It occurrs to me, looking over my console games pile (bioshock, portal2, New Vegas, Skyrim) that the amazing, deep, games I love to play really haven’t translated yet to Apple’s portable devices.
Granted, I haven’t dropped any real cash on something like Infinity Blade, but the vast majority of games are simple mechanic, empty-calorie, time wasters…I haven’t seen anything deeply involving. (but am more than willing to admit, I’m not looking that hard).
Is it that $1 games that are simple sell to more people? Or is it that a $60 console game gets that much more development time and staffing?
You’re limited by screen size on the iPhone and iPod touch. One of the frequently heard complaints already is that it is hard to play the game when you have to cover parts of the screen with your fingers. The environments that look so spectacular on a monitor or HD tv screen would also be pretty underwhelming when they are rendered so small.
No one is going to spend $50,000,000 to develop a game that’ll sell for $1.99. That’s the fundamental problem. Once people are willing to spend more on a mobile game than what they tip for a pizza delivery, the games will improve.
King Of Dragon Pass is a rather unique game that’s really engaging. It has complex mechanics, but I can’t say it’s easy. That said, while it’s hard to beat the game, it’s not very frustrating if/when you lose.
Starbase Orion is my current favorite time waster. It’s a MOO2-esque game in the familiar 4X vein. Lots of developer support, lots of features being added every update. It’s a little pricier, but I found it on sale, so it might go on sale again.
Single-player is a little weak, but it’s good prep for learning the basics. I still get my ass handed to me regularly in multiplayer.
As far as what’s out there, Gameloft has a large selection of high-quality games. Most of them are obvious rip-offs of popular console games, but they are the best console-type games I’ve played on a cell phone. Can be pricey for mobile games ($6.99+).
You just specified deep - I’d say that Caylus falls into that category. It is an implementation of a board game - but fairly heavy one. Tigris & Euphrates might also qualify as deep, as well as Puerto Rico.
I love wargames, the definition of niche market, so the pickings have been pretty slim. Battle Academy is a pretty good wargame, light years ahead of the A&A clones and Risk knockoffs. $20 is a steep entry fee, but worth it in my opinion if you like tactical WWII games. iPad only.
Tactical Soldier is a X-COM like tactical squad game, you’ve got a group in an underground military barracks when the zombies attack. Wish the mission wasn’t over the second you lose anybody, but still it’s interesting enough to keep you busy and it isn’t a disguised Facebook-like money sink.
Small World Colony was free awhile ago, it’s not real deep but mixes area control with a little Civilization lite.
3d “action adventure” games (think Zelda):
Ravensword: the Fallen King
Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Aydeen
Aralon: Sword and Shadow
The Bard’s Tale
Old school Dungeon crawling:
The Quest - huge, with many different areas, expansions, etc. the Quest Gold gets you the original and all expansions for around 7 bucks, which is a steal imo.
Quexlor: Lands of Fate - not as big as the Quest but similar.
Tumulus of Fen - one dungeon, one character, but the dungeon is huge and its fun.
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls - haven’t played it much yet but apparently its a new Wizardry with anime style graphics.
Sorcerer - the original Wizardry games, if you’re seriosly hardcore old school. I have #2 and #4.
Dungeon Crawlers - fixed levels, characters, and items, and is a bit short, but it is fun and humorous.
Virtual City - focusing on scenarios ratjer than building from scratch, this one’s more resource management and planning and not free form like Sim City. Speaking of which:
Sim City Deluxe: the classic city builder we all know and love. Works very well on ios once you get used to it.
Aliens versus Humans - X-Com, but without the Geoscapes or bases (in other words tactical combat only). Geoscape and bases are promised in AvH 2.
If you use AppShopper you can put these games on your wish list, most of them go on sale pretty frequently. Also, most have free versions so you can try before you buy.
I wanted to apologize for some spelling errors in my previous post (posting on an ipod sucks) and add a few more games to the list
Horror types: Dark Meadow
** Shadow Guardian
Platformers: Rayman Spider Man - I usually hate licensed games but this is pretty good Captain America Continuity 2: the Continuation - Despite having the stupidest name ever, this is a very neat platformer with simple graphics. Combine a platformer with sliding block puzzles, rearrange the level to get coins and get to the exit.
Tower Defense (there’s a TON of these on ios, some are pretty good): The Creeps
Sentinel (and Sentinel 2 and Sentinel 3) Epic Defense TD Epic War TD Tower Defense: Lost Earth Plants vs. Zombies - very nice and different take on the TD genre. If you haven’t played this yet it’s well worth picking up.
If you’re into retro gaming: Tapper World Tour - this is not a port but a sort of sequel with new graphics and tons of new levels. Of course if you want a straight up port of the original, get the Midway Arcade, which has some other nice ports. Prince of Persia classic - the original game with snazzy new graphics. If you want the original graphics, you can get Prince of Persia retro, but I like the classic. Final Freeway and Final Freeway 2 - clones of the arcade classic Outrun Doom Classic - one of the original FPS games, this one’s a classic. Marathon, Marathon 2, Marathon 3 (free) - Bungie’s answer to Doom for Macs Rise of the Triad - another cool retro FPS, Doom style Miner 2049er - a classic Atari 5200 game. Has updated graphics and the option to play with the original graphics.
**Montezuma’s Resurrection ** - Another Atari 5200 classic, I am not sure if I’d 100% recommend this as the controls are kinda sketchy (although a recent update added some controller options which help). If you have an icade or other controller I’d recommend it, but touch screen controls are not that good and it’s too easy to die. Retro and updated graphics. X-Men - I wasn’t a huge fan of the original arcade game, but some people liked it. Karate Champ - classic arcade game Double Dragon - another arcade classic. Flashback - The platforming classic, controls are pretty decent on ios and it’s still one of the best platformers ever made.
random list of games I like: I Dig It, I Dig It Expeditions - Dig beneath the earth for treasure! Use your winnings to buy bigger fuel tanks, coolant, drills, cargo space, etc. Very cool game. Vegas Tower - Build your own tower, many different types of rooms and shops to build. Watch how much noise you have on each floor! Great strategic game, although collecting rent becomes a huge pain once your tower goes above 40-50 floors. Tiny Tower - Another great tower building game. Alien abduction - Control a flying saucer and beam up cows and rednecks while fighting off planes jets. Very cool game.
**Harbor Master ** - Draw lines to guide ships in and out of ports while avoiding collisions. There’s quite a few of these games on ios, but this is one of the best I’ve played. Has that “one more game” addictive quality. Eve of Impact - an endless wave of killer asteroids are on a collision course with earth. Your job is to shoot missiles at them and let as many people as possible evacuate the planet. Not really deep but a fun time-waster. Where’s my Water - A neat strategy game that has you digging pathways with your finger to get a flow of water to the goal (an alligator’s bathtub). Starts off simple but gets pretty complicated. Highly recommended! Parking Mania - Steer cars around while avoiding collisions. Strategy game that’s more fun than it sounds. There’s a lite version you can try.