iFanzine’s Top Ten iOS Games of 2014


Icycle: On Thin Ice

Some of you reading this might remember how the early days of iOS gaming were heralded as a second coming for originality, providing a legitimate outlet for experiences that could never have taken root anywhere else. It can be hard to remember such a time since these days the bulk of iOS releases are either: endless runners, Angry Bird clones, Clash of Clan knockoffs, yet another tower defense game, or something else copied. After all, once you’ve played one game starring a naked man peddling a tiny tricycle — trying desperately to stay alive as he explores a beautiful, yet somber, flash-frozen apocalyptic wasteland — you’ve really played them all… wait a second.

Okay, so maybe you really can still teach this old dog some new tricks on occasion.

Anyways, it would probably be best to describe Damp Gnat’s Icycle: on Thin Ice (our review) as what might have happened if Terry Gilliam — of Monty Python fame — had attempted to design a slightly easier version of the ever infamous I Wanna Be The Guy. In it players must peddle — jump — and parasol glide their way across various mesmerizing, crumbling, and always downright treacherous landscapes detailing the way things were before everything went to hell. Thankfully the game’s controls are actually rather adequate for the utterly brutal challenges that are regularly thrown in the hero’s path, making this game a breath of icy fresh air for those seeking a real challenge!

The only reason that you wouldn’t want to pick this app up is if Dennis’s perpetual nakedness would happen to be a deal breaker, as that’s one thing that’s absolutely never going away (although you may acquire other outfits for him, none of them involve pants).


Five Nights at Freddy’s

Long have game designers strived to create an experience of true gripping horror, and in turn gamers have always complained that everything given to them was merely an action title — often featuring shoddy controls — wherein you did battle with undead creatures. Thusly it was that everyone was caught off guard when Five Nights at Freddy’s (our review) recently came from practically out of nowhere, complete when an archaic MYSTesque presentation, and then proceeded to scare the ever loving crap out of everyone. Rather than being cast in the role of an empowered — and gun toting — marine trapped inside some mansion filled with mad-science gone utterly awry, players were instead asked to do little more than spend the grave-digger shift sitting inside a tiny little office.

Ideally it should have been a simple enough minimum wage paycheck to earn, but a hitch quickly develops when a warning call arrives telling you that Freddy and Friends — the restaurant’s animatronic attractions — seem to become a touch active and mobile at night. Your only means of keeping their eerily grinning faces out — and thus your own personage unmutilated — are the two powered security doors leading into your office, each of which can be separately slammed shut. Sadly some recent budget cuts — due to incidents potentially involving the selfsame animatronics — has lead to the restaurant having to survive on limited juice at night, meaning you can’t just lock the doors forever.

Thus players must spend the entire night — trapped inside their little office — trying to figure out the most effective means of keeping the many murderous animatronics out, all while remembering that each thing they do will only further hasten their ultimate demise. This scenario — compared to the various “Survival Horror” games of yore — left gamers with a gripping sense of disempowerment and paranoia, and thus — for the first time ever — players everywhere were finally given the interactive horror experience they desired. Now — with that accomplished — the only thing that most gamers still needed to worry about was how exactly they were planning to remain asleep afterwards, for nightmares of Bonnie — Chica — and/or Foxy aren’t exactly conducive to enjoying a proper night’s rest.

Although we here at iFanzine do indeed give Five Nights at Freddy’s our overwhelming approval, we do urge people to remember that this app is very good at its intentions — which are to utterly destroy your nerves — and thus shouldn’t be played on lunch breaks.


Kero Blaster

Kero — the gun toting master of custodial sciences — is certainly going to be working some serious over-time tonight, all because an army of strange black creatures — known as Negativus Legatia — have begun attacking the C&F Company’s various teleport stations. So went the setup to Kero Blaster (our review) the lastest pixelated blast-fest from Daisuke Amaya, the man solely responsible for creating the legendarily renown indie gaming sensation: Cave Story. Whereas Cave Story was an exploration based game — borrowing heavily from the Metroidvania genre — Kero Blaster is instead a linear affair carried out across discreet stages, in a manner far more akin to the lauded Contra series.

Daisuke Amaya has utilized this fixed level format to provide gamers with a far more structured challenge than Cave Story ever had, resulting in a game chock full of extra devious traps — sinisterly clever enemy placements — and treacherous platform hopping. Kero Blaster — further benefitting from not being exclusively set within a labyrinthine cave structure — also features a wider array of settings, including: lush forests, abandoned hotels, dangerous factories, arctic laboratories, city streets run amok, and much more! These various places will additionally be filled to the brim with a vast cadre of utterly inexplicable enemies, all hell-bent on expediting your utter demise, including one boss whom is quite literally a giant clock running around upon long cartoonish legs.

Thankfully players will not only have access to a vast upgradable arsenal — which can only be enhanced via in-game currency, since nary an IAP exists — they’ll additionally have the quality controls needed in order to successfully fend off all these foes. Furthermore — for those not quite yet ready for a challenge that might best be described as a cement truck to the forehead — Kero Blaster even affords players with infinite continues, as well as frequent respawn checkpoints. Finally, if you’re still somehow not sure if Kero Blaster is ideal for you, you may even sample Pink Hour (a side story set within the same universe, furthermore using the same game engine) for the low price of absolutely free!

About the only place where Kero Blaster might potentially disappoint Cave Story’s fans would be its conclusion, wherein — despite Kero successfully halting the Negativus Legatia epidemic — players will likely be left with quite a few unanswered questions.

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