Friday, December 21, 2012

friday fixations: digital stocking stuffers

I don't know about you, but I've been feeling a little overwhelmed by all the blog/online magazine gift guides this year. There are so many compilations, they're all starting to feel a little like this. So I haven't done a gift guide here partly because I know you could open any blog post from any blog since November and find one (or you might find this, a "guide to gift guides". That's a new one, blogs), but mostly because I think we'll be gifting more digital stuff this year (if you'd like to see some physical stuff I like, you can certainly scroll through my Pinterest gift "guide" board). So instead, here're some downloadable game options for you.

These are the cheap game apps ($4.99-$0.99) that we've enjoyed (are enjoying still) this year:

{rayman run} This game is one of my all-time favourite games (and that's saying a lot cuz I pretty much just heard about it a few months ago). I'm still working on some of the harder levels (challenging play means you're not bored of it after a week) plus they've already updated it to include another world with even more levels to play through.

{nihilumbra} This is kind of a dark and troubled (I don't know how else to describe the style and story) platform game. They've done something really interesting in that you gather and use colours as your "powers" as you progress in the game. Aside from being a platformer (my personal favourite style of game), it also has a bit of a puzzle element to it in that you have to use your colours in order to advance in levels. I'm still playing it through, but I'm definitely enjoying it.

{sword and sworcery} I was really intrigued with this game a while back when I first heard about it, but we never got it until the Greek trip (good plane food, you know). It seems like it could turn into a bit of a puzzler which is nice since that means it'll provide enjoyment over a longer time period than most app games (and since this is the most expensive of the games listed, that's pretty important in my book). I definitely think the sword play and the unique way you have to use your device in order to perform some of the functions is super cool and is probably one of the main reasons I keep going back for more. The graphics are old-school 8-bit but still have a really pretty feel to them (I realize 8-bit isn't to everyone's taste). If you need an in-depth game, this'd be the one.

{dead space} Dead space is for serious gamers. I don't know if I'll even remember the controls for the next time I play it! But I did have a lot of fun during the tutorial and the graphics and movement are clear and steady. If there's a boy in your family (or guy, let's be real here) and you just don't know what to get him, this would probably be much appreciated.

{spell tower} Have you ever played Bookworm? If you have, this is exactly like that; if you haven't, this is more fun than you can have playing Words with Friends or Scrabble. Basically, you're just completing a digital word find; trying to spell out words in a jumble of letters. They've got a few different modes to keep you interested (something Bookworm lacks) and tile options that increase the difficulty in any mode. What I find fun about word games is the challenge of finding better and longer words with what I'm given (which is one of the main reasons I keep playing Words with Friends), so if you enjoy that aspect of Words or Scrabble, you'll probably like this. One of the other things I like about this game (this is a weird bonus for me) is that you can play offline (something that Words doesn't offer and really grinds my gears -- I'd like to think up words in my out and about time, too, thankyouverymuch).

{monsters ate my condo} M.A.M.C. is pure casual fun. The crazy graphics and sounds are what initially attracted me to this game. It's got a quirky, angry-Japanimation, colours on steroids -- here are some screen shots to understand it! The mission is to keep the tower from toppling by feeding monsters condo pieces. Pretty good for a quick play while waiting in line or just generally waiting. (I have the free version, but I'm thinking about upgrading it now.)

Don't have an iDevice?

{rayman origins} I still think Rayman is the best game no one seems to be playing. So I'm going to mention Rayman Origins again because it's already discounted ($20 at the store and you can probably download it for Xbox etc.) and it's so super fun and pretty to look at and I've been begging Idle Husband to replay it with me for months now (maybe it'll be our Christmas game. Hmm? Hmmm?!). 

{the binding of isaac} From the makers of Super Meat Boy (also a favourite of ours) comes this dark and twisted Legend-of-Zelda type game. I spotted it in Idle Husband's game developer magazine last month, and it grabbed me in this really weird, "I must play this now" sort of way. It's downloadable on Steam, so we got it thinking we could play offline in Greece but we couldn't. So, admittedly, I haven't played it THAT much, but I'm going to.

This is where I tell you NOT to buy something as a gift this year:

I really wish Nintendo would stop being so stubborn (lazy?) and actually update some of its classic games with a fresh look and great graphics befitting 2013. I can't be the only one who'd buy the hell out of them. Everything downloadable on the 3DS has junk graphics from the '80s. Which leaves me wondering, why even bother to have a 3D device if the only games available were originally made for the GameBoy? So I guess what I'm saying is that it's not really worth it to buy the 3DS or any other Nintendo device unless you've really got your heart set on playing that ONE game they made just to sell the device (Wii U, I'm talking to you). The extremely young kids probably won't give a damn, but do you really want to spend +$200 for ONE game that actually looks current? The answer is no. Especially not in this new world of amazing games with amazing graphics that are only $4.99. I'm just suggesting Dr. Mario if you've already played that one game and are looking to wipe the dust off your DS sometime this new year.

{dr. mario} Dr. Mario is probably my most played game this year. I got the Nintendo 3DS and promptly played and finished the new Super Mario game for that (which is a pretty good Mario version) and then, on a whim, decided to download Dr. Mario. It's turned into my waiting for the oven timer to ring/"watching" the news/waiting for people to show up at my house/absolutely mindless game. It's only got two modes of play, so I only play against the CPU which makes it a little more interesting and challenging. Overall, I find it a little more enjoyable than mindlessly playing Tetris.

In the just heard about it/not yet available category (but I really need to mention it cuz it's too cute):

{hatch} This excites the teenage girl in me who was never allowed to have a Tamagotchi. If there's a teenage girl in your life, you might want to pick out an egg for her. They'll email her when it's ready and she can raise one of these super cute creatures on her iDevice next year (I'd probably adopt Grey or Pancake). Expect squealing.

And don't forget, there're a lot of movies and tv shows available for download, too (instead of cluttering up your space with discs and containers). We'll definitely be getting another season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I'd love to have both seasons of Portlandia (I saw some episodes on the plane and loved it). We might even get the The Dark Knight Rises (we don't think that seeing it on the tiny seat screens did it justice. It needs to be viewed in full HD loveliness).

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