Spend any time watching trailers for new iOS games, and quickly you’ll find that one merges into the other: all stock music, quick gameplay snapshots, and (if the title’s any good) a stream of title cards reading things like “Brilliant” and “You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Before.”
Inventive platformer Leo’s Fortune has just received a new trailer and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s every bit as original as you’d hope for from the recipient of a 2014 Apple Design Award. In fact, dare we say it, it’s worth watching even if iOS gaming isn’t really your bag.
Inventive titles like Leo’s Fortune are putting a new face on iOS gaming. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
A simple glance at the stunning games perched atop the App Store game lists reveals we are experiencing a golden age for mobile gaming.
From the surreal, mind-bending Monument Valley to the Pixar movie brought to life that is Leo’s Fortune, 2014 has seen some of the most startlingly original gaming experiences in years arrive on iOS.
“I do feel like we are in a boom period,” says John Comes, design director at Uber Entertainment, the company behind games like the newly released Toy Rush.
Although Apple has been a hub of gaming going back to the glory days of the Apple II, today’s crop of hot titles are reshaping the landscape like never before. The present explosion of innovative iOS games results from several fortuitous factors coming together. Here’s why there’s never been a better time to be a gamer.
Thousands upon thousands of apps get submitted to the App Store each year, but only a select few end up being honored with an Apple Design Award. The most beautiful, well-designed apps get crowned by Apple annually at WWDC.
“The developers of these exceptional apps combined design and technology in creative, compelling and powerful ways,” according to Apple. 2014’s winners include games we’ve featured on Cult of Mac like Leo’s Fortune and Monument Valley. If you’re looking to try some new apps, these 12 are the ones to get.
Bouncing, huffing and puffing through a beautifully-rendered cartoon world, avoiding jagged rolling wheels and collecting coins, Leo’s Fortune may just be the year’s most lovable iPhone game. But which games did its creators fall in love with?
Following our exclusive look inside behind the scenes of Apple’s iPhone “game of the month,” we asked Leo’s Fortune designer Anders Hejdenberg to name his current top five iOS games. He said he’s most impressed by titles that pair intriguing artwork with novel gameplay mechanics.
The highly imaginative Monument Valley, for instance, won him over quickly. “It didn’t take long to finish,” says Hejdenberg of his experience playing the game, “but during that time I experienced quite a few moments where I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is really cool!’ That rarely happens when I play games, so it was definitely worth the price of admission.”
Here are the other iOS games currently taking his breath away. (You’ll find download links available below the gallery.)
It definitely gave Apple the warm fuzzies: they chose the game, which looks like a mashup between a Pixar movie and a classic platformer from the Super Mario World era, as their first“game of the month” for iPhone.
Still reeling from the breakout success of the $4.99 game, designer Anders Hejdenberg spoke about the origins of Leo’s Fortune, why passion projects are best, how market research ruins creativity, and the reason the best teams are small ones. He also gave us exclusive access to pictures showing the game’s journey from page to iOS screen.
Want to find out more? In true platformer style, there’s more after the jump…
Leo’s Fortune is one of the most beautiful iOS games I’ve seen in a while. But beyond its good looks, it also has an intriguing story, fun puzzles, and a ton of personality.
Leo’s Fortune by 1337 & Senri LLC Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: $4.99
And I could stop right there, but then you wouldn’t hear about the cool physics and simple controls and the fact that the hero is a Star Trek Tribble with eyes like a Muppet and an undeniably amazing moustache.