Welcome back to the Weekend Games Corner. Much as we like to do themed posts, this week’s entry does not have a particular unifying idea. Sorry. We do try to find fun games that match each other, but this week’s best and brightest, unfortunately, lie in different genres.
However, they are some good games. Whether you’ve got an iPhone, Android phone, or simply a computer with Flash, we’ve got a fun casual game for you to play. Think of this as your one-stop shop for some mindless entertainment this weekend in between rounds of Borderlands 2. You really should take a break from that game. It’s not good for you to play quite so long.
Save the Puppies (Android)
Save the Puppies is a game concept that everyone can get behind- you have to rescue puppies cruelly locked in cages by the… game developers. Sure, they’re virtual animals, but that’s virtual cruelty.
The game is played by guiding a wiener dog through a maze of pushable boxes and gaps. Although the puzzles start exceedingly simple, they get progressively more complex.
Guiding the dog through the maze is easy in and of itself. The challenge comes through the step system. Each movement the dog takes is a step taken from a persistent pool of steps that is replenished by completing levels.
It’s best to plan out your route before in order to minimize the number of steps used. The undo button makes mistakes a temporary rather than permanent setback. With careful forethought, Save the Puppies is not too challenging.
The persistent leveling system rewards you for completing puzzles with the optimal path. You also accumulate keys that reveal solutions to particularly challenging puzzles.
We also enjoyed the bright, professional graphics. The game sort of looks like the animated 101 Dalmations movie. Good work on the visuals.
Those nice visuals are unfortunately marred by advertising in the corner of the screen. The game also sends you notifications when you exit in order to remind you to play again. There are also multiple popups about rating the game in the store.
As long as you don’t mind the aggressive commercialization, Save the Puppies is an enjoyable puzzle game. And it’s free.
Dead Trigger (iOS)
Dead Trigger has gotten a good bit of press in recent weeks, and for good reason. It’s one of the most complex iOS games released to date. Developer Madfinger actually created an honest-to-god zombie first-person shooter for iPhone and iPad. How cool is that?
The game is impressive as hell. The graphics are cutting-edge by iOS standards, hanging neck-and-neck with Infinity Blade and Final Fantasy III. Seven years ago this level of graphical quality would have been restricted to home consoles. Man, technology is awesome.
Those great 3D graphics come at a price, though. Dead Trigger is a resources-intensive game. It crashed every single time we tried to play it on our first-generation iPad. Take this with a grain of salt, as this may be because we kept trying to take screencaps while playing.
Dead Trigger is astoundingly complex for a mobile game. You can select and equip different weapons which can be upgraded separately. There’s also upgradable health and ammo. The bonuses round out with enhancements which can be purchased via microtransaction. Hey, it’s free to play.
The biggest sticking point is the controls. Touch-screen FPS games are universally awful. We hate them. That said, Dead Trigger’s controls are… workable. A real dual-analog controller is still better, but Madfinger’s solution is decent.
Aiming, firing, and zooming in are all relatively easy to do. Things tend to break down when you’re surrounded by zombies, but we didn’t struggle too much with a shooting. That’s a step forward.
What’s not a step forward, though, is the story in this game. Remember how bad those old House of the Dead games were? Dead Trigger is like that. Just skip the text-box story.
Story complaints aside, Dead Trigger is cool. iOS needs more zombie-killing, kid-unfriendly games. Dead Trigger is exactly that.
Dogfight Aces (Flash)
Speaking of games with terrible stories, Dogfight Aces has a terrible plot taken straight from the days of Bad Dudes and Double Dragon. You get to play as a World War I fighter pilot who takes part in a secret dogfighting tournament to determine the “Ace of Aces.” This makes no sense but gets points for creativity.
Combat is impressive. For a Flash game, Dogfight Aces is relatively realistic. Planes stall, fly upside down, and get destroyed after a shot or two. Just like the real thing, being chased by someone is death. Flying loops and shooting at other pilots is crazy and fun.
Dogfight Aces also deserves credit for giving the player choices. You can select one of two different control schemes and one of several real-life WWI flying aces.
The game is complex. Each plane and flier have its own stats. Each plane has a handful of weapon slots like a machine gun, tail gunner, and bombs.
Overall, a fun game that flight junkies might like.