Welcome to our weekly gaming column. Every Tuesday, we march through the mediocre multiplayers, sift through the sordid sporting titles, and pound through the petty platformers to find the best, most interesting iOS gaming gems.
HexaLex is what you would get if Scrabble and a beehive had a love child. Similar to Scrabble and Words with Friends, you can setup local and online games to challenge friends and strangers. The big news here, however, is playing diagonal words. The new element makes the game totally different from its tile-based predecessors and makes it possible to rack up some serious points on words you might not have even known existed. However, be warned: playing HexaLex will throw off all your Scrabble strategies.
Check it out if: you like Scrabble and getting really confused.
iPhone and iPad
Lets not beat around the bush here. After waiting for Farmville to come to iOS devices, us addicted farmers were bitterly disappointed. This is due in part to slow load times, unmanageable button configurations and a league of other problems, but that wasn’t all. We Rule had been making major waves and we couldn’t help but wonder why Farmville just couldn’t be more like it.
It's not the same! It's farming.
Well the good news is now it doesn’t have to be. The team behind We Rule decided that lightning can strike twice in the same place, and they’re betting the farm on it (har har). We Farm offers pretty much the same exact experience as We Rule, so veterans looking for a fix will pick it up, as well as tweenagers who download anything with “farm” in its name.
Check it out if: you like We Rule, Farmville, and games with no ending.
Art in Games s.r.o.
In Air Attack HD you’re in a plane, shooting down your enemies as they swoop around the clouds in beautiful choreographed motions. They seem more interested in finishing their ballet-of-the-sky routine than shooting back, which makes them easy targets, but they’re passionate about their craft. And that’s when it hits you.
Do alien aircraft belong in a 1940's airplane shooter? Of course they do.
In Air Attack HD, you’re the bad guy. Why else would you destroy trillions of dollars of people’s planes, all while collecting awesome upgrades and trying to avoid getting hit by the occasional laser or rocket (they’re probably misfires from your loving enemies). Any way you spin it, Air Attack HD is tons of fun.
First, a warning. Do not play this game if you do not have friends that are willing to free themselves of their console shackles and gather around an iPad to play a game. Omium doesn’t have a solo mode, so you’ll have to grab a friend to play it.
I had to take this picture by myself, because I have no friends to play Omium with me.
One side controls the ship. You can shoot rockets and fly across the screen with blazing speed. The other side controls the evil squares. You drop evil squares of varying sizes as fast as you can. The ship side tries to survive as long as it can and the block side tries to crush the ship side. It’s as easy as that; simple and awesome for both sides.
Check it out if: you wish you could trade spaces with the bad guys in Space Invaders HD.
Semi Secret Software
If you didn’t know that Semi Secret Software created Canabalt, you’d probably guess it after playing Gravity Hook HD. The game starts with two options: Play and High Score. As with Canabalt, subtext is key; there are no tutorials, no sprites giving you lengthy backstory, no anything. There’s just a hole in the side of a wall and a robot trying desperately to rise to new heights.
This is by far the best score we got on this game.
As with Canabalt, music is awesome and visuals are stunning and stylized. It’s a great new addition to Semi Secret’s lineup of two, but we wish the cost was a little cheaper.
Check it out if: you are looking for a vertical Canabalt.
So there it is. Another worthy week of iOS game entries for you to pick from. If you’ve got comments, or want to see another game featured, sound off in the comments.
Follow this article's author, Nic Vargus, on Twitter.