Some of the very best games in a number of genres make excellent holiday gifts
Great games not only make excellent gifts, they’re a good way to keep you and your family entertained during long holiday trips. This holiday game buyer’s guide covers the best titles in a number of genres. Each one offers many hours of engrossing gameplay and tremendous value for your holiday dollar. Whether you want to buy someone a gift that they will enjoy for months to come, or you want to make sure that time flies on a cross-country flight, these titles will keep you jolly well past New Years Day.
As iPhone games mature, developers are creating more sophisticated titles that do more than show off the platform’s flashy graphics.
There have been several games in the App Store that revolve around sheep, and some of them border on wacky. So far, I’d say that Peter Und Vlad takes the cake, at least in terms of story. Unfortunately, the game play is pretty standard line drawing fare, and a couple of design issues make the game not quite as fun as it could be. Still, it’s always nice having another entry in the ever growing library of line drawing games that doesn’t somehow involve vehicles.
Developers need to take a closer look at successful apps
As an iPhone developer, I am always checking out the competition to see what the more successful applications are all about. I especially pay attention to reviews submitted by the users. What do they like about the game? What don’t they like? What suggestions do they have to make the application better?
This has nothing to do with copying someone else’s idea. It is driven by a healthy admiration and respect for the teams that created the apps, and it’s about trying to find out what the apps have that make them a hit. The reviews give me a direct view into the mind of the user. Traditionally, a company could spend millions of dollars on marketing research to get this information, but it’s available for free on the App Store!
What can I say, CandyCane Inc’s Fling (.99) is an awesome app! Though I have almost no time to myself, I often find when I’m stuck trying to solve a problem at work, or with my dissertation, I’ll sort of mindlessly open up Fling and start playing – after awhile I get my mind back into problem solving mode and put it away – so far I’ve made it to level 7.
The genre of puzzle game that requires you to stack or unstack objects is becoming increasingly popular in the App Store, and like any such genre new entries really need something to set them apart from the rest of the pack. From a game play perspective I’m not really sure that Rescue Razzle has anything new to offer, but the theme is cute and for some reason I do find it to be one of the more interesting games of this type that I’ve played on my iPod Touch. That being said, I think it could use a little more pizzazz to break away from the rest of the gang.
Alien Strike (.99) by Red Crystal Studio is an app I thought I’d give a try since it struck me as kind of retro looking, cheap and probably not too hard to master. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
The idea of the game is simple enough, pilot your flying saucer through the gauntlet of hills and overhangs, avoiding or shooting the other ships, and houses while gathering some bonus points by flying into them.
Dr. Seuss created a wide variety of bizarre and interesting creatures before he passed away. Even if you’re not overly familiar with his works, however, chances are you’ve heard of these two: The Cat In The Hat and the Grinch. Well, the name of the game is Grinchmas, so if you haven’t already you can probably rule out the star as being the Cat. Grinchmas is one of three Grinch themed licensed products from Oceanhouse Media, and the only one that’s a game. As such, I almost would have expected something a bit more than an object throwing game. At least the voices are cool…
Gotta love Dr. Suess! Oceanhouse Media has released a snowball throwing app with a decidedly Grinchy theme. Apparently Grinchmas has jumped to the #1 spot in kids games this month, and #12 in the family game category. Looks pretty fun, so go check it out at their site (video available). I'm trying to fanagle a leetle giveaway for our readers of course, and will keep you posted. In the mean time, go grab it for a $1.99. Don't be a grinch now, it's the holiday season after all!
I have nothing against simple games. I don’t even necessarily care if the look or sound the best (as long as they look and sound better than something I could do). However, when a game doesn’t play well all the rest sort of really doesn’t matter much. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with Alien Strike. What could have been an all right Defender clone has such a wonky control scheme that it’s almost not playable unless you set it to indestructible mode, at which point it’s no longer any fun anyway.
My first experience with Mina’s adventures, which are loosely based on the stories of Jules Verne, was with Return To Mysterious Island on a Windows Mobile device. It was one of my favorite portable adventure games, and the iPhone version proved to be an even slightly better experience. Imagine my delight, then, when I found out that there was going to be a sequel on the iPhone. I couldn’t wait for this game to come out, and now that I have it I’m not quite as excited. It’s nice to be back in Mina and Jep’s life again, but I’m not finding this adventure quite as engaging as the first time around. I also still don’t see some much needed tweaks to the game engine from the first time around. Still, Secrets Of Mysterious Island should provide some thoughtful game time for true adventure gamers. As a bit of advance warning, there might be a spoiler or two in this review, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.