I was too old to understand Pokémon Go, but I was interested in Niantic’s “Wizard’s Unite” game that came out a few years ago. The game was set in the Harry Potter universe and required you to catch digital creatures out in the real world. My enthusiasm for the game lasted about a week. I found that I preferred engaging with the actual world around me more than the little window on my phone. It sounds like I was not alone as the game is shutting down today.
All that said, I do think these reality interactive games are going to be huge in the future as technologies like VR/AR glasses evolve into something that you don’t have to literally strap to your face.
Alto’s Odyssey is one of my all time favorite iPhone games. It just fits the platform so well. It’s fun. You can pick it up in minutes, and it is least stressful game I’ve ever played. You’re just an Alto with your board, looking to catch some air. There’s a new version out now for Apple Arcade subscribers and I’m already hooked.
Zach Gage nailed another game for iPhone and iPad: Good Sudoku. Sudoku is one of my favorite puzzle games, and this version has all the sudoku fun without any of the sudoku pain. Easy-to-use hint system? Check. Focus mode? Check. If you like Sudoku but don’t like the tedium of tracking numbers, check this one out.
I spent New Years Eve with a pile of family members and we decided to spend some of that time lying to one another with Fibbage on the Apple TV. Fibbage is an Apple TV gameshow-type app. Participants play along using their iPhones or iPads not through a dedicated app but instead a webpage. (It requires your device be on the same WiFi network as the Apple TV.)
Once everyone is logged in, Fibbage gets started by asking a question, like this.
Then each participant types in an answer on their iPhone. You can either try and come up with an answer that your friends will think correct (which gets you points) or something that is just funny (which gets you likes). Once all answers are entered, Fibbage puts all the user answers along with the correct answer on the screen and everyone picks. You get points for picking the right answer. You also get points for your friends picking your wrong answer. In reality, the points matter very little. It’s just fun, particularly with a big group.
We had family members of all ages playing and kept it relatively G-rated but that is really up to the players. We had so much fun playing Fibbage that we almost missed the clocks hitting midnight on New Years Eve.
In addition to Apple TV, they’ve also got versions for Xbox, Playstation, and Amazon Fire TV.
Alto’s Adventure remains one of my all-time favorite iOS games. My only advice is that if you are up against any sort of deadline, don’t buy it.
I’ve got somewhat quirky tastes when it comes to iOS games. My favorites games aren’t too stressful or necessarily too fast. Maybe it’s because I’ll play a game to unwind, but Alto’s Adventure, Zen Bound, and Monument Valley are right up my alley.
I was noodling around in the App Store a few days ago and discovered Prune. In Prune you grow a tree and the object is to prune the tree in a way which allows the right limbs find sunlight and bloom flowers. I love this game. The levels get increasingly more difficult but nothing (so far) is overwhelming. If you get hung up on a level, after a certain number of tries the game just offers to go on. I’ve even saved one of my trees as my lock screen on my iPad. I also like the pricing model. I paid $4 for the game and there are no nagging in-app purchase requests. Two thumbs up.
Over the past week I’ve been getting messages from a college student trapped on a distant moon. He’s scared and not quite sure what to do. He tells me what’s going on and I’ve been giving him advice on how to stay alive. Sometimes he disappears for awhile when he’s sleeping or working but eventually he comes back with some new problem.
I’m talking about a new game for iPhone called Lifeline and it is quite a bit of fun with several unexpected twists and turns. The game isn’t quite as free ranging as text adventures like Zork but it is a lot of fun and the real time elements give it something special. Since the gameplay is reading text and responding, the Apple Watch app is makes it even more fun. It’s just $2 and I’d pay it again. I discovered the game from my pal Stephen Hackett.
A few days ago, Alto’s Adventure was released to nearly universal praise. I planned on spending a few minutes playing it yesterday. Two hours later I realized this game actually has the ability to bend time.
One thing that’s been lingering in my mind since last week was the number of times everyone kept describing the new Metal platform as providing “Console” quality graphics. That’s pretty great and I’m looking forward to seeing some powerful iPad and iPhone games but how would this impact on the rumored updated AppleTV. There are lots of rumors that Apple has teams working on the next AppleTV and it is going to get more than a face lift. What if game developers, using Metal and the next Apple chip could push enough pixels to actually be in the ballpark with existing game systems (or at least close behind) and Apple put it’s weight behind a game controller? These things seemed inconceivable until last week’s Keynote but now I’ve got to wonder. Maybe the push for Metal was more about the AppleTV than iOS.
Over the weekend I was searching for a diversion and discovered a new iPad/iPhone game, Tengami. (iOS App Store) (website) Tengami is an adventure game that takes place in a digitally-built papercraft world. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It is beautiful on a retina iPad and I love the animations as I turn pages and watch them unfold. The puzzles are challenging but not maddening and I like the Japanese aesthetic. If you are looking for a little escape, this one is a winner. Below is some gameplay from YouTube.