Archive for March, 2010

Dizzypad

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Dizzypad

This is the latest one-thumb casual game by NimbleBit of Scoops fame. Their games are typically based on a simple premise and game mechanic that is fun to practice repeatedly; this game is no exception. Your goal as the tiny frog is simply to jump from one spinning lilypad to another. Skipping over a lilypad or snarfing up a dragonfly will net you an extra 1up flower. Dropping in the drink loses you a flower and, if you run out, it’s game over. I’m surprised at how challenging this simple task can be. For instance, there are a slew of achievements to gain, one of which is to hop a 40-lilypad sequence without fail and it is no easy feat. Since there is no clock running, you could take your time for each jump, but the game feels like the pacing should be quick and that is how I tend to play. The sound and graphics are all perfectly understated to reinforce the pond theme and colorful frog skins open up frequently. Another winner from NimbleBit.

Rating: ★★★½☆ icon
icon

Dancing Lights

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Dancing Lights

“Dancing Lights is a minimalistic, abstract re-imagining of childhood discovery. I wanted to create an experience which mimicked my first interactions with a videogame. I had no instructions, nor did I care about a score. Only two things mattered: the response I got from touching the game and the sheer joy of discovery.”

“Behind its abstract shapes and basic rules is a world of limitless depth, morphing into different forms based on your thoughts and mood. Will the experience be relaxing, tense, intriguing, or something completely different? Simply touch a light and see where it takes you.”

-David Anton, creator of Dancing Lights

This is an experience game and, based on his stated goals, David has succeeded. The minimalist artwork is sublime, the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful, and the process of discovery is wonderfully compelling and relaxing. The best thing I can say about this work is that, if you like art, you will enjoy Dancing Lights.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
icon

Final Fantasy

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Final Fantasy

Square Enix has repeatedly dipped their toe in the water, with regard to the app store, but they finally released what the fans have been craving; the original Final Fantasy, a time-honored classic. This is the first title in the long-running series, brought up to semi-modern day standards, and converted quite capably to the iPhone platform.

For me, this game will always hold a special place in my heart. Is it because I imported the original title from Japan, before people even heard of importing video games, and struggled through the game with barely any translation? Nope, I believe that would be Final Fantasy IV for the Super Famicom. You see, I realize I will have zero street-cred when I say this, but…I never owned an NES. There I said it. I spent my childhood in arcades and I couldn’t believe anyone would release a system without a real joystick. Even my Atari 2600 had one! I got over it, much later, when I played Sonic the Hedgehog, but I digress.

The real reason this game means a lot to me is because this game ushered my 3-year-old daughter into the world of RPGs. Not the original…the iPhone version, just last week. After playing for hours and hours, she looked up at me with her big blue eyes and asked if I had any games like this “for the TV”. I bolted upstairs and then returned with armloads of Super Nintendo and Playstation titles, out of which she chose Final Fantasy IX. We played for quite some time, but she still liked the original better…true taste. I told her there was another series that was “daddy’s favorite” and in goes Dragon Quest 7. She loved it and we spent the weekend playing that and Dragon Quest 8. Best weekend of my life and out of all the games we played, Final Fantasy was still her favorite and we both enjoyed every moment of it.

Rating: ★★★★½ icon
icon

Colorbind

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Colorbind

Colorbind is a stylish, but minimalist puzzle game by the makers of Monospace (which is another great puzzler). In this title, the player must fold assorted colors of paper strips around the screen in order to create a path that encompasses all dots of the corresponding colors. It sounds easy, and the first few levels are, but once you get half way through medium difficulty, you start to encounter some real brain-burners. With many puzzle games, you’re just going through the motions, because you’ve played them a million times before, in one form or another. This one is different; it taps a certain part of the brain that others do not. It’s beautifully presented, the challenge is definitely there, and it will take quite some time to complete all 84 levels.

Rating: ★★★★☆ icon
icon