For iOS gamers there was no bigger news than last week’s announcement of Half Brick’s new game Colossatron. Rovio also made it easier to use Angry Birds across devices with their new Rovio Accounts feature. Comic Con also netted some gaming news with the announcement of a Firefly MMO.
Our first title is a classic adventure game resurrected for iOS. Our second title is another Suda51 game coming to iOS. Then we have a unique two player competitive title for the iPad. We have an infectious action puzzler on iOS. Finally we have an action strategy title for iOS.
Leisure Suit Larry- iOS(Universal)/Mac
Leisure Suit Larry is like that uncle that tells you dirty jokes when you’re a kid. Though you still have a lot of affection for him as you get older, you see through the veneer enough to realize the jokes were pretty juvenile. Leisure Suit Larry was an adventure game from the days of the Apple II, though the iOS version is based on a later remake on the Mac that was point and click.
If you don’t remember the original game, or managed to miss out on its playground reputation, Leisure Suit Larry puts you in the role of a 40 year old virgin. You’ve come to the city of Lost Wages to find love. The game does capture the old school adventure game perfectly, but it includes all of that genre’s faults. You do have to spend a lot of time simply clicking around looking for something to do. This is mostly a nostalgia title, if you’re looking for a first time adventure game, it would be better to get one of the Telltale games.
What’s Good: Nostalgic recreation of the original game. Graphics upgrade looks nice.
What Sucks: Suffers from the click around nature of 80’s adventure games. Might be a bit too juvenile for some players.
Sine Mora – iOS(Universal)
Grasshopper Manufacture, the studio of the (in)famous designer Suda51 has been bringing some of its smaller titles to iOS. Sine Mora joins their earlier title Liberation Maiden on the App Store. Sine Mora is a side scrolling arcade shooter with an insane story. For some reason anthropomorphized animals travel through time battling each other, and their doing most of it in French with subtitles. As weird as that sounds, the game is a ton of fun to play.
Though the actual gameplay doesn’t differ from most shoot ’em up titles, there is a unique hook. In addition to your weaponry, you can speed up time to avoid obstacles and enemies. That is a double edged sword, as it decreasing the timer, which is your life. Thankfully you get bonus time as you defeat enemies and get bonus pick ups. What might stand out most about this game is the boss design. The first level has a giant tentacled robot, which takes up a good portion of the screen when you battle him. The most impressive boss is the train which has you changing strategy every few minutes as you get closer to the engine. It’s a really clever twist, and allows the game to feel a lot larger than its linear stages.
What’s Good: Excellent art design, especially the enemies.
What Sucks: Story is a bit of a mess.
Buy it?: If you like arcade shooters grab Sine Mora for $5.99 on the App Store.
Gentlemen! – iPad
Though gaming on the iPad has come along way, there haven’t been many ways to play games on the same iPad simultaneously. There are a fair amount of pass and play games, but that limits the sort of action you can play. Gentlemen! seeks to change that. The game is a two player arcade battle with rather simple controls. Each player has a side of the iPad, giving them control of one of the two players. You can jump by flipping your player’s gravity You and the other player then attempt to kill each other using random weapons. The weapons are bombs, knives, dynamite, and others. Though the weapons are random, you can get new weapons by hitting a button on the stage. This will swap the weapons for each player as well, which might give you and advantage against your opponent.
The action is pretty fast paced, and you’ll find that you can play quite a few rounds in a short amount of time. Gentlemen! takes many of its cues from the original arcade Mario Bros, though the gravity jumping makes it play completely differently. The controls are nice, but the iPad needs to be placed flat on the table for each player to hit them, which might not be the most ergonomic. The weapons all behave differently, which means that you’ll need to play a few rounds before you get an idea of how they work. The weapons aren’t balanced well either, so sometimes one player ends up with a clear advantage over the other. There are a few different game modes that allow you to tweak the formula to keep the game fresh.
What’s Good: Fun two-player experience. Easy to pick up and offers the ability to play a lot of matches quickly. Multiple modes allow the game to stay fresh.
What Sucks: Weapons are imbalanced. Controls aren’t really comfortable after a short time.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for a fun two player experience on the iPad. Gentlemen! is $4.99 on the App Store.
Infected Blood Cells: Contagion – iOS(Universal)
Though it sounds like it might be a clone of Plague Inc, Infected Blood Cells: Contagion is an action puzzler. The game play is really simple, you place an infection point and hope that as the cells balloon they touch the rest of the cells floating around each stage. As the stages progress the number of cells you need to infect becomes higher, and your timing needs to improve. However, the random nature of the game does work against skill, leaving your success to a certain amount of luck. When you progress to even later stages obstacles are added that add to the difficulty. This is a fiendishly addicting puzzle game, with the quick nature of the stages making you convinced to just keep trying one more time. Then three hours pass.
However fun the game is the revenue model makes this game almost annoying enough to stop playing. There is a free and paid version, which one would assume removes the ads. However, the paid version still pops an ad every time you open the app. These apps take a several seconds to clear. It will also cost an additional $2.99 if you want to unlock all of the levels immediately. It seems like having people pay a dollar for less ads is simply disingenuous, but then making them pay an additional fee for all of the levels is inexcusable. If the game is supposed to be $3.99 it should cost that, and that should be the paid version. There shouldn’t be a paid version if you can’t escape the ads.
What’s Good: An addictive puzzle game that is a quick play, really manages to ramp up the difficulty slowly ensuring that it’s the right mixture of challenging and engaging.
What Sucks: Way too many ads in this game. No excuse for ads in the paid version and IAP for rest of the levels is just excessive.
Buy it?: Grab the free version, you’ll deal with ads either way. You can grab it from the App Store.
Breach & Clear – iOS(Universal)
Do you want to command a tactical assault of a building by a SWAT team? Breach & Clear gives you that chance, You lead a squad of anti-terrorism special operatives from the country of your choice. You breach each level with your squad of four sweeping room to room and eliminating all enemies inside. If you were looking for a big sweeping story of international terror, this isn’t it. Instead Breach and Clear is an arcade take on a strategy title. It also adds a huge amount of customizability, allowing you to purchase a huge amount of weapons and customize your soldier’s and their loadouts.
That makes the game have a lot of replay value, each level has a five star solution and three difficulty levels. You’ll need to get a certain amount of stars to advance levels. The game is pared down to strategy and a lot of the fun is in unlocking customizations. There are a lot of placeholders for upcoming content, including new game modes. That might do more to make the game have a wider appeal. As of now this is a unique little arcade title for strategy fans.
What’s Good: Excellent customization options. Easy to control.
What Sucks: Still has a lot of placeholders for upcoming content. No story may turn off some players.
Buy it?: If you’re a fan of strategy games, this is worth checking out. You can grab Breach & Clear for $1.99 on the App Store.