Most platform games are known for their difficulty in having players master the art of running and jumping over large gaps and onto hard-to-reach platforms. Taking this concept and turning it on its side, Illusion Labs’ latest game is a vertical auto-running title that simply requires you to know when to jump. Mr. Crab’s controls may sound easy, and its colorful visuals might seem a bit pre-school for some, but this friendly crustacean offers plenty of challenge to keep players of all ages coming back for more.
Bustin Beaver and his beaver bandits have stolen your wood, and being the cartoonish lumberjack that you are, you must punch them to get it back – or something like that. It doesn’t really matter; the motivation behind the fast-paced, hard-as-nails lumber-fueled platforming isn’t important. What matters is that Lumber Jacked delivers plenty of quick-hit fun, which it accomplishes via a mix of speedy sprinting, colorful action, and charming presentation.
If you've ever wondered whether there's a magical formula for how to suck out nearly every last ounce of fun from an otherwise pretty great game, Dungeon Hunter 4 is a shining example of the quickest way to get it done. Gameloft's latest slick entry in the venerable iOS dungeon crawling hack-and-slash series is absolutely rife with over-aggressive pitches for in-app purchases. Granted, some level of that is expected in free-to-play offerings of this caliber, but Dungeon Hunter 4's approach borders on the insidious. It's a shame, really, because the game itself is quite good – at least during the few brief moments when it's not prodding you incessantly to spend more and more cash.
If good artists borrow and great artists steal, how do we classify the artists who break and enter but leave the real treasure behind? It’s not difficult to spot the commonalities between The Other Brothers and Nintendo’s classic Super Mario entries. Both are side-scrolling platform games, feature a damsel in distress, and are rendered in wonderful pixel art. Both even star a pair of silly mustachioed men who wear caps and overalls. But The Other Brothers sadly does not capture its spiritual predecessor’s signature feel.
Ferrying a flock of afro-adorned critters through a ghastly gauntlet of increasingly menacing shadow machines is a challenging, sometimes messy affair in Badland. It's easy to get swept away by the gorgeous scenery cycling in the background of each doom-filled stage, but failing to focus on the dark traps springing to life in the foreground does not bode well for your gaggle. This interesting and visually distinct one-button game layers unique mechanics around its simple premise to keep you tapping along even when your cute crew gets shredded to pieces over and over again.
Handily poking fun at classic spell-flinging RPGs, Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet delivers a very silly iPad fantasy adventure full of tongue-in-cheek antics and self-referential humor. It blends side-scrolling brawling with puzzle-like spell mixology in a fun and fresh way that's not lacking in chaos or comedy. Cobbling together all manner of elemental wizardry – to blast inventive foes swarming in from all directions – gets a bit hectic in the heat of battle, but it's a craziness that's fueled by creativity as you piece together spells on the fly.
NimbleBit made its name on slower-paced simulations like Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, which charmed with their retro-leaning pixel aesthetics and impressed with surprisingly friendly free-to-play models. Nimble Quest, the studio's perfectly-titled latest release, maintains those latter qualities but embodies a different and very active kind of spirit. The result is a mash-up of Snake and retro role-playing games that's uniquely enjoyable and ideal for one-handed amusement.
Getting marooned on a spooky alien world full of creepy crawlies and other unfriendly inhabitants might sound terrifying, but it turns out to be a welcome detour from the dull depths of space in Capsized+ for iPad. Exploration and survival in this beautifully hand-drawn 2D platform shooter make for a satisfying balancing act, one made all the more interesting by the diverse ways you can traverse and interact with the harsh planetscape.
NightSky is the kind of game that drops you into its world without a whole lot of explanation. Start a new file and you'll see a luminescent sphere, your charge that must be navigated over various physics-based environmental challenges. But you don't need much else to go on, really. In the opaque opening, you wonder over the origins of this mysterious object. Is it alive? Is it a crystal? The answer is unknown. You'll soon find out how effective a premise it is for the game’s atmospheric, ethereal tone.
The endless runner genre has been particularly well-plumbed on Apple's devices. Some of the App Store’s best-selling games are not only endless runners, but sequels, spin-offs, and imitators of existing genre entries. This environment leaves very little room for plucky upstarts like Danger Boat, as it accents similarities and demands innovative differences for a title to really stand out. Danger Boat is, at its core, very much like others in the genre. From an overhead perspective, you'll use tightly responsive tilt controls on your iPhone or iPad to steer past obstacles such as missiles, rocks, and depth charges.