Do you remember what life was like before the smartphone? Waiting was such a pain: whether having to wait in a doctor’s office for your name to be called, or waiting for your meal at lunch, the time passed excruciatingly slowly. Now, with a smartphone in nearly everyone’s pocket, passing the time can be an enjoyable activity. One of the things that has captured the mobile consumer audience by storm is the proliferation of mobile gaming. With the Apple App Store and Android Marketplace filled with games, it helps to find a few that really make the cut. Today I’ll look at a few that have been helping me kill some time.
Everyone knows about Words with Friends, but a new word game from Zynga has hit the App Store and it’s pretty darn fun. As Words with Friends is a take on Scrabble, Scramble with Friends is a riff on Boggle, the seminal letter-dice game in a four-by-four configuration. Points are awarded by formulating as many words as possible in two minutes with adjoining dice, while not using a die twice. Similar to the points system in Words with Friends, less common letters have more value, and certain dice will have letter and word multipliers. Unlike Words with Friends, the addition of the two-minute timer adds a frantic level of fun. Of course, you can pause the game, but when you’re in the zone, an interruption can be costly. Like Zynga’s other games, Scramble with Friends is available on the App Store for free with ads, or 99 cents for the ad-free version. I would anticipate an Android version coming soon as Zynga provided with Words with Friends.
If word games aren’t your thing, Super Crate Box is a fantastically simple game that incorporates shooting, jumping, and retro-style graphics. One of the things I love about the games from my youth is the ease of playing: you didn’t have to get mired in any back-story or learn the complex system of controls to play. Super Crate Box harkens back to those simple days of gaming, so you can pick it up and start playing immediately. The goal is to avoid or shoot the never-ending stream of enemies that comes down while trying to pick up the crates. Points are only awarded for the number of crates you collect. The shooting is just a means to helping you with this task. Each crate contains a new weapon, and some are definitely better than others. Not only is it mindless fun, but it also supports the iCade, which definitely helps to bring that old school arcade feel. Super Crate Box is 99 cents in the App Store, and that low price scores you the iPad version too. You can also get it for the Mac or PC.
Angry Birds has become a smash hit, and similar games, like Cut the Rope, have also found the formula for success. Combine cute characters and simple gameplay with a puzzle-like problem solving factor, and you can have a best selling hit. Joining in on the fun is Where’s My Water?, a puzzle game brought to us by Disney. Swampy the alligator hates being dirty, but to get his bath, the water must be guided through a variety of roadblocks. This simple concept is enjoyable for all ages, as my 4-year-old daughter has been playing this one quite a bit. This game is available on both Android and iOS with a price point of 99 cents.
Killing time has never been so much fun! No matter how much distraction you need from the drudgery of waiting, one of these games will be sure to help.