Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

Tri It! Triangle Puzzle

The game play for Tri It is simple and pretty ingenious. The game board is a shape divided into a bunch of triangles of the same shape. Equilateral perhaps? The game piece is 1 or 2 triangles positioned somewhere on that board. The easier puzzles start with one triangle – Your objective is to move the triangle to another place on the board by “flipping” it along one of its sides. You keep doing this until the triangle ends up at the goal. This is interesting because the movement isn’t intuitive…you can’t just follow a straight line. Additional challenge is introduced by having barriers between certain places on the board, more than one triangle (all of which are affected by each swipe), having “transporter” places, different colored triangles, or having “enemy” triangles that you have to move out of the way (in the same manner). If you like this type of game, I think it’s pretty innovative and worth a look.

Survival Score: A couple dozen levels before it was too difficult for me

SwipeTap Tap Pro

Another arcade game with a simple premise: you get an unending string of actions you are supposed to perform and when you screw up, game over. Here, you have to tap the screen, or swipe left or right, or double tape the screen, or swipe up or down, or double swipe…well, you get the picture. This game has a solid level-up path, and easily becomes challenging the longer you play. If you lose, you do need to go back to the beginning of the level, which can be annoying. And be sure to leave out the space in SwipeTap when you search for the game.

Survival score: a few games

SwipeTap Tap Pro

Another arcade game with a simple premise: you get an unending string of actions you are supposed to perform and when you screw up, game over. Here, you have to tap the screen, or swipe left or right, or double tape the screen, or swipe up or down, or double swipe…well, you get the picture. This game has a solid level-up path, and easily becomes challenging the longer you play. If you lose, you do need to go back to the beginning of the level, which can be annoying. And be sure to leave out the space in SwipeTap when you search for the game.

Survival score: a few games

Tractor Beam

The look and feel of this game is very nostalgic — it’s all classic asteroid. But instead of shooting the asteroids that come at you, you send out a grappling hook (see my last posting on Gravity Hook), and pull yourself forward, trying not to hit any of the oncoming asteroids (game over). No gravity in the game (thank goodness) but there is inertia. So, when you grab an asteroid, you exert force on it and pull it towards you. The effect of this varies depending on the size of the asteroid. The goal is just to go as far as you can without smashing up into little matchsticks. A nice thing is that when this happens, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Survival Score: several games, now and then

Tractor Beam

The look and feel of this game is very nostalgic — it’s all classic asteroid. But instead of shooting the asteroids that come at you, you send out a grappling hook (see my last posting on Gravity Hook), and pull yourself forward, trying not to hit any of the oncoming asteroids (game over). No gravity in the game (thank goodness) but there is inertia. So, when you grab an asteroid, you exert force on it and pull it towards you. The effect of this varies depending on the size of the asteroid. The goal is just to go as far as you can without smashing up into little matchsticks. A nice thing is that when this happens, you don’t have to go all the way back to the beginning.

Survival Score: several games, now and then

Gravity Hook HD

The game is easier to play than describe, but I’ll try. You’re a little person in a space suit, and you have a grappling hook. There are a bunch of orbs in the air above you. Touch one of them and the hook will grab it and pull you up. But you have to be strategic because there is only so much power in your hook. The farther away the orb, the less power you have to get pulled up. And there is gravity, so as soon as you can, you need to move to a different, higher orb, or else you’ll fall and lose. The orbs have different properties too — sometimes, they blow up after 3 seconds (blowing you up too if you are near), sometimes they fall immediately, and so on. Turns out I’m not very good at it…

Survival score: A few games

Gravity Hook HD

The game is easier to play than describe, but I’ll try. You’re a little person in a space suit, and you have a grappling hook. There are a bunch of orbs in the air above you. Touch one of them and the hook will grab it and pull you up. But you have to be strategic because there is only so much power in your hook. The farther away the orb, the less power you have to get pulled up. And there is gravity, so as soon as you can, you need to move to a different, higher orb, or else you’ll fall and lose. The orbs have different properties too — sometimes, they blow up after 3 seconds (blowing you up too if you are near), sometimes they fall immediately, and so on. Turns out I’m not very good at it…

Survival score: A few games

Supersonic HD

If you like those roller coasters where you flip around in 360 degree corkscrews, you’ll like this game. You’re in pretty small tunnel in a first-person view, and the game speeds you along through the tunnel as it winds and twists You have to collect diamonds and avoid mines. When you hit one of the barrier-type structures that appear periodically, it’s game over. You move left and right by tilting the iPad , and since it’s a tunnel and there is no gravity, there is a lot of flipping upside down. The first person view means that you never experience the upside down-ness. The tunnel seems to rotate instead. The developers say the game has great music, but I play with the sound off—too hectic for me as it is!

