One thing that’s common to just about everyone is boredom. At some point or another, everybody gets tired of whatever they’re doing and just want to waste a little time playing games. And let’s face it, we’ve all done that before. Even if it’s just Solitaire, everyone plays some form of a video game. They come in so many shapes and sizes these days that it’s pretty hard not to play them.
Thankfully, a few of those shapes and sizes include modern smart phones. These days, there are so many great games for Android and iOS that it’s hard to pick one. It’s easy to get deluged in the App Store or Market by a wave of crappy games. Finding real gems can be hard.
That’s why we at TechNorms started this series. Consider it our way of helping you help yourself waste time. Plus, now I can pretend to be “doing research” while I slack off and play games. To help everyone out, we decided to throw in a quality game for Android, iOS, and PC. The PC ones are casual Flash titles, nothing that would require a new graphics card.
UnblockMe is a classic puzzle type game remade for the convenience of electronic touch screens. The concept is simple. There is a formation of wood blocks. By sliding those blocks around the screen, you can clear a path to slide a special red block off the screen to win.
Sounds easy, right? It is, at first. However, as the game progresses the puzzles become fiendishly difficult. I really struggled with some of the later ones. The board eventually becomes a complex mess of conundrums that seem impossible to solve.
Of course, that’s why the game is so much fun. A puzzle game without any challenge wouldn’t be much of a puzzler, and thankfully UnblockMe delivers on the difficulty.
My only legitimate issue with the game is that the difficulty curve is somewhat uneven. A good game starts easy and gradually becomes harder as the player becomes more proficient. The difficulty slowly curves upward, hence the name.
UnblockMe, however, is somewhat uneven at times. There were puzzles in the easier part of the game that were harder to solve than ones from the end. Maybe it varies by person, but I had a lot of trouble with a few of the “easy” puzzles.
Other than that, UnblockMe is a great game for keeping yourself entertained. The puzzles are well-crafted and pose real challenges. Best of all, there’s plenty of challenge to go around. The game ships with at least a hundred levels. Puzzle fans, look no further.
Grimm: Ride of the Perambulator (iOS)
This is a weird one. Grimm is a at its core your average sidescrolling platformer. The player travels ever-rightward in search of the finish line while dodging obstacles and enemies. If you don’t know what a platformer is, think Super Mario.
What sets Grimm apart, though, is the art. The creator David Pietrandrea is a former graphic designer, and it really shows. What Grimm lacks in gameplay variety it more than makes up for in eye candy.
The world of Grimm is drawn in black and white pencil with the occasional shade of grey thrown in. However, important things are presented in color. This helps them stand out and it looks stunning against a black and white background.
That background is usually an ominous one. The player rides across hills stacked with human skulls without ever so much as meeting another human being, just the mysterious enemies which block the path. The world is very dark and grim, no pun intended.
What’s really grim, though, is the gameplay, To be honest, it’s a bit boring. Over the course of the whole game you’ll fight the same enemies, traverse the same obstacles, and generally do the same thing over until you’re bored sick of it. Variety isn’t Grimm’s strong suit.
Regardless, if you want to experience a mysterious and intimidating world that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, give Grimm a shot.
Bowman, like all good Flash games, relies on an ingeniously simple gameplay concept. Two bowmen are placed a variable distance away from each other. This distance is unknown.
The two (a human and a computer or two humans) have to estimate the correct angle and power behind their shot in order to successfully hit the other bowman. Each person doesn’t move, otherwise the game would be impossible.
The game is kind of fun, it its own odd little way. I especially recommend playing it with a friend. Trying to shoot an arrow through someone you know is far more enjoyable than just targeting a computer. Side note: don’t actually shoot anyone you know. Except in Bowman.
Normally the game would be impossible (trying to keep track of what angle your shot was and how much power was put into it is quite difficult), but Bowman adds a crucial user interface addition.
Each shot lists its angle and power at opposite ends of a line you draw by clicking and dragging across the screen. That line represents your shot. As long as you can remember what numbers worked and which ones didn’t, you can win.
Victory is achieved when one player strikes another with a fatal blow. An arrow through the chest or the head usually does the trick, but head shots are surprisingly difficult to bag. I could only hit the chest, and with difficulty. Bowman is pretty good overall, though. If you really like it, you can also play it on your Android mobile with
Bowman for Android. (Update: Pulled from Play Store)
Do you play any of these games? Which games are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.