Banner that says: The GameAbility Archives

Welcome to the beginning of: The GameAbility Archives.

As time goes on this site will feature more extensive reviews, but to start I would like to review a few of the more notable new games in Winter 2012 for iOS, running on the iPad.

Paper Monsters

Crescent Moon Games LLC, copyright 2012
Screen capture of the iOS game Paper Monsters

Much like Little Big Planet for the Playstation 3, Paper Monsters is a 2.5D sidescroller with great graphics and gameplay. Here, the hero of a game is a character made up of card board boxes. This cardboard hero is tasked with bringing peace and getting rid of the monsters that have begun springing up through the lands.

This game is very well done for several factors. Firstly, the controls are simple and work very well. On The bottom left side of the screen the player can place their thumb in a large area, and wherever the player presses down a virtual joystick appears to guide your character (in the form of a lime wedge no less), and on the right side of the screen the user simply presses once to jump, or twice to double jump. The controls have the perfect level of responsiveness, and do an extremely good job of moving your character exactly where you want to be easily. The screen is uncluttered, with bright, very well done graphics.
Second screen capture of the iOS game Paper Monsters
The levels are designed well, with a great variety in settings: from deserts, ice zones, forests, and creative special areas. One of these special zones for example are the underwater sections. In the underwater parts of levels, your character is transformed into a paper submarine that shoots pencil 'torpedoes' at depth charges and the squids that block your way. Another important aspect of side scrollers that this game does very well are the boss battles. Each one is very different from the last, from giant land beasts, flying dragons that must be hit by firing a cannonball into the distance at the creature, to the giant underwater squid that can only be attacked by destroying certain moving depth charges with your pencil torpedoes.
Third screen capture of the iOS game Paper Monsters
The game also has a high level of replayibility due to the fact that collecting 'buttons', which add to your score much like the coins in Mario), here also allows you to purchase items. Golden buttons (either found in hidden areas, or 100 silver buttons give you a gold button) can be used to purchase these in-game items to 'accessorize' your cardboard character by giving it different hats, box decorations, sunglasses and so on. Replayability is also achieved by the designers through hiding three golden paperclips in each level. As the game gets into the later levels these become very hard to find.
Paper Monsters is definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys side scrollers.

Soul Calibur

NamcoBandai Games, Inc., copyright 1998 1999.
First screen capture of the iOS game Soul Calibur

In 1998 Soul Calibur was first released to arcades, and in the following year ported to the Sega Dreamcast home console system (for more history please visit the Soul Calibur web page. The game was released for iOS just this month and after playing this updated version, despite being 14 years old, it is just as good as it was originally and shows the timelessness of this fighting game.
Second screen capture of the iOS game Soul Calibur
The graphics have been heavily updated for this release, in full HD with extremely fluid and lifelike movements and animation. The environments that the characters fight in have also been updated with gorgeous new textures. This is no stripped down version of the original game either: it is the full release, featuring 19 different playable characters, all with their own unique fighting styles and weapons. Here the buttons are obviously more complicated than in Paper Monsters, but they work extremely well. The opaque fixed virtual joystick and buttons, are no harder to use than their analog counterparts to pull off difficult moves or string together combos.
Third screen capture of the iOS game Soul Calibur
Despite the fact that this a fighting game with weapons, this is not like other games in the genre, such as Mortal Combat. Soul Calibur is bloodless, and doesnt feature your character killing the other at the end of the battle. The game also features many different ways to play, from the original Arcade version to a time attack mode, survival mode, a secondary 'Extra survival' mode (a harder version of survival which simply translates to: whoever lands the first blow wins), and a practice mode to learn the many moves of the different characters.
This is definitely a recommended game, and may easily be the best fighting game the iOS platform has seen.

Last updated February 9, 2012
All pictures taken by Kirk Norman, their content copyright to their respective companies.