If you had any doubts that the mobile market was starting to dig into console gaming’s mindshare (much like consoles encroached on PCs), you need only look at the floor of PAX East, held this past weekend in Boston. As I wandered around, I was astounded by how many high quality titles are coming to iOS and Android. Halfbrick’shttp://ripten.com/tag/ fan-favorite Jetpack Joyride is getting a big update that will continue to bring people back to the table. Gadgets and in-game missions will help foster a “just one more” mentality. The combinations of different enhancements will provide a layer of strategy to the title that goes beyond the current goal of simply going as far as you can.
Hello Games’ Joe Danger, the PSN and XBLA darling, is not only getting a console sequel, but an iOS adaptation that uses a brilliant touch mechanic that is simple to learn and challenging to master. There’s no soft d-pad or buttons, it’s all handled by tapping and swiping. Not only is it intuitive, but the game looks stunning.
Adaptations of favorite board and card games are rapidly flooding to iOS, with titles like Small World, Ascension and Ticket to Ride joining more recognizable standards like Uno, Carcassone and Catan. Even major publishers, like Ubisoft, are creating new tie-ins to familiar properties. Assassin’s Creed: Recollection, which has been out for some time, is a unique card game set within the Animus. Clearly, the market is booming, and woe be the company that doesn’t acknowledge it.
As we reported yesterday, Wizards of the Coast is (finally) bringing Magic: the Gathering to tablets in the form of Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013. In fact, the news was the tipping point for our own News Editor, Chris Gravelle, to take the plunge and pick up an iPad. Yes, he’s that much of a Magic fan. (ed: I can neither confirm or deny the fact that I am playing Magic while reading this (spoiler: I am – CG))
What better way for hard core board game developers to hook new people that might be interested in purchasing the tabletop version. On the flip-side, digital versions are easy, and often inexpensive up-sells for people who want to take their tabletop experience on the go or simply dodge the sometimes lengthy setup times. Fantasy Flight Games, for instance, hasn’t yet ported over their Eldritch-soaked masterpiece Arkham Horror, but they have dipped their toe in the water. The successful Elder Sign: Omens is a streamlined version of a related Lovecraft-inspired product, perfect for on-the-go play. They have even released an iOS Arkham Horror toolbox to speed setup times for that title. It’s great time to be a tech-savvy board gamer.
The most astounding, nostalgia inducing thing I saw on the show floor, though, was a product from Tin Man Games. If you grew up in the 1980s, there’s a good chance you read at least one Choose Your Own Adventure book. For me, it was a gateway drug to both reading and gaming. Having control over my destiny while reading a book was thrilling. Looking back, though, something was missing. That’s where Gamebook Adventures come in.
These $4.99 apps are identical to Choose Your Own Adventures, with one little exception… you roll an RPG-esque character at the start. That’s right, your entire adventure involves skill checks, dice rolls and a character sheet. They are still books, but you will still be reading and making decisions. More than ever before, your quest will be governed by the roll of the dice and your abilities. It’s the perfect blend of PnP RPG and literature.
There are currently eight of the books available now on iOS, with the first released on Android recently. Want to give them a try? Of course you do! The most recent release, Infinite Universe, is available in a free/in-app purchase format. You’ll get the first 300 sections at no cost. You can also download the first Gamebook, An Assassin in Orlandes, in a Lite version. Two different settings, two different risk free trials. What are you waiting for?
We’ll be following up with Tin Man Games soon, and we’ll bring you news of the next wave of exciting Gamebook Adventures (including some cool licensed stuff coming in the near future). In the meantime, if you know of any other cool uses of analog and digital gaming, feel free to send them our way.