Throwing caution to the wind, a few days ago I purchased the recent Humble Bundle, which was dedicated to mobile gaming applications. Not even reading the descriptions of the games themselves, I donated what was left in my bank account ($2.21… uni student style) and set myself up for an afternoon of lying in bed with my mobile attached permanently to its wall charger.
Despite the fact that these games drained my phones battery like a leaky bath, they were all in all, fantastically made and beautiful to play on my phone. Some of the independent developers coming out with games these days have really set the bar higher with the quality of application that has been coming out. Two in particular I want to really make a shout out to is Splice and Euphoria. If you’re going to buy any two mobile games, these are the ones to go for.
Both are simple enough to be able to be played in a causal setting, such as on a bus or train, yet immersive enough that if you so wish, you could become obsessed with them for several hours (as I did). They tread that fine line between too complicated for a causal game, and just too easy. I think the main way they achieve this is by allowing the player to stop, and come back at any time they wish. They do not demand constant attention for hours upon end, nor do they require that you sit there making repetitive movements over and over again. While many reaction games, such as Fruit Ninja also tread this fine line, that game never really appealed to me, because no matter how far you went through the game, or the high score you managed to achieve whenever you started a new game, you had to start from the bottom. This is not true for Splice and Euphoria, or even for Zen Bound 2.
All the games are also beautifully designed, with amazing music and musical effects. These have been the only games in which I have not had to turn down the volume out of frustration over the repetitive music.
Probably the one main thing that sold this bundle for me, was the fact that while these games were able to be played on your phone, they also had PC equivalents to play. This cross platforming was done perfectly, despite there being different control requirements for each platform. It did not detract from the game at all.
But in the end, while these games are beautiful, I do not see hand held devices dying out soon due to these apps coming out. I may have been able to play Splice on the bus, but it may have caused me to overshoot my stop, kill my phone, and forced me to have to walk three kilometers home. It may be used as a gaming device, but I still need my phone to be a phone.