What’s fascinating about the App Store is that I can enjoy plenty of RPGs for the cost of a single console version. Whether that game is Dragon Age: Origins or Eternal Sonata for the Xbox 360, I can buy between 6 to 8 RPGs for the iPhone, which would probably more than double my play-through time in the process. But are there enough RPGs worth purchasing for the iPhone? In my opinion, there are and what’s even more impressive is that they get better and better. An example of this is VeryPixel Inc.’s Mage Story, which pays homage to Blizzard’s Diablo franchise (as well as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and to a lesser extent, Dumbledore from Harry Potter series), while carving out it’s own niche on the platform with unique features, such as network play via WiFi and level design. While I may not agree with its own description of being the first Diablo-style action RPG on the iPhone (I thought Pixel Mine’s Underworlds had that distinction), Mage Story still has solid graphics, improved controls, and the right gameplay balance to level your character at a fair and steady pace. Although experienced RPGers may find the story a bit light and the game length somewhat capped, improvements and additions to the game by the developer have begun, which is always an awesome experience knowing the makers care about their audience by reading the feedback from the community. It’s definitely something you’ll never get from a developer on another platform. Highly recommended. Price: 99¢.
Would you believe that I play games based on current weather conditions? Seriously, it’s no joke. During the late Spring and Summer months, I’m primarily playing Adventure and RPG games, such as Lost Odyssey and LEGO Batman: The Videogame. In those types of games, I’m going at my own pace rather than just plain reacting like when I play first-person shooters (FPS) or other types of ‘twitch’ games. Sometimes it’s just too darn hot to play a game that will just add to your discomfort. This usually includes games like Street Fighter IV on the Xbox 360 and most games for the Nintendo Wii. Honestly, if I wanted a workout, I’d go play basketball. However, as we’re now in the middle of the Fall months and the temperature is steadily decreasing with each passing day, I’m back on both FPS and Nintendo Wii games. Working up a sweat playing such games definitely helps combat the chilly conditions and saves on using the heater. But now I’m taking it on the road with games like adot’s GeoGeo Wars, an impressive homage to Geometry Wars with unique additions to make an already outstanding game just a tad better, especially on the iPhone. With a variety of enemies attacking you eventually from all sides, you frantically control the ship using a finger to swipe all over the level while auto-fire is active. Furthermore, if you’re in a jam, be aware of power-ups as they become available. Its excellent polish shows as soon as you pick up the game and quickly understand what to do: kill lots of enemies, while trying to survive. Currently employing Open Feint for leaderboards and bragging rights, and soon to have more levels, this game already has more bang for the buck. Recommended. Price: 99¢.
An original and entertaining take on the Magic 8-Ball novelty toy starring a rude, yet lovable panda reminiscent of probably San-X‘s most popular character, Tare Panda. Spangu’s The Bad Panda is a very lazy panda, whose always laying down like Jabba The Hut barely moving and primarily sleeping until you ask a question and shake the iPhone to get his attention, which often produces a short and curt response. Although you have to structure questions for yes or no responses, The Bad Panda’s responses definitely put a smile on your face. In the context of the subtle environment, his quick dismissive motions and gestures provide a contrast between the serenity of solitude vs. the disarray caused by the constant interruption of others… Uh, yeah… There is definitely a philosophical point to be made here if you take some time to deconstruct it. Yet, in its purest form, it is a nice little respite from a busy day, especially if you share it with friends, family, and colleagues. Price: 99¢.
Nowadays, time is of the essence: there’s just not enough time to do everything we want to do, especially after we do the things we need to do so that we do the things we love to do… Confused? Tell me about it! With work and family, I hardly have time for myself like I did when I was younger. Why is it that the older we get, the less time we have for leisurely pastimes? For me, other than video games and basketball, it was playing paper-and-pencil role playing games. Obviously, just like most people, Dungeons & Dragons was my entry into the world of gaming followed by Twilight 2000 and then Steve Jackson’s Car Wars. However, as evidenced by picking up Iron Crown Enterprises’ Middle Earth Role Playing on an impulse buy at the local comic store, I always kept coming back to fantasy. While this has held true over the years as I played Talisman in college, Magic: The Gathering post-college, and most recently, Dominion, I’ve noticed that the games have gotten shorter and shorter in duration to accommodate busier and busier schedules. Intending to not give up the dream by extending my gaming experience on other platforms, I picked up Rake In The Grass’ Undercroft on the iPhone, which has been a perfect fit. Boasting 20 hours of gameplay with the promise of ‘great replay value,’ encounter over 60 enemies and attempt to collect the over 750 items divided into quests and side-quests as you build a band of heroes from among the five hero classes, which include the usual suspects: warriors, sorcerers, thieves, clerics, etc. Completely turn-based, the overall polish of the game in terms of functionality, graphics and sound is pretty impressive. Plus, Undercroft does all the little things that makes you feel it’s worth every penny. Highly recommended. Price: $4.99.
While I never considered myself a ‘metrosexual‘ in any sense of the word, perhaps there were some tendencies that I had at one time or another, which merited such labelling. Yes, I was and probably still am a bit of a neat freak: I need things to be organized before I can even do anything. While this can also be attributed to being a procrastinator, it expanded into a basic philosophy that all things in my life needed to be put in a certain order. Whether it’s the decor of my house, how bottles of hand sanitizer with sticks of lip balm were organized in the glove compartments of each of my vehicles, or the need to color coordinate tops, bottoms and shoes, regardless of the ordinary quality of the pieces, there was a thoughtful ‘neatness’ to it all. However, now that I’m married and have a son, my home decor sensibilities has given way to my wife’s insatiable proclivities for Daiso products and I only carry one bottle of hand sanitizer and one stick of lip balm in my work bag. Yet, the wardrobe issue is still just that: an issue. First recommended to me by my wife, I gave New Vision Interactive’s My Style Fashion Assistant a spin, which has worked out pretty well for me so far. First, I can take a picture of each top, bottom, and pair of shoes I own as well as any outerwear (I love hoodies) and uniformed looks, which includes suits or anything with sportscoats from my closet. Next, I can plan ahead to know what I will wear during the week as well as into the future with the built-in calendar. This also helps keep track of how often I wear a specific piece or look, even critiquing myself in the process as I review archived dates. But the best part of this application is knowing that if I do find something I like as I window shop online or in person, I can take a picture of the piece and mix and match it with what I have. It really helps, especially if you don’t want to buy a duplicate piece that you already have. As the product’s marketing text states, you do “save time and money by shopping smarter.” Nice clean and easy to use interface. Price: $3.99.