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Favorite Four - High Score Obtainers

Posted by Chris Hall on August 25th, 2010

I can see the confused look on your face already, wondering what the heck a "high score obtainer" is. These are the games that have only one goal, and that is for you to obtain a high score. Sure, most games have some sort of score system built in, but there are only a select few that make you click on that darn OpenFeint button every time you lose. Here are my four favorites.

To me, the best high score games are the ones that keep things the most simple. Ninjump really doesn't have a whole lot going on, just a ninja with an insatiable desire to go up. The controls are as simple as possible, with just a tap sending you to the opposite wall, which is hopefully not occupied by a rival ninja, a building overhang, or a swooping bird. Anything in the middle is gravy though (or maybe chop suey would work better), because your ninja instantly kills anything he touches while in mid air. What's great though is that the game provides a simple twist to the genre, giving you a crazy boost up the screen when you destroy three of the same object in a row.

The best part about the game though is that your score is simply based on how high you get. There are no bonuses and no combos, so you know exactly how hard the person at #1 worked for their score.

There's just something very freeing about Solipskier, and it keeps sucking me in for more. I absolutely love seeing how fast I can get going and how far I can get without falling into the dreaded pit of shame and the game over screen. Like any good game in the "high score obtainer" genre, the controls are incredibly simple, but in this particular instance, difficult to master.

Fastar! is a great high score obtainer that gives you so much more than the average game in the genre. Instead of just giving you one thing to control, Fastar! gives you spells and a sword for your mission to dispatch the enemies with as much haste as possible. Most of the 24 game modes have a simple objective, get through them as fast as possible without dying, and nothing more. Once your level is done, and they will be done fast, the game throws your lowly high score in your face, almost taunting you into playing again.

If you haven't put at least an hour into trying to beat some high score in Fastar!, you must not have a competitive bone in your body.

It's a tough call, but Orbital is probably in my top 5 favorite iPhone games of all time. It has a fairly simple concept that is extremely difficult to master, and is extremely unforgiving. Make one mistake and you are dead, but at least you know exactly what you did when you made the mistake. Also, unlike the rest of the high score obtainers on the list, time is not an issue in Orbital. Take as much time as you'd like... the game doesn't care one bit. Nothing is moving and nothing is growing, it's all you and your increasing incompetence.

The best part of it all is the frustrating realization that your last move may have doomed your game for good. Instead of rushing you past your mistakes, forcing you to mentally move on, Orbital gives you time to scowl at the screen for as long as you want. Nothing is funnier than seeing someone yell at you iPhone after not beating your high score.

Orbital Free (Lite)

Posted by Chris Hall on December 1st, 2009

We haven't posted many lite versions in the past, but the recent release of Orbital Free got my attention... not because the lite version does anything fancy, but because it's an amazing game. I originally bought the game back in August after Jeff proclaimed that Orbital was the worlds hardest game. While I don't necessarily think that it's the worlds hardest (I wanted to strangle my phone after playing Jelly Car 2), it is a fantastic challenge that will keep you entertained for weeks.

If you don't have it already, pick up this lite version ASAP. You won't regret it.

Oh, and here's a good quotable bit from the press release. “We’ve chosen to offer the free version of Orbital because of lessons learned from cigarette companies and crack-slingin’ corner boys,” said Reto Senn, COO of Bitforge. “If you give the customer a taste, they will come back for more.”

Tuesday Morning App HQ?

Posted by Will on September 29th, 2009

Random musings of the App Store

2 Billion Apps Served

Apple announced recently that over 2 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. Notable is the timing; this announcement comes only six months after the download of the billionth app, which occurred 9 months after the App Store was launched. This indicated exponential growth of the store. Obviously these numbers are a bit inflated from a developer's perspective because they seem to include free downloads, but the numbers also indicate that among the user base of 50 million, the average number of apps downloaded is 40, a surprisingly high number. In contrast, the average number of times one of 85,000 apps has been downloaded is only about 2350, hardly a safe bet for business prospects when you consider that most apps are $.99 and that Apple takes 30% of sales. In addition, these numbers are disproportionately eschewed by the top 100 apps; my guess is the median would be much lower. Despite all of your various incompetencies in managing the App Store, Apple, I have to congratulate you on a truly unprecedented event.

Critical Contrast

No matter how experienced we are here at 148apps, no two reviewers agree about every game. That's why I thought it would be nice to offer some separate best app lists, just so you'll know what we think is worth buying right now.

Will's Top 3 Current Apps (games):
1. iBlast Moki
2. Meteor Blitz
3. Unify

Will's Top 3 Apps of All Time:
1. Rolando 2
2. Real Racing
3. Space Invaders Infinity Gene

Chris's Top 3 Current Apps (games):
1. geoDefense Swarm
2. Orbital
3. Aera

Chris's Top 3 Apps of All Time:
1. Orbital
2. Fieldrunners
3. Need For Speed: Undercover
A special mention has to go out to geoDefense Swarm, as it may enter the top 3 after a bit more time spent on my iPhone.

This week's sign of the apocalypse of the world being fair and just. By Chris Hall
This space is usually reserved for calamity, but this week we have one instance of people being quite rational. Family Guy: Uncensored appeared in the app store this week for an insanely high app price of $4.99. I'm not against spending $5 on an app, as I do quite often, but this one is just bad. How can you have a Family Guy game with absolutely no voices, only text bubbles? Even a simple "giggidy" would've been appreciated given the premium app price, but I suppose that Glu Mobile just figured that the Family Guy license alone would bring customers. Apparently the people aren't biting though, as Family Guy: Uncensored is nowhere to be found in the top 100 apps.

Apps of the Week

Robocalypse: Mobile Mayhem
The strongest App Store Real Time Strategy game yet comes loaded with an extensive single player campaign, online multiplayer, and a humorous and engaging story. The game covers all of the proverbial RTS bases while forging a unique identity. My main complaint about the game is the lack of the ability to minutely control your troops, you must place "action flags" that attract your troops but don't allow for the same degree of precision. Besides this quirk, however, the game is highly recommended.

geoDefense Swarm, by guest writer Chris Hall
I usually don't work myself into MMAHQ, but I have found a new love. geoDefense Swarm (gDS) may be the best tower defense app in the app store, and with a crowded field of apps that include Fieldrunners, The Creeps!, and Sentinel, that is saying something. Unlike so many apps in the tower defense genre, including some of the iPhone greats, gDS is genuinely challenging from the start. The graphics are great in a Tron sort of way, and the sound effects are surprisingly effective. This game is not only my new favorite tower defense game, but it may be my favorite iPhone game... period.


+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Will on August 18th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BRUTALLY FUN
Orbital takes simple gameplay and dresses it up with a unique "gravity" feature and enhanced graphics. The game can be very frustrating at times, but that won't keep you from coming back for another try.
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