A little while back at GDC, I was introduced to a market for games that I’d never known much about before. There is a whole ecosystem of casual game companies out there that make PC games that appeal to an audience outside of the usual gaming crowd (read: usually older and female). Big Fish Games is one of the biggest of these companies — they produce a number of games every year (usually hidden item or time management games) and sell them first as free trial downloads and then full PC versions on the website. Recently, these companies have started poking their way into Apple’s iOS system, porting over their already large library of titles to Apple’s platform, and selling them to this same casual audience on a brand new platform.
Of quite a few of these games I saw at GDC, Drawn: The Painted Tower was probably my favorite, and if you were lucky enough to get a brand new iPad 2 this weekend, you might want to check it out. The game is extremely artistic and beautiful, though the action is pretty slow. You basically search around a series of screens for hidden items, and then you use those items, adventure game-style, to explore the world of the game.
While the puzzles can get quite complicated, the game never pushes you too hard — you’re pretty much free to explore the lush art at your own pace. It’s a nice experience (with Game Center included), and it serves as a good introduction to these games. While you can try an hour trial version for free, unlocking the whole game is on sale right now for just US$4.99. This one could be just the showpiece for that magical device you’re now playing games on.