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.
Like TRON? How about tank games that have seemingly nothing to do with the late 80s Disney movie, except for the neon aesthetic? If you answered with a resounding “yes” then you're in luck. TRON for the iPhone (and, of course, iPod Touch) is undeniably stylish from the very first boot-up. Just check out the game description on iTunes:
ENTER THE GRID
In case you don’t read binary, that translates to: “This TRON app will evolve. ComiTRON coming 072210.” Perhaps there’s hope for Light-Racing in a future update? Either way, the game holds its own right, with or without evolving-- and it's free.
Check it out if: you like tank games. Or TRON. Or, especially, both.
Forget the ocean--we’d take the mystique of underground any day. Especially if that mystique is coupled with graphics so cute, they could make a Tickle Me Elmo puke.
Miner Disturbance takes the familiar digging routine to new depths, with a little mustachioed digger (he looks mysteriously like Mario in a hardhat) who is able to not only dig for jewels, but also extract relics and add them to a museum, which you can view in between levels. The museum is pretty awesome, but the ability to buy upgrades for your lil’ digger is what’ll keep you coming back. That, and constant updates that add new levels all the time. The game is so very worth the ninety-nine cents.
Check it out if you: Loved the museum in Animal Crossing, the gameplay in Dig It, or our favorite online game Motherload.
Tiger Style Games
Spiders aren’t everyone’s favorite critters, but becoming a spider is awesome--just ask Peter Parker. In Spider: Bryce Manor HD you get to take the little eight-legged, eight-eyed freaks for a joyride. Controls are sticky at first, but as with most innovative iPad games, a little time goes a long way. All you have to do is slide your finger and the spider will leap in that direction, or tap on him to begin making webs.
The goal here is to make webs and catch the various insects in the maps--and gobble them up, of course. The visuals are gorgeous and make playing this game seem almost like reading a comic book. It’s a steep price for arachnophobes, but anyone ever wondering what it would feel like to be the nimble creepy crawlers should make the jump.
Check it out you: want to try something new and gorgeous.
Star Wars: Battle for Hoth is a tower defense game with a few interesting additions. The game utilizes clips from several of the movies and the all too familiar storyline of good versus evil in a land far, far away. Many people need not read further. If you love Star Wars, than you’ve probably already downloaded this one.
But for those just interested in a good game have reason to look, too. Battle for Hoth allows players to build units to defend their base against swarms of villains. What’s awesome is that your units are not permanent--they can die, too, as leagues of enemies shoot lasers at them. This requires a new strategy that the hundreds of other popular Tower Defense Games don't employ, including placing several units in different positions across the map and keeping a hard eye on your party's health status.
There’s a bit of a premium on the price, but fans of the genre or the films should check it out.
Check it out if you: Like Crystal Defenders.
The timeless classic “Space Invaders” has made its way through time and space to arrive in the app store and on your iPad. This time around, there’s even a two-player mode. Unfortunately, all the two-player mode does is allow players to engage in some pass-and-play action.
Though much remains unchanged in this arcade classic, the iPad is a truly awesome medium for it. Unfortunately, after all these years the pixilated space shooter isn’t the only thing that stayed constant: we are still really, really bad at it.
Evidence of our suckage: high score of 910 points. Which means we almost beat the first level.
Check it out if you: ever liked Space Invaders.
Follow this article's author, Nic Vargus, on Twitter.