I’m not usually much of a fan of twin-stick shooters on mobile devices because they mostly tend to feel like they’re all the same. But Lock ‘n’ Load, with its voice acting, horror tropes and goofy story, is pretty refreshing and it also manages to do a good job with dual-stick shooter mechanics, making for a hectic game with good controls that’s also pretty addicting. It leads this week’s best games, bringing in four other awesome titles players should definitely check out going into the weekend.
Lock ‘n’ Load (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Lock ‘n’ Load has a lot to offer twin-stick shooter fans. For one, the shooting is more than competent, providing plenty of weapons for players to find and upgrade, starting with the basic machine gun and growing to include more and more great weapons, including a chainsaw. But it’s probably the goofy story and presentation that make Lock ‘n’ Load most fun. You play a jumpsuit-wearing hero who dons a hockey mask – and he’s the good guy – and fight off enemies that include killer clowns; 30 different types in all. With great production values, solid controls and mechanics and a fun story, Lock ‘n’ Load is a no-brainer for shooter fans.
MacGuffin’s Curse (iPhone, iPad) $1.99
Another funny entry with writing that’s worth reading is MacGuffin’s Curse. The game packs tons of top-down puzzle levels to solve as you help MacGuffin steal an amulet and deal with it turning him into a werewolf. Once infected with lycanthropy, however, you get some new options for solving the game’s room-after-room of puzzles. You can switch between being a thin, weak human and a hulking, powerful werewolf in order to accomplish different tasks, and that means thinking differently in each puzzle about how you approach it. MacGuffin’s Curse also is packed full of secret stuff to find, which makes it a completionist’s dream.
Mass Effect Infiltrator update (iPhone, iPad) $4.99
When Mass Effect Infiltrator launched back in March, it simply was not a very good third-person shooter. It had its moments, but it was held back by a strange aiming system and some weak voice acting and other elements. In terms of the gameplay, however, Electronic Arts has updated the game and reworked the third-person shooting aspects to greatly improve the game, providing traditional controls that make Mass Effect Infiltrator handle much better. There’s also a whole new mission that features a new character, so not only is the game more fun to play with its improved controls, there’s more of it to enjoy.
Sketch Nation Studio (iPhone, iPad) Free
How many apps in the App Store allow you to create your own games? How many offer you the chance to push those games into the App Store to sell them? Sketch Nation Studio does both, and that makes it something of a unique offering on Apple’s platform. The game allows you to draw and create the art assets for one of several simple game types that are very popular in the App Store: side-scrolling and vertical scrolling/running/jumping titles are all represented. While you can adjust the gameplay with more advanced settings, most of the creativity comes from drawing the assets for the games, and creating their characters and elements. You can then share them with others, submit them to the App Store, and check out the best of the rest of the Sketch Nation Studio community and play other people’s titles.
Illusia 2 (iPhone, iPad) Free
A successful mixture of a number of gameplay types and genres is what makes Illusia 2 notable. The game includes elements of a 2-D side-scrolling platformer, an in-depth, story-driven role-playing game, and a hack-and-slash action-adventure title. And what’s more, it manages to handle all of these things beautifully, encouraging players to gather loot and upgrade their characters, practice jumping across platforms, and take on enemies with one of three different character classes. There’s also quite a bit of writing on hand to carry players through the game’s story, and a 16-bit art style to tie it all together with a nostalgic feel. Illusia 2 pulls off all of these disparate elements very nicely.