I used to dislike playing games on my iPhone because the idea of only using the touch-screen to control the game and nothing else did not appeal to me. It felt clumsy and inaccurate. But I feel that more recently game designers have used its touch screen effectively and some quality games have been released on the device. The games I’m going to mention in this post, are games that would probably not exist if it weren’t for the iPhone, would not have received as much recognition if they were released as Flash games and just wouldn’t work as well on any other platform.
Tiny Wings was a compulsive buy. I had seen its icon with the cute little bird and just assumed it was another Angry Birds clone, but then I came across this interview with the game’s designer (Andreas Illiger) and it finally caught my interest. I decided $0.99 wasn’t much for a game that is rated 5 stars (after more than 29,000 votes) and involves a little bird trying to fly. The game only uses one button, when you touch the iPhone’s screen your little bird will dive down, when you let go, your bird will try to fly. You have to time your dives to land on downward slopes, which will help you gain more momentum as you’re coming back and help you fly higher. The game also gives you objectives to beat and the more you do, the better your score multiplier becomes, which adds to its replay value.
I stumbled upon Jetpack Joyride by accident, I was reading Joystiq and there was a mention that some iPhone games were being given away for free, Jetpack Joyride was one of them. The beauty of Jetpack Joyride (and Tiny Wings to an extent), is that it’s exterior is of a casual game, but it has quite a bit of depth that it garners to both the casual and non-casual gamer crowd. In Jetpack Joyride you avoid obstacles like lasers or missiles by flying around them to see how far you can go while attempting to complete objectives before ultimately being hit by something, collecting coins and tokens along the way that can be used to buy other equipment.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is the epitome of gaming on a touch device. It’s an audiovisual experience that doesn’t really exist anywhere else. Everything in the game can create sound when you interact with it; the water, the bushes or the trees for example. Its game-play is a nod to some of the best video games of the 90’s like the Legend of Zelda, Monkey Island (or any 90’s point&click adventure game) and the Prince of Persia. The game also incorporates Moon phases; only letting you pass a certain point when the Moon is in a certain phase, which is a nice way of making you put the game down so you can get back to your real life. I would also like to add that it would be a crime if you play this game without headphones, the game makes great use of interactive music, your interaction with the game create sounds, it’s rare to see music & sound used in such a way that it goes hand-in-hand with game-play, enhances it and elevates it. This is one of those games where words just can’t describe how amazing it is, I can sit here and type out an entire page on how good this game is and it still wont do it any justice. If you love music, if you love video games, if you love art & design, if you love something different, if you love any of those things, you should really try this out.