10 New App Store Games To Watch [Nov. 8 – 14]

This week seemed to be divided between ports (iPhone to iPad and vice versa) and free games, and since I’m not overly excited about detailing ports (as I’ve likely already written about the game being ported), my list has a lot of free games in it.  Starting off the list are two new city builders, Trade Nations and Smurfs’ Village.  Trade Nations claims to be “cuter” than games like We Rule, but I don’t know how you can get any cuter than the little blue creatures living in mushroom houses.  If you do feel like shelling out a bit of cash there’s Stenches, the spin-off of Trenches that turns the Zombie Horde mode into a full fledged game.  From the “before there was Doodle Jump’ era comes Icy Tower, which to this day remains one of my favorite “climb to the top” games on any platform.

Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches– This is kind of like the “Mork & Mindy” of the iPhone world.  Stenches is a full game based off of the Zombie Horde mode from the original Trenches, and has you fighting wave after wave of zombie soldiers in the Great War.  In level mode you’ll face more than 200 waves of zombies across 4 different maps.  There is also an “unlimited distance” mode where you just keep going until you can suppress the zombies no more.  Unique and nasty boss zombies will try and have their way with you, assuming the masses don’t get you first.  Future updates will include multi-player modes, including the ability to play as the zombie horde!  The graphics look pretty sweet and the audio is comprised of original voice acting and an epic musical composition.  It’s time to send the zombies back to their graves – again.

Stenches: A Zombie Tale of Trenches Thunder Game Works, Stenches, 42.41MB – $0.99

Space Frak – They say the best things in life are free, and while I don’t necessarily believe that, when it comes to my iPod Touch free is always good.  Space Frak is free, and though it may not satiate your appetite for full blown shooting goodness, it sounds like it might be fun.  It’s your basic “defend the planet” style game where you have to blast everything out of the sky.  A simple control scheme lets you tap the screen where you want to fire, and you can hold your tap to charge up your weapon.  You can even shoot asteroids to set them on fire and hurl them back at other enemies.  The game has dozens of different enemy types and some cool looking bosses.  Full Game Center integration provides leader boards and achievements, and an update will allow Facebook connectivity.  You certainly can’t beat the price tag, either.

Space Frak Jurgis Games, Space Frak, 10.80MB – Free

Icy Tower – This was a complete surprise to me, but it was also a very nice surprise.  Icy Tower was the first Doodle Jump style game I played for any length of time on any platform, and it’s still one of my favorites (two machines later I still have it installed on my desktop PC).  You have to help Harold or one of his 4 friends get to the top of one of 4 towers.  As you keep jumping without stopping you can build up momentum and execute some crazy combo jumps.  The game supports Facebook connect, so it will be interesting to see if there’s any integration with the Facebook version of the game.  There are also 27 in-game achievements for you to master.  Can Harold dethrone King Doodle Jump?

Icy Tower Digital Chocolate, Icy Tower, 18.75MB – $2.99

X2 Soccer 10/11 Base – I’m not much into sports games, but every once in a while I find one that I like, and X2 Soccer 2009 was one of them.  This update to the franchise looks to try and change the rules of iDevice sporting by making the game modular.  The initial package comes with “International Teams & Tournaments”, Penalty Mode and Training Mode options.  To get additional tournaments, as well as the ability to play multi-player, you’ll have to make some in-app purchases.  The tournaments I can see, but making multi-player an “upgrade option” seems like quite a risk.  Then again, statistics over the last few months seem to indicate that people are willing to shell out $30-40 for IAP for a game that might have cost them $5 outright had the App Store economy not crumbled to the 99 cent point so quickly and then stayed there.  If this model works out for X2 Games I’d expect to see more of the sports games following suit.

X2 Soccer 10/11 Base X2 Games, X2 Soccer 10/11 Base – $0.99

LEGO Creationary – Honestly, I thought at first this was a fan game and it would be pulled in no time.  It appears, however, that it is a legitimately licensed LEGO game and even seems like it would have some potential.  You roll a die to select 1 of 4 categories, then try to guess what the game is building out of LEGO blocks.  Once you guess incorrectly the game is over.  You can share your scores with your friends via Facebook should the desire arise.  There are only 95 levels, which doesn’t seem like it would take too long to get through, but the game is free.  Hopefully there are plans to expand on the game, as a multi-player mode would be nice.  Since the game is universal, it would also be great to have a mode where the iPad acts as the board for item to get drawn on and each of the players enters their guess on their iPhone.  There’s a lot that could be done with this game, so let’s hope the developers capitalize on it.

