There are a lot of very good iOS games out there, too many for us to be able to review in our usual Roundups that appear every now and again. To that end we, here at God is a Geek, have decided that it’s time that more iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch games were given their fair share of the publication. After all, they’re the games that people are playing on their way to work and while they’ve got a spare 5 minutes, so we’ll be bringing you an iOS Roundup every Monday starting from today so that you can have a quick look before you start your working week and have a brand new list of potential games you could be playing. No more digging through the top sellers list on iTunes, let us tell you what you SHOULD be playing, not just what people are buying.
Mobile Monday starts now! There was you thinking that the GodCast was the best thing about Mondays.
Titles are available on iPhone and iPad unless specifically stated otherwise. If you like what you read, click the small black “App Store” button to load iTunes up and purchase the title!
The name of Contre Jour doesn’t immediately make you think of any particular kind of game. It could almost literally be anything at all. So when you find out that it’s a puzzle platforming game from Mokus you could be a little bit surprised; or not at all, as I said the name doesn’t lend itself to anything at all. Even the French translation, The Day Against, means almost nothing. Despite the fact that the game’s title lends little evidence towards what type of game it might be the fact remains that Contre Jour is one of the most polished and well presented games on the iPad to date.
Contre Jour is also quite unorthodox in the method that it’s played as, usually, video games put the player in control of the main character; that’s not the case here. The only parts of the game that the player can control are the platforms that are suspended in the air, being able to push parts of the environment a set distance in order to create ramps, dips and other environmental aspects that will allow the main creature to move towards its intended goal, picking up as many collectables as possible along the way. The fact that the player is never in control of the main character at all makes the game a little bit more difficult to master in the short term but ultimately gives the game a greater sense of accomplishment once a level is finished, while also adding to the longevity of the game.
The visuals of Contre Jour are some of the most stunningly beautiful that can currently be experienced on any of the iDevices. The black and white visual style will remind most players of something like Limbo while also maintaining a look of its very own. One of the aspects which impressed me is the use of the accelerometer on the level select screen, players can tilt and twist their iPad’s and the worlds with twist and move with them. This gives the impression of 3D as, just for a moment, it feels like you might be able to look behind some of the planets. All in all, however, the visual style of Contre Jour is something that needs to be experienced, as screenshots are all well and good but until the game is in your hands you won’t be able to understand the sheer beauty of the game.
If there’s one game you get for the iPad/iPhone this week then you need to make sure it’s Contre Jour, its unique blend of an amazing art style coupled with some truly inspiring gameplay mechanics make it a very addictive little game and well worth the price of admission. The levels that are available from the moment you start playing will keep most people occupied for quite a while, especially if you want to “3 star” everything, but the promise of more levels to come in the future is always welcome. There’s nothing better than a game the just keeps expanding.
Imagine a game that combines the strategic land taking mechanics of Risk with the mind-boggling word play of Scrabble. Sound like an interesting game to play? The people at Denki thought so too, and to that end they’ve developed Quarrel Deluxe for the iPad (and Quarrel, without the “Deluxe”, for the iPhone). Quarrel Deluxe is a game that pits your ability to create words from a selection of 8 random letters against an opponent, whether that’s a real person or A.I.
The main gameplay element of Quarrel is the word creation, just like in Scrabble you’re given a selection of 8 random letters each with their own point value, as you create words you gain points based on the letters you used if you manage to get more points than your opponent then you’ve won the round and you get that particular square you were fighting for. Ultimately, the aim of the game is to take over ever square in the round by taking out your opponents in a test of knowledge and word power.
On top of these standard Domination matches, which make up a kind of “story mode”, there are plenty of other modes for people to enjoy from a Quick Match through to a daily challenge which, as the name would imply, changes every day, ensuring that each day you play you can be sure of something new.
Visually Quarrel Deluxe is also right up there with some of the better games on the iPad. Most of the graphics are displayed in a very chunky cartoon style which helps make something that’s relatively simplistic look good but that being said it doesn’t mean that the game itself looks simple; quite the opposite. The cartoon style of the game helps to get people that wouldn’t normally be interested in playing a word game to sit down and give it a go. If they’re like me then they won’t stop playing any time soon either.
The controls in Quarrel are all fairly intuitive and mostly involves tapping areas of the screen as you would expect, tap the army (square) you want to play as, tap the army you want to attack (enemy square) then simply tap the letters in order to create the word you want to use as an attack. Part of the beauty of the game is that just about anybody will be able to pick it up and instantly be able to understand what’s expected of them.
If you’re a fan of word games then there aren’t many out there that are as entertaining, humourous and well made as Quarrel Deluxe. The art style will appeal to a younger audience while the potential difficulty will be of interest to even the most hardened of word play veterans. If my words haven’t convinces you to at least try the game then there’s also a “Lite” version out there so you can go download and start loving it, all without spending a penny.
