Caps Avantis Game Studio
Kicking us off is a game already getting some face around the ‘net, Caps. This game is a battle of Team King-of-the-Mountain, where your mountain is a tabletop littered with all kinds of stuff, and your team is a set of bottle caps. A team is chosen at random to go first; then that team gets to fire their bottlecaps, drag-and-release slingshot style, with the goal of knocking the opposing teams’ bottlecaps off the table. You can play against the CPU, or against a friend (taking turns handing the phone back and forth)… and there’s a beta version of playing online via Wi-Fi that I haven’t gotten to try yet.
Like many other great games, it is very simple to play, and takes very strategic thinking to master. The obstacles on the table can be used to hide behind, to bank off of, to knock into opponents, or to knock in front of another one of your own caps to protect it. You need to use some touch when flinging your caps; easing up on the draw gives you a lighter tap across the table, great for sliding your cap right where you want it to be. Conversely, pulling back as far as you can on the draw can help you smash an obstacle into an opponent’s cap and send them to their doom.
Playing against the CPU on 9 different tabletops through 54 levels is a fine diversion, but what puts Caps over the top is having a Vs. 2-player mode; a rarity in a free game. This would be a great game to play with your date while you’re waiting for a table to open up at that busy restaurant Friday night (I wish I’d thought of it, this past weekend), or any situation where you and a friend are looking to kill some time. Be careful to avoid the hyper-competitive, unless you’re playing it on their phone – losses can be frustrating and phone-throwey!
I can only list one con; the music and sound effects are kind of obnoxious. Thankfully, you can turn them off. There is no paid version of this app as of yet, but the ads aren’t annoying enough to make you want it very badly. Click an ad from time to time to support these devs until a paid version comes out!
What an opening screen, huh? It tells you a great deal about what you need to know about this title. In an innovative twist on the accelerometer-utilizing Labyrinth-style games, you roll a metal ball back and forth in an effort to squish bugs before they can escape. It’s challenging, gruesome, yet satisfying. Not recommended for the squeamish!
Your insect enemies aren’t dummies; the AI allows them to try to avoid oblivion, and they’ll edge around obstacles and creep away from you if you let them. You also aren’t able to gingerly crush the bugs at any speed – you need to get a good roll going to reach full squishing power. As the game progresses, the obstacles are harder to avoid, bugs can spawn from more places, and spawn in greater numbers – you gotta get good, fast. Thankfully at later levels you get bonus weapons to help you in your quest to keep those no-good pests away from the red exit hole.
This game has OpenFeint for high scores and achievements (personal groan, nice for those who care), and non-bothersome ads. It is really nice to see devs getting their heads around the idea that keeping those ads in places that don’t make them a nuisance/too easy to click when you don’t want to is a good move. Keep up the great work, Bitorbit!
GridGame Free Tretherio
Free (ads), no-ads available for $0.99
It doesn’t get much more minimalistic or simple, and for once a screenshot says it all.
GridGame is a simple game written by a developer who doesn’t lack a sense of humor. It’s a good retro-feeling game for anyone who’s into this sort of thing (I’m looking at you, hipsters). Personally, I’m easy frustrated by games like this, because I’m bad at them. I prefer bright colors, lots of pretty objects, and less thinking involved. If a game like this is for you though, do download and enjoy it.
Doptrix Stanislav Merezhko
Free, in-app purchases available
Batting cleanup in this article is what I consider to be the superstar of this bunch (just behind Caps) is Doptrix, Stanislav Merezhko’s amazing twist (emphasis on twist) on the classic Tetris®. Instead of moving the pieces around as they fall to make lines to gain points and de-clutter the playfield, you move the entire playfield around and fire the game pieces into it, making it an entirely new experience.
In classic mode (what I play the most), you are not timed, and you are trying to accumulate as many points as possible by creating lines across the playfield. You can spin or flip the playing area, giving you a lot of options for places to fire your pieces. The pieces themselves you cannot rotate, but you can move them from side to side. The pieces must hit something in order to stop – you get a penalty to your points if you miss everything and fire the piece straight through the play area. This is a whole new challenge compared to Tetris® – the pieces that you were happy to see in that game tend to be a pain in the ass here. Once one of your pieces doesn’t fall completely within the play area (sticks out a bit) you lose.
Alternative mode is much like classic, only you cannot move your pieces from side to side, and the pieces are smaller; far more challenging. Puzzle mode gives you a set amount of pieces, with which you must eliminate (make lines of) all pieces on the board – another massive challenge. I’m still trying to master classic, so I haven’t spent much time playing these other modes, but I’m looking forward to be able to tackle them later.
Unlockable through in-app purchases are larger and smaller grid sizes for all game modes, and more puzzles. Thus far I haven’t been tempted, but I likely will once I’m actually any good at playing. As per usual I might buy them just to support the dev.
I have a bunch more screenshots of this, but they don’t really do the game justice; its a game of moving pieces. Go get it and try it for yourselves!
I have so many other games and apps to review! Check back daily, at the minimum – follow my Twitter if you want to find out about new posts right when they’re posted! See the errors I didn’t edit out yet before anybody else does!