Mobile Roundup #13 - March 2019
Lexical, positional and spatial logic are your allies in this month’s mobile roundup! Grab your tablets and fish out your phones, you’ll not find fresher than these!
Typochondria (iOS, Android)
A game sure to either delight or madden linguistic pedants everywhere! In Typochondria, spotting spelling errors at lightning speed gets you points as well as a sense of smarmy self-satisfaction. Under the pretence of proofreading a pulpy paperback from some unknown hack, each page throws up a sentence where one or more rogue letters lie in hiding, with a paltry five seconds to uncover the offending word. Exceed that time limit or accidentally tap a perfectly fine word, and one of your three lives will be deducted.
The book text itself is procedurally generated under a genre of your choice; Crime is included, and Sci-Fi, Romance and Nonfiction are available for a small in-app purchase. Slick visuals and a jaunty soundtrack accompany your question for lexical perfection. A little repetitive, but a challenge of visual acuity and reflex that some may find engrossing.
The app store isn’t short on strategy games, but there’s always room for one more, especially when it’s one as well designed and easy to learn as Sevn. An adaption of the board game Paletto created by Dieter Stein, the initial layout consists of a seven-by-seven grid containing seven towers each of seven colours (arranged so no two like coloured towers are touching). Towers can be removed from the edge of the board only; to win, a player must get more towers of each colour than the other player, or get all seven towers of one colour.
A seemingly simple proposition, but as with many top strategy games, Sevn is easy to learn but hard to master. The app has a clean, minimal layout, with a smaller scoring table suspended above the main game grid. The appearance is swathed in Eastern mysticism, and each new game is preceded by a random fact involving the number seven. As well as several levels of AI to defeat, options for local, Bluetooth or online opponents mean you’ll never be short of someone to challenge. Board game fans shouldn’t need to be told twice, never mind seven times to check this one out!
Robots Go Home! (iOS, Android)
Much in the same vein as Candy Crush, but with colourful robots instead of wrappers, Robots Go Home relies on the same tried and tested matching mechanics and bombastic congratulations to engage players. On a grid filled with cartoon mechanoids, you can swap two around to place like-coloured automatons next to each other. You only have a limited number of moves, and in the bottom left the game will advise precisely how many of each robot is required to generate enough power to pass the level.
Thinking a few moves ahead in order to get robots in the right places will help, but if the later levels prove difficult there are various power-ups to aid your metallic minions, from extra moves to changing colours. It’s free to play if you can stand the barrage of ads, but luckily a single small in-app purchase gets rid of them. Doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but a vibrant and fun experience nonetheless.
Vignettes (iOS, Android, PC)
The exact parameters of what differentiates a game from a mere toy or plaything can be a fine line sometimes, but the emphasis on exploration and discovery aligns Vignettes with the former category. The game’s logo and title screen cleanly lays forth your objective; rotating it with your finger morphs it into a treasure chest where their two-dimensional cross sections intersect. Spinning such objects to uncover yet more objects is the challenge contained within.
Several items can be interacted with for no other purpose than seeing what secrets they contain; these in turn can reference other secrets contained elsewhere.
A map of sorts can be brought up, showing the objects you have already discovered and beguiling question marks where unseen objects still yet reside. Bright primary colours and a shifting ambient soundtrack make this dose of whimsy an interesting item to check out, even if just for a few minutes between other games.