When you get down to it, we all want the same things: love, comfort, and ultimate power over life, death and the basic forces of the universe. Luckily, videogames are up to the challenge, providing petabytes of ways to nurture and direct helpless virtual beings, at least until they displease you and you wipe them all out with a storm of fire or the uninstall button.
God games on mobile devices have taken it to the next level, allowing us to take entire universes with us wherever we go, and leaving us to wonder whether we, ourselves, are but virtual beings living in the cosmic smartphone of some extradimensional nerd-god.Virtual Villagers: Origins
Tiny villagers have washed up on a mysterious island (shown above) with only their wits, perseverance, and the assistance of a giant finger to survive on. It’s up to you to drag the villagers around like infant kittens and direct their energies, pushing them to pick berries, research scientific advances, or head on down to the Love Shack to produce the next generation. Once they get the hang of their tasks, you might wake up to find your primitive charges have planted crops and built houses overnight… or all died of old age.
WIRED Sixteen island mysteries to solve. Amusingly addled virtual worshippers are like an less-icky ant farm.
TIRED Graphics reminiscent of a 1998 CD-ROM title. Tiny little typefaces (and teeny-tiny buttons) on the iPhone version. On the iPad, everything’s much bigger and easier to read.
Free, iOS universal
Last Day of Work
Dispense pixels representing dozens of substances and watch them interact, kind of like a Lego set crossed with a junior chemistry kit. You can use fire pixels to burn oil pixels, for instance, which melt stone pixels into lava pixels. However, unlocking each element costs “mana,” and the game is stingy about handing it out, instead pushing you to buy it with real money. This, combined with often unfulfilled promises of free mana, eats away at the game’s charm faster than antivirus pixels eat virus pixels.
WIRED User gallery features creations from elaborate cities to pictures of Mario.
TIRED Constantly asks to be rated.
Free, iOS universal
Artificial Life HD
You’re the god of exceedingly small things: little virtual bacteria, each of which has a genetically-encoded to-do list. For instance, the first instruction on the list might be “if hungry, find food,” which could be quite helpful. But if the second instruction is “If there’s a predator nearby, move towards it,” the beastie probably won’t live long enough to reproduce. In one game mode, you create your own animalcule and see how long it survives. In the other, you set the parameters for the universe and watch over it like a distant Deist god.
WIRED Minute control over cosmic parameters from food sources to gravity. Absorbing opportunities for experimentation.
TIRED Single-pixel organisms lack personality. Gameplay is too limited in scope.
$1, iPhone or iPad
Article by Lore Sjöberg (c) Product Reviews - Read full story here.