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SINGAPORE: You’ve already scrolled through all of the day’s news, “liked” all of your friends’ Facebook posts, and have dutifully cleared every email in your inbox – but you’ve still got an hour left before reaching your Tampines home.
What’s a commuter to do? Why play a mobile game, of course.
According to a survey done by Ernst & Young last year, 29 per cent of Singapore residents play game apps on their smartphones and tablet at least once a day. And there are loads of these available for your IOS or Android devices – from role-playing games (RPG) to puzzle games to strategy games.
Hidden among these, however, are local gems that not many might know of. Of course, their existence should come as no surprise considering Singapore’s games sector comprises over 60 game developers and companies – and counting.
So if you’re thinking of working those fingers on your way to and from work with a mobile game or two, why not skip Candy Crush Saga and check out these made-in-Singapore ones instead?
1. RICKSHAW RUSH
Who knew picking up passengers could be so addictive? In this game by Mojo Forest, you’re an old-school rickshaw puller rushing against time to drop off passengers in Singapore (there’s a dragon playground in case you don’t the hint). Along the way, things get more hectic as the passengers pile up and ERP gantries sap your stamina.
There are 50 stages and you get to pick up famous passengers along the way, ranging from historical figures like Lim Bo Seng and Lt Adnan Saidi to pop figures like Taufik Batisah and Fandi Ahmad – all of whom come with interesting facts and figures.
Free on Apple App and Google Play stores.
2. CAT QUEST
It’s an RPG – with cats! Inspired by Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy, this award-winning game by The Gentlebros takes place in Felingard, a huge continent that can keep your cute furry feline avatar occupied for hours.
And we’re not talking about dangling a ball of yarn either – you’ve got 60 quests to complete and 50 dungeons to explore, with lots of combat opportunities and opportunities to discover treasure.
Drop by places like Mewtown or the Catpital, take catnaps to heal wounds after an adventure, and wield some magic spells as you battle dragons.
Yes, it’s kitty cats vs dragons.
S$6.98 on the Apple App and Google Play stores.
3. SATAY CLUB STREET FOOD ASIA
Games developer Afzainizam Zahari has created other games such as Ice Cream Uncle and Kopi Tiam, but we love the blast from the past vibe of this one: It’s the 1940s, and you’re a satay man at the old Satay Club at Beach Road.
In this time management game that comprises 60 levels, you’ve got your hands full leading customers to their seats, taking their orders, cooking the satay and delivering their drinks – as the queue builds.
You’ll get a newfound respect for the satay folks at Lau Pa Sat.
Free on Apple App and Google Play stores. S$3.98 for the no-ads version on Google Play.
4. THE LAST VIKINGS
We’d love to see a game about the seafaring Bugis, but with a little stretch of the imagination, this will do. After all, weren’t the Bugis fondly nicknamed the Vikings of the Nusantara region?
In this RPG game by Springloaded, you’re a fierce-but-cute pixel warrior who sails the high seas. As you build and strengthen an army and fleet, you conquer other lands and fight barbarians and creatures like dragons (squint a bit and just imagine it’s a garuda or naga). And since we’re talking about Vikings, folks like Thor and Odin drop by too.
There’s also an online version where you can pit your skills against other fellow cyber sea-folk.
Free on Apple App and Google Play stores.
5. HOLY POTATOES! SERIES
Potatoes are the only characters in this popular franchise game series by Daylight Studios, which are available on different platforms. Two are available on your mobile.
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop is a simulation game where you’ve got potato smiths forging weapons for other potato heroes. It’s a pretty amusing concept – the characters look like they came straight out of Adventure Time and, well, it’s about potatoes.
Then there’s Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?!, where you go on a space adventure not as Mr and Mrs Potatohead but as potato sisters Cassie and Fay, who are on an intergalactic search for their grandfather Jiji.
S$6.98 for Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! on the Google Play and Apple App stores. S$9.98 for Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! on the Apple App store.
6. MY SINGAPORE CITY
How familiar are you with Singapore’s landmarks and people? Put your knowledge to the test in Ixora Studios’ memory tile matching game, where each level takes you through history – you begin in pre-1820 Singapura and go through the different levels until the present day.
There are 80 different landmarks in all, ranging from the Dragon Teeth Rock at Keppel Harbour to the statue of Raffles at Boat Quay, and personalities like Fandi Ahmad (again).
It’s a good workout for your fingers – while listening to classic tunes like Di Tanjong Katong.
Free on the Apple App store.
7. HAPPY MALL STORY
Indie game producers Happy Labs, which began as a husband-and-wife team, have created a few games including Hotel Story, where you get to run your own hotel. But we think this appeals to the shopper in all Singaporeans.
Yes, brick and mortar stores aren’t what they used to be, but hey, what’s stopping us from become a virtual mall tycoon?
You can design your own mall, decorate it, strategise on how to draw in new shoppers, expand your mall and more. Also, you’ll know how it feels to be on the receiving end of that question many salespeople get: Got discount or not?
Free with in-app purchases on Apple App and Google Play stores.