As I dip more and more into mobile gaming, I’m pleasantly surprised how much fun some casual titles can be and what indies have to offer on this digital platform. For most people who start up their iTunes program and browse through the store, it might already be old news, but I still like to promote the five games which are free to download from the official Apple Store by not simply listing them, but also giving a short insight of what to expect after having played them myself.
So if you want to try these games out for yourself, don’t hesitate, click on the appropriate links (highlighted at the beginning of each summary) before this limited offer expires. There’s nothing to lose, but a lot of great gaming experiences to gain. There are also 5 free apps available as well, so these might be worth checking out too: Barefoot World Atlas, Day One, How to Cook Everything, Over and Tractor DJ for iPhone.
(Finland 2012, developer/publisher: Frogmind, platform: iOS)
BADLAND is aesthetically a mix of LocoRoco and Limbo while it plays as an automatic left-to-right scroller. With an emphasis on physics-based puzzles, some extras like collecting more black creature balls who look like the main character, getting bigger and smaller, there’s a lot of variety in there, even if it can get quite tough. Still a very beautiful game which is in essence easy to control, but hard to master in later levels.
Infinity Blade II is the sequel to one of the most well-known graphical showcases the iOS can boast of. Even on the iPhone 4, it looks and sounds amazing, while the mix of a deep fighting system and RPG elements further add to the entertaining, but also brutal experience (even though there’s no blood, one seems to feel all the hits and misses of the weapons). Moving from one enemy to the next might not sound as innovative or engaging, but just looking at the enemy and general world design, this is only a minor concern.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is an 8-bit fantasy adventure with light puzzle solving and fighting. It’s a rather linear experience, but offers a unique atmosphere with its pixellated graphics and tongue-in-cheek narration. What’s also nice is that the chapters can be completed in around 15 minutes, so short play sessions unlock the engaging story in small doses.
(Germany 2011, developer/publisher: Andreas Illiger, platform: iOS)
Tiny Wings is another well-known cute little platform-runner with score attack features. Actually the first title I saw way back in the days when smartphone gaming never seemed that interesting compared to PC, console or handheld offerings. The gameplay idea is simple: tapping on the screen to make a bird take up speed while sliding up and downhill. Still this requires quite a lot of timing and coordination when chasing the achievements without losing the flow of the moment. The music and cute graphics only seem to present a relaxing, but ultimately hide a quite taxing arcade game.
Where’s My Water might have the Disney logo on its title screen, but except for some cute drawings (which could also stem from Cut the Rope), there’s little connection to the brand. The gameplay of digging through earth to direct water to a crocodile’s shower is simple and like most puzzle games becomes more complicated if one wants to collect bonus stuff on the way in the form of toy ducks. It’s not the most original idea, but the title is still fun and addictive to play on the go.
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