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June 14, 2013

App roundup: More of the best apps as chosen by a 13-year old

I mentioned some of my daughter’s favorite apps in a previous post. She’s a great source for me because she consumes apps like nobody’s business, and always gives honest assessments. Since the first time I checked in with her, she has continued to download apps at a dizzying clip, and so I decided it was time to see what her new favorites are. The conversation went like this:

Me: So what good apps have you downloaded for your Surface lately?

Her: You should pay me for this.

Me: I’ll pay you nothing.

Her: I’m doing your job right now.

Me: Could you just answer the question?

Her: What do I get?

After exchanging a few more pleasantries, I was able to extract the following list:


Shuffle Party

Shuffle Party screen

Shuffle Party in a way is very basic. Just like in real shuffle board, you push a little puck-type thing and try to get as close to the edge without going over. And that’s pretty much it. But the beauty is in the details, especially the way the physics feel. There’s something very genuine here. All the near misses make you want to keep trying. Seriously. I defy you to stop with one round. The way the camera zooms along with the puck—with reflections on the glossy board flashing by—is also very satisfying.

I’m starting to see why my child has such a hard time finishing her geometry homework.


Brainteasers screen
OK, I have to confess that Brainteasers reminded me a bit of the logic section of one of the GRE or some other standardized tests. Except this is a fun version. You get a series of statements about various Clue-like characters and Clue-like settings, and deduce from them where a murder took place and who did it. I’m frankly terrible at this. But my daughter is great at it. And this is one I actually don’t mind her playing, because I think in a very sneaky way, it’s getting her ready for the SAT. Find that killer, kid! We need a scholarship!

Northern Tale

Northern Tale screen

Northern Tale is a kind of role-playing strategy game, but a light and somewhat goofy one. There’s a dude with a beard named Ragnar. His kingdom has been cursed and he has to go on a quest accompanied by a couple of other fantasy-type fellas who do magic and whack things with swords. The story may be rote, but what makes it fun is the immediacy and accessibility. You don’t have to be a role-playing geek to start playing right away.

Sushi Chop

Sushi Chop screen

Sushi Chop is a fun twist on the cut-things-as-they-fly-through-the-air format established by Fruit Ninja. In this case you chop fish, not fruit. And you cut them more than once. And instead of bombs, you have to look out for stinky green fish. So, totally different? Well, maybe not. But while it doesn’t break new ground, this is a fun variation on a classic, with enough twists to keep you chopping.


Samurai vs. Zombies Defense

samurai vs zombie defense

Samurai vs. Zombies Defense looks like your basic side-scrolling arcade-style action game. It’s not, though it has elements of that. Mostly it’s a strategy game in which you deploy farmers and archers against zombies. The zombies also appear to be samurais, so that’s a little confusing for me. Everyone has very big heads and the whole thing is more cartoonish than gory. Anyway, there’s plenty here to keep you from your homework.

And that’s the list. I hope none of the above makes you judge me as a parent. Wait, never mind that. But I would love to know in the comments below what you think about these games. All of them are free and available right now in the Windows Store.

—David S.