10 iOS Gaming Turkeys
Happy Thanksgiving from Arcade Sushi! To celebrate the holidays, we are giving you guys a list of games NOT to play while you're half asleep on the couch. Whether it's a game that was supposed to be good, used to be good, or just plain stinks ... there's one thing you can call it: a turkey. These games are so bad, arguing with your relatives will be a much better alternative.
A new Madden game! Heck, ya! Wait a second ... you can only play on offense? The plays are locked and you have to purchase them or level up to pick them? What the hell kind of football game is this? What have you done with Madden? Hopefully this is the last time EA does this with the franchise because the only thing the quarterbacks are throwing in this game are giant gaming turkeys.
Don't let the title of this game fool you, it has nothing to do with crying poo. But after playing it for a bit, you'll almost wish that it did. Instead, it features a closeup of a sad Vladimir Putin. That's right, this game is all about making the Russian Prime Minister cry his Ushanka off. If you make him cry a lot, all of the tears will form a giant puddle that will bob him up to the top of the screen. I'm all for political protest and whatnot, but at least make a decent game if you're gonna go about it. Unless you're a Russian dissident, you are probably better off keeping this turkey in the trash pile.
With Angry Birds Star Wars dominating the App Store, putting Rovio back on top of the iOS gaming universe, it seems like a long time ago that Amazing Alex was released over the summer and was met with a lukewarm response. At the time, it was going to be the "next game" from Rovio and the studio's first non-Angry Birds property. But after gamers played it for a bit, it was soon apparent that Amazing Alex really was just a re-skinning of Casey's Contraptions, a different game that Rovio acquired and reshaped in their own look. Leaving many fans a bit underwhelmed, it didn't take long for Rovio to get back to what they do best. Fling birds.
If you've read anything I've written here at Arcade Sushi, you probably already know that The Simpsons: Tapped Out is one of my favorite iOS games. So why on Earth would I put it on this list of Gaming Turkeys? Well, before it started taking over people's lives this fall, The Simpsons: Tapped Out was released for a short time this spring. And it was disastrous. The game was filled with bugs, leaving players with their towns disappearing and progress flushed down the toilet. The servers were also not prepared at all for the traffic, locking many out from getting into the game to begin with. Electronic Arts and the people behind The Simpsons clearly underestimate the demand for the game and had to pull it from the App Store in shame, spending most of the summer re-tooling it to make a better product. I for one can say, I am sure glad that they did!
Scrabble was a big hit when it debuted in the App Store, but constant updates have destroyed the gaming experience. EA seemed to be going in the wrong direction with the app, filling it with login bugs, disappearing games and an ugly user interface. Each new update seems to break something in the game. The last update alone will litter you with "network error" popups, even though nothing is wrong with your actual connection. If you want a bug free version of Scrabble, head to Toys 'R' Us and buy the real thing.
If you take one look at the website for Brazilian game maker Mother Gaia, their strategy for game making will quickly become apparent. They take popular properties and just mash up their ingredients and re-arrange them. Such was the case with Pony Unicorn Astronaut, a shameless idea ripoff of Robot Unicorn Attack. Fortunately, you can't get this game on the App Store anymore. But that hasn't stopped Mother Gaia from released not one, but two games with jetpacks! And hey, one of them has zombies. So you know it has to be good. This isn't so much a stab at this game in particular, but at the shamelessness of some developers out there who will cannibalize their fellow iOS games for a quick buck. But that's nothing compared to this next game.
Are you feeling an odd sensation right now? Perhaps a little deja vu? Well, of course you are. You're looking at a blatant ripoff of Super Mario Brothers. This phenomenon is actually not localized to just this game, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given the crazy amount of iOS games out there. Actually, there's many, many ripoffs of Mario that can be found in the darker corners of the App Store. But Mister Jump is about as bad as it gets. And that's taking into account that I am granting it some bonus points for at least alluding to Mario's original Japanese name -- Jumpman. What's that? You want one more example of a blatant, outrageous ripoff of existing intellectual properties? Well, all you had to do was ask. Get ready! This next gaming turkey is a big, juicy one.
You may not believe this, but once in a blue moon, a cheaply made iOS game somehow finds its way through the sleek, polished metal doors (with clean lines and tasteful glass - natch), that guard the iTunes App Store. I know... crazy right? Fresh from the tasteful game makers at Namphuong Star, a Vietnamese developer, a game titled Ninja Turtles hit the streets about a year ago. And holy cow, was it bad. Despite featuring convincing promotional art and a price point of five bucks, gamers discovered almost immediately that this game was nothing but a pile of hot trash. The characters wouldn't move, the backgrounds were stolen from Contra, and you were lucky if you even made it past the first tap. This "game" might just take the cake, or pizza as it were, from all of those other stinkers.
Arcade Sushi's Fred Topel weighed in on this game a few weeks ago and it was not pretty. Stunt Star: The Hollywood Years has the dubious honor of being the only game with a 1/10 sushi rating on the App Store. And it's certainly deserved. According to Fred, "It’s a driving game you can’t drive, a stunt game you can’t control and it’s really slow. There is literally no steering in the game. There’s gas and brake, that’s it. There isn’t even reverse, you can only go forward. And the flip buttons are the same as the gas and brake. Why would gas and brake make you flip? That’s stupid." For a game about movie stunts, where you have so much potential for lots of fun, this game is just a bummer. It feels like a trick.
Final Fight is neither a game that was supposed to be good and turned out to stink, nor is it just an outright piece of garbage. Rather, this is the legendary beat 'em up game that has inspired countless others and was part of the golden age of arcade action. The reason I put this game on the list should be obvious from the picture. In Final Fight, any time a full-on, properly roasted Thanksgiving turkey was discovered under a trash can, good times were ahead. That meant all your knife wounds magically healed and it was time to cave in more heads with lead pipes. This was one of the more charming parts of a lot of games from this era -- the combination of brutal violence and outright wackiness. Attention game makers: more of this!