Another week, another entry in our long-running series known only as The Weekend Games Corner. We at TechNorms might say that we’re getting a bit tired of doing this series except for the fact that it’s completely freakin’ awesome. How often do you get paid to play iPad games? We are just happy that the series has gone this long without the TechNorms editorial staff noticing us. You’d think they would notice a series that comes out every weekend.
This week is all about the simple games. Instead of sweeping, expansive RPGs and such, we’ve got a slightly simpler set of games that should appeal to casual gamers of all stripes. There’s something here for Android, iOS, and even Flash for those of you who like PC games but don’t have the graphics card for Batman: Arkham City.
Shoot the Zombirds (Android)
Shoot the Zombirds plays essentially the same way as that old helicopter defense game on the clickwheel iPods. Remember the game where you had to shoot at the enemies flying overhead? Zombirds is like that, only it wasn’t designed in 2005.
The theme of the day in Shoot the Zombirds is Halloween. This theme feels a bit out of place in the middle of July, but that’s the downside of a seasonal game. It’s only in season during that season. At least the graphics look sharp and cartoony. You can really tell that the developers got a real artist to do the visuals.
Gameplay is stock helicopter defense, with a twist. The stock part is that you have to swipe down on the screen in order to aim and fire arrows upward at the zombie birds (zombirds) that fly across the screen.
The twist is that you have a limited number of arrows. Successfully shooting birds earns you more arrows. Missed shots are arrows gone and never to be replaced. Combos (shooting one bird and causing it to crash into another) earn bonus arrows.
The limited ammo system forced you to fight strategically and make every shot count. It is a bit difficult to aim, though. The swiping system might have worked fine with a mouse in Bowman, but it feels too inaccurate for an ammo-scarce game like Shoot the Zombirds.
Like every other decent free game these days, Shoot the Zombirds is free to play. Shooting pesky birds earns you coins, but not nearly as quickly as a small purchase of $1. Tweeting or liking the game will get you a few free coins as well.
Those coins feed into a stash used to buy persistent upgrades. You can’t shoot very many zombirds in the first few rounds, but things get much easier as you accumulate better gear. The whole system is good motivation to keep playing and keeps the game fresh.
Shoot the Zombirds is a decent game that suffers from an unfortunate reliance on microtransactions. If you can move past that, there’s some good Halloween-themed gameplay to be had.
Splishi Splashi hearkens back to older arcade games from the ‘80s that had simple graphics, simple gameplay, and simple fun. There isn’t a whole lot to this game, but what is there is decently fun.
Gameplay is dead simple. You are a fish that loves coins (just go with it). Collecting coins makes you so excited that you speed up whenever you get one. This is good because if you slow down too much, the gigantic fish following will eat you.
Splishi Splashi is some good casual fun. Collecting coins and flinging the fish into the air to collect even more is simplistic but enjoyable. The pixelated “retrotastic” graphics are nostalgic as hell, too. Put all that under a price tag of zero dollars and you’ve got a good app for some brief entertainment.
This Is The Only Level 3
We never played This Is The Only Level 1 or 2, but we picked up on the concept quickly enough. It’s a platformer that tasks you with completing variations of the same level over and over again. Each version of the eponymous only level has some sort of twist that must be solved.
The first thing we noticed upon starting up This Is The Only Level 3 is that it is extremely professional by Flash game standards. The graphics are smooth, the user interface has no flaws, and the whole thing generally feels a cut above other Flash games. There’s even an option to change the graphics quality (like in real PC games).
We were a bit baffled by the platforming. Compared to the rest of the game, the physics of This Is The Only Level 3 are rather poor. Jumping has no momentum and feels far too floaty. The rules of the world are not adequately explained either. Expecting players to randomly guess to hit space bar is not a puzzle.
The theme of the game makes no sense either. You control an elephant… in a blocky world… with banjo music. We liked the banjo music, but mixing random things together does not make a game. It just makes things muddled.
This Is The Only Level 3 is a pretty good Flash game. Once you figure out how the game sets up its puzzles, solving them takes no more than a few seconds. The game knows this, and includes a timer for speedruns. It’s a good addition to encourage multiple playthroughs.
Which games are you playing this weekend? Share with us in the comments.