Earlier this week, we gave you some suggestions on how to create your own video games, and today we are going to highlight some fun apps that you might not have discovered yet.
Lynn took her 9 year old son and 11 year old daughter to test some new games at the Dare to Be Digital event in Dundee, Scotland. While she was there, she asked Sophia George and Erin Michno about ‘games for girls’, and how to find apps that girls would enjoy.
Don’t forget to ask for permission to download these apps!
One important message from the panel of the Women in Games discussion was that there should be no ‘girl games’ and ‘boy games’, but instead we should concentrate on creating and playing really good games. I like this idea – too many ‘games for girls’ seem to be about baking cupcakes or taking care of puppies, and after a while they get quite boring.
With that in mind, I set off to discover some cool new apps. These are the ones that we liked best.
Download on iTunes.
When I saw this app, I must admit that I thought it looked a little bit boring but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
The design team, Graeme McKellan, John McKellan and Omar Khan took part in a Games Jam earlier this year. Remember we talked about a Game Jam earlier this week? It is an event where gamers get together and make a game in a very short time frame. The team won the competition, then went on to develop the game and bring it out as an app for the iPad.
I spoke to Graeme in Dundee, and he told me that they wanted to make a game for two players to play on an iPad where the players face each other. They liked the idea of it being a fun game to play with a friend, rather than each person on their own screen.
Taking the theme of the two day Game Jam ‘Heartbeat’ as a starting point, the guys chose to recreate a heart beat monitor, an endless line with the typical lub dub sound of a heartbeat. Each player runs at the same time, jumping over the little lub peaks and flipping to the other side of the line to avoid the larger dub peaks. While doing that, you have to jump to collect little hearts and power boosts. The catchy music, simple but effective graphics and sheer SPEED of the game leaves one feeling almost out of breath.
It is fast and furious, and an awful lot of fun. The game ends when one of the players loses all three of their lives, and with a bit of practice, that can take some time. My kids really enjoyed playing it, as did I (although they are much better than I am!). It is best played on the iPad, but available for iPod/iPhone for individual players too.
Good for – anyone who likes fast games, and who has very quick reaction times
This is another game that will test how fast you react – and think!
Coolson’s is more suited for slightly older readers, or those who are practiced at Scrabble. You step into the role of an English student who hasn’t been able to find a job, before being employed to pack chocolates at Coolson’s factory. To make your day more interesting, you start arranging the chocolates into the boxes in a way that spell words. You have to be fast though, or you will be scolded for wasting time.
The lovely soundtrack and the hand-drawn animations are fanciful and very sweet, and you can switch between the straight game version to the ‘whimsy’ version, which tells the story of the life of the chocolate packer.
The only issue we had, was that when we got home we realised that we couldn’t download it onto our old iPad 1 as it is based on a later version of the iOS software – so do check that it will work on your device before you buy.
You can also play against friends, so great for anyone who likes Words With Friends.
Good for – wordsmiths and Scrabble fans
Mr Shingu’s PaperZoo
This was the game that I could barely drag my kids away from. In fact, I only managed it when I promised to download the game when we got home. They LOVED this game. There are dozens of apps featuring animals that have to be fed and played with but this one has a really interesting twist. You create the animals using origami - the Japanese art of folding paper. The animals have been created by a real origami expert, Mr Fumiaki Shingu and are completely accurate, which means once you finish playing the game, you can recreate them in real life.
The game is bright and colourful, the music and animations are fun and there are no hidden extras. Unlike many apps, this one does not feature in app purchases, so once you have bought the app, that is it. I really like this, because it saves a lot of discussions and arguments between parents and kids.
After using this app, both my kids were able to use the skills they had learned to make real origami lions and pandas.
Good for – Creative kids, who love offline folding fun