Five captivating indie adventure games you need on your iPad

machinarium are revealed in the very animations and mechanics of its props – all hand-drawn, with the utmost care and attention.

Despite its striking worldview and new approach to dialogue,

machinarium is a fairly typical point-and-click. You pick up items, use them to solve somewhat logical puzzles, and help the townspeople on your way to your kidnapped girlfriend. It can be devilishly difficult, but it’s still well designed.

The real charm of Machinarium, however, is his style.

The rustic charm of its world, the quirky European humor of its characters, the character animations, and the understated, yet emotive love story that holds the whole craft together.

LostWinds 2: Winter of Melodies

Blazing WiiWare Adventure Lost Winds was built by Brits from Cambridge, but it owes a significant debt to Japanese gaming culture. There are plenty of ZeldaA touch of

metroidmore than a little Okami and some parts

Klonoa. These memorable game treasures are referred to in Lost Winds‘ scenic landscapes, its patient atmosphere and the childlike thrill of diving into new worlds and places.

In the first game as in its sequel, The winter of melodies, you play as a stubborn tyke with the power of the wind at his side. With a few deft flicks of your finger, you can create powerful currents in the air to float Toku over wide open spaces or trap slimy enemies in miniature cyclones.

They’re wonderfully inventive games, and they squeeze a lot of ideas into their short lifespan. You’ll glide through the air on a sycamore seed, carry water through rain clouds, control ancient robots, and use tiny vortexes to turn falling snow into weaponized snowballs. Smart and beautiful stuff.

Aquariums

To finish, Aquariums is an underwater adventure that continually rewards your natural curiosity. Take any path in the game’s underwater universe and you’ll find yourself in a new environment with more stories to tell. Try combining two ingredients in your cooking menu and you might end up with a cool new recipe.

The game follows the mysterious sea-chick Naija on her amnesiac quest to find her missing family and recover her lost memories. It will criss-cross deep water canyons, ruined cities and lush expanses of ocean.

Most of the time, it’s a relaxing, quiet slice of exploration. But in times of conflict, Aquariums is fast and frenetic. By singing a short tune, Naija can transform into a warrior princess – letting her launch energy balls at hostile fish, or transform into a savage beast – letting her slash at evil seafarers.

It’s a gorgeous game (in fact, everything on this list is an absolute visual treat), with an amazing soundtrack (er, everything these apps also have killer OSTs). It also has a monstrous maze to explore. Luckily, you can jot down your own notes on the game map.

(Footnote: Mars awake and Super brothers:

Sword & Swordry EP will be on sale from May 24 to June 1, 2012, as part of the “Because we can“indie sale. This is a celebration of app stores – including iOS and Android – allowing developers to set their own prices. If you want to grab them, now would be a great time to do so)

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