Plenty of classic games remind us of our childhood, but it isn’t often that you see those classic games get mashed up with a Muppet. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what this weeks first game does. We’ll also take a look at a game that channels the weird spirit of Parappa The Rapper. Finally, we’ll have at the Mac port of a puzzle platformer based on Inuit mythology. So grab a cup of coffee and find an excuse to put off work a little longer—it’s time for our Games Of The Week.
Cookie Monster Chase – Web
I don’t often review kid games here, because I don’t have kids, and I’m still a little scarred from the couple of years that I spent reviewing shovelware kids’ games on the Game Boy Advance and DS. Still, I was really impressed by Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster Chase—not just because it was a cool riff on Pac-Man starring everyone’s favorite cookie-loving Muppet, but because you can play it on a tablet without an app.
Cookie Monster Chase does a pretty good job at riffing on Pac-Man: You’re still in a maze munching away at dots, but this time, they’re veggies (Remember: Cookie Monster’s cool with healthy food, too). Yip Yips sub for the ghosts, and rather than collect power pellets to power up and eat the Yip Yips, you need to eat plenty of veggies. Cookies float throughout each level, and you’ll need to collect them all to finish each level.
Cookie Monster Chase‘s developers clearly know their video games, as the game re-creates the interstitial animations from the Ms. Pac-0Man titles: The Yip Yips escape with Cookies, and Cookie Monster will give chase.
All told, Cookie Monster Chase is a great tribute to a classic game, with plenty of its own character, and I admire Sesame Street for developing a Web game that can work on any device.
What’s Good: Web game that works anywhere. Fun riff on Pac-Man formula.
What Sucks: Game includes only four levels that you play on loop.
Buy it? Pac-Man fans and gamers with kids should check out Cookie Monster Chase. Play it for free on the Sesame Street website.
AdVenture Capitalist – iOS (Universal)
AdVenture Capitalist is in the vein of Cookie Clicker, in that you buy businesses that generate income, with their profits increasing as you buy more and more of them.
Rather than enslaving the world through chocolate chips, AdVenture Capitalist has a more diverse portfolio. You start out with a lemonade stand, but you eventually end up owning an oil company. The various businesses will increase their profits through upgrades that you can buy, and once you’ve amassed a huge fortune, you begin to attract angel investors. Teaming up with investors will increase your profits, but you’ll also have to restart from zero. You can sacrifice angels in order to buy further upgrades, which will last through your various restarts.
This is a game for RPG fanatics who like to manage stats and growth, but aren’t too partial to intriguing stories. If you’re into simulations, I don’t think this is detailed enough for you. I
f you can overlook the limited gameplay, you’ll really enjoy AdVenture Capitalist: It has the perfect feel for a mobile game, as you can play through in short bursts. The game is free and ad-supported, but watching the ads is voluntaryyou exchange a thirty-second ad for doubling your profits for four hours.
What’s Good: Addictive and simple game to pick up and play. Lots of replay value.
What Sucks: Relatively limited of gameplay may not appeal to all players.
Buy it? If you don’t mind watching the stat counters, check out AdVenture Capitalist. Download it from the App Store for free.
Planet Quest – iOS (Universal)
Planet Quest is going to be an instant hit with people of a certain age and persuasion. If you were a fan of Parappa the Rapper or UmJammer Lammy, you’re going to love Planet Quest: It’s a rhythm game that doesn’t require you to mimic music; instead, you abduct people dressed as animals as the planet turns to the beat of the music.
If it sounds weird, it is—but that’s totally the charm of the game. Like most rhythm games, you get rated on how closely you match to the beat: If you barely miss, you’ll only steal the dancer’s costume, but if you hit the beat, you’ll abduct them outright. You can only miss three times before you die, though, so be careful. Also, dancers dressed in flower costumes can damage you, so you can’t just mindlessly tap to the beat. Planet Quest’s music is all original electronic stuff, and there’s a fair amount of variety to it.
I have a real soft spot for games that embrace their inner weirdness, but if you aren’t into the genre, you might not have as much fun with Planet Quest. The game is free with ads, but you can pay 99 cents to remove the ads.
What’s Good: Quirky rhythm game with original music.
What Sucks: If you’re not into electronic music, you might not be the biggest fan of this game.
Buy it? If you’re a fan of quirky games or just unique takes on the rhythm genre, check out Planet Quest. Download it from the App Store for free.
World Zombination – iOS (Universal)
World Zombination is a real time strategy title set in the zombie apocalypse. This isn’t your same grim and gritty apocalypse, mind you—not that zombie hordes are cheery or anything. The art style is comic book-y, and most of the zombies are crazy mutants. The survivors also share a similar comic-book style, complete with scavenged equipment.
There isn’t much of a story here: You can play as either Survivors or Zombies as you attempt to conquer the world city by city (You can play as both sides, with separate guild and character tracking for each faction). You also get a hero and a collection of different units with various specialities. If you play as Surviors, you you place units at stations scattered throughout each level. Zombies, by comparison, spawn from specific points. You can evolve generic zombies into more powerful units that run with the overall horde.
The multiplayer mode doesn’t really let you map out your approach for defense or attacks, so I assume the approach you take is based entirely on your assigned teams. You can also form guilds, though, which give you additional units on loan from your other guild-mates. Finally, you and your guild can take part in big event battles.
Even if you’re tired of the zombie meme, take a few minutes and try World Zombination.
What’s Good: Surprising, fresh take on a worn premise. Huge game with two full campaigns. Deep strategy.
What Sucks: Zombie Apocalypse premise might be too played out for some.
Buy it? If you’re looking for a really cool take on RTS on iOS, checkout World Zombination. Download it from the App Store for free.
Last Inua – Mac
I don’t think that there has been a game about Inuit mythology before Last Inua. The desolate Arctic really is a wonderful setting for a game about the coming end of the world. The three Inuit gods are under threat from the destroyer Tonrar, and you play as a father and son, Ataataq and Hiko, who have to journey to the three gods.
The tandem platforming is interesting. Attataq is a very physical character: You’ll be able to jump far, push around big chunks of ice, smash barriers, and climb ice walls. Hiko is much weaker, but he has some supernatural powers that allow him to teleport around or create light bridges to navigate across long gaps. Switching between the two characters is essential to making it though the game, and it results in some interesting level design.
The game is broken up into three main chapters and each chapter concludes with a solo level in which Hiko has to levitate through obstacles. It’s a complete change from the main game, as you have to manage thrust and direction like you do in the Jetman games. These levels are also considerably more difficult than the game’s main portions, so they’re a bit jarring.
The game is a bit on the short side, though—you can finish the whole game in a few hours. I run into some odd glitches as well where the video would jump forward a few frames here or there. It wasn’t a showstopper, but it was jarring.
Last Inua is a beautiful game, with really detailed backgrounds and a great soundtrack that has a sparse, atmospheric feel. The game was originally released for mobile, but the Mac port really shows off the visuals. I recommend turning the lights down a bit and putting on your headphones.
What’s Good: Beautiful artwork and soundtrack. Neat two-character level design.
What Sucks: Some odd glitches. Hiko’s solo levels have a much steeper difficulty curve than the rest of the game.
Buy it? If you like unique art styles in games, or enjoy puzzle platformers, check out Last Inua. Pick it up on the Mac App Store for $7.99.