Ah, February. ‘Twas a month of disappointments, what with the lonely Valentine’s Day, a groundhog putting an abrupt end to winter, and the annual reminder that our two best presidents are long dead and no amount of car dealership sales will ever bring them back. But February was also a month full of some strangely satisfying mobile games. While some of the ones listed seemed to jump out at me while scrolling through the App Store, I also took this time to try a certain game that has pestered me for months in the form of in-game ads (you’ll know which one I’m talking about). That being said, how about we dive right in to February’s App Recap!
The first mobile game I tried this month, Tap Skaters was featured on the App Store’s front page and something about its colorful icon suckered me into downloading it. Much like the other mobile games I’ve mentioned before, this one is completely free to play, with the option to buy more premium currency with real-life cash. However, this premium currency – as far as I can tell – is only used to purchase…new furniture? Tap Skaters is a strange game. The goal is to complete various missions – ranging from races to collectathons – all the while playing as a tiny skateboarder. The game’s lone control scheme is to tap the screen to drop your skater down a level. The play space consists of endless slopes, reminiscent of the original Donkey Kong arcade game. Players tap to drop, which increases speed, helping you gain the upper hand in time trials and races with other players (ghosts or online). Randomized obstacles make the aforementioned collectathons more difficult, especially at high speeds. Completing levels grants you coins, which in turn are used to purchase – you guessed it – furniture! Why? Because who doesn’t like a nice lamp or a rug in their skater pad? Placing these furnishings in your room also increase your character’s happiness, though I’ve yet to figure out what that does for me. It’s a work in progress. But one thing’s for sure, and that’s the fact that I’ve been having a lot of fun with Tap Skater for a couple weeks, and it’s definitely worth checking out for the funky soundtrack alone.
Probably my favorite app of the month, Rocky Climb follows a buff rock climber as he scales multiple mountains of varying sizes and difficulties with not a single carabiner in sight. This game’s art style also caught my eye fairly easily, as its colors are vibrant and the animations are super smooth. You play as the aforementioned rock climber, tapping the screen whenever his hand hovers over the next stone on the wall. Once he latches on with a satisfying vibration, he begins to spin around until you tap on the next rock, gradually making your way to the top. Some rocks contain jewels which can be used to unlock new outfits for your climber, and some rocks are so small they’ll break when grabbed. At the top of each peak is an even bigger mountain in the distance, and over time these treacherous climbs begin to kick your ass in such a way that you’ll find yourself wondering if real-life rock climbing is easier than this. Fortunately, Rocky Climb feels both fun and rewarding, and every peak you reach will leave you feeling accomplished. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, The Cave opens for 10 minutes every 8 hours, offering a more difficult, longer climb with a loot box at the top filled with a random outfit piece every time. It’s a nice little incentive to keep returning, especially since the loot boxes can’t be purchased with money or jewels. In Rocky Climb, you gotta work for what you desire, and that’s why it has earned the coveted App of the Month award. From me. Congrats.
Drive and Park
What makes Drive and Park so unique is how substantial of a game it is, for such a simple game. The goal is truly just to drive and park. Better yet, driving happens automatically, and all you have to do is hold the screen to turn the car until it parks in the proper spot! It’s easier than real-life parking! But there’s a lot more to Drive and Park than it seems on the surface. For one, it’s full of goals which cycle daily and keep the gameplay fresh and exciting. For example, my goals today include parking 25 cars on the left side of the screen, earning $1000 from perfect parking, and parking the “truck” perfectly 35 times. Before you say “sounds easy,” just know that perfect parking ain’t easy, and money doesn’t grow on trees in the world of Drive and Park. Well, maybe it does. There aren’t a lot of trees…but I digress. On the contrary, money is earned by utilizing different types of vehicles that you collect through gameplay. Each vehicle garners a preset amount of money per parking space, and their respective sizes and speeds shake up the difficulty when parking each one. Over time, money earned can be used to unlock vehicles’ abilities, which most likely change the gameplay (I haven’t seen this is action yet, I’m not very good at the game okay?!). I must say I was surprised by the amount of depth Drive and Park has on offer. It’s easy to learn, hard to master, and its art style is super pleasing. I highly recommend this little gem.
We interrupt this mobile game listicle to bring you a PSA from the year 2011. Have you heard of this newfangled contraption called Snapchat? I mean, sure you’ve heard about that Snapchat, but trust me, it’s not just about sending pictures of your junk anymore! I had to include this because I’ve found myself falling into a daily Snapchat well and it blows my mind how something I used to hate with such a passion has become such a part of my everyday life. I remember being in high school without a Snapchat at all, openly – and quite loudly – hating on the insanity of an app that deletes pictures instantly, only records 10 seconds of video, and protects your personal story for only 24 hours before it disappears into the ether (or a cloud full of nudes that will someday rain down on us all, nearly destroying your world-renowned acting career). But fast forward to 2019 Snapchat, and it’s a whole different ballgame. Pictures can be saved indefinitely, videos can record for a minute straight, and stories…well, they’re just as annoying as they used to be. But with the ever-growing world of filters and effects, as well as the global map and the ability to contribute to businesses’ personal stories, the world feels more connected and communal, thanks to a dinky little app that rose to prominence through sexting. Confounding still is the internet’s reliance on Snapchat for exclusive news stories and articles, with popular outlets like National Geographic, Vice, and MSNBC having their own interactive news shows and editorials in 10-second story format. Mini television shows even exist, from uplifting tales of people with disabilities changing the world in Shake My Beauty, to one I recently discovered about “16 year old wunderkind Bhad Bhabie,” which made me sigh louder than I ever have before. So while the internet can be a scary place, and at times more disappointing than the fact that they still don’t make blue Skittles (seriously what’s up with that?), it can also be an exciting new way of gaining knowledge, reaching others, and bringing the world together instead of sending another picture of your genitals to someone who doesn’t want it. Now, how about putting that energy into starting a blue Skittle petition, instead?
I told you it was coming! The one game all us free-to-play mobile gamers know about. The inescapable ad that just won’t quit, always trying to convince you that you’re dumb and only playing Wordscapes can make you smarter. Well, after months of having this jammed down my throat and actually witnessing someone at work playing it a couple weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge into the world of…crossword puzzles. That’s really all Wordscapes is; crossword puzzles, except instead of providing clues in the form of complete sentences, the game gives you a jumbled group of letters to make random words with, filling in the crossword puzzle as you go. In actuality, it’s more like Scrabble solitaire – and furthermore, it’s fun. That being said, however, Wordscapes is not without its faults. Lest we forget last week when I fiddled around with “B,” “A,” “R,” and “C” for a good half hour, trying to uncover the true meaning behind “_AR.” I’d used everything in the old mental dictionary, even finding words that weren’t in the puzzle (which earns you coins you can use to buy new power-ups). Ultimately, I used all my coins to buy a “fill in the blank,” only to be told it was “CAR” again. The damn puzzle used the same word twice and would only accept me using it once! So yeah, Wordscapes is a little messed up sometimes. Not to mention the promise of being able to purchase “remove ads” with 400 in-game coins, which I quickly earned only to find that option removed from the store. As you can probably guess, I have a love/hate relationship with Wordscapes. It has potential, and I can tell why it’s a fun game to test your brain with. Will it make you smarter? Eh…not when it’s making you feel dumber because you “forget” about the word “CAR.” But all in all, Wordscapes is certainly worth a shot for any wordsmith with some time to kill.
And that’s the App Recap for February 2019, my friends! As always, I hope I’ve helped you find some fun new additions to your mobile collection (sorry it came a little late this month). Now I have to get to sleuthing out some more apps for March! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in a few weeks.