Yup, you’re reading that right, it’s another Monday – I also agree with that thought that just crossed your mind, about this year going past way too fast – and GodisaGeek.com are back with another four iOS games for you to take a look at, read about and decide whether or not they’re going to accompany you on your weekly commute to work/school.
This week we’ve got Tiny Plane from Pow Pow Games and Chillingo, Word Poker from Synqua Games, Astro Math from EnsenaSoft and FIM Speedway Grand Prix 2012 from Vivid Games. As you can see, we’ve got quite a selection for you this week, ranging from simple puzzle games all the way through to a nice little racing title.
As usual, keep reading for the full review of each of these games and remember to check back next week when we’ll be reviewing another four games.
Get downloading and get playing!
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!
A lot of games on the iOS App Store are straight copies of more popular games, usually the result of lazy developers wanting to make a quick buck here and there. Lots of games have seen the brunt of this plagiarism, Angry Birds being the most obvious one with an animal flinging game being released almost every other week. Another game that has had to endure this copying is Tiny Wings. Tiny Plane, developed by Pow Pow Games and published by Chillingo, isn’t a copy of Tiny Wings however, with a name like that and the screenshots on the App Store, you be forgiven for thinking it is, so I’m here to put things right.
The gameplay is simple enough, although it does take some getting used to, as it’s a little different from what people may be expecting from the genre of game that Tiny Plane places itself in. The player is given the task of moving from the left hand side of the screen to the right and getting as far as they can before they either run out of fuel or they crash into an object. The longer you stay in the air, the faster the game gets and the more points you’ll get for staying in the air. There are items that you can collect along the way in order to help you in your quest to the top of the leader-board, items such as fuel cans and speed boosts. You’ve got to be careful though, collecting the speed boosts at inopportune times could result in a very early “Game Over”; so use them wisely.
One of the more unique aspects of Tiny Plane is the fact that as you’re flying through the air, collecting coins and fruit, you’ll be constantly running out of fuel. If your fuel tanks gets to the point where they’re completely empty then you’ll find yourself hurtling towards the ground before you can shout “Mayday”. In order to stop this from happening, there are landing strips dotted all along the floor of the stage, landing on any one of these landing strips will refuel your plane and help you stay in the air longer. In the early stages of the game, when you’re not travelling quite so fast, landing and refuelling isn’t an issue. Later on however, when you’re travelling a little faster, you’ll have to employ some timing and control skills in order to top up your tank. Only the brave need apply.
The controls of the game are fairly simple once you know what you’re supposed to be doing. There’s no real tutorial to the game, so anyone that doesn’t take notice of the splash screen that appears when the game starts may be at a loss as to what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s all simple enough though, touch the left hand side of the screen to point the plane upwards, and touch the right hand side of the screen to point the plane downwards. This control method means that even if you’re using an iPad to play Tiny Plane, you can hold it in a position that’s relatively comfortable, allowing you to play for extended periods of time if you so desire.
Tiny Plane really isn’t a copy of Tiny Wings. Everything about it may look like it is, but I assure you it’s not. Now that we’ve got that out of the way I can get on with telling you that Tiny Plane is an addictive, bright, colourful and charming little game that does enough things right to be a title that’s easy to recommend. It can get a little repetitive at times, but you’ll often find yourself coming back to it for little five minute attempts at that high score. If you’re a fan of the genre and are looking for something that’s just different enough to be refreshing, download Tiny Plane now.
Poker games are all over the place on the iOS App Store, we’ve reviewed a couple here at GodisaGeek.com, one of them even as recently as the last edition of Mobile Monday. With that in mind you can imagine how refreshing it is when we get a poker game that puts a little bit of a twist on the game, enough to make people sit up and take notice while keeping the rest of the game similar enough so as not to scare potential players off. Developed by Synqua, Word Poker is the game that we’re talking about, so go things downloading and read on.
If you’ve played a game of poker before then you’ve probably got a good idea of what you’re going to be in for with Word Poker; only replace the suits, numbers and pips with letters and you’ve almost got it. At the start of the game you’ll be dealt five cards, once you’ve thrown some money into the pot (or folded I suppose, but there’s no point doing that on the first round) it’s the turn of the four other players to raise, call or fold. Once it’s your turn again some of the cards from the middle of the table will be revealed and the whole betting process starts all over again. This happens another few times until all of the cards in the middle of the play area are revealed, once this happens it’s your turn to spell as many words as you can with the letters you’ve been given.
The player that can find the most words takes the pot and is crowned the winner. The only confusing part would be that – considering that you’re essentially playing poker – you may think that the aim of the game is to create the best single word, just like creating the best single hand. This isn’t the case, and it can take a little bit of time to get used to the way you’re actually supposed to be playing the game.
The controls couldn’t be simpler, as you’d expect. All the player has to do is tap on the large ‘Bet’ or ‘Fold’ buttons on the screen until it’s time for the player to start spelling out words. Once it is time to start spelling out words, all you have to do is tap on the letters that you’re wanting to use, in the order that you want to place them. This simple control method ensures that anyone who wants to pick up and play Word Poker is able to do so without any difficulty at all.
