Once upon a time mobile platform gaming meant making due with less: less processing power, less control, less impressive graphics, less innovative games. iPhone’s flourishing app store proves, however, that times have changed. A game on one’s mobile phone doesn’t have to mean a watered down version of a console title, or tiny-screen version of some retro game long past its glory days. It’s not just the size of the processor anymore. Developers are thinking outside the box and putting all of iPhone’s tech features to good use with these interactive applications.
Practical apps, like navigation, make use of the iPhone’s GPS capabilities, but how many people know that there’s a game that does too? Zombie Escape, a hot title from Apps4Life, gives the term “role-playing game” a whole new meaning. Players appear on a map at their current location, determined by the phone’s GPS features. Also on the map are moving red indicators which represent zombies. This is no tap, swipe, or tilt game. Players have to hoof it in real life to stay out of zombie range and score points in the process.
On the newer side, there’s Blowing, a game from LNA Studios, Inc. It also involves interacting with the in-game enemies in a real-life manner, but it’s more fight than flight in this scenario. Start the game, and see a virtual table (or picnic blanket, or other meal-friendly setting) laid with a delicious smorgasbord. But the player isn’t the only one that’s hungry. There’s an army of ants… and beetles… and snails, and they’re looking to ease their own hunger pangs. Players defend against this attack on their appetite appeasing goodies by blowing the baddies away. Blowing, in Blowing, is literal. Players actually blow into the iPhone’s installed microphone to score points and keep their snacks safe and sound. The sensitive calibration of Blowing makes it a game of skill, not just a game built around a gimmick. Sleek animation and a fun, friendly feel make this little game hard to put down.
For players who don’t want to get out of breath by sprinting or blowing off bugs can make use of another iPhone hardware feature transformed into a game-play bonus. iPhone 4’s gyroscope gives Ngmoco’s Gun Range an extraordinarily realistic feel. The game uses the gyroscope for first-person perspective aiming, and the iPhone’s revolutionary gyroscope hardware gives this feature an added edge.
Mobile games might need to be more streamlined than console or PC/Mac based behemoths, but original apps with unique features like these show that great things really can come in small packages. Games like Blowing, Zombie Escape, and Gun Range redefine the boundaries between the real world and the virtual world to give gamers brand-new game immersive experiences. While these games are ground-breaking, and they set new and higher standards for mobile gaming. Developers will undoubtedly keep raising the bar—who knows what amazing apps iOS fans might soon see in iTunes?