I think the talk of the town this past week was Pocket Frogs, a game that’s probably making its developer more money via in-app purchases (IAP) than most games make through a simple up front price tag. Apparently the concept of breeding frogs electronically is a lot more appealing than I would have expected. If you’d like something a little more action oriented Namco certainly delivers with the sequel to its popular rails shooter, Time Crisis 2nd Strike. On the other hand, if your tastes are more cerebral than you might want to check out the puzzle game Beyond Ynth, the story of a bug on a mission. And for those that are still hoping your iDevice will turn into a PC some day there’s EA’s latest installment of their popular Sims franchise, Sims 3 Ambitions.
Pocket Frogs – The latest offering from NimbleBit sounds like Pokemon without the combat. You have the capability of collecting over 10,000 unique frogs through trading and breeding. You can customize and decorate each of your frog habitats, as well as view your friends’ habitats and frogs. There are new items to be discovered every day, as well as rare frogs to find by exploring the pond. You can even earn up to 60 different awards if you’re up to the challenge. You can play online or offline as your internet connectivity permits, and the best part is this can all be yours for free.
Ian Marsh, Pocket Frogs, 24.3 MB – Free
TIME CRISIS 2ND STRIKE – Namco’s follow-up to their successful rails shooter has taken the App Store by storm. You must make your way through 10 action packed levels in an attempt to thwart multiple terrorist attacks. Once you’ve beaten a level tackle it again in Time Attack mode to complete it as quickly as possible or Score Assault mode to try and get the highest score possible. You’ll get to use an array of weapons including a handgun, shotgun, machine gun and grenade launcher. Earn bonus points for shooting bad guys in the head, and unlock achievements on each level. The graphics have been beefed up since the first crisis, and you’ll be treated to an electrifying soundtrack. Prepare to avert another Time Crisis.
Namco, TIME CRISIS 2ND STRIKE, 81.6 MB – $9.99
Buganoids – The latest free entry from Backflip studio looks like a blast from the past for 80s gamers, and it looks like a lot of fun. Watching a game play video I’m reminded of the old classic Tempest, but with a cute little space man and some wacky looking bugs. You’ll get to save 8 different planets using a variety of weapons including flame throwers and homing missiles. 3 difficulty levels will hopefully keep the finicky gamers interested, and 8 bit graphics and sound will make us retro gamers remember why we loved games so much in the 80s and early 90s. The price tag makes this a no-brainer, and for the big screen junkies there’s also an iPad version.
The Expendables Game – So you want to shoot things but aren’t in the mood for a crisis? Maybe you feel like stepping into the shoes of Sylvester Stallone instead. Now’s your opportunity thanks to Nurogames and the game based on the movie The Expendables. From the screen shots I’d say this is a rail shooter similar to Time Crisis, just in a different setting and with a different lead character. Your mission is to take down as many of Dictator Garza’s troops as you possibly can, all the while building up your ranking on the OpenFeint leader boards. The graphics look pretty decent, and if we’re lucky maybe we’ll get to hear a few words of wisdom from the iconic 80’s action star himself (though I wouldn’t hold my breath unless they swiped some sound bytes).
Nurogames, The Expendables Game, 44.7 MB – $0.99
Beyond Ynth – I’m not really sure what a Ynth is, but the game looks like a lot of fun. You have to help a bug named Kribi bring light back to the Kingdom of Kribionia. You’ll have to solve 80 levels that will take you from dusty deserts to icy mountain peaks. Each landscape has its own unique puzzles to solve. This isn’t just your typical puzzle game where you have to move boxes, collect keys and unlock doors, however. Instead there will be a lot of shakin’, rattlin’ and rollin’ going on as you actually manipulate your environment to reach your goals. From the game play video it looks to be one of the most original puzzle games on the iPhone. The graphics look wonderful, and if the music in the video is any indication of actual game play music, your ears you certainly love you. If you’ve gotten pretty bored with the current status quo of puzzle games in the App Store, this one might just change your mind.
The Sims 3 Ambitions – When real life gets too stressful you can now screw up a virtual life thanks to the latest installment of The Sims to come to the iDevice (see our review of The Sims 3 – World Adventures). In Ambitions you can either go the domestic route to build up a home or you can choose Career mode and show Donald Trump what kind of business acumen you’ve got. Career mode comes complete with business orient goals, mini-games, outfits and locations, so you can have that dream job that you can’t get in real life. And when all this isn’t enough, you can now have Sim babies! You even have to take care of them just like they were real kids, so get ready for feeding, diapers, and trips to the park. You can even pass Sims back and forth between this edition and the other iDevice Sims 3 games. Are you ready for the most ambitious Sims game yet?
