What I Played This Week: A Mixed Bag and a New Sonic!

I played a mix of games over the holiday weekend, so here is the quick rundown before doing the mini-reviews. Sonnic Runners  (free) is a new SEGA endless runner with many new features and freemium distractions. Decolorize (free) is an off-the-wall puzzler, and Wormarium ($2.99) is a maze challenge loosely reminiscent of some arcade classics. My personal favorite is Escape (free), a side-scrolling physics game which requires precise control to rescue crash-landed rocket-ship survivors while avoiding planet-side obstacles, but I played and enjoyed all the games in this WIPTW post-July 4 edition!

SEGA released SONIC RUNNERS last week. I tried grabbing and downloading the online-only game on release, but it must first download content after installation and it kept timing out. An update seems to have fixed the problem. Sonic gets a big overhaul in this version, adding new abilities and new side-kick characters and so much other flashy stuff I went catatonic for a full minute. Game graphics are snazzed up too. Bonuses via rings and general Sonic movements are not unlike the original; but of course micro-transactions and weird currency schemes are ever present. Levels are all too short, in contrast to the flash, in my opinion. The between level advertising and load/progress screens are obnoxious and painful. The game is still a blast (once you get to it), so if you like Sonic (or are just curious about Sonic), go grab it. Sonic Runners is probably quality enough to justify the between-level nonsense, or possibly not. I leave that up to the hardcore Sonic fan to decide.

Wormarium reminds me of an old maze game (Pacman or maybe the older Snake?) that had a relationship with Dig Dug which birthed a hybrid, stunted offspring. The worm must navigate the maze which is rendered in below-ground, 2-D, cartoonish glory. Your job is to pilot said worm around the maze without encountering the mole on your tail (which is smaller than the worm?)The mole kills you if he catches you (even though he looks smaller...?). You can "out-juke" the mole by stopping at a T-junction, letting him get right behind you (definitely an old Pacman trick), and taking off again right or left. At least in Pacman, you usually pulled this stunt near a powerup that allowed you to then turn on and eat the pursuer. Wormarium is fun if you forget that you're a defenseless worm running a multi-junction point maze with only one exit! Oh, and yeah, you can only move forward, since well, you are a worm after all. This is probably a fine title for younger players interested in learning about worms and the moles that eat them.

Decolorize is an offbeat, yet interesting puzzle game which requires one to analyze a grid of disks (particularly the direction cue on each), before selecting one. Selecting a disk causes it to move and clear out empty disks or change vector in the direction indicated on other discs that (like the one you select) also have rounded directional indicators on them. You have so many turns in each round, and new disk selections drop down after each turn. Extra points are earned for clearing entire rows/columns and fetching colored disks, which gives you more turns to um, clear more disks.

Finally, the pièce de résistance is the insanely difficult Escape (that is the game title and point, I guess). Tip: It plays just fine offline minus the ad craziness. You pilot your zigzagging 2D rocket towards the right endlessly avoiding falling terrain, giant hills, and other obstacles. Oh, yeah, occasionally you encounter grounded passengers that need to be picked up, adding tension to the difficulty of controlling the herky-jerky ship. Tapping keeps ship flying, and not tapping makes the ship smash into ground. The ship does that a lot, particularly when you hit restart and aren't ready to take control again! Some have said in the iTunes review comments it's a Badland ripoff. It is a bit like Badland, but way harder in my opinion. It's also better, because it features a rocket ship afterall...nuff said!

That's it for this edition of WIPTW. I say they are all worthy of at least a go (though Wormarium ought to switch to freemium, in my opinion), so grab them at the links provided. What are you playing this week? Let me know in the comments section.

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Author Details

Nate Adcock's picture

Author Details

Nate Adcock

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.tumblr.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.