Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mind Games

Three iPhone strategic games to challenge your minds with


Trainyard for iPhone combines simplistic graphics design with puzzles of a higher complexity. The concept of the game is to get all the trains into the correct stations while avoiding a collision. The first several levels will get players familiar with basics but after that, it will be a head-scratching good time.

The basic concept of Trainyard is simple: to route color coded trains from their departure points to the correct destinations by laying tracks. Sometimes, every train must arrive at the same destination and at other times, the game requires the managing of crossing paths and the switching of tracks to get each train to the right terminal. At more complicated levels of the game, the player will even have to combine trains or arrange for them to change color in order to complete the level. It is a clever concept, simple to grasp but with a lot of variety. The game is hindered only by its finer touch controls—it is not quite as responsive as it could be, especially for players with bigger fingers, track-laying may be somewhat finicky.

Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope distinguishes itself from the rest with its vibrant visuals, and fitting sound design. It employs an incredibly simplistic form of gameplay, and an even simpler story to act as a background; the player, has candy, and must make sure that it reaches the adorable monster, whilst also ensuring that it picks up the three stars that are placed precariously about the screen set. To do so, you have to cut/stretch/loosen/jiggle/shift the rope(s). As the levels progress, they become increasingly difficult, with new gameplay mechanics introduced, including bubbles that make candy float, and spikes that simply break the candy into bits.

Astoundingly, when playing Cut the Rope, every one of the introduced gameplay mechanics feels intrinsic to the experience. Every time a new mechanic is included in the game, the puzzles adapt to suit, and so the player is forced to think about the game in a completely new way.

Cat Physics

In Cat Physics there are two cats, the player’s job is to get a ball from one cat to the other the other. In this game, there are no complicated controls to master. Simply drag the arrows which influence the direction of the ball into place and tap the cat to begin. It offers the player instant gratification from the moment the game is start up for the first time. On each single-screen level there are various obstacles to overcome, buttons to push and springboards to propel the ball, plus teleports and breakable bridges later on. You amass points by ensuring the ball travels the shortest distance between the two cats.

After completing each level, players will earn between one and three stars, and while getting one star is simple, getting all three takes real skill as it represents the absolute shortest distance the ball can travel between the cats. Returning to a previously completed level can often see players using the arrows in different ways than first time around, opening up the possibility of finding a new route across the screen. Cat Physics is a lot of fun and there’s plenty of replay value. The physics are excellent, with the ball bouncing and rolling naturally. Graphically, Cat Physics is simple but attractive enough.

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