Tap Trainee™: A Beginner’s Guide to iOS Gaming

Are you a Tap Trainee™? Follow my wonderful guide and I, Lucas Bert, shall show you the way into a magical world where you’ll no longer have to stumble through the App Store, playing games which are more in-app purchases than anything else. Indeed, I will point you through to the best games on iOS, and it will be a beautiful experience for all.


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Step 1: Beware The Charts.

In the App Store, you will find a seemingly useful feature, charts of the “Top Free”, “Top Paid” and other such categories of games. It may seem that this is a sure-fire way to find decent apps, right? Remember that you are the Tap Trainee™, and many of the people who download these charted apps are untrained, and as such can be suckered into some of the more lacklustre games.


We are connoisseurs of mobile gaming, so we shall sniff out the metaphorical truffles of the App Store and munch them up in a lovely salad of enjoyable gameplay. To be honest, the charts are mostly full of button mushrooms and toadstools.

Too many metaphors? Tough. Metaphors are a staple food of the seasoned Skillful Swiper™ like myself. Let’s move on.

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Step 2: Genres That Work On Consoles Are Rarely Good On A Mobile Platform.


Well, that’s a bit of a mouthful, isn’t it? However it’s a good rule of thumb to be reserved when considering downloading a console port/ “Big Name Game”, as often they look good, but control like unruly farts, and unlike throwing away a (relatively) cheap console controller, lobbing your phone because you can’t turn and shoot in Battlefield 2 is a one way street to bankruptcy. That said – I Love Katamari on iOS is absolutely brilliant, but really bloody difficult. There also appears to be a partially free sequel called Katamari AMORE which has a Pac-Man level, so check that out.

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Step 3: App Reviews Are(n’t) Useful.

If you’re sitting and you’re looking at an app, for instance (and ease of familiarity) Angry Birds, you may not be sure whether to drop 69p on it, so you have a look at the reviews. Here is a sample review of Angry Birds:

Saf  ★★★★★
by Syzmm08
v good

Yeah. Well, this isn’t helpful at all. I must assure you that this is a genuine review of Angry Birds, you can see it on the game’s online App Store page. Either way, unless you’re willing to dig though all the illiteracy and unhelpfulness, there’s actually lots of websites devoted to giving proper reviews for apps (and we’ll be joining those hallowed ranks soon; watch this space). Some excellent mobile gaming sites are Indie Game Magazine: Mobile and No Brainer App Reviews. Expert reviews are almost always more helpful than customer reviews.

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Step 4: Know Your Device (And What It Can Handle)

If you’re using this guide, there’s probably one thing I can safely assume about you. You have an iDevice. Indeed all iDevices from the iPod Touch onward is able to use apps, however one thing you need to keep in mind always, is the fact that a smaller device like my iPod Touch is probably going to struggle with something graphically intensive, whereas my girlfriend’s iPad Mini can handle anything you throw at it. This is because like a PC, these devices have a limited amount of memory to work with, and the newer, more expensive gadgets will handle much more. If you find that your device is running slowly, it can actually help to just switch it off and on again. This refreshes the memory cache which should speed everything up again.

Now with all the information I have imparted to you, you should be able to make your way through the App Sore with the minimum of fuss and find all the brilliant games which are usually hidden from view. However I have one last piece of advice – keep looking. The App Store is constantly full of new content, which is great fun to play. There are loads of new games popping up all the time. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that a lot of them are Indie games. Games like the recent Year Walk, whose hand-drawn visuals and crippling atmosphere have been netting it scores as high as 5/5 from the Telegraph and 95% from IGM. Another game I’m completely besotted with is Vlambeer’s Ridiculous Fishing. It’s a fishing game in the loosest sense, it’s the first fishing game I’ve played that lets you attach a chainsaw to your lure for pushing through dense patches of fish.


In terms of big name games, there’s apps like Epic Games’ Infinity Blade series which couples amazing graphics with really slick gameplay, it really makes swipe sword-fighting feel weighty and realistic, though if you’re looking for blood and gore a la Gears of War, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, if you fancy slapping a giant death knight with a balloon sword, then this game is the one to fulfill your strangely specific fantasy. One of my favourite apps though, is Super Hexagon. It’s perfectly matched to the iOS platform, with its short shelf life, addictive gameplay and strangely erotic lady voices which make it an awesome remedy to lunch-break boredom. (Or an aid to procrastination, whatever.)

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Congratulations! If you’ve read and understood my simple steps, you are now an official Tap Trainee™. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below, tweet me @PortlyGentleman or alternatively email me at lucasbert@screenshapedeyes.com.

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