Mobile Game Roundup: Dragon Fantasy, Stay Alive, Spelltower, and Time Ducksby Andrew Cunningham on December 22, 2011 9:30 PM EST
It's that time of the year again - this weekend, many of you without smartphones, iPod, or iPads are likely to get one, and those of you who have them already stand a decent chance of getting gift cards.
Plenty of great games have come out for mobile platforms this year, and they've gotten lots of attention - Jetpack Joyride, Infinity Blade 2, Tiny Wings, Squids, and others have all had their time in the sun, and you should grab all of them if you haven't already. For those of you looking for something else, I thought I'd highlight a few games that haven't spent a lot of time on the bestsellers list - just because they're low profile doesn't mean they aren't a whole lot of fun.
Aside from its tongue-in-cheek script, Dragon Fantasy hues more closely to its source material than Cthulhu, which implemented its own tweaks and innovations to address some of the annoyances inherent to the genre. If you’re a fan of old-school RPGs, it’ll give you hours of play for the fraction of the price of a new Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy game on another system.
This game is a study in simplicity - there’s not even a separate screen for instructions, aside from the one that flashes by as each round starts. Most refreshingly, there’s no in-game store that converts real money into in-game currency - if you want a leg up in Stay Alive, you’re going to have to earn it.
There are a few variants on this game mode - in Puzzle Mode, a new row of letters appears after every word you make. In Rush Mode, new rows appear at timed intervals. The odd one out, Tower Mode, gives you a single screen full of letters and challenges you to make as many points as you can with them. Like the best mobile games, it’s simple and addictive.
If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry - you can also control time in short bursts, which can be helpful if you’ve accidentally sent a rabbit toward the grill of a truck. It’s a bit weird, but a unique design sensibility and some shambling but catchy music make this one worth a look.