The 2011 Game Developers Conference is now in the history books. During a dizzying week of panels, lectures, meet-ups, iPad 2 reveals, and cordial chats over the glow of iPhone screens, I saw a lot of games. Some were great, some were… not. But here are the five I was still thinking about on the plane ride home.
Chillingo made a great pick-up here. 11 bit Studio’s tower defender-in-reverse game not only looks phenomenal on the iPad, but the large touchscreen is perfectly suited for managing your brave convoy of trucks, armored carriers, and gun platforms. Anomaly starts off with a bang – an alien ship has crashed in future Baghdad and set up a huge dome under which the invaders are planning something rotten. This unique setting is gripping.
Hopefully, when Anomaly drops into the App Store this spring, the script-flipped tower defending will be as finely tuned as some of the best in the App Store, like Star Defense.
Unfortunately, Firemint didn’t hand over any screens of Agent Squeek for me to share with you, which is too bad because I’d love a visual aid to flank my glowing praise. This game builds on the line drawing masterpiece Flight Control, with you sketching out a paths for little Squeek to collect cheese without being spotted (and subsequently gobbled) by cats. The emphasis is on stealth, but there are plenty of massive boss battles where there is no escape from danger and survival is the only way to persevere.
Look for Agent Squeek to hit iPhone and iPad sometime this year.
I confessed in my meeting with Warner Bros. that I actually played the original Tapper in arcades. That experience, however, didn’t get me too far with this recreation (I hesitate to call it a port). You zip all over the world, slinging drinks for thirsty bar patrons. The basics of Tapper are the same. You have to slide drinks down the counters while picking up empties coming back at you, but complications ensue, such as the need to switch between different colored foo-foo drinks in a tropical resort to satisfy particular tastes.
Tapper World Tour features all-new art from Don Bluth, the mastermind behind not only two of my personal arcade favorites – Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace – but also some wonderful films, like The Secret of NIHM. So yeah, it looks really, really good.
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Considering the games that repeatedly occupy the top spots of the App Store, it seems iOS gamers like their physics-based puzzlers. As long as that trend holds up, Blobster should be a big hit. You must stretch and fling the squishy hero through obstacle courses filled with traps, bonuses, and power-ups. Gather mass Blobster moves faster and flies higher.
There’s a simple joy in just pulling back on a bit of Blobster’s pudge and then watching him fly. Look for Blobster to hit the App Store this spring.
Remedy’s very first PC game is making a comeback. Think of it as a mash-up between Championship Sprint and Twisted Metal. Using a virtual stick to steer (it works better than I ever expected), you zip around bombed-out jungles and crate-filled warehouses, trading machine gun bursts with a cabal of crazed racers. Winnings from successful races are used to upgrade your vehicles and weapons.
Death Rally not only looks gorgeous – especially on iPad – but it also features cameos from popular game characters such as Duke Nukem and the Mighty Eagle (of Angry Birds fame). Look for Death Rally to drop in March, but multiplayer will come in a later update.
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