Best iOS games for blind/low-vision users?
I suppose I should introduce myself first. My name is Shaun Musgrave, and I'm a writer over at Touch Arcade. We're a site focused on iOS gaming news, reviews, and so on. Last week, I did an article about King Of Dragon Pass and one of the members here, Zack, commented about how its great in terms of accessibility. It's honestly not something I've ever thought much about before as a sighted gamer, but Zack's comment led me to get in touch with him and another member here over Twitter. I pitched an idea for an article to my boss covering accessibility in iOS gaming, and he eagerly agreed that it would be a good topic to write about. What has followed over the last week have been numerous conversations with Zack, Michael, and around a dozen iOS developers, some of whom have provided excellent accessibility in their titles, and some who have not. I've learned a lot over the last several days, but I still have a lot to hear about.
I'm coming here today because as part of my article, I'd like to put together a list of the ten best accessible iOS games. Of course, tastes vary, so I wanted to hear from as many people as possible. I saw some in your hall of fame, but not quite enough to round out a list of ten. So if you folks could let me know your favorite accessible iOS games, I'd be very appreciative. Similarly, if you have any stories or messages you'd like to share with me for the article, I'd be happy to listen. Touch Arcade is a pretty well-known site, so I think we can definitely bring some attention to this issue. At the same time, this is really not our usual type of article, and I don't know when or if I'll be able to cover it specifically again, so I want to make this one count.
If this isn't in the right section of your forum, I apologize. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me in this matter.
Hello, my name is Jonathan Chacón, I am blind and I am developer for Tyflos Accessible Software.
I like strategy games instead action games.
I published four accessible games. They are accessible for blind, visual impaired, deaf and other disability profiles.
I believe in universal design concept and I am working with it for all of my projects.
You can find my accessible apps in the AppStore http://www.appstore.com/tyflosaccessiblesoftware
I do like the idea of your article, and I think that these games should be pointed out as it's great that more developers these days are trying to include accessibility in their apps.
My 2 favourite games, are Celtic Tribes and Lords and Knights. They are 2 great games which I found last year and been playing ever since. They concentrate on you starting with a castle of village, expanding it and recruiting the army to conquer more, and build up your empire. There aren't many ames of this genre that are accessible, so I think that if there are any, they should be promoted and the developers need to know how important it is that they made these games accessible.
I would like to play some shooting games such as audio defence and sixsense! but, the sixsense seems did not update anymore. well, if it has any fighting games it should be very good as well.
As far as my favourite games, I will definitely have to go for the more complicated stuff. Personally I find lords and nights quite dull and I played it for all of a week before quitting. One game that I don't play anymore but quite enjoyed that is somewhat similar to lords is solara. The developer put in quite a lot of work to make it work better and you have more control over your heros. King of dragon pass is also very good. All that being said I get the most fun out of games in the arcade/action/horror genres. This includes all of something' else's games, papa sangre 1 and 2, nightjar and audio defence. The latter has some bugs, but when it works it's a blast. I have done complete playthroughs of all somethin' else games with a friend at http://www.pg13.tk/ and you can feel free to link people to them. There are also 2 very popular multiplayer games that blind people play a lot. The first is dice world, which has 6 dice games that can be played against friends on or off Facebook. It's another example of a lot of work being put in to make the game work with VO. I have now mostly moved to playing trivia crack, which also works apart from the occasional picture question.
I think the biggest reason for lack of game accessibility on mobile platforms is thanks to the various engines, like unity that allow to easily develop games for multiple platforms. To make an application work well with VoiceOver on iOS, or Talkback on Android for that matter, you have to use the built-in controls of the operating system, or if using a custom view to put in code which tells iOS how the control should work. These game development engines skip the UI kit entirely and instead make one fullscreen view, then draw the graphics, including all text, directly to the screen which is why VoiceOver can't see it. Games made like this are very hard to make accessible as these engines don't give developers an easy way to speak text using VoiceOver, even though this functionality is available to developers in iOS. The only option for them at this point is to record every element of the interface as a sound file and play it which may not always be practical. Some developers did go the extra mile though, the audio game freeq used to not work with VoiceOver, but after the developer was contacted he made it work.
