Blocky Roads is kind of a weird game. It has block-based voxel graphics like Minecraft or the lesser-known Zelda clone 3D Dot Game Heroes, but rather than being an open-world construction title or a sword-and-shield adventure, it’s a game about driving cars in a 2.5D environment and picking up coins and treasure chests.
Blocky Roads by Dogbyte Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $1.99
And once you’ve picked up enough coins, you can upgrade your cars to get better at driving around the 2.5D environment and picking up coins and treasure chests. Or you can use those same coins to unlock a new level full of even more coins and treasure chests. And so on.
I don’t need a game to constantly encourage me and tell me how well I’m doing or how good I am at playing it. I don’t need a game to take me by the hand and lead me along through its twists and turns. And I definitely don’t need a game to take pity on me if I’m not good at it right away.
Octagon by Lukas Korba Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $1.99
And that’s a good thing because Octagon, a new twitchy arcade title by (mean) developer Lukas Korba, isn’t interested in doing any of that. Octagon wants to hurt you. It wants you to feel terrible and incompetent, and I have reason to believe that it’s actively trying to get me to break my phone.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s still fun. But holy crap, is it difficult.
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.
I’m sad to say that if you clicked on this review hoping that Girl Washing was a soon-to-be-removed “sexy” game for iOS that you’re in for some hot…laundry washing action. Yep. Girl Washing is all about a cute girl doing chores instead of you washing some totally objectified anime chick (thankfully).
Girl Washing by Jiang Bin Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone Price: Free
Anyway, Girl Washing is a weird take on a matching game. Rather than swiping to move clothes into lines, you’re actually assembling the game pieces on a grid, trying to match five items together. When you do, the clothes end up in a washing queue that you then have to drag into the washing machine. Soon, all the laundry starts piling up and matching five pairs gets incredibly difficult. I’ve spent a few hours beating my head against the seemingly automatic fail state Girl Washing pushed on you if you put even a sock out of place.
I’ve played and reviewed my share of endless runners, but Ooga Jump, a new game from Bolt Creative, takes endlessness to that other axis.
Pocket God: Ooga Jump by Bolt Creative Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $0.99
If you thought I was going to say “to new heights,” shame on you.
Ooga Jump is an “endless jumper” that was originally a minigame in Bolt’s earlier title, Pocket God. You control a Pygmy who for some reason or another is taking an infinite voyage upward via a series of platforms and collectible goodies. On his way, he encounters deadly statues, spiders, meteors, and wind, all of which want to cut his trip short by making him really, really dead.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for a dramatic Blade Runner-style soundtrack, but this new shooter from publisher Crescent Moon Studios and developer Tasty Poison Games (Pocket RPG) looks pretty darn exciting.
First person shooters are hard to do well on iOS, especially with a lack of physical buttons, but if anyone can do it right, these folks can. Of course, with the possibility of a physical controller due to Apple’s new controller code in iOS 7, things can only get better.
I’m a big fan of physics-based puzzles, but the trouble is most of them relate to altering an object’s trajectory as it falls rather than manipulating things.
Drei by Etter Studio GmbH Category: iOS Games Works With: iPad Price: $2.99
Drei by Etter Studio GmbH does away with falling oranges and rolling balls and offers instead increasingly difficult building block puzzles that require you to balance objects, shapes, and negotiate with other players.
Developer Gaijin Games’ Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien quickly became one of my favorite games this year when it launched for consoles and PC back in February. It had a lot of personality, precise gameplay, and was just challenging enough to keep you on your toes but not enough to be frustrating.
Bit.Trip Run! by Gaijin Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad Price: $3.99
The iOS port, Bit.Trip Run!, keeps the original’s levels, fantastic graphics, and entertaining narration from voice actor Charles Martinet (the voice of Nintendo’s Mario). So it’s mostly the same game. But it drops the necessarily accurate button controls in favor of taps and swipes for the mobile platform, and that really cuts the game down a few notches. I’d almost say that it makes it unplayable, but that’s not quite the case.
But it does take a great deal of patience to play well.
Who doesn’t love bugs? Kids of all ages love them, of course, and in new educational app, Grandma Loves Bugs, they’ll get a chance to explore the wonderful world of the many legged creatures with ten super fun mini games and eight instructional bug videos for young kids.
The mini games include Spot the Difference, Magic Coloring, Letter Match, bug Spelling, Counting Fireflies, and more. The live action nature videos are fully narrated and teach kids all about the wonderful world of bugs, too. The artwork and pedagogy are spot-on, as well, so parents can feel comfortable releasing their tiny bundles of joy onto their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
Check out this adorable video to see what we mean:
Yesterday, I reviewed the first part of The Hunting, an interactive zombie film for iOS devices. I had some issues with its actual interactivity, which mostly amounted to swiping to put on pants and a meaningless choice between leaving a house through a window or a door.
The Hunting: Part 2 by Wotsamaflip Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone Price: $0.99
Part 2 is out now, and unlike the first installment, it costs money. But it’s longer, has more interesting decision points, and is scary as hell.
So basically, remember the problems I had with the first one? Forget them.