Once game consoles hit their stride in the '80s and '90s, the platform game became enormously popular. Especially with the release of the now legendary Mario games, just about every developer rushed to produce a game that offered that perfect mix of running, jumping, and collecting items for points, all while exploring a strange and often fantastical world.
This week's collection of apps includes modern twists on the old-school platform games many of us remember. The first lets you explore deep mines for treasure; the second will bring back memories of precision-heavy, rage-inducing platform classics; and the last offers up cartoonlike graphics as you explore a dreamlike fantasy world.
Miner Disturbance (99 cents) is a fun platformer mining game that will immediately remind you of arcade classic Dig Dug, but it offers much more. The object of the game is to complete goals as you dig downward into each mine. Some goals will require that you collect a certain number of minerals, and others will only require that you've dug to a specific depth.
But as you dig your way deeper, you'll face baddies like moles, bats, and other underground dwellers that you'll be able to defeat by swinging your pick. As you go farther into the game, you'll face water-filled caverns forcing you to go up for air, and hot lava that may mean certain death. All this adds up to plenty of variation on the digging mechanic, and remains exciting for even after several days of playing.
Miner Disturbance lets you navigate from mine to mine by tapping on circled locations on the main map or, if you have collected cash rewards, lets you buy better mining equipment at the above-ground store. The controls are a bit tough to get used to at the start (as any touch-screen directional systems tend to be), but quickly become second nature as you dig deeper into the mines.
Along with the main map, which features several mines, all with different goals, Miner Disturbance includes a second snowy map where you'll face different challenges and a Volcano mine where you can compete for the high score with other players online. Overall, if you're looking for a game with a little more depth than Dig Dug and some light RPG elements, Miner Disturbance is a steal at 99 cents.
League of Evil (99 cents) is like an iOS remake of the popular and recent console and desktop game Super Meat Boy. For those who haven't played Super Meat Boy, it's a platform game that has become well-known (dare we say, "legendary") for being extremely difficult. League of Evil is probably not quite as hard as the game it emulates, but you'll find the same rage-inducing effect when you've restarted some of the later levels for the 20th time.
Like other platform games, League of Evil gives you directional controls for movement on the lower left part of the screen and buttons for jump and attack on the lower right. Your goals are to complete a level in the shortest amount of time possible, find and retrieve a hidden briefcase, and take out the scientist at the end of the level. The first several levels are not too bad, but once you get into the second tier of levels (54 levels total across three tiers), your old-school arcade skills will definitely be put to the test.
League of Evil is not for those who are new to platform games; even the most skilled gamers will be challenged by this title. But if you like the challenge of getting your run through a level exactly right and are willing to try the same level again and again for that feeling of finally succeeding, we highly recommend this game.
Strom in a Teacup (99 cents) is a new platformer that lets you explore a dreamlike world, offering tons of unique levels and plenty of challenge despite its cutesie feel. You play as Storm, a little man who rides in a Teacup collecting sugar cubes and other items as you navigate your way past obstacles in more than 40 levels of gameplay.
The interface consists of left and right directional buttons on the lower left, and a jump button on the lower right. To complete a level, you need only get to the end (a red and white target on the ground), but you'll also want to try to gather all the sugar cubes and other bonus items to truly finish a level. A tutorial will get you acclimated with all the controls, but in my experience, one of the moves described doesn't work as advertised. The tutorial suggests double-tapping the jump button to get higher, but when we tried it, double-tapping didn't change the jump height whatsoever. Even with this flaw, we were able to get most items, but we hope the developer will fix this in coming updates because certain items remained out of our reach.
On first glance, Storm in a Teacup doesn't seem like it should be taken seriously. With the rainbow colors, cutesie enemies, and cartoonlike graphics, you might dismiss the game thinking it was made for kids. But even after only a few levels, we realized the game offers much more than cute graphics; trying to complete levels and gather all the bonus items can be very challenging, and some of the obstacles require pinpoint precision.
Overall, Storm in a Teacup is a fun and challenging platformer with great-looking graphics and numerous levels to explore. If you're looking for a unique twist on the platform genre, check out this game.
Got a better platformer game than the ones listed? Let us all know in the comments!