I had played a few of the The Room games on iOS, but not all of them. They’re all very similar, but well-crafted puzzle games where you explore a location and uncover secrets by pushing, pulling, sliding and otherwise interacting in different ways with your environment. Old Sins has the character explore a dollhouse sitting in the attic of an old mansion in order to unlock nine seals in nine different rooms. I had a good time with it even if sometimes I just -had- to use hints in order to figure out what to do next. At least the game doesn’t sell these hints as in-app purchases and is otherwise very generous with letting you do what you want.
Into The Breach is a really neat turn-based strategy game where you control a few mechs in order to defeat an alien force across multiple continents and save people. The core concept of ITB is that you have (almost) all the information necessary to plan your turns and that there is no randomness in how things play out. There’s a ton of stuff to unlock - new teams of mechs, new pilots, achievements and what have you - and you can replay the game almost endlessly with the same basic and effective mechanics set. I really enjoyed ITB!
Minesweeper Genius is a real neat small puzzle game loosely based on Minesweeper. It includes picross-like mechanics where you know how many ‘bombs’ there are in a row and a column. I completed the whole game since I liked it so much and while I thought there was something weird about the progression and the special tiles were a bit too similar in many ways, I had a ton of fun and the music was stuck in my head for ages while I was playing it.
The Executive is a really neat idea of a beat them up/RPG where you play an office worker with martial arts powers fighting against werewolves, skeletons and other demons in a series of increasingly difficult levels while idly accumulating wealth from different divisions of your company that you upgrade alongside your stats and special abilities. Although I was disappointed by the endgame and some of the mechanics felt obtuse to me, I had a lot of fun with it!
Battle Chef Brigade is the combination of a light 2D monster hunting game and a match-3-like puzzle system where you collect food in order to cook great dishes in Iron Chef style competitions. It’s oozing with great style and characters and the mechanics are really interesting. I had a ton of fun with it and wish I could’ve spent even more time with the game. I have to say that it was a bit too stressful for me.
Severed is one of these grand gaming experiences that could be enjoyed on consoles - and it is on Switch after all - but available on your iPad. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s a fully featured -hardcore- game with enough content to last you a long while, deep enough mechanics, an interesting style and a cool soundtrack to boot, on the other hand, it’s not exactly the kind of experience you’re used to on your iDevices. If you only get a few minutes of play here and there during your commute you might have a weird time but if you manage to give this game the time it deserves, it’s just great! After catastrophe strikes your family, you set to find them in strange locales armed with a sword, fighting in first-person encounters by swiping at enemies and solving puzzles.
Konami Pixel Puzzle Collection is a game much like Picross - a style of game I simply adore - where you solve puzzles by filling lines and columns using numbers as clues. In this perticular version, you solve puzzles related to Konami characters and games and as a free product, it’s great. You only have to see ads after each puzzle, which isn’t too bad, and there is a timer on ‘boss’ puzzles which seems like it would make it take forever to go through them all, but otherwise I really recommend it.
Because of its name, I thought Infinifactory would be one of these games where you run a factory and need to expend infinitely in all directions, building more and more complex things in order to generate resources to unlock new technologies and all that. It’s not, instead I was faced with a neat puzzle game where you need to solve discrete problems by creating factory lines with blocks of various utilities. You can work to optimize the time necessary to solve them, the number of blocks and the space you take, but just solving each puzzle can be challenging while never feeling unfair, I really really liked Infinifactory!
I had heard glowing things about the new Wolfenstein game and decided to try the first one since it wasn’t super expensive anymore. How could they restart the Wolfenstein concept of nazi-killing destruction while following modern sensibilities of design and storytelling? It could’ve gone pretty wrong, but nah, Wolfenstein TNO is a great game, both as a first person shooter and as a story about a fictional World War Two where the nazis won because of stolen quasi-magical tech.
Missile Cards is somewhat a deck building game, somewhat a missile commander-like, but overall is more of a game of chance and strategy where you place cards in order to prevent hazards from hitting your base. Armed with a deck full of weapons, powers and hazards, you must clear out the deck in a few maps in order to win. Objetives are to be completed as well if you want to progress to the next map, and you can upgrade your base and buy some cards with XP and collected resources during matches. I really, really enjoyed this game.
