Awesome Spend-Capped Mobile Games, Installment 4

Fresh Pick – Chameleon Run

Grade: A

Release Date: 04/07/2016


Spend Cap: $1.99

Monetization Model: Premium. Pay once, that’s it. An amazing platformer for half the price of a Starbucks latte.

Are there Ads? Nope.

Is an internet connection required? No. This one will never be sunset.

MFI Controller support? No, but you won’t miss it.

Who made it? Hyperbolic Magnetism

Genre: Action Platform

Content: Two worlds, 30 total stages.

Awesome Innovation: The game takes the color matching game mechanic of Ikaruga (a classic bullet-hell shooter) and applies it beautifully to an action-platform game. Also, being stage-based instead of endless is a bit of an awesome innovation in-and-of-itself nowadays.

For core gamers who love: Sonic the Hedgehog, Runner 2

Final Thoughts: This game proves that you can marry fast-paced, skill-based platforming to a touch display with terrific results. The mechanic of switching colors to match the platforms you are landing on is easy to understand, but applying it while focusing on jumping is like rubbing your stomach while patting your head. It’s a compelling dexterity challenge that effortlessly induces a flow state, encouraging you to play for an hour when you meant to play for five minutes. And it is gorgeous on the iPhone’s high resolution screen. This game is clearly a labor of love – no skinner boxes here –  and one you shouldn’t miss.

Legendary Pick: XCOM – Enemy Within

Grade: A+

Release Date: 11/12/2013


Spend Cap: $9.99

Monetization Model: Premium. $9.99 all-in, and worth every penny!

Are there Ads? No.

Is an internet connection required? No! It’s as safe to buy this game on your iPhone as it is on your VITA or PS3.

MFI Controller support? No, but touch would be the optimal way to play, anyway.

Who made it? 2K

Genre: Strategy RPG

Content: It has all of the stages from the full PC/console version.

Awesome Innovation: Setting the bar for strategy-RPGs on touch devices.  Banner Saga and Final Fantasy Tactics are good on iOS… but this is better.

For core gamers who love: Fire Emblem, Jeanne Darc, Final Fantasy Tactics

Player tip: Name your soldiers after people you know. It increases the drama, and makes you more concerned about protecting your allies in battle.


Final Thoughts: This is the best console/PC-to-mobile port I’ve ever seen. It’s a fully faithful rendition of a modern classic. The visuals transcend just about anything else on the system, despite the game now being three years old. Planning out your moves and swiveling the camera with your fingers quickly becomes second nature, as does zooming in and out with pinch. And just as in the original, the mobile game captures a unique cinematic feeling – you feel like Vin Diesel as you smash through windows, jump from roof tops, and move out of cover to pull off a make-or-break kill shot. After playing this, $99.99 in-app-purchases in unlimited spend strategy games like Clash of Clans simply make no sense.


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