Speculative Gaming on Mobile

Lately I’ve really been getting into games on my iPad. There are a ton of amazing options out there now and some really great games that you can truly enjoy yourself in just as much as you would on the console. So I wanted to chat a little bit about my top favorite games on my iPad right now. Most of these are available on Android as well, but a lot of games don’t play well on a phone so just keep that in mind, and I’ll note which ones are available where.

Don’t Starve: I have been fascinated by Don’t Starve since I first saw it on a YouTube channel. The premise of Don’t Starve is to survive in a strange world and eventually find your way home. There are all kinds of twists and turns with things not working how you expect, and surviving is a lot harder than you would think. You have to manage your hunger, health, and sanity as you run around in a hostile land. The weather can kill you; the animals can kill you; the plants can kill you, and getting lost in the dark of night absolutely will kill you. But despite all of that, the game is a lot of fun.

It controls pretty well on the iPad: you simply use your finger to dictate the direction your character runs, or tap on things you want to interact with, but tapping can sometimes lead to accidentally attacking a beefalo (a large, mostly friendly buffalo-type creature) when all you meant to do was pick up some nearby grass. But the game does offer a fix for this by providing two buttons in the upper right side that you can press and hold for your character to to do all available actions but attack, or do nothing but attack. It’s a real lifesaver so you don’t accidentally start fights you can’t win.

While I have yet to make it through the whole game, I did make it through winter without freezing to death and so far I’m keeping strong. I’ve already found some of the devices required to begin the adventure home, and I can’t wait to see what’s through that door.

The game is only available on tablets, and honestly that’s great because I can’t imagine playing it on a smaller screen.

Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty: Reigns and Reigns: Her Majesty are games that on the surface can sound a little bit boring. Depending on which version you’re playing, you either plays as king or a queen. Each of the two versions have very different plots and interactions with other characters, but there are definitely similarities between the two.

As a ruler of your kingdom, you control several forces that can drive you to ruin. The gameplay is incredibly simple: someone approaches you with a request; you are offered to choices to give to them. Depending on your answers you may drive your kingdom up or to the ground. But too far in either direction will still kill you.

To run a successful kingdom you have to manage four different stats: your church, your army, your people, and your wealth. If any one of those stats gets too high or too low, it’s game over. I usually was crushed by a mob of adoring people or executed by the church.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say both the games have some strong supernatural influences in your kingdom. While at first it may not seem like there is an end, you can solve the mystery behind what haunts your kingdom and beat the game, though it takes quite a few tries to do that.

As you begin to solve the mystery of why you are ruling in this almost cursed, perpetual state, you can find a way to break the spell placed upon you, or you can continue playing the game into eternity. Though eventually the devil always loses patience.

Both versions are available on phone or tablet. I mostly play on my phone while I’m commuting. It’s a super simple game where you simply swipe left or right depending on which answer you want to give to the person asking you a question. Most of the time you are totally unsure how your choices will impact the four categories so you sometimes get taken off guard with a sudden drop or rise in your kingdom stats.

The game can get a little repetitive, but there are new challenges unlocked and new characters that you can interact with to keep it fresh enough that it’s enjoyable. When I first got it, I played it obsessively until I finally beat it. It can be pretty addictive so be warned you may be trapped playing until you find a way to break the spell.

What are some of your favorite games to play on mobile? I’m always looking for new ways to spend my time on my commute.

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