March 10, 2011 at 4:37 AM ET
It's Thursday. And that means you've got two more days to limp through until the weekend sets you free.
You know what will help ease you through the end of your work week? Fighting off Dracula's evil minions, that's what.
But first, I'd like to introduce In-Game's new weekly column called App Addicted. It's a little place where we hand pick the best game apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices — titles that show off the power of modern mobile gaming and hopefully help brighten the end of your week.
I'm going to kick off this series with "Helsing's Fire." Yes, this iPhone and iPad game was first launched last year. But I want to shine the light on this superb monster-fightin' puzzle game right now for two reasons. First of all, it received a big update on Tuesday — one that brought a load of excellent new content. And secondly, I'd like to note that this game just won the Best Mobile Game award at the annual Independent Games Festival.
Suffice it to say, "Helsing's Fire" — which somehow seems to remain something of an undiscovered gem — is very much worthy of the 99 cents it will cost you for the iPhone version and the $2.99 it'll cost you for the iPad version. (You can also find a free trial version here.)
But let's get down to the basics. Dr. Helsing and his assistant, Raffton, have set out to take on Dracula and his many monstrous minions (werewolves, skeletons, ghosts and exploding toads, just to name a few). You're presented with a series of locations viewed from the top down. Monsters and various nasties are scattered about each level and you must figure out where to place fiery torches that will illuminate and destroy them.
As I mentioned, "Helsing's Fire" is a puzzle game — but it's based on a truly unique mechanic. Using the touch-screen, you'll have to figure out where to place your torch. You move the torch around the screen to see where its light rays shine until they finally illuminate all the enemies you want to take out. Then you fire off a tonic which strikes each of the creatures caught in the light.
But different tonics affect different creatures and the creatures themselves behave in unique ways, so there's a lot of careful analysis you'll need to do here. Never mind the fact there are innocent civilians you don't want to hit with that spray of fire and tonic. Check out the following trailer to get a peek at how the game plays:
If it looks complicated, it isn't. This is one of those game mechanics that's truly easy to pick up. And the folks at Ratloop who created the game do an excellent job easing players into things.
Beyond the main Campaign, there's also a Survival mode and a Bounties mode. And the free update just added a new "Frozen North" campaign with new levels (bringing the total up to 180), a new villain, a new partner for Dr. Helsing and some new items that put a fresh twist on your light-shining adventures.
All in all, the game really shines in the art department — Ratloop's take on the Victorian Era is fresh and fun to behold. The music is top-notch too. And the dialog is laugh-out-loud witty.
If you like games like "Angry Birds" and "Cut the Rope," then you will enjoy this game. It's the kind of game that presents you with one physics-based puzzle to solve after another and then asks you to set your brain on fire trying to sort it all out. And your brain will burn baby. Oh, it will burn.
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