In its heyday, the platform game genre was as dominant as any video game category has ever been. Most notable for iconic 1980s games such as Donkey Kong and the Super Mario Bros., platformers even thrived in the 90s on the second generation consoles Sega Genesis and SNES.
As video games continue to get more advanced, the genre has steadily declined. But the back-to-basics iOS platform has proven to be a haven for platformers, whether it is the re-release of games like Sonic the Hedgehog or titles that are unique to the device. Here are the best platform games worth downloading.
Tiny Wings ($0.99)
Admittedly, it’s a bit dicey classifying Tiny Wings as a true platformer, what with a complete lack of platforms in the game. Instead gamers navigate a loveable little bird over vibrantly-colored hills. Though the general gameplay – moving left to right and timing jumps – definitely fits the platform game description. Besides that, it’s a dangerously addictive game and one that may go down as the most popular new game of 2011. On top of its wonderfully simple controls, Tiny Wings includes tasks and achievements to add replay value, and updated graphics daily to make repeated gameplay much less mundane. Those looking for a true platformer may be disappointed that this doesn’t fit all the criteria, but will also likely get over it after realizing how clever and well done this game is.
Though it’s early, the recently released Blobster ($0.99) seems destined for App Store success. This isot all that surprising for a game published by Chillingo (of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope fame.) All the elements of a true (or at least typical) platformer are here, including a storyline that has you saving the world from an evil corporation and plenty of platforms and jumping – or flinging in this case. The main character is an adorable red blob that gamers control by tapping left or right to move, or by dragging to fling in any direction. There’s also plenty of content to keep you interested, including 40 levels with unique gameplay elements and a plethora of power ups. While the controls certainly sound easy, it will take newcomers a few tries to really get a grasp of them, though that might be the closest thing to a negative one can say about Blobster.
Continuity 2: The Continuation ($0.99)
Continuity 2: The Continuation is the iOS version – you guessed it – of Continuity, an award-winning, student-produced puzzle platformer. Heavy emphasis there on ‘puzzle’, as while this game clearly falls in the genre you will need to use your wits more than your jumping and bad-guy-avoiding abilities to win. Levels consist of three panels, which you move into desired slots before entering the action part of the level. Oftentimes you’ll have to switch between both views, and while levels start off easy enough they quickly become much more challenging. The game is comparable to :Shift:, largely due to the minimalistic graphics and similar gameplay, though not so much that it comes off as a rip-off. Continuity 2 is strongly recommended for fans of that game and puzzlers in general, as it’s simply one of the smartest games you’ll come across.
Mighty Fin ($0.99)
It’s unavoidable, so let’s just get it out of the way – Mighty Fin shares many similarities with the previously mentioned Tiny Wings. It is also an endless runner so the controls and general gameplay are very close, and both games pay a lot of attention to artwork. None of that is necessarily bad, though, and the fact that Mighty Fin takes place underwater (mostly) instead of on hills give it a subtle, but different feel. Gamers control Fin, a fish on a world tour, by tapping the screen to dive and letting go to send him flying through the air. A medal system gives users a reason to come back to the game, though possibly the most disappointing part of this release is that there are a somewhat limited eight levels. But aside from that, as well as the comparisons to Tiny Wings, Mighty Fin is an undeniably fun game in a solid all-around package.
While you certainly can talk about iOS platformers without bringing up Rolando, it’s not recommended. With two games in the series released so far – Rolando and Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid ($0.99) – it has been established as one of the platform’s premier platformers, due in no small part to its iOS-unique accelerometer controls. Gamers roll Rolandos through nearly 100 levels across the two games, full of expected obstacles and bad guys. Graphically and storyline-wise the game is solid but not spectacular, with the real appeal here being gameplay that feels like it belongs on the iPhone because of the unique controls. One important caveat, the game only works with iOS4 and up, but as long as your device fits that criteria there’s no reason for you not to check out one or both of the Rolando titles.