Buyer’s Guide: Adventure and Platformer

Doesn’t navigating the App Store seem like an adventure sometimes, digging through Top 100 charts and recently released lists trying to find something good? How many “lite” editions have you downloaded lately?

Sure, hunting for gems in the rough can be fun, but we’d like to suggest some better ways to spend your time. How about playing fun new games instead of hunting for them? We know a thing or two about adventure, RPG and platformer titles on the App Store, so take a look at our list of gems and you’ll only need to pick the one that’s right for you.

Best Point-and-Click Game – The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Publisher: Lucasfilm International Services Inc.

Price: $7.99

A beautiful remake of the beloved classic, this adventure translates to the iPhone incredibly well. The witty humor that made the original so popular is fully intact, and the fancy graphical overhaul and stellar voicework ensure that things don’t feel dated. That said, nostalgic folks can revert to the original graphics and sound on the fly with the swipe of two fingers. If you appreciate humor in your games and aren’t afraid of a few puzzles, you can’t do better than to join Guybrush on his quest to become a pirate.

Honorable Mention – Jules Verne’s Return to Mysterious Island

Publisher: Chillingo Ltd

Price: $.99

If you’re unsure about the whole point-and-click genre and don’t want to invest too much money up front, this bargain-priced title is a great entry point. Recently washed up onshore, you’ll have to explore the island and solve puzzles to find a way back home. There are tons of items that you’ll need to utilize to do this, and things can get pretty challenging at times. Don’t expect an action game and you should be very pleased with this purchase.

Honorable Mention – Myst

Publisher: Cyan Worlds

Price: $5.99

The granddaddy of these types of games, Myst holds up just fine over 15 years later. Arguably the most immersive game of its time, the still frames here still look plenty detailed on the small screen. This game doesn’t hold your hand and tells a very subtle tale, but it’s an amazing experience for those willing to slowly and meticulously unravel its mysteries. Just be warned, you’ll need over 700 megabytes of space to install this behemoth.

Best RPG Game – Zenonia

Publisher: Gamevil Inc.

Price: $2.99

Zenonia stands head and shoulders above the competition in this space. Similar to classic 16-bit adventure titles, Zenonia sets you on a lengthy journey across a land threatened by monsters. You’ll find a complex leveling system here, and the colorful graphics and lighthearted dialogue set the perfect tone. Zenonia also contains a lot of quests to tackle, and the ability to steer the progression of the story through moral choices, which provides extra replay value should you make it to the end of the game.

Honorable Mention – Underworlds

Publisher: Pixel Mine, Inc.

Price: $2.99

More of a dungeon crawler than an epic adventure, Underworlds has lots of enemies, lots of items and lots of fighting. If you’ve played Diablo you know what to expect, and if you haven’t, you should probably give this a try. The main incentive to continue playing is to level up your character with new abilities and new equipment. Don’t expect a satisfying story here, but if level grinding is your thing, this is your game.

Best 2D Platformer Game – Rolando 2

Publisher: ngmoco, Inc.

Price: $9.99

A sequel to one of the best exclusive titles on the iPhone, Rolando 2 rolls several improvements into the original formula. The entire production swells with confidence, from the zany new level designs and abilities to the fantastic sense of humor possessed by each of the rotund heroes. Some of the best graphics and catchiest tunes on the App Store make this a platformer you don’t want to miss out on.

Honorable Mention – Sway

Publisher: Illusion Labs

Price: $4.99

Totally unique and quite challenging, Sway has you swinging a ragdoll across a series of suspended panels. You’ll touch the screen to plant a hand onto a panel, and moving your finger in circles will swing the doll around until you let go and send her flying across the screen. Touch again to grab another wall before you fall to your death. Just watch out for the obstacles along the way, and don’t forget to collect all the stars. The physics work just right here, and haphazardly swinging around has never been more fun.

Honorable Mention – Castle of Magic

Publisher: Gameloft

Price: $4.99

If you grew up on 16-bit platformers, you’ll find a lot to love in Castle of Magic. The hop, bop and shoot gameplay is spread across five different worlds with typical snow and space themes. The graphics here are fantastic, and the powerups and boss battles ensure there is never a dull moment. It only takes about three hours to beat, but collecting all the hidden stars in each level will take a bit longer. For the price, you can’t go wrong here.

Best 3D Platformer Game – Marble Blast Mobile

Publisher: GarageGames

Price: $4.99

Excellent controls and wicked level design make this a great choice as a 3D platformer. Sure, it’s not so much of an ‘adventure’ as a challenge, but you’ll have plenty of fun navigating the narrow pathways and devilish slopes designed to send you careening off the level and out of contention. The levels are all timed, giving you extra incentive to make the perfect run.

Honorable Mention – Glyder

Publisher: Glu

Price: $1.99

True to its name, Glyder gives you the feeling of flight as you soar across beautiful landscapes collecting crystals. There are no enemies here, you’ll just need to properly maneuver yourself into thermal updrafts and boost tokens to get high enough and far enough to reach the more elusive crystals. The controls really give you a sense of satisfaction, and it does really feel like you’re controlling a hang glider. Although the game is incredibly relaxing to play, plenty of achievements give you incentive to push yourself.

There’s nothing quite like going on an epic adventure while sitting on the train surrounded by commuters, so we hope you found something to like here. If you decided you’re not quite ready for an adventure right now, hit the links below and check out our other buyers guides! We guarantee you’ll find something to suit your interest.

As always, we’d love to know which games were your favorites, and give us a shout out if we missed something great. Enjoy!