Ever since Professor Layton and the Curious Village hit the Nintendo DS back in 2008, the Layton name has been synonymous with brain-bending puzzles, complex mysteries, and interesting characters. Now that the brand has come to iOS with Layton Brothers Mystery Room, most of that continues to hold true; but instead of solving head-scratching puzzles with Professor Hershel Layton, you're faced with unraveling a series of complex murders with his inspector son, Alfendi.
Imagine waking up in a strange house and having no recollection of what happened to your wife, your friends, your job, your home, and the rest of your life as you know it. Only by meandering through the darkness and stumbling upon grim clues can you begin to piece together the horrific tale that lies at the heart of Home. But exactly what that tale is depends on the choices you make and how you perceive each twist you encounter along the way. An experiment in interactive storytelling, Home is equal parts unsettling and puzzling. It's an absorbing – albeit terribly brief – journey that will ultimately leave many of your burning questions unanswered.
Games are a relatively young narrative medium, and plenty of them boil down to punching and/or shooting the bad guys. But wherever you find a canvas, a painter can’t be far behind to turn it into a masterpiece. The App Store is no exception, and creative minds have already used the platform to tell their own interactive stories on the ubiquitous iOS devices. We’ve compiled a list of games to satisfy the story itch, from the playful to the spooky and downright bizarre.
Geocaching is not for the casual urban adventurer. The concept is simple enough – seek out a hidden treasure by following a specific set of GPS coordinates – but there's a reason why it never caught on in the mainstream. Not only does it command a giant commitment of time and energy, but there's also a pretty steep learning curve for new users. Wonderground is geocaching for the rest of us. Created by General Electric (yes, that one), the scavenger-hunting app challenges users to explore their favorite cities with the promise of the ultimate reward: Knowledge.
Gemini Rue is a relic. At least, that’s how it appears. It’s a game that’s unapologetically old-school, designed with players that cut their teeth on Sierra and LucasArts’ point-and-click adventures of the ‘90s in mind, right down to the janky way a character’s walking animation may stutter as you click across the screen. For a 2011 indie PC title that's just made the leap to iPad and iPhone, this kind of attention to retro-detail is worth taking notice of.
Poised to carve out its spot as one of the most adorable and enchanting point-and-click puzzle adventures of the year, Fetch spins a lighthearted storybook tale of a boy and his search to recover his best pal, a peppy dog named Bear. This charming, science fiction-tinged adventure packs plenty of pooches, perils, and puzzles to pursue, and its kid-friendly vibe makes it a good pick for a game to play with the family.
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.
Shaking up the classic hard-boiled detective story formula with a supernatural twist, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller's gritty adventure game yarn about a psychic FBI agent makes a bold attempt to set itself apart from the status quo. Colorful language and violent encounters punctuate this tightly wound murder mystery geared towards more mature players, but while Episode 1: The Hangman has some pretty intense high points, it gets bogged down by dull stretches and technical issues.
Taking a break from the bubbly and colorful tones of Beat Sneak Bandit and Bumpy Road, Simogo's latest iOS game veers off into much darker territory, offering a completely different yet equally rewarding experience. While it starts off innocently enough, Year Walk quickly spirals out into an enthralling puzzle adventure steeped in haunting imagery and supernatural mystery. It keeps you guessing at every turn, but locks you in its grasp with smart challenges and heavy atmosphere. The best part is that your detective work doesn't stop once the end credits roll.
If there’s one thing you should know before playing The Cave, it’s that appearances are deceiving. What at first seems to be a whimsical spelunking adventure gradually becomes a surreal trip through the depths of the soul. Cute, big-headed stock characters hide dark, twisted secrets. And what might at first seem like a straightforward 2D puzzle-platformer is in fact a clever throwback to classic point-and-click adventures of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Of course, discovering all that is a big part of what makes The Cave so irresistibly engaging.