Archive for January 29th, 2013


The Three Types Of iPad Games

iPad-mini-blackI must be one of the biggest dooses on the planet when it comes to owning an iPad.

I mean here you have this super effective tool that can streamline your entire life, it can basically turn you into a super-human with the right combination of apps and what do I use mine for?

Games. Shitloads of games.

Oh, and FlipBoard – that app rocks. But if you had to take those two things off my ipad, all it would be is a very expensive paperweight.

On the odd occasion I take it into meetings and people are like, “What cool apps do you have?” I always flip the cover back on guiltily and bark “NOTHING!” before it’s too late and they realise what a dork I am.

So I’d say I’m pretty well-versed when it comes to iPad games, having played and completed more than I can remember but I’m not sure how much longer that’s going to be the case because I swear to God iPad games are designed to do one thing and one thing only – take your money.



Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so here’s a breakdown of the 3 different kinds of iPad games out there, listed from the best kind to the worst kind:

1. Free games that are rad and don’t bleed you dry:

These are the best kind of iPad games and the rarest to actually find.

These days, if an iPad game is free you can almost bet your bottom dollar that you will get bent over the table by “in-app purchases” and bombarded with ads for other games by the same publisher until your eyes bleed.

Some examples of rad free games that are challenging to play but not impossible to complete without spending money on in-app purchases are:




One of the first games I got for my iPad. Sure, you can spend real money on unlocking the weapons but it’s not too tricky to unlock everything in the game if you put in the hours.

The gameplay is pretty straight-forward, you drive down a highway, tilting the iPad to steer and shooting / smashing zombies into the other cars around you as they latch onto your car and try to tip it over.

Also, it has arguably one of the best taglines I’ve read on a game in ages: “Your goal is to survive. But you won’t".




A game I downloaded over Christmas and immediately got hooked on. Again, the premise here is simple – you’re a shark whose life slowly drains unless you eat EVERYTHING YOU SEE!

As you feed, your shark levels up and gets bigger. Once you’ve hit level 10, the next shark is unlocked. Eating golden fish / turtles / humans gives you coins that you use to increase your speed, bite and boost.

Sure, the game does have a gem system where gems are notoriously difficult to come by but can buy you some cool added stuff in the game, but it’s not essential to buy any of this stuff to complete the game.

Again, this game is just challenging enough that you won’t crack it in under 10 hours but not so much so that it’s impossible to complete without spending real money.



2. Free games that are rad and DO bleed you dry

“Hey wow, this game looks SICK! And it’s FREE! How motherflippin’ awesome is that?!”

Pretty awesome. Until you’ve been playing the game for a few hours and start to realise that it’s fucking impossible to get anywhere without spending real money!

Here’s the best example that comes to mind…




Clash Of Clans is currently the top grossing game in the iStore because why? Because it’s the sneakiest fucking iPad game you’re ever likely to find.

In the game there are three basic forms of currency: gold, elixir and gems. Gold and elixir you can mine (at a painfully slow rate), but gems you can only get for completing goals and moving random rocks and trees from your map and when you do so, you get them in tiny quantities.

It’s a classic strategy game where you build a village, train up troops and attack other clans. The graphics are pretty awesome and the gameplay is fun so it’s easy to get hooked.



Here’s the rub though – each time you upgrade one of your buildings / defences in the game, it takes slightly longer that the time before.

At first it’s a small amount of time; maybe 10 / 15 minutes. Even then you’re like “What, 15 real minutes or 15 game minutes?” Yeah, it’s 15 REAL minutes of watching something upgrade. Woo. Hoo.

So you go make yourself a cup of coffee and come back and hey presto it’s done, no biggie.

BUT that 15 minutes soon becomes 30, then an hour, then 12 hours, then 1 day, then 3 days, then I shit you not 4 days to fucking upgrade something!

Of course, you can speed the entire process up to happen instantly IF you spend gems, but to give you an idea, a 3-day upgrade needs about 500 gems to speed up. If you buy a “Pile Of Gems” (the smallest amount you can buy, 500 gems) it costs you $4.99.

So you’ve just paid R45 to upgrade your imaginary gold mine. What. The. Fuck?

Tell me you feel that!



Games like this are becoming all to frequent, but they’re not the worst kind.

The worst kind is…

3. Games you PAY FOR and that BLEED YOU DRY

The worst kind. You fork out a good $5 for a game thinking, this looks awesome and I’m pretty sure isn’t going to fleece me for every cent I have because, you know, I’ve already paid for it.

Wrong again bucko. That amount you forked out was just a down payment. If you really want to get anywhere in this game you better be ready to fork out some serious cashola.

A prime example is:


Infinity Blade is not a cheap game. You’re looking at $5.99 to buy the first one and $6.99 for the second and it’s a big download (595MB). But man-o-man is it an awesome game.

The graphics are stunning, the hack-and-slash gameplay is awesome and the enemies scale up in difficulty perfectly as you progress into the game.

Then shit starts slowing down BIG TIME.

The only way you can level up in the game is through the items you carry. The experience points you accumulate when you kill enemies goes into your items until they fill up to the max and you master them.



Problem is, once something is mastered, any experience points that would have gone into that item are immediately forfeited. In other words, once an item is mastered it immediately becomes almost useless because it can no longer fill up with experience points.

Your only choice is to wait to pick up another unmastered item or buy one using the gold you collect in the game. Of course, the cost of the items in the game far outweighs the amount of gold you pick up so once again, you’re forced to use real life money to buy fake money.

Or you just slowly and painfully collect gold while all your rad items max out and you stop levelling up almost entirely.

iPad game developers need to sort their shit out and stop making games whose only purpose is to extort money from us.

I don’t mind paying even up to $7 or $8 for a game as long as the game is awesome and I don’t get eyeball-raped by ads or made to spend more money because the difficulty level has scaled up from “retardedly simple” to “insanely difficult” after 5 hours of gameplay.

Cool examples of games like these include Kingdom Rush, Machinarium, The Remade Monkey Island Games and Contre Jour.

Other iPad games could learn a thing or two from those titles.