Best ways to game away your degree
LOUIS SHANKAR’S nifty list of video games will have your eyes square in no time.
Flappy Bird is (was?) fantastic and took the world by storm.
It was simple, addictive, and above all unforgivingly evil. However, during the week, its developer made the decision to take it down from the various app stores. Now, phones with it on are being sold online with ludicrous asking prices and inadequate copies are flooding the internet. But what’s the best way to fill the pixelated bird-shaped hole in your life?
The most obvious answer would be one of the duplicates, of which Splashy Fish seems the most accomplished. Playing it gives a good sense of deja vu, just with more swimming and less flying. Flappy Pickles is worth a look too – a perfect satire of the current flooding situation around the country, albeit virtuously impossible.
An obvious classic, now with more manifestations than seems necessary (including a rather misdirected racing game). The Finnish firm Rovio are only capitalising on a stoke of genius, though, and linking up with franchises such as Star Wars create interesting and diverting games, perfect to fill five minutes (or seven hours).
Candy Crush Saga
If you’re looking for a free download that will, over time, make you spend a rather large proportion of your student loan, then look no further. Every level devilishly lulls you into a false sense of security that it can be easily completed and then you fail. “I only need one more turn,” you think, “and it’s only 69p.” 69p times a hundred is, well, a lot. And yet it still always seems tempting…
Plants vs. Zombies 2
The slightly inadequate follow-up to an undeniably fantastic game, Plants vs. Zombies 2 works on a very simple principle: travel through time and use genetically-modified flowers, capable of shooting, exploding and annihilating everything in sight, to protect yourself from waves of historical zombies. The game progresses steadily, getting gradually harder but never impossible. Most importantly, though, the plants are really cute and some have genuine personalities, which is weird as they’re computer-generated flowers that like decapitating zombies.
The Impossible Game
If you feel the need for a more sadistic fix, then this is the answer. Although not strictly impossible (just hugely improbable), this game is rigidly unforgiving. It is possible to ‘cheat’ but this feels hollow (and you don’t get to enjoy the infuriating and altogether too catchy soundtrack). Despite the fact that failing having made it far often makes you want to throw your phone out of a third-floor and scream until your lungs give out, it’s still really fun.
A gorgeously rendered alternative following similar principles as Flappy Bird, Badland launches you into a mysterious world where your one purpose is to keep moving forwards. Generously dispersed checkpoints and the possibility to skip the most difficult passages is a godsend. It also has multiplayer for if you have friends.
Threes is a straightforward game revolving around sliding tiles and adding numbers. Don’t worry arts students, it does the adding for you; all you have to do is match the same numbers with one another. It has endless replay value and makes you not just want to beat your overall high score but also get to the next highest number (I’m really stuck on 192).
This week saw Radiohead, in collaboration with Universal Everything, launch an app for iOS and Android. It’s hard to explain what exactly it is; it’s free, though, so go explore yourself. Two points though: firstly, it is trippy as fuck; and also, don’t use (play?) in a public space unless you want to look like a lunatic.
I realise it’s not a game but it is similarly addictive and evil, especially when drunk or lonely or both.