KAMI RETRO HD tops iPad Games of the Week

May 29, 2011
Games

Fans of 1980’s Broadway musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, anyone?) and pixelated arcade gaming will fall for KAMI RETRO HD. Try not to take a tumble in this stunner, positioning fans, springs, and other objects across each level, helping your ever-faithful troops make their way from one end to the other. Along the way, man-eating […]

Fans of 1980’s Broadway musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, anyone?) and pixelated arcade gaming will fall for KAMI RETRO HD. Try not to take a tumble in this stunner, positioning fans, springs, and other objects across each level, helping your ever-faithful troops make their way from one end to the other. Along the way, man-eating plants are just waiting for a snack.

Retro gamers looking for a second cheap, happy thrill will line-up on the ‘80s free-throw line in Free Pixel Ball, while SimplePhysics successfully combines a structure-building app with all the gravity-crushing fun of Angry Birds and Ragdoll Blaster. Last but not least, Storm in a Teacup which puts the fun back in gliding artfully across 40 levels in a magic teacup.

KAMI RETRO HD ($2.99)

As a triplet, sharing a lone Atari 2600 with my brother and sister was downright challenging. Thankfully, I can revisit the glory days of Atari-inspired, pixelated gaming goodness in KAMI RETRO HD. This iPad must-have instantly charms its way into your heart with a bouncy, throw-back soundtrack, a hapless band of bearded heroes, simple controls, and tons of stars to collect along the way. There’s 60 stages to explore, which rapidly move from training-easy to downright difficult. You’ll need to time your jumps perfectly to score maximum points, while positioning fans, springboards, and more to help your guys avoid a litany of death traps of doom, including Little Shop of Horrors-inspired man-eating plants. You’ll want to play close attention during the tutorial, as the basic jumping controls can be a bit challenging to master. I kept swiping in the wrong direction for a left-hand jump. It all adds up to an original, neon-colored love letter to the ‘80s we can all enjoy on our modern Apple devices.

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Free Pixel Ball (FREE)

Nintendo retro-gaming purists, do I have the app for you. And it’s 100 percent free. Free Pixel Ball puts you on a pixelated free-throw line, then encourages you to let loose with multiple basketballs, swiping your finger across your iPad’s generous screen to sink each point. If you have multiple balls in play, they’ll interact in their arcs to the basket, while angel and devil balls, clocks, and other tossable objects add a fun element to the gameplay. The secret sauce of this must-have game? The music and sound effects. It’s all vintage from stem to stern. Multiple game modes keep the game fresh, including Fight Mode (turn on Bluetooth and challenge nearby opponents), Survival Mode (how long can you last?), Free Throw Mode (timed levels with ever-increasing distractions and interactive ball types), and more. The multiplayer mode alone is worth at least $0.99, but the good folks at WedgeKase Games are counting on ad impressions to pay the bills, and that’s good for all of us.

Related: The Heist leads iPhone Games of the Week

SimplePhysics ($.99)

At first glance, this app looks like more work than play. But once you dive in and start constructing things, the fun side of the app kicks in quick. To start, you’ll make a simple tree house, which has been unceremoniously nailed to a tree in your back yard. A grid of squares represents the construction area, with square anchors bolting the structure to the tree. Tapping on the dots and drawing lines between them adds connective structure to the design. Watch your budget; each additional support costs money! When you think the structure is solid enough, click the blue icon to put it through a certification test. In the tutorial, heavy boxes stand in for kids. Each box is tossed up into the house, and once all four are in place, there’s a 10-second stress test to see if it holds. After an hour of making and testing structures, I was hooked, and so was my 9-year-old. Edutainment at its best, with explosions and rag dolls thrown in to really test your creations. This dollar menu offering is worth every penny, and then some.

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Storm in a Teacup ($.99)

Leave it to Chillingo to give us yet another instant iPad classic. This time around, it’s the charm-infused Storm in a Teacup. You’re a speed-loving teacup driver, holding a lightning button to sail ever-higher, and employing a pair of directional arrows to control the direction of travel. You’ll need to move from platform to platform, collecting sugar and more. The real challenge comes in using your lightning propellant to its best effect. You have a limited supply, but it refills fast. So getting used to boosting a bit, pausing for a second or two, then tapping it again to grab power-ups and other items is key. With its Paper Mario-like graphics and sinister dark clouds waiting to rain on your parade, each level offers fresh obstacles to overcome to collect the most sugar cubes. At the end of the day, this app’s secret sauce is its “floaty” control scheme, which is executed perfectly using the screen controls. Other iPad developers could learn a lot from this gem.

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Tim McLain

Tim McLain is a freelance writer and an online marketing manager, helping serious researchers and students find and make use of the best online content found on the deep Web. His passion for all things computers/tech started when he was a teenager, working with his twin brother to set up a C64 BBS in their bedroom.

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