I have always been a fan of brick breaking games, ever since the good old days of playing Breakout and Arkanoid on consoles like the Atari 2600 and my original Apple II+. Since that time, I have enjoyed watching this genre develop and grow into a more sophisticated arcade platform. As such, I was absolutely thrilled when we were contacted not long ago by the developers of the latest entrant into this genre, Atomic Ball HD. The developers were kind enough to send along a copy of the game for me to check out, so let’s go ahead and dive right into it.
I don’t know what it is about the whole falling down / continually climbing genre of games. It’s no more complex than the constantly running variety, yet it can be just as addictive. To be perfectly honest, though, when I first started playing Volcano Escape I thought it was going to be different. I actually didn’t think I was going to get into it. Turns out I was wrong. The thing that actually sets Volcano Escape apart from the crowd is you’ll actually find yourself doing better if you don’t completely rush. There’s no room to dawdle either, but a happy medium will take you a long way. I’m not sure I’m thrilled about the controls, but given enough time I’ll get used to them.
Time to give an indie programmer a bit of press. Yusuf Tor has created a fun little game called Space Orbiter, which can help you learn and observe the effects of gravity and velocity (and the spacey music loop is not bad either). Though it's not a high-end 3-D game (only 19MB in size), I think it would be mucho fun for the kiddies, and hey...it's only 99 cents! The concept is pretty simple. You position your orbiter, set a speed vector, and hope that your settings result in the longest trip round and through the planets.
As a fan of both videogames and jigsaw puzzles, I am always excited to see a puzzle game hit the App Store. The high resolution touchscreens on Apple's iOS devices naturally lend themselves toward the concept of a 'virtual jigsaw puzzle.' Here's where the game 'Puzzle Me!!!' comes in. The app is marketed to children and adults alike, and boasts 50 unique puzzles, each with four difficulty settings to conquer. That said, I must make something abundantly clear: the game is almost punishingly easy. Even on the hardest difficulty setting, a puzzle can easily be completed in just a few minutes. To make things even easier, the developers decided that if the player drags a piece even remotely close to where it belongs, it should automatically snap into place.
Puzzle games are a dime a dozen, and some genres are so oversaturated that it’s hard to imagine a developer doing any more with them. Then a game like Cardboard Castle comes along that doesn’t really fit neatly into a category and reminds us of why we love puzzle games in the first place. You’ll find no matching or physics related quandaries in this game. Instead what you get is a series of rooms that contain multiple “use this object for this purpose” puzzles that while in hindsight are fairly simple, can be quite perplexing until you’ve figured them out. Add to that the awesome cardboard graphics theme and you have one pretty snazzy puzzle game to include in your collection.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Croft, the man behind the amazing game studio known as Mediatonic. The studio is responsible for many terrific games, not only on the iOS platform, but also on the PSP and PC. I've always been a fan of the studio's games - in particular, I absolutely love Must.Eat.Birds.
The full interview is presented below.
Dain Schroeder (iPhone Life):
I tend toward the action/shooter genre of game probably more than any other type, but once in a while it is fun to do nothing more than steer big rig trucks around the screen. Ah, the mindless, harried nature of the time killer game, be it tower defense or whatever, is not unheard of on my iPod. Highway King adds a drawing element to this kind of game, but if you can't trace out basic shapes on the screen of your iPhone or touch, you might have some frustration (like I did).
If you are looking for a great Valentine's day deal, SEGA is offering up some great titles for 99 cents (ChuChu Rocket, Super Monkey Ball 2, Phantasy Star, etc.), and the Sonic series for as low as $2.99. You can check out the full list here at their blog. You can click on the linked image on this post to go right to SEGA games in the App store (or simply do a search for SEGA in iTunes).
Since I’ve started playing hidden object games I’ve noticed that they have become less about searching a room for a bunch of objects and more about being like an adventure game. You often need to find an object to be used somewhere else, there are mini-games to be solved to unlock objects or rooms in the game, and you even have dialogs with other people in the game. The focus tends to be around people searching for their parents, grandparents, or kids, so the original Treasure Seekers was a nice change of pace in that it revolved around a younger child trying to find her brother (and then looking for a treasure, of course). Now the kids have grown up, but the premise hasn’t changed – sister must find brother, and together they’ll seek the Philosopher’s Stone. Turns out it’s still as interesting this time around, and the more balanced mini-games make for an overall more pleasant experience.