Prior to the release of the iPhone 3G, around the time of the WWDC, iPhone users (and those who hoped to become them) had such high hopes for the App Store – particularly as far as games go. When Super Monkey Ball was displayed at the WWDC, we were all salivating. Finally, we thought, the iPhone’s 3.5" screen, accelerometer and touch screen features will work hand-in-hand to bring us the ultimate mobile gaming experience!
But then the App Store came out, and disappointment ensued.
The App Store currently has over 1,000 applications, and although the majority of apps in all categories are pretty much garbage, this article will focus on games – and how there are only a few standout ones.
And even the standouts have issues.
The [few] Standouts
Super Monkey Ball
The Word: While being the most graphically advanced and best accelerometer-adopting game in the app store, Super Monkey Ball manages to entertain for about…the first day or two you have it.
The Word: The best Sudoku game in the App Store. However, I had Sudoku on my Nokia in 1999. In other words, while Sudoku’s great – we need something more for the iPhone. Something with a little more umph.
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D
The Word: Nitro Kart is addicting, fun, and has great graphics – but there are a few things it lacks. For one, levels (the game is very short). Second, it doesn’t have WiFi multiplayer mode. And third, it’s childish. Seriously, if your co-workers catch you playing this game, your spot as the office toddler will be forever confirmed (not to mention the fact that you can’t grow facial hair).
The Word: Trism is innovative (the accelerometer function), addicting, and fun. However, the concept of the game itself is something that’s been around for ages under the names Bejewled and Snood. While the developer did a great job, it doesn’t change the fact that we need funner, more action-packed games in the App Store.
The Word: Texas Hold’em, developed by Apple itself, has a great UI…and the execution of the game is silky smooth. However, the problem lies in the concept of the game itself. The artificial intelligence of your poker opponents leads to a very quick loss of interest in the game. Their betting/calling/bluffing patterns are predictable. Also, unless the chips actually hold some cash value, poker typically loses its edge.
The problem with App Store games is simple:
There are no FUN games that will KEEP you entertained.
Just take a look at how many simple, non-innovative, boring games there are:
28 Casino games
24 Sudoku games
19 Word games
15 Solitaire games
12 Poker games
10 BlackJack games
10 Dice games
7 Mahjong games
6 Music games
4 Brick-Breaker games
4 Racing games
3 Crossword games
3 Slot Machine games
2 Pinball games
The iPhone has extremely advanced mobile gaming capabilities, and they’re being let down. While there are some neat and temporarily fun games in the App Store, we need more. We need funner games.
Perhaps the solution lies in larger development companies who hold the rights to game titles and characters that we have all learned to love on other gaming platforms. Development companies like "id Software", the guys behind Doom, didn’t want to sink millions of dollars into the development of an iPhone game until they saw whether or not other game developers had success in the iTunes App Store.
That being said, with the App Store soon reaching its 1-month birthday, we should definitely expect to see improved and more appealing games for the iPhone, since larger developers like "id Software" will be ready to take the leap.