From strategy games to shooters
Chillingo, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, churns out games for iOS devices at an incredible rate, yet rarely compromises on quality. Though casual gamers may be more familiar with the company for publishing the incredibly-popular Angry Birds - before it was gobbled up by EA for a cool $20 million - it has since furnished us with some memorable iOS offerings that span across multiple genres.
Side-scrolling shooters, retro classics and physics-based puzzles sit on the iTunes store and share space with futuristic racers, kid-friendly platformers and arcade action adventures. With so much on offer, we’ve decided to nail down our top five favourite games from Chillingo. It’s been no mean feat, but – in no particular order – here they are.
Poker video games, the ones where you don’t earn cash, may have already had their renaissance, but Poker Pals puts a new twist on the old formula, while throwing in some engaging social options and then wrapping the whole package beautifully with a slick, intuitive interface and some good old-fashioned - Scrabble-meets-Poker - tactical gameplay.
Players start off with an empty tiled grid and a five-card poker hand. Just like Scrabble, players take turns to lay down one or more of their cards to make a traditional five-card poker hand. The twist is, you can use other player’s cards to make your hand better and score points for racking up combos and strategically taking advantage of the way the grid plays out by combining multiple hands. The better the poker hand, the higher the score.
As the grid fills out and things get more complicated it soon becomes a compelling game as players seek to beat the opponent’s score and agonise over where to lay cards to achieve those combos. Game Centre keeps a tally of your games and there are also a host of achievements to unlock.
It’s great fun playing Poker Pals against the AI, but it really shines when you hook up to multiplayer. Connecting to games is really quick over Wi-Fi, possibly because it supports cross-platform play on other iOS systems, and players can even jump into a single player game while awaiting their turn.
No game is ever the same in Poker Pals, so it offers immense replay value and competition is fierce. If you love poker you'll love the new challenge Poker Pals throws at you.
Contre Jour HD
Contre Jour has already won a host of awards from sections of the gaming industry and it’s clear to see why. This challenging physics-based puzzler takes some of its inspiration (steals ideas) from World Of Goo, while its striking, minimalist, monochromatic design and hypnotic piano music has caused some sections of media to refer to it as interactive art. However, Contre Jour is most definitely a game that requires thought, concentration and skill to complete.
Controlling an orb-like creature named “Petit,” players have to move through over 60 levels collecting small lights and working out how to reach the exit using both environmental and character manipulation, which is quite easy when you happen to be a blob of goo. Using the touchscreen, players can intuitively change the shape of the environment, making hills into dips to manoeuvre the blob, while attaching stretchy black elastic tentacles – suspended in the air - to the likeable creature and then swinging him around like a pendulum to the exit point.
The goal is to remain alive and collect bonus points for collecting lights and finishing each level quickly. The gameplay is instantly accessible and the touchscreen lends itself perfectly to this type of physics-based movement, while trying to master portals, slingshots and blowers, is extremely challenging. There’s also plenty of replay value to be had out of trying to beat the top score. Overall, Contre Jour HD is a game that players will find themselves totally immersed in for a couple of hours without realising that time has even passed.