Tagged: iOS

Of 2015: The Mobile Games

of2015-mobile

Bad as my eyes are these days I did play some actual mobile games in 2015. Most of them were free, only a couple were on my phone and some were barely games at all. In the course of dilly-dallying on this post I also came up with these crude ASCII symbols for each handheld so enjoy those as well.

of2015-mobile1

Early in the year I finally hopped on the crazy hype wagon for Crossy Road. Sure enough, it was a fun Frogger-like with voxel graphics and a bunch of goofy skins. Quick and fun and sometimes infuriating, I poked at it for a few months. Much, much later I happened upon Horizon Chase thanks to digging up news for OSV. It excels as an update and homage to classics like Top Gear and they even pulled in Barry Leitch, the original composer, to revisit the music. It’s fabulous looking, fast and fun to play but I think I’m going to hold out for the upcoming PS4 release to really dive in.

Honorable mentions go to Tori Watch and Neko Atsume!. Both are similarly peculiar Japanese phone “games” that simulate sitting outdoors and waiting for birds and cats, respectively, to wander into your yard. There isn’t much that you really do but they were both cute and free and very, very Japanese-y.

of2015-mobile2

Thanks to PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Mobile, the Vita continued to get frequent use through the first part of the year. OlliOlli 2 brought more 2D twitch skateboarding but even though it’s vastly improved from the original it didn’t grab me as strongly. The same month, Flame Over debuted exclusively on the Vita and I spent a few weeks throwing myself against its challenging mashup of firefighting and roguelikes. I’ve since picked it up on Steam where I enjoy it much more but I was happy to support the game early on.

Finally was Oh Deer! Alpha which has the distinction of only being available to buy for a few short weeks. It was one of the last releases to Sony’s Android-powered PlayStation Mobile marketplace which was home to all kinds of cheap, knock-off, and illicit apps and games over the years. As an alpha, Oh Deer! is a basic game, one that apes the art and gameplay of OutRun but replaces the Ferrari with a station wagon and traffic with deer. Lots and lots of deer waiting to be mowed down or avoided. It’s up to you and the game’s music — marking a return to the scene for Motohiro Kawashima — changes in intensity depending on how you play. I’m still hoping it becomes a full game some day.

 

of2015-mobile3

Serving as experiments in Free-to-Start design, and to tide people over until a proper sequel, Nintendo went nuts with free Pokemon games in 2015. I skipped Pokemon Picross because I will never understand picross in a way that makes me feel good playing it. Instead I kept up with Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Rumble World for a while.

Pokemon Shuffle is an oddball matching puzzle game with almost no rules and a lot of grinding if you want to catch and train all the ‘mon. On the game board you can move pieces just about any which way to make matches while daily energy limits introduce the “challenge”. Without paying real money there are few Pokemon you can catch so I just poked at its fun and colorful fringes before bed for a while.

Pokemon Rumble World is a Free-to-Start iteration of Nintendo’s long running but mostly overlooked Pokemon action series. It’s a little like Dynasty Warriors in that the fun comes from demolishing hordes of simple-minded fodder on the way to slightly tougher boss battles. I was hoping this would be the Rumble game I finally got into but I ditched it even before grinding up against its microtransaction wall.

Finally is Nintendo Badge Arcade which I’ve somehow spent the most time with. It’s simply a nefarious arcade claw game that desperately wants you to pump real money into it for a chance to grab Nintendo branded trinkets. You then stick these badges on your 3DS Home screen… to look at. That’s it. I have more to say in my Dailies of 2015 post but I’ll sum it up again here: it’s so well designed that it makes you feel great even when you’re scamming it for free plays every day.

Beat Bop brings Interactive Music and Management to the Clicker Genre

I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of “clicker” games, the growing genre where you tirelessly click on things to slowly, but exponentially, increase your income until numbers in the millions are flying out of everything on screen. They’re usually too mundane for me but set one up about music with a soundtrack that changes based on your clicking speed and suddenly I’m interested. That’s the concept behind Beat Bop, a new clicker game coming to Android and iOS in August from the Australian studio, Fliptus.

In the free-to-play game you start out as a lonely, hopeful street musician plucking away on a street corner with big dreams of superstardom. As you click to collect coins you’ll soon be able to pick up new band members, buy out promotions, start selling merch, and deal with broken instruments and media scandals. Of course, there’s a huge array of costumes and gear to buy as well to customize each member of your band. All this tapping action is set to unique music that changes with each venue which evolves as you add members (and instruments) to your band.

There isn’t a lot to hear from the game just yet but the above gameplay trailer gives you a glimpse at how it will sound and play when it’s released later this month. With an interesting hook I might actually give this one a shot and at least report back on the interactive music portion.

A new videOST for CounterSpy is out today!

