I loved the browser minigames GrowCube and GrowTower, so I was really excited to put eyezmaze’s new Grow Recovery on my phone. The basic premise of the Grow games is deciding how to add new items to the scene. Each item interacts with the other items in interesting ways, and to complete the game, you’ll need to find the optimal order so that each item is used in the best way possible. Of course, plenty of “wrong” combinations are great fun to watch, too.
Grow Recovery, though, adds a little narrative to the Grow game formula, showing an exhausted little figure in need of comfort and healing. It’s a simple human outline, but the task of looking after him is surprisingly moving. Each of the items available will make him feel better in a different way, Give him a blanket, and he’ll wrap himself up. Give him a friend, and the friend will help heal him. I think the animation at the beginning of the game is meant to show that the little grow guy is exhausted, but it’s easy to see all kinds of self-care and recovery in this tiny charming game.
|Recommended by Meg Stivison||Tuesday, November 10th, 2015||1 Comment »|
Excuse me for being a tad behind on app games. You see, I owned a Windows phone for the past year (I know, I know–it was those yellow Lumias that hypnotized me at the store) and couldn’t do anything on it. But recently I finally chucked the phone for an iPhone and have been getting caught up again on app games. I already played popular hits like Fallout Shelter and The Silent Age, and now my latest obsession is Framed.
Released late last year, Framed has won tons of awards and has been a critically acclaimed darling amongst reviewers, so going in I already had high expectations. And since I like noir, jazz, and puzzles, I figured this was a formula that would be hard to screw up.
In Framed you’re in control of various thieves who are running away from cops. The game is presented like a comic book with animated panels for each scene. At the beginning of each page we see the events unfold panel by panel, with scenarios that usually end with you, the thief, getting caught by police. To avoid this, you must rearrange the panels to recreate the pattern of events to trigger the correct ending. It starts off easy, but like most puzzles, gets incredibly hard.
The only disappointing thing about Framed is that it’s a tad short, but if you’re a lover of puzzles and stylized silhouettes, Framed will be your new commuting companion.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, September 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
Godville and Dreeps, though visually dissimilar, are aimed at my demographic exactly: the lazy but easily entertained gamer. Both are RPGs that follow an autonomous hero through a rich fantasy world, but where Dreeps is sincere, Godville is irreverent, mocking itself cheerfully. Because, come on–a Zero Player Game?
My hero, Neris (a name I made up by mashing my fingers all over the keyboard), is blessed by her patron goddess Mrs. Mustache (that’s me). I can encourage her or punish her, but either way, Neris is under no obligation to listen…and she really doesn’t, complaining mightily about my smiting while pounding back beers and picking fights with monsters before looting their corpses. I found myself getting attached to her and laughing out loud at her antics, which are delivered through short diary entries that describe what she’s up to and the trouble she’s in. She’s always in trouble, and I pray to Me that one day she’ll actually listen to Mrs. Mustache, who frets sometimes and showers her in healing potions, sort of like an overprotective and out-of-touch parent.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Thursday, March 19th, 2015||No Comments »|
What’s the worst part of playing a RPG? The time, right? Whether it’s spent grinding or traveling or even figuring out where to go next, the sheer amount of time that a RPG can suck up is just the absolute worst. Let’s cut to the good stuff and just ignore all the other junk, right?
Or, you know, if you’re the creators of Dreeps, you can cut out all of that. Literally.
Dreeps only asks the player to do one thing: set an alarm. The alarm goes off, you and your little avatar wake up, and as you go about your day, so does your RPG hero. He explores new lands, makes friends, battles enemies, and levels up, all without your input. You can check in on him periodically to see how he’s doing, but you don’t have to, and you can’t affect anything he does. Still, it’s sort of a neat idea, of this tiny fantasy pixel-hero peacefully going about his day as you go about yours.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, February 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
Minecraft on an iPhone is not very fun. It’s a drag just to move around, and the world just seems too big for the tiny screen. The Blockheads, released this year for iOS, is a perfect translation of the Minecraft formula for mobile devices, but it’s so much more.
It consists of what you’d expect–a randomly generated world ripe for exploring, mining, crafting and riding donkeys. It’s a sidescroller, similar to Terraria or Junk Jack, which is the way I prefer my portable block-building games. It’s so easy to tap a square to move, build or destroy. You can even queue multiple actions, which will be completed in order even if you leave the app.
But The Blockheads isn’t just a 2D Minecraft with better controls and queued actions. Unique to the game is your character–the Blockhead himself–that adds some life and simulation to the block-building genre. Your Blockhead has Sim-like meters for health, happiness, hunger, energy and environment. While at this point your guy can’t be killed, the more fatigued and unhappy he is, the more slowly he crafts and mines, so it’s imperative that you keep him happy.
Keep them happy, I mean. You’re able to warp in multiple Blockheads, so you’ll end up managing multiple guys doing different things in different places. Talk about productivity. And if you need even more help, the multiplayer features let you bring a friend to your world.
There’s just too much to say about The Blockheads, so go and try it already–it’s free.
|Recommended by Paul Cohn||Thursday, August 1st, 2013||No Comments »|
From the makers of FatBooth, AgingBooth, and every other kind of booth you can think of, comes Planet Plop, a new arcade-puzzler for iPhone.
For all its charm, Planet Plop is devilishly tricky. It’s an endless score-chaser and plays kind of like an old Simon Says game. Your thumb rotates a flowering planet, and all you have to do is make sure the colored drops match the color of the ground as they fall. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. While the friendly Mr. Onion drops coins and power-ups to help you out, there are deadly drops that can only be stopped by mountains, and a single color mismatch will end the game.
Planet Plop will leave you cursing, but its addictive gameplay and dozens of achievements will keep you swiping.
|Recommended by Paul Cohn||Monday, July 29th, 2013||No Comments »|
Some games are best played at night, in the dark, with headphones on. Mårten Jonsson’s Star Sky is such a game.
If you’re a sucker for audio-visual experiences with only one finger required, then Star Sky is for you. Available for PC, iOS and Android, the game is a sidescroller of sorts. You control a wandering man in the hazy night, propelled forward with your touch. As you move you’ll unlock various music-cued events. It doesn’t take long to walk the length of the game, but chances are you’ll miss many of the events the first time around.
The point of Star Sky isn’t to win or collect. Simply enjoy the stroll, the sound of crickets and the music, and see what the night has to offer.
|Recommended by Paul Cohn||Monday, July 29th, 2013||No Comments »|