iPod freebie: Skullpogo
Here's a cutie.
Skullpogo is a perfect example of how to make a good iPod game. It's short, shallow(ish) and sweet, it's designed for the characteristics of the format, and it's endlessly replayable. And today, it's free.
You're a skeleton on a pogo stick, and your job is to bounce on zombies, monsters and farmyard animals. Like, duh. There are five stages, each of which you have to complete before your time runs out (obviously), and you get combos for bouncing on lots of enemies one after the other without your combo timer expiring, which happens if you go too long between hits – usually if you miss and touch the ground the ground, but also if you try to take out a very high enemy then a very low one.
(At any point in the game you can switch to a high, medium or low bounce height. Higher gives you more height – honest! – and therefore more time to accurately target enemies, but low is faster and offers better scoring opportunities if there are lots of ground baddies.)
There are a handful of powerups which you can use to maximise your scoring (of course), although tragically also including a control-reversing one (grnk). Speaking of controls, there are three options – tilt, directional buttons or swiping – all of which work well. The graphics are very pretty pixel art, and there's funky music.
Limiting the game to five stages is the stroke of genius here. It keeps any individual game short, but there's so much opportunity within each stage to get better scores, so many achievements to, um, achieve, and the core gameplay so pleasing in and of itself, that you'll boot it up again and again to while away a few idle minutes. There are even three slightly different modes to provide a degree of variety.
All in all, it's an absolutely lovely little game, and all it asks you to do is click on its name. Is that too much for you?
Remember, if you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch yet with which to enjoy the now-est gaming of the modern zeitgeist, you can still grab the games anyway with iTunes while they’re free, and upload them to your iPod when you get one.
And if you’re ready to join in the fun, you can do it at a giveaway price by subscribing to WoS, where subscribers learn how to pick up a brand-new 32GB 3rd-gen iPod Touch for just £6 – no strings, no contracts, no referrals, no getting other people do do anything, just a fun bit of exploiting capitalism for half-an-hour’s effort.