Being Retro

While we’re on the subject of iPhone gaming, I will just go ahead and confess that the device has practically become my primary game platform. There’s something about the immediacy and even naivety of its games that make them so appealing. They are simple, quick to learn, yet incredibly original and entertaining. It’s what games felt like about two decades ago, remember? Indeed, the iPhone has lured a great deal of independent developers with bright ideas and a lot of passion, and yet, the retro-revival movement we’re currently enjoying is more evident on the iPhone than on any other platform. In fact, it’s the retro styled offerings such as Space Invaders Infinity Gene or geoDefense that are the current standouts of the device.

Why it often occurs that indies are associated with retro games? Is it because they can’t tackle larger projects or they know better? Sometimes, when I sit in front of my dusty Xbox 360, grab a shooter (since there aren’t much choices anyway) and try to cope with 10+ buttons, a dozen combinations, slick modern presentation, bells, whistles, in-your-face-shiny-graphics… sometimes, I really think it’s the latter. Is it because of my age? Or because I belong to an old generation of gamers? Is anybody actually reading this?

Of course, it isn’t reasonable to discuss such a profound subject on a mere update post, so this could be the beginning of a larger article. Feel free to discuss — I know that I’m not alone on this one.

Right, where was I? The iPhone. Loved by many, hated by many. Still, the games keep coming and keep getting better. Recently we had yet two other classic adventures being ported: The Labyrinth Of Time and Secrets Of The Lost Cavern. While they might have been rather average titles in their days, they play really well on the iPhone (keep in mind that Lost Cavern is being released in episodes).

The Labyrinth Of Time

The Labyrinth Of Time

Secrets Of The Lost Cavern

Secrets Of The Lost Cavern

And speaking about the wave of retro-revival, one of my recent favorites is by far Hook Champ. This game is brilliant in concept and, perhaps most importantly, brilliant in its level design. Basically, you swing through caverns with your Indiana Jones-y alter ego by means of perfectly adjusted controls. There’s also the deliciously pixelated graphics, of course. The final levels are insanely difficult though and will only appeal to masochistic gamers. Still, you can’t really go wrong at three bucks and there’s a lite version anyway. Hook Champ, you’re my hero.

iTunes Links: The Labyrinth Of Time, Secrets Of The Lost Cavern, Hook Champ

3 Responses to “Being Retro”

  1. Igor Hardy says:

    I don’t agree about the two adventure games you mention being only average.

    The Labyrinth of Time is a brilliant surrealistic brainteaser – Myst-like exploration, but with proper inventory puzzles.

    And The Lost Cavern… well, it was created by Kheops so there is a very small chance it isn’t above average, I haven’t played it yet though.

  2. Agustín says:

    You’re probably correct, perhaps I wasn’t being entirely fair. What I basically meant is that, at the time of their respective releases, these games were mostly perceived as run-of-the-mill stuff. Labyrinth Of Time was admittedly a bit too obscure. As for Lost Cavern, I honestly can’t remember anything remarkable of it.

    Anyway, keep in mind that I didn’t necessarily implied they were poor or unacceptable games… just plain “OK stuff” :D

  3. Igor Hardy says:

    Yeah, I didn’t mind that. I just wanted to underline that there are good reasons to at least try them. I had really great experiences with The Labyrinth of Time and would consider it unique.