Blokus and MiniSquadron lead iPhone Games of the Week

Apr 29, 2010
Games

The iPhone debut of the popular board game Blokus and a sequel to the dog-fighting hit MiniSquadron top this week’s best games. Also of note this week are a pair of underwater adventure games, as well as a title influenced by the famous “Dogs Playing Poker” painting. Read on! 1. Blokus Gameloft’s latest app is an iPhone version of the board game Blokus ($4.99). At […]

The iPhone debut of the popular board game Blokus and a sequel to the dog-fighting hit MiniSquadron top this week’s best games. Also of note this week are a pair of underwater adventure games, as well as a title influenced by the famous “Dogs Playing Poker” painting. Read on!

1. Blokus

Gameloft’s latest app is an iPhone version of the board game Blokus ($4.99). At first glance it looks like some kind of weird, new version of Tetris, and it could best be described as simply a strategy game. The game features four players, each with different colored blocks, and the simple goal of blocking your opponents and taking up as much of the game board as possible. The twist is that you can only place your blocks on the board if they touch at least one corner of one of your other blocks. There’s also a Blokus Duo mode, in which only two players compete on a smaller board. The game also has a multiplayer mode, which given the nature of Blokus is a necessary addition. This is a nice recreation of the board game and a great app for strategy gamers, whether or not you’ve played the original.

2. MiniSquadron Special Edition

A sequel to the well-received Mr. FungFung app from last year, MiniSquadron Special Edition is a very similar game to its predecessor. If you missed the first one, this is an airplane dog-fighting game with great animation and gameplay. There are, of course, some new elements in this version; more than 50 unlockable aircraft, the introduction of helicopters, two new power-ups (Freeze and Rapid Fire) and a new fireball weapon. The price of the app has also changed, as it’s now a free download that allows you to play the first two levels of the game. You can then pay 99 cents for two three-packs of additional levels if you so choose. The game also has a one-on-one multiplayer mode, though it unfortunately only works over a WiFi connection. But that’s about the only complaint I have with the game, and I would strongly recommend you at least try the free levels.

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3. Hungry Shark

Maybe it’s because of Jaws, but sharks always seem to be painted as the bad guys. Just because they’re vicious carnivores doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings too, and for once it’d be nice to see things from their point of view. Future Games of London clearly agrees with this, as evident by their latest game Hungry Shark ($1.99). The app places you in the role of the shark with a constantly shrinking health bar; the only way to regain health is to eat as much as possible, from people to penguins to tiny fish. As you advance through the game your shark gets bigger and is faced with enemies ranging from mines to shark hunters. Hungry Shark utilizes simple tilt controls and boasts a solid enough look and gameplay. It probably won’t be the best game you ever play, but it’s got an undeniable charm and it’s tons of fun.

4. Atlantis – Legend of Mermaids

Continuing with the theme of side-scrolling underwater adventures, Atlantis – Legend of the Mermaids ($0.99) is the latest app from Hiray Information. The game features a comic book-inspired intro that lays down the premise of the game, which basically is to beat up evil fish and to find and save bikini-clad mermaids (who kiss you once you save them). There are plenty of weapon options as well as a storyline mode and five stages with four levels apiece. If you’re looking for a super challenging button masher you can look elsewhere, but gamers hoping for a light-hearted action/adventure game will eat this one up.

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5. Dogs Playing Poker

Yes, like the painting. Candywriter’s Dogs Playing Poker ($1.99) is a Texas Hold ‘em game in which you create a dog and then unlock breeds as you win tournaments. In all there are 20 characters in the game (18 dogs, a fox and a walrus), each with unique personalities. The app isn’t all show, either, as it plays well enough as a poker game and it includes a tutorial. Having said that, this game is probably best for less serious poker players, as there’s a heavy emphasis on humor in Dogs Playing Poker that may bug those of you looking for more of a challenge. Case in point, there’s a feature that allows you to pet your dog but not an online multiplayer mode. Still, this is a worthwhile game that already has a lite version in case you’re not ready to enter the dog-eat-dog world of poker.

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