Once a week, we look for some of the App Store’s undiscovered indie gems with Under The Radar. These games aren’t all perfect, but they’ve got that special something– a creative spark, or a clever design choice– that makes them worth trying.
All animals are protective of their babies, but you’ve probably never seen birds lash out this viciously since Angry Birds. In this combat-based action game, you have to defend your nest by tapping on attacking animals, like in Battleheart. At the same time, you have to pick up bits of falling sunshine for special attacks, like in Plants vs. Zombies. The gameplay might not be brand new, but we really like the Disneyfied graphics and simple, effective controls.
Once in a while, we’ll actually enjoy playing a game based on a random licensed product, like the free Frisbee Forever game that came out over the summer. Even if you can’t stand the lip-puckering taste of Sour Patch Kids, this free promotional game (with extra levels available for a buck) is a quality download. You just aim those gummy kids, pick up mini-gummies on the way, and land near the exit. This game also has great music on the title screen, so that’s a bonus.
A combination of sliding-puzzle games like Cogs and physics-puzzle games like Cut The Rope, MixZle is about solving two puzzles at once. First you have to slide your blocks around until every spring, platform, and net is in place. Then you release the ball, which will bounce around your custom-designed arena. This one is for puzzle experts only– anyone unprepared might hurt their brain.
Did you like the Neo Geo arcade game Pang, or its iOS port Pang Mobile? If so, you’ll probably also enjoy Raptor Rage, a similar game that replaces Pang’s boy wearing a backpack with a cartoon velociraptor. Over dozens of barnyard-themed stages, you’ll shoot at bouncing round cows, sheep, and other critters. You’ll also get a bronze, silver, or gold medal on each level for your score and accuracy.
From the makers of Guerilla Bob comes Muffin Knight, a platformer with a huge emphasis on unlocking new characters and getting a high score. On each level, your goal is to blast away bad guys while you pick up muffins, which will randomly transform you into another character. You start off as some typical RPG avatars, like a wizard or archer, but you’ll soon unlock mystical creatures like unicorns and dragons. Brilliant graphics and an addictive gameplay hook makes this game hard to put down.