There are a lot of games that go for a retro feel, but how many of them go out of their way to add the scan lines of the CRT monitor? Our first game does that, a new iOS endless brawler that ties in with a You Tube hit. I’ve also got a game that combines a 2D platformer with an action RPG. I close out the week with a pinball tribute to one of my favorite games of all time.
Kung Fury – iOS(Universal)
As if you didn’t have enough homework this week escaping from a homicidal AI armed only with a portal gun, but if you missed the latest viral weirdness, Kung Fury, go check it out on You Tube.
Now that you’re back from that slightly warped trip to the 80’s video store, let’s drift to that other 80’s mainstay, the arcade. Kung Fury: The Game looks like something straight out of the Neo Geo era of arcade games, complete with a virtual tube fuzz. You drop down and battle hordes of Nazi zombies and angry cyborgs. I am surprised that it took this long for someone to come up with an endless brawler.
The game plays simply, you can attack right or attack left. The stage scrolls around in circles, so don’t worry about your movement. Instead you want to keep smashing Nazis and increasing your combos. If you miss you lose your combo, but if you’re hit you lose a heart. If you lose all three hearts you die. The game is free to play with ads, but you can pay a couple of bucks to remove them.
What’s Good: Fun game that’s easy to pick up, but needs some strategy to succeed.
What Sucks: Super repetitive, can get boring if you don’t like the gameplay.
Buy it?: If you are looking for a fun yet shallow game, with a nod to the classic era, check out Kung Fury the game. Download it on the App Store for free.
Rapid Repelling – iOS(Universal)
Rapid Repelling is the latest from Halfbrick, which has had quite a string of hits like Jetpack Joyride, and Fruit Ninja. It’s a pretty simple premise, you repel down the side of the mountain. You break rocks, collect coins and power ups, and avoid spikes. If you wait too long lava comes down the mountain to kill you.
The game is free to play but rather than trying to get you to pay to win, the game has you pay to customize. There are two characters, a man and woman. Each has their own costume sets you can unlock using in game currency. There are random boosts that you can pay to roll for, but playing without them isn’t penalized.
This is essentially another endless runner, but the slight twist is enough to keep the game interesting. I don’t think it has the staying power of something like Jetpack Joyride, but it is still worth checking out.
What’s Good: Easy game with simple controls, free to play is non-intrusive.
What Sucks: Doesn’t have a lot of staying power.
Buy it?: If you enjoy Halfbrick’s games, check out Rapid Repelling. Download it on the App Store for free.
Drylands – iOS(Universal)
It might be a bit simplistic to call Drylands a side-scrolling Fallout, but that is the best way to describe an action-RPG set in a post-apocalypse. Though Drylands does have its own aesthetic, rather than a nuclear waste, the earth ran out of water. Some towns continue to exist by filtering “juice” for drinking. One such town is Serenity, it’s raided and nearly destroyed when you arrive. You’ll spend a fair amount of the game cleaning up after the attack.
I expect that a shooting side-scroller wouldn’t be the best place for an action-RPG, but Drylands manages to avoid making it a dull shooter. Your weapons and stats still matter when you face off against enemies. The game is a tad difficult, you’ll die a lot of if you charge blindly into every situation. The storyline is a bit rough around the edges, but there is a lot of attention paid to fleshing out the world. So while there are some patchy bits of dialog, all around the game is well done.
What’s Good: Balanced mix of action and RPG elements.
What Sucks: High difficulty.
Buy it?: If you like action and RPG games, and would like a unique take on the post-apocalypse check out Drylands. Download it on the App Store for $2.99
Capitals – iOS(Universal)
Though there are a lot of board games on iOS, most of them are just emulations of existing physical games. That’s not a criticism, as I like those games, but it would be nice to see games that wouldn’t really be possible with physical games. Capitals fulfills that idea perfectly. The game has you and an opponent facing off with a ring of letters around your territory. As you each play words, your territories expand.
These early stages of the game have you focus on slowly meeting in the middle of the board, that changes once you and your opponent now have adjacent territory. After that you and your opponent then attempt to take each other’s territory. Once you completely eliminate your opponent’s territory, you win.
You can play the game as pass and play, or online. The game has a nice flat look to it, reminiscent of Threes or Letterpress. It could stand to have a bit more original of a look. On the gameplay side, there seems to be an issue with some of the randomness with the letters. I’m not sure if it’s intentional but it always feels like the middle period of the game is dominated with uncommon letters.
What’s Good: Fun game, pass and play.
What Sucks: Unoriginal look, some issues with balance in the middle of the game.
Buy it?: If you’re a fan of word games and are looking for something to play with friends, check out Capitals. Download it on the App Store for free.
Portal Pinball – iOS(Universal)
I absolutely love the Portal series. They aren’t just fiendish puzzle games, they’re also among the best jokes in game writing period. If you haven’t played either Portal game, go to Steam and buy them both now.
My love for the series made me a bit nervous when I heard that Zen studios was releasing Portal Pinball. I hadn’t played any of the Zen pinball games, and I expected some sound files and a skin over a generic pinball game. Those fears were unfounded.
The table is full of references to the series, including some pretty deep cuts, like the Rat Man. As you play pinball, you unlock different challenge stages. Some of these take the form of a sub-table with a different set of tools.
I think that this still isn’t going to be for everyone. The novelty of the Portal references, aren’t going to hold up if you don’t like pinball. Electronic pinball is usually kind of boring, but Zen puts tons of effort into making these dynamic games. You can shake the your iPad just as you would a table, and the physics of the table are very interesting. The best part may be that you don’t need a roll of quarters.
What’s Good: Amazing tribute to the source game, excellent pinball physics.
What Sucks: If you’re not into pinball, you won’t like this no matter how much you like Portal.
Buy it?: If swap your portal gun for some flippers, check out Portal Pinball. Grab it on the App Store for $1.99.