Welcome to this week’s gaming edition of iPhone + iPad Gems! This roundup includes a port of an electronic party game, the newest release from [adult swim], and a side-scrolling runner.
Without a doubt, Monsters Ate My Condo is the best game of the bunch, although Bop It! for iPad and Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! are also worth checking out. Read on for all the details.
Electronic Arts’ Bop It! for iPad ($3, version 1.0.0) is a digital version of Hasbro’s popular electronic party game, and a port of the iPhone version that EA released back in February 2011. While the concept is the same as the physical version, the app adds several features that simply aren’t possible with a fixed plastic device. Although some of the experience is lost in the transition to the multi-touch display, it’s still a fun game and a very good deal.
The idea behind the Bop It! toy is to follow the commands as the game shouts them out, without missing one or hitting the wrong thing. If it says “bop it,” you’re supposed to hit the button in the center. “Pull it,” and you pull the knob at the end. Bop It! for iPad uses the same mechanic, only with onscreen controls. So when you hear “twist it,” instead of physical twisting a plastic knob, you’re expected to either use a two-finger twisting gesture on the screen or physically twist the tablet in the air. As the game progresses, it speeds up to a pace where the actions have to be completed at reflex-like speeds. One wrong move ends the game.
Each selected from a beautifully animated menu, Bop It! has several different gameplay modes in both single and multiplayer modes. For solo play, there’s Classic, Basic, Extreme, and Blitz. Each uses the same controls, but varies in which items appear on the screen and how you’re scored for hitting them. Classic has the same controls as the original toy—bop it, twist it, and pull it—while the other modes add on additional items from the 12 in the game. Multiplayer has Pass It Basic, All Play, Head 2 Head, and Blitz Challenge. These modes add significant value and make the game worth sharing with friends.
We really like pretty much everything about this game. The 3-D graphics are a bit cartoony, but this style works and the animations that happen when you’re interacting with the Bop It! device are a nice touch. Because it’s a rhythm-based game, a true soundtrack would throw gameplay off; instead, there’s a constant beat that helps you time your moves, especially in the levels where you get a higher score for hitting at certain times. In addition, each onscreen element has its own sound effect. The replay value is almost infinite, as there is no winning—you can always attempt to beat your own high score, or your friends’. Really, the only downside is that the game can’t be played in quite the same way as its physical predecessor, since everything is confined to a 9.7” display and must be activated with your fingers. The loss of tactility doesn’t kill the game, and EA came as close as possible to replicating the experience, but a little something is definitely lost. That, combined with the fact that this title is split from the iPhone version, earn Bop It! for iPad a general recommendation. iLounge Rating: B+.
Monsters Ate My Condo ($1, version 1.0.3) is [adult swim]‘s latest iOS game; this one is universal across the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Like all of the network’s titles, Monsters Ate My Condo is packed with tons of irreverence and humor, elements that only add to the enjoyability of a fast-paced matching game. You can expect an experience that’s equal parts Jenga, Bejeweled, Godzilla, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The game begins with a stack of different colored condominiums in the center of the screen, plus a monster on either side. Lining up three or more of the same colored condos in a row eliminates them, adds to your score, and leaves a special block in their place—those blocks can combine together to give you more points and to activate the monsters’ special abilities. You can flick condos that may be in the way to the mouths of the monsters, who prefer only those of the same color. If you feed too many of the wrong color condos to a monster, it’ll get angry and begin to stomp, bringing your tower off balance. Once it falls, the game is over. As the game progresses, so does the pace, the difficulty, and the sheer number of colorful popups on the screen.
The tower of condos is presented in a 3-D perspective, over 3-D backgrounds with cel-shaded monsters. Like most of [adult swim]‘s games, the graphics are deliberately very cartoony; they’re bright and welcoming, perfectly fitting the theme. The music and sound effects are frantic and fun as well. Thanks to two different gameplay modes—endless and time attack—there’s some variety, and each offers you the chance to beat your previous high score. From our perspective, the only thing that would make this game even better would be the addition of more monsters: there are four right now, each with entertaining backstories. Adding a few more would not only bring some variety, but also increase the difficulty of the gameplay. Otherwise, Monsters Ate My Condo is an incredibly enjoyable game that we highly recommend for its very low asking price. iLounge Rating: A-.
The final title in this week’s roundup is Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! ($1*, version 1.0) from Devolver Digital. It’s part of the Serious Sam Indie Series, which allowed independent developers to use the characters from the popular first-person shooter series to create their own games. In this case, Be-Rad Entertainment switched things up a bit and puts you in the shoes of Headless Kamikaze—instead of controlling Sam, you’re actually trying to blow him up.
SSKA is composed of 20 side-scrolling levels in which you’re automatically running to the right, closing in on Serious Sam. Obstacles such as pits, cacti, and missiles are intended to take away the three lives that you start with. There are only two controls: jump and attack, both of which are controlled by tapping the corresponding bottom corner of the screen. You can jump as much as necessary, but attacking builds up a rage meter at the bottom of the screen; attack too much in a given time, and you’ll lose a life. In addition to the primary goal of getting to the end of the level, each stage has a bonus objective, including kicking a certain number of missiles or destroying cacti. They make the game more difficult, and add some replay value as well. There are also two bonus modes, one of which requires you to simply get as many points as possible, and the other that has you punt as many frogs as you can.
Overall, the game is rather brief, but what’s there is enjoyable. The graphics are distinctive, with scrolling backgrounds and characters that look as if they were drawn with colored pencils—according to the developer, they were in fact hand drawn. We like the style both on its own merits, and because it’s something different. The looping soundtrack is meant to provide an epic feeling, full of crashing cymbals and the like, while reasonable sound effects are triggered with every action. They’re not anything exciting or unique, but they’re there. Is this game great? No. But it’s definitely good, and for a dollar, it’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of the Serious Sam series and want to experience it from a different perspective. iLounge Rating: B.