Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category

Starball

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Use accelerometer tilting to guide the green ball to collect stars, while avoiding the red balls. Each new star, spawns a new red ball. Powerups like Shrinkage, Ball Buster, Ball Bomb, and Inviciball keep the action lively. After reaching a certain skill level, it seems like your scores are dictated by the number of red ball-reducing powerups you get, but the game is fun.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Wheeler’s Treasure

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

An innovative title; not quite a platformer, not quite a racer, not quite anything really, but it is fun. The player character propels themselves through the side-scrolling level in a giant hamster wheel, collecting coins, bouncing on enemies and treasure chests, and avoids obstacles like tar pits and lava. This is accomplished by grappling to a solid section of the wheel and riding it up to collect goodies. Your grapple has a cooldown, so timing is important. If you take too much damage, you can stop off at water holes to heal. It’s all very strange, but still compelling.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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JellyCar 2

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Jelly Car was an early app store phenomenon that most people adored for its quirky graphic style, physics model, and price (free). This is more of the same, but with added mobility objects like balloons. Personally, I never really got used to the controls, but most people do. This version is $1, and it’s better than the first one, but I would start with the free one, if you have yet to play it. Most people that play it, shell out the $1 for this one too.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Dark Nebula

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Dark Nebula is a brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed video game that is perfectly suited to the iPhone platform. The controls are fluid, the gameplay is intuitive, the pacing is perfect, and the game is accessible to players of all skill levels. The pixel-perfect artwork is beautifully rendered and it conveys to the player exactly what it needs to; no more, no less.

The designer, Anders Hejdenberg, ever so delicately presents a simple set of features that scales perfectly with the player’s learning curve, in a way that just feels so elegant and natural that it is entirely transparent to the player. This is what a perfectly tuned gaming experience feels like, when crafted by an industry veteran. I doubt if we will see another iPhone game balanced this well, for quite some time…or at least until the talented team at 1337 Game Design release the next episode of Dark Nebula.

I cannot stress enough what a perfect game Dark Nebula is, so you’ll just have to fish out the $0.99 from beneath your couch cushions and find out for yourself. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. It’s immaculate.

Update: I actually never noticed, but it does have adaptive difficulty, which must be working quite nicely. The game has no soundtrack (although it is on the way) and is abysmally short, but they are adding additional episodes via downloadable content in the future. So it’s definitely worth the money, but it is not actually the answer to all of the world’s ills; it’s just a fun game that is over in 30 minutes.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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Dark Harvest

Friday, October 16th, 2009

This is a Bust-a-Move clone in which the mass of balls (say it 3x fast!) reacts to physics and spins. The artwork is really nice and moody, the story and theme is a nice change of pace, and the soundtrack is good. Unfortunately, for me, it just didn’t nail the fun factor. I felt that the role that skill played was too minor. It allows players to post bragging rights on facebook.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Stay

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Great graphic design, great soundtrack, and mildly entertaining gameplay. It is also less exploitable than the game it clones and is pretty much better in every way, actually.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Blastination

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Anyone that likes the core gameplay concept of this title, needs to get this game immediately; I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a better implementation. The graphics are just insane. The colors change every level and oftentimes you’ll see brand new effects too. The blocks in the background are constantly in motion and the explosions are perfect. Your goal is simply to collect all of the goodies on-screen, by drawing deflectors to guide the ball. The obstacles present are different each level. Every few levels you are given a new ability, like cross explosion, speed, or giant ball, that is triggered by tapping its icon. There are 120 levels, but they go pretty quick.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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iBlast Moki

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

This physics-based puzzler definitely has a Rolando feel, with regard to the artwork, but the similarity stops there. In this game, you need to use your bombs to blast Moki to the level exit, hence the title. You do this by placing a bomb next to him; the closer you place it, the further he’ll bounce. What really sets this title apart, though, is the way the designers scale the difficulty over the course of 70 levels to keep it interesting. At first, you just have the bomb, then several, then you have to set timers on multiple bombs, etc. You get the picture. I won’t spoil the other goodies, but there are plenty. It also comes with a full-featured level editor and the ability to upload your levels. This is one of the titles that utilizes ngmoco’s Plus+ system, which is one of several competing community systems in place to track high scores, friends, and such (the others being Open Feint, AGON, Scoreloop, Geocade, and Chillingo’s Crystal).

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon

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Levers

Monday, September 14th, 2009

What a strange and wonderful little indie-spirited game. All you do is balance stuff so it doesn’t fall in the water. All of the various objects you see above falls from the sky at intervals and you have to fish them out and add it to your little kinetic sculpture. I love it, but I’m sure it’s not for everyone. It’s free though and if you play through it, you can tell your friends that you’re “artsy”.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ icon
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Orbital

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

This is an extremely polished clone of Wouter Visser’s Gimme Friction Baby, which was the winner of an indie game contest, a while back. I wish he was getting a cut of this, but he is not, unfortunately. The core mechanic is to tap the auto-rotating cannon to fire a ball. The size of the ball is dictated by how long it is on the field, before coming to a halt (which is a bit hard to gauge). When a ball is hit three times, either by a wall or another ball, it will pop, providing the player with one point. The scoring system as brutal and you will likely score very low in your first few games. They really should have included multiplier bonuses for tagging several in a row, to reward the player for skilled play. Currently, the only reward for combos is that there are fewer balls in play. One kewl element is that gravity from a large ball will effect how a shot will travel. This helps mitigate the fact that a ball that bounces back past the lower line ends the game. Pure Mode…now with 30% more punish… removes that nice gravity feature and makes you sweat it out with 100mph travel speed. The graphics and polish are amazing, even down to the animated company logo and the game is very addictive, even if you don’t like it that much. Strange.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
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