As some of the fastest-growing portable gaming platforms today, it’s no wonder that over a quarter of the 500,000 apps (applications) available to Apple iPhone and iPod Touch owners are digital diversions. In fact, given these devices’ user-friendly, motion-sensing interfaces; sharp 3D graphics; selection of titles for all ages and interests at a variety of comfortable prices; and ability to retrieve content on-demand virtually anytime, anywhere, well… Let’s just say we’re confident that of the over ten billion downloads users have presently notched up in the App Store, more than a few have been purchased with productivity the furthest thing from buyer’s minds. Looking for the perfect way to kill time while waiting for the bus or standing in line to score tickets to a sporting event?
Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (Free)
Adult Swim scored an unlikely hit with the original Robot Unicorn Attack, an endless running game wrapped in a bizarre, kitsch package of rainbows and unicorns, and accompanied by an Erasure soundtrack. It managed to combine parody with challenging and addictive gameplay, and the sequel does exactly the same thing. The sense of humor is intact, but goals, achievements, and upgrades have been dumped into the cheesy dream world to encourage you to keep playing.
Here’s a genuinely original idea that challenges you and your friends to work together as a team (2-4 players), and not just any old team, we’re talking about a spaceteam here! Your spaceship is trying to outrun an exploding star and you need to co-ordinate and follow instructions to hit the controls on the randomly assigned panel in front of you before it’s too late. This is a unique co-op experience and it’s ridiculously fun in the right company.
This sequel improves on the original release in every way. You’re still playing on 2D courses, setting your angle, and then timing the power for each shot, but there are more courses (20), new hazards, customizable players, and loads of challenges to complete to earn all those achievements. The multiplayer race is great, and the presence of power-ups ensures that it retains an arcade feel that’s worlds apart from the sedate reality of golf.
Beautifully simple at first glance, Stickets challenges you to place L-shaped trios of colored blocks onto a grid. Match three of the same color and they’ll clear off the board. It is minimalist and lovingly polished, providing a challenge that’s hard to refuse. You can add time pressure, or choose to work on specific puzzles, if you want a change from the main mode, but as with all great puzzle games, there’s a lot more strategic depth here than you’ll see when you first play.
Micro Miners ($2)
An arcade style digging game that should appeal to fans of Minecraft and Lemmings, Micro Miners will have you hooked in no time. You have to use your finger to unearth routes to gold, silver, and coal for your color-coded miners. To make things tricky, the screen scrolls down on you and there are potentially fatal hazards awaiting your mining crew. This is a great blend of puzzle strategy and fast-paced arcade action all wrapped in a pixelated package that is bursting with charm.
Tennis in the Face ($2)
Anyone up for tennis? This is a lot like Stupid Zombies. It challenges you bounce your tennis balls around a range of increasingly complex levels with the aim of hitting a series of wacky characters in the face. There are security goons, clowns, and mad professors to smash in this physics-based puzzler. The level design is great and new elements keep the gameplay fresh as you progress. It’s comical, it’s polished, and it’s ideal for short blasts of anarchic puzzle fun.
Time Surfer ($1)
If you could rewind Tiny Wings and throw in a bunch of enemies, obstacles, and power-ups then you’d be getting close to Time Surfer. Build up speed, gobble down cake, and rewind time from your limited store to achieve perfection. There’s enough content and challenge in here to keep you coming back for more and the retro art style is great. If you love a real sense of speed in your games and crave that arcade feel then this is for you.
Anomaly Korea ($4)
This is a sequel to Anomaly Warzone Earth and it’s like a reverse tower defense game in which you have to lead a convoy into enemy territory and destroy their defenses to reach objectives. It is visually stunning with a wide variety of vehicles, some impressive environments, and great visual effects. The 12 action-packed missions will challenge your strategic abilities and you’ll need to play through a few times if you want to earn a gold medal on each one. The big downside with this game is that it doesn’t go on for long enough.
Bad Piggies ($1)
Rovio soared to fame on the wings of those Angry Birds, but Bad Piggies proves the developer is no one-hit wonder. The game challenges you to construct cars and flying machines to propel your pigs to the finish point in each level. Naturally there are extras to hunt for along the way. It’s highly polished, gently challenging, and a lot of fun for the whole family.