It’s no secret that Apple are absolutely dominating in the mobile space right now. Their line of phone and tablet devices have bought rich media consumption to the masses.
Knowing this, some indie game developers are capitalising on this market and striking it rich with their top selling iOS games. One only has to only take a look at Angry Birds to realise the potential reach and popularity of these devices as a handheld gaming platform.
Unfortunately though, we haven’t seen too many of the established console game developers and publishers give the platform their undivided attention. Powerhouses like EA and Capcom have been known to throw their hat into the ring on occasion, but not a whole wealth of others have joined in on the party.
Today I’m looking specifically at the Nintendo franchises I feel would be perfect for the iOS platform. Note that the phrase “Nintendo franchises” is used very liberally throughout the article. Not all franchises will be first party and this may simply extend to franchises found on Nintendo consoles.
Need I say more? No really though, Mario Party is really a no-brainer for the iOS platform. The game essentially boils down to playing a series of mini-games, which is 90% of what can be found on the iOS app store today.
The developers could really have a blast designing these mini games by utilising many of the device’s sensors available to them. The controls could vary from game to game, but would be easy enough to implement due to the simple nature of the games. I dare say many of the existing mini-game mechanics from the console variants could be taken as is and implemented in an iOS environment with little modifications.
Where the game really shines though is it’s competitive multiplayer aspect. It’s one of very few games where playing a virtual board-game with your friends is actually compelling and engaging. The real-time experience can be captured by providing solid online gameplay, or possibly by implementing a Bluetooth or local WiFi mode with multiple devices.
2Megaman Battle Network
Megaman Battle Network is the sub franchise of the wildly popular Megaman franchise that never received the credit it deserved. For those unfamiliar, the franchise was an excellent isometric RPG which resided primarily on Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance console. You play as Lan, a young warrior with a quest to take down the evil organisation WWW (“World Three”), headed by the notorious Dr. Wily.
The game’s battle mechanics are especially interesting. It combines elements from a traditional RPG experience but adds a flare of real time battle elements. You play on a 6×3 grid with each player controlling their half of the battle field. The beginning of the match allows you to select a number of Battle Chips from your collection. These chips are then used strategically in the real time battle ahead as one time special abilities. You’re then able to shift around the battle field, use your special abilities, fire your standard weapon and dodge attacks. You’re periodically given the chance to select new battle chips throughout the battle.
The game is perfect for an iOS translation with the possibility of engaging multilayer and even the ability to trade Battle Chips. Coming previously from a hand-held console, the franchise lends itself nicely to the typical iOS control scheme. Above all though it has a solid storyline, unique mechanics and addicting gameplay.
If this were ever to happen, the game would surely soar to the top of the charts immediately. While we’ve seen blatant Pokemon clones and even a copyright infringement version of Pokemon Yellow in the app store we’re still left longing for an official Game Freak iOS port of any of the classic Pokemon games. It goes without saying, but everything about the franchise is perfect for the iOS platform. The controls are simplistic, the graphics fit and the multiplayer opportunities are endless.
Although it may not appeal to the older generation of gamers, the franchise could definitely make headway and usher in a new generation of younger fans. We’re at an interesting time with technology where 10 year olds have the privilege of owning an iPhone or iPad. Be it smart marketing or naive parenting, it only adds to the possibility of students battling it out on the school yard with their favourite Pokemon.
Unexpected right? Mario Kart is a franchise that seemingly everyone loves. Whether you grew up with Super Mario Kart or Mario Kart 64, the franchise is deeply ingrained in the minds of Nintendo fans everywhere. It’s the perfect blend of an arcade racer with the addition of the characters you know and love from the Nintendo family.
Mario Kart on iOS could follow the pack and implement the solid accelerometer based controls we’ve become accustomed to for iOS racers. Marry this with your favourite characters and stages (I’m looking at you Koopa Troopa Beach) and you have yourself a solid single and multiplayer game that is positioned to wreak havoc on the iOS app store charts.
There has been very little to come out of the Advance Wars franchise in the last few years. The series was a fine example of how to present a turn based strategy game that was easy to learn but difficult to master. The game was well received by critics and the community alike, with the original title receiving an average score of 92/100 on Metacritic.
The way I see it, the multiplayer aspect can be tackled in two ways. The first, is simply having a turn based online multiplayer experience which would be similar to how Words With Friends or Draw Something operates. This would mean matches could be played in real time anywhere around the globe. The second approach would be implementing a traditional local multiplayer mode where users take turns using one iPhone or iPad.
We’ve seen plenty of real time action titles in the app store, mainly because they’re fun and sell extremely well. It’d be great to see more involved and strategical franchises such as Advance Wars make their mark in the iOS ecosystem.