The new hot sim game on the iOS platform is a mix between Game Dev Story and The Sims with it’s retro art style and addictive gameplay. From iOS developer NimbleBit who people might know as the developer of Pocket Frogs or Dizzypad, have finally hit it big with a perfect mobile game in the simulation genre. They have nailed the delicate balance for a freemium game, providing the option for a quick build out with the purchase of the valuable in game currency of ‘bux’ but also dolling it out in a non frustrating fashion over time.
The aim of the game is to build up your tower with a variety of residential, commercial and retail levels. The great thing about this concept is there is a lot of variety with the different types of stores you can build. You can build either a retail, food, service, recreation or creative level and it will randomly pop up a shop once the construction period is over. For example the retail stores I have are a game, bike and record store and for food stores I have a vegan and froyo store. Now to staff these stores you have to build residential levels, when people move in you can assign them jobs but each person has different strengths in each type of field. Each person also has a dream job and when you match a person to their dream job you get 3 extra bux, which you can spend to speed up processes in the game. The micro management comes in the optimisation of putting the best employees for the job which gives you discounts on the inventory costs.
Bux can be spent to quickly construct a level, instantly fill up an apartment space or restock a shop’s inventory. The only thing I didn’t think was reasonable was the cost of 1 bux to move a level but it’s not that much of a problem. The other currency, coins, are used to purchase inventory and levels. Coins are received from selling items at the stores or by trading in bux, i.e. 50 bux for 100,000 coins. If you want efficiency tips for getting the most bux and coins out of the game read Maurice Tan’s article at Destructoid.com.
Unlike some other sim games, there is a limit to how much of the currency you can accumulate when you are not playing the game. Because the inventory at the shops will deplete this neatly brings about the need constantly check the game to see if an item is out of stock (there is a notification option to help you with this that is not on by default). The other smart aspect of the game is limiting the boredom factor by alway giving you something to do. There is one elevator which you control by moving it to a visitor’s desired level and usually you just get some coins for doing this. But every so often there is a VIP that arrives which do things like knock off some construction time or a celeb who makes everything sell faster on the floor you drop them off at. There are also missions that pop up to find a certain person in your tower in exchange for an extra bux. The elevator is also the way you populate your residential apartments but it can get frustrating in later levels because the drop off level is random.
The pleasant music and sound effects mixed with the vibrant retro graphics make this game such a joy to play. Tiny Towers by NimbleBit is the next best sim game to come out for the iOS platform since Game Dev Story. It makes the developer a prime acquisition target for casual mobile developer hungry companies such as Zynga or EA but I hope they stay independent and churn out more sim games in the same way Kairosoft has with the their games.
GAMEVIL’s Baseball Superstars games have been very popular mobile games even before they were put out on the iOS. It provided the base for them to expand as a mobile developer with a wide portfolio of games such as Zenonia, Illusia and Kami Retro. I guess they are also celebrating the App Store’s 3rd anniversary by giving away Baseball Superstars II Pro their latest Baseball Superstars game. In addition to the freebie GAMEVIL are having are sale with all of their app’s down to 99c.
Even though I haven’t played a Baseball Superstars game yet, I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it. It’s a fully featured 2D baseball sim game with a deep career mode with lots of customisation and management options. I always drawn to the RPG aspects of these type of sports games and the vibrant Japanese animated style looks great. If you don’t believe me or don’t think you would like this sort of game give it a go anyway, it has a flawless 5 star rating with over 14,000 raters.
Death Rally is a game that I already have and can recommend without doubt, it must have done very well since it was released earlier this year for them to offer it free for the day. It is a top down action racing game that originally came out on the PC in 1996 developed by Remedy Entertainment, a Finnish game development company who are known for creating Max Payne and Alan Wake, and Mountain Sheep who made the popular iOS game Minigore.
Death Rally for iOS is a modern remake that retains the classic action and tension of the original game while controlling pretty well given that it is controlled by virtual joysticks. The weapons are the most enjoyable part of the game with vehicle destruction tools such as bumpers, mines, missiles, sniper shots, machines guns and my favourite a burst of homing missiles. I’ve completed the game, maxed out everything and have even played it through some more on the iPad since it is a universal app. The developers have done a good job of continuously updating the game to add new vehicles and maps which keeps you coming back. If you miss the free download window pick it up anyway for 99c, it’s worth it.
From Canabalt creator Semi Secret Software, Gravity Hook HD is a vertical platformer where you use a grappling hook to climb up via a variety of floating spheres and mines. I was actually considering buying it yesterday when I saw the ad while playing Canabalt but decided against it when I saw the price was $3.99. So it was great timing that the price was dropped but I would have had no problems buying it if there was a 50% price cut instead.
