My biggest weakness (I say as if I were in a job interview) is that I get hooked on things and forget to go to sleep. Most often that’s because I’m reading a book or playing a game of some sort — particularly on my iPad, if I’m not keeping an eye on the clock. Lately, I’ll admit that the most time has been spent playing DrawSomething (see Core Dump: Draw the Line) but there are a few other apps that have kept me up past my bedtime. It’s a mixed bunch: some RPG-type adventure games, some puzzle games, and a few other odds and ends. Here then, some apps to while away those hours you don’t actually have to spare.
(Note: click on the screenshots below to view them at full size.)
Crow – $4.99 (universal app)
Crow is a fairly new one from Sunside Games, who developed their own 3D game engine that they’re planning to open source now that the game is available. They’d sent me a link to the video trailer and a gameplay video, and it looked gorgeous — so I agreed to check it out despite that little voice telling me I had way too many things to be doing anyway.
It’s not flawless, but I have enjoyed the game and have started going through it a second time. In the game you’re a crow, but not an ordinary crow. There is a voice calling you to action, sending you first against a few guardians to attain magical abilities, and then against the first real enemy: the scarecrow. After that, you’ll face off against a few other big bosses. But aside from the fight scenes, there’s also a large portion of the game that’s flying around over some terrain, looking for trinkets (which appear when you fly over the right areas) that award you skill points. You’ll also get more pieces of the story, and discover that there are two conflicting voices that you hear: one that urges you to curse the enemies in order to gain more powers, and one that wants you to spare them. As with Fable, the path you take determines what happens later in the game (though perhaps on a smaller scale).
There are also challenge levels which have you zooming along a path, collecting energy and trinkets and avoiding obstacles — these are pretty fun to play, and you can replay these to beat your own score. As you collect trinkets and skill points, you can spend them to increase various abilities that will aid you in the battles.
The main part about the game I didn’t like was that there didn’t seem to be any real indication of where you should look for the trinkets — you just lazily fly over large swaths of land, criss-crossing in the hopes of having something pop up on the screen. There aren’t hard borders marked, either: when you fly too far, you just get more and more clouds blowing over the screen until it’s whited-out, and then you’re pushed back onto the map. The graphics aren’t quite at Infinity Blade levels — when you get close up you can start to see the polygons — but the overall tone and atmosphere are very cool. There are scenes in the setting sun, and scenes in the rain at night. The blowing clouds and various environmental elements are impressive.
The game itself isn’t too long — I played through the entire thing in a few hours — but now I’m wondering what happens when I change what I curse or spare, so I’m going to gradually go through it again.