Cabin Fever, Redux

Well, I don’t know about you but I still have a very bad case of cabin fever. Even as I type this the first flakes of another few inches have started. It’s bad for everything — the roads (just think of those spring potholes), our attitudes, our patience and our windshields. And, in my case, it’s bad for how efficient my heater is.

Thank goodness for my iPad, though. Preloaded with books, movies and games, I can huddle under blankets and stay toasty and not bored.

I’ve played through most of my games now — ones I’ve talked about here in the past, so I thought I’d take a quick trip through the best new games list on the iPad to see what grabbed my attention — maybe there’s something that will help you get through the cabin fever, too. This is my general approach to non hyped iOS games — I look at the best new games, glance at ratings (with a huge grain of salt — there are some serious issues with the way that aggregate ratings work in iOS) and if it’s free, give it a try. I’m slightly more discriminating when it’s a paid game but under $2 and solid description are usually enough for me to give it a shot on a whim.

Here’s my very very quick impressions of the first four I looked at.


First up was the editors choice, Zombienation, which is a lane defense game. I like Tower Defense type games where you make decisions about where your defenses go to kill waves of enemies, and this is a pretty solid example with upgraded units, good graphics and a clean well handled tutorial. It’s a crowded market — for my money, the very first Plants vs. Zombies was the absolute best variation on the theme, and I’d probably start with that versus any of the other options. For a more traditional approach, try the highly rated Kingdom Rush.


Next up from the top new games was Swap Heroes 2 — an RPG fighter. It features sweet sprite graphics, very reminiscent of Final Fantasy era rpg games. You control four characters — three front line fighters and a healer in the back. Waves of enemies present themselves and you have to juggle your sprites positions to make the most advantageous attacks and special moves. Exploring was always my favorite part of any RPG — I dreaded the battles, to be honest — but I quite enjoy this stress free little game, and can see if being the kind of game you pick up while waiting in line or for a flight. It’s not a get lost in it for hours title, but it’s a solid addition to your library.


I cracked up when I saw Pancake listed in the Best New Games row. It’s a one button game that features a disembodied, muscular arm holding a frying pan above which a pancake is dropped. Your job is to tap the screen at the right time to flip it as many times as possible. Your highest score at any given moment is tattooed on your bicep, of course. One button games aren’t my jam — but given the incredible success of Flappy Birds, I am in the minority on that one.


And finally, there’s Alto’s Adventure, which I actually have seen reviewed in a few places — its an endless runner (see also Temple Run and all its variants) in a beautiful landscape with upgrades available. Much like the one touch games, endless runners aren’t my thing. I like games with narrative/story. That said, this is a particularly beautiful game, and I think probably a great addition to the genre.


We wish you the best with YOUR case of cabin fever.