Electronic Arts, The Sims 3 Ambitions, 163 MB – $4.99
Heroes of Kalevala – If you know me, you know one of my passions in casual gaming is the match 3 game. Of course, I’ve played enough of them that I’m always looking for the next genre mashup or twist to standard game play, and Heroes Of Kalevala looks like it might have such a twist. You get to choose from one of 8 different heroes whose powers will actually aid you during the match 3 segments. In addition to that, you also build up a village with the money you earn during the match 3 segments. The game boasts 140 levels, and once your village is complete you can still play the match 3 game. The overall graphics look decent, and some of the special effects during the match 3 sequences look very nice. Given the developer’s pedigree with games such as Dragon Portal and Azkend, I have a feeling this is going to be one of the better match 3 games on the App Store.
Danger Derby – I wish the iTunes description on this game was a bit more verbose, but from what little they provide the game looks and sounds interesting. It’s a classic top down racer with detailed tracks that throw new traps and bonuses at you as the game progresses. You also get the opportunity to upgrade your car as you continue to play, though there aren’t any details on what you get to upgrade. 4 different game play modes should offer a nice slice of variety, and the promise of “2 player at any time” leads me to believe that you can race with a friend on the same device. Since it’s an iPad game, it shouldn’t be much of an issue or a surprise. The graphics look old school, which is just fine with me, and as far as I’m concerned top down racing is the way to go.
Cobra Mobile, Danger Derby, 31.8 MB – $4.99
SEED 2 – Vortex of War – Here we have another old school action RPG from Chillingo, one of the leading publishers on the App Store today. As with most games of this style Seed 2 promises the ability to build up your hero the way you want, in this case with skill trees based on hand to hand combat, ranged combat or magic. You will get the chance to fight 160 different types of monsters across 200 different battlefields while solving quests for folks living in 24 separate villages. Talk about a sprawling adventure! Apparently even the weather and environment will affect your game, which is always a nice touch. The graphics look like they have been upgraded from the first outing (see TMA’s SEED review) while still retaining the feel of a late 80s / early 90s console game. Seed 2 might be a contender to knock action RPG champions like Zenonia down a peg.
Chillingo , SEED 2 – Vortex of War, 15.1 MB – $3.99
Neuroshima Hex – One of the things I like to try and do on this article is bring to light games that might not get a lot of press otherwise. Neuroshima Hex looks like one of those games to me. It’s the official iPhone version of a board game bearing the same name, though this electronic version sports all new artwork that looks pretty sharp. The game takes place in a war torn future where up to 4 human or computer AI driven opponents vie for dominance. This is post-apocalyptic sci-fi at its best, with the ability to choose between machines, mutants, rogue humans or the last hope for saving mankind. Every week it seems like there is some new board game making its way to the iPhone, and it’s nice to see developers putting their energies into some of the more esoteric ones that probably deserve more exposure than they get.
Big Daddy’s Creations, Neuroshima Hex, 29.2 MB – $2.99
And below are several more App Store releases that maybe worth your while:
- SLR SALES, Customs, 41.5 MB – $2.99
- Dmitriy Glebenok, Parking Lot!, 15.2 MB – Free
- Aboveground Systems, Castle Combat, 14.9 MB – $1.99
- Wired Developments, Rocketeer, 9.1 MB – $0.99
- Anuman, Alice HD, 71.6 MB – $4.99
- THQ, De Blob Revolution HD, 17.6 MB – $3.99
- Gameloft, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within HD, 665 MB – $9.99
- Lucasfilm, The Secret of Monkey Island: SE, for iPad- $4.99
- Chillingo Ltd, Fiona’s Flowers HD, 94.0 MB – $4.99
- Hector Santiago, Touch of Combat, 15.1 MB – $0.99
Bet you can’t guess what I’m going to say here. That wraps up another week of games to watch in the App Store. As always, if you’ve played something that came out over the past week that you think should have been mentioned, feel free to add a reply to this thread.
Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Sep 6 - 12]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 30 - Sep 5]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 23 - 29]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 16 - 22]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 9 - 15]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 2 - 8]
- 10 New App Store Games To Watch [July 26 - Aug 1]