Back in the video-game heyday of the ‘90s, it wasn’t uncommon to see high-profile titles get releases on portable systems as well as home consoles. The former ports were invariably watered down — handhelds could at best make a valiant attempt at capturing the spirit of whatever the game was, but the chunky hardware just couldn’t quite get there. Surprisingly, the iOS conversion of well-regarded shoot-'em-up Sine Mora feels like a throwback to those days.
Liberation Maiden has all the makings of a title by Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda51), the eccentric creator behind console games like Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer7. In this iOS shooter, you play as a Japanese schoolgirl named Shoko and blast robotic terrorists aboard your flying mech suit; on top of that all, she’s also the president of New Japan, set 100 years in the future. Its bizarre premise brings with it shooter action that’s beautiful to look at and fun to play, but ultimately leaves you hungry for more.
With all of Suda 51’s penchant for socio-political psychobabble, surrealism and punk-rock sensibilities, universal Frog Minutes is not the kind of game one would expect from his company, Grasshopper Manufacture. Frog Minutes is Grasshopper’s iOS debut, and when it was announced as a charitable project whose proceeds would aid victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami to hit the developer’s native Japan, all that was known about it was its name and amphibian-based logo. With Grasshopper’s pedigree and following, they probably could have released a game about navigating Japanese tax software and people would still buy it, and in some ways the quiet Frog Minutes is almost as mundane -- it’s an unexpected little app that involves, you guessed it, catching frogs.