I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute. They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy. It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right? I can’t think of a more charming premise than a disgruntled sheepdog that dons a motorcycle helmet and goes all Evil Knievel to get the sheep he’s supposed to be rounding up to respect him. Yet some of these levels can be quite maddening.
Little Acorns is one of the latest platform games from the publishing masterminds at Chillingo, and I’m beginning to think that there are a lot of closet Mega Man fans out there. Not that the premise or atmosphere is anything like those games, but Little Acorns can get tough! Thankfully it’s fun as well, though there are times when playing a level repeatedly can get frustrating, especially when it’s one small spot on the level that’s giving you grief. I honestly wasn’t quite sure about this game when I started playing it, but I’d say that Little Acorns is another solid platform game release from one of the leaders in iPhone game publishing.
Sometimes I fear that a particular genre will start to get old, especially when the App Store gets littered with games from that genre. The physics puzzler is one such genre that comes to mind, but thankfully Greedy Penguins isn’t the game to make that fear come true. This cute puzzle game about feeding some hungry aquatic birds can be challenging, but it is also satisfying and often quite entertaining. Control is a bit troublesome, which I have a feeling is due to the small iPod Touch screen, but overall the playing experience has been top notch.
Superman, while not the first superhero ever, is arguably the most well-known and iconic one. Created back in the 30’s he was instrumental to establishing the superhero genre. On the iOS however, Superman came quite late in the game long after Chillingo’s The Hero (TMA Review) showed its tight-fitting brightly coloured behind on the App Store. It’s time to see how the legendary “man of steel” holds up to the older and more satirical rival.
Blobster Christmas is the story of a boy and his blob… oh wait, that’s a different game. Blobster Christmas is the tale of a gelatinous mass that overruns a city… no, that’s a cheesy old movie that was remade into a worse movie in the 80’s. Actually, Blobster Christmas is the seasonal version of a cool little platform game from Chillingo that I reviewed some time ago (for a different site, but we won’t tell). You can check out that review here, and you probably should because it sums up this new game quite well.
So would you be all that surprised if I said this game had a fairly cute protagonist, a bunch of obstacles and some rope? Thankfully, though, Rope Rescue HD has nothing to do with feeding said protagonist cookies, cakes or any other kind of sweets. In fact, in relation to the game’s name, the action involves a parrot using the rope to unlock cages and free baby parrots. This is actually a clever little game, and it’s nice to play a rope puzzle game that isn’t really about physics and doesn’t involve fire (well at least not all the time). It’s actually quite challenging despite its cute facade which makes it a distraction for kids and still fun for adults.
Long before there were glorious multi-screen scrolling shooters, games like Space Invaders and Asteroids blazed a trail of their own by making single screen shooters with simple mechanics addictive. From time to time modern developers have tried to recapture that magic with varying degrees of success, but for me none have really done the concept justice. That is, of course, until Super Crossfire HD came around. The mechanics and visuals are old school, but things like particle effects and adjustable stats give it a modern flare. Even if you resigned yourself to believing that there is no going back once you tasted the “freedom” of a scrolling shooter, you need to give this one screen wonder a try.
Every once in a while, a game along and makes me truly admire the deviousness of the mind of its creator. The Tower Defense genre, though still relatively young, has probably seen everything but the kitchen sink in terms of gameplay variations. Top and side-view, fixed and open path, lacking in anything but the pure tactical placement of towers and the complete RPG package, rivalling some desktop roleplaying titles. We’ve even had elements of CCG thrown in. Well, Anomaly Warzone Earth HD is the proverbial kitchen sink, turning the genre upside down and inside out.
There are a lot of puzzle games on the App Store, and Chillingo is certainly no stranger to the genre as a publisher. Every once in a while, however, a puzzle game comes along that screams “look at me I’m different than the rest”. Each level has three glowing orbs to collect and a goal to reach, reminiscent of just about any puzzle game that exists any more. The ground can be manipulated ala Bumpy Road, there are organic rope-like things to swing on, and the list goes on of elements that are like other games. However, I would be willing to bet that you couldn’t name one single game that Contre Jour is patterned after, and in a day where one application market alone can house several hundred thousand games, that’s about as unique as you’re going to get.
One of the iconic cartoon shows constantly aired on the Cartoon Network when I was growing up was Hanna Barbera’s Wacky Races, where racers were pitched against each other in various road rallies across North America. Most remarkable of course were the vehicles, armed with dastardly and clever contraptions and used by the participants to gain the lead, often by questionable means. Well, anything new is just old well forgotten and this same basic idea is exploited in Mad Wheels.