BackStab leads iPhone Games of the Week

Jun 23, 2011
Games

There were a great number of interesting games released this week. So many, in fact, that we didn’t get to feature every single one that dropped in the iTunes App Store. We’ve picked a few of the biggest and put together this week’s list, with the hope of sampling even more of the  games that […]

There were a great number of interesting games released this week. So many, in fact, that we didn’t get to feature every single one that dropped in the iTunes App Store. We’ve picked a few of the biggest and put together this week’s list, with the hope of sampling even more of the  games that became available for the iPhone and potentially featuring them next week. Leading the way is the formerly Android-exclusive BackStab from Gameloft, which is big, pretty, 3-D and pirate-themed. It’s also a bit bloody and adult-themed, so be careful who you let play it.

BackStab (iPhone, iPad) $6.99

Console gaming fans will recognize some of the influences of Gameloft’s BackStab. It’s basically the popular Assassin’s Creed series meets Pirates of the Caribbean, which makes for a fun formula. As Henry Blake, a former British Navy officer framed for treason, you’ll adventure through four different cities, saving people and stabbing guys in the back (get it?) while completing various missions. BackStab has an open world set-up to it, which means you’re free to climb buildings and explore in between missions and find other things to do if you don’t feel like pushing the main story forward. It’s also pretty big, carries some gorgeous graphics, and is built around a decent Count of Monte Cristo kind of narrative.

1-bit Ninja (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

The quickest way to describe 1-bit Ninja is to say that it’s just like the original Super Mario Bros., except that you can only move in one direction. A highly simple side-scrolling platforming game, 1-bit Ninja has an interesting gimmick, however: You can rotate the camera to see the world in three dimensions rather than just two. This allows you to see behind the platforms and bottomless pits, allowing you to discover secrets as you rush through each level in attempts to finish it as fast as possible. A really simple game, 1-bit Ninja manages to be easy and addictive, while being just deep enough because of its 3-D elements so it’ll get you thinking and paying attention.

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Kona’s Crate (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

There are tons of physics puzzlers on the iPhone, but Kona’s Crate is a premise I haven’t seen before. It’s a game that’s all about manipulating rockets using the touchscreen. You control a platform with rockets on the left and right side of it that has to navigate various side-scrolling levels with a crate parked on top. The point is to deliver the crate to your chief as quickly as possible, but you have to do so by carefully controlling the platform to make it move up, left and right. It’s a complex, challenging and somewhat frustrating way to play the game, forcing you to really think and learn how to best move the crate so you don’t lose it. Best of all, this is something you probably haven’t seen before – or at least, not presented exactly this way.

Hard Lines (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

Yes, Hard Lines is a lot like the old 8-bit game Snake, where you’re controlling a snake as it moves around a grid and tries to become as big as possible without accidentally running into yourself. In Hard Lines, you get these snake-like mechanics in six game modes, and in each of them, you’re a snake that must constantly move forward to survive while avoiding other snakes, and so on. The multiple modes add a lot of variety to the play and make the game worth its asking price. It’s simply put together but has tight, useful touch controls and a great set of features so it comes highly recommended.

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Absolute Instant (iPhone) $0.99

Developer Mobili Studio built bullet-hell vertical shooter Absolute Instant specifically for the iPhone, with great graphics and controls, plus a design element that sets it apart from other shooters of the same ilk. In Absolute Instant, players have to dodge enemy fire while blasting as many ships and flying enemies as possible, sort of like in Space Invaders. The game is challenging and it’s all about racking up a high score and beating the bosses at the end of each level, but it also includes a touchscreen-specific feature that allows users to teleport to wherever they touch on the screen. That means if things get hairy, you’re not stuck hoping the next bullet doesn’t kill you – you can just tap-teleport your way out of danger, continuing the fight as if nothing happened.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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