They may not have the depth or graphics of a console title but casual games are incredibly easy and entertaining to play. What’s more, most of them have been designed to be played on the move, letting you get your gaming fix without having to mess around with consoles, displays and controllers. Many of these, such as Temple Run and Angry Birds have become cults in their own right, with fanbases running into millions. And although the likes of FIFA 14 and GTA V have hogged the headlines, the past few weeks have seen a number of casual gaming classics getting new editions and sequels. Here are six of the best:
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Many console and PC titles — most notably Need for Speed — have more casual versions for mobiles and tablets, but few have matched the popularity of Gameloft’s Asphalt series. It now moves into its eight edition with Airborne. It remains true to its racing roots and is simple to play. It now comes with more than 40 cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bugatti.
The career mode has eight seasons and over 180 races, and there are nine venues where you can burn rubber. The game gets its ‘Airborne’ name, from ramps that let you take off from terra firma, and also let you perform stunts. It looks good, plays well and is addictive.
Works with: Android, iOS
Angry Birds: Star Wars
For many people, casual gaming is synonymous with Angry Birds. The game with its over-the-top storyline of birds avenging themselves against villainous pigs who stole their eggs by hurling themselves against them was among the first casual gaming titles to make it big. While the gameplay remains essentially the same — you hurl birds from a catapult at different angles to get at pigs hiding behind fortifications — the settings have changed dramatically, and are now set in the Star Wars saga.
You still have to fling birds at pigs but there are also force powers, blasters and light sabres as well as famous figures from the series to reckon with. Oh, and for the first time in the series, you can play for the pigs, in the appropriately titled ‘Pork Side’ Riveting.
Android, Windows Phone, iOS
PRICE: R55 (iOS, Windows Phone), Free (Android)
Infinity blade 3
For many people, the Infinity Blade series redefined gaming on portable devices with its graphics. And in its third part, it remains as gorgeous as ever. You play the role of a knight who has to battle through enemies to get to...well, but the battles are spectacular, with flashing swords, bludgeoning cudgels and the like.
We are still not sure what the story is about, but what we do know is that in terms of presentation and graphics on mobile devices, Infinity Blade remains the game to beat. The graphics are better, the enemies massive, and the battles intense. And it is simple to play — just swipe to hack, slash
and parry. The best game on handsets to spend money on.
Available for: iOS
Price: Rs 390
Plants VS Zombies
A board-like set up where your aim is to defeat zombie hordes...by putting plants and vegetable-oriented weaponry in their path! Sounds crazy? It was. Casual gaming got its first dose of strategy with Plants vs Zombies which has now moved to part two of the tale. The idea remains the same — hold off advancing zombies by placing plants in their way.
But these plants are capable of hurling projectiles, replenishing energy, exploding on being touched. There are new locales (ancient Egypt, pirate ships) and new plants and the lead character, Crazy Dave keeps flitting in and out with
Works with: Android, iOS
Where’s My Water
Where’s My Water introduced casual gamers to the world of Swampy, an alligator who loves to bathe, but never seems to have water to spare. And now, the game has a sequel as well. The aim remains the same — use your finger to cut away the obstacles that stand between Swampy and his bath — but there are new characters (Ally, Cranky, Mystery Duck) and locations (Soap Factory, the Beach, the Sewer).
The puzzles run into dozens and remain entertaining, and Swampy has lost none of his cuteness. If you had told us a couple of years ago that we would be calling an alligator ‘cute’, we would have...ah, well, never mind. Just enjoy the game — it is a riot, and is now available for free.
Available for: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Fans of the console version of the FIFA series of football games would consider it sacrilege to term the game ‘casual.’ The mobile version of the FIFA series of football game has a lighter feel to it with simpler controls and easier gameplay. The improved gameplay, graphics and updated official teams and championships marks FIFA 14 special.
For the first time, one can play the game totally using touch gestures rather than onscreen controllers. You touch a player to pass, swipe to kick or tackle, draw a line to mark out a run, and so on. It is not always silky smooth, but we can confidently say that this is the first football game to be adapted to the world of touchscreens. It has also lost its price tag, and you can get hours of football entertainment without paying a penny.
Works with: Android, iOS