So every now and then I like to remind myself that Apple has launched the stealthiest handheld gaming platform by picking up a game or two when I'm just wondering around the iTunes Store. While I didn't initially think of my little iPhone as a gaming system, it's quickly becoming one of my favorite places to find some quick gaming on the go. For this round up I'm looking at RollOut and Pix'n Love Rush brought to us by the kind folks over at Bulkypix. Follow me after the jump to find out if these quirky takes on the platforming genre make good on the promises of their designs.
Let's get the ball rolling so to speak with RollOut. Think of this simple little game as an indirect platformer in a similar vein as Sonic Spinball. I say "similar vein" because unlike Sonic's sad attempt at pinball, RollOut is actually quite fun and addictive. Players are in charge of leading this strange, portly creature named Wabba into the exit of each side-scrolling level. The player doesn't actually control Wabba, but instead uses pattern of scrolling bumpers to nudge and push Wabba in the right direction. Tapping and holding the screen deactivates the bumpers, allowing Wabba to temporarily slip past them, and sliding your finger to the left moves the bumpers on down the line. It's a simple concept that gets ingeniously expanded on with speed mechanics, elevators, and color coded platforms. Wabba animates well, and the game's minimalist/modern visuals never distract from the gameplay. However, the audio leaves much to be desired (as you can tell with the video above) and I couldn't turn it off soon enough. This slight blemish doesn't take away from the fact that the 50 levels included in this unusual game should be more than enough to keep you busy for a good stretch of time. Add in the introductory launch price of $1 makes it too tempting to pass up. Though you might want to hurry if you want it at that price, the sale is almost up!
Anyone familiar with the Xbox LIVE Indie scene should already be acquainted with Pastagames and their Arkedo Series or their Maestro! Jump In Music on the DS front (if not, you're really missing out!). Bringing some of their lovely monochromatic pixel artistry over to the iPhone, Pix'n Love Rush is a lavishly produced retro-styled masterpiece. As this cute little sprite, players run, jump, and collect + signs across 125 mini-levels that are blended into a randomized stream of breakneck paced action platforming. Similar to the time-based challenges in Pac Man: Championship Edition, players attempt to rack up as many points as they can within a set time limit or see how long they can last in a devilish infinity mode. The candy colored retro visuals look delicious and the design behind each of the mini-levels is stunning. Collecting all the little doohickeys in a level and earning a perfect for any given section is a tough, but achievable challenge that never feels out of the player's reach. The most mystifying thing about this game is that this is the first time I've played a classically styled platformer on the iPhone and haven't cursed at a "no physical button" control scheme. I don't know how, but this just works. Players are getting a bargain with the title's $3 price tag and I cannot recommend this game highly enough.