10 App Store Games To Watch [8/28/16]

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The intro has always been my least favorite part of the roundup to write, but I suppose you have to start somewhere, right?  My addition from this list is most definitely Micro Machines.  The game is based off of a series of small scale cars from the 80’s and 90’s, and after spending more time with the game than I should I’m half tempted to see if I still have my old collection somewhere.  Unfortunately Micro Machines requires you to be connected to the internet, but it is definitely worth it.  Tower Knights! is an interesting take on the tower defense genre.  You have one tower to protect, and you play in a 360 degree environment (to an extent).  If the “flat map” variety of tower defense has left you a bit bored, you’ll want to give Tower Knights a try.
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Progress To 100 in Review – Puzzle Game or Mini-Games… You Decide

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Ultimately my goal is to find gaming experiences for my iPad that are entertaining.  Ideally, however, it would be nice if some of the games brought something new to the table.  That’s where Progress To 100 comes in.  Imagine taking a snarky GPS and crossing it with a “think outside the box” puzzle game, and the result would be this game.  There are literally 100 different screens (hence the name), and each one requires you to solve a different puzzle.  Most of the screens present you with some text that you have to decipher to figure out what to do on that screen.  For example, one screen might say “high five”… okay, one screen DOES say that… and you have to figure out what action is necessary to move on.  I’m trying not to give away any details, because the whole fun of this game is discovery, but I’m impressed with the variety of ways that Progress uses the features of your device.  My only real frustration was that there were a few times that I passed a screen but really had no idea why I actually passed the screen.
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Tsuro – The Game of the Path in Review – Electronic Board Gaming Done Right

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason I find it kind of amusing that as our society seems to drift more and more towards spending our entire day on electronic devices, some developers go out of their way to make that experience have the “old school” feel of classic physical entertainment.  Such is the case with Tsuro – The Game of the Path, an iOS game based off of a physical board game that does its best to imitate that board game on your pixel covered screen.  The thing is, that’s one of its strongest design elements.  That’s not to belittle the actual game play in any way, as it is an extremely fun game.  I just don’t think it would have been nearly as appealing if they would have just taken the “essence” of the game and tried to modernize it for the millennial generation.
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10 App Store Games To Watch [8/11/16]

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Please don’t fall out of your chair when you realize it has barely been a couple of weeks since I published my last roundup (at least if you’re reading this when I first post it).  This time around the majority of the games I selected are family friendly, but three in particular were made with the younger set in mind.  Highlights Monster Day is, as you might suspect, a window into a day in the life of a little monster.  It helps young kids get a grasp on what an average day for them might be like, and it actually has a couple of scenes with some fun physics interaction going on.  If you’re kids are musically inclined, or you want to give them the chance to be, Mussila – Musical monster adventure is a good place to start.  Among other things, this game teaches kids to identify instruments by their sounds, recognize different rhythms and tell which notes are which on a piano keyboard.  Finally, Family in Puzzle House is a game whose genre is near and dear to my heart.  This is a great way to introduce your kids to the wonderful world of adventure games, and I actually found it interesting enough to complete it myself.
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Oddhop in Review – Peg Solitaire Done Right

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Sometimes, in what I suppose is an attempt to quell your frustrations that your order is taking too long, restaurants will happily supply you with the “peg game” at your table.  You know, the one you want to throw across the room before too long because you can never get it down to just one peg, at which point you read the description and find that you’re “one peg shy of being a moron”.  Luckily, unlike its inspiration Oddhop has a bit of class and doesn’t resort to name calling should you happen to not clear away all of the pegs (which in this case are cool looking monsters).  Oh, and this variant of the peg game is a whole lot more fun as well.  I just wish there was something nifty to listen to in the background as I was contemplating the best way to clear off each stage.
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10 App Store Games To Watch [8/1/16]

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The App Store continues to be flooded with new games, and I continue to try and dig out the ones that aren’t some variant of slots or a game that was “loosely” based off of a template from a “learn to code in 12 easy steps” online course.  I found another online game that suits me in the form of ION Space.  It’s a dual stick space shooter that handles my two biggest multiplayer pet peeves perfectly: there’s no chat option, and each game forces you to start fresh so you’re not bullied by the folks that play it 80 hours a week to your measly 2 hours.  Kitten Squad gives Legend Of Zelda style game play a social bent.  Thankfully the “save the animals” aspect is presented fashionably and not shoved down your throat, and while the levels can get a bit repetitive it still manages to provide some old fashioned console game fun.  The Counter Of Death is akin to taking the limited control scheme of Dragon’s Lair and applying it to a Kung Fu game.  It’s surprisingly entertaining, and thanks to the restrictive controls is much more accessible on the touch screen than many full blown action games.
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Super Phantom Cat in Review – This Platformer Is The Cat’s Meow

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I’ve always loved side scrolling platform games, which I think is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of the 8 / 16 bit console eras.  It’s still one of my favorite genres to indulge in today as long as the game is done right, and Super Phantom Cat is definitely hits the mark in that regards.  The characters are great, the levels are designed well, and the controls are spot on.  The visuals have a look that borrows from bygone days of gaming but adds a touch of modern sensibility, and the soundtrack is just what you’d expect from this type of game.  There’s very little to criticize with this platforming adventure.
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10 App Store Games To Watch [7/6/16]

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If you’re like me it’s the middle of summer right now, so shame on you for not taking advantage of what is hopefully nice weather outside.  Now that I got that out of the way, let me tell you about some of the games I’ve been playing recently.  My electronic sports skills are about on par with my real life ones, which is to say basically non-existent.  Thankfully One Tap Tennis eases the pain by providing a fairly entertaining racket experience that only requires a well timed touch on the screen – and you get a zombie as one of your playable characters.  For those that are hooked on the 2048 genre like I am, Retro Knights: 2048 proves to be an interesting variant to the formula.  As you swipe to make combos you’re actually building an army which you can upgrade and then send out to defend the village that you live in.  Squaredance is for those that like a little thought with their action.  Slide pieces around to match ones of the same color and clear them from the board, but watch out for all the dastardly obstacles that will keep the pieces apart or in a worst case scenario destroy them.
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10 App Store Games To Watch [6/8/16]

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This roundup seemed to feature several dungeon crawl / exploration style games, which isn’t all that surprising given that I really like that type of game play.  While none of them were particularly revolutionary in what they offered, they all had one or two features that felt unique to their peers.  The Greedy Cave is a rogue-like that forgoes equipment wearing out and minimizes the concept of perma-death.  As a compromise, however, whenever you leave the dungeon the only items that you can take with you are ones that have been branded “golden”, so if you find something you really like that didn’t come that way you’ll need to seek out a statue that can apply the “golden touch”.  Dynamons is a Pokemon style game, but instead of giving you an overworld map to explore like an old fashioned RPG it uses a progression map like you’d find in a Candy Crush style game.  While it might seem like you lose half the gaming experience that way, it actually makes for a nice mobile game that you can play for a few minutes here and there and not forget what you’re trying to accomplish in the in between times.
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Symmetrica – Minimalistic arcade game in Review: Please Say It Ain’t Over!

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I don’t typically get into what I consider “twitch” games, mainly because I’m just not that good at them.  As a result, levels that to me seem like they should be easy and interesting often become frustrating and make me just want to shut off the game.  I would consider Symmetrica a “twitch” game, at least to an extent, and there were times that some levels became frustrating.  In the end, however, the difficulty was well balanced enough that I never wanted to chuck my device across the room, and when I finally did complete certain levels I felt a sense of accomplishment rather than simply sighing in relief that I could move on.
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