March was an amazing month for iPhone and iPad gaming. Not only did GDC 2014 give us a sneak peek at what's coming next, but we got some really great games in our hands as well. March was fairly action-heavy to be sure, but there was some strategy tossed into the mix too. So, without further ado...
First Strike is a military strategy game where players vie for global nuclear superiority. The game starts as players control a major super power nestled in its respective corner of the globe. Slowly, players expand into neighboring countries and begin researching recon, efficiency, missile, and national military technologies. Then the stockpiling begins. Every country can store a handful of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and faster, short-range cruise missiles for defensive purposes. Research continues in the background, but it doesn’t take long before one player or another pushes the red button to launch the first nuke. As bleak as the premise may be, some proceeds of sales go towards nuclear disarmament campaigns.
Smash Hit has become a runaway, uh, hit. The premise is simple: tap the screen to toss a marble and shatter glass obstacles that are on your inalienable path. If you don’t and get hit, you lose marbles. Lose all your marbles, and it’s game over. You have to start from the beginning again with the free version, or you can cough up $1.99 to start from a set waypoint. Every section is littered with powerups and fresh batches of marbles to keep you going. If you manage to keep hitting the marble refill crystals without missing, you can fire off two, three, or five marbles at once. Smash Hit is very simply an on-rails shooter, but highly-polished physics of the marbles and the glass make for a massively accessible and compelling experience.
Wave Wave is an insanely difficult abstract one-touch runner game. Players are guiding a line through a gauntlet of triangular obstructions by tapping and holding the screen to climb, while when released, the line dives. Constant flickering and warping effects pose a significant challenge, and the intense 8-bit soundtrack won’t be soothing your nerves. Despite its obvious influence from Super Hexagon, Wave Wave stands very much on its own thanks to a more fleshed-out progression structure, varied disorientation effects, and a two-player mode. If you’re a sucker for punishment, play Wave Wave.
Surgeon Simulator is a morbidly hilarious game where players have to perform life-saving operations with all the ineptitude that touch input has to offer. Would-be doctors hold their tools with one finger, then tap at the target location with the other. At first it might just seem like there’s a lot of random flailing and blood everywhere, but every procedure has a process which you can review in your retro iZap PDA. There’s an unhealthy array of surgical tools to learn and master over the course of a lengthy single-player campaign, or you can try your luck at competitive multiplayer. All in all, Surgeon Simulator is a bloody good time.
Tank of Tanks is an adorable, fun, and simple local multiplayer game. Up to four players can claim a corner button. Their tank starts by rotating on the spot. By holding down the button, trundling forwards, and shooting brainlessly ahead. Once released, the tank rotates again in the opposite direction as originally, which provides for just enough difficulty for the game to be fun. Rounds are short and sweet, the levels dynamic, and the chunky 8-bit-style graphics are downright charming. Tank of Tanks is bound to be a fun, casual game among friends.