Fresh iPhone Games for Mar. 11: Ring Blade, Kami Retro, Minotron: 2112

Mar 11, 2011
Games

Friday’s Fresh Game picks offer three new looks at old genres. Ring Blade adds a great art style and inventive flick-based play to the vertical shooter and bullet hell genres, while Kami Retro is a puzzle platformer throwback that makes smart use of touch controls. Rounding out the list Minotron: 2112, a fun and goofy […]

Friday’s Fresh Game picks offer three new looks at old genres. Ring Blade adds a great art style and inventive flick-based play to the vertical shooter and bullet hell genres, while Kami Retro is a puzzle platformer throwback that makes smart use of touch controls. Rounding out the list Minotron: 2112, a fun and goofy take on the Atari 2600-style arena shooter. Keep reading to get your details.

Ring Blade (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

You can’t wander the iTunes App Store for more than a couple of seconds without hitting a vertical shooter of some stripe, but you’d be lucky if that shooter was Ring Blade, a game that finds great ways to be different in the “bullet hell” genre. For one, it has a phenomenal art style that looks a whole lot like a tattoo, incorporating black and white designs reminiscent of tribal art and including things like bugs, demons, roses and vines. It looks great.

Oh, and since it’s a game, you should know that it’s fun to play. You control a “launcher” at the bottom of the screen, which you can slide back and forth to avoid enemies that float toward you. If they hit you, you get hurt, but you can stop that from happening by flicking your thumb upward to shoot spinning blades at the enemies. Your blades can be charged up to cut through more enemies or deal more damage, and you get a big point bonus if you ricochet them off other enemies or the edges of the screen before impact. Ring Blade is cool, inventive and challenging, and works within the vertical shooter/bullet hell genre while adding a lot to the conversation.

Kami Retro (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

“Retro” is a good way to describe Kami’s look, which is meant to be sort of a Nintendo 64-era version of 8-bit graphics — they’re pixely, but they have definite depth and tons of bright colors. It’s not just a nice game to look at, either, because Kami Retro makes good use of its touch controls to help you guide a little running man to jump pits and crocodiles and grab stars in hopes of making it to the end of each level. Flicking upward makes your guy jump, and that’s pretty much all you need to know, although there are more controls later.

What’s cool about Kami is that it’s easy to play but still asks you to use your brain. You’ll need to look at each level and determine what actions your runner will need to take and plan accordingly, then execute with precision, repeatedly. The more times you can make it through a level (you’ll run each single-screen stage four times in succession, even if you die), the more points you rack up. Kami will call on your nostalgia at the same time it challenges your abilities.

Minotron: 2112 (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

While we’re talking about retro games, we may as well get Minotron: 2112, which might as well be an old Atari 2600 game from the early 1980s. An arena shooter based on the old-school game Llamatron: 2112 from 1991, you control a minotaur who tools around the arena, firing away at monsters and collecting a few animals for extra points along the way.

You’ll work through 100 levels and have the option to pick from one of four different difficulty modes along the way. Minotron is a fun and nostalgic look back at a simpler time in gaming, and it’s goofy and funny to boot, with great sound effects, lots of power-ups, and enemies like TV sets, joggers and Coke cans.

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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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