Welcome to December, everyone!
I spent way too much time gaming this week, and I’m about to share with you some of the culprits responsible for that. This week’s top picks include some extremely addictive titles that cover a wide range of gameplay styles — there’s something for everyone, so come on in and get playing!
It’s the 40th anniversary of Pong, guys. I’ll just let that sink in for a second because it took me by surprise. I knew it, but somehow having it stated like that puts things in perspective. This industry has come a long way.
Atari, still very much alive and kicking, has revamped its classic for the modern times with Pong World. This is the first official Pong title on the App Store, and it tastefully develops the original formula, adding adorable animated paddle “characters,” three gameplay modes (including a multiplayer!) and the awesome “boosts” that function as power-ups you can use to upgrade your paddles.
The game is free, which is a nice surprise, but there are of course In-App Purchases to offset the costs. They’re not egregious, but like any IAP they will be polarizing depending on your opinion of the freemium model. That aside, Pong Worlds is a charming, hugely addictive, and nostalgic refresh of the world’s most classic old-school arcade title.
One of my favourite iOS games from the past few months, Crumble Zone is a fantastic game from Rebel Twins. You will fall in love with it.
You must defend your planet against falling meteors, and you’ll have an arsenal of weapons to help you. Collecting gems from the shattered meteoroids will help you unlock more things, and the procedurally generated levels ensure that no playthrough is ever the same. The level of visual and audio polish on display is unbelievable, with smooth animations and an incredibly attractive art style.
Not only is there also a multiplayer mode, but the game is completely IAP-free and includes a bunch of Game Center goodies like leaderboards and achievements too! All in all, a stunning space arcade title that deserves a spot on everyone’s iPhone.
Like the best of the F-Zero or WipeOut series, FLASHOUT 3D comes screaming onto your iPhone with incredible style.
A sci-fi racer, this eye-catching game offers some of the most intense racing I’ve ever experienced on a mobile device, and it does so with more depth than you might expect. The career mode is augmented by challenge and multiplayer modes, all of which feature the same upgradeable ships, diverse arsenal and responsive controls (three different schemes are available). One of the neatest aspects is the presence of vibration feedback on supported devices, which adds another level of immersion to what is already an engrossing title.
The best part is that it’s universal and features iCloud saving, so you can grab it for whatever device you like and keep your progress in sync. Without a doubt, Flashout 3D is among the top five most impressive racing games to ever hit the App Store — don’t miss it!
The noir art style made popular by Limbo is starting to become quite common, but it’s nice to see it make its way to different kinds of games, like Freeze!
Something of a spatial puzzle game, Freeze! is a game about your struggles to escape various alien prison structures. You’ll manage it by rotating the shapes and avoiding dangerous obstacles while you figure out the safest route out of the maze. The title refers to your ability to freeze the direction of gravity — this is handy when it seems like there’s no other way to survive.
The difficulty scales very well, and always hovers on the safe side of frustration, without being too simple. IAP purchases are very poorly implemented, unfortunately, as a means to get access to all the game’s levels, so you should jump on it while it’s still available for free!
Anyone remember the DreamCast? It was an under-appreciated console, I think. SEGA isn’t letting its memory fade, thankfully, and one of the more unique titles from it has just made its way to the iPhone: Jet Set Radio!
It’s not every day you’ll get to play a game about being in a gang. One of the main goals of this game is to express your supremacy over rival gangs by spray painting over their tags, but you’ll also experience showdowns, skating challenges and tricks, and of course, police chases. The gameplay has made the transition to a touch interface very well (especially the spray painting), though some of the controls for movement feel a bit twitchy.
With multiple playable characters, sweet Pirate Radio tunes, and even some clever camera features, you’ll find a lot to love in Jet Set Radio, even if you haven’t played it before on another console.
What Have You Been Playing?
Let us know what you think of these games, and make sure you give us a shout if you’ve found something else that we should be playing. See you next week!