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Posts tagged with "games"

Game Day: Fowlst

Sometimes the best distraction from a frantic and chaotic day is an even more frantic and chaotic game. Fowlst, which developer CatCup Games, describes as ‘an action game about an owl that is trapped in Hell for some reason’ is perfect for just such an occasion.

Fowlst is an arcade-style action, dodging game. You play as the owl, pursued by demons that shoot lasers at you while you try to avoid buzzsaws, fire, and other obstacles. The game gets crazy fast.

The mechanics remind me of Don’t Grind, one of my favorite arcade-style games released last year. You control your owl by tapping on the left and right-hand sides of the screen, which makes your owl fly in a bouncy kind of way in the direction of your taps. The controls purposefully require a careful coordination of left and right taps to navigate your owl. Power-ups are activated by swiping up on the screen. It’s a simple control scheme that makes Fowlst easy to pick up and start playing, but difficult to master.

Demons are defeated by colliding with them before you run out of hearts from being hit by lasers or other obstacles. Unlike Don’t Grind, you don’t have to keep your owl aloft constantly. You can rest on the bottom of any stage or a perch, but constantly moving helps make it harder for the demons to get you. There are also periodic bosses theoughout the game to mix up the pace of the action.

When you defeat a demon, it’s replaced with a floating sack of money and occasionally a heart or power-up that disappears after a few seconds. To collect items, you need to steer your owl into them while simultaneously dealing with other demons and obstacles. The cash you collect can be spent to upgrade your owl with health and weapons.

The game ends when you run out of hearts. Fowlst then tallies the money you collected, the number of levels cleared and shows how you did compared to your high score, which has the effect of making the game wonderfully-compulsive to play. Fowlst keeps things interesting by randomizing the levels you are presented each time you play through. It’s a carefully struck balance that keeps the gameplay familiar enough to avoid frustration but also avoids becoming monotonous.

Fowlst combines its arcade action with pixelated art, a complementary chiptune soundtrack, and lots of ‘pew-pew’ laser sound effects. The result is an addictive arcade game that has almost no learning curve and is easy to pick up and play for short periods of time but is difficult to master and hard to put down. It’s a perfect combination for a mobile game, making Fowlst a title I’m going to be returning to often.

Fowlst is available on the App Store.

Stranger Things Retro-Style Game Launched

Season 2 of Netflix's original series Stranger Things will debut on October 27th. To promote the new season, a retro-style RPG game featuring the characters and scenes from the show has been released on the App Store.

The free game promises hours of gameplay with 7 playable characters, 6 dungeons, and 30 quests. There are two difficulty levels, 'Normal' and a punishing 'Classic' mode, and lots of in-game collectibles and puzzles to solve along the way.

I have only had a short time to start exploring Stranger Things: The Game, but anyone who enjoys the TV show and retro-style games should have fun playing through the Stranger Things world and listening to the excellent chiptune soundtrack.

Stranger Things: The Game is available on the App Store.

Critically Acclaimed Flower Debuts on iOS

Flower, by thatgamecompany, was released today on the App Store. The game, in which players direct flower petals by manipulating the wind, captured numerous awards and is part of the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection.

Flower was originally released in 2009 on Sony’s PlayStation 3. The game is designed to be a simple relaxing experience that’s accessible to anyone, not people who identify as gamers. On iOS, Flower takes advantage of iOS devices by incorporating tilt to control the petals as they float through the sky. If you missed Flower on Sony’s platforms, a big iPad Pro screen is the perfect place to give this classic a try. Of course, now I want Journey too.

Flower is available on the App Store.

Super Mario Run Update Released A Day Early

A major update to Super Mario Run, which, according to a feature on the App Store, was scheduled for release tomorrow, debuted a day early. The update features a brand new mode called Remix 10, a new World Tour course, and more.

The goal in Remix 10 is to find Princess Daisy by navigating 10 short courses that change each time you play. Regardless of whether you complete a level, you move onto the next until you finish all ten. There are new items in Remix 10 that you can collect to decorate your Mushroom Kingdom. Princess Daisy, who features a double jump ability, is also a playable character who is unlocked after playing through enough Remix 10 levels. The new mode is an interesting twist on the existing game that works well on mobile for when you may not have as much time to play or just want to practice the game.

A new World Star level has been added to World Tour mode that is accessible after you complete the first six worlds. World Star features all new courses like a forest and ship packed with coins.

There are other small enhancements to Super Mario Run too. For example, if you listen to music while playing, the characters will appear wearing headphones. Also, new buildings are available for your Mushroom Kingdom by playing Bonus Games in Remix 10.

Super Mario Run is available on the App Store. Through October 12th, the price of Super Mario Run's In-App Purchase has been reduced from $9.99 to $4.99.

PCalc’s Delightfully Insane About Screen

As apps updated for iOS 11 begin to trickle out onto the App Store, it’s fitting that the first of what will be many reviews on MacStories in the coming days features ARKit, which from all indications is a big hit with developers. Even more fitting though, is that the app reviewed is PCalc by James Thomson. PCalc is an excellent calculator app that was one of Federico’s ‘Must Have’ apps of 2016. It’s available on iOS devices, the Apple Watch, and even the Apple TV. Still, you wouldn’t expect it to incorporate 3D animation or augmented reality, but that is exactly what the latest version of PCalc has tucked away in its settings.