It is a universal app coming it at 15 megabytes with an unlockable classic mode that renders everything in 16-bit like graphics. There is possibly more unlockables but I have just started playing it. So far I’m having a lot of fun as this is the perfect sort of mobile game, simple to pick up and play as well as being addictive and high score driven.
Pick it up, it is free for the whole weekend.
I remember playing the heck out of this game when it came out back in 2009. It’s a fairly traditional tower defense game but the draw is the vector graphics and unique range of weapons. It can also be pretty tough and chaotic at higher difficulties making it an addictive game. Like Geometry Wars you will see colourful bits flying all over the place giving it a very satisfying feel and something interesting to look at while you wait for your towers to defeat a wave. Definitely worth picking up as this is one of those games that rarely goes free (first time if I’m not mistaken). If you like this also pick up the sequel geoDefense Swarm ($1.99) which switches the playing field to a hex layout making it more tactical and tough.
Released by the massive Japanese RPG developer, Square Enix, Imaginary Range is a free interactive comic interspersing art, story and music with minigames. The project was overseen by Motomu Toriyama, director of FF13, scenario/story by Souki Tsukishima, the author of the novel Emeth: Ningyo–tsukai no Shima, with the art by Toshiyuki Itahana who was the character designer for the FF Chronicles games.
Square Enix have already released some interesting well done games on the iOS devices, like Chaos Rings and Song Summoner, as well re-releasing Final Fantasy 1-3. Imaginary Range is different in that it take advantage of the strengths of the system instead of emulating a console experience. The first mini game is a Flight Control derivative where you guide missiles at an enemy and direct helicopters to the landing pad.
It is an universal app but there is a HD version if you want a higher resolution for your iPad.
Free for the day to bring attention to their newly released 99c iPad version. A high quality action RPG game similar to PvZ but evolving on the concept with direct control over units. Haven’t had the time to play much of this yet but there is already a lot of praise for this game on the internet. Better yet it is done by an independent team, Liv Games, consisting of eight members developing games for iOS devices.
Dreamcast fan favourite Chu Chu Rocket is free today for iPhone and iPod touch, while the iPad version remains priced at $5. Originally developed by Sega’s Sonic Team and lead designer Yuji Naka Chu Chu Rocket is a puzzle game where the aim is to lead mice (Chu Chu) to rockets by placing arrows. There are also cats on the stages you have to avoid or direct into holes in the stage. There is robust multiplayer modes which made the original game so unique as it was one of the first online games for consoles. While the game is better suited for the iPad due to the need to precisely place arrows on a grid it is still definitely playable if you don’t want to pay $5 for the iPad version.
Next up is Panopticon an iPad only game which I thought was also worth mentioning. It instantly felt unique as it utilised the large screen area of an iPad and multi-touch to create a puzzle game of a different kind. The aim of the game is simple enough as all you have to do is drag discs to matching holes but the catch is that you have to do this by moving all the discs at the same time. There are obstacles you have to avoid as well while working out how to best move the discs all at once.
One of the early puzzle games on the IOS platform that gained critical praise for it’s fresh take on the falling block puzzle genre. Developer Area Code was recently bought by Facebook gaming giant Zynga and so the game has been re-released as Drop7 by zynga with a free ad supported version as well as a paid ad-free version. However right now the ad-free version is currently free for a limited time and anyone who hasn’t picked it up should definitely give it a go. It is a universal app and works great on any compatible Apple device.
The old version of Drop7 when updated to the latest version will give you the choice to download the ad-free version of the new app. But for some reason it directs you to the ad-supported version. So even if you already own Drop7 download the new version just in case. The only noticeable difference with the release is a higher resolution which makes it look better on an iPad.
ROBOT 99 (iTunes Link)
Despite the large amount of games released everyday on the iTunes App Store it is rare to actually find a well designed game that shines in every department. Robot 99 designed by critically acclaimed Taiwanese illustrator Keng-Fu Chu is a pleasure to look at from text, menus to robot designs.
The game itself is simple and fun where you have robots falling from the sky and you have to save them from their impending doom. A conveyor belt is running at the bottom of the screen leading the robots to be scraped. Your job is to tap the falling robots to engage their parachutes and position them so they don’t interfere with other robots. Once the robots hit the bottom they rocket up the screen taking with them any robots in the way. You can swipe the robots down to quicken the process and to gain extra points you can tap the robots as much as you.
Pick it up now while it’s free.
Look forward to more free IOS apps recommendations, it won’t be daily feature as I only intend to highlight the best free apps that are worth your time.