Mobile Weekly: Zombie Edition
In this week's mobile round-up of the best Android, iPhone and iPad releases: sports, zombies, cars, pixelated heroes. A Diablo clone and orcs.
This week's finest title - and which has attracted most attention - is undoubtedly Orc: Vengeance from Chillingo. It looks like Diablo. And feels like it as well, with plenty of loot and experience points to rack up during your questing. That itself is quite the achievement, and makes for one of this year's finest iOS games. While its gesture-based commands for spells and combat may not be to everyone's taste, if you hate virtual pads and prefer touch-to-move, then this is a winner.
The Walking Dead
The second biggest title on the App Store this week was The Walking Dead, TellTale's adventure based on the comic and TV series of the same name.
It's the same version currently available for PC and console, just tweaked for touch screen interface. There are less puzzles in this adventure game, but a heavier attention to a good story as a survivor in the post-zombie apocalypse world makes up for it. The studio's usual issues with the iOS format (stuttering frame rate) seem to be a thing of the past. Delicious.
What do you get if you mix the style of Borderlands with Temple Run and mix in zombies? This is the answer. Here you have to drive as far as possible, while earning currency, running zombies down or smashing them against objects when they hang onto your car. Currency buys you upgrades - there's a sea of weapons and vehicles to purchase, but one thing that won't cost you a penny is the game itself: it's free for both Android and iOS.
Flick Champion: World
Flick Champion offers everything for the Olympics-happy player. There are races, javelin, swimming, synchronized swimming, handball, shot put, kayaking, rowing and volleyball. And everything is controlled with simple strokes or pressured taps. It works perfectly... except for multiplayer.
Some sports do not accept multitouch, which means that two players can not compete on the same screen, despite the fact that the buttons are there. It is obviously a mistake that we can expect updated. So if you're buying for multiplayer, wait for the fault corrected. If you want simple fun sports game for one player, you may quietly press 'purchase'.
Android owners also have a good reason to enjoy themselves with the Olympic games. Besides the Official London 2012 Games (which funnily enough is called London 2012 - Official Game), there is one that certainly attracts old retro-freaks. Retro Athletics offers virtual button-mashing and glorious pixelated characters in all the usual sports. It has a small advertisement at the top, but is free to download and fun to play.
Manos the Hands of Fate
Would you wish you could dust off your old Nintendo and magically get a brand new game for it? Then Manos is the solution. It's retro in thick rainbow-colored pixelated rays.
It's simple run'n'gun focusing on platform-elements. Think Megaman mixed with a little Mario and Castlevania, and you're almost there. The music is wonderful and the graphics top notch. The controls are kept to A and B buttons and right / left and placed neatly in the bottom where it works fine on both large and small screen. Grab it if you miss the action of the old school.
Spy Vs Spy
Robots And Pencils has created a conversion of the classic title that'll put a smile on fans' faces.
Here you are either Black or White (spies from the classic Mad magazines) and have to reach the goal before your opponent. Of course, you pick up spar parts along the way to set up traps for your rival.
It is wonderful, fairly simple and more than just nostalgia. You get both an updated version and the classic version with 24 single player levels, online or bluetooth multiplayer. The controls are a bit clumsy with the swipe movements (even on the iPad), but the developer promises improvements to come, and even with the current setup it is worth playing. The new iPad's retina display offers eye-opening visuals for those who prefer ultra-sharp pixels and drawings.
Ten million. The simplest game title for a while. The game itself is also very simple until you start digging.
Like Puzzle Quest and so many before it asks the player to match symbols to attack, defend or open chests. The title is the number you've to reach for "freedom" in each game session. Graphics are retro-flavoured, the music chunks of chiptune goodness. And when you have loot, levels, skills and many, many, many other hidden surprises, then you have the formula for success. This is one of the week's best games and you should not hesitate to download this to your device.
Besides holding a sale on their Chaos Rings series, Square Enix also has a simple platform game packed with great ideas, charm and puzzles on the App Store.
If you've played Gish on PC or Android, then you know roughly what to expect. You control a small ball around a series of small stages in search of the Ping Unmerciless - which apparently will destroy the universe. There are moving platforms, bombs to be released and physics puzzles to be solved. If you miss a happy and colorful platform experience, you'll find it here.
SNK has so many arcade classics that it is difficult to know where to start. A good entry point is Blazing Star, an R-Type variant with both touch and virtual pad controls. It's a solid shoot-em up worth the look.
Whale Trail Frenzy
Take Tiny Wings, Jet Pack Joyride and a delightful 70s-style theme. Stir into the pan. What you get is this free-to-play title that's just hit Android platform. Definitely worth a look.
Did you delete your Angry Birds Space? If so, it's worth a re-download, as its received an update with 20 new stages and 10 bonus stages this week.