When Apple announced the iTunes App Store last year, they opened up global distribution opportunities for small development studios that were willing to offer high-quality games for very low prices. Many of these games cost you less than a dollar. Since everyone’s on a budget these days, I thought I’d show you how to stretch your buying power. Each of the games in this article costs 99 cents. So for ten bucks, you get ten great games—call it the “iTunes Super Value Menu.”
Let’s start with the simplest and most addictive game of the bunch. In Doodle Jump (limasky.com), all you have to do is keep moving. Use your accelerometer to move from platform to platform without pausing. Along the way, you’ll encounter plenty of obstacles, including: moving platforms, exploding platforms, monsters, aliens, and more. The game also includes a global score tracker that uses your Internet connection to compare your scores with people all around the world.
Doodle Jump; (limasky.com)
Lucky Junction is the second game in the Yard Sale Hidden Treasures series. What I love about this series is that these are not simply “find the hidden object” games. Each features a unique storyline. Not only do you have to find all of the objects in question, you also need to use those objects to complete tasks on different levels. Toss in the mystery of which of the various objects will help with the different tasks, and this turns into a compelling time-waster.
Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Lucky Junction; Method Solutions, LLC; http://www.method-solutions.com/game_yardsale2.html
If you have ever crumpled a piece of paper into a ball and tossed it toward the waste basket, then you know how to play Paper Toss. In the World Tour version, you take your garbage cans to locations around the world. Make three consecutive shots at one location in order to go to the next. Attention to detail really makes this game stand out. Not only do the backgrounds change as you move around the world, but you will also be subjected to weather that is relevant to each location, such as rainstorms, fog, snow, ice, and plenty of additional obstacles.
Paper Toss World Tour; Backflip Studios; http://www.backflipstudios.com/papertoss_wt
Flight Control was one of the first games I purchased for my iPod Touch, and it remains among the best games I have ever played on any platform. The concept is fairly simple; guide the planes to their runways and ensure they land safely without crashing. As you progress, however, you will find a variety of planes, each of which travels at a different speed, and all of which enter your airspace at the same time. With four different maps and nine airplanes, this is a game that never gets old.
Flight Control; ndWare Pty Ltd.; http://www.firemint.com/flightcontrol.htm
Stories about vengeful gods abound that involve plagues, floods, and pillars of fire. With this game, you can take your rightful place as the demigod of a small, tropical island. You decide which maladies rain down upon your citizens, including sharks (with and without lasers), volcanoes, tsunamis, and plenty more. And just when the game starts getting old, the developer sends you weekly updates that instantly refreshed it with new challenges, skills, or mini-games. Take charge of your island! Your victims…err…worshippers are waiting.
Pocket God; Bolt Creative; http://pocketgod.blogspot.com
This is a digital version of one of my favorite carnival attractions. You get nine balls, and all you have to do is roll them up the ramp and into the scoring zone. Land the balls in the cups to score points. You can play in classic mode, in which you score as many points as you can with nine balls; or progressive mode, in which you try to achieve scoring goals of increasing difficulty. This is a great recreation of the classic carnival game, though sadly, there were no giant stuffed bunny prizes.
Dmitri is an ingenious little boy who has invented a baseball simulation machine for his backyard. The simulator consists of an outfield with targets representing various outcomes (single, double, triple, and home run). The targets shuffle and reload after each pitch. All you need to do is knock over one of the targets to advance the runner. Miss the targets, and you get an out. The game starts easily enough, but as the targets start disappearing, your aim and control become increasingly important. Part puzzle, part sports game, Backyard Baseball is completely addictive.
Backyard Baseball; Atari, Interactive
Flight simulation games on the iPod touch look astounding, and this is no exception. In F.A.S.T., you control a fighter jet flying through a complete 3D, 360-degree environment. Watch out for enemy bogies on your tail, and then take the offensive with your advanced and realistic weaponry. As you work your way through the 30 different levels, you will unlock more powerful jets (or you can purchase them through the in-app marketplace). This is a fantastic game, which really displays the power of the iPod touch as a gaming platform.
F.A.S.T. Fleet Air Superiority Training; SGN; http://www.sgn.com/
Games employing “ragdoll physics” seem uniquely popular on the iPhone. There are quite a few out there, involving virtually every environment. Moto X Mayhem takes that concept and puts it on a motorcycle. Your job is to use the accelerometer to guide the motorcycle through a dirt bike course, navigating climbs, valleys, and jumps. Be careful! Lean too far forward or back and you may find yourself hurtling over the handlebars and skidding down the wrong side of the hill.
Moto X Mayhem; Occamy Games; http://www.motoxmayhem.com/
There is a new sheriff in town, and it is you. Protect the town against the gangsters, thugs, hooligans, and other bad guys with guns. Of course, innocent civilians will also pop out of the three doors, so choose your targets carefully. And remember that even the bad guys are not fair game until they draw. The clever, cartoon styling and quick gameplay make WestBang a blast.
WestBang; Rake In Grass; http://www.slidetoplay.com/publisher/rake-in-grass
So, there you have it—ten games for ten dollars. But since it won’t cost you anything, I’ll toss in a freebie to make it an uneven 11. Darts is another one of my absolute favorite games for the iPhone. It’s about as close as you can come to digitally reproducing the experience of gathering with your friends at a local pub. With the two most popular darts games—Cricket and x01—this one hits the bull’s-eye every time.
Darts; Brian Hammond; http://fictorial.com/darts/