10 New App Store Games To Watch [Oct. 18 – 24]

Reckless Racing tops the interest chart this week.  The top down racer from EA Mobile sports some pretty slick visuals, two online game play modes, and a unique offline mode that has you making deliveries while you’re racing.  Hack ‘n slash fanatics will want to check out Samurai II: Vengeance.  This sequel has all the bloody combat of the original, supplemented with environmental puzzles and traps that must be avoided.  The budding space pilot should check out Star Battalion, Gameloft’s entry in the “lone rebel against the armada” outer space epic.  The interesting twist in this variant is that you can play the game co-operatively with a friend over the internet or locally.  RPG fans should check out Puzzle Quest HD, the RPG that uses match 3 mechanics for combat.  The iPad version contains the elusive chapter 3 that has yet to make it to the iPhone.

Star Battalion – I know this technically came out in last week’s time frame, but it was after I had submitted my roundup, so I thought I’d tack it on here.  Over the shoulder space shooters can be quite engaging, and this one certainly looks to have the visuals for it.  HD graphics mean it should pop out on your iPhone 4, and based on the screen shots it looks like there are some interesting ship designs.  The plot’s a bit cliché (okay, ripped right out of Star Wars and the like), but if you get to blow up lots of stuff, who cares?  You get 4 different ships to choose from to take on a variety of interstellar missions.  It also appears you’ll get to take things to a planetary level as well, which is always cool for this kind of game.  And if you don’t want to go it alone you can hook up with a friend online or locally via WiFi or Bluetooth.  iOS 4 adopters can link up and compare scores through Game Center, while iPhone 4 owners can feel total 360 degree control using the gyroscope.

Star Battalion Gameloft., Star Battalion, 227 MB – $6.99

Reckless Racing – Isometric, top-down: I love racing games that take you out of the first person, looking through the windshield perspective.  They’re really pushing the visuals on this one, which based on the screen shots is fine with me.  It looks to be one of those games where the details make you go “oh, yeah”, and Retina Display should make the nay-sayers drool.  You get a variety of vehicles that you can use to race against the computer or online against human opponents across 5 different tracks and 3 difficulty levels.  There are 3 different game modes as well, the most intriguing one being the Delivery trial mode, where you have to cart stuff behind you and get it where it needs to go before time runs out.  You can even race the tracks in reverse when you unlock the option.  A number of control options are available, though there’s no word as to whether it supports the gyroscope or not.  5 tracks doesn’t seem like an abundance, but we just need to keep our fingers crossed that free updates or IAP (or both) will soon be available.

Reckless Racing Electronic Arts, Reckless Racing, 39.3 MB – $2.99
Reckless Racing HD Electronic Arts, Reckless Racing HD, 54.6 MB – $4.99

Samurai II: Vengeance – I personally wasn’t a big fan of the first game, Samurai: Way Of The Warrior.  However, after seeing the video for this one I’m willing to forget the past and give this a shot anyway.  The blood and gore are still there, but the action has been intensified and a new (virtual d-pad) control scheme promises to make living out the life of a samurai better than ever.  A smart dynamic camera will keep you from losing out on the action, and environmental puzzles and traps mean this is more than just a hack ‘n slash fest.  However, for those desiring more carnal action there’s a survival mode that pits you against wave after wave of enemies.  The app is universal, so if you have an iPad and a smaller iDevice you get to play it both ways.  However, the game only supports little devices that are third generation and higher, so that leaves me out of the picture for now with my wimpy little iPod Touch 2G.  I hope the rest of you are enjoying it.

Samurai II: Vengeance MADFINGER, Samurai II: Vengeance, 82.4 MB – $2.99

Puzzle Quest HD – Puzzle Quest on the Nintendo DS was my introduction to the world of hybrid match 3 games.  In this case you have an RPG lite that uses the match 3 concept as a means for combat.  You wander from town to town taking on quests and ridding the world of some nasty creatures.  In town you can buy equipment and train your hero using gold that you’ve earned in the match 3 stages as well as from solving quests.  To attack a creature outright you need to match 3 or more swords, or you can match 3 or more of a color to earn mana of that color.  Once you have enough mana you can cast offensive or defensive spells to suit your needs.  I haven’t tried the iPhone version of this game yet, but on the DS it was loads of fun.  The best part of Puzzle Quest HD is that it includes the elusive 3rd chapter that never made it to the iPhone.  Hopefully it will make its way back to the small screen some day.

Puzzle Quest HD TransGaming, Puzzle Quest HD, 88.1 MB – $4.99

Future Combat – Patriots at War – This online MMORPG takes place in the future and replaces the typical fantasy setting with post-apocalyptic technology.  You can join forces with other players and engage in epic Clan wars, or try to stay under the radar and conquer the enemy one at a time.  A variety of structures will let you build a diverse array of infantry, and you can hire mercenaries and use espionage to weaken your foes.  A real time in-game news feed will keep you abreast of everything that’s going on in the world, and live chat lets you communicate with your allies and taunt your enemies.