It makes me feel very old to say this but a lot of you that are reading this probably won’t even know what a ZX Spectrum is, you probably don’t know what it’s like to have to rewind a game when you’re done with it just do you can play it straight away next time. I do, and so do Gremlin Graphics, who made the first Bounder game back in 1985 for the cassette based games machine, but they’re not going to sit there and let you forget one of British gamings classic retro games, they’re going to put the effort in and release an updated version specifically suited for the iPhone. Something which you’re bound to have in your pocket right now.
The gameplay in Bounder’s World, just like in that classic game, revolves around the player taking control of the main character, a bouncing tennis ball, and navigating him over the tops of buildings by bouncing him on them. Bounder never stops bouncing so players will only have a few seconds a lot of the time in which they can decide on what their next move is going to be, especially seeing as in the later levels the platforms collapse as soon as they’ve been bounced on once. This means that players will have to decide on what their next move is going to be before they’ve even finished with their current one.
Unfortunately, Bounder’s World isn’t one of the best looking games on the iPhone. All of the animations that occur through a normal playthrough get really repetitive quite quickly and the character of Bounder himself doesn’t really look very appealing. A lot of people might not care about that considering that this is supposed to be an updated version of a 1985 game, and they could have just re-released that game for the iPhone and people would have bought it, but in a world of some absolutely fantastic looking iPhone games Bounder’s World is at the bottom of that pile.
Controlling Bounder through his own world is very intuitive, the gameplay perfectly lending itself to a game that should be played using the accelerometer. For the most part controlling the game is very easy to do, any of the times that players will fall off of the world will be because of their own doing, not because they tilted their device to the left and Bounder inexplicably went to the left, the accelerometer usage has been implemented very well and that’s something that’s very nice to see in such a cheap iPhone game.
If you’re a fan of the original game on the Spectrum and the other machines it was released for then you should definitely pick up this remake. It faithfully recreates the feelings of that original game while also upgrading everything that it needed to. The addition of the accelerometer control mechanism means that you’re not spending your time touching the screen in order to finish the level and most people will be able to pick up and play the game with ease. The graphics could have done with a little bit more work, and the sound can get very old quickly, but all in all Bounder’s World is a solid little remake of a very accomplished British classic. Here’s hoping for Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension next!
If you said the word ‘Firemint’ to anyone that knows anything about iOS games then you will see their eyes instantly light up with the obvious look of recognition. Firemint are the developers behind the multi award winning iOS title Real Racing and it’s various versions as well as the massively popular line drawing game Flight Control. Well, the guys and girls at Firemint are back again with another line drawing game based on the life of a spy. Which spy you ask? James Bond? Nope, none other than SPY Mouse, a lovable little creature that only wants his fair share of other people’s cheese. If only those cats would just let him have a little bit.
The gameplay within SPY Mouse consist of the player drawing lines on the screen the SPY Mouse himself will walk along in order to get to his much beloved cheese. The only problem with that is that there are multiple hazards along the way, such as mouse traps and, the bane of all mice everywhere, cats! These hazards means that players will be tasked with strategically drawing the lines in order to avoid them all, more than once you’ll find yourself drawing the strangest lines in the world because you need to get to a specific point in the game world without being spotted, all with using only a single path. As with most games of this ilk on the iOS devices there are several ways to “finish” the level, sure you could just get the cheese and get to the end of the level but there are also a couple of criteria that, if you meet them, will give you a rosette, giving you the option to either “finish” the level or REALLY finish it.
Just like Firemint’s other games, SPY Mouse has a stunning visual style. The cartoon aspect of things like the map screen and the opening video are very reminiscent of old cartoons such as Tom & Jerry and will certainly help get people interested in playing the game. The sounds that are played throughout the game also help compliment the visual style giving the whole game an appealing feel to it making it easy to see that a lot of time and effort has gone into the development of SPY Mouse.
Similarly to Flight Control, the controls of SPY Mouse are very easy to pick up and the only thing that’s really required of the player is to literally draw on the screen (with their finger of course) and SPY Mouse will follow that line exactly. Sometimes, if the player hasn’t been careful enough, even into the various hazards that litter each stage. In order to avoid these hazards then the player needs to think of various ways to avoid them, this can often end up in drawing some really strange shapes and lines onto the screen but, as long as the job gets done, who cares?
If you’ve played and enjoyed Firemint’s other games (especially Flight Control) then SPY Mouse should be a no brainer. The controls are exactly the same and you’ll be able to pick it up almost immediately. Anyone who hasn’t played those other games before should still pick up SPY Mouse, it’s an easy game to learn and it has a massive amount of levels, all of which are really fun to play. Playing on such a small screen like the iPhone and iPod Touch can be a little tricky as your finger will cover a lot of the screen while you’re drawing the line but it’s a small price to pay for such an enjoyable experience.
Mobile Monday will be back next Monday!