Android and iOS standouts include games from Vancouver’s Hothead, IUGO, and Slant Six
Every week, there are more games being released for the mobile devices we carry with us everywhere. Here are some recent standouts on which you can spend that money you might get in your stocking.
Rovio, the developer behind the Angry Birds phenomenon, launched its first major spin-off in Bad Piggies, which has players constructing wacky contraptions to propel the porcine plunderers toward pieces of a map showing the locations of Angry Birds eggs. But Angry Birds Star Wars, released a couple of months later, is more fun to play. It’s not simply a re-skin of the game with the likenesses of Luke, Leia, and Han. In this, Obi-wan can move things with Force pushes, Luke wields a lightsabre, and Han destroys from a distance with a blaster.
Edmonton’s Overhaul Games managed to get permission to release an updated version of a venerable role-playing game. Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition appeared earlier this fall for Windows, and just a couple of weeks ago the iPad (iPad 2 and later models only) version landed in the iTunes Store (Mac OS X and Android versions are planned).
In The Bowling Dead, from Vancouver’s Slant Six Games, you must survive the zombie apocalypse by taking out the undead using some very non-standard bowling balls equipped with weapons like chainsaws and bombs. You can get headshots by throwing the balls at the stumblers, and you’ve got a blade handy for when they inevitably get their hands on you. Bowling is currently available for iOS only; an Android version of the game will be released in the new year.
New word games include Letterpress (iOS only), which is a mashup of Boggle and Go, in which you and an opponent try to spell words and take ownership of the letters on a grid, and Word Bird Supreme (iOS only), in which you spell words along a path of letters in an attempt to clear the board. It’s a Bookworm clone that adds power-ups and a turn limit.
Knights and Dragons is the first title to come from Vancouver’s IUGO since social game publisher Gree acquired a stake in the company. The iOS game, about exploring a kingdom and eradicating it of enemies, incorporates strategic, role-playing, and resource-management mechanics. What makes Knights a cut above is the witty writing and clever character design. You can hire the knights your friends play with to help you in your quests, too.
Lili, a botany student, has traveled to a remote island to collect samples. And in this odd and delightful role-playing adventure named for her (iOS only), she battles malicious forest spirits by jumping on their backs and picking flowers that grow there. It’s rich, detailed, and clever, featuring non-violent combat and a female protagonist.
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness started out as an action-adventure developed in Vancouver by Hothead Games for computers and consoles. The third chapter, though, is also available on Android and iOS. It’s structured similarly but adopts a pixelated art style.