The real point of Flashbang is to promote casual games. They don’t have to be Flash, though. Today I’m going to branch out a little bit and cover three games on the iPhone/iPod Touch. The iPhone offers a tremendous number of quality games that are either free or cheap for the amount of fun they provide. If you don’t have one, you can probably skip ahead (or read and be amazed by the amount of fun that your phone could offer you aside from the occasional drunk dialing episode).
Game: Mecho Wars
Developer: Oyagi Games
If you’ve ever played Advance Wars on the DS, you’ve played Mecho Wars. The Winged Crusade is warring with the Landians and you control one of them in a series of attacks against the other. You have several different units available to you and each one offers something different. Big tanks do a ton of damage from far away, but move slowly. Lightly armored soldier units can move a long distance each turn but can’t take many hits. Carefully work your way into enemy territory and capture his base to win each board. Each turn takes up an hour during the day or night, and at night all of the water freezes over, allowing land units to walk on it. Be careful, though, because in the morning any units left on the water will drown.
Excellent turn-based strategy game. My only real problem with it is that sometimes my meat hooks, er, fingers are too big for the little grid onscreen and I wind up skipping a turn or moving a unit to the wrong location accidentally. Taking care not to do that solved the problem. Extra special props go to Oyagi Games for putting out an update for free that adds a tremendous amount of content including the ability to play as the Landians.
Game: Paper Toss
Developer: Backflip Games
Paper Toss is just the kind of mindless entertainment that the iPhone offers that can keep you entertained while you wait in line at the DMV or in a doctor’s office. Some games require a little bit of a time commitment to finish a level or section, but this isn’t one of them. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You flick a paper ball towards a trash can, taking into consideration the “wind” created by a nearby fan. There are three difficulty settings and the difference is the proximity of the trash can. There’s an online leaderboard full of people that have a lot more time to sit around flicking paper balls than you do and excellent graphics. Miss too badly and get berated by nearby coworkers. Perfect when you have a minute or two to try and beat your personal best.
Game: Baseball Slugger
Baseball Slugger has become something of an obsession for me in the last week. Almost anytime I sit down I think about playing a quick game. It’s homerun derby with a jacked up avatar that you customize with items bought from the in-game store. To get items you earn gold balls by completing “missions” in game. Classic mode works like a real MLB homerun derby. Every pitch is either a home run or an out. Arcade mode allows you to gain some points for hits in fair territory and you only receive an out for a strike or a foul ball. Matchup mode puts you on their server and allows you to match up against players of similar skill in a head-to-head points battle. Be the first to fill your meter and you win.
Controls for this game are simple. Tilt the phone to move the bat shadow on screen and match it up with the ball. Tap anywhere on screen and the batter swings. You get bonuses for hitting multiple home runs in a row, hitting the scoreboards, hitting foul poles, and for getting hits to all fields (hitting one to left, right, and center will enable you to call your shot for more points). I must admit that I skipped through the instructions at first and didn’t realize the tilt feature. I was very good when the pitcher threw the ball down the middle and very lousy when he didn’t. See my initial 8-33 record in matchups for proof that this is a bad strategy.
Great graphics, good sound effects, and the ability to set a playlist from your iTunes library make playing this game a lot of fun. I can’t overstate the ease of the online mode. With a couple of quick taps you’re playing in real time against an opponent from Japan or Australia. Look me up as Daxcollins if you’re around and looking for a whuppin’. Don’t let the 8-33 record fool you (I’m now 20-34 since discovering the tilt. I’m a noob.).
The iPhone offers a great way to play games much like the DS does. The difference is that it’s your phone and you’re carrying it in your pocket anyway. Sure, I Twitter and check out Facebook and my Google Reader account on my iPhone, but increasingly I’m skipping over the social networking and Internet and playing games. Don’t get me wrong, there are a LOT of bad games out there. The touch screen interface simply doesn’t lend itself to everything and the gross misuse of the accelerometer is a constant headache when you’re trying out new games. Luckily, most games offer a “lite” mode that’s free to try. If you like it, you can invest your two bucks in the full version. These three games understood the limitations and worked around them in creative and fun ways. Enjoy.