I’m trying to remember the first game that I ever got for my iPod Touch.  It might have been Angry Birds, or it might have been Plants vs. Zombies, both of which I still enjoy to this day.  Those games, as well as the Angry Birds spinoffs I’ve purchased (Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Star Wars), were very sound investments for me.  But I’m guessing that you’ve already heard about those games, so I’m going to tell you about a few more.  I’ll start with games that I’ve played on my iPod Touch and my iPad (but which may also be available on other platforms, as well), and finish up with some online games that I have bookmarked on my computer at home.

Some of my Favorite Games on my iPod Touch:

Puzzle Agent [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, PC, and Mac]Puzzle Agent

This game is both an atmospheric and spooky mystery and a series of weird and unusual puzzles.  You play an agent of the the US Department of Puzzle Research who goes to a remote town to try to solve a strange mystery.  Along the way, you meet the inhabitants of this town, both human and … otherwise.  This game does not have infinite playability — after you solve all the puzzles, you’re done with the game.  But I’m not deleting my copy because I figure that a year from now when the details have grown hazy I’ll try to play it again from scratch.  The sequel to this game, Puzzle Agent 2, is also a very good game, but it’s not QUITE as cool as the original.

Temple Run [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad,  and Android]Temple Run

This is an example of an “endless running” game, which means that you play until you die.  I mean … until your character dies.  This game is definitely a challenge for the reflexes, and if you want to make it ESPECIALLY challenging just try playing it on the bus.  Every time the bus turned, my character would stumble, or fall off the path, or find some other way to come to an untimely end!  The more you play this game, the more points you can spend on power-ups, additional characters, and more.  BTW, I just discovered that there’s a sequel to Temple Run, which presumably implies that your character has survived the first adventure.  Which is funny, because mine never did.  But at least you can be entertained by all of the gruesome ways that you can die!

Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad]Sir Benfro's Brilliant Balloon

Get ready for a weird, relaxing, and beautiful adventure!  Sir Benfro is exploring a series of strange worlds by soaring along with a balloon that is powered by fireflies.  You basically need one finger to touch the screen whenever you want him to go up, and you take your finger off the screen when you’re letting him fall.  Along the way, you listen to soothing music, listen to voices saying “Wheeeee!” or “Oh!” depending on if you’re soaring like a bird or crashing into things.  I’ve been playing this game off and on for a while now, and I’m still not close to completing it.  But maybe that’s because I’m not well-coordinated.

Peggle [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Nintendo DS, Playstation, XBox LIVE, PC, and Mac]Peggle

The only parts of your brain you’ll need to play this game are the part that helps you aim and the part that helps you predict where a ball will bounce.  You aim the ball, and try to hit as many colored pegs as possible.  There are several “wild card” elements, like moving parts and wacky creatures that will mix up the rules of the game (bonus balls, bonus bounces, etc.)  My favorite character is Kat Tut because, and I quote, it “attaches an ancient pyramid to the ball bucket!”  In related news, it turns out that an ancient pyramid provides distinct advantages in this game.  Peggle is a fun and mindless game, a good choice for playing when you have a few minutes to kill between activities and you need a chance for your brain to unwind.

Sword of Fargoal [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad]Sword of Fargoal

This is a fun adventure in the Dungeons & Dragons vein, and it’s based on an old Commodore 64 game from the 1980’s.  The jist of the game is that you’re on a quest to find a legendary sword, and you’re going down deeper and deeper into a dungeon in order to find it.  Then, when you DO find it, you have to bring it back up to the surface in a very limited time.  So far, that’s been a moot point for me because I always get killed by something before I find the sword.  But I’ll tell you why I love this game.  You get to fight creatures like wraiths, werebears, giant centipedes, skeletons, and wyverns.  You sometimes find gold, or spells, or snazzy shields, or super-cool amulets (note: I would like a Painbringer amulet to wear to work to keep annoying patrons away from me).  However, you ALSO might stumble into traps or fall into pits that drop you down into lower levels.   This game features randomly-generated dungeons that can take a lot of time to explore (hint: explore the tunnels in the walls before you head down to the next level), so there’s a great replayability factor here.

Some of my Favorite Games on my iPad:

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition for iPad [Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, XBox Live Arcade, and PC]Monkey Island SE

I bought this game both because I remembered playing the PC version of the Monkey Island series a decade ago when my boyfriend bought them for his daughter and because I heard good reviews of this version on several podcasts.  It’s definitely an improvement over the original game in terms of the visuals, because this version is much easier on the eyes.  This is a point-and-click adventure game that lets you complete a quest while engaging in humorous dialogue and wacky situations.  Guybrush Threepwood is definitely a fun protagonist, and this game is a hoot to play.  I finished this game a little while ago and have just started playing Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge.

