Hot air. Melting popsicles. Scorching leather seats. It’s hard not to feel the burn on your days off this summer, especially if you’re at risk for lobster-level sunburns.
If you’d rather spend some time in an air-conditioned sanctuary, then it’s time to get absorbed in some of the most intricate, twisting games that the iPad has to offer. This roundup doesn’t include any casual classics like Cut the Rope or Angry Birds. Instead, the titles below will provide hours of entertainment that will make you happy you decided to stay in a nice cool place.
Deep, dark and twisting, this indie classic from PlayDead games can be a little heavy for some, but if you can overcome the immense sense of dread this game does well to create, you’ll find some amazing brain teasers lurking around every corner. You play a young, nameless boy who has woken up in a dark forest where — no surprise — everything can kill him. The violence may be a bit shocking for some, but this game is a solid departure from the standard fluffy and casual iPad game.
As a child, my parents had a copy of Don Bluth’s arcade masterpiece, Dragon’s Lair, for LaserDisc, because it was the only way to play the game outside of the arcade. However, thanks to advances in technology, the cartoon-like masterpiece is available for the tablet with better loading times. This port of the game features all of the original cut scenes, and you try to do it in a single shot or with infinite lives to experience the game without repeating.
The Professor Layton series is one of Nintendo’s most recent franchise hits, with the titular detective and his boy assistant Luke Triton solving long-running mysteries set in different towns. The iPad spin-off Layton Brothers Mystery Room continues the tradition of other Layton games with its detailed drawings and compelling stories, but the journey of Alfendi Layton and his deputy Lucy Baker deals much more directly in solving mysteries. Crime buffs will certainly get a kick out of Layton Brothers, which allows players to investigate crime scenes, interrogate witnesses and catch the culprit.
Point-and-click adventure games are coming back in a big way this year, and indie blockbuster Super Brothers Sword & Sworcery EP has been successfully ported to the tap-and-swipe world of tablet gaming. As a monk travelling on a “woeful errand,” players will find different gameplay experiences depending on the time of day and a rich soundtrack to carry through all of the time-related tasks. This game doesn’t have a whole lot of adventure packed into it, but its pacing also reduces the pressure to find the next puzzle.
Capcom’s serial attorney role-playing game for the Game Boy Advance, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, is available on a freemium basis for iPad — allowing for users to yell, “Objection!” at questions posted to sweating witnesses. While Phoenix Wright doesn’t necessarily follow how a real court proceeds, it offers dramatic cases and stories that will reward eagle-eye gamers for discrepancies in court documents and key submissions of evidence.
Keeping in line with other profession-focused games, arcade and PlayStation classic Crazy Taxi offers a much more action-packed take on trying out someone else’s career. The game is simple: pick up a fare, get a time limit, and take the person to their set destination before they get so mad that they hop out of your car. Utilizing the iPad’s gyroscope, Crazy Taxi really is…crazy. And hard to control. But the mayhem is part of the game, so if you’re a driving fan, you’ll get hours out of it.
Independence Day is really all about lighting things on fire. Oddly enough, that’s the entire premise of Little Inferno, a game that allows you to set a bunch of catalog items ablaze in a toy fireplace. Funny, sad, and all about willful ignorance, this game will suck away hours of time with its simple, flame-oriented mechanic.