Mobile gaming has come a long way from the nascent days of the 1st generation iPhone’s bold attempts to dethrone Nintendo in this arena. Now, the pricing paradigm has shifted, much to Sony and Nintendo’s chagrin, to 99 cent apps and the more premium gaming experiences of $5, $10, and even the rare $15 game that can actually hold its own and move units. That’s right, games today are not merely gimmicks or quick cash-ins, but well thought out, deep experiences, either built from the ground up for touch (think of one of the first breakthrough hits, Angry Birds) or ported from other systems with expert care, or built for multiple platforms, but with touch controls in the forefront of the developer’s minds.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of premiere experiences on smartphones today.
Blizzard has delivered an absolute gem of a port, with all the functionality of the original PC Random Number Generator card game. Hearthstone resembles a more accessible Magic: The Gathering, but is built on the World of Warcraft universe that so many MMORPG players have come to adore. The recent ‘The Grand Tournament’ expansion breathes new life into an ever-evolving, competitive meta-game for those that choose go deep, while also keeping things interesting for casual players.
The World Ends with You
This is a hidden diamond in the rough, originally released for the Nintendo DS system by Square Enix. It took advantage of the touch screen controls for that system, and has the option to use touch controls here, or a more simplified combat option. The gameplay, story, and characters all come to life on this overlooked RPG that is simply a blast to play.
Puzzle fans, eat your hearts out. The sequel to the excellently-conceived ‘Dots,’ Two Dots takes the player through a campaign of sorts of increasing difficulty to connect like-coloured dots arranged in a grid and, where possible, connect a square to eliminate all dots of the same colour on screen. It’s super simple, yet incredibly addictive. Give this one a try.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Often touted as one of the first truly exceptional Star Wars-licenced games (with apologies to X-Wing vs Tie Fighter), KOTOR brought a great story to fans of the original trilogy when Bioware first released this RPG landmark in 2003 to wash out the bad taste Episode One left in their mouths. With updated resolution, this game holds up on mobile platforms with a fun combat system and a deep universe to explore.