Remember when Adobe initially started targeting mobile with AIR? It was often a pleasant surprise when someone managed to produced an app that was as good as its native counterparts. Of course AIR’s come a long way since then and these days it’s just expected that the quality of apps built with it will be every bit as high as those produced with rival technologies. As someone who loves tinkering with AIR it’s always great to find an app that I’ve been playing for a while was actually written in AIR. Here’s a few I’ve been playing recently.
Ship Antics:The Legend of the Kiki Beast
I absolutely love Ship Antics! It’s a puzzle adventure game for kids set in a vibrant cartoon pirate world. Built with the Starling framework, Ship Antics interweaves high quality animated content with a story-driven game featuring simple puzzles and challenges.
Its story features two lovable little characters named Amanda (the daughter of the ship’s captain) and Otto, a cheeky young octopus. Although the game’s main campaign is over in approximately ten minutes, it hasn’t stopped my little nephew from requesting repeat visits into the game’s vibrant little world. I honestly must have chalked up several hours playing it with him.
It’s aimed firmly at children this one but serves as an amazing showcase for what’s possible with AIR and the Starling framework. Dublin based Studio POWWOW has done an incredible job with Ship Antics and my nephew was delighted to find out that an update is coming soon with a whole new adventure for him to take part in.
2048 is one insanely addictive web game but its visuals are hardly anything to write home about. You may think that such a game doesn’t really require anything else but developer Andrew Kyznetsov has created his own unique version where you slide the game’s tiles to create a huge, and beautiful looking, metropolis!
The original’s top-down camera has been replaced by an isometric view onto the game’s 4×4 grid, and each square now represents a city block rather than a number. Sliding two identical squares together creates a new, more densely populated, square. The greater the population density within a square, the taller the buildings that occupy it. This acts as a great visual cue when playing the game and will make perfect sense to seasoned players of 2048 struggling to figure out how you can take a numbers-based game and turn it into something that’s based on a city.
Boxtrolls: Slide ‘N’ Seek
Isn’t the Starling framework awesome! RED Games certainly think so as it was their graphics engine of choice for their side-scrolling action game based on the recently released Boxtrolls movie. The game takes you on a journey to rescue captured Boxtrolls over 30 increasingly difficult levels inspired by scenes from the movie. The control mechanism contains elements from popular endless runners and also features a really nice sliding feature very similar to the one found in Tiny Wings (remember that).
The app comes with really nice audio and graphics that match the film’s visuals very closely. It all comes together as a very slick package that once again shows off Adobe AIR’s strengths perfectly. Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning that the increasingly popular DragonBones skeleton animation solution was used for the character animation. Incidentally, DragonBones was also utilised extensively for the animation in Ship Antics too!
Ancient Planet TD
I’m really really bad at tower defence games, and to be perfectly honest, not a huge fan of them. However, Ancient Planet is really awesome and I’m glad I decided to give it a go. I originally downloading it after seeing it featured on the App Store. It has some exceptional visuals that look really great on my iPhone 5 and even better on my iPhone 6’s larger screen. The initial difficulty level is pitched perfectly for beginners and you’ll soon find yourself placing and managing weapons while simultaneously mining for resources during the heat of battle. The difficultly does ramp up pretty quickly but thankfully you’ll already have the hang of things by that point.
Developer, Mildright, has done an amazing job crafting some beautifully detailed alien worlds spanning over 35 unique levels. It all gels together into a perfectly pitched game. If you’re looking for a great tower defence game then look no further than Ancient Planet TD on the App Store. Another excellent showcase for what’s possible with Adobe AIR.
Bloody Harry is, well, bloody good fun. It harks back to the days of 16-bit side scrolling arcade games such as Narc and Splatterhouse where you move through each level obliterating everything in sight. You play the role of Harry, an insane cook, who’s hunting down evil Vegetable-Zombies. Meat cleaver, shotgun, knife, machine gun: they’re all available. Heck, if you run out of weapons you can even use your fists.
There’s coins to collect along the way, which can be used to buy new weapons and upgrades. You’ll need the upgrades later on as some of the boss battles can be pretty tough. In a nice twist, you can even recruit other weird mutants to help you beat some of the harder bosses, or get through some of the tougher levels. There’s also the odd vehicle lying around, which is great for mowing down the zombie hordes when the going gets tough.
Deep Loot’s lovely pixel art and chirpy tunes hark back to the good ol’ 8-bit days. There’s a real fun and quirky feel to this little game that will make you smile as you dredge the ocean floor trying to recover gold and lost relics. On each dive you’ll have to make your way to the bottom by battling sea creatures and blasting other obstructions.
Your air supply is king and the better equipped you are for a dive the farther down you’ll be able to reach. The game starts with your little diver simply holding his breath. However, collect enough coins and you’ll soon be able to buy all kinds of diving apparatus that will keep you in the water for longer and able to reach some impressive crushing depths.
Special mention must go to the Deep Loot’s almost turn-based gameplay mechanic. you tap on a desired location on the screen and your little diver swims towards it using the most optimal route. It works really well and is certainly better than the more obvious virtual joypad approach that many games adopt.