I don’t know about y’all, but when I can’t concentrate enough on whatever I’m reading, I always end up playing some kind of game on my phone. So! We’ve put together six of our favorite bookish iPhone games for when you’re in the reading mood but just don’t have the attention span for a book.
PSA: all of the games below are paid games, ranging from $1.99 to $4.99.
What started out as a choose-your-own-adventure book of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, To Be or Not To Be is now an addicting iPhone game. Play unique adventures as Hamlet, Ophelia, or Hamlet Sr. while learning Shakespearean trivia like what ‘pernicious’ means and the origin of the phrase ‘Till death do us part’.
You can also:
- Sensibly bring evil King Claudius to justice in a court of law! Or stuff him into a cannon and then fire him into a wall! IT’S UP TO YOU.
- Travel through TIME! Fight PIRATES! Kill a guy IN A CHURCH (it’s totally okay, he’s a jerk!)!
- View the HAML-O-METER at the end of each story to see how well you stuck to the Bard’s vision!
At $4.99, this is one of the most expensive games on our list, but you get what you pay for, right?
Image via iTunes Store, Blackbar
I love when a developer’s description of their game is all you really need:
Blackbar is a text game: a sci-fi story of a dystopian future told through the medium of word puzzles. Reminiscent of text adventures and interactive fiction, it has a unique mechanic centered around the concept of censorship. Censorship is frustrating, but the human spirit can beat that frustration by turning it into a game.
You receive a series of censored email messages, and it’s up to you to decode the texts. Easy at first, as you progress the missing words become harder to uncover and the game entwines its Orwellian logic around your brain. There’s a story, albeit one more subtle than other games on this list, but so are the graphics: there aren’t any.
With no graphics and a subtle, weaving storyline, Blackbar is a great escape from your typical mystery/thriller and absolutely worth its $2.99 pricetag.
If you’re interested in medieval fantasy, Sorcery! is a four-part epic adventure that feels like both a table-top roleplaying game and a create-your-own-adventure. The art and illustrations are incredibly beautiful, and the way the game handles combat…well, you’ll be impressed.
Sorcery! is adapted from Steve Jackson’s best-selling gamebook series of the same name, so you can look forward to:
- Plotting your own journey across a hand-drawn 3D world map
- Thousands of choices for a fully interactive story
- Mastering 48 magic spells
- A unique touch-based sword-dueling, with procedurally-generated descriptions of the actions
- Outwitting monsters by learning their weaknesses and tells
At $4.99, this is the other most expensive game on the list, but with a tried and true author like Steve Jackson behind the wheel, Sorcery! is a story-heavy game you won’t want to pass up.
4. Space Age
Space Age is a game of cosmic adventure. Set in the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, it follows a small but determined band of intergalactic explorers who land on a seemingly uninhabited planet, Kepler-16. They soon discover there’s something both strange and familiar about this alien place… And what happens next is a clash of old and new, a battle of past mistakes and future fallout.
I personally love this game because the gameplay feels like something I would have played on the Gameboy Advance SP, which is still my favorite handheld gaming system because I’m nostalgic and because I’m trying not to spend all my money on video games these days.
At $1.99, you really don’t have an excuse to not buy this game.
I found this game a little over a year ago, and let me put it this way, it’s still on the first page of my “games” folder on my phone. Do you like the swiping aspect of Tinder, but don’t want to meet anyone? Great, this one’s for you.
Sit on the throne as a benevolent (or malevolent) medieval monarch of the modern age and swipe your royal fingers either left or right to impose your will upon the kingdom. Survive the seemingly never-ending gauntlet of requests from your advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies while maintaining balance between the influential factions of your kingdom. But beware; each decision you make might have implications and unfortunate consequences down the road that could put your reign and family’s dynasty at risk!
$2.99 and continuously entertaining because every time you die, whether it be after six months or seventy something years, you take over as the next in line for the throne. Long live the king!
Lifeline.., like Blackbar, is less about the impeccible graphics and more about the text. A real-time sci-fi tale, you’ll receive notifications that move the story onward without you actually being inside the game. If you’re not a fan of games sending you notifications, don’t sweat, there’s no penalty for catching up on the action later. If you like sci-fi, you’ll want to add this to your wish list.
At $1.99, Lifeline.. is a highly rated game with a great concept and a minimalistic feel that we fully recommend.
Featured image via To Be or Not To Be.