FURI is an amazing boss rush game where you use a small but useful array of skills in order to defeat a varied array of bosses, each with their own gimmicks and patterns. The main drive of this game are the bosses themselves, with small tidbits of story being drip-fed between fights. I had a wonderful time with this game and I managed to beat most of it as intended - although I dropped the difficulty on the last boss after three hours of fighting seemed like too much.
Vignettes is a neat little puzzle experience where you rotate objects around and poke at them in order to find more objects, mainly by mimicking the shape of other things with them. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to find all objects and it doesn't wear out its welcome. I had a ton of fun going through the whole thing and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
Splitter Critters is a neat puzzle game where you try to move aliens on a map so they get to their spaceships by avoiding hazards and moving around platforms. To do so, instead of controlling anything directly, you can just swipe around the screen to cut it and move the different pieces around, doing so makes characters follow various paths. It’s a really cool puzzler and it kept me engaged for most of the game.
PUSH is a neat little puzzle game with a simple, clean aesthetic that follows a pattern I've seen with iOS puzzle games these days; Start with a very simple mechanic, get a few levels with that mechanic, then move on to another mechanic and repeat that pattern. Sometimes you overlap two mechanics together, but most of the time they are lost after you encounter them and go through what they mean. It's a nice way to make sure you don't repeat the same puzzles over and over, but at the same time you also need to come up with a bunch of puzzle mechanics. PUSH managed to do it pretty well!
Glittermitten Grove is a fairy forest management game where you accumulate food and other resources in other to maintain a thriving fairy population. You use these fairies to build more buildings and help you collect mana in order to cast spells to grow trees and do other things. It's a neat little game and I find that the act of managing how trees grow (if you stack too many buildings on one side, the tree will collapse) and the need for trees to get a lot of sun to be real interesting. It is not, however, the reason why I got Glittermitten Grove. I'm talking about Frog Fractions 2; Hidden inside this other game is a product following a classic misdirection entertainment product about a frog eating flies to teach kids about maths. It's pretty tough to do misdirection when people are expecting it, but Frog Fraction 2 manages it admirably.
At first, I didn't think Darkest Dungeon was for me; It's way too oppressive and difficult, and the game wears that on its sleeve. I struggled a lot at the beginning, experiencing full party wipes with characters that I had already started to become attached to. Then I did something I almost never do; I installed a few mods. This simple tweak made the game much more palatable for me and I managed to get through a huge chunk of its content. Darkest Dungeon is a fantastic title and I wish I could've played the whole thing.
Ladykiller In A Bind is a visual novel about lesbian sex taking place on a cruise ship. It's also a visual novel about consent and a various cast of characters living in an alternate universe where everyone can just be themselves without getting destroyed by the mockery of their peers. The concept of the game is interesting and you really want to see the story play out and the relationships are interesting. You also need to balance votes and suspicion and this allows for various objectives and multiple playthroughs. I really enjoyed it!
Klocki is an iOS puzzle game where a series of levels with varying and complex mechanics add on top of each other to create interesting little challenges. Starting with simple tile-swapping puzzles where you need to connect all lines and ending with complex tile-sliding with rotation and color puzzles added on top of that, I just burned through all of it. Not all puzzle types were hitting it 100% with me (and the rotating puzzles lagged like crazy on my old iPad) but Klocki is a great puzzle game.
Arkanoid vs Space Invaders is an interesting mix of two classics that blends into something that's really fun to play - but can get pretty frustrating at times - with a good variety of gameplay elements and some light customization. The basic concept of the game is to move the Arkanoid paddle around to reflect Space Invader projectiles - and sometimes a ball - in order to accomplish different objectives. I did stop after a while because the game was asking too much from me and it was just an experience in futility at this point, but that was hours in and it was well worth my money.
Stardew Valley is a masterpiece of a game. It's a great Harvest Moon-alike, but it's much more than that. If I have one 'big' complaint about it is that there are too many things you can do. You can fish, farm, explore dungeons, you can date people and complete quests for a community center. If you want to focus on only a few things - like I did - you'll feel like you're missing out on other stuff to do. That's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things tho; Stardew Valley is a gem that I had a great time spending hours with. There are some little flaws here and there, but otherwise it's an all around success