Helsing’s Fire heads up this week’s top iPhone games

Jul 15, 2010
Games

While last week I struggled deciding what game deserved the top spot on this weekly list, this week the choice was simple. Although I stop short of applying the instant classic tag to Helsing’s Fire, I will tout the game’s virtues to anyone and everyone who’ll listen. Of course there were quite a few other […]

While last week I struggled deciding what game deserved the top spot on this weekly list, this week the choice was simple. Although I stop short of applying the instant classic tag to Helsing’s Fire, I will tout the game’s virtues to anyone and everyone who’ll listen. Of course there were quite a few other quality games, including a Train Conductor sequel, the first Xenome release and an MLBPA-licensed baseball game. But you’re not reading this for the intro, so let’s get right to the good stuff.

1. Helsing’s Fire

To simply describe Helsing’s Fire ($0.99) by Clickgamer as a puzzle game would be a great injustice. First off, it’s a truly unique puzzle game, a rarity on a system in which even the newest of games can almost always be compared to a previous release. The game challenges you to kill bad guys by illuminating them with your torch, a challenge that sounds much easier than it actually is. Second, the game ingeniously includes an action element, with bosses that – unlike the standard enemies – move and shoot at you. Helsing’s Fire has a story mode with 90 levels and a survival mode, as well as 13 different types of enemies. At 99 cents it represents all that is right with iPhone gaming and I strongly recommend it to any gamer, not just puzzle fans.

2. Train Conductor 2: USA

The Voxel Agents’ Train Conductor was only released late last year, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the sequel, Train Conductor 2: USA ($0.99), bears a strong resemblance to the original. And while fans of the first game will be happy that they can dive right into the new one, they will also be pleased to find a few new features. The game is a line-drawing game, with the player guiding trains to their correct tracks – of course deciding what the correct track is varies by level. There are five levels in all, each different from the next and all new from the first game, as well as plenty of new trains. Unfortunately, there are some negatives with the game, as there’s no longer a night/day mode (each level is instead designated as night or day) and many iPad users have been critical of the game’s appearance on that device. But as far as iPhone users go, you have little reason not to check out Train Conductor 2, especially if you liked the first one.

3. Xenome Episode 1

As far as iPhone games go, few can boast as massive an environment as Nine Pound Studios’ Xenome Epidsode 1 ($7.99). This action RPG has more than five square miles for you to explore, not to mention tons of enemies and an impressively compelling storyline. The game takes place in the post-apocalyptic Silicia Flats, and you’ve just been awakened from a 250 years cryo-stasis induced nap to find it’s essentially a wasteland. You control your character with two virtual joysticks and a plethora of on-screen buttons that control things such as jumping and attacks, all from a third-person view. The only real downside is the price, and that’s only a real problem because labeling this game ‘Episode 1’ surely means there are more on the way, so be warned that this is likely to be an expensive addiction. Still, there’s an incredible amount of depth in this game so the price tag is warranted, and it will be interesting to see where the series goes from here.

4. The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River Files

To simply describe 99Games’ The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River Files ($0.99) as an adventure game would be a great injustice – wait, I’ve used that one before, haven’t I? While The Jim and Frank Mysteries lacks the unique gameplay of Helsing’s Fire, it does have a refreshing blend of genres. While it’s basically an adventure game, it’s got tons of puzzles and a few mini-games mixed in to keep things spicy. The game’s plot has two teenage boys, Jim and Frank, sent on a quest by their grandfather to discover the mystery behind the aforementioned Blood River Files. It’s a quirky story that isn’t exactly made better by head-scratching dialogue and, at times, average-at-best voiceovers, but the presentation is saved by some really nice animation work. As for the mini-games and puzzles, while they are far from unique they’re still fun, and this is a solid all-around game.

5. 9 innings: Pro Baseball 2011

The new Come2uS game 9 Innings: Pro Baseball 2011 ($4.99) is only the second iPhone baseball title that includes real players, and that alone will be enough to suck many of you in. The game also uses a card system that can be used to ‘level up’ players, though aside from those two features this is your standard app store baseball game. Batting is simply controlled by tapping anywhere on the screen at the appropriate time, there’s no aiming involved. To pitch, you select a pitch, aim and then use a timing mechanism to determine the effectiveness of your pitch. Both controls work, but are far from ground breaking. Likewise, this is yet another arcade style game, so those of you who have been dreaming of a simulation baseball game will have to continue dreaming. But let’s not dwell on the negative; the first two features I mentioned are absolutely exciting and fresh, and if you’ve grown tired of Baseball Superstars or whatever your baseball game of choice is you could do a lot worse than 9 Innings.

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David Lister

David Lister is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is a former editor and writer at the NationalSportsReview.com and an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. 

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