As certain genres of game continue to get overly bloated in the App Store, the first question on my mind is always “what sets this game apart?” In the case of Mooniz, I’m not sure how to answer that question. The game is fun and is certainly a solid entry in the ever growing category of matching games, but it doesn’t really do anything that I haven’t seen before. I’m also a bit concerned about the difficulty level given that this is supposed to be a casual game. Still, the bouncy music and colorful mooniz that make up the world of Mooniz somewhat make up for the brutal nature of the game play.
Would you be surprised if I told you this was another physics game starring a cute protagonist? Throw in the quest for candy and you’re already starting to think “Cut The Rope”. Have no fear, faithful readers. This game is as far from Cut The Rope as far can get (if far can get very far, that is). For the most part this is about bringing the protagonist to the candy, and not the candy to the protagonist. Forgoing your parents’ childhood rule about sticking your tongue out at people you’ll have to use that incredible appendage to crawl, climb and swing towards your goal. The level design is quite ingenious at times, and the overall experience is quite original to the platform. Now if there were just some social integration to be found…
Foodies is a physics game that doesn’t look much like other physics games, and in a world filled with games that want to be just like Angry Birds or Cut The Rope, that’s a good thing. It’s even got a novel control mechanic that both makes sense and more often than not works well. There’s even a cute protagonist and an amusing story, for those of you that need either one of those things (or both). My main issue at this point is that there is a fine line between creative and cruel, or challenging and frustrating, and Foodies likes to play on that line quite frequently, even in the lower levels. Oh, and it would be nice to be able to turn the insulting kids off as well.
Samurai Tale is a simple combat game, and it had the potential to be rather interesting, especially if you’re looking for something with fighting that doesn’t have the complexities of a Street Fighter type game. Unfortunately, there are enough little things wrong with it that the game becomes somewhat mediocre as a whole, and given the number of quality games available on the App Store, that’s not a good thing. I would love to see some more work put into this to help it rise above its current level, because I’m one of those that really likes a casual fighter from time to time.
There’s something about an underwater setting that promotes peace and tranquility – unless, of course, you’re a fish with a vengeance and can blow killer bubbles. In Treasure Reef you play Herby, a fish trying to find the legendary treasure of Reef Island. Unfortunately there are these nasty creatures called Creeps that will do whatever they can to make sure you don’t get that treasure. You have 28 levels to prove them wrong and find out what the legend is.
As I’ve grown to have less time for playing games, I’ve come to appreciate the simpler things in entertainment. For example, I’m just as content playing a quick dungeon crawler like Sword Of Fargoal now as I was playing a sprawling RPG like Might & Magic when I was in high school. However, despite the fact that I’ve seen on many occasions where simple can be fun, simple doesn’t always mean fun. Sadly, Finger Runner is the perfect example of this. I think the concept is sound, but the execution is frustrating more than anything.
I had never even heard of Pachinko until Peggle arrived on the iPhone, and now it seems like there are several different variants of the game on the App Store, most of them trying to disguise the fact that they are actually a Pachinko variant. One of the latest such variants is Dog Pile, an interesting combination of Pachinko and Match 3, of all things. Interestingly enough, it is probably one of my favorite versions so far. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge fan of match 3 games, and it’s also a bonus that the dogs are so cute!
After a false start on part one (I loaded it up one time and just watched a slight intro without actually playing the game), I couldn’t put it down the first time I actually tried to play. In fact, I liked it so much that I played it again before playing part two. Needless to say I was pretty stoked about venturing into the second installment of this psychological horror mystery, hoping the answers to all my questions would be revealed. Well, I’m still hoping… At least it was an enjoyable second leg of the journey.
One thing I really like about the mobile scene is that it has helped me to appreciate genres that I never really got into on the PC. For instance, I’m pretty sure I’ve played as many FPS games on my PocketPC and iPhone as I have for as long as I’ve owned a PC (unless you count the myriad of mods I played when I was into Half-Life). Another genre that didn’t really catch my attention until the small screen was the Arkanoid style game. I’m not suggesting that I jump up and down with joy now every time a new one of these games is released, but I do find that when certain variations like Atomic Ball come along, they actually manage to hold my attention for a while. Of course it doesn’t hurt that aesthetically this is one of the coolest looking Arkanoid clones on the market either.
There have been a number of top down racers available for iOS devices since the inception of the App Store, and one that I’ve particularly enjoyed came out about a year ago. It’s called Lil’ Racerz Pro Rally, and despite its age it has held up rather well. It might not be as fancy as the likes of Reckless Racing, but it offers lots of tracks, 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade, and some sweet “modern retro” graphics and sound. If you're a top down racing fan this would certainly be a fitting addition to your collection.