It can be hard to find quality indie games on the App Store– not because there aren’t enough, but because there are too many. Instead of taking a chance based on a game’s App Store icon, description, and user reviews, try some of our suggestions this week for an alternative gaming experience. Even better– three of this week’s picks are free to download!
Crazy Bill is what you get when you combine single-screen platformers like Run Roo Run with the high-rise pixel art of Tiny Tower. It’s a free zombie shooter with excellent artwork and easy-to-grasp controls. You play as a gun-wielding zombie hunter who has to climb a hotel full of the undead. In addition to shooting zombies, you’ll have to jump over spilled acid and avoid spikes jutting from the ceiling. You’ll also earn bonus points for taking out celebrity zombies who resemble Michael J. Fox, Woody Allen, Marlin Brando, and many others. You probably won’t even notice that Crazy Bill is a freemium game, until you have to spend a little time in “zombie jail” on the upper floors of the hotel.
Any game that starts with a warning urging you not to confront or provoke snakes in real life is going to be something unique. In Killer Snake, you’ll travel the world, looking for venomous snakes. When you find one, you have to tease it with your finger until it strikes, then pull away at the last second to collect its venom to make antidotes. If you pull away too early, the game will call you a chicken, and if you pull away too late, you’ll get a virtual snakebite. The snakes are rendered very realistically, so this is a fun game to try if you don’t suffer from Indiana Jones-like ophidiophobia. However, we also noticed a lot of game-crashing bugs, so we hope the developers can patch and improve this free app as well.
If you enjoy sneaky games like Metal Gear Solid and Assassin’s Creed, you’ll probably get a thrill out of Stealth Assassin. It’s a stripped-down game with very minimal graphics and controls– all you do is steer your assassin (the black dot) to your target (the green dot) while avoiding any roving security guards (the blue dots). The top-down view lets you plan your way around the maze before you strike, but after you spill some blood, the guards will aggressively hunt you down. Stealth Assassin isn’t much to look at, but it offers plenty of challenging levels and some genuine suspense.
Already mastered Tetris? Graviton Block’s not looking for lines– those are “so 1980.” Instead, you have to use random shapes to make 3×3 squares, which will then disappear and clear room off of the board. You also get to pick which of four shapes you want to drop, but you won’t be able to rotate them. Plus, certain shapes have plus or minus signs which will attract or repel falling shapes. Graviton Block may not be as perfectly-constructed as Tetris, but it does offer a unique twist on this familiar concept.
Help Volty is a beautifully artistic iPad puzzle game, which starts off like a Myst-like point-and-click adventure. In the first few moments of the game, you’ll find an old man with a strange box of puzzles and bugs. You insert a coin into the box, and then have to guide an electrified beetle to the exit. Along the way, you’ll have to charge up batteries and avoid other clockwork bugs. Each completed puzzle awards you coins to try new challenges, and Help Volty never loses its mysterious atmosphere.