Gaming apps for mobile devices – they’re unavoidable nowadays. Whether you’re on the bus, in the cafe, or up the back of the lecture hall, you’re bound to see someone trying to beat their friend’s latest highscore in some easy-to-play-but-difficult-to-master game.
But what’s the best app to get? How much should you pay for one? Does it matter what type of phone/tablet you have?
In this article I’ll have a look at five of the most popular apps currently available in the app-stores. They’re all designed for Android, iPhone and iPad. All of them are free, but they’ll either try to get you to upgrade to the full version, or hinder your gameplay with adverts to buy more virtual coins.
Angry Birds – Demo Version
Grab the bird and catapult it at the pigs’ fortress… Sounds easy? Just you try it! This fast-paced game will provide hours of fun as you strive to complete the 15 free levels. There are a variety of difficulties and the physics involved is quite advanced. Unlike other games there’s an online version available, and the 79 cent charge for the full 200 levels is very good value.
The main downside is that too much comes down to the luck of ‘Rovio Mobile’s subtle physics algorithms. Also, it can become repetitive without a friend to compete against. All in all though, it’s a worthwhile download.
What first struck me about this game is its pure simplicity. You’re running through an abandoned temple from demonic monkeys, and you’ve to turn left and right, jump or slide through the gauntlet ahead. There’s even a quick tutorial to start you off, before the speed gradually picks up and you’re full-focused on just trying to survive. Unlike other games, there’s not as much pressure on you to purchase extra coins, and the various objectives and strategies really give this game its addictive appeal.
On the downside each level is practically the same, with the randomized courses doing little to repel that feeling of repetitiveness. I can see how this game quickly gets tiring, but there’s no way I’m going to quit whilst my friend still has a higher score!
‘Pixel Juice’ have really gone for the cuteness factor on this one! You’re faced with an adorable little chicken (in an egg) who’s trying to chase the cheeky rabbit down a hole. This original spin on crazy golf is equipped with pristine, colourful graphics and it really appeals to the whole family. It’s similar to Angry Birds in that its quick levels are perfect for short breaks.
Unfortunately, unlike Angry Birds it will continuously offer to sell you virtual coins (used to progress through levels) and you’re faced with the choice to either try and earn them for free yourself, actually buy them, or stop playing.
Where’s my Water? – Demo Version
Currently doing well on the downloads chart is another educational gaming App from Disney. Your goal is to help Swampy the crocodile get water for his shower by clearing a path for the water to flow through. The levels get increasingly more complex until you’re racking your brain for the best way to navigate the maze of pipes, blocks, bombs and everything else in the way of this ‘gator’s cleanliness!
Although the water-flow physics is quite impressive, there’re only so many times you can complete the same puzzle. Maybe other people will find this game more appealing, but I’m certainly not going to be buying the full version any time soon.
I don’t recall ever being so impressed with an App’s graphic design. This shooting game challenges you to work swiftly and accurately to exterminate/neutralise your target(s). With gun and ammo upgrades along the way, you need to strategically choose your missions for optimum scores.
Unfortunately, good graphics don’t sell an app, and the number of financial requests during this free game is a massive turn-off. Whilst doing it on the cheap (typical student style!) is possible, it takes a while to build up enough coins to progress and the missions quickly become repetitive. Basically, it’s good craic, but you won’t have too much fun unless you pay!
In conclusion, every application-designing company is out to make money, and it would be unfair to expect to play the games without some sort of comeuppance. However, I would still urge you to try them all (sure what have you to lose). Each person is different, and you might end up feeling that 79 cent is worth the hours of enjoyment gained.