If there's any genre I wish there was accessible, I'd love to see more strategy and tower defence games. Playing them on a touch screen would be quite easy as it helps visualise how the map looks like, but none has made an accessible game in those genres on iOS, and there is only 2 that are playable for PC's.
I went blind suddenly last year, so I very quickly had to adapt from being a hard-core gamer On multiple platforms to being a blind gamer and seeking out accessible games. A counselor brought up audio games such as the night jar and Papa Sangre, which are impressive and quite interesting for pure audial enjoyment, however I quickly grew tired of the survival horror genre and longed for something else. I was pleasantly surprised with the night jar and how they were able to get Benedict Cumberbatch to narrate the game., but after a while I just wanted to do something else other than avoid monsters.
I came across dice world and was happy to finally have a multiplayer online game that was very quick to learn and enjoyable to play. Several different game modes, most of which worked quite well with voiceover and I finally had something that I could play with my friends with vision. Of course, most of the game dealt with chance and not enough strategy/skill, and after a few months it became more and more difficult to enjoy due to the freemium nature of some of the gameplay. The tournaments were not free, and the obligation to buy gold coins in order to play or get an advantage over other players became quite annoying., especially as these activities broke up the rather repetitive gameplay.
I am currently obsessed with trivia crack despite some of its accessibility issues. The primary gameplay is very functional, however a lot of options still have unlabeled buttons but it is moderately intuitive for the most part when attempting to suggest and manage your submitted questions. They did fall into the trap of promoting form over function recently, however, when they change their design to add animations and severely limited The gameplay accessibility, or at least the area that you have to interact with in order to play the game when relying on finger swipes to get around the interface. I have submitted constant feedback through their various support channels, but to no avail so far Plus, trivia crack has picture questions which are rather frustrating when you are blind, but so far they are few and far in between.
Since going blind, I have not been able to return to any of my favorite games that were all primarily visual, such as the Angry Birds series, diner and cooking dash, silly and fun games like fruit ninja, jet pack joyride, and out of water, and of course turret defense games. It would be great to get more text based adventure games much like The old Infocom Games, and I have been kicking around an idea to write one myself and get help from some of my friends who are developers to actually create it. Especially if it was an audio based text adventure game with actual recorded actors rather than relying on the voiceover synthesis. Ultimately, I really hope that more accessible games come out in the future in various genres, and that people stop treating it as an afterthought in the design process, at least for games which have hi potential for being completely accessible.
As a sidenote, I apologize for any weird capitalizations or grammar as I am primarily dictating my replies, and I am gradually coming to terms with all of the dictation problems that have increased in iOS 8.
I like audio defence and theta poker, but I do wish there was a way to play with real people. I also enjoy dice world, cribbage pro, lords and knights. There are also various other card games that are pretty good. I would like some more shooting games, but that's just me.
Thanks to all the developers who make accessible games, specially those who make their games playable by both blind and sighted people.
My favorite games are probably Audio Defence and The Nightjar, both by Somethin Else. One area of games where the blind really are at a disadvantage are sports games. I am a huge baseball fan, but to this point, I do not know of any games that are accessible for the blind community using Voiceover relating to the play of baseball, football, basketball, or really any sport for that matter. There is one baseball game out there, but all it does is make a pitching sound when you are supposed to swing. However, the results you get are random. It cracks me up when with that game, you get a good hit ball immediately followed by the umpire yelling out "ball", despite the crack of the bat. So sporting games are definitely among the more rare games. Of course, I'd also like to see some sort of accessible Star Wars lightsaber duel game. That's my two cents' worth. Thanks for the post. Make sure you post a link when the article is completed. I'd love to read it.
