Jul 15, 2011

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5 iOS Games to Survive the Summer Drought

5 iOS Games to Survive the Summer Drought

So the summer is in full swing, and for many gamers it may look like it isn’t only the grass that’s dry.  With many big AAA releases not showing their face on store shelves until late August, you might find yourself wondering how to pass the time.  If books aren’t your thing, or you’re trying to procrastinate at work, we’ve picked out five iOS games that will keep you busy all summer long.  While some of these games may be brand new, others may be old favorites you might not have experienced yet.  Some are free, nearly all are universal, so scroll down and get gaming. Not an iOS gamer? No problem.  A few of these games are also available for Android, and we’ll be highlighting more games for other systems to ease the summer drought, so be sure to check back!


Pocket Academy

Developer: Kairosoft | Released: 06/29/11 | Buy: $3.99 (iPhone) | Review

You may have played (and grown addicted to) Game Dev Story, and maybe also Hot Springs Story.  Kairosoft has done it again, this time having you manage a school.  While that sounds less enticing perhaps than making games or running a spa, Pocket Academy is definitely the deepest experience from the dev to date.  If you’ve played out the other two games, then give this one a shot.  If you have yet to try the others, they’re both worth your time and should keep you busy for hours.


Tiny Tower

Developer: NimbleBit | Released: 06/23/11 | Buy: Free (Universal) | Review

I love, love, love Tiny Tower.  So I might be a bit biased.  However, if you want a good way to pass your time, you could do worse.  It’s free, but you don’t need to spend anything to enjoy it (although you may want to, just to thank NimbleBit for such an awesome experience).  It’s similar to Sim Tower in that you build and expand a tower filled with virtual citizens.  It works in real time, so it’s the perfect thing to do while you go about your day. Warning: it’s extremely addictive.


Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Developer: Capybara Games | Release Date: 03/23/11 | Buy: $4.99 (Universal)

Sword & Sworcery is hard to describe.  It’s definitely the type of experience any gamer could fire up for their friends on your phone whenever you’re in the bar arguing about whether or not games are art.  It’s beautiful.  The soundtrack is fantastic, and it’s now universal, so you can enjoy it on your iOS device of choice without having to make multiple purchases. It’s one of the few games that really do the iPad justice, too.  In terms of gameplay, it’s essentially an 8-bit point-and-click adventure, with an interesting story.  Although it does involve some combat: holding the device in landscape is the exploration mode, while shifting to portrait puts it into “fight” mode. What’s really cool is that the game extends the play value by integrating with the lunar cycle. Play it today and come back after the moon has changed and you’ll find new experiences.



Developer: Area/Code | Release Date: 01/01/09 | Buy: Free Ad-Supported Zynga Version (Universal) or $2.99 Zynga Version (Universal) or $4.99 Original (Universal)

This one has been around a while, but it is one of my favorite iOS games.  It’s unique and incredibly addictive.  There’s a bit of confusion, though.  Originally, the game was a paid iPhone-only game by an indie dev.  That indie got bought by Zynga, and Zynga released a new version of the app with ads.  Those who owned the original version could upgrade, ad-free, to the new Zynga version.  However, it seems that Zynga has since released a pay ad-free version of the new app, so it’s up to you which version you prefer to download; the old version is no longer updated.  But it doesn’t matter.  The game is phenomenal.  It’s kind of like Tetris, but with numbers. You have to constantly clear the board by lining up the numbers; a 1 will clear if it is the only circle in a row/line, a two has to have two, etc.  It is challenging and fun; you’ll constantly be going for “just one more game” to try to beat your top score.  With several game modes and leaderboards, this one will keep you busy for a long time.


100 Rogues

Developer: Fusion Reactions | Release Date: 05/04/10 | Buy: Free (Universal)

Although the title (and dungeon-crawling premise) may make you think 100 Rogues is a simple Rogue-like, it is actually something more creative.  Rather than having a set “ending” to reach, instead, it works more like the arcade games of yore, and is more about how much you can achieve in one play session. Because the dungeons are randomly generated, each time you load up the game, you can expect something new.  It’s excellent art design will also keep you coming back, and the fact that you can enjoy this free game on either your phone or iPad makes it even better.