Old-school High-score Goodies: ‘The Firm’, ‘Unpossible’, and ‘Pako’

There is certainly a dash of wonder with endless, high-score-breaking, finger-numbing game titles. Yet often, these games may be deleted out of frustration as it is an arduous task for the gamer to properly indulge all the elements that the game possesses. Here is one compulsory requirement of being a bona fide iOS gamer: One must enjoy the sheer act of playing the game, appreciating the general mechanics and of course, for enthusiasts of aesthetics, bold, shiny and visually satiating graphics. And here, is the suggested requisite of a genuine iOS game: The long and strenuous journey to push your high-score up to its limit should not present itself to be a labour. It is with this part that many games live short to its expectations. Albeit a grinding experience, whenever you pick up your mobile device, the game must provide each gameplay an episode of adventure and escapade, in order to strike long-term motivation in the audience. Now, let us explore some of the high-score games cooked well-done, medium, and even bloody raw.

Mistaken for a stock-holding simulator, ladies ’n gents, I introduce you, Sunnyside Games’ The Firm. This game has climbed up its way up to Top 10 in the Canadian App Store within the first week of its initial release. The ratings, however, were dismal. And the reasons for such an abysmal rating is somewhat unfortunate, since it’s largely due to misunderstanding. The graphics – 16 bit goodness lavish in colour and depth – are indeed top-notch (this could have baited many to sink into their pockets to purchase a copy without doing some prior research). The gameplay, if not mistaken for a simulator, is spectacularly practical in the message it conveys. It’s a dull, but a heart-racing and stressful experience as players are placed into the life of a petty worker in a gigantic firm. The players have no choice but to succumb to the deadly piles of stocks that accumulates fairly quickly over time which eventually brings the end to their games. And yes, the miserable employee commits suicide, but on the bright side, there is a big line-up comprised of those yet-to-be-employed, wearing homogenous attire, standing in the rain. Great news for the Firm!

Like I said, they pile up quickly.

Moving onto replayability, there is quite a variety of unlockables, namely the vitamin supplements for boosting your concentration that could be purchased with in-game currency. As players rack their wealth and unlock higher positions (which is accompanied by slight changes to game rules), the gameplay, that could otherwise become fleetingly lacklustre, becomes more variant. So really, The Firm is not a stock simulator but an endless high-score game and it does what it is supposed to do very well. If only the game wasn’t mistaken for a simulator.

Here’s a jazzy chiptune of their OST. Also, feel free to buy them a cup of coffee – you’ll receive one new music soundtrack for your good deed.

Unpossible. Not impossible or umpossible (umpossible being the hybrid form deriving from ‘impossible’ and ‘unpossible’). The game Unpossible developed by Acceleroto is neither impossible nor possible; well, I reckon it’s not umpossible either. Went too far there, I apologize.

on my way through those Tron loops

The basic feeling it derives from a futuristic context. Blue neon lightings surrounding the outlines of alien geometric structures. Seems like Tron for me. There is no story and interestingly enough the players don’t even have their own personal convictions as to why they have to constantly dodge dozens after dozens of strangely sculpted loops and triangular barriers. However the game provides enough wow-factors to give each player the ultimate reason why they should be playing the game.

Cruise Mode Aka Relax Mode

The way the game presents itself to players is reminiscent of the way retro-games like Tetris presented itself to millions of classic gamers. No purpose, but yes, fun. There is nothing much to be iterated besides the full moon and the Tron-like structures. Unpossible strikes style and pump the necessary supplies of adrenaline for adrenaline-starved players. Despite its futuristic polish, there is no way denying it is an ancient artifact underneath. A Classic.

Pako. What does it mean? According to Wikipedia, “Pako is a village north of Borovnica in the Inner Carniola region of Slovenia.” Cool.

The shot is pretty historic in its own way, I think.

Another adrenaline-filled title of the high-score genre, yet not entirely similar to Unpossible (in which there are moments in Unpossible where it makes you go “Ooh I passed that one!”), Tree Men Games’ Pako invites the players to imagine what the days for bad boys in the 80s were like, especially when they had five or more police cruisers chasing their tails, in mad pursuit. The clean minimalist interface and graphics aligns perfectly with the minimalist nature of 80s electronica beats. Besides the blaring police sirens, the game is much about a petroleum-blotted, zombie-infested, and tank-tremored chase. It really doesn’t flaunt that minimalist cleanness it has and that’s why it’s so appealing. You’re basically Kavinsky in his leather jacket feeling foul behind the wheels of, uh… this time a hearse. Nevertheless, you get to be the Flying Dutchman on asphalt.

Kavinsky’s Hearse

The fact that you have no brake and accelerate without will, adds a layer to the authenticity of your panic-driven (no pun intended) maneuvers generated by split-second decisions. To put it all down with both bluntness and subtlety, Pako is a gem for those waiting to quench their thirst of 80s retro music, return to their rebellious youths, and hectic madness.

Allow me to wrap this all up with one sentence. For coffee addicts like you and me, these games may just be the right caffeine substitute, leaving you concentrated and determined in your morning convictions to land the highest score.

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