With the boom of smartphones, you’re never far away from a new time-consuming game. With so many different options to download, it can often be hard choosing the next handheld game to get sucked into. We’re here to help, showing the latest, the greatest, and the games that aren’t worth the space on your phone. Here, we look at the action-packed Rodeo Stampede – Sky Zoo Safari and an older indie game, Don’t Starve.
What We’re Playing
There is something addictive about the gameplay in Rodeo Stampede – Sky Zoo Safari. You play as a brave buckaroo who hops on the back of animal after animal, progressing forward through various levels and finishing various missions. It’s an endless runner but you’re not the one running, it’s the animals you’re riding doing all the work. And what a ride it is. Want to cruise on a buffalo? How about travel on the shoulders of an elephant? Maybe you want to lasso onto a zebra? You’ll be doing it all in no time.
Rodeo Stampede is a terrific looking game to boot. It has a Minecraft-like block style with bright colors and smooth animation. The touchscreen controls work fantastically, allowing you to leap from one animal’s back to the next with ease. Controlling the beast you’re on is a bit harder to manage but that’s intentional. It shouldn’t be easy to ride on an untamed critter, should it? While the riding is a blast, it does get a bit old after awhile. That’s the trick to these endless runner games: How can you keep them exciting when you’re constantly doing the same thing over and over again?
That’s where the zoo of the Sky Zoo Safari subtitle comes into the picture. What zoo, you say? Well, you’re not only riding on the backs of wild animals, you’re also running a cute little zoo that just happens to fly high above the earth. You earn money via the runner segments to unlock new exhibits, upgrade quarters and bring in more customers. Therefore every ride you take is a chance to make more coin and upgrade your animal habitats.
The zoo aspect of the game is a bizarre touch but not unsurprising based on the history of developer Featherweight Games. It’s colorful and cute and fun and strange but in a very endearing way. It’s a hodgepodge of a bunch of other games jammed into one smartphone-sized package, and it works. Could the main gameplay be more fun? Perhaps, but future updates could include new tasks, missions, animals and levels. Let Featherweight Games build upon this weird little creation. Meanwhile, you can occupy yourself with building that zoo.
A Game From the Vault
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition (iOS)
Now here’s a game that’ll make any masochistic Tim Burton fan happy. Don’t Starve, from Klei Entertainment, is a brutal and inventive game that’s been a hit across multiple game consoles. In fact, it’s literally inventive because you are forced to cobble together a lot of items in order to stay alive and, like the title says, avoid death from lack of food.
It’s long been a favorite game of mine because it presents so many possibilities. You roam the bleak landscape searching for various supplies: twigs, trees, rocks, gold, even cow dung. When combined with other gameplay elements, you can make beds, machines, clothing, and eventually even more complicated gadgets. And you’ll need them too, because when the sun goes down, the monsters come out. If you can’t find shelter you’ll be gobbled up, so you’ll need fire and weapons to protect you from these scary creatures. Despite the title, lack of food may be the least of your problems when the sun goes down.
Don’t Starve is addicting enough to keep you playing for hours and hours. Every playthrough is different and challenging thanks to the random nature of the gameplay. There’s a steep learning curve but you eventually get the hang of things even if it’s never truly easy. It’s always difficult, always intimidating and you always feel right on the brink of losing it all, and that tension is part of the fun. If you love crafting things and hate the dark, Don’t Starve is tailor-made for you.