Hey, it’s December!
Any Christmas apps you’re looking forward to playing? ‘Tis the season to be jolly and all that, so let’s get you primed with some fun new titles that the App Store has provided this week.
Gamerizon’s funny “Chop Chop” series continues with Chop Chop Caveman, a familiar and attractive platformer with all the style, art, and polish that you’ve come to expect.
Similar to previous games, you navigate the levels using fairly comfortable touch and slide controls. Tapping above the ground will make you jump, and there are some double-tap style moves reminiscent of the old butt smash from classic Mario games. Your goal is broadly to get the little caveman fed, but besides collecting meat and vegetables (they ate healthy back then), you also pick up pebbles and punt various prehistoric beasties along the way.
It’s good fun and a very easy way to spend some time. There are even achievements, and while some more levels would have been nice, they can only be an update away, and in the meantime there’s still plenty to do and see across the game’s 4 worlds and 20 stages.
Fun With Death is a good example of taking a working gameplay model and tweaking it to make it your own. In this case, you may notice some, uh, homages to the Angry Birds series, both in terms of gameplay and art style.
However, the neat thing about Fun With Death is that it extends the gameplay mechanic by adding a twist: you can also place a variety of objects around each level to help you accomplish your goal. In this case, the goal itself is also more complicated. Instead of just aiming to wipe out every other thing on the screen, Death is an organized fellow and wants to make sure that only red souls get whacked — leaving the blue ones to enjoy their peaceful after-existence.
There is perhaps a slight drop in production values between Angry Birds and Fun With Death, but it’s really just a question of polish and future updates will no doubt clean up the occasionally stiff physics and dry sound effects. Luckily, neither of those complaints has any bearing on just how fun this little game is — if you loved Angry Birds and are hoping for something more involved, then definitely check out Fun With Death,
I hope you’re fond of throwing things cause I’ve got another catapulting title for you. Floop is a great take on the concept that has you flinging food across levels to reach the waiting mouth of a creature at the end.
As you progress, you unlock more animals than the squirrel you start out with, but the gameplay remains the same. Throwing the food follows the usual convention of touching and dragging to determine direction and throw strength, and the rest is essentially a very colourful and well designed game of golf, where you try to get your ball (food) in the hole (mouth) in as few tosses as possible while avoiding the obstacles.
Level design is quite clever and diverse, and the art is simply gorgeous, so there’s plenty to recommend about Floop.
The homages continue with Zapple, a solid take on a concept made famous by one of my favourite App Store titles, Splode. In Zapple, instead of the whimsical story of igniting light-bearing poofy things, you’re out to zap some really bad apples — literally.
The idea is to create a chain reaction that catches as many of the Zapples as possible; just tap to zap. As you get into the higher levels, you’ll need to zap a lot of the Zapples on screen to progress and it can be tough to catch as many as you need, making for an unexpectedly great challenge. An upcoming update will feature helpful powerups, and in the meantime you can enjoy the OpenFeint integration to collect high scores.
Also similar to Splode is the exquisite production quality of Zapples. Music is cinematic and mysterious, the art is beautifully rendered, and animations are smooth. The menu interface could use a bit of polish, but once you get into the game everything is just as you’d want. If you’re after an addictive time-passer then Zapples doesn’t disappoint.
Dots & Boxes is a streamlined and uncluttered version of the classic pen & paper game that lets you compete against friends beside you or anywhere in the world via the internet and Game Center integration.
The game is simple but requires planning and some tricky moves; when it’s your turn, you tap two points to join them with a line. Your goal is to create squares, but you must be the one to close the square in order to win a point. Once you win a point, you get another turn, so setting yourself up for lengthy combos is a good way to make quick work of the opposition.
As a freebie, Dots & Boxes is great. It’s agile, well designed, and quick to load, and it dispenses with sound effects and music in favour of plain old fashioned gameplay. If you like puzzles then have a look — it’s old fashioned, but it’s definitely fun.
What Have You Been Playing?
Thanks for tuning in — keep sending us your tips as we try to bring you an eclectic collection of notable releases each week. Have you been enjoying any of these games, or has your attention been stolen by some different titles? Let us know!