It was a slow week for news for Apple gaming. We did get the announcement that Sim City was coming to the Mac, hopefully without all of the DRM troubles from the PC version. Also Gameloft’s Iron Man 3 game is still kicking around, getting a major content update this week.
For our games this week, we have a web game where you run your own record store. We have an action RPG with some anime story telling for iOS. We have Square’s latest iOS game. We have an action game where a chef battles undead vegetables. Finally we have a game where you breed unicorns.
This game might not do well with people who only know iTunes and Amazon as their record store, but if you’re old enough that High Fidelity made you think that a record store is the greatest job in the known universe, you’ll love it. You get a small store in a bad neighborhood, and some start up cash to fill your racks with. You will need to expand your shop to better and better neighborhoods with more and more space. Every day you have to manage the demand for different genres of CD’s ensuring you have right mix to meet demand and prevent lost sales. You’ll also need to balance the prices of your CD’s between profit and the limits of what customers will pay.
The game isn’t anything special to look at, but it is engaging. You’ll find keeping track of the day to day changes in genre demands, and trying to save up for store improvements and marketing your store. Some days will have events that will need you to stock up on a certain genre. It takes quite a bit to even move to the second store, so the hundred day time limit feels a bit arbitrary. However, even just playing through the first few stores is a fun time.
What’s Good: Excellent management Sim, allows you to build your own Empire Records. There’s a surprising amount of strategy needed to maximize your profit and meeting the right demands.
What Sucks: Game looks a little rough, even for flash.
Buy it?: If you still yearn to scream at guys about Stevie Wonder and have bets about the Beta Band, play Record Store Tycoon for free here
iOS is gathering quite a few action RPG titles that bring back the feeling of the 16-bit era greats, even the whacked Anime story lines. Dark Slayers has the whacked storyline down pat, with at least ten minutes of exposition right in the first stage. You’re a Dark Slayer Jan, which according to the opening scenes is a disliked class of mercenaries. You can forgive the silly story when you play the game, which is a tight action RPG. You can choose between tilt controls or a virtual joystick. Each side of the attack button has a mini menu you scan sweep out for items and magical attacks. There’s also a large amount of customization you can do to the character.
That customization seems to be tied almost directly to the game’s in app purchases. You can buy upgrades using Saga Stones, which are in app purchases. You need Saga Stones to continue as well. The game isn’t very forgiving, so that latter fact really feels like they’re trying to force the player into the IAP. This new trend of pricing games at a couple of dollars and then going hard at the IAP is getting out of hand. For many free games the IAP is hard to argue with, but when you pay for a game, this just feels like bait and switch. The game also has a multiplayer card game that requires even more Saga Stones, and that doesn’t even have a tutorial.
What’s Good: Emulates classic action RPG’s pretty well. Lots of character customization. Detailed story.
What Sucks: Far too much IAP for a paid games. Huge difficulty curve. Multiplayer card game has no tutorial.
Buy it?: Despite it’s flaws, this is a fun game. It channels the best era of RPGs accurately. Grab it for $1.99 on the App Store.
Square has been bringing it’s RPG games to iOS with varying degrees of success. Bloodmasque has a pretty stupid gimmick that you’re better off ignoring. You can put your own face on a character model, which is both ugly and pointless. Instead, you can use the custom character creator to get a character that actually looks like it was designed for the game. There’s a really cheesy story here about a society of Vampire Hunters and fascist vampires ruling over Europe. You’re one of the former, albeit a half vampire one, and you bring a long a few minions to dispatch vampires.
The controls feel like a refinement of the Infinity Blade style, with more emphasis on dodging and counterattacking. Once you’ve done some severe damage, you can call your half-vampire powers for more damage. Once you’ve done this a few times, your minions will do a couple of attacks. Once you’ve finally exhausted the enemy’s life, they’ll resurrect in their bat-monster form, and you battle again until you can steak them in the heart. There are a few exploration areas, giving you the option of day or night missions. This is a fairly complex game for the platform, though it smartly keeps its controls suited for the platform.
What’s Good: Nice graphics. Intuitive controls. In depth exploration and story.
What Sucks: Photo gimmick is a needless distraction, in engine character design is much better. Voice acting is a little hokey.
Buy it?: If you like horror games, or action RPG’s this is a great game. You can grab this from $6.99 on the App Store.
If Dawn of the Dead was dreamt up by a sous chef who ate some bad mushrooms, it would have ended up Bloody Harry. You take the role of Harry a heavily armed chef fighting off undead vegetables. This game is more arcade shooter than horror adventure. As you play you unlock new weapons, including shotguns, machine guns, and light sabers.
The arsenal is only half the story. The game controls really well, the controls lend this game well to a pick and play experience on both iPhone and iPad. Anyone looking for a story though is going to be wanting, beyond the premise you don’t get much in the way of characters or story.
What’s Good: Fun arcade title that’s easy to pick up and play.
What Sucks: Not a lot in the way of story.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for a quick arcade shooter, this is a nice choice. Grab it on the App Store for $.99
If you remember having a virtual pet back in the 90’s you’ll get the gist of Unicorn Evolution Party. You start with a lazy unicorn and as you eat the souls of your fellow unicorns, you begin to evolve. Each form of the Unicorn is larger and has a more luxuriant mane. Of course it’s a little creepy when you think about that fact you’re pretty much just cannibalizing your way from level to level. Of course as you advance, you have less and less in common with your meal, but it’s creepy nonetheless.
The game is pretty limited, you’re really not doing much more than clicking a bunch, then waiting for the meadow to fill back up. It’s a nice quick time waster, but it will not take long before you’ve exhausted the supply of available unicorns to consume. You’ll need to wait for awhile, thankfully beyond an ad every time you open the app, there aren’t any come ons to pay a couple extra bucks to play longer.
What’s Good: This is a fun little distraction, funny concept, easy to play for just a few minutes at a time.
What Sucks: Not really a way to engage with long term, once you get the joke may loose some of the novelty.
Buy it?: If you ever had a beeping thing in your pocket asking you to feed it, you’ll get why this was fun. Grab it on the App Store for free.