This week we have some interesting games for you. The weather may have finally given us a bit of a break, but you’re still better off staying in with your iOS devices and playing some new games. First up we have a unique genre mixer with cats. Then we look at a remake of a classic with some free to play controversy. We have an arena RPG with eight-bit graphics after that. We find your new obsession for iPhone, this time with numbers. Finally we have a sequel to an old-school iOS hit.
Naughty Kitties – iOS(Universal)
A cursory search of Facebook or Twitter will tell you that there isn’t much the Internet loves more than cats. So how about a game where you use cats to wage war on an army of robots. Gameplay is really simple. You start with a ship that has three platforms. You have three types of cats you can load onto those platforms, a machine gunner, a rocketeer, and a repair engineer. As the ship constantly flies to the left, you’ll fend off enemies. You get a random combination of the three cats and they rotate as they lose energy. Every so often, you fight boss enemies. As you defeat enemies you collect coins and gain experience. This is used to upgrade your cats and unlock new ones. As you level up, you can unlock new and more difficult levels.
This is a simple game, but fun. It is a free to play game, but they’re pretty generous with the refresh rate on the lives. The game seems to make most of its income from advertising other games. The game makes mixes the arcade shooter and endless runner genres to make a unique game. Even if you aren’t as enamored with cats as the rest of the Internet, you should at least appreciate the unique design they’ve made here.
What’s Good: Fun gameplay, unique genre mixing.
What Sucks: If you’re allergic to ads you might be annoyed.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for something new, or you really love LOLCats; then you need to grab Naughty Kitties on the App Store for free.
Dungeon Keeper – iOS(Universal)
The Dungeon Keeper remake didn’t take long to get a reputation with gamers. Fans of the PC classic were horrified by the free to play model being imposed on their classic. Who are these mobile upstarts anyway? Even Peter Molyneux found a reason to speak up about the game’s mediocrity. Considering this is the guy who created a game based on getting people to poke a cube until a random person got the prize in the center, I don’t think that he get’s much room to talk about cheap monetization gimmicks. Dungeon Keeper isn’t all that different, you’re just given longer to wait for tasks to complete. You can of course pay if you don’t want to wait for construction to complete. You can choose defend and attack missions normally, as long as you’re able to conjure minions.
There’s nothing more egregious about Dungeon Keeper than any other free to play title on the App Store. A lot of the venom likely has more to do with imposing the model on a classic game, but it doesn’t break the game. If you like designing a dungeon to chew through heroes, this game is still fun. The Free to Play stuff can be annoying when you have to wait hours and hours for your Imps to clear sections of the wall, but patience leaves your wallet untouched. Sadly, that does mean some people are going to miss out on what’s a great remake of a classic game. However, it would be nice to pay five or ten dollars to get the game microtransaction free.
What’s Good: Remake mixes classic gameplay with modern look.
What Sucks: Free to Play model limits gameplay and pushes the player toward IAP constantly.
Buy it?: If you’re a fan of making dungeons to trap heroes, and don’t mind IAP, grab Dungeon Keeper on the App Store for free.
Only One – iOS(Universal)
You are standing atop a tower with an ominous sun face and a glowing sword. You step forth and grab the sword and proceed to slaughter every monster and minion that comes your way.
As you advance you’ll unlock spells and powers that aid your quest to continue leveling up. As you play you’ll encounter slimes, wizards, archers, and every ten levels another big boss battle. If you die, you can continue from the last boss. Your various skills and power-ups are fueled by power that you collect from enemies you kills. You can refill this by either playing more, or buying refills via IAP.
Though this is a free to play game, the IAP stays out of the way. The game uses a virtual D-Pad that spawns new buttons as you unlock new powers. The controls are simple enough that unless you’re philosophically opposed to virtual D-pads, they should work fine. The art style is very retro, but the characters still retain unique designs. There’s a bunch of little easter eggs hidden in the game that make references to other video games.
What’s Good: Excellent art style, lots of little easter eggs.
What Sucks: Virtual D-Pad may turn some players off.
Buy it?: Grab this game if you’re looking for a casual action RPG. Only One is free on the App Store.
Threes – iOS(Universal)
Threes is one of those games that seems really stupid, then you end playing it for two hours straight. The game has a simple concept. The game has a 4 X 4 grid and you start with nine tiles filled. These are a mixtures of 1, 2, and 3. You need to combine the 1’s and 2’s and turn them into 3’s, and then every number above that you combine together to combine them into a tile with double that number. Each move adds a new 1,2, or 3 to the board (sometimes 6’s, 12,’s, 24’s), and the game is over when you can’t make any more moves.
It seems absurdly simple, but what seems like a novelty quickly descends into pure addiction. Each game is about 2–3 minutes long, meaning you’re going to furiously chase your high score. Each new number you create adds a character to the title screen. Each of the tiles is a little anthropomorphized, giving the game a neat personality. This game has already made a bit of a splash, and deservedly so. This is the definition of how to make a puzzle game: start simple and slam the addiction button as hard as you can.
What’s Good: Simple but fun design, addictive gameplay.
What Sucks: You may end up waving people in front of you in line for coffee or forgetting to eat on your lunch break.
Buy it?: If you like fun puzzle games and don’t mind losing every free moment, grab Three’s for $1.99.
Eliss Infinity- iOS
It isn’t easy to get a successful game in the App Store. What’s harder is to make a sequel that’s just as charming and successful. Eliss was a hit in the App Store back in 2009, which was the early days of iOS gaming. Its follow-up Eliss Infinity gives the Atari styled graphics a 3D makeover, which looks pretty cool. The question is, how does Eliss Infinity stack up against an App Store that’s full of sophisticated titles? It does pretty well. Like the first game, you deal with colored planets that need to be put in corresponding squeestars. You can split the planets in to smaller planets, or combine them to create larger ones. The squeestars vary in size, so you’ll need to match them. You lose energy if you let different colored sphere touch, and its game over pretty quickly. Though the game has another set of levels with new challenges like eddies that pull in your planets, the real new feature is the Infinity mode. This is a more action/arcade take on the game. The action is faster, and more intense.
This is really great to give you some satisfaction when you’re stuck on harder levels. This is a really great way to handle a sequel. The game doesn’t break the original’s mechanics, but adds enough new material that it feels fresh. The new modes add a lot to the game’s replayability, and the new challenges ensure that fans of the first game will find more than just new levels.
What’s Good: Fun elaboration on the original’s core concept, new modes increase replayability.
What Sucks: Only complaint with this game is that it doesn’t play nice with music apps, it always stops whatever’s playing.
Buy it?: If you were a fan of the original, or like retro inspired games, grab Eliss Infinity on the App Store for $2.99. It’s also our Editor-In-Chief’s favourite iOS game to date. That’s saying a lot.