Family-friendly apps that fit any budget (Page 2)

Family-friendly apps that fit any budget (Page 2)

$2.99

Soosiz (Touch Foo)

soosizSoosiz is a wonderfully refreshing 2D platformer, that is probably the closest thing you will find to a Super Mario game on the iPhone.  It utilizes a brilliant gravity-shifting perspective mechanism very similar to that of Super Mario Galaxy.  Although, that’s not where the similarities to the scarlet plumber end.  As you run around the game’s seven worlds you collect coins which will earn you a temporary burst of invincibly, or pick up certain companions to gain the ability to jump higher.

The controls are simple with just left, right and jump buttons.  The graphics are smooth and nicely rendered, reminding us a bit of Rolando or iBlast Moki.   The soundtrack consists of some nice piano music during level gameplay and even a little Irish ditty in the level-select menu.  This is truly a charming game.

Some of the levels can be difficult, but overall the game is just challenging enough to remain fun.  One thing we would have liked to see is a game timer to force you to complete levels at a certain pace.  As it stands right now (except for the blue-coin speed-run bonus levels, you can take your time exploring the worlds, experimenting with the game’s world hopping gravity twist.  If Super Mario Galaxy’s gravity shifting left you feeling a little queasy…you’ve been warned and perhaps this game isn’t for you.    Otherwise this game if perfect for any Mario fan (young or old).

SoosizBuy From App Store

California Gold Rush (Digital Chocolate, Inc.)

cagoldrushIn California Gold Rush, you take on the roll of a young girl name Mandy, digging and blasting your way through 30 different mines searching for gold, artifacts and gems. while avoiding obstacles like mineshaft collapses and bats. As you progress through the game, you will use your new found wealth to upgrade supplies, maps and explosives.  While down in the shaft you must make sure that you watch your power meter, so you don’t over exert yourself and are unable to make it back out of the mine.  You can either draw a path for Mandy to move or just touch the screen where you want her to move to.

The cute cartoony graphics and perfectly suited sound effects and music are sure to please.  The game offers both a story mode (spread across 30 levels) and a time-based Gold Rush mode in which you start out with a 60 sec clock and you must dig as deep as you can collecting gold to earn money and pass checkpoints to earn more time. We found both modes fun to play, but wished that the Gold Rush mode had a global scoreboard, or even the ability to store your name on the local “high scores”.  California Gold Rush will challenge both your time and resource management skills and will offer hours of fun for family members of all ages. Note: California Gold Rush is currently on sale for just $1.99, we are not sure if this is a permanent price drop or just a temporary sale.

California Gold Rush LiteBuy From App Store Calinfornia Gold RushBuy From App Store

 

$1.99

Play Marbles (Darkside Entertainment)

playmarblesPlay Marbles offers all the fun of the classic childhood game of marbles right on your idevice.  It’s possible that some of our younger readers may have never actually played marbles as a kid, if not, ask your parents about it or better yet, here is the Wikipedia entry.   For those of you whom are familiar with the game, Play Marbles plays exactly the way you’d expect. The controls are simple and intuitive, tilt the phone to position your shot, fine tune your aim with the onscreen controls, and then a flick of the finger to strike your shooter.  There is a complete tutorial available to help get you up and running right away.

There are 11 different sets of marbles to choose from (with additional unlock-able sets) and five different playing areas. Play Marbles also offers a variety of different game types and four game modes (including quick play, tournament, career, and league).  You also have the option to create your own marbles using your photos from your idevice (an addictive and time-consuming task in its own right).  Challenge the game’s AI in a single player match or compete against a friend using pass & play on a single device or via Bluetooth.  The next update will offer full global WiFi multiplayer functionality and some fun new additions such as playing for “Keepsies”.

Play Marbles’ 3D graphics are phenomenally rendered and the sound effects are spot on.  This game has loads a lot of content to experience, parents will love reliving the childhood memories and their techno-savvy kids will find the game to be cool, challenging and fun..  The breadth and re-playability of Play Marbles more than justifies its $1.99 price tag.

Play MarblesBuy From App Store

Aera (iChromo)

aeraAera is an absolutely stunning looking 2.5D flight simulator with a bit of side-scrolling action thrown in for good measure.  The game has multiple mission types including Aerobatic/Solo, Dog-fight, Race and Free flight mode.  So there is bound to be something here for everyone.  Several game modes are also selectable,  including a campaign mode, local wifi multiplayer duel and capture the flag games, as well as a quick play option for those times that you just need an immediate distraction.  Additional planes are un-lockable by playing through certain parts of the game

One sticking point of many flight simulation games can be the controls. Aera’s tilt-based controls, while seemingly intuitive and realistic, did take a little bit of practice to get the hang of, but with the help of a detailed, step-by-step tutorial, you’ll be flying high in no time.  A couple really neat features (that kids and sports fans will especially enjoy) are TimeBack and Video Replay.  With Timeback, you can rewind time to quickly retry after crashing, w/o the need to completely start over.  Video Replay, allows players to watch their previous missions, change angles and more.

The amazing panoramic 3D graphics and great physics make Aera an absolute steal at its current sale price of just $0.99!

AeraBuy From App Store

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