Survival score: A few games.

Supersonic HD

If you like those roller coasters where you flip around in 360 degree corkscrews, you’ll like this game. You’re in pretty small tunnel in a first-person view, and the game speeds you along through the tunnel as it winds and twists You have to collect diamonds and avoid mines. When you hit one of the barrier-type structures that appear periodically, it’s game over. You move left and right by tilting the iPad , and since it’s a tunnel and there is no gravity, there is a lot of flipping upside down. The first person view means that you never experience the upside down-ness. The tunnel seems to rotate instead. The developers say the game has great music, but I play with the sound off—too hectic for me as it is!

Survival score: A few games.

Spectre 3D

This is a throwback to the arcade games where you move around a battlefield and shoot things, avoid other things, and collect some stuff. In Spectre 3D (make sure you put the 3D on when you search for it) you are a tank, and you are being chased by other tanks. You have to collect flags to go to the next level (at least, I think you go to the next level, I’ve never made it that far). The tank can jump, which is handy, but it can’t really turn. Who builds a tank that can jump but not turn?!

Survival score: A few games

Spectre 3D

This is a throwback to the arcade games where you move around a battlefield and shoot things, avoid other things, and collect some stuff. In Spectre 3D (make sure you put the 3D on when you search for it) you are a tank, and you are being chased by other tanks. You have to collect flags to go to the next level (at least, I think you go to the next level, I’ve never made it that far). The tank can jump, which is handy, but it can’t really turn. Who builds a tank that can jump but not turn?!

Survival score: A few games

Cursed Treasure HD

Cursed Treasure is a pretty standard tower defense game with enough interesting elements that I actually played all of the levels (about 25 of them) and thought seriously about going back and getting “gold” ratings on all of them. Some people find tower defense games tremendously boring. But I think of it sort of like dynamic chess. I set up my board, invite in the waves of marauders, and modify my defenses in real time to both anticipate their strengths and (hopefully) demolish them. The theme is a gridded open countryside. Each square is either grass, snow, or rock. Or a “special” square. There are three towers corresponding to the three different types of squares, and the square and the tower must match. Any tower can be built on the special squares. The bad guys are pretty ordinary tower defense stuff — some are stronger, some can disappear, some are faster, etc. What is cool about Cursed Treasure is that there are dozens of different upgrades. You “purchase” them with skill points, which you earn by playing (not necessarily by winning). And each of the upgrades has anywhere from 2-5 levels, so the upgrading goes on and on and on… For me, it provides a little thrill of power to see my towers go into frenzy shooting 20% faster than before! and so forth.

Survival Score: Hours. Had to stop myself from attempting a perfect score.

Cursed Treasure HD

Cursed Treasure is a pretty standard tower defense game with enough interesting elements that I actually played all of the levels (about 25 of them) and thought seriously about going back and getting “gold” ratings on all of them. Some people find tower defense games tremendously boring. But I think of it sort of like dynamic chess. I set up my board, invite in the waves of marauders, and modify my defenses in real time to both anticipate their strengths and (hopefully) demolish them. The theme is a gridded open countryside. Each square is either grass, snow, or rock. Or a “special” square. There are three towers corresponding to the three different types of squares, and the square and the tower must match. Any tower can be built on the special squares. The bad guys are pretty ordinary tower defense stuff — some are stronger, some can disappear, some are faster, etc. What is cool about Cursed Treasure is that there are dozens of different upgrades. You “purchase” them with skill points, which you earn by playing (not necessarily by winning). And each of the upgrades has anywhere from 2-5 levels, so the upgrading goes on and on and on… For me, it provides a little thrill of power to see my towers go into frenzy shooting 20% faster than before! and so forth.

Survival Score: Hours. Had to stop myself from attempting a perfect score.

Durion

s you know, I am a word game fanatic. In order to keep my attention, a new game must offer something unusual or distinctive. And it has to have a good dictionary. Durion’s dictionary is mostly OK. But the gameplay seemed to me, initially, to be pretty typical– a dropping letters game. You get a row of letters, make a word and zap it in for points, with bonuses for word length, speed, and how many times you’ve gone without a false entry. And so, it was headed for the recycle bin. But then I uncovered a couple of things — things I couldn’t pick up in the incredibly confusing instructions. First, I could make the letters drop faster. The default speed was mind numbingly slow. Second, I could move the letters around in the tray, a la Scrabble style. So instead of identifying words in the dropping letters, it became more of a strategy and probability game. I could choose some letters thinking that I had a high probability of using them in a word (different letters have different point value, so is a bit of a gamble — play it safe and run out of time, or go for the big points but possibly go bust!?) and then change my mind about what word to make as the letters continue to drop. As a result of this serendipitous discovery, Durion kept me occupied for a good hour straight.

