Brothers Denis and Davor Mikan make it look easy. They created a memorable and graphically beautiful puzzler called Blek that rocketed to the top of the paid game chart in the iOS App Store, making them millions in the process. Deceptively simple — with a nod to 60s pop art — the game caught the attention of Apple, too, which recently handed them a Design Award in recognition.
“It may sound simple, but it’s the Apple kind of simplicity that actually takes a lot of work,” Denis Mikan says of the game he co-created.
“It may sound simple, but it’s the Apple kind of simplicity that actually takes a lot of work.”
The idea behind Blek is ingeniously straightforward. At its simplest you draw a line on screen, and then this line repeats itself over and over until it encounters a black dot, or goes outside of the screen borders and resets. Draw the line slowly and it moves slowly, draw it fast and it moves fast. Your aim is to clear the screen of colored dots without accidentally touching a black one. But from small acorns grow mighty oaks, and since Blek arrived in the App Store a few months ago it has received close to a million downloads at $2.99 each.
Still reeling from their breakout success, Mikan told us about Blek‘s unlikely odyssey from the brothers’ hometown of Vienna, Austria, into the hearts of iOS gamers around the world. Befitting the game they brought into the world, their journey was hardly a straight line.
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.)