I bought some games! Feels really good to be able to do that again. Incidentally the whole story of my gameless year is coming very soon.
So, the first game I’ve bought with my own money since December 2011 is an iOS game called Hundreds. Developed by the minds behind Canabalt and Solipskier (two of my favourite iPhone titles), Hundreds has a clean aesthetic to match its simple core. By touching the circles on screen, their numerical value increases rapidly, and the stage is complete when you reach a combined total of 100. The circles change from grey to red as they inflate and, if you touch anything else in this red state, it’s immediate failure. The simple beginning stages ramp up in difficulty rapidly, drip-feeding new dangers like spinning blades, requirements for simultaneous touches and all manner of obstacles. Luckily, I haven’t come across any time restrictions yet, so it seems to promote a peaceful, patient approach that soothes as much as excites. The downsides I’m experiencing could be due to iPhone screen space – some levels need you to move your touch with the circles and it can be hard to maintain focus on the game screen when your fingers are covering so much of it. Also, I can’t see the point of the occasional word puzzles that invite decoding, but maybe their role will become more apparent.
That said, these negatives are mostly outweighed by the crisp design and cunning puzzles so Hundreds still comes highly recommended, especially if you’re playing on an iPad. It’s on sale until the 10th, so now’s a good time to grab it.
Hundreds, iOS App Store, $2.99 – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hundreds/id493536432?mt=8
The second game I bought was a complete impulse buy – its introductory price of 99c is always hard to pass up – and I’m very glad I took the chance. Repulze is basically, unbelievably, WipEout running on my iPhone. Well, it’s not the full experience of the Playstation hover-racing classic, but it’s still entirely disconcerting that it runs and controls so well. It’s purely about lap times – there are no weapons, which is actually a very smart move – and the pace of the racing is dizzying. An element that the developers have added is the way boosts are awarded. As you race around the track, you have the option to pass through red or green energy gates. Go through three that match your current polarity, and you can then boost by tapping the centre of the screen. The polarity of your ship flips with every boost, so it keeps you constantly analysing the track ahead for the perfect line.
Control wise, it’s taken the approach of reducing everything down to two buttons, and the default sensitivity feels perfect. Your craft constantly accelerates, so it’s just up to you to navigate your way through the twirling, spinning future tracks by pressing left or right. However, it’s not for the faint-hearted – the difficulty level is high from the off and the badges required to unlock the next track can sometimes feel near impossible. However, it’s the kind of difficult that makes me want to improve rather than quit, so if you’re already a future racing fan, I can’t recommend Repulze highly enough.
Repulze, iOS App Store, 99c – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/repulze/id573934243?mt=8