App Store Games: My Experience Playing on the iPod Touch
App Store Games: My experience playing on the iPod Touch, plus looking into various titles available in the App Store including Ash II, Galaxy on Fire 2, Infinity Blade II and more!
iOS games have been around for awhile now in the App Store, but I never found myself to be very interested in them. The entire idea of gaming on a phone or tablet was just a silly idea to me because that is no way to game! I need real games with real controls, not these touch based mini games. I like to consider myself a bit of a hardcore gamer as well, and that could also be why I snubbed iOS titles at first due to the fact that it wasn’t a “real” way to play games. I will admit that I did play a few games on my phone and I even got interested in a tower defense title that I put some decent time into. But still, gaming on a phone was a joke to me and I would never find myself picking up my phone to play a game over any gaming handheld or console.
That was who I was 2 years ago and pretty much up until last month. But over the past year I have been seeing a lot of interesting titles coming to the App Store, and even some titles that we have seen on our regular gaming systems. Now, I still didn’t pay too close of attention but when Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing made its way to the App Store, a game that I actually wanted on the 360, that was actually my first real wake up call to being curious about who all is doing what with games for the App Store.
Now I know that there are plenty of racing games available in the App Store that may be better titles than Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing. But since a lot of what I saw were titles made for the App Store that I was unfamiliar with I immediately snubbed them. I still couldn’t imagine that games made specifically for the App Store could be that great or worthy of my time when I could go play a good racing game on one of my actual gaming systems.
However, about a month ago I started to see many titles of interest that captured my curiosity. So since then I made it my goal to accept these games at face value, give them some quality play time and review them. I had started doing a lot of research about games over the past year that have been thought highly of and made sure to check those out. I had also paid attention to all the latest games that have released and made sure to pick those titles up as well. Over the past month I have played 17 titles and have enjoyed most of them thoroughly.
The App Store has an extremely large reach throughout the public; therefore, it is no surprise that we are seeing so many new games coming to it. It is obvious to me that a lot of effort has gone into creating some of these games. The quality level has risen to the point that we now have many worthy titles to play. So, as a result I have become a fan of games made specifically for the App Store, as well as games that have been redone for the App Store. Heck, we have even seen shoot-em ups from Cave and Taito and those are games that I absolutely love. I still prefer a controller with those, but once I got use to controlling the ship with the touch screen it was enjoyable in its own way. I’ve also started learning about a lot of new developers and publishers that work only with mobile games. So this has got me interested in learning more about them and seeing the type of games they plan to bring out in the future.
I must say, I am now a believer in gaming on your iPhone, iPad or, as I have built my experience on, the iPod Touch. Games made for the App Store are worthy of playing, and can also be some of the better arcade type game experiences that you can enjoy today. One of the major factors that helped me even more to enjoy App Store games is that they have the Game Center service. It keeps track of my profile, what games I have played, what achievements I have unlocked and, the most important thing to me in regards to arcade type games, the online leaderboards. That makes all the difference in the world to me. I go by the rule of “what’s the point in high scores if you can’t compete with online leaderboards.”
Gaming isn’t always the easiest on a touch and motion based only device, and this is where the developers really need to make sure they built the game correctly for the App Store titles. If things get too complicated or they try to add in too many touch buttons it can really make things complicated. But as long as they take this into consideration we should continue to see many great games in the App Store.
For example I recently reviewed Modern Combat 3 and in my opinion it had too much happening on the screen to just use touch based controls while play the game. I personally couldn’t enjoy it at all by playing it that way. I think that, in general, it will continue to be a challenge for game developers to create a good first-person shooter on touch and motion based devises. However, what made the game more enjoyable for me was to take away the touch based aiming and use the motion aiming instead. I had to stand in the middle of the room and turn my body to look in each direction. But the creators really did a good job of making that work well for the player and it also made the game a lot more fun to play. It still was difficult in a lot of ways when it came to the movement. For example, when I would shoot I would often accidently tap the grenade icon more than I wanted to instead of shooting. So, it obviously has its issues but the developers have given us a lot of options to make it work well enough.
An example of a really good game that was made for a touched based device is the action/adventure title Infinity Blade II. I had my chance to play through that as well and it was built perfectly for good gameplay on a touch based device. As you make your way from one point to the next you don’t control where you walk, but just select the location that you want to move towards. As you move on you will want to keep an eye out for items that you can touch to collect rather than having to walk your character towards them. I found the fighting experience to be great as well. For example, you can dodge and then attack by swiping the screen, pull combos by swiping the screen a certain way and use special abilities by using your finger to create a specific logo. The gameplay was nicely done, as it really was a well made game and an absolutely beautiful looking title to play.
I have also learned that RPG’s can be really well done with touch based only controls. I recently played Ash II: Shadows and was very impressed by it. It has very sleek and easy to use menus that are perfect for touch based gaming. Plus the gameplay works very well and the battles are most definitely easy. What makes them even more enjoyable is that you can simply select attack and then touch the specific enemy you wish to attack. The same goes for using magic and all those typical things you see in RPG’s. Ash II is certainly a good one to own and fun to play for those looking for a good RPG available in the App Store.
Another game I want to focus on quickly is Galaxy on Fire 2, which is a space combat shooter. This is a title where the controls were not my favorite at first and I needed time to get past the slight learning curve. Once you get the controls down it becomes a pretty solid and fun space combat game. You will have both story and freelance missions to choose from. One of the things I liked best about this game was that as you traveled from world to world you had a space station lounge at each location to pick up freelance work, as well as special items to equip to your ship. This is certainly a title I would recommend as well, just give yourself some time to get the controls down. Upon mastering the controls, I believe that anyone who enjoys a good space combat game will certainly enjoy what this title has to offer.
My entire experience with App Store titles has been through the use of the iPod Touch. It really is a very nice device to play games on. It took me some time to learn how to hold it correctly when playing a select few games that require you using both hands to touch. So this leads me to wonder how the screen size will affect some of these games as compared to playing them on the iPad. I’ll eventually give some of these titles a go once I get the iPad and will be writing up an article on that experience as well. I would imagine that some of the shoot-em ups might be easier to handle with the larger screen as you won’t have to cover some of the screen with your hand. You can imagine how dodging bullets might become a bit difficult when playing a shoot-em up on a small touch screen. But a larger screen can accommodate for this.
I can officially say that after my original dismissal of games built for iOS I am now looking forward to seeing what new games are coming around the corner. I have found a lot of enjoyment spending the last month diving into many different titles and many types of games. I also continue to love adding new high scores to all my shoot-em ups. This is true as well for titles like Jelly Pops, Alien Zombie Death and Super Crossfire.
I must add that I recently completed a review of the game “Furmins” and it is my new overall favorite! That game there is a perfect title built for the App Store and one that everyone should own. I love it! Be sure to check out my review if you haven’t already.
Continue to stay up to date with everything we are doing at FanBolt, as I will continue to bring more in depth reviews of games from the App Store and much, much more!