Better on the iPad: Games

Better on the iPad: Games

I'm not a big fan of gaming on the iPhone or the iPad. Maybe because it's not a good fit for the type of games I usually play or because I'm getting old and too attached to a mouse and keyboard. Probably a little bit of both. Whatever the reason, and despite being stuck in my ways there are a few games that I  enjoyed playing on iOS, especially on the iPad. But for now, I'm just going to mention three games that I bought on steam and later the iPad version when it was released in iOS. All these games seemed a good fit for the iPad, but I was surprised to discover that the experience of playing them on an iPad was better than playing them on my desktop. I had some doubts about trading a 19-inch for a 9.7-inch screen, but the overall experience was so good that I didn't see it as a loss. The touch interface translates almost to a physical interaction with the game providing better immersion, and the iPad portability and form factor allow me to play almost anywhere (mostly my coucth).  All of these games are excellent and I would recommend trying them in whatever platform is available to you but I believe the best experience you get is playing them on the iPad.

 

Door Kickers 

Developed in Romania by Killhouse Games, Door Kickers reminds me a lot of Police Quest Swat 2. It's a real-time tactical game where you control a swat team and have to defeat groups of terrorists in several scenarios, frequently involving hostages. While Swat 2 used an isometric perspective, Door kickers uses a top-down view that allows good awareness and easy control of your team. It also adds a few elements from Rainbow Six, allowing to prepare a mission plan where the actions of each team member can be issued separately. These can consist of the path each one chooses,  to every individual action like blowing up a door or launching a flashbang. There are Go Codes that allow the execution of synchronized events or just waiting for the appropriate moment to launch an assault. The player can plan the mission to the very last detail and just sit back and watch the execution in real-time, but since its possible to pause the game or issue new orders in real time you can adjust the plan as the situation develops. I prefer to start with a minimum of pre-planned instructions and control the team in real time pausing when necessary. 

 

Papers, please

Is your dream job working as an immigration inspector at a border checkpoint? Neither is mine, but that's the premise in Papers, please. "The communist state of Arstotzka has ended a 6-year war with neighboring Kolechia and reclaimed its rightful half of the border town, Grestin. Your job as immigration inspector is to control the flow of people entering the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. Among the throngs of immigrants and visitors looking for work are hidden smugglers, spies, and terrorists. Using only the documents provided by travelers and the Ministry of Admission's primitive inspect, search, and fingerprint systems you must decide who can enter Arstotzka and who will be turned away or arrested." If this doesn't look fun, I don't blame you. I played Papers Please for less than 20 hours, and it was never fun. It was, however, one of the most memorable experiences I had playing a game. The game isn't long, and a few hours will be more than enough to achieve one of twenty different endings, probably less depending on your performance at the checkpoint and the decisions you choose to make every day. I never reached a happy conclusion, so I don't know if there's one. The game places you in a situation where you will have to make decisions that affect other peoples lives while trying to do your job well enough to survive another day. And that's the essence of it, making moral choices; follow the rules and be forced to live with very questionable ethical decisions or try to help others but in the process placing you and your family at risk. Like I said before, it's not fun. 

 

FTL

Faster Than Light is a game that captured my attention from the moment I saw a screenshot. I read a couple of reviews before I bought it, but I was just trying to have a rational excuse for myself. It wasn't what I expected, and as I was playing the tutorial, I was wondering if I had just wasted my money. I usually don't make impulse purchases, except if it's a STEAM sale because nobody can resist those. Lucky for me, after the tutorial I already was enjoying the game and continued to do so for more than 100 hours. It's the kind of game that I can play for a few minutes or several consecutive hours. The maps and events are random, and often your quest to save the Federation will end poorly, plus there are events that are rare or that need to appear in a specific sequence witch makes the game very replayable. Despite the significant role that chance plays in this game there are actions that you can pursue that influence your odds, with a little of logic and attention to the clues the game gives you. Another way is learning from your mistakes, and there will be plenty of opportunities for those. 

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