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The Trawler Report: Chillingo gets crafty with Knights Onrush and Rovio gives us the creeps with Darkest Fear

24th August 2009
Product: Free iPhone Games | Format: iPhone
Free iPhone Games iPhone, thumbnail 1
The rate at which publishers can pump out games for the iPhone means that they can get a little bit crafty with them. We’ve already seen a lot of character cross-pollination with Sway’s Lizzy the Lizard and Minigore’s John Gore swapping places thanks to an update and Doodle Jump popping up tower defence game The Creeps!

Exactly how these work when the games are from separate companies isn’t quite clear. We like to think it was decided at an iPhone publishers’ picnic where they all agreed it would be jolly good fun over a sandwich and a beer.

Chillingo’s going a step forward with one of this week’s picks, A Quest of Knights Onrush. It’s a full freebie that takes the look of Knights Onrush and transplants it onto a completely different game.

What’s next? Fieldrunners made into a 16-bit style platformer? Rolando made into a real-time strategy game? Who knows what may occur if the virtuosos of the App Store keep on flexing those dev muscles?

The best free iPhone games on the App Store

Little Runner
Red Rocket Games
What is it? It’s a walk in a particularly sketchy park
Type Demo

Even when graphics aren’t all that flashy, they can look fantastic if they’ve got a stylised look. Little Runner looks like it’s been scribbled on a scrap of paper, and is all the better for its lo-fi look.

The gameplay iself is perilously simple. You just have to drag bits of terrain up and down so that the Little Runner character doesn’t head straight into a wall or fall down too far.

The Lite version features fewer levels than its paid-for brother, with less dynamism in the way the terrain blocks crop up. Still, there’s enough on show in the Lite version to see whether Little Runner will thrill or frustrate you.

Tiki Golf
Arb Studios
What is it? It’s golf, and it’s kerrrazzzy
Type Demo

Tiger Woods and Let’s Golf still have the golf genre pretty much sewn up on iPhone, but Tiki Golf takes the sport into even more over-the-top, cartoonish territory than Gameloft’s sterling effort.

Not only are the courses full of loops, swinging hammers and bullseye-style targets for you to aim for, you can actually carry on controlling your ball after you’ve hit it. With your finger resting on the touchscreen, the accelerometer turns the ball left and right. You still need to watch the power of your shot to be in with a chance of potting the ball, though.

This free version lets you try out a handful of holes over three different modes. It may not have the golfing cred of its high profile rivals, but Tiki Golf has one big plus point going for it: it’s fun.

Circuit Strike.One
What is it? It’s a futuristic shooter
Type Demo

Circuit Strike.One, winner of the 2009 award for most dubious use of mid-title special characters, came into some problems when it was first released. Some couldn’t get on with the controls, while some found the game ran at a snail’s pace once the action revved up a bit.

However, now that Circuit Strike.One has been updated, those issues have *fingers crossed* been sorted. Well, if not you can at least check it out for free thanks to this Lite version.

The game itself is a neon-lit shooter where you view the environment from a top-down perspective. You aim? Well, we can’t really do any better than Chillingo: “KILL EVERYTHING. TOUCH NOTHING.”

Darkest Fear
What is it? It’s a horror puzzler
Type Demo

The Darkest Fear games were giving us the chills on mobile way back in 2006, when we could count the pixel that made up characters on one hand and when we were happy - no, grateful - to spend £5 on each and every mobile game. No 59p fun back in those wild days, no siree.

This iPhone version feels a lot like the original, where you spent your time working out how to fill each room with light to keep the nasties away, with some updated graphics shoved in for good measure. Okay, so the controls could do with an overhaul - at the moment you have to tap all over the screen to get your character moving - but the faults can’t drown the game’s original charms.

You’re Thomas Walden, sent to a creepy old hospital to save its patients, and your wife and kid, from the terrors that lurk in the dark. Creepy stuff indeed.

Pick of the Week

A Quest of Knights Onrush
What is it? It’s a Knights Onrush spin-off
Type Full

Although it shares a look and half a title with Knights Onrush, A Quest of Knights Onrush is in fact quite a different beast. Where Knights Onrush was a castle defence game, this is a scrolling action title. Think Streets of Rage clad in armour and equipped with a broadsword and you’re most of the way there.

It’s designed to promote Knights Onrush, and features some fairly shameless plugs for some of Chillingo’s other games, but when we don’t have to foot the bill we really don’t mind at all.

In spite of this, it’s no half-hearted affair. You can pick from three different characters, and can upgrade them as you earn experience from bashing a few armies’ worth of enemies.

Crap Apps Box of Shame award

Me & My Mom & Dad Free
Mobile Champs LLC
What is it? It’s a vom fest
Type Demo

If you think cards are more important than presents, that Hallmark is the height of good taste and like your rom coms with more rom and less com, you may like Me & My Mom & Dad. The rest of us will most likely find ourselves drowning in sentimentality, left gasping as the last of the air creeps out of our lungs.

Functionality-wise it’s not too bad. You can customise a card-like scene to inflict on your loved one. It’s the content that proves too offensive to stomach.

Here’s a quote from one of the app’s cards : “Dad & Mom, You have colored my days... with the hues of rainbows... My whole World... revolves around you TWO”. Surely “Dad & Mom” would be perfectly within their rights to put their child up for adoption after such an outpouring of tosh.

Reviewer photo
Andrew Williams 24 August 2009
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