It’s a blockbuster week for iOS gaming, friends. We’re looking at some incredible sequels and some creative new spins on familiar franchises.
Click through and let’s get gaming!
We’ve seen a lot of successful games from other platforms make the leap to iOS, and this week we’ll start with another: BIT.TRIP RUN!
Developed by Gajin Games for Steam and consoles (as a sequel to the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER), this unique game is a rhythm-based musical platformer. As fans will know, the magical ingredient that makes the series so endearing is the marriage of good controls, smart design, and wonderful audio feedback for successful manoeuvres. Collecting items or bashing an enemy must happen in perfect time with the music to make progress, and keeping up results in excellent musical effects not unlike Rayman’s.
Despite being quite difficult, the game is never punishing—you’ll be sent back to the beginning of a level many times, but since your score doesn’t suffer as a result you are free to experiment a bit and find the best way to master each of the many levels. Alongside the 30 basic ones, you’ll find 12 challenge levels as well as 15 retro ones, and another 20 levels, 2 worlds, and 2 boss battles are approaching in an imminent update.
With no IAP (for now) and a wealth of content, BIT.TIP RUN! remains one of the finest examples of musical platforming ever crafted, and its transition to iOS has been a strong reminder that good design transcends platforms.
Without a doubt, Anomaly 2 is one of the finest sequels we’ve ever encountered. The first game, which has now made its way onto nearly every device imaginable, was a landmark in strategic tower defense—or tower offence, more accurately.
This time around, a brand new engine is powering the proceedings and it is breathtaking. Assuming you’re playing on a 4S or newer, you can expect buttery smooth performance and stunning visuals to accompany your battles. Online multiplayer is a standout feature, with one person on the offensive and the other defending through the same excellent mechanics that keep the game’s campaign so engaging.
Tactical transformations are another unique addition to the game: units in the game can switch into an alternate form that grants different abilities and offers new strategic options on the field without resorting to more units. This is particularly cool in light of the sheer number of units and upgrades available.
The story remains fairly thin—following in the footsteps of the last game’s invasion story and pushing it into post-apocalypse territory—but it hardly matters in the grand scheme of things as you’ll find the core gameplay is simply too good to pass up. Whether you’re a fan of action or strategy, you’re likely to find Anomaly 2 satisfying to a degree that iOS titles rarely manage to achieve.
Papa Sangre was a bold and bizarre experiment. Could a game be created without visuals? Playable on a mobile device, but able to be experienced only through sound?
The answer, as we discovered, was a resounding yes, but Somethin’ Else wasn’t finished with the story. Papa Sangre II arrives with further refinements and a new story narrated by Sean Bean. This time, you’ll find yourself exploring Papa Sangre’s museum of memories. You’re dead, you see, and you’ll need to find memories of the deceased to help clamber back into the land of the living.
Papa Sangre II’s 3D audio engine has to be heard to be believed. And don’t even bother playing unless you have headphones. This game is immersive in a way that you’d never believe was possible without visuals. In fact, it may be more immersive since it forces you to focus on just one aspect of your sensory experience.
Stylish, spooky, and atypical, Papa Sangre II continues to demonstrate that the games industry has plenty of fertile ground left to explore.
Back in 2009, one of the hottest titles on iOS was Pocket God. For one reason or another, this series has lost some of its mainstream appeal despite Bolt Creative’s steadfast dedication to updates, spin-offs, and merchandising.
Pocket God: Ooga Jump is another spin-off, this time with a Doodle Jump framework of jumping as high as you can. Jumping is automatic, so your only task is making sure Ooga lands on a safe platform, or bounces on an enemy, or dodges an incoming obstacle…it’s tougher than it sounds. What Ooga Jump does differently is introduce the slam and trick mechanics, both accessible by tapping the screen. These can help you gain altitude and are key to beating many of the game’s missions, which function like the ones from Jetpack Joyride.
Needless to say, the series’ cute and somewhat morbid sense of humour is back in full force, and there are a few good chuckles to be had along the way. It may not be the most innovative spin-off, but Ooga Jump is a strong reminder of what made the franchise so appealing and it continues to offer strong replay value as a core tenet. Try it out if you’re a fan of jumping or tormenting virtual pygmies!
Let’s end with a kid’s story. Monsters are a great vessel for morality tales, and Monster Loves You! is a game that explores this potential by letting you live life as a monster.
It’s a simulator, but a story-driven one. You start the game being born and are immediately confronted by choices—these choices start out fairly mundane, but quickly escalate to moral dilemmas and situations where your choices begin to influence the world around you. The game is more of an interactive storybook as there’s little to do besides make these choices and watch the consequences gradually unfold, but that in itself makes it a terrific way for a parent to introduce a child to cause and effect in an environment they’ll already be familiar with—gaming.
Brief enough to be playable in a single session, Monster Loves You! packs in several endings and multiple paths based on your various decisions in the game, making it easy to dive back in and experience other possibilities. Not enough substance here to entertain adults, but it’s the perfect game to play with your kids.
What Have You Been Playing?
Let us know what you’ve been playing this week in the comments!