I’m on a real kick with these iPhone games. They’re irresistible for my purposes — inexpensive (I’ve been going for the 99-cent ones), simple, fun, casual games that are easy to write up for entry into MobyGames for cheap contribution points. The iPhone and iPod Touch make it effortless to capture, download, and organize a wide range of representative screenshots; the original cover artwork is trivial to separate from the main application; and the creators typically list their credits somewhere accessible (and there aren’t too many of them, which means that MobyGames gets to have credits for the game record but without too much effort on my part).
Enough about my motivations, let’s check out the games. First, there’s Bloons, a relentlessly colorful game in which a monkey sits atop a floating platform and uses darts to pop balloons. You use the touch screen to configure the velocity vector of the throw in order to pop as many balloons as possible. Sounds easy enough, but there are all kinds of catches, though not in the first level:
The first catch is that you have limited darts. Certain levels have special balloons that give you more darts. Then there are lots of other types of special balloons, such as the one filled with tacks– popping it will pop all of the surrounding balloons. Each level has a minimum number of balloons that must be popped before you are allowed to progress to the next stage.
Most levels beyond the first level have other obstacles, such as walls whose segments will disappear if you sacrifice a dart, walls whose sections are impenetrable by darts, and walls whose segments bounce the darts. This is the level that did me in during my first play sessions:
I like this game; it has the same trajectory/velocity gameplay that I have seen in many other places but with a twist I had not seen before. The only thing that really annoyed me (apart from the confusing difficulty met at only level 9) was that the screen orientation was opposite what I was used to for most landscape uses of the iPod Touch. However, the game was published by an outfit named Ninja Kiwi, a name that implies that they are in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps screen orientations are opposite down there, just like toilet flushes (or not).
Next up is Parachute Panic which features a rather distinctive art style made to look like crude pencil and crayon artwork on a sheet of notebook paper. The game also makes industrious use of the unit’s tall screen.
The parachuters need to land safely on the ships below, which may or may not be stationary. Tap on the ‘chuter to open their chute and swipe the screen in their vicinity in order to manipulate the weather to blow them in one direction or the other. Watch out for the varied threats such as sharks, helicopters, and UFOs.
Parachute Panic also features a curious a capella title song about falling. Why these people are parachuting in such deadly conditions is never really explained, though it could just be that the sharks need to be fed, as evidenced in the game over screen:
The last game is StickWars. Like today’s other 2 games, it is designed expressly for the iPhone’s unique control capabilities (unlike, say, Zenonia which had a console-style control schema overlaid on the screen). StickWars has the player defending a fortress wall from invading hoards using magic, apparently. When the stick figure invaders (those poor stick figures take a lot of abuse in today’s games) come on screen, touch them on the screen and fling them high into the air. That would have to be demoralizing to any advancing army and I’m frankly surprised that they have the courage to keep up the assault, level after level.
This flinging shtick gets old in a hurry so the game designer(s) made the act of flinging the barbarians rather lucrative (I think you know the expression: “Step 1) fling invaders; step 2) ???; step 3: PROFIT!“). With this money in the bank (and earning interest during each round), the player can fix walls, fortify walls, build prisons to hold prisoners rather than killing them outright, and lots of other stuff that I have yet to fully explore.
At the App Store: