5 great iOS games to gift your gamer beau on Valentine’s Day

Whether we are searching for our princess through seemingly endless number of castles (she’s always in another one!) or romancing aliens while crossing the galaxy to save mankind… us gamers, we’re romantics. We cried at the end of Final Fantasy X. We battled an array of giant living colossi for love in Shadow of the Colossus. We traveled back in time to save a bratty princess, and consequently, saved the world in Chrono Trigger.

So you better believe we appreciate Valentine’s Day.

One of the many great things about the iTunes store, aside from the vast library of music, movies, and games, is that you can gift purchases to friends, and perhaps more importantly, loved ones. Struggling to find the perfect little gift for that lovely gamer in your life?

Why not gift them one of these many games, each with a wonderful love story all its own?

Chrono Trigger ($9.99)

The Super Nintendo classic from the golden age of Square Enix hit the App store back in December, and its transition from the 16-bit console to iOS devices was nothing less than perfect. And the story, over a decade later, still holds up.

While exploring his town’s Millennial Fair, the game’s young protagonist, Crono, literally runs into the beautiful Marle, a fearless blonde spitfire. After volunteering to try out the latest invention from Lucca, Crono’s best friend, Marle is transported four centuries back in time. Crono bravely chases after her, and what unravels is one of the best stories in video game history, traveling from the past, to the future, and to the end of time.

The port of the game even includes the two bonus areas from the Nintendo DS re-release of the game. With memorable characters, an outstanding soundtrack, and a heartwarming love story, this is the perfect title to gift on Valentine’s Day. 

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition ($2.99)

Before Tim Schafer was leaving us in stitches with games like Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, he was writing some of the funniest games during the golden age of LucasArts, including Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and of course, the classic Monkey Island series. The re-released special edition of the original, which is also available on Xbox Live & the Playstation Network, dishes out updated graphics for the groundbreaking point-and-click adventure.

In The Secret of Monkey Island, gamers are introduced to the bumbling Guybrush Threepwood, a determined but haphazard wanna be pirate. As he undergoes a series of trials to become a pirate, he quickly becomes the enemy of LeChuck, a notorious ghost pirate, and becomes absolutely smitten with the governor of the island, Elaine Marley. Can he defeat LeChuck and win the gal? You’ll have to play the game to see.

We’ve all been that good natured, disaster-of-a-person whilst trying to win over someone. Every Valentine will see a little of themselves in Guybrush.

Note: And hey, if you really like your Valentine, pick them up Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. It’s also available, and also only $2.99.

Machinarium ($4.99)

Look at that adorable robot holding hands with the lady robot. LOOK AT HIM.

Feel your heart melting? Good. Let’s continue.

Much like Secret of Monkey Island, Machinarium is a point and click adventure story, requiring you to solve an array of puzzles to progress through the game. Set in the world of Machinarium, you play as Josef, a robot tossed out for scrap, on a mission to stop three evil robots from destroying the city’s tower. Along the way he has to help the others robots in Machinarium, as well as… you guessed it, save the girl.

One look at some of the screenshots, and you’ll understand why this title won numerous awards when it came out back in 2009. It’s an absolutely beautiful game, from the gorgeous artwork to the fantastic soundtrack.

Note: Before you go rushing to pick this game up this specific iOS title will only work on the iPad 2. If you still want to get it but lack the latest iPad, it is available for PC, Mac, and Playstation 3.

The Bards Tale ($2.99)

Easily one of the funniest RPGs ever made, The Bard’s Tale originally came out for the Xbox & Playstation 2 in 2004. Now this enormous, Baldur’s Gate style action RPG is available on iOS devices, and it is just as good as you remember.

The concept? Lampooning classic RPGs, the snarky, entirely self-aware Bard ventures across the countryside battling an array of badies, all while the narrator provides hysterical, mocking commentary. 

With hilarious voice acting from Cary Elwes (who is in his snarky prime a la Robin Hood: Men in Tights) and the late, great Tony Jay, this quest for “coin and cleavage” is a little more lust than love, but still a great gift for your game loving lover. 

Final Fantasy III ($15.99)

This is the most expensive, and final, entry in this list, but also probably the longest and most graphically impressive. Final Fantasy III (not to be confused with the Super Nintendo one us Americans got stateside, which was technically Final Fantasy VI), is a beautiful port of the Nintendo DS version of the title released in 2006.

The story is the standard JRPG story of a bunch of kids that get wrapped up in saving the world, and the characters are all pretty endearing. Wrapped up in the narrative of confused adolescents that somehow know tons of magic and can kill monstrous beasts, is a soldier named Ingus, who is in love with the princess of the land he serves. It’s unrequited, which makes it all the more romantic. Sigh.

That game is certainly pricey, and if you have a Nintendo DS you can certainly get it cheaper. And to be honest, if you’re craving a Final Fantasy title, you’re probably better off picking up the excellent PSP port of Final Fantasy Tactics, FFT: War of the Lions. But this is a great pick in the event you want a love story and your game loving beau has yet to try out this important chapter in the history of the Final Fantasy series.

And that’s all! Good luck, and Happy (future) Valentine’s Day.


Bonus Local Picks: Want to show your local game developers some love? You should. We have a lively game scene here in Philadelphia. Check out Pulse from Cipher Prime and Hipster City Cycle from Port 127, both available in the App store.