Going back to the world of Apple, this week I want to talk about some of my favourite games on iPhone and iPad.
I’m a casual gamer generally, with some bouts of intense gaming once in a while, especially with console RPGs (look up Shin Megami Tensei games, they’re awesome). iPhone and iPad games are usually just time killers for me, but great time killers they are!
5. Mighty Fin
I picked up this game when I went to my last academic conference in Victoria–no laptop, no TV, just an iPhone. What a fun little discovery. Mighty Fin is one of those easy-looking platform games that are actually quite challenging.
The goal of the game is simple: survive to the end and grab as many bubbles as you can. It takes a while to master the subtleties of the tapping controls, and each level is harder than the previous one, so it’s always challenging. You get rewarded by medals and new costumes for your goldfish. Haven’t been able to beat the first level of the new update yet!
4. Tap Tap Revenge
I think Tap Tap Revenge is the first game I downloaded when I got my iPhone. It’s free if you stick to the free songs, but you can buy extra song packs for popular artists. The goal of the game is to get the highest score possible tapping little bubbles in sync with the music–kind of a simplified Dance Dance Revolution (the three-word title recalls the classic arcade game). I really like rhythm games for some reason: I own a DDR game and mat for the Wii and I also beat a similar game on my Nintendo DS. Great while waiting in line, as songs are 2-4 minutes long.
There’s a new free song every week and free song packs as you level up. Also, check out the iPad version: Tap Tap Radiation. Less music choices, but more challenging (the target bubbles move around).
3. Swords & Soldiers
For a tongue-in-cheek tower defense game, you won’t find better than Swords & Soldiers. It works on both iPhone and iPad, so you only need to pay once. Although I’ve been frustrated with it (stuck at a level), it’s a really fun, humorous game that also requires good strategic thinking. Maybe my propensity to enjoy managing resources and choosing the right fighter for the right task illustrates my enjoyment of project management… but I digress.
The writing of the game is excellent–it doesn’t take itself seriously–the graphics are gorgeous and it’s simply fun to play. Three wins in my book!
Reiner Knizia’s Samurai is a more recent find, thanks to my boyfriend. We’re always trying to find games we can play together over a distance, as I live in Vancouver and he in Victoria. If you like games requiring a lot of strategy, you’ll enjoy Samurai.
Based on an actual board game, Samurai will give a challenge to even the most seasoned chess players. I have only beaten the AI twice, and have never won against my boyfriend (he IS a seasoned chess player). The goal of the game is to accumulate tokens (buddhas, warriors and farmers) by placing tiles to influence them. The nitty-gritty of the rules is a bit complicated, but it gets easier as you play. You can play online with people you know or random people from the Internet, or against the computer, with up to 4 players.
Carcassonne is one of the rare games you can experience both in board format and on your iOs device–I bought the board game as a way to spend quality time with the boyfriend and when we both got iPhones we started playing it intensely over the distance between Victoria and Edmonton. It’s not very romantic but it did help us connect over the distance–still does, even though there’s only the ferry between us. (Side note: it takes me longer to make it to Victoria from Vancouver than it used to taking the plane from Edmonton. Go figure.)
The board version has won numerous prizes and has a few expansion packs now. The iPad/iPhone game (one download for the two versions) only has the original, but the development team is working on introducing some expansions. The goal of the game is to make points by completing features: cities, roads and cloisters; and by securing farm land. The beauty of this game is that not one is ever the same and that there are many different strategic approaches to winning. It’s easy enough for a child to learn but complex enough for an adult to enjoy. You can play against the AI, against friends online or in solitaire mode, which has its own specific rules. All these options keep the game fresh and exciting every time.
My emotional attachment to Carcassonne is echoed by its constantly being featured in the App Store’s Best Games list. For 9.99$ it might seem a bit steep, but trust me, it will give you hours and hours of gaming pleasure.
I hope these suggestions are useful to you. With all the games in the App Store (most of which are crap, honestly), it’s always good to have references… I wish I had one when I started looking up games for my iPhone!
What are your favourite iPhone and iPad games? Share in the comments!