The Inner World is one of those “throwback, but in a good way” titles that reminds us of how good we have it nowadays. That sounds harsh, but remember that a time existed in which point-and-click adventures were everywhere. Very few of them gave you any help or hints, and all of them required you to play Amateur Psychic with the developers.
The Inner World by Studio Fizbin Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $2.99
This is what I’m saying (slight spoiler, but it’s the first puzzle): I have no reason to believe that a drunken worm would make for a good slingshot.
And it’s a good thing that The Inner World is so cute and sympathetic to its players or that would really annoy me.
Legend of Equip Pants is an episodic adventure/role-playing game that revolved around the acquisition of pants. You play as Sir Pantsalot as he quests to find, well, pants to wear. You start out partially clothed in armor and generally terrorize the innocent populace with your lack of lower body covering.
Legend of Equip Pants by Zach Johnson Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: Free
Each episode is fairly brief and has only a handful of solutions. In the first episode, you must acquire a costume or pumpkin pants to enter a party. You can either get a pumpkin and take it to the pantsmith or borrow cursed “underwere” that turn you into an underwerewolf! League of Epic Pants hardly takes itself seriously, and these bite-sized levels don’t overstay their welcome. You really only need a few minutes to appreciate the concept of underwerewolves, and the game’s developer realizes this.
Dark and light should probably sit down someplace and talk. They’re always fighting.
Darklings by MildMania Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $0.99 (50% off promotional price)
Their senseless war continues in Darklings, a new endless survival game from developer MildMania. You play as Lum, a being of light going up against the Darklings, evil beings who have stolen all the stars from the sky in a plan to plunge the world into darkness. Because that’s how the dark operates in these things.
Lum is alone against endless waves of evil beings, and only your quick shape-drawing powers can help it prevail.
Playing Icycle: On Thin Ice feels more like interacting with a movie than playing a game. You guide the hapless (and naked) Dennis through an increasingly treacherous frozen wasteland with nothing but a bicycle and a warm hat. The world will shift, crack, and crumble all around you, often sending Dennis up an ice flow or down into frozen lakes. The animation is so seamless that it’s almost like you’re watching a cutscene.
Icycle: On Thin Ice by Chillingo Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $0.99
What is more game-like about Icycle is the emphasis on completing level objectives while performing dangerous jumps to collect ice chunks. Doing so will let you unlock new tools and eventually clothing for Dennis to use. I was worried when I started the game that Dennis would just stay naked, so I’m glad you have the option to clothe him. Of course, every time you careen into spikey ice, his clothes miraculously disappear, leaving Dennis to freeze to death on the ice–which is as charmingly animated as everything else in Icycle.
I grew up in the 80s, so I know how close we came to total nuclear annihilation when the WOPR computer became self-aware, as we saw in the 1983 documentary WarGames. The only thing that saved us back then was Tic Tac Toe, a game that became the savior of all humanity just by being stupid and largely unwinnable.
Tic Tactics by Hidden Variable Studios Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: Free
Tic Tactics aims to solve its predecessor’s “what the hell, we’re bored” factor by adding eight more boards and some much-needed lateral thinking.
The Shivah: Kosher Edition by Wadjet Eye Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $1.99
“A goy came up to Rabbi Moishe to ask, ‘Why do rabbis always answer with a question?’
To which Rabbi Moise replied, ‘Why not?’”
First released in 2006, The Shivah is a noirish, murder-mystery adventure game centered around a money-deficient New York synagogue. Its hero, Russell Stone, is not a hardbitten private investigator or a disgraced former police officer like the genre typically demands. He’s a cynical rabbi with a heavy conscience who stumbles into the investigation completely by accident. It sounds odd, and it is, but it also totally works.
Now, developer Wadjet Eye Games has released The Shivah: Kosher Edition, an updated iOS and PC version of the original game with all-new graphics and music. If you’ve never played the original and you’re a fan of adventure games and (well-meaning) Jewish humor, it’s a great take on the well-trod genre.
Its title may sound like a Star Wars-based mockbuster by The Asylum (the studio that brought us Sharknado and Atlantic Rim), but Stellar Wars, a new iOS title out now from developer Liv Games, is actually the followup to 2011’s megapopular Legendary Wars. Only this one takes place in space and stars a bunch of cute robots.
Stellar Wars by Liv Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $1.99
So it’s off to a promising start from that alone.
Once you get over the cute overload from those little guys, though, Stellar Wars reveals itself to be a complex, surprisingly deep melange of a bunch of different game styles that shouldn’t work together, but then they totally do.
It’s been a little while since I reviewed a fantasy game with a branching plot, so I picked up Sorcery! 2, a new title from developer Inkle Studios and designer Steve Jackson, co-founder of Lionhead Studios (maker of the Fable series of role-playing games for Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles) and writer of the gamebooks on which this franchise is based. Not the Steve Jackson who created the GURPS tabletop RPG platform, but that’s an amazing coincidence.
Sorcery! 2 by Inkle Studios Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $4.99
Sorcery! 2 is the second (duh) in what will be a four-part adventure series, and it’s equal parts visual novel, RPG, and gamebook. And it all takes place in a beautiful, hand-drawn world with multiple paths and interesting old men to talk to. I mean, I don’t think you only talk to old men, but I spent about an hour with the game, and I did talk to some old men of varying crotchetiness. And a restauranteur who may or may not have been a star-spawn of Cthulhu.
Your school experience might have differed from mine, but I remember one day in Industrial Arts (read: Shop class) when the teacher announced we would all be designing and building bridges. And at the end of the week, we would see whose construct could hold the most weight.
Project Peon by Digital Fury Category: iOS Games Works With: iPad Price: Free
Now, I’m not a trained bridge-maker — in fact, none of us were because we were ninth-graders — so I knew that the next week would be among the longest of my young life because all I knew about structural engineering was something vague about triangles. Triangles are good, I think. Anyway, my bridge sucked. If I remember correctly, it snapped in half and then somehow caught fire.
And I’ve never felt that same sense of personal failure again … until I played Project Peon, an iPad game hitting the App Store today.