There is apparently very little perceived value in smartphone apps these days, and that’s a little sad. So many incredibly talented developers have put hundreds of hours to create beautiful and engaging apps, only to be reviewed poorly or skipped entirely just because their app costs more than $Free. I’ve personally sunk hundreds of hours into nearly the same number of apps, and they’ve brought me just as much entertainment as any other entertainment medium. Being a nerd who has at least glimpsed the other side of the curtain in the realm of apps, it might be a bit easier for me to hit the buy button.
Below are some games that more than deserve to be bought, and they’re not going to break the bank. In fact, they all cost less than you might normally give to your local coffee shop for your daily Extra Hot Venti Caramel Iced Mocha Latte with 2½ Extra Shots. Check it out:
Space Age is a graphic adventure in the vein of 1990s classics, reimagined for the new millennium and its amazing mobile devices. Told in grand cinematic style, orchestrally scored, filled with drama, humor, and nostalgia, Space Age is a golden-age science-fiction story come to immersive life.
From the team that previously brought you The Incident, Space Age is a role playing story game with incredible pixel art, beautiful soundtrack and sound design, and an awesome storyline to boot. Space Age follows a space exploration crew exploring an alien planet that may or may not have some surprises on it (hint: it does).
Rocket through space in your ship while avoiding asteroids and falling rocks in ALONE. The game consists of fast paced action in a gorgeous geometric environment and beautiful sound track. There’s also tons of incentive to keep playing and getting farther and farther in every try. At two dollars, you will get more than your money’s worth of gameplay.
Threes! made a splash when it was released, as the game’s unique mechanics and frankly adorable “characters” made for an addictive game and an instant classic. The objective of the game is to combine numbered tiles into the biggest numbers possible…without running out of room. You’ll end up revisiting Threes! over and over again so that you can figure out new techniques to keep upping your high score.
It’s entirely possible Monument Valley is one of the most visually stunning games of all time. Everything about Monument Valley is utterly enrapturing: incredible and unique gameplay, a mysterious and compelling storyline, and beautiful visuals and audio. They also recently released an update that includes an in-app purchase for four new levels. So you know the developers are dedicated to continuing the awesomeness of the game.
Little Inferno starts with a simple premise: throw stuff into your brand new Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace™ and watch it burn. But as you continue to incinerate new and exciting things, the story emerges, wrapping you up into a surreal misadventure. You’ll be hard pressed to set this game down before you find out how it ends.
Incredibly, Tiny Wings is the only game on this list with birds! (Angry Birds’ popularity seemed to have caused a wave of games with an avian affliction). Tiny Wings is a fast-paced game where you try and help your bird take to the skies despite being cursed with tiny wings (OH I get it now!). This game makes plain the intense effort the developers dedicated to creating a beautiful game with incredible animations and compelling gameplay. Tiny Wings is well worth it’s cost of a single greenback to buy you hours of pickup gameplay.