If you’re sick of playing the same old poker games and you’re in the market for something a little bit different, you could do much worse than Word Poker. The visuals are pleasing to the eye and the ease of access to the game on the whole makes it a perfect game for a quick game on the train to work. For something that’s enjoyably a little bit different, give Word Poker a go, but if you were listening to me at the start of this review, you’ve already downloaded it anyway.
There’s something inherently old school about playing a side-scrolling space shooter, I remember quite a few of them from my childhood, not many I could tell you the name of but I’m sure we’d all recognise one if we saw one. Retro games have been enjoying somewhat of a resurgence as of late, with a lot of remakes hitting the shelves of our favourite gaming stores, and re-releases hitting the respective stores of our favourite mobile devices. Not one to be left behind, EnsenaSoft has released Astro Math, a game that isn’t really a re-release but it makes good use of that nostalgia that we’ve all been feeling recently, couples it with some math questions and ends up being pretty enjoyable to say the least.
There are two aspects to the gameplay when it comes to Astro Math, the first part is the part that most people will be playing for the majority of their time with the title. The main game mode is just like any other side-scrolling shooter game you will have ever played before, you control a ship on the screen, avoid the barrage of oncoming asteroids and other nasties, and get to the end of the level with as high a high score as you can manage; pretty simple stuff really.
The second part of the game is that part where the “Math” part of the title starts to make a little bit more sense. Instead of picking up money through the normal side-scrolling aspect of the game, which can then be used to unlock upgrades to your ship as well as simply buying brand new ships, you have to earn the money. Players will earn their cash by answering a series of maths related questions that seem to fluctuate wildly in terms of their difficulty. Answer the question correctly and you’ll be awarded with some cold hard cash, but get enough cash and you’ll be able to buy those items you’ve been wanting. So the maths that you always felt were useless while you were at school have suddenly become useful; interesting.
The controls of the maths game is fairly straightforward, all the player has to do is type their answer into the screen using the on-screen number pad that appears when you’re playing this aspect of the game. In order to make the ship go upwards, the iPad must be tilted in that direction and vice-versa, with a simple tap of the screen causing your ship to fire its main weapon. This control scheme, while being rather intuitive, is a little bit difficult to get used to, especially if you’ve played the classic side-scrolling shooters that it’s clearly emulating. It’s not a bad control system, just don’t expect to get the hang of it within the first twenty seconds.
Astro Math is just about interesting enough to make it a game worth taking a look at, if you’re not the type of player who is interested in having the best possible ship in the game and find the main side-scrolling shooter aspect of the game to be fun from the beginning, then you may not have to do any of the math at all. It would have been a little better if the difficulty of the math questions were a little bit more consistent, but the game isn’t a bad attempt at merging the worlds of gaming and maths. If you’re trying to teach a child maths – or at least to enjoy it a little more – you should give Astro Math a go, it can’t hurt (unless you’re trying to answer some of the math questions, that could hurt anyone’s brain after a while).
FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX 2012:
Racing games can be exciting, you will often find yourself jumping in for a race or two from time to time, even if those races are only on your mobile device. We’ve seen all kinds of racing games in the iOS App Store over the past couple of years, we’ve seen arcade style racing games, realistic racing games as well as games from all the different disciplines of racing too. That being said, not many people will have seen an iOS game that represents the crazy sport of Motorcycle Speedway, and that’s where Vivid Games is stepping in.
Motorcycle Speedway is a sport where competitors try to race the fastest around an oval racetrack, sliding their way around the corners and accelerating as fast as they can along the straights. The easiest way to think of it is like NASCAR with motorbikes, that’s not exactly correct but you’ll get a clear picture of what you’re letting yourself in for if you think of it like that. FIM stands for the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, which is the official governing body for the sport, so you can be sure that you’re going to be getting a game that’s half decent if it’s good enough for the official people behind the sport itself to give it the green light.
The gameplay is beautifully simple, all the player has to do is go around the track a set number of times and attempt to cross the finish line in first place,just like almost every single other racing game that you will have played. The difficulty with the game lies with the corners. Players will have to enter the corners absolutely perfectly, drift around them as accurately as they can and exit the corner smoothly to ensure that they don’t lose too much speed. There’s a helpful racing line painted onto the floor that you can follow if you wish, but it takes quite a decent amount of skill to pull of the corners like a pro.
The controls in this iOS representation of the high-speed sport couldn’t be more simple. Acceleration is handled for you, so that’s not something that you’re going to have to worry about at all, all you have to think about is moving left and right in order to make your way around the corners in a manner that will allow to get to – and stay at – the front of the pack. To navigate the corners of the game all you have to is tap and hold one of the sides of the screen; tap the right hand side of the screen to go right, and the left hand side of the screen to go left.
If you’re a fan of the sport of Motorcycle Speedway and have been waiting for a game that accurately depicts the sport – or as accurately as you’re going to get at the moment in time – then FIM Speedway Grand Prix 2012 is the way to go. It’s not the best looking game on the marketplace and it soon gets repetitive, but that’s the nature of the sport so if you enjoy the real thing, chances are good that you’re going to be able to waste away at least a couple of hours with this iOS package.