Survival score: 30-60 minute sessions.

Durion

s you know, I am a word game fanatic. In order to keep my attention, a new game must offer something unusual or distinctive. And it has to have a good dictionary. Durion’s dictionary is mostly OK. But the gameplay seemed to me, initially, to be pretty typical– a dropping letters game. You get a row of letters, make a word and zap it in for points, with bonuses for word length, speed, and how many times you’ve gone without a false entry. And so, it was headed for the recycle bin. But then I uncovered a couple of things — things I couldn’t pick up in the incredibly confusing instructions. First, I could make the letters drop faster. The default speed was mind numbingly slow. Second, I could move the letters around in the tray, a la Scrabble style. So instead of identifying words in the dropping letters, it became more of a strategy and probability game. I could choose some letters thinking that I had a high probability of using them in a word (different letters have different point value, so is a bit of a gamble — play it safe and run out of time, or go for the big points but possibly go bust!?) and then change my mind about what word to make as the letters continue to drop. As a result of this serendipitous discovery, Durion kept me occupied for a good hour straight.

Survival score: 30-60 minute sessions.

1 Bit Ninja

2D platformer looks just like every other Mario clone except with not just crappy graphics and controls but REALLY crappy graphics and controls. If you play platformers all the time, you’ll probably think this 1 Bit Ninja is cute. You can run just one direction, only one speed (fast), and you die a lot. Well, I died a lot. Didn’t even bother making it through first level. OK, those of you crying foul, supposedly (according to the web page), the whole 2D thing is a ruse and it’s actually 3D with hidden paths and stuff. I couldn’t even get far enough to explore that option!

Survival score: Get it out of here!

1 Bit Ninja

2D platformer looks just like every other Mario clone except with not just crappy graphics and controls but REALLY crappy graphics and controls. If you play platformers all the time, you’ll probably think this 1 Bit Ninja is cute. You can run just one direction, only one speed (fast), and you die a lot. Well, I died a lot. Didn’t even bother making it through first level. OK, those of you crying foul, supposedly (according to the web page), the whole 2D thing is a ruse and it’s actually 3D with hidden paths and stuff. I couldn’t even get far enough to explore that option!

Survival score: Get it out of here!

Crossword Light and Crux Crosswords

I am not a serious crossword puzzler. But I really like the ones that hit at the sweet spot of being challenging without being exasperating. And a bonus when they have interesting words that people might actually use (granted, provided they have large vocabularies). There are dozens of crossword apps out there, but many are for serious crossworders, or those who want to download puzzles from their favorite publications (like the NYT). Because I don’t need that, Crossword Light and Crux are great. Each comes with a healthy number of puzzles (a few dozen each), divided into different levels of difficulty. The easy ones are not too easy, and the hard ones are not too hard. Everything within my range. Each has an option to “check” or to “reveal” either a cell or a clue or the whole puzzle. If you “check” (which I do a few times a puzzle) then every wrong letter is marked with a red tick in the corner. I like that. I like Crossword Light’s puzzles a bit more, and Crux’s interface a bit more (e.g., it removes items from the clue list if you filled in the word). But I definitely recommend either one. Crossword Light is free, Crux Crosswords I picked up on sale for a buck. If you buy the paid version of Crossword Light, you can download puzzles from different publications.

Survival Score: Permanent place

Crossword Light and Crux Crosswords

I am not a serious crossword puzzler. But I really like the ones that hit at the sweet spot of being challenging without being exasperating. And a bonus when they have interesting words that people might actually use (granted, provided they have large vocabularies). There are dozens of crossword apps out there, but many are for serious crossworders, or those who want to download puzzles from their favorite publications (like the NYT). Because I don’t need that, Crossword Light and Crux are great. Each comes with a healthy number of puzzles (a few dozen each), divided into different levels of difficulty. The easy ones are not too easy, and the hard ones are not too hard. Everything within my range. Each has an option to “check” or to “reveal” either a cell or a clue or the whole puzzle. If you “check” (which I do a few times a puzzle) then every wrong letter is marked with a red tick in the corner. I like that. I like Crossword Light’s puzzles a bit more, and Crux’s interface a bit more (e.g., it removes items from the clue list if you filled in the word). But I definitely recommend either one. Crossword Light is free, Crux Crosswords I picked up on sale for a buck. If you buy the paid version of Crossword Light, you can download puzzles from different publications.

