It’s been a while since the last free iPad games roundup, but in my defence it’s been rather quiet on the iPad games front, free or otherwise. Must just be that time of the year. Anyway, I’ve found a few gems that should keep you busy this weekend (or shut the kids up at least), so check them out!
Crimson Steam Pirates [iTunes link]
This is my pick of the week, and it’s genuinely fantastic. A beautiful steampunk UI is complemented by intuitive and gorgeous in-game graphics, as you plunder the seas and chase after gold and girls.
Rare in mobile games, it even has a pleasantly interesting narrative with distinctive characters.
The controls are simple once you get used to them, but it takes a while to get into the mindset of actually steering a boat and the quirks that are involved. Shots are fired automatically when you’re in range of an enemy, and various boats have different abilities and special powers.
The entire first campaign is free to play, but I think this one’s going to leave you wanting more and more.
Steam Birds Survival HD [iTunes link]
This plays identical to Crimson Pirates in control style, but sadly has somewhat less character and zero story. The only difference is that it’s in the air with aeroplanes instead of pirate ships. Don’t let that dissuade you though.
If you’ve enjoyed Crimson Pirates to death, and you’re looking for something similar if not a complete knock-off copy, this is definitely worth checking out. It’s a well produced game with nice graphics, but does seem to utterly lacking in originality, level design (flat backgrounds), plot, or anything else that makes Crimson Pirates great.
Boss Battles HD [iTunes link]
A pleasant surprise, Boss Battles is a nod to the old space shoot-em ups like Galaga, only with dare I say it even more primitive graphics. Core gameplay elements of collecting stuff, upgrading your weapons and purchasing additional firing ‘pods’ are all there, with each level ending in the typical ‘boss battle’.
The controls are simple and intuitive – keep your finger on the screen and drag it around to move and shoot.
Epic War TD [iTunes link]
A free tower defence game, just in case you aren’t entirely sick of them yet. Yes, from its humble beginnings of flash based, an entire genre was born that involved mindless armies shuffling along tightly winding roads littered with turrets and zapping towers. Epic War doesn’t bring anything new to the genre – but it does have lovely graphics, hordes of alien like creatures, and fiendishly addictive gameplay.
As a free game, it’s ad-supported by an obnoxious banner across the top. It’s noticeable, but certainly doesn’t get in the way of a good game.
Forever Drive [iTunes link]
I loved this for the 8-bit soundtrack, retro graphics, and WipeOut style tracks that really doesn’t care what a racing track should look like. The default controls are touch-based on either side of the screen and they work well – there is the option of tilt or ‘analog pad’ but neither worked particularly well, so stick with the defaults.
Actually, you know why I like this? It reminds me so much of the old MegaRace 2 PC game, which was a hypnotic winding non-race (you couldn’t spin out and the roads had walls as far as I remember) that was truly a graphical miracle in 1996 with pre-rendered tracks. Too young to have any idea what I’m talking about? Check it out…
Please, please, somebody port that to the iPad, and I would be a truly happy man.
That’s it for today – this should be enough to kill a good few hours when you could otherwise be doing something more productive.
Enjoyed these? Let us know your favourite in the comments or if the price has since changed – these were all free at the time of writing, but obviously we can’t stop companies from raising their own prices.