series - Gamebook Adventures 3: Slaves of Rema (TMA Review). The creative folks over at Agni Studios feel there is room for more and have recently released their own interactive gamebook; this time set in space and titled Star Breed – Episode 1
The Gamebook Adventures series is quite an interesting franchise. In the wake of the re-release of the classic Fighting Fantasy series from Steve Jackson himself, Tin Man Games dared to enter the market with their own title, originally developed from the ground up for the iDevice. I have reviewed the first two titles Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes (TMA Review) & Gamebook Adventures 2: The Siege of the Necromancer (TMA Review) and found them very compelling. They’re very well written and more focus on the adventure than combat part of the process, though when it comes to finding the best endings, they can be a bit too difficult for the uninitiated. In their latest release - Gamebook Adventures 3: Slaves of Rema – they vowed to fix the latter issue, making the games accessible to both casual and die-hard gamers.
One of the more original point-and-click adventure game series back in the golden age of the genre has certainly been the Gobliiins series by Cocktel Vision. It put the player in controls of 3 characters with different skills that had to be used creatively to solve puzzles and advance to the next area. Looking back at the game now I can’t help but relive fond memories of playing this excellent but devilishly hard game. Good news folks, thanks to Bulkypix the adventures of this ungodly bunch are coming soon to the App Store! Oh yeah, and chapter 2 and 3 are already planned for Nov 15 and Dec 15 respectively, so stay tuned!
Check out the official press-release and screenshots after the gap!
The App Store is devoid of any really notable games in the Horror genre. Only a few developers have been able to convey the atmosphere through the small screen of the iPhone and truly succeed in instilling the feeling of terror. What’s even more interesting is the fact that all of them are indie, with such famous franchises as Resident Evil 4 or SILENT HILL The Escape (US) failing to even scare a 2 year old on the platform. The most notable ones who managed the feat are the king of our The App Store’s Best Adventure in the Action/Adventure genre Fallen EP-1 (TMA Review) and the original interactive movie Hysteria Project (TMA Review). And just recently a new entry in the genre has arrived by the curious name of The Crimsons.
A little over a year ago a game took the App Store’s adventure section by storm, setting a new bar for others to follow and snatching the crown of the genre for several months to come. I’m talking, of course, about the excellent adaptation of Jules Verne’s Return To Mysterious Island (TMA Review) for the iPhone by Tetraedge games. And while it has since been surpassed by other titles in quality it still holds a well-deserved place in our App Store’s Best Adventure roundup. Well, Return to Mysterious Island – Deluxe Edition has just been released for the iPad and surprisingly, it’s literally a completely different title, even developed by a different company.
Anuman, Return to Mysterious Island – Deluxe Edition – $9.99
When I was finishing up on my review of Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge one of the things that really got me down was the graphics. I’d love to love this excellent adventure game in full Retina resolution, but I couldn’t. Instead a lot of the graphics were blurry and most of the fonts looked downright awful. Well, in an unexpected move, LucasArts have conceded the point and released a free update to Monkey Island 2, fixing a bunch of minor issues, and, most importantly, adding Retina Display resolution.
LucasArts, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge, 398.09MB – $2.99
Comparison screenshots and the full list of What’s new after the gap:
It’s no secret that I love platform games, and it’s probably not a surprise either that I’ve been a bit under-whelmed with the offerings on the App Store. From a presentation point of view Wizzley Presto and the Vampires Tomb could easily raise those expectations. Sadly, poor movement controls and a lousy save system keep this one from rising above the crowd.
Talking about the modern adventure games scene, it’s impossible to avoid mentioning Telltale Games. The company that pioneered episodic adventure games and trusted by LucasArts to resurrect the Sam & Max and Monkey Island franchises is definitely the pillars of the genre both on the PC/Mac and across the various consoles available. On the App Store they are known for Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone for iPad and Wallace & Gromit The Last Resort for iPad – and just recently, for their first original title – Puzzle Agent (HD).