You want fun? Youll have to look...
Ive got good news for you: the app store sees 1000s of new apps every day. With so many submissions, youre bound to find some amazing games to play, right? Well...yes and no. There are lots of great games submitted every week, but the sheer volume of new entries makes it hard to filter the wheat from the chaff.
Its a good thing youre reading this, then. Ive been sifting through the new releases on the app store, filtering the fun and innovative from the piles of Flappy Bird clones. There have been a few really exciting releases over the past few weeks, but none of them are more exciting than...
Out There ($3.99, 2.49)
The mobile game market has been desperate to fill an FTL-shaped hole ever since Subset Games spaceship management simulator debuted back in 2012. Subset Games is bringing FTL to iPad later this year, but in the meantime, Out There might just be enough to scratch that deep-space itch.
The similarities between Out There and FTL are fairly obvious. Both require you to navigate a hostile universe with nothing but duct tape and bubblegum. Like FTL, Out There integrates roguelike elements to generate drama and suck the player in--resources are scarce, and the fun comes from trying to make the best of bad situations. Running low on fuel? You could gather some from a local gas giant, but the planets volatile atmosphere might damage your ship beyond repair. Do you skip this planet in hopes of finding a less dangerous source down the road at risk of being stranded without fuel? Its these sort of dilemmas that helps Out There capture FTLs desperate fun.
Of course, Out There adds its own style to FTLs space exploration. FTLs pixel art is swapped out for a very nice comic-book theme. Typography snobs might recoil at the liberal use of comic sans (more like cosmic sans, amirite?), but the rich colors do make for some very nice eye candy.
The other big difference between Out There and its pixelated elder cousin is the lack of combat. FTL was very much a game built around deep-space battles, yet Out There focuses more on exploration. Youll spend more time trading with ancient alien species than you will blowing them up, though theres still some action to be found. Ive only put an hour or two into Out There, but Id still be willing to recommend it to anybody who cant wait for FTL to land on the iPad later this year.
Primal Flame ($2.99, 1.99)
Primal Flame a study in simplicity. Swipe your finger on the screen to strike a match, then protect that flame from falling leaves and attacking plants. As simple as the setup is, Primal Flames soft, rich colors create a lovely ambiance. Its not the most complicated game, but it might be one of the most beautiful youll find on iOS. Give it a shot if youre looking for something calming and understated.
If Primal Flame is the simplest game on this list, then Principia is almost certainly the most complicated. Principia is at once a game, a physics demonstration, a lego set, and a science project. Principia gives you a set of objects and tools with which to create...well...damn near anything you want--payers have built remote controlled cars, rube-goldberg machines, musical instruments, and even simple video games like Space Invader. Best of all is the vibrant online community, where players share building tips and compete in building contests. This one is for Android only, though theres an iOS version in the works.
Calculords is the best math tutor / collectable card game on the market today. Because the one thing that makes Magic: The Gathering better is a math test, right? Thats what I thought, too, but Calculords is actually a fun little card game. Believe it or not, the addition of a math puzzle only makes victory feel more satisfying. You have to earn it!
Autumn Dynasty Warlords ($6.99, 4.99)
Touchscreens always seem to lend themselves to strategy games, but for some reason RTS games never feel quite right. 2012s Autumn Dynasty was one of the best, relying on intuitive controls and elegant visuals to deliver some awesome strategic gameplay. Its been two years since Autumn Dynasty was released, and now were ready to welcome its sequel: Autumn Dynasty Warlords. The sequel promises to iron out some of the pacing issues in its predecessors, and has generated some good buzz since its release. Well let you know how it turns out.
Not enough for you?
Its been an exciting few weeks for iOS gaming! Thereve been some very solid games coming out recently, and were excited to give them a whirl. Think we missed one, or want a full review of something listed here? Make some noise in the comments and well make it happen!
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