So who’s ready for another great week of new iPhone / iPad releases? Me too, but this week wasn’t quite as spectacular as some in the past. We did get some remastered lovin’ in the form of Monkey Island 2 Special Edition for both iPhone and iPad, and The Last King Of Africa from Benoit Sokal was also released, so adventure game fans have plenty to do. If you’re into FPSes, there’s a new contender in Archetype that promises intense 5 on 5 combat action. And for RTS fans there’s The Gravedigger, a quirky new entry that lets you pit a priest and his faithful followers against a disgruntled gravedigger and his legion of the undead.
Xenome Episode 1 – I’ve been pretty good about being thankful I have an iDevice at all, but it’s games like this that are making me wish I could upgrade. Xenome sounds like the iPhone’s answer to Fallout or Oblivion, and it looks like the wave of the future for iPhone RPGs. The world is 3D, combat is action oriented, and the setting is future wasteland, so you’ve already got a winning combination as far as I can see. Throw in an open ended environment, mutated creatures, and warring factions that either want you on their side or dead, and I’m hooked. This game requires you to have a 3GS or greater phone or 3rd generation iPod Touch, but if you meet the hardware requirements the journey looks well worth it.
Nine Pound Studios, Xenome Episode 1 – $4.99
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition HD – Guybrush Threepwood is back for his second outing on the iPhone, and while the story is the same as the original Monkey Island 2, pretty much everything else has been given the old heave-ho (unless you choose not to go modern). The graphics have been updated, but the original artwork is still available in classic mode. You can use either the traditional point and click interface or a new control method engineered specifically for the iPhone. The original Monkey Island cast was brought back to add a fresh voiceover track, while the music has been digitally re-mastered. If you’ve never played the game you’re in for a treat, and if you’re a veteran you’re still in for a treat. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Lucasfilm, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge – $7.99
Lucasfilm, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge for iPad – $9.99
The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River Files – People are comparing this to the Professor Layton games for the Nintendo DS, and while I’ve never played them I’d have to say that from what I’ve read it’s probably a fair comparison. Jim & Frank has an intriguing story told by two best friends on the eve of one of their birthdays. The plot is advanced mainly through solving puzzles and completing tasks (mini-games), rather than through collecting objects like most adventure games. The interface is pretty intuitive, the graphics have a pretty unique style, and the voiceovers are well done. It’s not like it’s much of a surprise, but I think Chillingo has another hit on their hands.
Chillingo, The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River Files – $0.99
The Last King of Africa – Syberia I and II where two of the most highly acclaimed adventure games in the last decade, so I would expect nothing less than greatness from The Last King Of Africa. The game is actually a port of a Nintendo DS remake of a PC game called Paradise, but history aside it’s about the daughter of a ruler in a fictional country in Africa. It starts with your typical “girl is in crash and loses memory”, but knowing Mr. Sokal I’m sure there will be plenty of twists and turns. The visuals look every bit as stunning as anything from the Syberia series, so you can be sure that your eyes will be entertained. Assuming that the story holds strong and the puzzles are decent, this should rank up there with the best adventure games the iPhone has to offer.
BULKYPIX, The Last King of Africa – $2.99
The Gravedigger – This is an RTS game where you can play as humans or zombies! The campaign mode has 16 levels, and game play is guaranteed to be unique every time as the levels are randomly generated. If you’re not in the mood for a campaign you can play “Quick Play” mode, where the object is to take out the other team’s leader – the Father (a priest) for humans and the Gravedigger for zombies. The humans can be equipped with four different weapons, and the zombies can evolve into other creature types to continue the battle. Instead of building structures and gathering resources, you capture houses to recruit new troops. Sharp graphics and a distinct soundtrack set the tone for the game. Future updates will include more campaign levels and a two player mode through WiFi, so you can challenge a friend for ultimate victory. The Gravedigger seems like it should be well suited for the portable world.
Pedro Brandao, The Gravedigger – $1.99
Rhythm Spirit – You know the drill – press the buttons at the right time as their corresponding icons pass a certain point on the screen. This of course is all set to music. What makes Rhythm Spirit different, however, is that it’s a fighting game! I would gather that successful taps mean you deal damage or block your opponent successfully, whereas failed taps mean you get hit or don’t do damage, depending on which icon you miss. The concept is actually quite intriguing, the art is interesting, and the promise of animated movies and dialog scenes sounds pretty sweet. Assuming that their “varying levels of difficulty” means it can be played by someone without rhythm like myself, and think the game has a lot of promise.
Monad Games LLC, Rhythm Spirit – $2.99
Helsing’s Fire – Helsing’s Fire looks to be a unique entry in the puzzle game lineup. You’ll have to complete 90 levels of monster destruction using the touch screen to position your torches so you can illuminate the creatures and destroy them with potions. When you’re done with the 90 level campaign mode where you take on 13 different types of monsters and three bosses you can play survival mode to see just how long you can really last. And if that all isn’t enough, just play the campaign mode again, because the levels are randomly generated with every game. The art has an interesting style to it, and the setting should provide for some decent music. Crystal integration means you’ll be able to brag about all of your accomplishments as well.
Clickgamer, Helsing’s Fire – $0.99
Archetype – I’m not a good judge of FPS games as it’s far from being my favorite genre, but the developers assure me this is “one of the best fraggin games” on the iPhone (according to the iTunes description). This is definitely geared towards the group masochist, as you can wage war with up to four other players on a team against another of up to five players. You can play across 5 maps with 6 different weapons and two grenade types. The graphics have been optimized for the iPhone 4 “retina display”, but it appears that any device running iOS 3.x or higher will support the game. I just wouldn’t count on stellar frame rates if you’re running an older device. As long as you can get to the internet you’re in, so WiFi, 3G and Edge are all good.
Villain LLC , Archetype – $2.99
Big City Adventure – San Francisco HD – So it takes place in San Francisco. It’s still just another hidden object game, right? Mechanically that may be true, but first of all it’s the only hidden object game I’ve heard of that has downloadable levels available. Then there’s the whole multiplayer aspect. You can play head to head with a friend over Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G or Edge. You can even communicate with them via live chat while you’re playing. If you’re not into the online thing, the 48 levels plus mini games in single player mode should keep you quite busy until more downloadable levels are available. Overall it sounds like a great deal for a hidden object game, and more expansive than most PC editions to boot.
Big Fish Games, Big City Adventure – San Francisco HD – $6.99
The Squadron – With yet another attempt to shake up the line drawing genre we have The Squadron for iPad. In this game you control a squad of WWII fighter planes that must protect an ancient object simply called “the device” from falling into Axis hands. You do this by drawing lines to guide your planes to their intended targets. The way I figure it, if you’re going to be guiding planes around, you might as well get to blow things up, right? The visuals look pretty slick, and the next update will include another map and new units. And, for those of you not fortunate enough to have an iPad (like me), the update will also be a universal build. Get ready to protect “the device” no matter which iDevice you have.
Republic of Fun, The Squadron – $0.99
As always, if you have played any games this past week that you think might be worthy to note, please reply to this thread and let us know.
Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup: