The Room Pocket

Mystery is not a common genre on the App Store. It’s to be expected, with the prevailing notion of the platform as a casual title haven, but every once in a while a developer will confound expectations and deliver something unexpected and amazing. Like The Room.

It’s been getting a lot of attention lately, and with good reason: The Room is a magnificent example of lean, tense and engrossing gameplay. Its pocket edition is identical to the iPad version, only optimized for your phone. This means you’ll get the same intuitive touch controls, the same photorealistic graphics, and of course, the same mind boggling creep factor. In fact, The Room is a puzzle game of sorts, but it feels like an adventure.

It doesn’t overstay its welcome, which might leave some complaining that it’s too short, but if you like what’s being offered then you’re likely to forgive the brevity. Soul of wit, after all. The game is available for free, with the first level, and you can unlock the full game for two dollars if you enjoy the opening. Which you will.

Price: Free ($1.99)
Developer: Fireproof Games
Download: App Store


It’s not going to come as a huge surprise to anyone that the folks behind the genius Canabalt have come up with a new game, nor that it’s superb. But there’s still room to be surprised by just how different and clever their new puzzle game, Hundreds, has turned out to be.

Like a gorgeous, minimalistic, multi-touch meditation, Hundreds offers a simple goal: grow circles by holding them until their sum adds up to one hundred. What begins as a simple matter of holding until the counter reaches 100, quickly morphs into a more complicated affair involving razor blades, collisions, timing and a bit of strategy. The reason everyone is so enthralled is perhaps because Hundreds manages to tap into that primal, sublime zone in the gaming world that provides a visceral satisfaction of a simple goal achieved with diminishing simplicity.

Keeping up with its pace is supremely satisfying and, with the clean presentation and accomplished audio, Hundreds manages to assert itself with a dignified authority. It invites you to play and rewards your curiosity and skill — the essence of gaming fulfillment.

Price: $2.99
Developer: Semi Secret Software, LLC
Download: App Store


While I’m clearly a fan of futuristic racers, Repulze deserves a mention because it approaches the genre in an interesting way … by removing the racing element, for now anyway.

The game has been designed for release in three “Phases,” the first of which is out now. This Phase is geared toward a solo-play, time trial experience that challenges you to achieve the fastest possible speeds with the six currently available hovering vehicles. While this might seem like an odd way to handle things, it makes a great deal of sense; not only will the jaw-droopingly smooth gameplay and presentation build anticipation for the remaining Phases, but the fact that you’re forced to start with these time trials emphasizes the importance of becoming skilled at the game in preparation for multiplayer and the true racing.

For some, it might be frustrating to have to wait, but I for one am happy to do so given the craftsmanship on display here. I cannot overstate how impressively the 60 fps, 3D environments are rendered or how immersive the sense of speed is. That and the lack of IAP to cheat your way to better performance clearly indicate a developer whose interest is in creating a challenging, honest gaming experience. That’s something worth celebrating, and if you like racing at all then Repulze will find a permanent spot in your games folder.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Pixelbite
Download: App Store

Swing King

Swing King is another Angry Birds hybrid, but plays almost like an homage to Rayman as well.

By flinging the bouncy, furry king of the game’s world, you’ll bash obstacles, avoid traps, collect power-ups, and generally be a hero on your way to save everyone. Complete challenges to unlock hats, and enjoy the variety of puzzles that take place across some beautiful environments. The art style matches the game’s quirky sense of humour, and while the gameplay isn’t hugely innovative, it is very well designed and executed.

The king’s swinging arm adds a layer of interest to the game, so you’re not just flinging him like a dumb projectile, which makes Swing King a sufficiently creative and charming title to be worth a look.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Zoink!
Download: App Store

A Little War

A Little War is a tiny game with huge ambitions. What begins as a small-scale skirmish between modestly sized forces of troops quickly escalates into an action strategy brawler featuring hundreds of soldiers.

These soldiers will level up as you use them, and gain skills to improve their chances of success in battle. Swords, guns and hammers are the three available weapon types, and each one has specific strengths and weaknesses vs. other soldiers, so you’ll have to manage your resources a bit to succeed.

While the game suffers from some localization quirks and has some rough edges, it’s actually a very solid concept brought to life by slick cel-shaded graphics and nice animations. You may not want to spend any money on it at first, but as a freebie it’s certainly worth a try!

Price: $2.99
Developer: Hwa David
Download: App Store

Post a Comment