Some of my favorite games to play are Audio Archery, Blackjack which is made from the same people who made dice world, I like Dice World. That game I am able to play with other people. I like playing Blindfold hopper. I wish I could play games like sports games like football or basketball type games. I always wanted to play Pack man or Tetris or any of the Super Mario games. It is nice to have games that I can play though because before I got an iPad and iPhone i couldn't play games.
Dice World is a good example of a game that demonstrates how best to develop accessible games that everyone can enjoy. Accessible Minesweeper by the developer who posted earlier is another good example, although I don't play it as often as Dice World.
In terms of audio only games, I count the Something Else titles, especially Papa Sangre 2 and Audio Defence, as some of the best in that area on iOS. The best audio games are those that make good use of intuitive touch screen gestures, and offer the option to use the accelerometer or gyroscope as a control mechanism when it makes sense to do so.
One genre of game I'd love to see more of is the 2D or 3D audio platformer. I have not yet heard of such a thing on iOS.
Sometimes however, it isn't the game itself that can prevent us from playing, but the menus being inaccessible so we can't even get to the game. For myself, I have enough sight to play some games with simple graphics, like Tetris, but not enough to navigate the menus without VoiceOver. For others, the game's sound design might be good enough that they can play by ear, if they can just get past the menu.
Hi there. I am the developer of Dice World, and Blackjack. Two fully accessible games. We have committed ourselves to making every game we produce fully accessible. If you are interested, I would be willing to chat about the process. Just let me know. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for writing an article on the topic!
These are great answers so far. And some great stories, too. Don't worry, I'll be sure to link the story here once it's published. I'm still waiting to hear from a couple of developers, so if anyone else has some stories or suggestions, I'll be collecting them all weekend.
I'm painfully new at gaming, but because I think the point I haqve to make is really important, I decided to post. I recently played A Dark Room, and would really like to see more of its kind made accessible. A big part of why I loved it is that it's a popular game in the sighted community, and the first thing my boyfriend and I could play together. I suppose what I want to say, in short, is that I value games that I hear about in the sighted community that are also accessible more because they bring blind people in to the community instead of just making the devision stronger, which I believe games made specifically for the blind and advertised for the blind do. That said, I love some games for the blind, I just want to see more that push the two communities together. Games and game developers have an unique opportunity in this regard, and I'd love to see it taken advantage of more fully.
I like action games. Blindfold Racer, SixthSense, Audio Archery, MouseKick. I have to think all day at work; when I'm playing, I don't want too much thinking. Though I'm addicted to 7 Little Words.
I'd love more accessible action games.
I agree with all the above, especially about the action games such as Sixth Sense, AudioDefence and Papa Sangre I and II. I think it could also be a fun experience for sighted people to try. They'll probably find it a bit boring in the long run, but I think having a zombie breathe Down your neck from behind would be creapy for even the most hard-core gameplayers :)
Anyway, I wanted to add I associate To to the mix, it's one of my favourite games and it's not developed for blind people, it has just been made accessible by the developers. It's a word game so it's a different genre.
Thanks everyone! I've heard back from everyone I'm going to, so I should have the article ready to go for late next week. I'll be sure to come and link it here when it's up. Thanks again for all of your help!
Thanks again, everyone. Here is the link:
I couldn't fit everyone's comments in, but I enjoyed reading all of them.
Hi! I all ready read the article and i like it. But as a review site for ios games I suggest that you also include the accessibility support of the game. And can your site help us to spread the awareness onhow to make their games accessible.
I heard some people mentioning a light saber dual. Well, there's a great game like that with swordfighting called ISamurai by Toy Kite Software. It and dimensions are my absolute faves.