Survival Score: Permanent place

Topple!

From the name, you’d think this was a stacking game, right? It’s not. Definitely not the right name. In fact, there is another game on the store called Topple (no exclamation mark) that is all about stacking. So be sure to get the one with the !. This is is the iPad-ified version of those puzzles where you have to figure out a fairly long quote or a saying. You get the blanks where the letters go, and the blanks line up like columns. At the bottom of each column are the letters that go into the column, but mixed up, so you have to figure out which letter goes into which blank. What I like about these is that each puzzle isn’t necessarily all that hard, but the game comes with hundreds of quotes, and additional packs are a buck for about 50 puzzles. The game play is very smooth and the interface is simple and uncluttered. It has a left handed setting (a nice touch for lefties like me) and–like the best examples in the pencil-and-paper world–the quotes are sometimes witty or clever.

Survival Score: Permanent place

Topple!

From the name, you’d think this was a stacking game, right? It’s not. Definitely not the right name. In fact, there is another game on the store called Topple (no exclamation mark) that is all about stacking. So be sure to get the one with the !. This is is the iPad-ified version of those puzzles where you have to figure out a fairly long quote or a saying. You get the blanks where the letters go, and the blanks line up like columns. At the bottom of each column are the letters that go into the column, but mixed up, so you have to figure out which letter goes into which blank. What I like about these is that each puzzle isn’t necessarily all that hard, but the game comes with hundreds of quotes, and additional packs are a buck for about 50 puzzles. The game play is very smooth and the interface is simple and uncluttered. It has a left handed setting (a nice touch for lefties like me) and–like the best examples in the pencil-and-paper world–the quotes are sometimes witty or clever.

Survival Score: Permanent place

Towers Infinite

And thus begins a set of posts about pencil-and-paper games that have been iPad-ified. In Towers Infinite, you get a grid (4×4 for easy, and 6×6 for very hard). Along the edges of the grid are numbers. The numbers tell you how many towers are “visible” from that position if you look down the column or across the row. On the easier levels, some of the boxes will already be filled in. So, it’s completely a puzzle, specifically a logic puzzle. Love it. There are several of these on the store, what I like about this one is the many levels of difficulty, and how you can get a hint or check an answer. And, like on the better sudoku games, you have an option of entering multiple numbers in a box until you decide which one is correct.

Survival score: permanent place

Towers Infinite

And thus begins a set of posts about pencil-and-paper games that have been iPad-ified. In Towers Infinite, you get a grid (4×4 for easy, and 6×6 for very hard). Along the edges of the grid are numbers. The numbers tell you how many towers are “visible” from that position if you look down the column or across the row. On the easier levels, some of the boxes will already be filled in. So, it’s completely a puzzle, specifically a logic puzzle. Love it. There are several of these on the store, what I like about this one is the many levels of difficulty, and how you can get a hint or check an answer. And, like on the better sudoku games, you have an option of entering multiple numbers in a box until you decide which one is correct.

Survival score: permanent place

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

Train Defense

his game is sort of like a tower defense game except you don’t have towers, you have a train engine with one car, and you use your finger to lay down tracks to travel along. If you run out of track, you just sit still until you make more tracks. So, the game board has passengers to pick up on the left of the screen, and you drop them off on the right. Plus, a big ol’ water tower in the middle you need to go around. Simple enough. Yes, but then bad, bad vehicles start moving in, to steal your water or to shoot you. Did I mention that your train car has a turret on top? Luckily, you don’t have to aim, you just have to get close enough and it shoots on its own. You have a certain amount of life points. Once those are gone, the game is over. When you deliver passengers, you get “money,” which you can use to upgrade your weapons and add train cars, and so forth. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get them attached. I think that’s just because I haven’t played enough. I get a little stressed out, so I only play a bit at a time.

