It used to be the case I’d have to actively go looking for desktop and mobile games written in AIR, but these days they aren’t that hard to find. Personally I think it shows AIR’s increasing strengths as a games (and mobile in particular) development platform. Anyway, here are few games that really show the platform off and are definitely worth a few moments of your time.
I’ve been following the development of Bardbarian from day one. Created by indie outfit, TreeFortress, you control Brad, a barbarian who is sick of violence and just wants to make music. So that’s exactly what he does, fashioning his axe into a guitar and inspiring his fellow villagers to fight off invaders with the power of rock music. It’s part tower defence, part shoot-em-up, and part RPG with a dash of blistering guitar solos.
With its epic boss battles and butter smooth 60fps Spriter-based animations, Bardbarian is another feather in the cap for Adobe AIR and the excellent Starling framework in particular. It’s also worth mentioning that Bardbarian’s lead-developer is Shawn Blais, who is also the author of Picshop Pro, which was another huge success story for AIR a few years back.
Barbarian is available for iOS with an Android and Blackberry release due soon. It’s also great to hear that it has also just been greenlit on Steam so expect a Windows and Mac port some point in the future.
The Floor is Jelly
The Floor is Jelly is possibly the most beautiful looking Adobe AIR game I’ve seen to date. It’s an indie platform game (not that dissimilar to Super Meat Boy but with the flair of Fez) where everything you touch is made entirely of jelly! Using a whacky physics engine that was custom written for the game, you need to navigate your way through each level by bouncing through corridors and solving simple puzzles while simultaneously gasping in amazement at developer Ian Snyder’s creative vision.
Still images of The Floor is Jelly do it absolute no justice whatsoever so make sure you check out the video above. The Floor is Jelly is available from its official website (or via Humble Bundle) and can be downloaded for both Windows and Mac. It only costs 8 bucks so please do support the developer by making a purchase. Oh and a special mention should also go to the excellent sound and music by Disasterpeace which perfectly compliments the gameplay.
Frosby Picnic Camp
Matt from Frosby Studios got in touch to let me know about a couple of new releases of his. First up is Frosby Picnic Camp, which is the latest in the series of Frosby learning games. Aimed at 2-5 year olds, Picnic Camp teaches kids how to make their own picnic, how to pitch a tent, interact with animals, and explore the beautiful park surroundings.
Just like the previous Frosby releases, my little three year old nephew loves Picnic Camp. He particularly enjoys making sandwiches and loves pitching his tent by hammering pegs into the ground. In fact, I think it’s worth mentioning that my nephew has returned to Frosby’s titles more often than he re-visits the Toca Boca range of apps. What’s nice about the Frosby apps are that each has a wide range of activities that kids can return to and tackle as they get older. Great stuff.
Frosby’s second offering is Qixel: a quirky live art project that will appeal to pixel lovers and retro gamers alike. You create stylised pixel paintings using the Qixel HD app and share your masterpieces with friends via Facebook, email or Twitter. For those who don’t want to share you can simple save your artwork to your device’s camera roll.
The nice thing about Qixel is that even geeky programmers like myself who can’t draw to save themselves can actually produce some nice looking artwork. Qixel is available on the iOS App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store. Head on over to Qixel’s official Facebook page to check out the latest creations.
Another huge Adobe AIR success story with over one million downloads already is the rather gorgeous Pyro Jump. With its intuitive one-touch gameplay, you control a little fireball as he works his way through each level by jumping between spinning wheels. Timing is the name of the game as you perfect your leaps from one spinning cog to another. Pick-ups are dotted throughout the route increasing each level’s replay value, forcing you back in an attempt to collect everything.
Pyro Jump’s French developers (Pinpin Team) have done an excellent job crafting this visually rich and well executed game. The game is also once again an excellent example of what can be produced with the ever impressive Starling framework. It’s also worth noting that there’s a playable trial version of Pyro Jump on its official website, which is itself an excellent example of the Flash platform’s cross-platform benefits. Pyro Jump is available for iOS and Android.
To demonstrate the power of Adobe AIR and Starling, developer Oliver Joyce set himself a “From AIR to App Store in 14 Days” challenge. He also very thoughtfully blogged about each day of the development process, which is definitely worth a read. The end result of his endeavours is the excellent Captain Fishblock, which I think is best described as a physics-based tetris game.
The game has you trying to land blocks of frozen fish on a rickety old fishing-boat by carefully stacking ice-blocks before time runs out. You’ve got to be careful though or your boat will end up at the bottom of the sea. Captain Fishblock features some lovely artwork and has some really nice music that accompanies the gameplay. It’s available on Android and iOS. Not bad for 14 days work. Not bad at all.