LEGO® Creationary The LEGO Group, LEGO® Creationary, 19.16MB – Free

Trade Nations – How many social village sims does it take?  I’m not sure we’re any closer to the answer yet, but here’s another one for you.  This one comes from a developer with a few different titles under their belt, most notably the interesting match 3 / character building game Puzzlings!  As with most of these games you’ll have a number of structures and ornaments with which to populate your village.  You’ll need to harvest and refine resources to trade with others in order for your village to grow faster.  Thankfully you can even get Magic Beans to increase the speed with which your jobs get completed (can you say IAP?  I knew you could.)  Do keep in mind that you need an internet connection in order to play this game, so it’s not really for the anti-social person like myself that wants to experience the social world.

Trade Nations Amplified Games, Trade Nations, 12.63MB – Free

Civilizations Wars – At a base level this is what I’d consider an RTS-lite, the style of game play popularized by the space conquest game Galcon.  You get some bases, your opponent gets some bases, and you duke it out to see who can conquer the board.  There’s no real resource management, so games are quick and frenzied.  It looks like Civilizations Wars ups the ante, however, as it adds monsters to battle in addition to the enemy tribes.  You also have the ability to cast disasters on your enemies while hand to hand combat is taking place.  There’s even an experience system that lets you upgrade abilities and resources.  Throw on top of all this the ability to play as different races with varying levels of difficulty, and toss in some unique game play modes to boot, and this looking like it could become the casual RTS game to beat.

Civilizations Wars Chillingo, Civilizations Wars, 96.63MB – $0.99
Civilizations Wars HD Chillingo, Civilizations Wars HD, 101.43MB – $1.99

Smurfs’ Village – Capcom continues their freemium push with a game that I honestly thought I’d never see.  Of all the 80s properties to revive, I’m not sure I would have picked the Smurfs to make an online game from.  It would seem, however, that Gargamel has finally found the Smurfs’ village and destroyed it, and now it’s up to you to rebuild it with Papa Smurf as your guide.  You start out with one mushroom house and a single plot of land, but can you turn it into a thriving village?  If you remember your Smurfs cartoon you’ll see the gang’s all here, and in addition to developing the village with them you’ll get to play mini-games based on some of their talents.  You can connect via Facebook for some social type things, but thankfully you can be off-line while you’re actually building your village.  I’m not completely sold on the idea yet, but for free it seems like it’s worth a shot.

Smurfs' Village Capcom, Smurfs’ Village, 67.52MB – Free

Space Miner Blast – If the mission part of Space Miner: Space Ore Bust always seemed like a bit of a drag to you, then Space Miner Blast just might be the cure.  Based in the same universe, this game gets down to the basics: blast asteroids, dodge enemy fire and collect valuable ore.  You’ll be able to upgrade and power up your ship so that you can fly circles around your opponents.  Better yet, shell out the cash for a premium ship IAP and you’ll eliminate all the pesky ads that the game displays.  Game Center integration provides leader boards and 25 achievements for your ore collecting satisfaction.  And, if you’ve got a new enough device you’ll capture all the action with eye popping retina display graphics.  I’ll be curious to see if there are more IAP options in the future.

Space Miner Blast Venan Entertainment, Space Miner Blast, 17.78MB – Free

BattleZone 3D Eastern Front– A 3D team based MMO with tanks.  I’m not sure what could be better than that, except maybe the price tag of free.  There aren’t a whole lot of details on iTunes, though the game does take place during WWII and you get your choice of 8 vehicles of German or Soviet design.  There will be more vehicles added in future updates, and I’m guessing more theatres of war as either updates or separate applications.  Global rankings will keep you arrogant or humble, depending on your skills, and on offline practice mode will help people like me possibly last for more than 10 seconds before getting killed.  Don’t expect to see me on the leader boards any time soon, however.

BattleZone 3D Eastern Front Noumena, BattleZone 3D Eastern Front, 12.85MB – Free

That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable ones:

Well 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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