What does it mean to be casual core?
Can I confess something to you? It might be one of the most shocking, unexpected, and well… just listen. I've got to get it off my chest. I've got an iPhone and I like to play casual games on it.
Wooooaaahhh. I know, right?! That's crazy! It's not crazy. I'm sure there are plenty of you who play casual games on your phone. I'm sure plenty of you have downloaded an app before. You might be ashamed to admit it, but don't be! GameRevolution is here to help!
I'm a staunch critic of iPhone and Android gaming. There's just so many apps and games out there! How can you possibly make your way through all of it to find the gems, hidden, lost among the tussle, and worthy of your precious money? Never fear, fellow casual-core gamer. GameRevolution's iPhone and Android Manifesto is here to help!
Let's lay down a few ground rules before we get into which apps you should and shouldn't have. Just to warn you, I'm working with an iPhone. Results on Android phones may vary, but each platform is essentially the same.
Rule #1: Free = Friend
If you haven't been gaming on the go for long, you'll be surprised to find that 90% of apps are totally free. If they aren't, they probably should be. I'll say more on it in the next rule, but most mobile apps aren't worth the prices the developers are charging. Before you go and spend money on that zombie bowling game or the sea monkeys app that lets you raise your own batch of plankton, check to see if there's a similar app for free.
Rule #2: Never pay more than $0.99
I'll say it again: Nearly everything available on the iPhone App Store or the Android Marketplace is not worth what the developers are charging. Nearly everything isn't even worth downloading! There's plenty of fish in the sea. That's why if you find yourself in a position where you've heard lots of great things about an app, you're bored at the doctor's office, or your finger is hovering over the "Buy" button, STOP. Rethink that price tag.
iPhone and Android developers consistently incentivize brief, yet steep, sales. The idea behind these flash sales is that the app they've developed can rocket to the top of the sales charts and gain a ton of visibility on that top 10. That means any given holiday could mean a temporary price drop down to $0.99. I'm telling you: Just keep that app in the back of your mind and keep an eye out for any sales that might pop up. Seriously, I've bought apps at a discount on Arbor Day. How stupidly awesome is that?
As a note: Every app I recommend on page 2 of this feature was purchased at or less than $0.99.
Rule #3: Time IS Money, Even With Apps
Video gaming is an expensive hobby, it's true. $60 for a game is nearly a week's worth of groceries for the average bachelor. Fortunately, that money goes a long way. The cost per hour of entertainment in video gaming reaches ridiculous lows. If you paid $20 for Team Fortress 2 and spent 200 hours in the game, you've hit $0.10/hour of entertainment.
Just because an iPhone app or an Android app costs $0.99, it doesn't mean you're going to get every inch of value out of it. If you're in the need of a new mobile game, make sure it's one you actually want to play.
Rule #4: Read the Damn Reviews
It's true that many user reviews are completely and totally full of shit. Either the app filled out the review form for the user or they're not offering a lot of information on the actual value of the app. Still, there's something worthwhile in there. Somewhere there's a review that'll tell you something about the app that will either confirm or deny the value of the game you're looking at. Read some reviews.
Rule #5: Word of Mouth is King
If someone else is telling you about a game, store it away for a later date. If two people tell you about a game on the App Store or Marketplace, just buy it (again, if it's the right price). Chances are that game is awesome.
Was that simple enough? I hope so, because that's as simple as I can make it. Now, let's talk about some essential apps.
Five Apps You Should Have
FreeAppADay (iTunes Link) or Amazon's Android Marketplace
The FreeAppADay App may not be worth $0.99, but if you want to adhere to Rule #1 as closely as possible and tend to buy apps when you're bored, this one should rise to the top of your list. FreeAppADay updates every day with… uhh, a new free app every day. Pretty easy to grasp here, I don't know why I'm even explaining this at such length. How long can I keep this going until you just scroll down and check out the next app. Still here? Ugh, now I've exhausted myself.
On the Android side of the equation, gamers should really download Amazon's Android Marketplace. The online retailer consistently offers up free apps. Back when the Amazon Android Marketplace launched, they offered Angry Birds Rio for the low price of nothing and have since followed it up with free downloads of games like Plants Vs. Zombies.
Canabalt (iTunes Link) ($2.99 as of this writing)
Indie darling Canabalt is a premier iPhone app. It's got style, it's got substance, and it's an easy boredom buster. What it lacks in variation, it makes up for in replayability. Nab some friends and compare long distances. Also, the music sounds great.
The Creeps! (iTunes Link) ($1.99 as of this writing)
The Creeps! is an excellent tower defense game where you… you know, build towers and watch them defend you. While there are several in-app purchases, there's a ton of content at the base price and you can definitely find the game for free on and off. The app has several different modes to play from survival, to mission, with a whole mess of towers to build.
Spin Crazy (iTunes Link)
Spin Crazy is like rotating Bubble Bobble. It's easily some of the most fun you'll have with mindless bubble shooting on the iPhone. It has as much replayability as marathon mode Tetris, and it gets challenging in later levels. Don't forget about the added benefit of seeming way cooler for knowing about an iPhone app outside of the mainstream.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention at least one Popcap game. The manufacturer of pure addiction have several different flavors of crack for your phone, but I'd recommend Plants Vs. Zombies over everything else. There's a long campaign, a ton of plants, several different modes, and endless replay value. In fact, Popcap just updated the horticultural defense game with even more content. Seriously, if there's an app you spend more than $0.99 on, this would be acceptable. Note, though, that Popcap runs deep sales on all of their games frequently.
Now that you've read the iOS and Android Manifesto, go forth and feel secure in your
masculinity hardcore gamership! If you're interested in more Apps approved by GameRevolution, stick with us as we'll bring more to you soon!