Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, a third person shooter fitted with the style of Popcap’s popular tower defense series, was a surprise entry on my most anticipated games list for 2014. I had played the original PvZ on my iPhone a little while ago, and while I did enjoy that game, I was initially highly skeptical of this series getting a shooter. But after doing some research and watching some trailers, I realized what Garden Warfare was: a balanced, artistically pleasing, class-based shooter running on the Frostbite 3 engine that can satisfy me for a fair amount of time while I impatiently await Star Wars: Battlefront 3. Unlike other popular mobile games that such as Angry Birds that just extend the same game onto other platforms and shamelessly bond with another franchise, Plants Vs. Zombies takes a chance by throwing their hat into another genre’s ring. While the initial release may be slow, I suspect this game will develop a cult following over time, as well as a steadily growing multiplayer community. While we’re on the subject of games played on a device used less and less for telephoning people, let’s explore the possibility of other mobile games receiving console counterparts.
Avian Ace Combat: Angry and Flappy Squadrons
The creator(s) behind Angry Birds and Flappy Bird have very divergent views regarding their amount of success. Dong Nguyen, the man behind the short-lived, addictive and aggravating tap adventure known as Flappy Bird, removed the game from the app markets because he felt that the amount of success was ruining his life. The creators behind Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment, on the other hand, seem content with rolling around in piles of money that get increasingly larger over time. Angry Birds has been successful in releasing specialized editions of their 2D physics-based destruction of pig fortresses, such Rio, Space, and Star Wars. They’ve also released a questionable kart-racing game called Angry Birds: Go!, and are working on a stand-alone version called Stella that has a rather unorthodox focus on characterization given the genre. Dong, let the dark side of success flow through you, because I would like to see Angry Birds and Flappy Bird come together in an aerial combat game. Dogfights and bombing runs make up the majority of the gameplay, and a gritty story about forcing Angry and Flappy squadrons to work together out of necessity would drive the plot. At the climax, the brave aviary heroes narrowly traverse suspiciously familiar pipes to reach the pig’s bases, and are moments away from commencing their attack before Flappy Squadron turns around and leaves because things are going too well. Then all hell breaks loose as the two turn on each other in all out war.
Temple Run (3rd person free running adventure)
Temple Run 2 has earned the distinction of being my most played mobile game that is still active on my iPhone. The ability to progress and advance without the use of actual money is a breath of fresh air in the microtransaction-riddled world of mobile games. The gameplay is simple and rewarding, the challenges keep you coming back, and it’s the first game of any kind that my dad has played with any consistency. To you this is meaningless, but to me it’s astonishing. But how can a game like this translate over to consoles? Well, there’s an easy formula for it: take the free running from Assassin’s Creed, add the wall running and sliding from Mirrors Edge, keep it in third person, and take away all the weapons. No swords, no guns. Just your legs, your momentum, and your desire to steal treasures that don’t belong to you. I’d even be fine with someone splicing all the free running bits from Assassin’s Creed together, with the protagonist replaced by Indiana Jones, and all the guards and pirates and Templars having been replaced by Nazis.
SpaceTeam (co-op FTL)
If you don’t have SpaceTeam on your iPhone, iPad or Android, get SpaceTeam. If you and at least one other person both share this game, a wi-fi or Bluetooth connection, and high blood alcohol levels, I guarantee you will have a blast working as an efficient team. I’m sorry, I can’t lie to you, you’ll be yelling at each other and screaming “Shake!” every fifteen seconds. In SpaceTeam, you and your companions each have a dashboard with panels and dials and buttons on your screen. When the game starts, commands will show up that you shout at your teammates while they do the same to you. You continue until your ship blows up, and each level gets harder. My love of SpaceTeam allowed me to enjoy Faster Than Light, and while moments in FTL could certainly be chaotic, I felt it was still lacking moments of absolute mayhem. A remedy for this lack of chaos is the inclusion of co-op. So I propose a console game that takes the cooperative chaos of SpaceTeam, and places it into an FTL style ship. Each player would be a member of the ship, and the ship would require each person to hold their own just to get off the ground. Everything from system checks to shield maintenance to weapons upgrading to navigation has to be done by the players, and if you’re especially evil you can sit there twiddling your thumbs while enemy ships tear your vessel a new aft-hole, and gleefully listen to your commanding officer shriek at you to charge up the damn hyperdrive.
Candy Crush (Overlord, or an aggressive, unpredictable civilization in Civ V)
Man, have these guys been all over the news. I miss the days where the only time I heard about Candy Crush was when idiots blew all their money on getting to new levels. It’s like that feature that allows you to pay to level up your skills in Skyrim, except there’s no benefit and you’re losing real money. Anyways, the ideal console counterpart for Candy Crush would be some sort of financial takeover game, but given how boring that sounds, I’m instead envisioning a variant of the game Overlord from Triumph Studios. In the land of Mobile-app-alachia, the mad King (as in the company King that makes Candy Crush) seeks to become the ruling tyrant, and will use his lawyer minions to crush any usurpers to his desired thrones, while his controlled Candy Crush-addicted minions spread his malevolent influence. The addicts will also provide the funding towards King’s massive war effort. King will face many enemies, such as the usurper Albert Ransom of Candy Swipe fame, snarky video game journalists, opponents of pay-to-win games, and the vengeance-seeking parents of children who have been unknowingly blowing up their credit card bill. And for the PC crowd, King could also be portrayed as a playable civilization in Civilization V. One that is aggressive and unpredictable and feels entitled to anything that dares have the word “candy” be associated with it, providing me justification to load up the Princess Bubblegum of the Candy Kingdom civ and lead a sweet and sugary campaign of blood and city-razing.