2011 Holiday Shopping List: Top 5 Gaming Apps

Michael Foley December 19, 2011 0
2011 Holiday Shopping List: Top 5 Gaming Apps

You’ve worked hard this year and after all the holiday shopping, picking up gifts for your friends and family, you want a little treat for yourself. But if you’re anything like me you’re not too sure of what to get yourself… not to mention most of your extra cash was spent on other people. So what to do? Well if you’re a fan of mobile gaming or just want a fun experience on the commute to work in the New Year, look no further. Here are my top 5 gaming apps that won’t break the bank but will provide hours of entertainment because let’s face it, you deserve it.

Infinity Blade II

The original Infinity Blade introduced players to a new and very effective combat system. It also pushed the limit on what the iOS platform could do. So it is no surprise that Chair Entertainment has done it again with its release of Infinity Blade II.

To understand the game one does not need to have played through the first one. On the contrary, the game does a great job of setting up your characters circumstance.  You are an Immortal trying to free humanity from the tyranny of other Immortals. To do this you must guide your character back to the Prison of the Worker of Secrets and sacrifice yourself time and again in order to free him from his bonds. The problem is that there are a seemingly never ending onslaught of beasts and creatures in your way, which you must vanquish to move on in the story. This will require patience and quick reflexes as you tap and swipe your way through duals. In these duals you dodge, parry and block until you can identify opportunities to attack with a combo attack, super strike or magic spell. To break up the monotony, players are constantly encouraged to mix up their attacks and combine parries with blocks to gain advantages. In addition to the richer combat system, players can customize their equipment to unlock bonuses like a resistance to certain types of attacks, elemental effects, stat upgrades and even upgrades for finding various items hidden throughout the game.  You get more weapons too. You can use the standard sword and board, two handed and dual wielding weapons with tunique onuses and play styles.

Just like Infinity Blade, the sequel does not disappoint when it comes to visuals. It has to be one of the most attractive games on the market. Exploring the setting provides some truly stunning visuals and is a treat all its own (as well as the way to progress the story.)

Infinity Blade II is currently only for iOS devices at the Apple App Store for $6.99.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation

As the mobile gaming industry develops the one question has been whether it can really compete as a gaming platform with the likes of Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Gameloft’s Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation attempts to address this question with a very fun, if not innovative, first person shooter. The campaign’s gorgeous presentation, smooth characters and sharp environments is quite impressive and it’s worth to note that while this isn’t the epitome of what mobile devices can do, the in house 3D engine does a great job to present a rich world. There are a few basic control cvariations which players are encouraged to customize. These include fixed or dynamic virtual sticks, swipe or virtual stick to aim, inverted and left hand controlled, and assisted aiming controls that provide an easy-to-pick-up FPS. In addition to these controls is the return of the gyroscope controls, but this is still not fully developed and is there more for fun than a true customization option.

This game is as action packed as they come. The game play in the campaign mode is quite reminiscent of other titles such as the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare franchises. The fact that Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation can keep up with the two previous titles is nothing short of amazing in it’s own right but players seeking an innovative and new experience for first person shooters will be disappointed as the campaign follow tried and tested FPS cliches. That said the campaign is fun and fast paced. But this game truly shines when you enter the world of online multiplayer, up to 12 in total. With many different game modes to choose from such as 5 v 5 team death match and capture the flag, action fans will be impressed with the 6 exhilarating and fast paced environments they find themselves in. In addition to the game’s mechanics is the added feature of earning points towards new weapons and upgrades which you gain through playtime and kills.

All in all, Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation is a great game for FPS junkies and a must have for action fans if only for the multiplayer mode as it is decidely the best game of it’s type available for mobile gamers.

Available at the Apple App Store and Android Market for $6.99.

Real Racing 2

If you’re a fan of racing titles then Real Racing 2 by Firemint is the game for you. Amazing visuals fly past you as you race a number of licensed vehicles through gorgeous tracks. But more than anything, this game is a WIN due to its online multiplayer mode. There you can join a race with 15 other players as you all try to test out your skills.

The controls for the game are highly customizable as you determine whether you like tilt or touch based steering, automatic or manual acceleration and automatic or manual braking, just to name a few. Switching everything to automatic will make the game much easier to pick up and offers new comers an entertaining experience through an arcade-like feel to racing. But turn on the manual and players will be challenged to sharpen their skills as they progress through the many track and cars available.

Initially, players spend their time in the Career mode, before graduating o online play, where they learn the game and earn rewards to purchase new cars and upgrades. The play modes include a number of variations such as head-to-heads with pre-determined cars, time trials and of course, full championship races. Winning these will allow you to unlick maps to use in online play where you can select any of the cars in your garage.

With this app, players will be stunned by the beautiful visuals, intrigued by the games multitude of customizing options and challenged by real players in its online play. If you like fast cars and going head to head with other people, Real Racing 2 is the gaming app for you.

Real Racing 2 is currently only available for iOS devices at the Apple App Store for  $5.49.

NFL Flick Quarterback

If you are a sports junkie then NFL Flick Quarterback by Full Fat will definitely scratch that football itch you’ve been feeling. In the game you play as the quarterback of any of the 32 official teams and the goal of game is to successfully throw passes to your receivers. The added difficulty and fun of the game is that you will need to successfully “flick” the ball to your receivers, guiding it in the air for a successful pass… you will also need to tell where the receivers is running. And lastly, my favorite aspect of the game, is that as you become better you will be forced to dodge incoming players before you are able to execute a play and pass the ball. These variations in the game play make each pass new and will keep you coming back for more, if for nothing else then the simple joy of throwing a winning pass after spinning away from a tackle. But if you’re the type of person obsessed with stats and high scores then have no fear because Full Fat has catered to you as well in their challenge modes. There you are expected to land increasingly difficult throws in bins or knock the bins out entirely, at the same time accounting for wind variables of course.

NFL Flick Quarterback presents a visually well rounded game that does not disaapoint the footbal fan. If you’re looking for a new game for a quick football fix, all at the same time of enoying the simple self gratification of a touchdown, then this is the game for you.

Available at the Apple App Store and Android Market for $0.99

Angry Birds

Last but not least is Rovio Mobile’s iconic Angry Birds. In my opinion no mobile device is complete without Angry Birds. And if you’ve never heard of it before you’ve probably been living under a rock but no matter.

This game is a puzzle game that puts you in command of a series of “angry birds” trying to wreck havoc on their sworn enemies, the pigs. You position each of these birds, who have different abilities such as being able to break through wood, ice, or explode, on a sling shot and hurl them at the detestable pigs who stole eggs from the angry birds’ nest. You are left with a trajectory line of your previously launched bird so you do have some gauge on how to proceed. But don’t think you can  “figure” this game out because even a hairs difference in the launch prompts the physic simulators to respond very differently and lead to an new and unique outcomes, which makes every time you launch the app, a true joy to play.

The reason for Angry Birds’ success is due to the fact that it presents a simple game with a simple concept done extremely well. After the first few shots you WILL become addicted to the game. With over 100 levels to which Rovio constantly makes updates and introduces new levels, and all the other Free versions including Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds is a game that will always deliver. At the end of the day, this game is just FUN. If you like fun, then you should download Angry Birds.

Available for both iOS and Android powered mobile device it only costs $0.99 at the Apple App Store and Android Market respectably.

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