Every few weeks I sift through the newest iPad game releases on the App Store and relentlessly play each one (it’s a tough job, I know) to find those worthy of precious homescreen real estate. Ladies and gentlemen, here are another 5 to keep you going, an eclectic mix of depraved horses, sim tower, fun for the kids, and irked bears.
Hands-up those who remember SimTower? No, nevermind, it wasn’t exactly the most famous of the franchise that spawned a million sim games, but it was curiously addictive – and who doesn’t have fond memories of building a wedding chapel on the 100th floor and having to cope with an ever increasing elevator demand? Riveting stuff. Tiny Tower is a bit like that, and maintains the same element of addiction thankfully whilst still adding a unique touch to the ‘genre’ of tower building.
What’s different? Well, you have only one building type per floor, and it’s much harder to build new floors. The mechanics also focus more on shuffling people around and restocking your retail ventures on each floor, as well as little hide and seek tasks when “someone is searching for an old friend”. A key task is moving people to the appropriate floor in the elevator when new people or VIPs come to the tower.
As a ‘freemium’ game, there’s always the option to speed things up, but your stores continue to earn cash even when you’re not playing (and using up their stock levels!), and it doesn’t feel forced like some games can.
Anyway, Tiny Tower is a well produced and addictive game with great core mechanics, and the 8-bit retro graphics add superbly to the game’s charm. This weeks MUST DOWNLOAD!
Tiny Dish [No Longer Available]
I warn you now, this is not something a sane adult would actually want to play, but it’s free and it might easily become one of your kids favourites. The premise is simple – you get a plate or two, a screen full of random foods, and you have to sort the correct foodtype onto that plate because mummy hates a messy table. Putting the wrong type of food onto the plate spits out another 10 or so random foods, so you really don’t want to get it wrong so often.
It did strike me that the objects were just a little too small for uncoordinated fingers though – perhaps children will find it easier. It didn’t quite agree with the random mashing of my fat fingers!
The iPad version also has a versus (vs) mode, so if you really want give your child the pleasure of whooping your ass at food sorting, go right aead.
Marvel Kapow HD Free (demo) [No Longer Available]
I must admit I was expecting a cheap piece of marketing, but was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Though the demo only includes a limited number of levels, it does offer a good amount of gameplay and is good for all ages. In a variety of gameplay mechanisms that reflect arkanoid/breakout/space invaders/fruit ninja clones, each super hero is squared off against a villain. I won’t embarrass myself by pretending to know who the characters are as I’ve never been much of a Marvel fan, but Wolverine’s attack is of course slicing at the approaching enemies, while the guy with the American flag on his shield (god, I don’t know! Captain Planet?) reflects the enemy shots back up. After a few levels you’re forced to mix and match these play styles, choosing the appropriate attack for that enemy. It’s a good, addictive mechanism, and definitely worth checking out before considering the full game.
Unpleasant Horse [No Longer Available]
Quirky title of the week award! Unpleasant Horse is what happens when teams of developers from PopCap games play silly word games, and see what they can make of the outcome. After winning the code jam, the game was polished up and released.
First off, this game is utterly disgusting and depraved, so don’t let your kids near it unless you’re one of those cool parents.
Bordering on ridiculously impossible, the game is about jumping your dark goth-horse around from cloud to cloud, capturing pretty ponies then dragging them down the the slicer, and gobbling up cute birds to get an extra jump. Be careful though, hang around too long in the slicer or miss the next cloud and you’ll soon be greeted by a shower of blood and excruciating sound of bones crunching.
Definitely NOT one for the whole family, but oh so fun in a sick and twisted kind of way.
Battle Bears 1 – Free (demo) [No Longer Available]
Who said teddy bears have to be cuddly? Though the demo is only about 15 minutes long of one full level, it’s absolutely gripping and intense throughout. With zero backstory or a ridiculous plot to worry about, you race through the level killing a variety of happy bears – the weakest kind of which shoot out rainbows from their decapitated necks when they die – using a variety of weaponry. A heavy metal soundtrack pounds on in the background, and before long the game has picked up speed, happy bears are spewing out of every door, and you’re racing frantically to pick up bonus bullets and making full use of that rocket launcher.
Trust me, this is an intense experience not to be missed!
That’s it for this week. As ever, you can either post your suggestions for upcoming titles in the comments, or if you’re a developer and you’d like your game featured, then feel free to email me directly james AT makeuseof.com. Thanks for reading!