The iPhone and iPad are swimming in awesome game releases lately. Three titles worthy of special attention arrived on Apple’s mobile devices Thursday, with a little something for everyone, from casual gamers right up to those looking for a fairly rich role-playing game experience.
1. Cut the Rope: Experiments and Experiments HD (iPhone and iPad, $0.99 and $1.99 respectively)
One of the few casual titles that’s been able to challenge Angry Birds‘ App Store rule is Cut the Rope by ZeptoLab. The physics puzzler has a simple goal: cut ropes to help lead a piece of candy from one part of the screen to another, where the adorable lizard creature Om Nom waits to eat it.
Experiments is the sequel to the original Cut the Rope, and introduces 75 new levels, with more promised as updates down the road. The new game also packs a bunch of new objects that should add new dimensions of challenge to the task of feeding Om Nom. But if you’re already addicted to the original, you probably don’t need more convincing than the promise of new levels already provides. If you haven’t tried it yet, but want a game that you can pick up and play instantly, and drop just as quickly if the boss comes calling, this puzzler is a great pick.
2. Puerto Rico (iPad, $7.99)
Avid board game fans will likely recognize this one. Puerto Rico has long been a favorite among old-school gamers, and has racked up a number of accolades over the years to prove it. Like Settlers of Catan and other similar titles, it can be a bit overwhelming for new players, but the iPad app has the advantage of being able to provide instant help and in-app tutorials for beginners, so it’s actually way easier to pick up and play than the physical version.
Strategy fans looking for a game that will occupy and entertain up to four people (it has pass and play and local multiplayer) during the long summer nights that remain will definitely get a kick out of Puerto Rico. Plus, you can skip trying to keep track of all the little playing pieces and cards, as well as the clean-up afterwards
3. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (iPhone only; iPad version coming this fall, $15.99)
Square Enix is doing a really good job of making sure their back catalog of games is well-represented on iOS, and Thursday’s re-release of the original Final Fantasy tactical RPG is a great addition to that roster. Final Fantasy: Tactics borrows levelling and stats systems from more traditional role-playing games, but also introduces a strategic element as you control multiple characters and face groups of enemies in turn-based combat on a field of battle divided into a grid.
The game features optimized graphics for the iPhone and iPod touch, and also new touch controls that work remarkably well, considering the original was intended for use with button controls. One annoyance is that if you’re playing again after many previous play-throughs, as I am, you can’t fast-forward cut scenes, but Square Enix says that’s coming in an update.
Users might also balk at the game’s price: $15.99 is quite a bit higher than most App Store shoppers are used to. But if you’re new to the series, or if you just can’t get enough tactical RPG action, this is definitely worth the price tag.