I’ve never been much for online gaming. I’ve not wandered the countryside of Britannia nor visited the realms of Azeroth. Even when Star Wars — one of my all time favorites — went multiplayer online, I couldn’t bring myself to join the dark side. As I get more and more engrossed in mobile gaming, however, I’ve come to appreciate the concept of multiplayer causal gaming. Developers have managed to find a way to let me play against other humans and still fulfill my desire to be a solitary game player.
In fact, I’m finding myself spending more time engaged in multiplayer battles within a few games rather than the many pages of high quality apps that fill my iPad. As a result, when the fine folks at iPhone Life asked if I would consider sharing my views in a semi-regular column on the state of gaming, I decided the perfect topic for my first installment would be “online games for people who hate online games.”
Have you ever tried to buy a toy from one of those machines in the front of a grocery store only to have it get stuck or refuse to come out of the machine at all? If you’ve ever wondered what happens to the toy as it’s making its way to the delivery spout, Cling! ($0.99) is here to answer those questions for you. Get ready to take on the journey of one ambitious octopus with sticky legs as it tries to make its way to freedom and the hands of a boy who will love it for at least a few minutes before losing it. Just make sure to bring your nerves of steel with you, because some of the levels in this game will demand it.
At first I was a bit surprised to see Chillingo publish a simple free faller game like Sky Hero ($0.99). But given the number and breadth of games it produces in a year, I guess it makes sense.
I love infinite runners to the point where I’ll even play a bad one a lot longer than I should in hopes it might suddenly become enjoyable. As such, I get a bit nervous when trying a new one due to the small chance it will live up to my self-inflated standards. In some ways JOOL ($0.99) reminds me of another infinite runner I recently reviewed and wasn’t particularly kind to. However, it just goes to show that while one game might falter because of certain criteria, another can shine in spite of such things. This game might not stroke everyone’s plumage the right way, but if you’re a fan of infinite runners like I am, you should at least give it a try.
When G5 released Nightmares From The Deep, I had actually started to grow weary of hidden object games. Thankfully the balanced game play, focus on adventuring aspects, and interesting story kept me captivated until the end of the game. It even convinced me to play the bonus adventure, which I had never done before. Now G5 brings us another treasure from the same developers in the form of Abyss: The Wraiths Of Eden. While I’m not quite sure if I like this one as well as Nightmares From The Deep yet, there’s no question that it shares the same high quality as the previous game. Adventure and hidden object fans should have a great time with this one as well.
Who doesn’t like a good side scrolling infinite runner? If you just raised your hand, this review probably won’t interest you. For those that are left, I’m afraid this game might not interest you. I appreciate that the developers felt they were doing something slightly different than the rest of the crowd, but frankly the game feels like a Robot Unicorn / Unicorn Dash knock-off with a horse riding, sword wielding demon. While in theory that sounds cool, in practice it comes off as a cheap second rate attempt at doing something that’s already been done much better. This may sound awfully harsh, but keep in mind we’re talking about a genre that already has plenty of entries.
If you were lucky enough to own a NES and had good taste in games then you have probably played Balloon Fight at some point. It was ported to a few other systems, and there were a couple of updates through the years, but sadly this title has been largely ignored in the gaming community. While it’s not anything officially tied to one of my favorite 8-bit games, there’s no question that Balloon Loons draws its inspiration from the aforementioned video game. With its colorful visuals, cute adversaries and plenty of levels to explore, Balloon Loons is certain to satisfy that craving for balloon popping that all former NES owners have.
Kickstarter has become a bit of a phenomenon, and with good reason. While just like with any other system there's no guarantee that every campaign will be successful, there are enough success stories to come out of the crowd funding camp to make it worth a developer's while to at least try. I run across more than my share of interesting projects on the web site, and get several requests from developers to publish "their story" and help spread the word. Here are a couple recent contacts that I thought I'd make you aware of.
G5 is probably best known for their adventure and hidden object games, but they have been branching out into other genres including time management and more recently physics puzzle games. Jumpster was an interesting first effort in the latter genre whose initial release was ultimately marred by an almost absolute necessity to buy IAP in order to play for any length of time. Green Jelly is their second physics puzzle release and it has managed to make a much better impression on me overall, except for the less than amicable controls. At least there's no IAP though.
When it came to PC gaming I think adventure games were what I grew up on, and I’m happy to see more developers bringing this great genre of game play to the iOS platform. In late November of 2012 we were treated to a cool time travelling piece called Tesla’s Electric Mist, and since I’m now getting back into it to try and finish it up I thought I’d share my experiences with the game. There’s no question that the developer has a deep fondness for this style of game play, and there are plenty of puzzles to solve and mini-games to conquer. I think it would have been nice to have a little golf cart with all the walking I had to do, though.