The Room [Available for iPhone/iPod Touch (“Pocket” edition only), iPad, Android, Kindle Fire]The Room

I first heard about this game on a podcast, but I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the price.  So I got the “lite” edition which lets you play the first level for free, and OMG it was so frigging cool that I had to buy the whole game.  This is a puzzling, brain-stretching game that will require you to use your eyes and your brain in order to unlock the puzzles of each successive box.  And no, I’m not sure why it’s called “The Room” because you spend most of your time trying to unlock various boxes.  Although the boxes are technically IN a room, so … maybe that’s it?  Or maybe it’s because “The Room” sounded cooler than “The Puzzle Boxes.”  This is a game that lets you move at your own place, so you can take a break and come back when your brain is ready to try again.  The graphics are GORGEOUS, which is why this should really be played on a larger and fancier device, so that you don’t have to settle for the “pocket” edition.  Even the music and background sound / ambient noise is really cool.  I played this game with my headphones on, and the soundtrack was reeeeeally creepy!

Some of my Favorite Games Bookmarked on my Computer at Home:

The Bottom of the Sea [http://www.ferryhalim.com/orisinal/g3/sea.htm]Bottom of the Sea

This is one of my favorite “quiet and peaceful” games, and it’s similar in mood to the Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon game that I discussed earlier in this post.  You’re playing a character who’s going down to the bottom of the sea, usually jumping from rock to rock but sometimes landing on less stationary things like turtles, as well.  You’ll need patience, determination, and the ability to learn from your mistakes to get a good score in this game.  But on the plus side, you can play the game over and over again until you improve, listening to peaceful music all the while.  If you like the look and feel of this game, check out some of the other games on the Orisinal site, too!

TROGDOR! [http://www.homestarrunner.com/trogdor.html]Trogdor (Be forewarned; music will start playing when you open that link!)

So far, I’ve been recommending games that are exemplary in one or more ways — beautiful graphics, challenging puzzles, superb voice acting, etc.  Well, this game is exemplary in a different way.  The graphics are strictly (and intentionally) 8-bit.  The “puzzle” aspect is pretty basic.  The voice acting consists of the Home Star Runner character of Strong Bad yelling at the game while you play it.  But the action is a lot of fun, and it consists of STOMPING ON PEASANTS AND SETTING THEM ON FIRE.  To clarify, you are a one-armed dragon that stomps on peasants and sets them on fire.  This is basically a game of reflexes, and speed, and killing things.  Oh, and if listening to Strong Bad and checking out his emails entertains you, I am also an enormous fan of the hilarious adventure game Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People.

Defend Your Nuts [http://armorgames.com/play/12144/defend-your-nuts]Defend Your Nuts

You play a squirrel sitting in a tree, and you attack the various creatures who try to steal your acorns.  Hang on … what did you THINK this game was about???  You start the game with a basic bow and arrow, but can upgrade to different types of guns as well as a bazooka (I REALLY love the bazooka!)  You can build a wall and scatter land mines over the grass in front of your tree.  The wall, the mines, and the weapons will help you defend your acorns from the monsters, bees, bunnies, and other creatures who are intent on stealing them.    The game is violent without being explicit, and it’s so cute and cartoony that even when it’s violent it’s frigging adorable.  And hey, you can also play Defend Your Nuts 2 for even more adorable action!!!

Bloons Tower Defense [http://ninjakiwi.com/Games/Tower-Defense/Bloons-Tower-Defense.html]Bloons Tower Defense

If you’ve played Plants vs. Zombies, then you’ve played one of the hundreds of tower defense games that are out there.  In basic terms, enemies will approach you in waves, so you have to set up different types of weapons (“towers”) on your property that will attack your enemies when they set foot on your land (or fly over your airspace, or tunnel UNDER your land).  You set up these weapons, kill enemies and score points, and the more points you score the more you can either upgrade the weapons you already have or buy new weapons.  I love tower defense games, and I play a bunch of them.  In this game, the powers of good are represented by monkeys and the powers of evil are represented by balloons.  You got that?  So you spend your points on different types of monkey towers, and your property is invaded by waves of increasingly fast and durable balloons.  These tower defense games are especially effective for stimulating the strategizing part of your brain.  Oh, and if you like this game, it has several sequels available, as well.

Bomberman [http://playbomberman.com/]Bomberman

I first heard about the concept of “bomberman games” on a podcast, and a quick google search led me to this one (although there are other versions available on different websites).  This is another type of strategy game, in which you walk around a grid-like setting putting down bombs that might destroy boxes, destroy your enemies, or destroy you if you don’t get away fast enough.  Your aim is to destroy your enemies (all of whom are using bombs of their own) without being destroyed by their bombs or yours.  One positive result of blowing up the boxes is that sometimes they contain bonuses that can help you win the game by increasing your speed, increasing your bomb range, etc.  This is definitely an oddly compelling game.