Ah, December… the month where editorial columnists like me can bypass research and social satire, and just ride the Best-of-2012 wave right to the pub in time for happy hour. Rather than go against this grain as I have in the past (Zombies for Valentine’s, Hexagons for Hallowe’en, etc), this sounds like a pretty easy wave to ride.
Actually, I plan to go even lazier than Best-of-2012. I’m going to do Best-of-Whatever-Is-On-My-iPad-Right-Now. That way I don’t even have to download anything new. Not even going to bother to look up what year these are from, or what the price is. Just be jolly knowing they’ve got Kevin’s Stamp of Fun on them.
I won’t take up too much time going over anything I’ve shouted about in the past, but I should at least mention them: Super Hexagon, Jetpack Joyride and To-Fu (1 & 2). Everybody should have these. ‘Nuff said.
One that I will readdress from a previous article is the ever popular (:3 )+[____]. When I talked about it the first time it had earned itself a big DudeWTF medal from me, but I’ve since changed my tune on it. It’s now more like DudeWTF + :-D.
Here’s why I like it: When you’re hanging out with friends and chatting about games and apps and that, as cool people do, this one wins the award for ‘Hey, I’ve got one for you…’ The game is nonsense to the uninitiated, and the real fun comes from having a vague idea how to play it and listening to the creative curses from others challenged with figuring it out. Grab it, parkit in a corner of your iDevice, and pull it out when you want to feel a little bit superior.
Right, then… on to stuff I’ve never talked about. Like Inappropriate Llama Disaster!, another awesome left-fielder that everyone should own. Inappropriate Llama Disaster! is the closest thing an app gets to a sitcom, in my opinion. Except rather than all the world’s problems being solved by telling the truth and learning from your mistakes, they’re solved by a llama. Just go get it, you’ll thank me.
If I had to pick the game I’ve dedicated the most time to this year, the award goes hands down to Frisbee Forever 2, and by a wide margin. The original was great, the sequel’s even better. It’s simple tilty action, it’s smooth gameplay, the little blingity sounds are so satisfying. I could quite literally play it for days. In fact, I think I have.
Another goodie: Reckless Getaway. Now, I’m not big on driving action, and I think I can count on my left thumb all the racing games I’ve ever liked: Burnout 3, there I’m done. But Reckless Getaway is pretty damn fun. It’s got two modes – smash stuff, and don’t smash stuff – and i’m a big fan of any game that can overlay multiple game modes over the same level layouts and have both modes be equally fun. A great little stress reliever when you’ve got three minutes to spare.
Here’s an oldie but still very much a goodie: Dark Nebula (both episodes). In the short life of the App Store, I consider this to be my favourite casual classic of iPhone yesteryear, and I still pull it out and dust it off from time to time. It’s pre-iPad, pre-retina, and you’ll just have to suffer through that, but when it came out it was my shining example of how far you could push the story on a simple idea.
Dark Nebula isn’t anything more than a rollie-ball accelerometer maze when you strip it down to basics, but the creators somehow managed to make it incredibly awesome while – and here’s where most would go wrong but they didn’t – keeping it simple. So many developers think the only way to step up the challenge is through complication. Dark Nebula keeps it simple all the way through, with kick-ass design and graphics and an opening intro trailer to Episode Two that makes you want to secretly ask ‘all this for a rollie-ball?’ but you don’t ask because it would ruin the awesomeness a little bit for you and you don’t want to do that. If you’ve never seen it, give it a try. If you have, give it another.
That’s enough for now. Hopefully these should tide you over for the first few days in January. That is, if AppAddict is even checking their email today. I know you Americans only get three days’ holiday a year without risk of termination, but over here in Great Britain the whole country shuts down for December, so hopefully Brett’s on the ball.
A toast! To Brett Nolan, top dog at AppAddict! May his dedication, productivity and hard work continue to decrease our own in 2013.
(By the way, Hector’s on sale this week. All three episodes, 99 cents each. Seems a bit tacky to tag that nugget on after my little toast, but I wouldn’t be doing my job as an indie game developer if I didn’t use my power for self-promotion now and then. Cheerio, coachpokers!)