Survival Score: Fun, in short bursts

HawaiiDrop HD

Sometimes, I don’t download updates to the games I’ve already purchased. Why? Because developers add advertisements, or in-app purchases, or whatever. But I would download an update to HawaiiDrop in an instant. Once I got the hang of it, I found I really enjoy it. What’s the problem? Crashes after the first few levels. So, if it worked, this would be a 5 star game. The game board is a grid, around 8×8 or so. Various squares have puddles of water in them. Some puddles are bigger than others. You flick a puddle across the board, and if it hits another puddle, the two puddles will join. If the puddle gets to big (more than 5 drops), it will burst, sending 4 drops of water outward, one in each direction. Do it right and you start a chain reaction, the drops of water hit a large puddle, which then bursts, and so on and so on. What happened to that last drop of water, you ask? It goes into your “pool” (get it? I made that up) of drops that you can use when you get stuck. Just tap on a puddle to add a drop. Each flick also costs a drop of water, so there is some strategy involved. Level is won when you clear the puddles, or lost when you use up your pool of extra drops.

Survival Score: It self destructed, wish it would have lasted longer.

HawaiiDrop HD

Sometimes, I don’t download updates to the games I’ve already purchased. Why? Because developers add advertisements, or in-app purchases, or whatever. But I would download an update to HawaiiDrop in an instant. Once I got the hang of it, I found I really enjoy it. What’s the problem? Crashes after the first few levels. So, if it worked, this would be a 5 star game. The game board is a grid, around 8×8 or so. Various squares have puddles of water in them. Some puddles are bigger than others. You flick a puddle across the board, and if it hits another puddle, the two puddles will join. If the puddle gets to big (more than 5 drops), it will burst, sending 4 drops of water outward, one in each direction. Do it right and you start a chain reaction, the drops of water hit a large puddle, which then bursts, and so on and so on. What happened to that last drop of water, you ask? It goes into your “pool” (get it? I made that up) of drops that you can use when you get stuck. Just tap on a puddle to add a drop. Each flick also costs a drop of water, so there is some strategy involved. Level is won when you clear the puddles, or lost when you use up your pool of extra drops.

Survival Score: It self destructed, wish it would have lasted longer.

Control Craft and Control Craft 2

My son tells me games like Control Craft are called “real time strategy’ games. I’m not quite sure what that means, but strategy is definitely at the core of what I like Control Craft. It’s basically you against 1 or 2 computer opponents. You each have 1 or 2 outposts. These outposts create — “spawn” — soldiers and hold onto them until your dispatch them to another outpost (either all of once or half of them) to capture it. Then those captured outposts make even more soldiers. Eventually, you have to battle the enemy over an outpost, taking it over with the sheer number of soldiers you throw at it. You win the round when you have captured all of the outposts (or, you lose the level when you have no outposts left). The pacing is a little slow, plodding even…must be all the equipment the soldier have to carry. There is nice variety — soldiers can fly from some outposts, and some create double sized super-soldiers. There are defensive towers that zap you until you capture them, and some outposts create soldiers faster than others do. Gameplay is the same in both the original and the sequel. HOWEVER, the first I rate 5 starts and the second only 4, because there are levels in the second that I found impossible to even come close to winning…the strategy there, I think, is that the game developers want to capture your money…you need to put down real cash to purchase special weapons. A buck for 1 measly bomb? Well, forget that. I just won’t play those last 3 levels!

Survival score: Played all the way through, several hours.

Control Craft and Control Craft 2

My son tells me games like Control Craft are called “real time strategy’ games. I’m not quite sure what that means, but strategy is definitely at the core of what I like Control Craft. It’s basically you against 1 or 2 computer opponents. You each have 1 or 2 outposts. These outposts create — “spawn” — soldiers and hold onto them until your dispatch them to another outpost (either all of once or half of them) to capture it. Then those captured outposts make even more soldiers. Eventually, you have to battle the enemy over an outpost, taking it over with the sheer number of soldiers you throw at it. You win the round when you have captured all of the outposts (or, you lose the level when you have no outposts left). The pacing is a little slow, plodding even…must be all the equipment the soldier have to carry. There is nice variety — soldiers can fly from some outposts, and some create double sized super-soldiers. There are defensive towers that zap you until you capture them, and some outposts create soldiers faster than others do. Gameplay is the same in both the original and the sequel. HOWEVER, the first I rate 5 starts and the second only 4, because there are levels in the second that I found impossible to even come close to winning…the strategy there, I think, is that the game developers want to capture your money…you need to put down real cash to purchase special weapons. A buck for 1 measly bomb? Well, forget that. I just won’t play those last 3 levels!

Survival score: Played all the way through, several hours.

Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull HD

Though PC gamers might be jaded to this, I thought it was so cool that this game had actors portray characters….10 or so… And deliver answers to a bunch of questions. This in addition to the typical hidden object elements…a diary, a set of clues, mini puzzles, etc. Also a plus is that the hint system is not cheesy. The story is also really good, with an ending I did not expect at all. You are called to investigate a disappearance in a small town in the bayou, an old pirate legend is involved, the requisite voodoo, and other southern stereotypes. The puzzles are plentiful, and often very clever, instead of the same old variations on the same old themes. A downside is that you can’t choose to get the info in text form, and if you miss what one of the characters says, you can’t get them to repeat it. So, make sure your husband doesn’t start talking to you during a video clip, and that you have your earphones in if you want to play the game in bed when your husband wants to sleep.

Oh, and when you think the game is over, it isn’t! There is at least 1 more hour more. I will say nothing more!

Survival score: Straight through, a few long nights.

Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull HD

Though PC gamers might be jaded to this, I thought it was so cool that this game had actors portray characters….10 or so… And deliver answers to a bunch of questions. This in addition to the typical hidden object elements…a diary, a set of clues, mini puzzles, etc. Also a plus is that the hint system is not cheesy. The story is also really good, with an ending I did not expect at all. You are called to investigate a disappearance in a small town in the bayou, an old pirate legend is involved, the requisite voodoo, and other southern stereotypes. The puzzles are plentiful, and often very clever, instead of the same old variations on the same old themes. A downside is that you can’t choose to get the info in text form, and if you miss what one of the characters says, you can’t get them to repeat it. So, make sure your husband doesn’t start talking to you during a video clip, and that you have your earphones in if you want to play the game in bed when your husband wants to sleep.

Oh, and when you think the game is over, it isn’t! There is at least 1 more hour more. I will say nothing more!

Survival score: Straight through, a few long nights.

Roads of Rome HD

What, you say, you were intrigued by my last post and want to try another one? Roads of Rome is pretty standard. Much closer to the standard approach of the genre — to build a road, while overcoming obstacles, gathering a gem or two, making sure your workers are fed, and finishing before dark. And the standard interface…the only distinguishing feature here is that the tiny workers are wearing togas and sandals. The side story, such as it is, is that the emperor is keeping the General in the field fixing roads in order to keep him away from his daughter. I won’t give away the ending, suffice it to say they are depending on you.

Survival score: Straight through, 10-20 hours.

Roads of Rome HD

What, you say, you were intrigued by my last post and want to try another one? Roads of Rome is pretty standard. Much closer to the standard approach of the genre — to build a road, while overcoming obstacles, gathering a gem or two, making sure your workers are fed, and finishing before dark. And the standard interface…the only distinguishing feature here is that the tiny workers are wearing togas and sandals. The side story, such as it is, is that the emperor is keeping the General in the field fixing roads in order to keep him away from his daughter. I won’t give away the ending, suffice it to say they are depending on you.

Survival score: Straight through, 10-20 hours.

Island Tribe HD

I am a sucker for time management games, and there are a bunch that use the same basic theme — you have a worker, and then have to gather resources, construct buildings, wars off baddies, etc. Island Tribe has a couple of interesting twists on the genre — the most obvious one is that (starting after a few beginning levels) most of the playing field is obstructed at the start of the round by “fog”. The fog clears as you explore the level. Another interesting twist is that some resources can only be made if you have enough of another resource… Like, to make wool, you need to give the rancher bags of grain. But to get grain, you need to give the farmer buckets of water. About 30 levels overall, lasted me on a long flight, and several long lines at Walt Disney World.

Survival score: Played straight through, 12-15 hours.

Island Tribe HD

I am a sucker for time management games, and there are a bunch that use the same basic theme — you have a worker, and then have to gather resources, construct buildings, wars off baddies, etc. Island Tribe has a couple of interesting twists on the genre — the most obvious one is that (starting after a few beginning levels) most of the playing field is obstructed at the start of the round by “fog”. The fog clears as you explore the level. Another interesting twist is that some resources can only be made if you have enough of another resource… Like, to make wool, you need to give the rancher bags of grain. But to get grain, you need to give the farmer buckets of water. About 30 levels overall, lasted me on a long flight, and several long lines at Walt Disney World.

Survival score: Played straight through, 12-15 hours.

Antrim Escape HD

Having done a bunch of hidden object games, it took me a little while to realize that Antrim Escape isn’t one of them. Which, actually, added to the enjoyment, because I really did feel trapped and unable to escape. Once I caught on, then things went much better. Most of the puzzles in the room are sensible, only a few that seemed contrived. Took 2-3 hours to solve, which is really all the longer I want an escape game to last. There is a minimal back story that mainly serves to keep a thread to the sequel. A very good hint system, one of the best I’ve seen.

