Earlier, I spent a couple hundred words complaining about the state of mobile gaming and probably coming off like some sort of horrible combination of a whiny baby and an old man shaking his fist at the youngsters congregating on his lawn. I fear, more than anything, that a post that is composed of paragraph after paragraph of complaints and warnings and doomsaying makes me sound like I’m down on mobile gaming…because I’m not. At all! I love mobile gaming! I’m just a little picky. I would say “Maybe you should be a little picky too since it would help you find and enjoy better games,” but that sounds really snobby and elitist and I actually want you to keep reading as I endorse some of my favorite mobile games and encourage you to throw money at them.
So, without further ado, here are a few games that I’ve sunk more money into than I have most others…and I don’t feel bad about it at all.
Let’s start with Ticket to Ride, a game that I’ve called, on record, the best game I’ve ever played on my iPhone. A perfect adaptation of the equally terrific tabletop board game, Ticket the Ride tasks the player and his (AI or human) opponents with connecting various train routes across the United States, a goal that starts off simple enough before becoming increasingly hectic and strategic. Although the cheapskates out there will balk at the $1.99 price tag (that’s the cost of a bottle of soda, people), the game has literally given me dozens of hours of enjoyment. After you’ve exhausted the game, you can drop another 99 cents to download a trio on miniature expansions, adding new cards and modes to the game, completely shaking up everything and forcing you to change your strategy, making the game feel completely new in the process. After that, you won’t feel guilty at all for spending $1.99 on the Europe expansion, which is a completely different and equally great game altogether.
I’ve also sunk my fair share of dollars into Ascension, a fantasy themed card game that’s just complicated enough to keep you interested for a long time while simple enough to pick up and play in any situation. However, after many of hours of play, you may start to get a little bored of the basic cards. Then you can spend two bucks on an expansion, which adds a whole new set of cards to the game. And when you’re bored with that, you can spend two more bucks to get another expansion, which once again reinvents the game.
And then we come to Punch Quest, which may be the greatest freemium game of all time. The game itself feels perfectly complete upon download, you can download all kind of bonuses from the menus, from cosmetic changes to additional abilities. Unlike so many freemium games, Punch Quest never asks you to pay for a better experience: it simply presents a beautifully made game and gives you the option to toss them a few bucks to help make it your own. Only a game this good and generous to the gamer can get away with having a “tip jar” option…a button that I’ve clicked more than a few times.
(Do you have a great idea for a game? Rocksauce Studios wants to help you make it!)