maanantai 1. huhtikuuta 2013

iPad games

Aside from all the Rovio's Angry Birds and Bad Piggies games, there are many other great games for iPad. I present three of them here, in no particular order.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a beautiful and well implemented racing game. There are several different tracks with different types of races. More tracks are unlocked when you do well, and more cars become available for purchase with the money you earn from winning the races. There are many types of cars and not all races are open to, say, sports cars, but you need to drive, for example, a Hummer every once in a while as well. Aside from their looks the cars have a few different attributes that make them different: speed, acceleration and handling, and there's also implicitly the weight. These attributes can be modified per race by adding various modifications to the car. These mods include engine tweaks, lightweight chassis and reinflating tyres (Yes, reinflating tyres are needed -- the races in the game are "illegal", so there are police cars that may try to stop you using spike strips). You control the car by steering your entire iPad (or iPhone), which is quite a nice and intuitive way of driving. You can also touch the right side of the screen to drift. NFS:MW does not support the Apple Game Center but it has its own in-game social system called Origin, for which you might actually already have an account if you have played any other Electronic Arts games recently, even on PC.

Fieldrunners 2

Fieldrunners 2 is a tower defense game where almost endless hordes of enemies try to cross the playing area on which you must build a maze for them using various lethal obstacles, including machine gun towers, flamethrower towers and radiation towers. The game is pretty and humoristic, has many levels of a few different types, and it has quite a few different types of towers as well. At the beginning only some quite basic towers are available, but more can be purchased with the in-game gold. Compared to Plants and Zombies I prefer Fieldrunners 2 by far. Some maps of Fieldrunners 2 even contain director's commentary on how the map came to be. There are also many different enemies with different traits: some are very fast, some fly over your defense towers, some are immune to radiation. The Heroic difficulty level also basically requires you to use items that you can drop on the field for some brief additional effect, such as freezing, poisoning or exploding the enemies. Fieldrunners 2 integrates nicely with the Apple Game Center, allowing you to compare you scores with those of your friends.


Reactor splitting Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules
A production assignment in action
SpaceChem is an excellent puzzle game unlike any other I have ever played. In the game your task is to build reactors to transform molecules and atoms to other molecules. You do this by creating "tracks" for molecule transporters (called "waldos") and by adding instructions to those tracks: input atom, grab an atom, drop the atom, rotate the molecule, etc. While this all might sound or look incomprehensible at first, the game actually has a good tutorial that slowly introduces you to all the concepts little by little. On some levels (so called research assignments) you must only build one reactor, whereas in others (production assignments) you actually design several reactors and how they connect to each other. The game is also available for Windows, Linux and Android, which may be one reason why it unfortunately does not integrate with the Apple Game Center. However, this game as well has a social component: on each level you can see statistics about all other plays of the level by everyone else. The statistics include the number of reactors used, number of cycles used and number of instructions used, so you can try to optimize your solution according to different attributes, if you want to. There are also in-game achievements to earn by, say, completing a certain level in a certain amount of cycles (in-game "ticks of time"). SpaceChem has a few dozen levels built in and more can be downloaded from the Research Net, so it should provide hours of fun.

That's it for this time, but finally, a tip: you can use the site to watch for price drops and new apps. It also shows the price history of all the apps in the App Store, and you can browse apps by popularity and category.

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