Recently, my colleague Garry Balogh came up with a list of the 5 iPad games you would want if you got stuck on a desert island (read the article here.) I think the context involved something about a boatload of half-naked people walking around eating magical desserts. I’m not even going to go into all the logical problems with Garry’s fantastical scenario, like how you are supposed to keep your battery charged or get a decent net connection.
Anyway, sure it was a nice list (with a lot of great games on it – check them out!) but I’m now going to give you the definitive list of what games you would want if you were stuck on a desert island.
Fiz: The Brewery Management Game (Bit By Bit Studios)
With a high likelihood of limited fresh drinking water on our island, playing a game that is all about managing a micro-brewery might seem like a massive tease. Nonetheless, Fiz is an excellent strategy game that successfully walks a fine line between providing a fun yet challenging experience. From the humble beginnings of a garage, your goal is to brew your way to the top, seeking that elusive perfect batch of beer. In what other game do you get to brew awesome sounding recipes like a "Get Off My Lawn" lager with a ninja?
But there’s much more to Fiz than simply setting your beers to brew. Part of the challenge is to understand your customer’s preferences and competitor’s strategies. If you don’t get it right, that brew you just invested in will collect dust on the shelf of the local watering hole. With stacks of recipes to unlock and plenty of challenges, Fiz will remain fresh for a long time to come. It's certainly a good way to pass the time on a desert island, even if it does whet your whistle for something more substantial than water.
If you need a few extra tips on how to become the most successful beer baron of them all, be sure to check out our Top 10 Tips for Fiz: The Brewery Management Game. We also recommend checking out our full review and developer interview in Episode 2 of Grab It.
Grab the game here
80 Days (inkle)
If we’re going to be stuck on an island for a long period of time, we’re going to need a game that has replayability. That game would be 80 Days, a digital gamebook from inkle. 80 Days is based on Jules Verne’s classic novel, Around The World In 80 Days, and showcases the best elements of the genre. Similar to the novel, 80 Days follows the stories of Phileas Fogg and his faithful valet Passepartout as they race around the world to win a bet made with some snooty English gentlemen.
80 Days plays out in a similar fashion to classic choose-your-own adventures. What sets 80 Days apart is that your choices have a massive impact on the overall story progression, with nearly 150 cities to visit. Naturally, this lends itself to significant replayability. The story is top notch and you’ll meet plenty of interesting characters in your travels. If we’re going to be stuck on an island, at least we can imagine we are somewhere else instead.
If you’re interested in finding out more about gamebooks, be sure to keep an eye on our website over this month – including our review of 80 Days - as we have officially declared August as Gamebook Month. Be sure to also pick up Episode 6 of Grab It, which features an exclusive interview with prolific gamebook developer Tin Man Games and a countdown of the top 10 digital gamebooks on iPad.
Grab the game here
Avoid Sensory Overload (Nuoxygen)
To keep our minds clear, fingers nimble and reflexes sharp you're going to need to load a twitch-based game on your iPad. Avoid Sensory Overload will not only scratch that itch, it is one of the most addictive substances known to man - we showcased it in Episode 3 of Grab It.
Developer Nuoxygen gets everything right in this simply implemented, yet incredibly challenging endless racer. You are a little spacecraft that is perpetually flying forwards through a 3D world filled with lots of annoying obstacles to dodge and power-ups to collect as sweet electronic beats build the tension. While there are a number of difficulty levels, true to its name, Avoid Sensory Overload is at its best (and most frustrating!) on extreme difficulty. These levels will seriously text your reflexes and ability to process a plethora of obstacles on your screen at once. Fortunately, being stuck on an island, you’ll have plenty of time to work your way up the leaderboards. The game just received a healthy content update, too.
Grab the game here
Dead Trigger 2 (Madfinger Games)
“A first person shooter,” I hear you muttering in outrage. I understand your scepticism, but hear me out. The humble FPS hasn’t always got a good rap on mobile devices and some of that is justified. Many early FPS were not implemented well, with complex control schemes not always making a smooth transition to touch devices.
However, Dead Trigger 2 from Madfinger Games is the best mobile FPS I’ve come across, with intuitive and responsive controls that set it apart. You don’t even have to worry about shooting. Just get a zombie in your crosshairs and the game will take care of the rest. Levels are short and sharp, filled to the brim with objectives, collectibles and, naturally, zombies. It’s a good bit of fun, but you’re also never made to feel safe as a pack of zombies can rush up on you at any moment. Since we’re going to be having dark thoughts about whoever dropped us off on this stupid island, why not take out our frustrations by shooting some zombies in the face.
If you want to find out what we think are the top 10 best FPSs on iPad, be sure to pick up Episode 2 of Grab It. You may also enjoy our article, How to Play Quake III on iPad - A Step by Step Guide.
Grab the game here
Hector: Badge of Carnage (Straandlooper)
I knew right away that I needed to include a point-and-click adventure on my list. The often fantastic stories and minimalist interface of point-and-click adventures make it a perfect fit for iOS devices. But which one do I pick? There are so many excellent adventure titles out there, with the genre experiencing somewhat of a renaissance over the past few years. Perhaps The Walking Dead or The Wolf Among Us? Machinarium? Or maybe Blackwell: Convergence? In the end I decided that if you’re going to be stuck on a desert island for an indeterminate amount of time, surely you’ll need something to brighten your day. That’s where everybody’s favourite police officer, Detective Inspector Hector of Hector: Badge of Carnage, comes in.
Let’s just say Hector isn’t your usual protagonist. The best way to describe Hector would be rude, abrasive and vulgar. His motto is “everyone is guilty.” It’s also fair to say that this three-part series from Straandlooper is a far cry from any adventure game you’ve played before. Known affectionately as the “fat arse of the law,” Detective Hector must grudgingly stop a homicidal maniac using every unorthodox police method at his disposal. The offensive dialogue and puzzle designs will simultaneously leave you roaring in laughter while gasping in horror at the non-politically correct things Hector can get away with. Hey, we’re going to need some laughs on this island.
In Episode 2 of Grab It, we gave a run down of some of the best point-and-click adventures available on iOS. You may also be interested in our opinion article on why we think Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us is better than The Walking Dead (read it here.)
Grab the game here