Survival score: Played straight through, 2-3 hours.

Antrim Escape HD

Having done a bunch of hidden object games, it took me a little while to realize that Antrim Escape isn’t one of them. Which, actually, added to the enjoyment, because I really did feel trapped and unable to escape. Once I caught on, then things went much better. Most of the puzzles in the room are sensible, only a few that seemed contrived. Took 2-3 hours to solve, which is really all the longer I want an escape game to last. There is a minimal back story that mainly serves to keep a thread to the sequel. A very good hint system, one of the best I’ve seen.

Survival score: Played straight through, 2-3 hours.

Find the Way

One of the things I love to see is when a game turns a traditional genre upside down. Find the Way is an example of a game that turns the “maze” genre upside down. I used to love paper and pencil mazes…the really complex ones I would even solve using a toothpick so that I could resolve them. So, imagine that all you could see is the toothpick, not the maze itself. And you still had to find your way out. In a limited amount of time. That’s the gameplay of Find the Way. The interface of the game is pleasant – good colors, easy navigation, etc. But if you don’t escape by when your time is up, you go back to the beginning. So, to escape you basically memorize the correct twists and turns that makes up the path to the exit. Sure, you can pick up “extra time” bonuses along the way, but you basically have to go down a deadend to find them. Which means you have to remember the way out AND the way to the bonuses. In the end, this is a game of memorization. Not very interesting to me. But, it’s been popular on iTunes, so maybe you want to check it out anyway.

Survival Score: Deleted before completing the 2nd level

Find the Way

One of the things I love to see is when a game turns a traditional genre upside down. Find the Way is an example of a game that turns the “maze” genre upside down. I used to love paper and pencil mazes…the really complex ones I would even solve using a toothpick so that I could resolve them. So, imagine that all you could see is the toothpick, not the maze itself. And you still had to find your way out. In a limited amount of time. That’s the gameplay of Find the Way. The interface of the game is pleasant – good colors, easy navigation, etc. But if you don’t escape by when your time is up, you go back to the beginning. So, to escape you basically memorize the correct twists and turns that makes up the path to the exit. Sure, you can pick up “extra time” bonuses along the way, but you basically have to go down a deadend to find them. Which means you have to remember the way out AND the way to the bonuses. In the end, this is a game of memorization. Not very interesting to me. But, it’s been popular on iTunes, so maybe you want to check it out anyway.

Survival Score: Deleted before completing the 2nd level

Blind World

Blind World is like those “invisible picture” coloring books that we used to get as a treat as a kid. The ones that you “colored” using a paintbrush dipped in water and a picture would magically appear. In this game, you are a small disc that glides across the screen. You move around by tilting the ipad (or stay still by holding the ipad level). When you start each level, it is just the disk and a blank screen, but as you move around, you bump into surfaces. You roll your disc along the surface to reveal more of it. Some of those surfaces are stationary, some move around as you do. The surfaces are made up of lots and lots of many colored blotches, and as your disc moves over them, it changes color too. And each time the color changes, the game makes a little “ping” sound, like wind chimes. The “objective” is to uncover 100% of the hidden image, though you are allowed to move to the next level before that. More of a game than an experience, very relaxing.

Survival Score: Savored it to make it last.

Blind World

Blind World is like those “invisible picture” coloring books that we used to get as a treat as a kid. The ones that you “colored” using a paintbrush dipped in water and a picture would magically appear. In this game, you are a small disc that glides across the screen. You move around by tilting the ipad (or stay still by holding the ipad level). When you start each level, it is just the disk and a blank screen, but as you move around, you bump into surfaces. You roll your disc along the surface to reveal more of it. Some of those surfaces are stationary, some move around as you do. The surfaces are made up of lots and lots of many colored blotches, and as your disc moves over them, it changes color too. And each time the color changes, the game makes a little “ping” sound, like wind chimes. The “objective” is to uncover 100% of the hidden image, though you are allowed to move to the next level before that. More of a game than an experience, very relaxing.

Survival Score: Savored it to make it last.

Brave Ghost HD

There are different types of physics puzzlers, but all of them have in common that there is some unseen physical force that is acting on objects, and figuring out that force is the key to solving the puzzle. In Brave Ghost, the force is the gravitational pull of different types of objects (plus a bit of gravity). In catapult action similar to Angry Birds, you set your little Brave Ghost flying along a trajectory that becomes a path around the objects. The goal is to have that path pass through 3 other ghosts you are trying to “save.” It’s amusing and the puzzles are OK. A good game if you’re still enjoying this genre.