There’s something in CounterSpy’s visual style and soundtrack that more than compensate for its gameplay flaws. It’s a terribly inconsistent game when it comes to being spotted which makes the experience more frustrating than it should be. Still, I really liked it and after the first several hours with the game I couldn’t stop humming its cool 60’s spy flick music.

I went looking for an official soundtrack but only found a few songs on Soundcloud and one copy on vinyl… that comes direct from the developers??! So I did the thing I usually do and recorded it myself! It was a fun process and really got me thinking about the audio design and how it’s all linked to go along with the randomly generated levels. Then I thought about things even more and edited all the musical cues and interludes into a new videOST series. Watch, listen, enjoy and then go play the game yourself. It’s pretty fun, only a little flawed and it’s on every PlayStation platform as well as iOS and Android.

Of 2014: The ‘I played some mobile games?!’ List

of2014-mobile

What is the world coming to when I — Touchscreen Naysayer No.1 — play enough mobile phone games in a year to warrant a list of them?! This was originally a moanful free-to-play list but that trend is so ingrained nowadays it’s not worth highlighting. That I put a ton of time into games on my phone is way more noteworthy so let’s do a little rundown.

of2014-mobile2

Watch Dogs Companion: ctOS
Status: Still Installed
This is the kind of multiplayer experience I want! The app syncs you up with someone playing Watch Dogs (on any platform) and puts you in control of Chicago’s police force to throw obstacles at them while they try to complete a checkpoint race. It has its own level system with unlocks and achievements and was an all around magic moment of technology in 2014.

Disco Zoo
Status: Uninstalled after months of not playing
I expected nothing less than pure, simple addiction from the makers of Tiny Tower and that’s what I got. This one throws in a memory-style puzzle game to fill the ranks of your ever-expanding pixel zoo. It was simple enough to play for 20 seconds at a time and enticing enough to come back to for a few months.

Dragon Coins
Status: Uninstalled after months of not playing
Coin Dozer meets Collectible Card Game meets RPG. It was a great combination of gameplay that had me strategizing individual coin drops and building up my preferred deck of monsters. It was fun but after a few weeks the endless slog of replaying old battles revealed itself and I mostly burned out.

of2014-mobile23

Smash Hit
Status: Still Installed
This one is still on my phone because it’s absolutely gorgeous to watch. A simple rail shooter where you launch balls at abstract shapes, it has amazing lighting and wonderful physics simulation (and destruction).

Trials Frontier
Status: Reluctantly Uninstalled
It offers so much Trials for so little I didn’t ever feel the burning urge to buy the newest console version. Maybe they made it too good. Nah, if it were I’d still be playing it but after months of fun challenges I finally hit the brick wall where absolute perfection is required. That’s not something I enjoy working for on a touchscreen so I reluctantly removed the game. It sure was great for a good long while and by far my favorite mobile game of the year.

of2014-mobile3

Disney Tsum Tsum
Status: Still Installed, Rarely Played
It’s like Bejeweled if it were made out of squishy plush Disney characters. The floppy physics adds a fun wrinkle to the typical fast-paced puzzle gameplay and the steadily improving power-ups enable higher and higher scores. Another one that was fun for months that I now only play very rarely.

Word Puttz
Status: Uninstalled
Minigolf and word games, a combination of two things I love that I never would’ve expected anyone to make. From the You Don’t Know Jack folks, it was great to have a single player word game but then they introduced an evil A.I. opponent that I could never beat. Fun for a bit but those timed challenges ruined it for me.

 

Done Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)

done-trialsfrontier1

It was the fourth part in one of the game’s longest string of quests. Each round requires out-racing an increasing number of real player ghosts. After numerous attempts and waiting for the timer on a few bike upgrades I was finally able to top the 26th opponent in my way. With the victory dialog finally ready to reveal something I felt like I was in for a big reward… and then the game broke.

It would be a day of force closing the app, restarting it and watching it crash on that same almost-reveal. I posted to the official forums and another day later was advised to remove the game and download it again. Booting it up didn’t find my save game until I’d replayed the introductory section again but finally, I was able to complete the quest. The reward? Another tier of 26 opponents and a tease of a further sentence of explanatory text. My other quest option was similar; another tier of endless grinding to craft top tier items in races against grueling A.I. opponents.

That was about a week ago at this point and since I haven’t had the heart to load up the game I think it’s safe to say I’m officially ‘Done PlayingTrials Frontier. It was a lot of fun and I played it for a solid two months and change; I even gave them five bucks when they had a pack of coins, gear and diamonds on sale. Those boosts helped but the quests I’m up to now require double the time, luck and energy as the ones I’d worked through in the weeks before.

Here is the apex of what I’m willing to give for some physics-y fun driving and what the game wants to take out of me to let me keep going. And like one of those impossibly steep inclines on an Extreme difficulty Trials track I just can’t throw myself at it any longer. Now, if they’d just put Trials Fusion on sale already!

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 2, and Part 3