Five artsy apps and games to download to your iPhone

Jul 19, 2011
Tech

Now that the Supreme Court declared that games can be art, the entire app landscape is changing. All the flatulence apps are magically disappearing and in their place is a round of thought provoking exercises in restraint and concentration. Wait, that didn’t happen at all. Nothing changed, actually. But if you’re looking to impress your […]

Now that the Supreme Court declared that games can be art, the entire app landscape is changing. All the flatulence apps are magically disappearing and in their place is a round of thought provoking exercises in restraint and concentration.

Wait, that didn’t happen at all. Nothing changed, actually. But if you’re looking to impress your friends with games that look a little more sophisticated than Cut the Rope, try these five on for size.

iCarus (Free)

Adult plot about a man dealing with the death of his son? Check. Unique hand drawn graphics atop a sometimes confusing gameplay mechanic? That’s here too. Yeah, iCarus is pretty much what people think of when they think of convoluted art games. This app isn’t likely to get you hooked Angry Birds style, but if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path gaming experience, iCarus could be it.

Flourish ($2.99)

More music-game than game-game, I included Flourish on this list because for a music-creation app, it has such a unique, charming visual style it might be the most artistic of the bunch. The way each instrument is segmented out to look like a pixilated flower is endearing enough, but that the design actually factors into how you place segments of a song is even better. Fair warning that this app isn’t exactly easy to pick up and play.

Artree ($0.99)

Sometimes, a game isn’t about beating a boss or saving the world from destruction. Sometimes a game is about tapping a button and making unique trees. And then using them for your iPhones’ wallpaper. That’s Artree, less a game than an experience, it certainly doesn’t have the mass appeal of an amazing game. But for my money, messing around making trees is still more interesting than staring at a virtual aquarium.

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Strange Rain ($1.99)

One of the strangest apps I’ve ever seen, Strange Rain starts out as a rain simulator, turning your iPhone into a skylight that rain falls onto, and turns into a strange storytelling device. While you are able to just enjoy the look of the clouds and the rain if you see fit, selecting “Story Mode” gives you a new bit of story every time you tap the screen. So while rain falls around you, you’ll read the tale of a man in the midst of a family crisis. The way you interact with the screen determines how his story goes. Strange, indeed.

Zen Bound 2 Universal ($0.99)

Maybe the most “game-like” of any on this list, Zen Bound 2 Universal is a game where you get to wrap up gorgeous looking carvings with strands of rope. It’s not exactly a difficult concept to grasp, but with more than 100 levels, it would take quite a while to wrap your mind fully around Zen Bound 2 Universal.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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