iOS Game Perfection

I have used an iPhone since the 3G was launched in 2008 and although I do still play games on other platforms (Xbox mainly) most of my hours of gaming will have been on iPhone or iPad. Throughout my decade or so of experiencing iPhone games I’ve come across a few developers who repeatedly strike gold with their creations.

Martin Jonasson - @grapefrukt

rymdkapsel

rymdkapsel

Martin is adept at taking a currently popular genre and creating a masterpiece within it. The wildly popular Holedown takes the brick breaking genre, pioneered by the likes of BB Tan and Ballz, and refines it into a beautifully addictive mobile gem. His previous game, twofold inc. did a similar thing for number matching games like Threes and 2048. However, his most brilliant work, in my opinion, is rymdkapsel.

Rymdkapsel is a strategy game stripped bare. The beautifully sparse graphics are paired with similarly uncomplicated gameplay. Colour coded tetronimo rooms are visited by an ever-growing team of semi-intelligent automatons. The ultimate goal is simple and the player learns everything they need to know within minutes.

Rymdkapsel looks and sounds beautiful and the super-tight gameplay fits a theme across all the games listed here.

Zach Gage - @helvetica

Spelltower

Spelltower

I encountered Zach’s work early on when I played Unify, which pioneered the use of multitouch on Apple’s new device. His output has included gems like Really Bad Chess, Flip Flop Solitaire and the brilliant Pocket Run Pool. For a long time I was consumed by his wonderful word game Spell Tower, and proudly held the top spot on the global leaderboard thanks to manipulating the board into allowing me to spell a ludicrously long word.

Aaron Steed - @st33d

Bump 2

Bump 2

I played a game by Aaron Steed many years ago, and it stayed with me. Ending is an abstract, greyscale rogue-like with a wonderfully tactile feel and punishing gameplay. I prefer the adventure mode over the levels, but have never managed to reach the eponymous ending.

And then, in compiling this story I made a discovery. Not only did Aaron create many of my favourite Nitrome games - including the absolutely superb Magic Touch, but he is also still developing that rogue-like concept he introduced in Ending. His latest game, Bump 2 is great. It’s new, there aren’t that many players on the leaderboard, but I’m currently third with just shy of 100,000 and I’m battling for the top spot!

Doug Cowley - @MagmaFortress

Whilst were on the subject of rogue-likes, one of my absolute favourites is Doug Cowley’s Hoplite. I think it may have been influenced by the last game on this list (you know, that one down there) but it’s certainly not a copy, by any means. Hoplite is another game which has consumed many hours of my time. I recently finally unlocked the Atheist achievement (for effectively completing the game without using any power-ups). I didn’t count, but I suspect this video shows attempt number 500, or thereabouts.

Michael Brough - @smestorp

868-HACK

868-HACK

You knew it was coming. Michael Brough has taken compact rogue-likes to a new level and whilst his recent games Cinco Paus and Imbroglio garnered rave reviews, it his earlier masterpiece, 868-HACK, that I consider to be one of the greatest video games ever made. Yes, you heard that right. I would put this up there with Elite, Mario Kart and Half Life.

868-HACK is a rogue-like played through a series of single screen, 6x6 rooms. The constraints of the world and the relentless behaviour of the enemies mean that you have to make every single move count. Each square on the board serves a purpose and the dynamically generated rooms mean that every game presents unique challenges and surprises. It is brutal and beautiful.

Glenn BroadwayComment