Brave Ghost HD

There are different types of physics puzzlers, but all of them have in common that there is some unseen physical force that is acting on objects, and figuring out that force is the key to solving the puzzle. In Brave Ghost, the force is the gravitational pull of different types of objects (plus a bit of gravity). In catapult action similar to Angry Birds, you set your little Brave Ghost flying along a trajectory that becomes a path around the objects. The goal is to have that path pass through 3 other ghosts you are trying to “save.” It’s amusing and the puzzles are OK. A good game if you’re still enjoying this genre.

Word Triangle

When I was little, we would buy puzzle magazines–the ones from Penny Press, the big “Variety Packs”. And then I went to college, and I continued buying them. But not any more, since I can get so many of the pencil-and-paper puzzles as an iPad game. Word Triangle is one of those — 7 words, starting with 1 letter going up to 7, each word using the letters of the one before it +1. And a clue for each of the words. Great and simple classic puzzle. Word Triangle, though, just doesn’t have what it needs to pull it off. The interface is clunky (e.g., the keyboard is not QWERTY), the dictionary is just OK, and the clues –in the same puzzle — swing from way too easy to way not. I will keep looking.

Survival Score: Trudged through 7 puzzles. Then deleted.

Word Triangle

When I was little, we would buy puzzle magazines–the ones from Penny Press, the big “Variety Packs”. And then I went to college, and I continued buying them. But not any more, since I can get so many of the pencil-and-paper puzzles as an iPad game. Word Triangle is one of those — 7 words, starting with 1 letter going up to 7, each word using the letters of the one before it +1. And a clue for each of the words. Great and simple classic puzzle. Word Triangle, though, just doesn’t have what it needs to pull it off. The interface is clunky (e.g., the keyboard is not QWERTY), the dictionary is just OK, and the clues –in the same puzzle — swing from way too easy to way not. I will keep looking.

Survival Score: Trudged through 7 puzzles. Then deleted.

Amazing Breaker HD

There are many, many levels of this game. I stopped playing after several dozen. I was going to stop earlier, except that the best part of each level is the very beginning, when you get get to see what the image will be for that level. The images are incredible — clever, imaginative, beautifully illustrated. The idea is that they are made out of ice (or glass, I suppose), and you fling different things at them, which then explode, destroying part of the image. The object of the game is to blow up the entire image. You can play each level over as many times as you need too — I got most of the levels on one try (the apple was a real trick, though). The levels are actually pretty easy overall, and it’s a non-violent target game, which makes it great for kids.

Survival score: A very pleasurable couple of hours

Amazing Breaker HD

There are many, many levels of this game. I stopped playing after several dozen. I was going to stop earlier, except that the best part of each level is the very beginning, when you get get to see what the image will be for that level. The images are incredible — clever, imaginative, beautifully illustrated. The idea is that they are made out of ice (or glass, I suppose), and you fling different things at them, which then explode, destroying part of the image. The object of the game is to blow up the entire image. You can play each level over as many times as you need too — I got most of the levels on one try (the apple was a real trick, though). The levels are actually pretty easy overall, and it’s a non-violent target game, which makes it great for kids.

Survival score: A very pleasurable couple of hours

Ballistic SE

The descriptions available on appshopper for this game are spot on: “intense” “thriller” “thumping” “overdrive”. Sounds like a high blood pressure cocktail and indeed it is. I liked this game the first time I played it–indeed, I felt the surge of intense thrilling thumping overdrive. I put it down for a few months, and when I came back to it, it wasn’t so much that any more. More like frantic and hopeless. Was it just that I was a little older? A little wiser? A little less willing to get blisters on my thumbs from the duel stick controllers? Maybe so.

Survival Score: Good for a couple hours of stress-on-a-stick

Ballistic SE

The descriptions available on appshopper for this game are spot on: “intense” “thriller” “thumping” “overdrive”. Sounds like a high blood pressure cocktail and indeed it is. I liked this game the first time I played it–indeed, I felt the surge of intense thrilling thumping overdrive. I put it down for a few months, and when I came back to it, it wasn’t so much that any more. More like frantic and hopeless. Was it just that I was a little older? A little wiser? A little less willing to get blisters on my thumbs from the duel stick controllers? Maybe so.

Survival Score: Good for a couple hours of stress-on-a-stick