Summer games to look for

Spoiler alert! There’s nothing to spoil. I’ve reviewed most of these apps as biscuit worthy or best buys already. But after two solid weeks of game reviews, I just thought we’d look back at some of the best games I’ve reviewed since the iPad’s launch.

And a couple that I haven’t.

If you’re looking for new games to download and haven’t followed this blog since I launched it, here are the games I would most recommend out of the ones I’ve reviewed (and played but have yet to review).

Match games

Match games are extremely popular, and even pop up disguised as action and strategy games. The following two remain at the top of my list even though I’ve played a number of new ones since. Both are best buys.

  • Saqqarah HD. There are more different ways to match tokens than you can possibly imagine as you tour different Egyptian temples. As you beat more puzzles, you unlock more powers. There’s bound to be at least one temple that will stump you. Excellent sound effects.
  • 4 Elements. It’s not enough to match tokens. You must create matches to direct the flow of spiritual energy to release the elemental forces. In the meantime, you have to find hidden objects and spot the differences between character portraits.

Puzzle games

These puzzle games provide the broadest variety of challenges I know of to tax your mind. Each offers a different set of challenges to test your skills and sharpness.

  • Casey’s Contraptions. Build complex Rube Goldberg devices to direct darts, bowling balls and balloons to their final destination.
  • Cut the Rope. Get the candy from the end of the rope to the frog’s mouth. It’s tougher than it looks when the candy must dodge spikes, spiders and electric charges.
  • Puzzle Agent. Help the FBI locate a missing person and dodge twisted gnomes during the dead of winter. The game offers a variety of puzzle types in a setting that makes Twin Peaks look like Norman Rockwell’s America. I just started Puzzle Agent 2, and it looks every bit as fun.

Action/Strategy games

Fast paced action as you find ways to fend off hordes of evil foes. Only the right combination of weapons and defenses will save you.

  • Plants v Zombies HD. Zombies want to overrun your home and eat your brains. This, of course, is nothing new. But your only defense is the plants in your garden. Every time you unlock a cool plant, the game delivers a zombie that can defeat it. One of the best games ever.
  • Bloons HD. Bored with zombies? Take on balloons. Balloons that never ever stop coming. You’ll never beat them, but the longer you last the better you do. Match spikes, torpedoes and tornados against balloons, hard shell balloons and zeppelins on more than a dozen courses. 5 Stars (best buy if you spend the dollar for the upgrades).
  • Highborn HD. I’ve never been a fan of sword and sorcery movies, books or role playing games. At least not after I read my dozenth Conan book and realized they were pretty much all the same. But Highborn lets you recruit raiding parties of thieves, trolls, wizards and archers to tackle increasingly devious and powerful supernatural enemies. Three multi-stage campaigns will keep you occupied for days. 5 stars.

I’m not a big fan of fantasy adventure games, but Highborn is actually a lot of fun. The developers just released a third chapter as an in-app upgrade. New chapters come out every few months for $2.

Adventure games

Go on quests that challenge your ability to control your iPad, find treasure and explore new territory.

  • Max and the Magic Marker Reminiscent of Super Mario brothers, only you have to draw Max’s way out of jams and through factory mazes with your orange magic marker. Provided, of course, you can find enough ink.
  • I Dig It HD Dig tunnels and look for treasure to upgrade your drilling machine and dig even deeper. But beware. You can run out of air, run out of fuel, ignite gas pockets or simply be crushed by the extreme pressures. Not to mention the red ants with acid that burns through hulls. Excellent sound effects.

Hidden Object games

I love these games, but if you’ve seen one you’ve seen most of them. This is not to knock them, but they tend to fall into categories of good or mediocre. Of these, a couple that I haven’t reviewed still stand out in my memory long after I’ve played them.

  • Mushroom Age. This game has a great sense of humor, as you help the heroine travel through time to save her fiancé from the evolving mushrooms of the future. The game also challenges you with a number of puzzles, and very few are easy.
  • Drawn. Find the girl lost in the pictures within a musty old mansion. Every painting contains solutions to puzzles in different rooms.

Solitaire games

Traditionally, two types of games capture the solitary player’s imagination: cards and Mahjongg tiles. These remain the best of each after hundreds of games.

  • Mahjongg Artifacts & Mahjongg Artifacts 2 HD. The storyline is stupid, but both games offers three play modes—a quest, 101 layouts and an endless mode where each layer clear produces a new layer. The tile sets are decent and the backgrounds good, but the levels are always challenging.
  • Either edition of Mahjongg Artifacts should prove challenging. I’ve played about every mahjong game on the iPad and these two remain the best.

  • Mondo Solitaire HD. More variations than I knew existed. Mondo solitaire offers the smoothest play, the best graphics and the best game selection in the iPad. Another all-time best buy.

Arcade games

I haven’t seen many arcade games that really catch my fancy. Of the lot, the best I’ve played on the iPad is MultiPong. The game play is fast and the ball changes into a number of challenging options. This is the old Pong gone 3D and you can challenge as many as three other players.

Other games of interest

I’m not sure how to classify these but they’re all fun:

  • Fruit Ninja. This game is about as dumb as dumb gets and just as much fun. You can slice flying fruit combinations in arcade, challenge or zen mode. The squishing sounds are great and the fruit juice splatter more enjoyable than any viscera or gore.
  • Pocket God: Journey to Uranus. Not quite as fun as the iPhone version because you don’t have as many ways to torture the pygmies. But you can travel to different planets and play a variety mini-arcade games. And you can still torture pygmies and play volcano toss.
  • Let’s Create: Pottery.Spin pots, glaze and paint them, then sell them at auction. You can also post your best pots on line. It’s as much a virtual craft as a game. Great for virtual hobbyists.

About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
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