59p might be the most important price point in gaming at the moment. It's the cost of a gamble - the exact amount of money that App Store shoppers are willing to spend on a title that might turn out to be rubbish, but has a tempting icon - and something developers may well view as curse as well as a blessing. 59p can send a game racing up the charts on a platform where the charts mean everything, but it can also cripple a designer's ambitions, holding teams back from working too hard or too long on a product they know is unlikely to bring them huge returns, no matter how well it sells.
But what will 59p actually buy you? The answer, of course, is anything from a buggy ill-conceived mess to a polished mini-marvel. In the App Store, the cost of a Mars Bar can equate to a surprising amount of entertainment if you shop wisely. Below, you can find a few of our low-cost favourites.
- Developer: Clickgamer.com
- Price: 59p
Few game titles can tell you how much the App Store has helped to change the face of the industry quite as concisely as Parking Mania. That's right: Parking Mania. It's an unlikely-sounding malady, perhaps, but it translates into a likeable game, with reasonable tilt-controlled steering and a decent range of different vehicles for you to manoeuvre into tricky spots.
With a sprinkling of hidden tokens to collect en route, Clickgamer's homage to the fender bender feels a little bit like one of Burnout's Crash Junctions played at half speed and with no pyrotechnics. So, although it's fairly short and the art is hideous, taken as a whole, Parking Mania can be quietly satisfying. Rather worrying, really.
- Developer: Mountain Sheep
- Price: 59p
At the moment, Minigore is an extremely basic - but still pretty stylish - twin-stick shooter, in which a box-headed beardy fends off endless waves of weird bitey things until the 187 to Camberwell arrives, your iPhone runs out of battery, or the existential horror of it all sweeps over you like a frosty tidal wave and you hurl yourself in the whirling cogs of some nearby machinery.
There's a single power-up at the moment, and one or two different weapons to use as the game grinds on, but the reason this is so playable is that, for me at least, it's the first offering on the App Store to really nail the controls for this kind of game. The virtual thumbsticks manage to be precise yet forgiving and your fingers never cover the most vital parts of the screen, while the promise of regular content updates (following the Pocket God model), taken alongside the quirky vinyl toy art, could see Minigore gradually transformed into something really special.
A solid basis for Mountain Sheep to build on, them, and an ideal framework for other developers to start ripping off.