Old-school gamers will remember an age when there were no continues, no checkpoints, and no respawns. If you died during a level, that was it--you went back to the beginning of the level to do it all again. The craziest thing about it? You liked it even though it drove you crazy.
These days, a gaming purist might say games have gotten too easy and gamers have gotten too soft. When dying in a game doesn't mean anything, how can you truly enjoy the game? I'm not sure it matters, but I can see both sides. Maybe after checking out this collection--if you don't throw your iPhone through your computer screen from frustration--you can tell me what you think in the comments.
This week's collection of iOS apps is all about games that are both frustrating and addictive. The first is a favorite of mine from 2011 that is sure to induce rage seizures (not really, but you know what I mean). The second gives you some easy levels to start with but quickly gets extremely hard. The third is all about collecting weapon crates (or at least attempting to) for high scores.
League of Evil ($1.99) has been around for a while and is like an iOS remake of the popular 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. Check out League of Evil Lite to see if you like it, but you won't get the really hard levels without paying.
Bit-1 (99 cents) is a platformer that may not frustrate you as quickly as the others in this collection, but you'll definitely feel the heat as the levels get harder. True to its name, Bit-1 features old-school 8-bit graphics, making your little robot charmingly cute. Left and right directional controls are on the left side of the screen, with jump and fire buttons on the right.
Bit-1 starts you out easy with a big open level that's a snap to complete as you collect coins and shoot at evil robots before finding the exit. But as the game progresses, you'll need to fight off more enemies and make extremely precise jumps to find your way to the exit. The enemies get harder as well, requiring several bullets to take out larger opponents that block your path. Fortunately, you'll also find new weapons that make it easier to clear your path, but Bit-1 has a way of swarming you with bad guys regardless of your firepower.
With 25 levels, Game Center support for global high scores, and hard-core bosses to beat, Bit-1 is a great time-waster for those with a high threshold for frustration. Anyone who wants to revisit the glory days of arcade gaming should check out this title. If you want to try before you buy, download Bit-1 Lite for free.
Super Crate Box (99 cents) is a maddeningly addictive arcade platformer with a concept that's very simple, but manages to keep you coming back for more. Using left and right directional buttons on the left and buttons for jumping and firing on the right, your only mission is to stay alive and collect weapon crates. When you collect one, another appears randomly on the map and you receive a random weapon for fighting off the endless rampage of deadly monsters.
Super Crate Box is one of those games that is highly rage-inducing. Even the slightest touch by one of the enemies ends your game and often the weapons can hurt you as much as they help you. For example, a grenade launcher has an excellent blast radius, but you have to account for the amount of time it takes for a grenade to explode once it leaves the gun (giving enemies time to get you). The disc gun is deadly on your foes, but once shot, the disc bounces off the wall and returns to where you're standing (we're certain you will come to hate the disc gun). If you can manage to stay alive long enough to grab just 10 cases in one game (no easy task), you'll unlock a new map forcing you to rethink your entire strategy.
The game starts you out on Normal mode, and if you can grab 40 crates before dying (almost impossible!) you'll unlock the official SFMT mode. At the time of this writing, I can't find out what SFMT stands for, but I do know you'll need to grab 20 crates in this faster mode in order to open Ambush mode. Suffice it to say, the game is already hard and just gets harder with each mode.
Somehow, even when I died countless times in Super Crate Box, something kept me trying just "one more time" to beat my record. If you don't throw your iPhone across the room first in frustration, we think this will be your experience with this fun time-waster as well.