Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reflection on iOS Games

As I've shown in some earlier blogs, I've done some gaming on iOS thanks to Snow, my faithful iPod Touch 4G. It hasn't been a smooth ride, though, but luckily iOS gaming is one of the cheaper methods out there. I've found that I tend to keep a small selection of Apps permanently installed on Snow, and I'm just going to go over them and explain why I keep them installed.

Based on a German board game, Carcassonne is one of those games you can fire up on the bus or the throne and play for a couple of minutes, or you can utilise the multiplayer feature and play against others. Whilst it does have, for an iOS App, an offensively high price (£5.99, and you don't really get a lot of app for your money), I've found it impossible to remove. I like firing it up and having a quick game of Carcassonne against the AI, and whether I win or lose, I can't say I've ever not enjoyed it. The graphics are crisp and clear on Retina, and the Dynamedion soundtrack is beautiful and fits the game perfectly. Like many German board games, it's based upon expansion and strategic thinking rather than combat. Actually, this app has absolutely no combat at all. It's a pacifist's dream.

Settlers of Catan
Like Carcassonne above, Catan is based on a German board game, although one that has more of a trade and economics leaning and less of one about expansion. You have a set board size to conquer, and gou have to gain a certain number of victory points to win. They can be won by having the longest road for so long, for building cities, for buying a bonus card that grants points and so forth. It requires a level of strategic thinking that I just don't have, so it's a good challenge for me. Whilst the graphics aren't as crisp as Carcassonne's, it also has a Dynamedion soundtrack, and it works just as well. It's much cheaper than the above app, too, but I'd say it's less accessible and perhaps a bit less fun.

Civilization Revolution
Ah, Civilization. A series I've played a few iterations of over the years. Due to no console, I was stuck with the content-lite iOS version. It's still very playable, and I'm half tempted to say it's better than Civilization IV. It has a level of simplicity to it that works, and anything more complex would ruin it. It's Civ stripped bare, yes, but it doesn't mean it's any less fun. It has a faster pace, and you don't have to micromanage anywhere near as much as you do on the PC iterations. I'd say it's closer to Civ V than Civ IV in terms of gameplay, although it retains Civ IV's square grid system. The graphics are the poorest of the three games mentioned so far, but they are functional and still easy to look at. I do wish units had a bit more detail, though.
A single match can last a few hours, so you will get your money's worth out of it, and it does come with a number of scenarios for you to play.

I was first introduced to Canabalt in its Flash iteration, and I was hooked. It's one of those games that has absolutely bugger all content, just a simple gameplay method. In Canabalt, your only action is 'Jump', and your only task is to run. You have to avoid bombs, jump over gaps and jump through windows, but there's a compulsiveness to its simplicity. The soundtrack is brilliant, too, even though it's made up of just two or three songs. I do think it suffers on iOS, though, because the horizontal plane is cut relatively short, so you have less warning about upcoming obstacles.

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