Posts tagged with "games"

Vignettes Review: I Need a Moment

Vignettes is, without a doubt, the most bizarre game (and app) I’ve ever purchased in the App Store.

The goal of the game – I think? – is to turn one object into another by twisting, rotating, tapping, and shifting your perspective of the object. If done correctly, you’ll transform a phone into a bowl, a light bulb into a lamp, and your brain from a completely functioning organ to a steaming pile of gray mush.

That’s about all there is to Vignette. The more you discover new objects, the more objects you'll want to find. As you proceed through the game, you’ll begin to unlock keys that will start you at different points in the game, reveal secrets, and let you interact with more objects.

That probably sounds incredibly generic, but that’s because it's incredibly difficult to put the concept behind Vignettes into words. It’s an experience, one that feels halfway between a game and an art project where the end object is to trick you to spinning your real-world chapstick around, hoping it transforms into something else (and yes, I did this!). There are almost no in-game instructions, either, so you’re left to your own devices from the outset.

However, there’s something really intriguing about the whole experience; although Vignettes is one of the most frustrating games I’ve played this year, the reward of discovery keeps me coming back the app even when I don’t think I want to. I get lost in its worlds, unable to comprehend exactly what puzzles I’m solving, but solving them nevertheless. Each puzzle is its own super weird and fun journey. I haven’t been so entranced by a iOS game in a long time.

Vignettes is available on the App Store for $2.99.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lie down.



Game Day: Pocus

Pocus is the latest mind-bending puzzle game from Ankara-based developer Gamebra.in, a husband and wife duo that is known for their challenging puzzles. The game shares a common visual style with Gamebra.in’s earlier titles but has the most in common with the hit game Hocus as the names of the two games suggest.

Whereas Hocus is about navigating a cube around a variety of Escher-like geometric structures, Pocus is always played on three sides of one or more 3D cubes. Each side of a cube is composed of a 6x6 grid. Most of the squares in the grid are gray, but others are black or other colors. You play as a red with a black dot on it. The goal is to move your red square across the three sides of the cubes to collect green squares.

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Game Day: Trilogic

Simple puzzles that make you think are a great way to unwind. Getting the hang of playing them is easy, which eliminates any up-front frustration. The challenge is all in the puzzle itself, which is an excellent distraction from whatever might be on your mind. There is virtually no friction to getting started with Trilogic, the follow-up to developer 1Button's game called Bicolor. That makes Trilogic's progressively tricky puzzles a perfect escape for brief moments throughout the day.

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Game Day: Typeshift

Developer Zach Gage describes Typeshift as 'Anagrams meets Word Search, with a sprinkle of Crosswords,' which fits well. Gage is the creator of SpellTower and other excellent iOS games. It's a clever mashup of the familiar in an unconventional way. With an extensive library of free puzzles, new daily puzzles, and puzzle packs that are available as In-App Purchases, TypeShift is a thoroughly addicting, seemingly bottomless pit of word game fun.

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Super Mario Run 2.0 Arrives

On the heels of Super Mario Run’s debut on Android, Nintendo released a big update to the iOS version of the game that adds new features and refines gameplay.

Parts of Super Mario Run are free to play. Unlocking the remaining levels requires a one-time In-App Purchase. Nintendo has been criticized by some for making too few levels available for free. Version 2.0 addresses that criticism by letting players unlock courses 1-4 after completing one of Bowser’s challenges. Clear courses 1-4, and new Toad Rally courses are unlocked too.

You can now play Toad Rally with different colors of Yoshi, which will unlock Toads of that same color. Also, Nintendo’s release notes say that new buildings will be available in an upcoming event. The remainder of the updates to the game consist of tweaks to gameplay such as an expansion of the availability of Easy Mode and changes that make it easier to earn Rally Tickets for Toad’s Rally.

The update to Super Mario Run is free and available on the App Store.


Game Day: Mushroom 11

Chicago-based Untame released Mushroom 11 on iOS this week as part of Apple's Celebrating Indie Games promotion. Mushroom 11 started as a PC game, but its unique gameplay works especially well in a touch environment. You play as a green blob of goo in a post-apocalyptic world populated by mushrooms, glowing jellyfish-like creatures, and the ruins of the present world. To get around you erase behind the blob, which regenerates on the opposite side. It's a novel mechanic that forces you to approach the game's challenges in a different way. The result is perplexing and fun.

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Apple Highlights Indie Games in New Permanent Storefront

In a continuation of its current promotion of indie games, the App Store has now added a new section dedicated to featuring indie titles.

Chelsea Stark of Polygon adds:

The section kicked off today and will run indefinitely, according to Apple, featuring new games daily, along with highlighting older titles. The games are a mix of free-to-play and paid titles, all selected by the same editorial team that has been highlighting games through the App Store’s history.

The indie games section can be accessed by tapping the 'Celebrating Indie Games' banner at the top of the App Store. Currently it includes featured columns like:

  • Our 25 favorite indie games
  • Indie game debuts
  • Newly discovered indies
  • Indie greats: 99¢ for a limited time
  • Indie games celebrate innovation...

This new dedicated hub for indie games is available on the tvOS App Store as well, highlighting the kind of quality games that are available not only on Apple's mobile devices, but also its television platform.

Though Apple has stated that the indie games section will be a permanent fixture, it's unclear at this point in what location it will live on. After the current indie promotion ends, will it remain as the top featured banner a while? Or in another featured banner further down on the App Store page? We'll have to wait and see. In any case though, in an App Store that's often dominated by big players, it's exciting to see extra attention pointed toward indies.