Back at it! Two months within a week span? I know, I know, I work so hard. But I do it for you guys. Your readership keeps me going and it validates why I sift through all these mobile games every month. You see, I’ve wanted to give these games some recognition for a long time now. Ever since I started writing about games over five years ago, I’ve wanted to shine the spotlight on those games that most people overlook. Now I’ve finally taken a chance on that in the form of a monthly column, and people actually read it! That’s wild, and it means so much to me. So I just wanted to take a little moment to say thank you so much to all of you who look forward to my work and spend a portion of your precious lives reading it. Now, who’s ready for some more fun?
As a millennial child of 2000’s internet, I grew up playing a lot of mindless flash games at my grandma’s house. Miniclip and Addicting Games were my best friends back then, and writing this is really making me sad considering Adobe Flash is going under next year and a lot of those gems may be in danger of imminent shutdown. Thankfully, we have mobile games to keep that spirit alive for generations to come! One such flash game was called Ricochet, and it tasked the player with precisely aiming a bullet’s trail around obstacles in order to eliminate every enemy onscreen. I don’t recall there being much blood, even with the game’s inherently violent premise, but rather an awful lot of skill required for such a simple little game. Shootout 3D combines the 3D stick figure aesthetic we mobile gamers know and love with the skillful fun of Ricochet to create something really nostalgic and beautiful. What this game does to flip the original formula on its head, however, really adds some flair to the whole ordeal. Take, for example, the levels where enemies are aiming their own trails at you simultaneously, and you must find the best route to kill them without them killing you. Or the boss fights, which add a certain puzzle aspect to the gameplay, sometimes even requiring you to use the environment to your advantage. Shootout 3D is a hefty package, with plenty on offer to satisfy fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
If you’re like me, you’ve never quite gotten the hang of a Rubik’s Cube. To be frank, if you’re anything like me then chances are you’ve thrown a few of them at a wall or the ground and cursed Rubik’s stupid name many a time. Well as I said last month with Origame, sometimes a mobile game can open your eyes to the beauty of a product by making it more easily accessible to those less fortunate. So for those of you who find themselves… Rubikally-inclined, look no further than Ball Paint, a game that sounds like more of a dull time-waster than the complex challenge it is at its core. The gameplay is fairly simple: you are given a certain number of colored balls with which you are to cover a giant ball in the hopes of making it one single color. The challenge? Well, the giant ball is separated into divisions of varying sizes, each with their own color. This makes things difficult as shooting, say, a green ball at a yellow segment adjacent to a green segment will then make the giant ball more green, but if you aren’t given another green ball to shoot at a white segment, then chances are you’ll find yourself experimenting a lot with colors to achieve one uniform product. The trial-and-error nature of Ball Paint is not unlike a Rubik’s Cube, and the frustration that follows certainly feels similar, as well. The joy in Ball Paint, however, is the ability to try again and again, learning each time just what you did wrong the last time. Will it make you better with a Rubik’s Cube, though? That remains to be seen.
MyPlate Calorie Counter
After being diagnosed with kidney stones, a condition I will probably carry with me (literally) for the rest of my life, I decided that I needed to better myself and change my diet around. Thanks to my always helpful girlfriend, I was introduced to MyPlate, a nutrition-tracking app made by Livestrong. Now, I won’t be coy about it, I’ve been overweight my whole life. I’ve been a Weight Watchers member since I was 10 years old. I’ve tried tracking points and calories, eating better, exercising, etc. But nothing really keeps me going. No app has ever held me accountable as much as MyPlate has. I’ve gone from the Weight Watchers app to Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal, and while they all have their own helpful tips, I’ve always found myself getting sidetracked in my daily life. But something about MyPlate really draws me in. I’m not sure if it’s the vibrant color scheme and easy-to-manage dashboard, or my girlfriend’s constant cheering me on, but there’s definitely a more user-friendly experience to be had with this app. What started out as figuring out the macros (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) of my daily diet quickly turned into a lifestyle for me. I find myself being more vigilant of food’s nutrition facts, and I’ve never felt more confident as to what food I put in my body. On top of this, there’s a water tracker, a whole online encyclopedia of foods, a way to track your weight loss progress, quick exercises to add to your daily routine, and a whole community message board feature. If you’re looking for a way to better your lifestyle, I strongly suggest starting with MyPlate.
Continuing the trend of “App Recap is more than just games,” I figured I’d give you theater-lovers out there a little cheat code. If you love theater like me, you know that finding show tickets can be a real pain in the balcony, if you know what I’m saying. Theater humor. Anyway, this past month while looking for cheap tickets to my sister and I’s latest obsession, Six, I came across TodayTix, an easy way to find cheap tickets and lotteries for shows in any city. TodayTix consolidates all the shows of Broadway and beyond into one simple app, and it provides helpful information as to the goings-on of the theater world. Take, for instance, Waitress – a show I will be seeing next weekend. The TodayTix page shows an entire calendar, month by month, with prices for each showtime. It even lets you know how long certain cast members will be in the show, so you know exactly when to buy your tickets for. Tickets can be real cheap, but even if they’e still out of your price range, you can enter lotteries with the press of a button! I’ve entered the Six lottery as often as I could, and I also entered for the Hercules musical that ran a limited run in New York City this past month. There’s just something fun about throwing your name in a pot, free of charge, and waiting to see if you’ll be chosen to see some spectacular show. But while losing out on a lottery may be disappointing, TodayTix certainly does not disappoint when it comes to providing a convenient box office experience.
Dr. Mario World
Finally, we have arrived at a mobile game that I’ve been on the fence about since its release. I didn’t even know if it would make the list, which is why I excluded it from July even though it did come out within that month. You see, Dr. Mario World faced some scrutiny upon release, as it was one of the many Nintendo mobile releases heavily affected by microtransactions. let’s face it, after the tutorial, playing the game at all is difficult to do without buying extra lives and power-ups to keep the flow going. But unfortunately, we must also face that even with this going on, the game’s really freaking fun. For the tutorial I played, at least. Nintendo has a really good game on their hands here, if they just marketed it correctly. Flipping the script of classic Dr. Mario gameplay, pills ascend from the bottom of the screen this time around, making the tried-and-true Tetris formula a bit more technical. Add in new special powers (assigned to the game’s many doctors – including Bowser and Princess Peach – available through…microtransactions) and the inclusion of assistants to help you in levels, and you’ve practically got a brand new game on your hands, albeit an expensive one. Aside from its flaws, however, Dr. Mario World is a colorful, musical, tricky little game that definitely leaves you smiling for the first 20 levels or so. It’s just a shame that it’s such a massive game, riddled with the microtransaction menace we all know and loathe. Alas, Dr. Mario World makes the list because it’s worth checking out if you’re a Nintendo fan – also, because I need five apps a month for this thing.
Well I hope August treated you better than it treated me. Thankfully, I’m feeling a lot better, and life is getting brighter each day. As long as I have my mobile games with me, I’ll never be truly down for the count. Especially after September, which is already shaping up to be a wild month full of some meaty mobile material. So stick around, don’t touch that dial, and I’ll see you in a little while. Cheers!