Future Combat - Patriots at War Thinking Ape, Future Combat – Patriots at War, 12.0 MB – Free

Kuboku – Like Sudoku but feel like it’s lost the excitement of the first time you played?  Maybe it’s time you took the game to the next dimension with Kuboku.  This is Sudoku with a twist, as the board is now 3D.  The numbers only go up to 8, but instead of just worrying about the numbers falling in line correctly, you also have to account for their position in 3 dimensional space.  The game contains a thousand levels across three difficulty settings, so it sounds like you’ll have plenty to do.  You can easily rotate and zoom the cube to see what’s missing at any given time.  If your brain is looking for a challenge beyond your ordinary Sudoku, Kuboku may be the next level you’re looking for.  You can even test your smarts against other players via Game Center if you’re running iOS 4.

Kuboku Creaceed SPRL, Kuboku, 28.8 MB – $1.99

Phoenix – Could this be the vertical shooter to set the standards?  The developers promise that every play through will be unique thanks to procedurally generated levels that are created when you play.  Also, rather than offering fixed difficulty settings, the game actually adapts to your playing abilities.  If you’re not such a good shot, the game will become easier, but if you’re a pro… well, don’t expect to make it out alive!  Weapons and power ups will make life easier, but the enemy has a pretty extensive arsenal as well.  A custom built graphics engine allows for 100s of effects to be on screen at the same time while still running smoothly on older devices, which means even folks running the original iPhone can bask in the Phoenix’s beauty.  The game supports Game Center as well as regional high score rankings if you allow it to use your location.

Phoenix Firi Games, Phoenix, 12.9 MB – $0.99

Father’s Land – The iTunes description is a bit chaotic, but overall this appears to be a 3D RPG where you can either farm to buy stuff that will allow you to defeat monsters, or you can just skip the pacifist stuff and take up a sword to destroy the enemy.  To increase your hit points you can either buy herbs or catch and cook fish.  It sounds like the game is trying to provide you with a number of ways to accomplish the same thing, as any good RPG should.  The game is broken up into three chapters, this release just containing the first one.  Parts two and three will come along later and include online play as well as PvP action.  You’ll even have the ability to trade items with others online.  The first cut contains several base classes for you to select from, while updates will provide more advanced secondary classes.  It seems the already planned updates should take care of anything that might be missing in part 1.  The ability to play both online and offline is a nice touch, and should make players of both camps happy.

Father's Land Wachirawoot Tacommie, Father’s Land, 71.7 MB – $1.99

Hungry Helga HD – This is one of those games that is probably politically incorrect, but it looks like a lot of fun.  You play Captain Kjirk (and no, there’s no U.S.S. Enterprise here) and it’s your job to keep Helga fed so that she will not destroy your ship.  You’ll use cannon balls to bring the fish to Helga, while making sure that you dodge sharks, seagulls and the occasional iceberg.  We wouldn’t want another Titanic on our hands, now would we?  The graphics look good, the concept sounds amusing, and once Game Center support is in it should be one of those “gotta play just one more time” affairs.  There’s an iPhone version on it’s way as well, though sadly it won’t work on anything less than a 3rd Gen iDevice.

Hungry Helga HD Wade Lutgen, Hungry Helga HD, 17.3 MB – $3.99

Toyshop Adventures – The platform game for kids or kids at heart.  You must make your way through a toy shop gone mad to help the toymaker recover his lost marbles.  Along the way you’ll need to solve puzzles with your trusty lasso, and you can also use it to move toys and discover secret areas and passages that will help you complete the levels in a more expedient fashion.  You’ll also get the chance to swing on yo-yos and ride toy helicopters and dump trucks.  You must be careful, though, because the electrically charged Nanobots will try and thwart your progress.  You’ll be able to unlock new toys along the way that you can play as.  The game is free, and IAP allows you to expand the toy store universe.

Toyshop Adventures Glu Games, Toyshop Adventures, 53.3 MB – Free

Angry Birds Halloween – Yep, your tally is correct.  This is item number eleven, but I figured I’d be remiss not to mention it with Halloween just a few days away.  You already know the game, but now you can play it with a Halloween theme.  Don’t let the pumpkin costumes fool you, either.  Those are still the same egg stealing pigs that must pay, and you’re in control of the birds to do it.  This special holiday edition features 45 new levels of pig crushing, physics defying mayhem.  Even if you’ve exhausted yourself on the original, you owe it to yourself to pick up the newest addition to the franchise.

And speaking of which (or “witch”?), be sure to keep an eye out for our roundup of games to play this Halloween in the coming days…

Angry Birds Halloween Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds Halloween, 11.2 MB – $0.99
Angry Birds Halloween HD Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds Halloween HD, 10.2 MB – $1.99

Need more new releases to satisfy your insatiable appetite for iDevice games? Check out these other titles:

That wraps up another week of games to watch on the App Store.  As always, if there’s something you’ve played from the past week that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post.

Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:

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