The iPhone and the iPad are handy devices, and gaming is one of their many functions. But the app store is flooded with cheap free games, many of which are built to manipulate players into buying in-app purchases.
Sick and tired of forgettable, junky, fast-food games? Looking for something more substantial with which to pass your valuable free time? If so, I recommend that you check out these great iOS games. Click on the game's name for a link to the app store.
Device 6 ($4)
Built specifically for iOS, Device 6 by Simogo is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Marrying visual, audio, textual, and game elements, this interactive experience defies convention and asks the player to think outside of the box in order to progress. This multimedia experiment is well worth discovering. (I have yet to play it, but Simogo's previous game Year Walk is supposed to be good too, and their next game, The Sailor's Dream, looks really interesting.)
80 Days ($5)
80 Days is a text adventure inspired by Jules Verne's classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days. In the game, you play as French valet Passepartout. You are tasked with planning the journey as well as tending to your master, Phileas Fog; buying and selling goods; and conversing with people along the way. Your choices influence the story, your character traits, your relationship with Mr. Fogg, and the available travel routes.
This isn’t the most faithful homage to Verne’s novel, however, since the game takes place in an alternate universe where airships, steam carriages, and more steampunk technology are commonplace. While I'm sure that some players would have liked a more historically-accurate setting, I enjoyed the steampunk setting and the weird technology that it holds.
Monument Valley ($4)
Monument Valley is a puzzle game that uses perspective and impossible shapes to create a world reminiscent of an M.C. Escher drawing. The gameplay is not action-packed or particularly challenging, but it is relaxing, beautiful, and satisfying. As you can see in the following teaser trailer, Monument Valley is easily one of the prettiest iOS games:
The video game adaptations of The Walking Dead are very popular. The first season even won Game of the Year at Spike's 2012 Video Game Awards. TWD focuses on creating a compelling interactive story rather than focusing on traditional gameplay. The vast majority of the game consists of watching cinematics and making dialogue choices for the protagonist.
(If you're really sick of zombies, Telltale's The Wolf Among Us series plays very similarly to - yet not quite as good as - The Walking Dead, but is based on a different comic series.)
Playing with the interactive narrative is engaging because the game establishes that the player's choices affect the story. When playing the first season, it really felt like I was following my own path. It's really intense when your choices and actions feel like they have real consequences in the story.
The Room is a puzzle game about solving clues and unlocking contraptions. The game uses the touch screen well: the player must often open lids, slide mechanisms, or operate machinery by tapping and sliding. The quality of The Room is amazing for a mobile game. Check out the trailer for the second game in the series:
Threes! is a fun and addictive puzzle game about combining numbers. It's a great example of a game that's easy to learn but difficult to master. You may have heard of this game's clones, but this is the original, the real deal. Support the developers by picking up Threes! today!
Sword & Sworcery EP ($5)
Sword & Sworcery EP is an adventure game built for iOS. The player takes on the role of the Scythian as she explores a world filled with beauty and mystery. The game's aesthetics are incredible: the graphics are awesome and atmospheric, the soundtrack is one of my favourites, and the writing is interesting, to say the least. If you're in the mood for some ambient exploration, you can't go wrong with Sword & Sworcery EP.
Ridiculous Fishing ($3)
Ridiculous Fishing is a fun and addicting mobile game by Vlambeer. The game has an interesting history that you can check out if you’re interested in the development side of games. You can also try Radical Fishing, the flash game predecessor, to see if this game is for you.
The main hook in Ridiculous Fishing is its three-part fishing process: First, you cast your line, avoiding fish while trying to get your hook as deep as possible. Once you fail and hit a fish, your hook begins rising back to the surface, but instead of avoiding the fish, you have to hook as many as possible. When your line reaches the surface, you fling your catch into the air and shoot as many as you can. Yes, it’s as fun and silly as it sounds.
Bastion is a top-down action RPG that was originally on consoles and PC, but has now been ported to iOS. The game world is very pretty: the map builds itself as you walk through it. The narration is also very cool. I haven't tried the iOS version, but from what I've read, it’s a good port. And for five bucks, Bastion is a real steal. This is a great indie game with lots of replay value and even more style.
Here are some more console and PC ports that play well on iOS: