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Friday £5 - Aquaria and Greed Corp

This week's best iPhone and iPad games for a fiver

Friday £5 - Aquaria and Greed Corp
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iOS

Heads up: we cheated this week. Every Friday the Pocket Gamer brass hand over a fiver and we see exactly how many top-class apps from the last seven days we can squeeze out of the old green bank note.

First of all, we normally like a good spread between iPhone and iPad games so no matter your screen size you'll have something cool to play. This week, both of our picks are for the iPad only as their wonderous worlds and complicated battle maps need the heaftier real estate.

And we've gone over the five quid budget. But just by a bit. Just by a pound. Then again, it's hard to begrudge these games their £3 prices because when they first came out - on places like PC and Xbox - they cost several times more.

So while we might have slightly skewed the rules to make these two games fit, it was worth it. With Aquaria and Greed Corp you're getting two massive games that will last you ages. They're absolutely worth the extra pennies.

Aquaria
iPad - £2.99 - Semi Secret Software

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Aquaria's quiet serenity is a welcome change of pace from the looming shadows of Castlevania or the alien labyrinths of Metroid. While this underwater adventure shares much in common with those ancient explore-em-ups, its presentation couldn't be more different.

Aquatic mer-chick Naija darts through lush caves and swims through sun-dappled seas as she delves deeper into the game's hand-drawn world map. Marine creatures and alien plant life dabble in the backdrop, and the music is just heavenly.

But that's not to say that Aquaria is necessarily a calming, zen-like screensaver for your iPad. As Naija tracks down her lost memories and comes up against harder foes, you'll need fast reflexes and dominion over her special powers to stay alive.

Much in the same way that last week's Shantae: Risky's Revenge does a bit of belly dancing to change forms, Naija can pluck her vocal chords to unlock inner strengths - maybe change form, affect the environment, or throw up a shield.

Hold your finger on our hero swimmer and a ring of symbols will appear - carefully moving your pinky over them will make different tones that, when belted out in the correct order, will unleash Naija's magic. You'll slowly learn new tunes as the game continues, but you'll need to remember the notes for use mid-battle.

One major tune turns Aquaria into a frantic, fast-paced shooter, letting a bizarro dark-skinned Naija cast off bullets and unleash attacks. Suddenly the hushed mood screeches to a violent halt as the game morphs into something rather different.

Aquaria is a massive game with a whole lot more beneath the surface - including treasures to hunt down and an alchemical cooking system to brew up bonus items - to discover. And seeing as this award-winning indie classic cost big bucks on first release, it'd be criminal to pass it up for so cheap.

Greed Corp
iPad - £2.99 - Invictus

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Greed Corp takes the term "strip-mining" to a whole new level. As you harvest this strategy game's hexagonal tiles for precious loot, your greedy money-grubbing literally strips away huge chunks of the battlefield, causing them to be swallowed by the mist below.

It's symbolism, get it? You know, a sort of clever tongue-in-cheek metaphor for the delicate struggle to find resources while keeping the planet green and healthy for the next generation? Yeah, you got it. You're clever, you.

So what you're left with is a smart boardgame where getting cash for new units also causes your battlefield to dwindle in size. You've got new opportunities for steampunk warriors like cannons, walkers, and carriers, but fewer places to deploy them.

By the end of a particularly heated battle you could be left with a few towering tiles, peeking out of the mist. Or you can carefully place a self-destructing tower to crumble your enemy's play-space into the abyss. The simple setup lends itself to lots of tactics and quick thinking.

For your cash, you're getting just about everything from the console and PC edition. Perhaps not the same cutesy graphics (they're a little washed out and heavily simplified on iPad), but a four chapter campaign, 36 maps for bite-size battles, online multiplayer, and leaderboards. Anything more would be greedy.

Total spent: £5.98 Well, we did say we cheated a little.
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown is editor at large of Pocket Gamer