I’ve never played an Angry Birds game before, but after clocking in some time with this Star Wars iteration of the series, I can’t believe I’ve never tried one! Everything in the game screams quality. What seems like a relatively simple game on the surface proves to be miles deep after a few levels. It’s incredible to see just how big of a part the physics play and how many new concepts the game continues to introduce you to well into the later bits. There isn’t really a story aside from cute, little slideshow scenes taken from the (original) Star Wars films but starring the usual Angry Birds cast. That’s not a problem, though, as the biggest focus is on the gameplay, which can be incredibly addictive. I haven’t found myself so sucked into an iOS game since The Simpsons: Tapped Out was released. The best thing of all is that the levels are all super short, so it’s perfect for pick up and play sessions whenever you have a minute. If you like Star Wars or even just games in general, this is a definite pickup.
Ridiculous Fishing is a unique game. Seriously, I can’t think of a game quite like it. You throw your line into the water and dodge all of the fish all the way down with tilt controls. Then when you get to the bottom, end of your line, or hit a fish, you have to try to and catch them all on the way up. Here’s where it gets good: the fish’s upward momentum launches them up in the air where you must shoot the fish. I mean, just drag your finger across the screen and really blow the hell out of the them. You see, this guy, Bill, he hates fish, and you’re gonna have to play it to find out why he is prepared to buy laser-guided rockets to express that vitriol. It’s incredibly fun and quite charming. The power-ups are awesome to earn and will be needed to catch the 66 species between four locations. The only downsides are that it’s fairly short (I went through it in a weekend), and it’s $2.99. For three bucks, I would generally expect more, but I think the unique gameplay and the in-game fake Twitter feed add enough value to the game that it is totally worth it.
Heads up, guys, this one’s another endless runner, but don’t worry… it’s good. In The Journey, you control a seed through the air by tilting your iOS device forward and backward. I appreciate that you can customize the tilt angle, and the controls work well overall. There’s not a lot of variety in the levels, though. You’ll dodge stationary birds and super birds that shoot onto the screen, but that’s it. Fortunately, the game is broken up into day and night cycles, where each night is a quick contest to collect a string of stars. What really holds it all together are the objectives you can work towards. Yeah, this has become a standard feature now in endless runners, and The Journey (like most others) would be nothing without goals, but the fact that they’re there still adds a lot of incentive to retry. It’s not going to replace Jetpack Joyride as your go-to runner, but if your heart has room for more, The Journey is a solid addition to the genre.
The Spookening is an odd game. Odd because it feels like a game that is perfectly suited for Halloween in every way, but it’s pretty new. The music and art style blend to create an amazingly charming atmosphere and world that is incredibly enjoyable. In the game, you play a death-prone dummy that must scare townsfolk to gather bits of soul so that he may return to his body before midnight. Fun idea, right? Well, unfortunately, the virtual joystick is not cooperative. It may be that I was playing on hardware that the game wasn’t optimized for (an iPhone 4), but I often had pretty serious issues with movement, and in a game where you’re racing the timer, it doesn’t really help to have to battle the controls. Despite that, I actually had a great deal of fun replaying the levels with the various power-ups you can purchase in the game and discovering new ways to improve my score. I’d say that if you’re a fan of Halloween, then this is a definite pick-up, especially if you have some newer hardware to play on.
West Legends claims that it is loosely based on the Chinese story, Journey to the West, but the connection is rather superficial and doesn’t add much to the experience. The game itself is a touch-based action RPG where you command your team of 3-4 by dragging arrows from them to the enemies. It’s an easy setup to use that still requires enough “babysitting” to not feel boring, but on smaller screens (like my iPod), mistakes are bound to happen. Sometimes, a character would die, because the screen kept registering that I was tapping on the wrong person to heal. I should also point out that each level is nothing more than a single screen with waves of monsters. It took a while to warm up to that idea. What ultimately makes the game fun is the RPG nature of it: leveling up, buying/selling armor, defeating bosses who later join your group, figuring out which four characters are going to be on the dream team. You know the drill. It may not sound groundbreaking, but in a mobile environment, there’s enough substance here (wrapped up in a pretty art style) to make it worth a look.
Despite my usual hatred for motion controlled iOS games, I must admit that I absolutely adore Tilt & Sprout. It’s a seemingly simple game about steering a sprout through the countless dangers present in the undersoil. The game actually requires a fair amount of finesse, though, to progress very far due to the fact that power-ups are everywhere and greatly increase the speed at which your sprout grows. All it takes is one hit and BAM… game over. This can get a little annoying after two or three times, but luckily there almost always seems to be a “skip level” option just when you need it. The best thing about the game isn’t just the awesome gameplay, though. Everything about the presentation is fantastic and evokes a very PopCap feeling. That is one of the greatest compliments I can give an iOS game. So if you’re looking for something new to play, definitely give Tilt & Sprout a try. It’s superb.