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Game Day: Swim Out

As the summer draws to a close, take one last dip into the pool with Swim Out, a stylish and challenging puzzle game from Lozange Lab that’s available on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

Swim Out is a turn-based puzzle game that requires you to make your way across a swimming pool to a ladder that takes you to the next puzzle. The playing area is a traditional grid viewed from a top-down perspective, dressed up like a swimming pool, which is a clever touch that gives Swim Out a unique personality. The other design choice I noticed immediately and like a lot is the sounds of people at the pool and the water. The artwork is also excellent with summery blues and reds dominating the puzzles.

The game starts off simply to ease you into the mechanics. Your goal is to maneuver your blue swimmer to the exit ladder without colliding with the red swimmers and other obstacles. As you progress, the obstacles become more complex. Multiple swimmers, people sitting at the edge of the pool, and other hazards appear and get in your way. Run into an obstacle, and you have to start the puzzle over.

As you progress through Swim Out’s 100 levels, objects that help you along the way also appear. For instance, if you grab a beach ball, you can throw it at a red swimmer and freeze them in place for a certain number of turns to allow you to pass by.

Swim Out is a perfect summertime game. It’s easy to learn, you can play for short periods of time, and it’s relaxing to play, while also being challenging. The game does a fantastic job of staying engaging throughout by throwing lots of different obstacles and tools at you, which makes Swim Out an excellent companion for your last few trips to the local pool or beach.

Swim Out is available on the App Store.

Taps Review: A Game of Numbers

Lately, I’ve been on a puzzle kick, and I recently found my next game to play too much: Taps.

In Taps you’re tasked with transforming a grid of 0s into 1s, 2s, 3s, and so on. Of course, you’ll do so through taps, changing tiles in your 6x6 grid to match the one placed above you. Every tile you tap increases its value by one while also increasing the number of the tiles adjacent to it – if you tap a tile in the bottom right corner, it’ll change from 0 to 1, as will the ones above and to the left of it. Below is a demonstration of what this looks like in practice:

Early in the game, you’ll be matching 0s and 1s, but Taps gets tougher as you work your way through its 200 levels. I’ve found that the longer I play, the more time I’ve needed to build out a meaningful strategy before I start attacking my board; too often during the levels, I’ve had to walk back almost all my decisions to make sure I get a 2 in the right place.

Taps is reminiscent of a modern-day Minesweeper, and it’s just as addicting – watching the top board change color as you match its patterns is so satisfying, and the gameplay makes it easy to work through a couple of levels in no time. With standard, advanced, and custom levels to explore, Taps won’t feel completed for many, many hours. And with a timer tracking how long it takes you to complete levels, you can always race yourself to find a faster solution.

Taps came out just a month ago, but I’m surprised it slipped by me for this long. I’ve had a lot of fun playing it in the couple days I’ve had it on both iPad and iPhone, and I’m looking forward to investing more hours over the long weekend.

You can pick up Taps in the App Store for iPad and iPhone for $1.99.

Ramp Champ Joins Other Classic iOS Games With iOS 11 Support

The last update to Ramp Champ added retina graphics – for the iPhone 4. The beloved iOS arcade game sat untouched for nearly four years, until now. An update released yesterday by SocketFace Games adds 64-bit support, ensuring iOS 11 compatibility, along with several other changes including:

  • Additional retina graphics
  • Updated physics
  • Updated sounds and music
  • iCloud syncing
  • Game Center leaderboards and achievements
  • Force Touch icon support

Some classic games will inevitably be lost as a result of the transition to 64-bit apps, but it’s heartening to see some of the very best classics updated in recent weeks.

The update to Ramp Champ is available on the App Store.

Ridiculous Fishing Updated for iOS 11

Today, Ridiculous Fishing, the classic 8-bit style fishing game from Vlambeer was updated with support for 64-bit chip architectures ensuring that its fans will still be able to play the game when they update to iOS 11. Apps that only support 32-bit chip architectures will be left behind by iOS 11 rendering them unusable on devices running Apple’s latest OS. The switch was first telegraphed by Apple in 2014, so developers have had three years to prepare, but the transition will nonetheless leave some apps behind, many of them games. According to Fast Company, AppFigures estimates that as many as 470,000 apps may no longer work on iOS 11.

At the same time, however, a recent flurry of updates means that some iOS classics will survive, including Ridiculous Fishing. Released in 2010 as a collaboration among Vlambeer, Zach Gage, and Greg Wohlwend, Ridiculous Fishing follows Billy as he fishes with items like guns, chainsaws, and toasters. The game won an Apple Design Award in 2013 and still has a loyal following. In addition to adding 64-bit support, the update adds haptic feedback and two speedrun leaderboards.

Although there will undoubtedly be some apps and games that fall by the wayside in the 64-bit transition, my hope is that early iOS classics like Ridiculous Fishing, Canabalt, and Bumpy Road, which have all received recent 64-bit updates, are discovered by a new generation of iOS users.