This week’s Ten to Watch is just nuts. We’ve loaded up on Boggle, burgers, and a bearzooka. It’s your not-so-usual assortment of board game remakes, shooters, sports, and time management. Just another week in the billion-dollar App Store marketplace.
A classic board game, Boggle stands out on the iPhone for two reasons: You can shake the phone to scramble your letters, and an incredibly robust dictionary means you’ll never be left arguing over which words actually exist. This game is for one player only, though, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. After all, our best Boggle memories all involve head-to-head competitions.
When Ray Kroc modernized the McDonalds franchise, he was just a few steps shy of inventing robot servers to take over in the kitchen. If he had, the inevitable result would be that the robots would run amok and terrorize the patrons. In this fast-food time management game, you have to use your human skills to build burgers and provide the correct side dishes, earning tips for speed and accuracy. Tasty graphics may make your mouth water.
In this interesting, Tim Burton-esque take on minigolf, you pull back on a tree’s branches to launch a melon across the stage into a hole. The melon has a weird shape to it, so it doesn’t roll perfectly at all. Sometimes the pokey stem on top will slow it down. Also, you have to avoid giant spinning gears and other quirky obstacles. For a unique variation on minigolf and physics-based shooters, Melon Golf is one to check out.
Tower Attack takes the tower defense formula and turns it on its head. Now, instead of defending an area from attackers, you are the attackers. You trace a path using a mechanic similar to Harbor Master, trying to find the quickest route with the least amount of towers guarding the way. Characters like Cold Mr Plural will blow up next to towers and freeze them, so you can get your little critters to safety.
Until Super KO Boxing 2 comes out, we’ll have to make do with slightly less complex boxing games like Down 4 The Count. The wait may not be so bad, though, because the animation in Down 4 The Count is pretty good for a budget-priced game. We do wish the sound effects were a little more hard hitting, however: Smacking an opponent sounds sort of like clapping together two wooden blocks.
More of a one-level tech demo than a fully-featured game, Airblade holds some promise for action gamers. From a behind-the-ship, third-person perspective, you are automatically navigated through a 3D neighborhood packed with destructible buildings. Meanwhile, you can focus on shooting enemies with either a chain gun, missiles, or cluster bombs. A giant mechanical crab boss is a nice capper to the action, but don’t expect more than fifteen minutes of fun with this one.
Pack your rifle and visit all fifty states in this sprawling hunting sim. It may not have the good looks of Deer Hunter 3D, but you can bag a deer from Alabama to Wyoming. You can even visit the snowy mountainsides of Alaska, where Sarah Palin will personally join you in an aerial wolf hunt. We’re just kidding about that last part, but Hunting Unlimited 2010 seems to have just about everything else a hunting enthusiast would want in a mobile game.
NEX is a first-person shooter set on an abandoned spacecraft. As you move around, blinking red dots will appear on your motion tracker. Don’t worry, those are just the giant aliens with razor sharp teeth and claws. You can also command a squad to help clear the halls, either by letting them move automatically with you, or by jumping into their shoes and leading them yourself.
In this very gory hack-and-slash game, you control a samurai on a mission to stop an evil warlord. Simple swipes up, down, and side to side let you slice enemies in half or lop off their heads. The gameplay is a bit basic, but the cel-shaded graphics are really something special. If you want to try a simpler take on the Nintendo DS version of Ninja Gaiden, this might be a good place to look.
We liked Battle Bears right from the opening sequence. Oliver, a teddy bear, is fleeing a land of magic and treasure on a cart driven by unicorns. When one of the wheels breaks off, the unicorns impale each other, and Oliver is left to defend against a horde of pink Huggable bears appearing over the hills. You have to use weapons like a unicorn crossbow and the bearzooka to blow off their little heads, which results in a shower of rainbows. This might top Enviro-Bear for the most hilarious bear game on the iPhone.