Here's a look at a couple of games that I've been having a surprising amount of fun with lately. They both use the same general concept of keeping a ball bouncing for as long as possible, but each accomplishes this goal with their own unique style. Neither will likely be considered the second coming of video games as we know it, but instead are just a quick bit of fun at an affordable price to eat up a spare few minutes when you're bored.
Tilt Ping, 99¢ - Everyone at one point or another has probably tried to see how long you could keep a ball bouncing in the air with a paddle or racket, and Tilt Ping brings that experience to your iPhone in very nice fashion. You hold your device out flat in the air, just like you would with a paddle, and use subtle tilting to keep the onscreen paddle under the bouncing ping pong ball. Adding variety to this idea is the special powerups that will appear every so often. They are designed in a way to try and distract you from keeping the ball going and force you tap icons that appear on the screen. Trying to maintain your bounce while focusing on tapping the bonus icons (some of which alternate between good and bad bonuses, requiring you to be even more careful) can become a really hectic and fun experience.
The game is hard, but keeps you coming back for just one more go. The whole experience of Tilt Ping is done with nicely detailed and colorful graphics, as well as OpenFeint integration for tracking achievements and many different statistics, making for a fairly robust package for such a simple game.
Juggle!, 99¢ - What we have here is basically the antithesis of what Tilt Ping brings to the table. Imagine you invited a friend over to play Pong in the 70's, but they cancelled at the last minute, so instead you decided to concoct a way to play by yourself. In essence, this is Juggle! Forgoing the pretty graphics of Tilt Ping and instead paying homage to the aforementioned Pong, Juggle! is a deceptively compelling game. You start with a ball dropping from the top of the screen that you must keep in play by continuously bouncing it with the paddle at the bottom. With each bounce on the paddle, the ball (which is technically a square due to the retro theme) gets smaller and smaller, until it's just a tiny pixel. As play advances, more balls are added into play, requiring you to “juggle” them all to increase your score. You must keep at least one ball in play at a time, or else it's game over.
Again, it's an incredibly simple concept but one that's executed really well and is hard to put down. Like Tilt Ping, OpenFeint is included in Juggle! along with stat tracking and a nice set of options.