3 Free Fresh Takes on iOS Arcade Games

Way back in my Atari days there were 2 games that I wore several joysticks out on; Space Invaders and Pitfall.

There have been several reboots of Space Invaders over the years, but few captured the feel of the original. Atari knew this and got the game on its new home video game console, the 2600. The rest, as they say, is history. Countless hours have been wasted shoving quarters into arcade systems or hitting the restart button on the 2600 and all the follow-on consoles. Even to this day, with all the 3D, Hi-Rez, HD clones about, the Space Invaders is still a fun game to play.

Pitfall tapped into a different adrenaline trigger. Indiana Jones had ruled the box office the previous year and armchair adventure seekers were ripe for a game that mimicked, however vaguely, the pitfalls that materialized in Professor Jones’ way. There have been Pitfall clones, but few matched Pitfall’s fun.

Free on iTunes

Fast forward twenty (yes! 20!!) years. Activision, the originators of Pitfall, has released an iOS version, and it’s a good one. I’ll tell you about it in an upcoming review, but I can tell you now that it’s worth the one buck entry fee.

Nowadays Angry Birds is the arcader’s game of choice, and for good reason. Like Space Invaders and Pitfall, Angry Birds offers original gameplay that’s satisfies something in us. In this case it’s demolition stoked by the sweet nectar of revenge.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery (Apple’s lawyers may argue against the notion) then these 3 games should be blushing blue by now because they’ve been cloned worse than Dolly, the sheep. Most clones just don’t measure up, but every so often someone adds just a bit of sum-some to make the clone different enough, and fun enough to be worth owning, and the iOS gaming environment is ripe for such games.

Here are three games that reek of the titles they imitate, but do have the extra bit that makes them worthy of your attention. Best of all, they are free!

Temple Run
Many of you have heard of Temple Run by now. If you haven’t then you are missing it. The game couldn’t be easier to play. Swipe to control your Indiana Jones-like character as he (or she) races through an ever changing jungle. Hot on your adventurous avatar’s tail is a pack of…not sure what they are, but they’re kind of like zombie-apes and look dangerous.

Temple Run

Except for the part about being chased, this scenario should sound vaguely familiar to you. If you’ve downloaded the iOS version of Pitfall you’d wonder who is cloning whom. Pitfall looks and plays suspiciously like Temple Run, with the notable exception of having multiple viewing angles that change whenever the game decides it should instead of the single angle in Temple Run.

Temple RunRun Forrest! It could get messy if he stumbles.

Even if you can’t decide which is the clone, Temple Run is worth a spin…err…jog.

Catapult King
Angry Bird is king of the catapult games, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for variations on a theme. Enter Catapult King where you get to lob stuff at a castle via catapult, but you do it from a first person view! Sweet, right!

Catapult King

And it is actually. Like its avian focused cousin, Catapult King puts you in control of a big slingshot and your one goal is the take out the castle in front of you with as few shots as possible while getting the highest score possible. Instead of pigs you have castle guards to deal with, and like Birds you get different types of ammo as the levels progress.

Catapult KingJust pull back and let ‘er rip

Though the artwork is console-like in quality the game lacks the underlying humor Angry Birds offers. Still, it’s fun in its own right and it’s free.

Space Cadet Defender HD
Space Invaders is THE arcade shooter. Others may offer up Galaga, R-Type, but they all are basically Space Invaders. It’s true for Space Cadet too. Here’s a shooter that does several things right.

Space Cadet

First, it’s a lot like Space Invaders in that the invaders march side to side across the screen and move closer to your ship as they reach a side, and they shoot at you. Not all level have barriers as in the original so that makes Space Cadet more like a variant than the original, but it’s still a fun game.

Space Cadet Early stage of Space Cadet

Some aliens you’ve destroyed will drop point tokens which you should grab while avoiding alien missiles. The bad guys come in waves and there are bosses to defeat after each wave. There are power-ups too.

Purists won’t like the graphics, but I think the aliens look about as menacing as their 8-bit brethren. In all if you enjoy Space Invaders then you will likely enjoy Space Cadet.

OK, that’s a wrap for this week!