Recently, we found out that Apple will soon begin to clean up its app store by removing troves of old apps. As we’ve made note of, this is something of a blow for indie developers, with various game makers having spoken out against the decision. But for the average user, it might actually help to de-clutter iOS categories and make it easier to find worthwhile downloads. This has gotten particularly difficult for gamers over the years, as the app store has become hopelessly crowded with so many options it’s hard to know where to look first.
As much as there are negative aspects to the coming iOS purge, it appears as if this is going to be a good time for mobile gamers to fine-tune and revamp their collections. So to help you get started, we’ve written up a list of just some of the essential games to pick out of the crowd.
One of the main drawbacks of playing a game on a portable device is that it can take time to get used to the controls. But this top-down archery shooter solves that problem by putting the player in charge of moving the character around the screen with a single finger, with the position determining the aim of the arrows. The result is a game that, despite a great deal of fairly chaotic action, is simple to play. You’ll have a blast playing through different settings, gathering power-ups, and taking on all sorts of enemies –– and it’s the kind of game you want to keep coming back to, which makes it well worth a download.
Following the longstanding trend of modern games imitating retro 8- and 16-bit styles, Huntdown is a side-scrolling shooter that adopts the aesthetics and themes of the Konami series Contra –– described by EpicTrick.com as the “progenitor” of the run ‘n gun genre. This mobile take on the concept immerses the player in a fast-paced battle playing out in a dystopian future, where justice is brought through extreme violence (and an assortment of spectacular weapons). It’s one of those retro-style games that you can’t help but be charmed by, despite its brutal nature.
This game is an odd but beloved blend of medieval text-style adventure and card game. You play the role of the king, charged with making continual decisions that determine your emphasis on religion, the people, the army, and money. With each new challenge brought before you, you swipe a card left or right to make a decision, and so long as these decisions keep the aforementioned elements of your kingdom balanced, you continue to reign. But if those elements become too unbalanced, you are deposed (in one nasty way or another). It’s a brilliant take on an original mobile game combining card and RPG features, and it’s a game that will have you constantly striving to beat your longest “reign.”
Giant Dancing Plushies
If you are a fan of giant monster movies and rhythm games –– or you just like to have a few mobile games that are a little bit weird –– then Giant Dancing Plushies might be just what you need. The objective of this title is to guide cute kaiju-like monsters through cities, while destroying buildings and entire armies by precisely following the notes of exciting electronic tracks. It’s delightfully bizarre, and extremely conducive to repeat play.
Texas Hold’em Poker Pokerist
If you have any interest in casino games or poker specifically, you’re like well aware that there are an awful lot of poker apps available. It can be tricky to identify the best options, but this one does stand out. As a recent write-up at Poker.org pointed out, it has some of the best graphics in the category, and also makes it particularly easy to jump into poker games against your friends (from anywhere in the world). While a lot of poker apps suffer from cluttered content or over-serious games (or both), this one provides an attractive interface and easy game options for those playing just for fun. It’s a satisfying app you can keep coming back to whenever you’re in the mood for a good card game.
If your preferred card game is more of a solo experience, and you want an app that just helps you take a break and decompress, it makes sense to have a solitaire option on hand as well. Here as with poker you have a lot of options, but Puzzle Solitaire offers one of the most engaging options. The objective of the game is to progressively solve an adorable jigsaw puzzle (lots of cute animated animals are involved) by winning rounds of tripeaks solitaire. It’s an easy game to get into if you’re new to tripeaks, and one that’s pleasant to play when you just want a simple, relaxing card-gaming experience.
Stardew Valley is perhaps the most popular game on this list –– which is all the more impressive when you consider that its gameplay, graphics, and music were created by just one individual! The game invites you to maintain a farm, befriend and help the villagers, or explore dangerous caves and mysterious islands as you like. Sometimes compared to old Zelda games, it’s gained an enthusiastic following and makes for a great combination of passive leisure and goal-oriented game progression. And as a review at IGN.com put it, there’s just a comfort to the experience.
Mobile gaming has expanded to a point at which there are almost too many options to make sense of. We don’t know how much Apple’s aforementioned app purge will change this, but if in fact we start to see fewer games, it might become a little easier to sort through them and identify the ones that are truly worth your time. That, of course, is a matter of personal preference. But we hope these suggestions have given you a few to consider!
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