It is I, Kevin Beimers, one of the cobjockeys who brought you the critically defamed Hector: Badge of Carnage series. So I thought, since the boys over here at AppAddict loved (and promoted) Hector so much, that I’d disgrace this fine site with my grim visage, maybe blather on about apps and whatnot. In truth, for years I’ve been trying to find a way to play games all afternoon and tell my wife I’m working. Done and done.
I suppose I should tell you a little about myself so you can decide if my opinion is worth time you could be spending watching babies laughing on YouTube. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not a fat, vulgar, belligerent British lout who eats nothing but kebabs and kerbsides. I’m actually Canadian. The rest is more or less accurate though.
Truth be told, I’m kinda crap at keeping up with trends and new releases and such. I tend to trawl the App Store in fits and starts, usually just after finishing a big project or something, and I tend to get games that aren’t going to take up a lot of my time. Rather, I tend to pick little gems that I can dip in and out of; open it, finish a level or two, and close it. You know the type: Physics rollers and tilters and dexterity testers and mind benders and wordy-puzzly things, rather than full-blown attention-demanders. Very rarely do I buy stuff (which could be why I’m frequently disappointed).
I’ve got an iPod Touch 3G with a cracked screen, and an iPad1 that I got on sale when the iPad2s were coming out. My actual mobile phone is an eight year old classic Nokia brick, which features no apps, no ringtones, no colour, no rubber ear-plate and all the numbers have rubbed off the buttons from being in my pocket all the time. No one can figure out how to text on it except me.
I don’t tweet. I rarely Facebook. I love winning achievements but can’t be arsed with sharing them with my friends. I’ve never made an in-app purchase: I’ve earned all of my upgrades without spending any real money. I don’t even multitask. Consider me a very casual gamer, so casual that you should probably poke me now and then to see if I’ve gone to sleep.
That’s where I’m coming from. Just so we’re clear.
I checked out the list of games deemed by AppAddict to be review-worthy, and, not being able to decide, opted for my usual approach: I just grabbed everything I could get my mitts on that was free. You’d be surprised how often that works out.
The four new games that graced my iPad this month:
- Beaver’s Revenge™, which appealed to my Canadian heritage,
- Snoticles, which appealed to my cheeky juvenile side,
- Blockwick, which appealed to my obsessive-compulsive nature,
- Seal Force, because Milo, my 3-year-old son, liked that one of the seals was named Milo, and so did I.
I’ll start with Seal Force. In a word, it’s great! I love it! And that’s not sarcasm, I genuinely like it! Look at me, I’m using exclamation points!
Seal Force is a simple premise, as most fun apps are: You’re a seal, eat the krill. Actually, you are three seals – Sarge, Fonzie and Milo (heh, love that Milo) – pink, green and orange, respectively. They need to nab the pink, green and orange krill, also respectively. To nab said krill, draw the seal’s path, and get as many shells and power ups and such as you can in the process.
Story-wise, there’s an evil dude named Krillian, who is apparently behind it all, whatever ‘it all’ actually is – he doesn’t really do much besides popping up at the start to say “I’m gonna poison the whole sea!” in a nasal sneer, after which the game has nothing to do with sea-poisoning… but that doesn’t seem to matter one bit! It’s still a grand old time!
One of the features that kept me playing was the way the achievement system was handled. Since the adventification of the gamification revolutiomacation, the majority of game designers seem to be satisfying the achievement demand by dumping a thousand or so into a stupidly long list, usually containing little more than what you probably would have done while playing the game anyway – “Congratulations, you’ve received the Completed Level One achievement!” – that sort of thing.
Seal Force handles achievements in the style of Jetpack Joyride by doling them out only a few at a time, some easy, some hard, all different ways of playing the game. The shortlist is in the pause menu and at the end of each level. As a result, they’re always in your eye line, easy to remember, and thus you’re always tempted to knock off just one more before shutting it down and getting back to work.
Anyway, I finished Seal Force, so that’s gotta be worth something. Plus, the smile I got from my boy every time one of the other seals said “Nice work, Milo!” could bring a tear to your eye. It was like bonding, only easier.