Newspaper article International New York Times

Standouts in Games for Mobiles

Newspaper article International New York Times

Standouts in Games for Mobiles

Article excerpt

A selection of innovative, beautiful and meaningful games with music, cartoons or even real-world themes.

Numerous video game titles were showcased at the E3 industry show last week, and many exhibitors emphasized mobile gaming. I recently looked through some app stores to find games that are innovative, beautiful and meaningful.

One that fits that bill is Liyla and the Shadows of War, which is free on iOS and Android. At first glance, this looks like a traditional two-dimensional platforms-and-ladders game, albeit with dark and moody graphics and a bleak soundtrack. But it is far from typical.

Based on true events in Gaza, Liyla and the Shadows of War places you in control of a family trying to traverse a war-torn urban landscape and survive. You leap from level to level, beat obstacles and avoid threats. By giving the silhouetted family a personality, adding threats like sniper fire, drones and missiles, and adding burning cars to the landscape and desperate cries and frantic breathing to the soundtrack, the developer, Rasheed Abueideh, has created an app that is more of an educational experience than a game.

The mood captures some of the horror of conflict in the region and may emotionally affect players or observers. My 7-year-old son, an accomplished gamer, watched me play for a while and said the game was different because it felt "very sad."

Voez, free to download on iOS and Android, is a rhythm music game like Tap Tap Revenge or Band Hero. You respond to icons on the screen that move in time to the throbbing soundtrack and must tap on icons that fall down vertical sliders in time with the beat, scoring points based on the accuracy of your timing.

Unlike other apps in the genre, Voez has graphics and a background story line that borrow heavily from Japanese manga; you play the game as part of a Japanese pop band.

The imagery is smooth, the electronic music jangles all the right nerves in your brain and the game is fast-paced. …

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