As I may well have mentioned, I was stuck at Barcelona airport for several hours at the weekend. What to do? No free wifi, no shops were open, finished my magazine very quickly… I know – games on my iPhone!!
When I upgraded to the iPhone4 I went for the 32gb version, and so I installed loads of games that I had to delete from my old phone because of space issues. So I had lots to play with. Here is my guide to the games I played (taking screen shots while playing gave me something to do!) and the ones you should download from iTunes today!
This is, of course, the traditional card game called Patience that you now find on pretty much every computer and phone around. The premise is simple – sort out all the cards into their suits and in number order from Ace through to King. I don’t need to tell you the rules, you’ll all have played it before I’m sure!
The interface for the game looks identical to the version on Windows, and it’s just a case of touching and dragging the cards where you want them to go. I started off playing the “draw one” version but quickly moved on to “draw three” which was much more difficult (I had plenty of time after all!).
The app times your go and counts the number of moves – the quicker you complete it and in the fewest number of moves the better. The time pauses when you stopped playing (pressing the home button/taking a call etc), and the game you are on restarts when you open the app again.
When you get to a point like the above the game asks you if you want to autocomplete, which is very satisfying to watch!
If you get stuck at any point there is a hint button which gives you a possible next move… you know you’re really stuck when it give you the message in the screen shot above – time to start a new game!
And of course it has to do this sort of animation at the end in order to be computer solitaire!
The app works both in portrait and landscape mode on the iPhone – I used it both ways and found both very easy. Landscape means everything is more spaced out, but I found the portrait way easier to hold and use quickly.
This is all about creating the longest complete series of pipes as you can before the water starts flowing… simple, fun and very addictive (although the sound effects are not great if you are hours away from a toilet!).
You place each piece on the grid by tapping where you wish to place it. Each piece links up creating a maze of pipes for the water to flow through. You can replace pieces by tapping on the same square again, but you lose points for that.
There are five levels and for each level you get less time. You can choose to start the water before the time runs out if you wish, but I normally find this is not necessary (I’m not ready in time!). You can keep placing pieces even when the water has started but once it’s going it really is a race against time to complete the circuit. If pieces flow off the edge of the grid that’s fine, but you can’t have pipes just ending within the grid or you lose!
The above shows a completed pipe network, and I did choose to start the water early for this one. You can see I have -45 points, which is because I replaced three pieces while making this circuit. I also placed one piece in the corner away from the others as I didn’t want to use it.
The water flows and you get points for each square in the grid that the water successfully flows through.
A very simple game that is easy to play when you have a spare minute (or hour or two!).
Ok so you and I know this as Battleships… you know, you place your ships on your grid then you and a friend try and sink each other’s fleet by “firing” at specific squares on a grid. You each get a go in turn, getting another go if you successfully hit something, and the winner is the first person to sink all your opponents ships.
The only way to play this game is to play against your phone. This is a shame as a bluetooth or wifi version would be a addition. However the fact that I could play against the computer meant I could do so whilst in the airport so I was kind of grateful!
After placing your ships you then get a grid to attempt to sink the ships of the other player. Simply tap to choose the position and hit “fire”.
You simply keep trying until you sink all the ships – which is what I’ve done on the left of the screen shot above.
Another easy to play game that doesn’t take much thinking… perfect for those few minutes you have nothing else to do.
BEJEWELED 2 (£2.99)
I first came across this on the internet and ended up spending hours and hours playing it. Then it came to facebook as Bejeweled Blitz, and again it filled many hours. Now it’s on the iPhone – oh dear!
This game is all about making lines of three or more of the same “jewel” by swapping adjacent images. When you do that the jewels explode and you get points. I normally play the classic game, which means you go up the levels as you get more points… eventually there are no more moves, when your game stops.
When you get four or five jewels in a row you activate power jewels which give you extra points when you use them.
I can play this game for hours and hours, each time trying to beat my last score… just one more go (I really want to beat my top score!!!)!
The game works both in portrait and landscape mode, and the background music is great!
CRAZY PENGUIN CATAPULT (Free)
I hadn’t played this before I was wasting time at the airport, and I ended up playing this for ages – it’s so addictive and I love the sound effects!
Basically you are the controller of an army of penguins. For each level you have to first get your penguin troops into battle, and then have to get them to hit and kill the enemy polar bears. Great cartoony graphics make this a fun game to play.
While this is a very simple idea it does actually take some practice to fling the pengins into battle (each level gets more difficult) and then to get the penguins to dive at the right time at the polar bears.
If you don’t get enough penguins past the catapult stage for each level you don’t have enough penguins to dive at the polar bears and complete the campaign.
There are also bonus stages to try your hand at – this one is all about collecting all the fish and icecreams – rashions are very important when in battle!
The campaign has several levels (I haven’t finished the game yet) and each time you complete a stage you are awarded 1, 2 or 3 stars. You can repeat the levels as many times as you like to increase your score.
A really fun game that will make you smile.
CRITTER CRUNCH LITE (Free)
This is my favourite free game from the selection in this blog post. It’s all about little cartoon critters eating each other until they explode. Brilliant!
The critter at the bottom of the screen is you. You can move left and right and tap the screen to send your tongue up and eat one of the little critters near the top.
You then move and tap again to feed the critter you’ve just eaten to another, larger, critter above you. Once they are full they explode and send points down for you to collect.
Very repetitive but fun and once again addictive.
The games on my iPhone certainly helped pass the many hours I was in the airport at the weekend.
If you’re going to download only one of these games make it Critter Crunch Lite – lots of simple fun without the need to think. If you’re willing to spend money get Bejeweled (no free version of this one). And if you like a more skill-needy challenge, go for Solitaire.