Here’s another round of some of the most addictive games to hit iTunes within the last few weeks. In this roundup you’ll find diving penguins, a fish trapped in a jar on a bar, a bunch of Slugs, Frogger Tron-style, and Birzzles. What’s a Birzzle, you ask?
In this tilt game that challenges hand-eye coordination, you’re a penguin, Captain Antarctica, who’s trying to … Well, the plot isn’t important and I didn’t spend a long time trying to figure it out. From the start, the gist is clear: Get the diving penguin from the top of the water to the ocean floor as fast as possible while avoiding the dangers along the way.
While most tilt games draw you in by creating a “just one more time!” kind of addiction, most lose their appeal too quickly by emptying their bag of tricks all at once. Not so with this one. The game makers included a store element, which ups the player’s investment (pun intended) — for example, earn more coins and you can buy more hearts (lives), a better flashlight (to increase brightness in the dark ocean), a stronger magnet (to attract fish), a better shield (to block enemies), and so on.
But underneath all the bells and whistles, the game operates according to a classic principle that’s easy to understand and appeals to all ages: The more fish you eat, the faster you go.
Chillingo creates a winner yet again. This game begins with a distinctly Finding Nemo-esque animated short to explain just how a certain fish (an orange one, mind you) winds up in a jar … on a bar. That is to say, the fish in a jar rests on horizontal wood blocks, and it’s up to you to slide them out from under him — in a Jenga style of sorts — so that the jar ends up back on the ground, where the fish can safely hop out and back into the water.
The process sounds way simpler than it actually is. Levels 1 and 2 are easy enough, but in level 3 you realize some strategy is necessary, as not all the blocks are the same length, and the setups become increasingly complicated and additional materials, like ice, are introduced, a la Angry Birds. Oh and don’t forget, if you spill the water, you lose points, and if you break the jar, the fish dies and you have to start all over.
Of course, you earn shells along the way, which can be traded for things like shields, wings and holy water, all designed to, in turn, protect from obstructions, ensure soft landings and minimize water spillage. If you’re already a fan of Angry Birds (who isn’t?), you’ll love this game.
This Neo Geo fan favorite has arrived for the iPad. You and the team — Marco, Eri, Tarma and Fio — are battling General Morden, who’s still set on establishing a new world order of the crazy kind. And to stop him, you’re going to need, of course, a lot of machines and fire power. Which means a variety of weapons and Slug vehicles — Slug Mariners, Drill Slugs and Elephant Slugs join the original Metal Slugs and Slugnoids.
Though the plot marches onward, you have a great deal of flexibility in the shape of the map system the game uses, allowing you to choose your own route through the game for each playthrough. Choose from Arcade and Mission modes for further experience customization, and to take the experience up yet another notch, try playing with a friend via the Bluetooth function.
The 2D graphics will seem familiar yet updated to Slug fans, and the controls? Decidedly not slug-gish. One final note: This one is rated 9+ for “infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence,” so best not to pass this one off to young kiddos if you make it a point to put a check on that sort of thing.
You already know the game: Get the frog across the street or river (read: danger zone) as swiftly and as safely as possible. But you haven’t seen the game like this. It’s like Konami picked Frogger up and set it down in the worlds of Tron and Dance Dance Revolution. (And there’s techno music, natch.)
Expect neon and glowing arcade-inspired graphics in this app dedicated to Frogger’s 30th anniversary. Dodge cars, balance on wooden logs and evade Contra aliens to make it to the other side. Plus, save “Lady Frogs” for lots of extra points and catch colored flies to make your job easier: Red flies send your enemies to the start, blue freezes them in place and green inverts their controls.
You’ll also find some brand-new modes, including Tile Capture, Battle Royale and Freak Out. The latter is my personal favorite, which is like the mother of all survival modes — you’re challenged with a totally random mode per round, and they throw it all at you.
Everyone once in a while a game comes along that you don’t necessarily expect much of but that pleasantly surprises you. For me, that game is LINE Birzzle. In the same vein as Tetris, Bejeweled and other “line up the colors/shapes to make them disappear” games, Birzzle succeeds in taking something incredibly simply and making it completely addictive.
Your tools in this game are cute, pudgy little birds, which you have to assemble in order to clear the board. Of course, there are more challenges presented to you along the way — create a set of four birds to make a “power bird,” use a bomb power bird 8 times, eliminate 40 or more orange birds — and so on.
There’s a plus version of Birzzle also available for $1.99, but frankly, I’m not done playing the free Birzzle yet; it’s got everything I need. This is exactly the kind of brightly colored, semi-challenging, semi-mindless game you want to play when you need a mental break or when you want to kill time, and in that way, it’s perfect.