Have any of you tried Silver sword? It is one' of the games mentioned in the article. The game's developer said it's accessible, so I bought it. So far, I'm mainly blundering around in the forest or some such place, and I can't find my way around. The map is definitely NOT accessible as far As I can tell, though everythi:ng else seems to be so far. Any ideas or hints? Thanks.
hello , here are my favourites
papa sangre , the knight jar , audio defence , dice world , papa sangre ii , blind side , , and i would like to see more games as i am new to the IOS world , great thanks and advance
If those are your faves, don't upgrade to iOS 9 any time soon.
it is too late to say that for me because i already upgreated to IOS 9 :D , but still playing some of them , blind side is working , audio defence not very much , and the other games are working properly , have a nice day friend.
I have a lot of games on my iPad. They are all accessible. To me, the Blindfold game series where you use your ears and not your eyes are fantastic.
I amj looking for an accessible Monopoly game, an accessible baseball game where you actually play baseball instead of just pitching, and Trivial Pursuit. I have found that a lot of the trivia games out there don't always show the correct to the question. It just shows the questions and answers you can choose from. The Premium Blackjack and Video Poker games are also very accessible and I play them a lot. Keep ujp the good work. We need more than just word games.
Plague inc is reasonably accessible but there are some issues with missing labels and navigation order of elements.
THETA Poker is decent but lacks the multiplayer aspect which is the best part of poker.
I wish Electronic Arts would release an accessible MONOPOLY game which I thought shouldn't be too hard for a well financed developer, similarly Grand Theft Auto by Rockstar, especially if it was like GTA II.
Hi Shaun and AppleVis Community
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I like Bind, which looks very simple. It starts out very simply with large bright colored balls, and looks deceptively simple. As you go higher in levels, you begin to find it's not so simple after all.
I'm still hoping for a sims like builder game!
hoping for a lot of different type of sims games as well. the only ones I have are the my baby sim and the superstar band manager game.
I really enjoy audio game and I am also looking forward to more Sim games. What is bind I have never heard of it can you put a link?
I think Bind is only on the Mac App Store, but please correct me if I am wrong.
I personally think that there needs to be more racing/sports games on iOS/mac. I was an avid video gamer back in high school and before that a 10 or so years ago, so racing/fighting style games were my faves. I think if they made some sort of nascar/formula 1 style game for iOS with real interior POV sound, then that would be good, and make it accessible, say have a scrape sound when it's time to turn on the track in the corresponding ear. i like the blindfold games now. I had played blindfold racer, but I wasn't impressed.ALso the games by TiconBlu were fun, except the driving games. Mechanically, they were terrible. The Inquisitor games were the best from them, voice acting's gratin those. As many have said, the Somethin else games were a blast to play, as well as Solara!
One of my dreams is to have something like Fiva Game, a game that i can take a team and start playing againest others.
I found on windows something similar called Super football, but the game stopped, and i gave up using windows, so hope we can find an accessible football game on mac or Iphone. thanks
I've been wanting an FPS game, something you can shoot different types of things like enemies like zombies, and other things. I hope this is gonna be a reality.
one of dreams is to play football on IOS or Mac os like sighted PPL, I was using the Super football but they did not develop it, and it's so boring, so, i can be in any beta team and put all my efforts to do this great game
I'm trying to search on the app store for the nightjar or audio defence but can not find them, did they removed or what?
AudioWizards is the great one I have right now!
they are removed from the apps store. sadly!
if there any new exciting games coming in the end of this year?
Honestly... I'm going to be extremely blunt... again. I recently went through the ENTIRE LIST of Applevis accessible games. Not a single game caught my eye. They were all either not my genre, (most of them were this case) or I just got flat out bored with the ones I thought might be interesting.
There are... like, three sci-fi games that are accessible from what I saw. Two of them are 2-dimensional to a depressing degree.
We're at war with aliens. Here's a spaceship. Kill the aliens. Level up. Unlock new spaceships. Win the game.
There is absolutely no story for me to get invested in. There are no characters for me to care about. No consequences for my choices.
The only game that's really holding my interest is Six Ages... and I gotta say if A-sharp developed a sci-fi game I would probably, at this point, be willing to dump all my money into it.