I was noodling around in the App Store a few days ago and discovered Prune. In Prune you grow a tree and the object is to prune the tree in a way which allows the right limbs find sunlight and bloom flowers. I love this game. The levels get increasingly more difficult but nothing (so far) is overwhelming. If you get hung up on a level, after a certain number of tries the game just offers to go on. I've even saved one of my trees as my lock screen on my iPad. I also like the pricing model. I paid $4 for the game and there are no nagging in-app purchase requests. Two thumbs up.
Over the past week I've been getting messages from a college student trapped on a distant moon. He's scared and not quite sure what to do. He tells me what's going on and I've been giving him advice on how to stay alive. Sometimes he disappears for awhile when he's sleeping or working but eventually he comes back with some new problem.
I'm talking about a new game for iPhone called Lifeline and it is quite a bit of fun with several unexpected twists and turns. The game isn't quite as free ranging as text adventures like Zork but it is a lot of fun and the real time elements give it something special. Since the gameplay is reading text and responding, the Apple Watch app is makes it even more fun. It's just $2 and I'd pay it again. I discovered the game from my pal Stephen Hackett.
One thing that's been lingering in my mind since last week was the number of times everyone kept describing the new Metal platform as providing "Console" quality graphics. That's pretty great and I'm looking forward to seeing some powerful iPad and iPhone games but how would this impact on the rumored updated AppleTV. There are lots of rumors that Apple has teams working on the next AppleTV and it is going to get more than a face lift. What if game developers, using Metal and the next Apple chip could push enough pixels to actually be in the ballpark with existing game systems (or at least close behind) and Apple put it's weight behind a game controller? These things seemed inconceivable until last week's Keynote but now I've got to wonder. Maybe the push for Metal was more about the AppleTV than iOS.
Over the weekend I was searching for a diversion and discovered a new iPad/iPhone game, Tengami. (iOS App Store) (website) Tengami is an adventure game that takes place in a digitally-built papercraft world. I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It is beautiful on a retina iPad and I love the animations as I turn pages and watch them unfold. The puzzles are challenging but not maddening and I like the Japanese aesthetic. If you are looking for a little escape, this one is a winner. Below is some gameplay from YouTube.
Techhive pointed me to Guiz de Pessemier, who decided to build his own stop motion version of Donkey Kong using Perler Beads. Blink. I watched the whole video because growing up, Donkey Kong was my game. It was the game we played every time we got our hands on a few quarters. My best friend and I would call each other and make that great Donkey Kong jumping sound and hang up. There was no discussion whatsoever. No chance to make excuses or "ask my mom". The recipient of the "jump call" then had no choice but to mount his ten-speed and race to the Donkey Kong machine at the corner of Vine and Holt. It was a matter of faith. On a recent family vacation I stumbled into a Donkey Kong game and played it with my daughter until, once again, I ran out of quarters.
I have a couple of complaints about this most excellent stop motion though:
1. Unless my dementia has gone off the rails, I'm pretty sure he has the levels out of order from the original coin-op machine.
2. I really wish he had included the jump on level three that, if timed perfectly, let you skip most of the level. My friends and I simply called this "the jump" throughout our childhoods. My friend Scott would nail "the jump" every time. Not surprisingly, Scott is now an executive in the video game industry.
So here it is, my precious Donkey Kong.