Mobile Hits And The Games They Inspired
Sure, Infinity Blade is great fun, but so is the alternative.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the App Store must be the best place on Earth to pick up a compliment. We've taken a look at some of the most famous games to hit the market, as well as some of their closer cousins that we think you should also check out.
If you haven't heard of this game, we're not sure how you found Modojo to be honest. A 'love it or hate it' proposition, few games have divided player opinion quite like Angry Birds: those who eye the mobile gaming scene with suspicion berate it as being everything that's wrong with gaming, while pocket gamers can't seem to get enough. For the sake of completion, we'll do the lowdown: choose a trajectory, decide on a velocity, and then release your finger to unleash hell on the green, egg-stealing pigs. The recently-released sequel Angry Birds Space was downloaded 10 million times in the course of a week. Mind-boggling.
If you liked Angry Birds, you'll love....
Trucks and Skulls NITRO
It's no wonder that so many developers have taken one look at the success of Angry Birds and decided to release their own take on the classic gameplay. Appy Entertainment turned up the heat by swapping birds for vehicles and throwing in a healthy dollop of explosions for good measure. Customization added just enough oomph to make the game stand out from its most notable inspiration and it comes highly recommended.
Ninja heroes and bomb-headed battlers form the player-characters in this over-the-top take on the Angry Birds formula. Developer Chillingo kept tongue firmly in cheek with the ridiculous story that saw players take on stages with names such as The Trifle Tower. Jellies, chocolates (along with what we think is blancmange) are just some of the environmental hazards that have to be negotiated and destroyed in order to complete each level.
We've never really stopped going on about how much we love Tiny Wings but you'll have to indulge us just one more introduction to this treasured game. Devastatingly simple gameplay, combined with a bittersweet soundtrack and an adorable character led us to lose many a lost hour as we swooped between hills and valleys, attempting some of the most agonizing mission objectives we've played on our phones.
If you liked Tiny Wings, you'll love....
Whale Trail's secret weapon was to team up a pair of talented designers with Wales' favorite song-writing son Gruff Rhys to create a game that owed something to Tiny Wings, but most of all to its own gameplay and charm. As with Tiny Wings, simple screen-touching is the order of the day as you lead the titular whale on a journey through the sky, dodging dark clouds and collecting little bubbles of oxygen. Colorful and eccentric, the mission-pack introduced earlier this year added some welcome, target-driven gameplay.
Deviating less from its forebear than Whale Trail, Sugar High replaced birds with dogs, coins with sweets, and opted for a steel-band salsa feel in favor of Tiny Wings' melancholic soundtrack. The landscapes feature their own new features too, with oranges and melons providing rollercoaster swoops through each cake-themed level. Highly recommended, but exhaust yourself on the fresher delights of Whale Trail before returning to this more familiar ground.
This is one game that divided even the most loyal of its players. It caught the imagination of millions at release, although some of them came to question whether their slavish devotion to this micro-management game actually amounted to proper gameplay, or a not-so-subtle jackpot machine where the house always wins through in-app purchases. The proposition was simple: manage the construction of an ever-increasing tower, balance happy residents with their preferred jobs and (above all) make sure your tower was much, much bigger than those of your friends.
If you liked Tiny Tower, you'll love....
Developer fight. This is one where we can hand over to the people behind the games who engaged in a very public bun fight over the perceived similarities between the two games. The short version is this: Tiny Tower developer NimbleBit claimed that Zynga had attempted to acquire them before the release of their phenomenally successful game. After releasing the rather similar-looking Dream Heights, Zynga's boss responded by referring to 1994 game SimTower, a game which bore a strong resemblance to both titles. His verdict? "We don't need to be first to market. We need to be the best in market," he commented in a company e-mail.
All sounds a bit legal to us so we'll move swiftly on. Both games offer a free initial app that's funded by in-game purchases, so you can decide for yourselves.
Grand Theft Auto III
If ever the name of a gaming series spoke for itself, this is it, and not much is needed by way of introduction for Rockstar's best-selling car crime franchise. The publisher blew expectations away at the end of last year by announcing a release of the first true 3D game in series for mobile devices. Incredible.
If you liked Grand Theft Auto III, you'll love....
Gameloft's Gangstar series takes off where even Rockstar fear to tread, bringing 3D crime action to mobile devices with riffs on both San Andreas and Vice City. Miami Vindication featured contributions from the script-writing talent behind critically-acclaimed crime series The Wire, while West Coast Hustle took on the meaner streets of Los Angeles.
Not the first endless-runner to make an appearance on the App Store by a long shot, but Adam Saltsman's endlessly compelling Canabalt remains as one of the brightest stars of the genre. The near-monochromatic cityscape runner tasks players with surviving a rooftop chase, leaping over the gaps between buildings, and dodging some rather annoyingly placed crates.
If you liked Canabalt, you'll love....
Robot Unicorn Attack
Insanity itself, Adult Swim's Robot Unicorn Attack is a classic endless-runner that tasks players with steering a rainbow-quiffed, mechanical unicorn through random landscapes, smashing into stars and taking leaps into the unknown. All to the tune of Erasure's 'Always'. One of the most satisfyingly ridiculous games we've played in years and a must-own for anyone.
One of the more unique runners on mobile devices, Solipskier requires you to paint the snow beneath your character in order to maximize speed, clear the gates that litter the course and chase an ever-higher score. Catch a green gate while flying through the air for a juicy injection of points. Tricky and insanely addictive.
One of those games that seems to travel towards any platform that can accommodate it, Fruit Ninja has made an appearance on the Xbox Live Arcade, tablets, and Android phones to name just a few. The objective of the game is simple: swipe away at the fruit appearing on the screen in order to slice them in half. Miss three pieces and it's back to the beginning in this thoroughly addictive classic.
If you liked Fruit Ninja, you'll love....
We'll let you draw your own conclusions about the disclaimer on developer Quantum Squid Games' YouTube channel, distancing itself from both Fruit Ninja and its developer. Anyway, Veggie Samurai is a vegetable-based game (how often does anyone get to type that?) that sees players swiping their fingers across the screen in order to slice vegetables in half. Enough said.
It's too easy to make quips about jaws and floors when it comes to Chair Entertainment's original proof of concept for this fighter, but everyone was stunned when it was first shown off. Once that scenic demo had evolved into the brutally combative Infinite Blade, the crowd only wanted more. They certainly got it with last year's bigger, more brutal sequel.
If you liked Infinity Blade, you'll love....
Blood and Glory
Cutting right to the chase, developer Glu Games delivered Blood & Glory to a captive audience who were hungry for more of the thoughtful slashing they'd grown accustomed to with Infinity Blade. Arena battling is combined with decapitating weapons, plenty of gore and a very satisfying combat system indeed. Not for the squeamish, but a meaty challenge for everyone else.