Visiting the App Store’s a bit like taking a trip to your local animal shelter: lots of sad eyes and waggy tails as each new game vies for your attention.
So how do you spot the app that’ll become a life-long family friend? And weed out the ones that’ll poop on your carpet?
Well, that’s why we’re here of course! We’ve already highlighted the very best iOS games of the moment in our main reviews, but what of the rest?
Rather than banish them to the sad, lonely shadows of oblivion, we’ve bundled them up for a more cursory glance in this, the first of our weekly iOS round-ups.
Alawar Entertainment, Inc.
If physics-puzzler Robber Rabbits!
is to be believed, bunnies love ice cream so much that they’re prepared to commit armed robbery to get it.
Popgun in hand, each stage tasks you with knocking a tub of the cold stuff off its perch and into evil bunny clutches. You touch to adjust your angle and speed, then sit back and watch as your cork ricochets around the room.Robber Rabbits!
certainly has its charms. With first-class presentation and a ton of challenging levels, it constantly slings new concepts into the mix.
But with wonky physics that make victory feel more down to luck than skill, Robber Rabbits!
is an unrewarding time thief.Score
As far as we’re concerned, riding the crest of a procedurally generated, musical wave on your iOS device sounds like a perfectly reasonable starting point for a score-focused sort-of-endless runner.
Unfortunately, Wave Crasher
utterly fails to develop its intriguing core in any meaningful direction.
As your jet skier rockets to the right, you’re charged with moving your musically manifested wave up or down in a grab for coins, stringing together combo multipliers for juicier points.
As you might expect, the rockier your tuneful selection is, the rougher the waters you ride. But in practice this musical element adds nothing to an already anemic, skill-free setup. A wave is a wave when all you’re doing is bounding skyward to collect your spoils.
There’s mild satisfaction to be gained from the undulating physics and pleasant presentation, but with no leaderboards and zero variation in environments or game mechanics, you’ll have seen everything Wave Crasher has to offer in seconds.Score
Thanks to Jeff Minter, the App Store isn’t short of a sheep game or two. This, however, is possibly the first ruminant-inspired title to bash together pinball, mini-golf, and billiards.
Playing as be-helmeted canine Baxter, your goal is to roll up and ricochet around each stage, nudging a set number of sheep onto a bulls-eye target.
Its familiar control setup lets you easily adjust Baxter’s speed and trajectory, so all need worry about is the increasing obtuse layout of pens.
As the game progresses, Sticky Sheep
slings everything from bumpers to bombs into the fray, with collectable coins affecting your per-level rating and an additional time-based Arcade mode to uncover.
It’s a solid, entertaining endeavor, but a lack of imagination in level design means Sticky Sheep
is a little too safe and predictable to be anything more than a pleasant diversion.Score:
Lego Hero Factory: BreakoutFormat
: The Lego Group
A Lego twin-stick shooter might not be the most obvious fit, but we’re nothing if not open-minded at Pocket Gamer
. Sometimes, though, wily skepticism has its place.Lego Hero Factory
is a cumbersome, painfully slow-paced shooter with few ideas to call its own.
Essentially, you’re shunted from room to room and tasked with collecting enough small shiny objects to unlock doors and move on to the next identical challenge.
It’s at least thoughtful enough to spice things up with a handful of different weapons. But the general air of mediocrity is exacerbated by awkward, unresponsive controls, bullet-sponge enemies, and a perpetually juddering frame-rate.
Lego fans might be willing to suffer the experience in exchange for various codes to redeem online, but even its freebie status cannot make up for its many shortcomings.Score
Developers are clearly going to run out of adorable animals to front their bouncy physics-puzzlers one of these days. But, as Munch Time
proves, there's still room to exploit the innate tongue-flicking abilities of the humble lizard to build a game entirely around swinging.
Like the myriad other cutesy animal-fronted puzzlers on the App Store, it's a simple, intuitve affair: tap to move left or right, and prod drooping flowers to latch on and whip recklessly through the air.
At first it’s a game of timing and momentum as you leap from flower to flower to reach your goal. But as levels progress, chameleon trickery adds to the challenge.
By swallowing bugs you can change colour and grasp onto flowers of the same hue. It adds an element of strategy to proceedings as you plan your route across a level.
Despite some nice ideas, Munch Time
never really demands much thought, and you'll rip through the scant number of levels in no time.Score