Last week had some good news for Apple gamers. Dots was updated with some additional content, likely pulling you back in just after you got over your addiction. Andrew reviewed the iOS game Ultimate Tic Tac Toe. Shadow gun went free on the Mac App Store. We also saw the early trailer for the next GTA game. On to the reviews…
Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing- Web
Icarus Proudbottom Teaches typing makes fun of edutainment games in the same way that Look Around You sent up educational TV. It takes those typing games of the 1990s and turns them on their head making you type fake EULA’s, feeding eggs with your typing points, and a healthy dose of irreverence to make a game that both lampoons and celebrates the genre.
Icarus Proudbottom was made in just 30 days this July as part of the Something Awful GameDev Competition VIII. You can’t really tell the limited scope, as the game feels really polished. This game should only take you about 30–60 minutes to play through entirely, which is about perfect for it’s simple premise.
What’s Good: Unique spoof of edutainment games that’s downright hilarious.
What Sucks: If you don’t like typing, you’re going to hate this game. (That doesn’t really suck, but you should know if you’re going to like this game.)
Buy it?: Fans of clicky keyboards and nostalgic gamers will find something to love about this game. Play it for free here.
Worms 3- iOS (Universal)
Worms as a franchise is absurdly simple. Worms plus weaponry and violence equals fun. With weapons like exploding sheep, holy hand grenades, and old ladies, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It also makes sitting around passing the game around for a few hours a really fun experience. That irreverence may make the game feel a lot simpler than it really is, as Worms is a real strategy game. That depth may be why the game has spawned so many sequels, with Worms 3 coming to iOS.
The formula is pretty much intact. They do add a smattering of new weapons, but that isn’t the most significant change. This game introduces a card system that gives you the opportunity to play up to three cards that have an effect on the game. The cards can increase the amount of health you get from pick-ups, keep your enemy from collecting new weapons, or even raise the water level to drown your opponents on lower levels. The game includes a local and online multiplayer, or for the forever alone types you can play the campaign against the AI.
What’s Good: Mixture of humor and strategy makes this a game for both hardcore and casuals. Card element adds new depth to the game.
What Sucks: The AI can be a bit stupid, making the campaign a pretty easy play through.
Buy it?: Fans and neophytes alike can find a lot to like in this sequel, grab it for $4.99 on the App Store.
The thing that defines Double Fine as a studio is its ability to mix genres to make something entirely new. Dropchord for iOS at first glance feels like a music game. It has a thumping techno soundtrack, but quickly the game develops into an arcade puzzler. You keep your fingers on each end of a circle creating a line across, you then collect dots using the line, avoiding traps that crawl across the circle the longer it takes you to collect them. As it gets more difficult because you have to hold the chord over dots for a set amount of time. These appear in quick sets, the more you do in a row the higher your multiplier gets, allowing for a better score to submit to the global leader board.
This is a decidedly retro affair, evoking the graphics and gameplay of the late 80’s. There’s even old fashioned bonus levels. The game can get difficult quickly, like many arcade games this isn’t for the easily frustrated.
What’s Good: Fun take on arcade action sans the quarters. Great soundtrack.
What Sucks: Difficulty curve is a bit unforgiving.
Buy it?: This is a fun game that’s fit for quick sessions or long bouts of gaming that end in the spontaneous discovery of dawn. Grab it on the App Store for $2.99
Amateur Surgeon 3- iOS(Universal)
It’s easy to dismiss Adult Swim’s games as little more than commercials for the network, but you’d be missing some of the best casual games of the last few years. Amatuer Surgeon is a surgery arcade game every bit as complex as the Trauma Center series behind the joke of using a pizza cutter as a scalpel. The game is now in its third installment, going free to play this time around. The tag team feature is probably the biggest departure gameplay wise, allowing you to invoke a partner with a special ability to assist you in your surgery.
The free to play features don’t really interfere with the main game. You can unlock upgrades and new partners using just in game currency. If you want to continue a surgery you fail rather than retry, that will cost you real cash. There’s also ads whenever you open the app, which can get a little annoying. You can get two additional stars per level for completing challenges. These are a good incentive to go back and replay older levels.
What’s Good: Fun gameplay returns, with new missions and partner ability. Replay ability increased by special condition challenges.
What Sucks: Free to play model forces you to watch ads, no option to pay for an opt out.
Buy it?: This is a fun game, and has a deceptive depth and is a challenge, considering the silly presentation. Grab it for free on the App Store.
Plants vs. Zombies 2- iOS(Universal)
Plants versus Zombies 2 might be one of the weirdest launches in iOS history. With an early release in Australia, many players were changing their locations to download it nearly a month before the US. Now that the wait is over, was it worth the hype? The short answer is yes, but with a but. The but is that the game is free to play this time around. This keeps many of the fan favorites from the first game hidden firmly behind a paywall. There are new special abilities that are tied to coins as well, giving another incentive to pay for the coin packs.
That said, there is a lot new here that you can enjoy. While some of the old plants are hidden behind the paywall, there are plenty of new ones worth checking out. The biggest stand out is the Bonk Choy, a plant more than capable of punching the heads right off those zombies. The setting is moved from your house to a journey through three time periods. Each time period has a huge map with dozens of stages and little offshoots. You’ll need to get stars by completing challenges to unlock the other stages after ancient Egypt, or you can just buy your way to the next level. There’s a new survival match that forces you to focus on not losing specific plants. Though free to play has some less than tasteful elements, but they are balanced out with a lot of new content.
What’s Good: New plant designs are fun and entertaining. New settings make game a lot more dynamic to play.
What Sucks: Free to play elements may turn off some players.
Buy it?: You should already have this game, if you are on the fence about the free to play elements, there is enough new elements that are completely free to check out. Grab it for free on the App Store.