Apple recently made some news in its app markets by ceasing to label games “free” if they involve in-app purchases. Instead, according to BusinessInsider.com, users will now see a “Get” tab where it used to say “Free.” It’s a subtle switch, but one that speaks to the growing attention being paid to freemium games. These titles are free to download but incentivize users to spend money on little improvements and advancements that come along with gameplay.
A number of studies in the past year or so have shown that freemium games actually make more money than those that cost a flat fee to download but don’t offer in-app purchases. And some see this almost as a form of trickery on the part of app developers. Indeed, there can be something that seems shifty about a game designed to hook your attention and then becomes difficult to keep playing without spending cash.
However, while some games operating on the freemium model can be aggravating, there are a number of wonderful games for which in-app purchases are not only affordable, but worth it for the experience. So if you’re among those irritated by freemium gaming, or if you’re simply looking for some fun games to download, here are a few app games whose in-app purchases make for a better experience!
Flick Kick Football Legends
This is a well-designed and surprisingly addictive football game from PikPok that puts a playful spin on club football culture of the 1970s. Controls are simple but increasingly challenging as you advance, consisting of swishing and flicking motions on your screen to bend the ball around defenders and into the goal. But the real challenge is in building a team that can remain competitive in more difficult competitions as you progress, and the option of spending a little cash to get an advantage is available. You can also accumulate game money (to spend on more capable players) by watching ads and performing small tasks. But purchasing one or two players with real money is affordable and quickly improves your team in a way that allows you to have more fun with the game.
Plants Vs. Zombies 2
Plants vs. Zombies has become one of the most well known Internet arcade/mobile game crossovers, due to its playful, addictive, and highly enjoyable format. Basically it’s a spin on tower defense games that lets you place plants in squares on a grid in a way that best allows them to fend off (with their various defensive capabilities) approaching waves of zombies. PvZ 2, the sequel to the popular original, is a bigger, longer, and better game than its predecessor, though its addition of a hefty in-app purchase system differentiated it a good bit. Wired.co.uk wrote a scathing review suggesting this shift actually ruined the sequel, but I’d strongly disagree. Yes, in-app purchase incentives can get annoying, but what makes them great in PvZ 2 is that they’re 100% optional. They’ll speed up the game for those looking for efficiency, but at the same time it’s entirely possible to get a lot of
fun out of this game without spending a dime.
This isn’t a game that offers in-app purchases in the traditional sense, but then again any casino app dealing with real money will, naturally, involve actual purchase. Serving as the mobile platform for casino.betfair.com, the Betfair Casino app is noteworthy among casino-related mobile games in that its sleek and professional design can be reassuring for those betting real money. Many casino gaming options are somewhat cartoonish, and it can actually be a little bit difficult to get the hang of the systems. This is one app in which the environment is straightforward, and as such it’s a reassuring place for gambling-related purchases. It also allows for demo play if you’d like to try the games out before putting money down.
One of the most enjoyable and unique fighting games in mobile app markets, Only One is exceedingly simple: basically, you run around on a cliff top fighting off waves of enemies, all within a goofy but appealing, heavily pixellated retro design. It’s funny, enjoyable, and addicting. The game also scores points with players for offering a freemium platform that, as Macworld aptly described, “isn’t constantly begging for money.” As in PvZ 2, players can spend money to purchase upgrades (which can also be gained by gathering “power” from slain enemies) if they want to speed up the game. Although gathering power in the natural way takes a lot of time, it’s still fun to play without a ton of upgrades. Additionally, the purchase options are extremely affordable compared to a lot of the lucrative in-app purchase options out there in games.