iOS Games I Like: SpellPix

May 3rd, 2017

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SpellPix iTunes Listing

SpellPix is a game where you find words to paint pictures. Each level begins with a grid of letters. Some of the letter tiles are colored. A colored tile represents either the start or the end of a word. The starting and ending tiles for a word have the same color. There are usually more than two tiles with the same color in an area so it’s not always easy to know which two tiles are the start and end of a word.

Building a word involves creating a path from one colored tile to another. It’s similar to building a word in LetterMiner. When you find the word, the letter tiles in the word become the color of the starting and ending tiles. When you find all the words, you see the picture you painted.

SpellPix has 233 levels. The early levels have smaller boards you can complete in a few minutes. The later levels have large boards that can take 15-30 minutes to clear so you get a lot of gameplay for $2. If you like word games, I recommend SpellPix.


iOS Games I Like: Blockadillo

April 24th, 2017

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Blockadillo iTunes Listing

In Blockadillo you control a bouncing armadillo. The armadillo constantly bounces vertically. Tap the left side of the screen to move left, and tap the right side of the screen to move right. Having the armadillo constantly bounce simplifies the controls.

The goal for each level in Blockadillo is to smash all the colored blocks. There are also optional idols to collect in each level. Collecting the idols increases the challenge and provides some replay value. You can play a level one time to get through it and go back and collect all the idols. When you die you have to restart the level. That’s why you would want to play a level once to complete it and go back to grab all the idols. The levels aren’t too big so restarting a level isn’t too frustrating.

Blockadillo combines the gameplay of a platforming game and a puzzle game. Many levels have traps to avoid and chasms to cross, similar to a platforming game. Some levels require puzzle solving to smash all the blocks. Blockadillo currently has 80 levels with the promise of additional levels coming in the future.

Blockadillo is a premium game with no ads or in-game purchases. It currently costs $2. You can try the game in your browser at the Blockadillo website and see if you like it before buying it for your iOS device.


Tools I Used to Make LetterMiner

March 20th, 2017

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It’s a short list. I used Apple’s Xcode tool and SpriteKit framework to program the game using the Swift language. I used the app Acorn to create the letter tiles.

Some auxiliary tools I used include git for version control, Bitbucket to store a backup of my code online, and the app Asset Catalog Creator to generate the app icons.

If you’re wondering why I used SpriteKit instead of Unity to make LetterMiner, I did try Unity before I settled on SpriteKit. With Unity I had a hard time getting the tiles on the game board to line up properly and determining what tile on the board was clicked. I had a much easier time getting a prototype working with SpriteKit so I stuck with it.


iOS Games I Like: Pinball Breaker Forever

February 20th, 2017

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Pinball Breaker Forever iTunes Listing

Pinball Breaker Forever combines pinball and Breakout. Hit the ball with pinball flippers to break bricks like Breakout.

The twist on the pinball and Breakout formulas is that the bricks move downward, similar to Space Invaders. Instead of worrying about keeping the ball from passing between the flippers, you worry about the bricks reaching the bottom of the board. When the bricks reach the bottom of the board, you lose a shield, which is the equivalent of a life in the game. Run out of shields and the game ends.

In addition to the bricks there are targets to hit on the board. Hitting the targets gives you goodies like scoring bonuses and extra shields.

If you like brick breaking games, give Pinball Breaker Forever a try. It’s free to play so there’s no financial risk in trying the game.


January 2017 LetterMiner Downloads

February 1st, 2017

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Here are the download numbers for LetterMiner in January.

  • iOS: 45 downloads
  • Mac: 4 downloads