Sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get children interested in things that are good for them. Vegetables, chores, school – these are things that cause some parents to rely on bribery to achieve a reasonable result. While Budding Biologist can’t really help with the consumption of greens, they have made a very interesting app for iOS and Android devices called Lizard Island: Observation to help generate interest in science. This app allows your young scientist to experience some of what biology has to offer. What’s interesting about it is that it does offer a level of challenge that makes it far more than a passive experience.
It’s not a property you’ve thought about in a long time, but PAC-MAN really is a title that’s ripe for reinvention. Just think about Donkey Kong – a title from the same era that was reinvented not once but dozens of times (Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Mario Party, Wario Land, Paper Mario…) With all of the games squeezed out of some guy in overalls jumping over barrels and climbing ladders, surely we can make something exciting and new out of an eating-disordered yellow sprite and his undead nemeses, no? Well, Bandai Namco Games’ PAC-MAN Friends for iOS and Android.
Some of the older readers might remember a show called The Twilight Zone. This television show was all about reality going askew, with one aspect of normality being played in a different direction, resulting in some thought-provoking drama. Of course, there were equal parts cheese in the recipe for the program as well, which sometimes resulted in a half-baked thriller that was more amusing than anything else – but the show was always entertaining. Fezziwig Games’ Escape the Hellevator! reminds me a lot of The Twilight Zone on many levels. With an interesting premise (and a fair amount of it’s own kind of cheese), this iOS/Android title will probably keep you entertained – though at the moment that might not be for as long as you might like.
Stronghold 3 for the PC was released back in 2011. Now Firefly Studios, the developer has decided to reach out in a new direction, taking the franchise into the iOS world. I have always found the act of publishing a single game on different platforms an interesting challenge, as it can really impact the user experience. Battlefield 3, for instance, feels like an entirely different game on a PC when compared to a gaming console. I find that the conversion of games from PC to iOS to be especially interesting (the physical size and the lack of a mouse being the most obvious limitations); but I will go into a bit more depth later as I talk about my experience with Stronghold 3: The Campaigns for the iPad, developed by Digital Tribe.
Airheads Jump, by Crazy Labs and Tactile Entertainment, is a free-to-play tilt-based jumping game for iOS and Android that is far from complicated, but can easily hold your attention for short spurts of time here and there, making it a great time-waster for situations when you have some spare moments – just watch out for those ads!
One of the nice things about tablets is the screen real estate available to the user. Touch-based games play especially well on these larger devices. So, it is no surprise that Rocket 5 Studios’ side-scrolling adventure, The Phantom PI Mission Apparition, is especially fun on the iPad. This amusing title has a cute story and is full of neat little puzzles, all of which are presented in a “point-and-click” type of format, making it an easy game to get into.
It is incredible how many variants there are of the “match-three” type of hand-held game, and it is amazing how many of them are different enough to be entertaining. Backflip Studios’ Spellfall is one of the more interesting free-to-play match-three games that I have seen lately, blending both puzzle and role-playing game elements to give it some distinction. Game-play is enjoyable enough to offset the in-app purchases, making for a fun, strategy-filled experience.