HELLKID, Parachute Ninja, and other iPhone games of the week

Feb 4, 2010
Games

From the highly anticipated (and delayed) second edition of Assassin’s Creed for the iPhone to a 21st Century version of Xena: The Princess Warrior, we bring you a multi-genre review of the best iPhone games released this week.  1. Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery ($9.99), developed by Ubisoft, stole the show this week […]

From the highly anticipated (and delayed) second edition of Assassin’s Creed for the iPhone to a 21st Century version of Xena: The Princess Warrior, we bring you a multi-genre review of the best iPhone games released this week. 

1. Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery

Assassin’s Creed II: Discovery ($9.99), developed by Ubisoft, stole the show this week due mostly in part to its mysterious return to the iTunes App Store after having been removed last December. This delay in release resulted in more gamer chatter as to how well Ezio Auditore de Firenze, a world-class Italian assassin and recurring protagonist of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, would fare in yet another adaptation. This game is remarkable and challenging, a real testament to the iPhone adaptability of Nintendo DS games. Great stealth kill animations and an action-packed storyline make this AC II worth the $10 download cost.

2. HELLKID: hook & jump

Hellkid ($.99) is a simple side-scrolling swing game developed by Justnine that combines frantic action with precision skills. Devi aka Hellkid wants nothing more than to become human. In order to do so, he must amass a colossal quantity of blue and gold souls without falling into the abysses of hell. However, some of the trenches are too wide to simply jump over. To avoid an untimely demise, Devi is equipped with a stretchable arm for grasping the helpful towers–made of gigantic bones–and swinging to safety. You must complete the Valley of Soul to access the Valley of Despair. Also, you can choose to tweet or post your scores to Facebook. Is it just me, or does the sound effect collecting souls sound like someone blowing bubbles through a drinking straw?

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3. Parachute Ninja

Parachute Ninja ($.99 cents) is a thoughtfully conceived and beautifully designed game from Freeverse that combines the gameplay mechanics of Doodle Jump and Bird Strike. In this game, your ninja is more rubber ball than human. You must fling him upward from tight vines to reach the end of each level. Along the way, make sure to capture glowing fairies for a score boost and stomp any enemies (Mario Bros-style) that cross your path. The two modes in Parachute Ninja are pretty standard. In Story Mode, travel from the Bamboo Forest and through the Dark Swamp to reach a mysterious destination. With every checkpoint you reach, the water level rises. In Survival Mode, there are no checkpoints. Your goal is to fling your ninja upward in order to score points. To make it more interesting, the water level continuously rises, so you’ll have to think on your feet. With 30 colorful levels and replayability, Parachute Ninja is a winner and a no-brainer purchase.

4. Tehra Dark Warrior

When I first saw Tehra Dark Warrior ($3.99) I immediately was reminded of Xena: Warrior Princess. Princess warrior or not, this ambitious adventure game seems like a work-in-progress. Still, kudos are in order for StormBASIC games for dreaming up an in-depth storyline filled with creatures and concepts typical of the fantasy genre. Orcs? Check. Undead demons? Check. Scantily clad heroine who’s pure at heart? You betcha. The controls in this game are standard, including: a virtual joystick, attack, defend, and magic buttons. You can equip only one magic power at a time (you start off with fireball) and I imagine you gain other sweet abilities over time. What I like most about this game is that it is difficult. Too often adventure games are too easy. Also, Tehra is a character with great marketability (seriously, just check out the title menu image) for the gamer audience. She gives Lucy Lawless a run for her money.

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5. Reiner Knizia’s Topas

Another one of legendary German game-designer Reiner Knizia’s puzzle ideas has migrated to the iPhone. Topas ($2.99), care of Ludicious Games, is a domino-themed game with a 36-tile board. Your goal is to line up the like-colored gems that are encrusted on the dominoes. Topas is all about touch controls; just tap and hold the tile you’d like to move and tap a second finger (thumb works) to rotate. There are three no-nos in this game. You are not allowed to total more than 8 points in a sequence of gems. Also, each tile must be placed on the board and, like in dominoes, tiles can only be placed next to other tiles. No tile can be an island. You gain more points by simultaneously completing multiple rows. In Arcade Mode, completed rows (of exactly seven gems) will vanish to make space for more tiles. Oh, and did I mention that Knizia has a PhD in Mathematics? Thanks, Wikipedia.

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Stephen Danos

Stephen Danos is the Associate Editor for appoLearning.com, AndroidApps.com, and Appolicious. He has contributed to articles published on TechCrunchThe Chicago Sun TimesThe Chicago Tribune, and elsewhere.

He received his BA in English from the University of Iowa and MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Playhouse State (H_NGM_N Books, 2012) and Gravitational (The New Megaphone, forthcoming).

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