9 Weird (and Fun) Smartphone Games Made by Filipinos
There’s literally millions of games out there. Just go into the games section of your phone’s app store and you’ll end up scrolling for games for a very long time. What makes some of these games stand out? Apart from big budget games from A-list developers, there are small developers that have standout games.
In a sea of me-too games, you’ll find a few that are made by local developers who went slightly off the beaten track. These Philippine-made games aren’t your typical app store fare (if you want to keep track of the tech development in the country, watch the recently dubbed "Salcedo Vally"). We track down some of them see if they’re worth installing in your smartphone.
Developer: Polychroma Games
Developed in 2016 by Mickole Nulud, a sixteen-year-old student, Seen is an interactive chat game. Through a series of chat messages, players take on the role of a high school student who starts by having a conversation with a new classmate. The chat interface closely resembles the Facebook Messenger UI, so everything seems like familiar territory. Players respond to the chats via tapping a fake onscreen keyboard or choosing a reply from a list similar to conversations in role playing games. Depending on your replies, the story will take a different turn. New chapters are unlocked as the story progresses. Included in Seen is “Annie96 is Typing”, a goosebump-inducing chat history that originated as creepypasta.
2| Chicken Enters the Door
Developer: Roan Contreras
Rendered in retro pixel art, Chicken Enters the Door has a very simple yet addictive gameplay mechanic. The titular chicken slides across the screen and players have to tap the door once the chicken enters it. Tapping too soon will make the chicken explode. During the first few times the chicken enters the door, things are easy enough but it starts to get crazy farther along the game. New challenges such as fake doors, teleporters, and ghost chickens factor in the gameplay. This considerably increases the game’s difficulty despite the simple mechanic. Adding to the excitement is the game’s chiptunes-inspired soundtrack.
3| Kill the Plumber
Platform: Android, PC
Kill the Plumber draws its inspiration from classic platformer Super Mario Brothers but turns the game on its head. In the game, the plumber is the bad guy and the player has to pull all the stops to prevent him from completing the level. In this anti-platformer, players can control several creatures that are analogous to their Super Mario counterparts, and try to kill the plumber in each level. Sometimes, all the player has to do is avoid the plumber’s attacks or position giant blocks to crush him. The game has over 140 playable levels and 30 playable enemies.
4| Streetfood Tycoon
Developer: Kuyi Mobile
Platform: iOS, Android
Streetfood Tycoon is one of the first Philippine-made games to become a global hit. Designed by Erickson Garayblas, this food management game is all about making customers happy by catering to their palates. They arrive at your stall with a food request and players have to assemble the food in a timely manner. The customers will request various street food such as fish balls, fries, and kwek kwek. Various upgrades are available such as better quality ingredients, and speakers for your stall to attract more customers. New locations for your stall can also be unlocked as the game progresses.
5| Make Pana Blue Eagle
Developer: Most Played Games
Platform: iOS, Android
Make Pana the Blue Eagle, with its companion game Make Tuka Green Archer, takes the timeless Ateneo vs. La Salle rivalry and brings it to smartphones. The game doesn’t involve sports like basketball however and the playable characters in the game are the Green Archer and Blue Eagle mascots. In Make Pana, players adjust the angle of the arrow and release it once the target is in sight. The green archer can shoot the blue eagle through the body or make a headshot for bonus points. The bow and arrow can also be switched for a bazooka for more interesting fireworks. In Make Tuka, the game is reversed with the blue bird attacking the archer on the ground. The bird can also drop poop on the archer in an alternate game mode.
6| Barangay 143: Street League
Developer: Synergy 88
Pinoys are definitely big basketball fans and Barangay 143 is proof of that. Framing this street basketball-style game is the story of Joaquin Rivera, a boy with hoop dreams who hails from a tough Tondo neighborhood. The console-quality 3D graphics in the game is pretty impressive with topnotch animation and meticulous production design. The basketball courts are rendered with an eye for detail and they look very much like their real-world counterparts. There is an RPG element to the game as the player’s character can level up his stats such as speed and accuracy.
7| Kitty Swipe
Developer: Xurpas Inc.
Add to the list of cute cat games is Kitty Swipe, a locally developed game for Android. The adorable cartoon art style is a definite standout and the cats make the game super kawaii. Gameplay is simple: players have to swipe to whatever object the cat wants such as different food and toys. If a dog appears, swipe to a different object from what it wants. Color plays a factor too since the cat may request for an item with a different color such as a blue mouse or a red yarn. Swipe on the wrong object three times and the game is over. There are different cats to unlock in the game.
8| Hello Scarlet Snow
Developer: Xeleb Inc.
Featuring Instagram darling Scarlet Snow Belo, Hello Scarlet Snow is an object matching and word game for kids. The game contains several minigames which involve color sorting, shape matching, and word puzzles. The candy-colored graphics give the game a vibrant look that’s perfect for its target audience. You’ll hear soundbites from the real Scarlet Snow as you complete the puzzles.
9| Train Ubusan
Developer: Xeleb Inc.
Many have pointed out Kim Atienza’s resemblance to Korean actor Gong Yoo, star of Train to Busan. Train Ubusan is a video game parody of the popular zombie film. In this localized setting, zombies have taken over the MRT and it’s up to Kim Atienza to fight the undead hordes. The game falls into the tower defense subgenre as the attacking zombies emerge from the train with Kim’s character using a variety of weapons as he defends his position by the turnstiles. Currently, our woeful train system has left a lot of people feeling less than human and Train Ubusan feels like a straight-on satire of the daily train commute on Edsa.