10 New App Store Games To Watch [Nov. 15 - 21]

Well the big boys decided to come back and play this week, so there are quite a few new and interesting offerings on the App Store.  Of course the magic is in the air with LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, released to coincide with the outbreak of the latest film.  If you can’t get enough of him on the big screen, now you can control him and a bunch of his friends on the small screen in all their blocky glory.

If the Sci-Fi machinations of George Lucas are more your style there’s Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, the first Star Wars game to use AR to enhance the gameplay.  You get to take your seat at the guns of the Millennium Flacon and blast Tie Fighters out of the sky – what could be better?  If you like shooting but prefer a grittier post-apocalyptic setting there’s Rage, the new on-rails shooter from ID Software that makes you the star of a TV show where you’ll be hunted by hungry mutants.  And, in our weekly dose of “who has the best freemium MMO now” there’s Kingdom Conquest from SEGA, an MMO that combines RPG dungeon crawling, SimCity kingdom building and forging alliances to rule the world.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 – I can already hear the wands buzzing when I say I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, nor have a read any of the books (save the first 50 pages of book 1).  Furthermore, my only LEGO experience is Indiana Jones on the DS, and I wasn’t a big fan.  Still, I can certainly imagine the appeal for this game, given the number of Hogwart-ians out there.  The game takes you through the first 4 years of Harry’s life at Hogwarts, and at least has the advantage of rendering everything to look like LEGOs, which are by far one of the coolest toys I had when I was a kid.  You’ll get the chance to play as Harry, Ron, Hermione and others as you travel through more than 40 levels of blocky wizardry.  Prepare to experience such events as the Triwizard Tournament and the Quidditch World Cup.  You’ll even get to cast spells, mix potions and fly on broomsticks to complete your quests.  I’d be surprised if any self respecting game playing, iPhone toting Potter fan didn’t already have this game, but maybe some of you were on vacation and didn’t know.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Warner Bros, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, 358 MB – $4.99


The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense– If you’ve ever wondered where the “modern” fantasy setting for games like Dungeons & Dragons comes from, you need look no further than Lord Of The Rings.  This latest game in the LOTR universe seeks to conquer the genre of tower defense, and it certainly has the looks for it.  As for the game play, you get to use many of the heroes from the stories, such as Aragorn, Gandalf and Legolas, as well as a host of allies including Elven archers and Hobbits.  You can play through 18 levels of story mode, where you’ll get to go through key events of all three movies.  Or you can play Challenge mode where you simply take on endless hordes of bad guys in a given surrounding.  There are 20 Game Center achievements to earn that will let you unlock various characters and environments in the game.  Are you ready to defend Mordor?

The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense Glu, The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense - $6.99
The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense for iPad Glu, The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth Defense for iPad - $9.99

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner – There certainly have been others over the years, but aside from possibly the U.S.S. Enterprise, I don’t think there will be a more fondly remembered sci-fi ship than the Millennium Falcon.  Here’s your chance to be a part of that incredible ship’s legacy as you take control of the gunnery seat to destroy the empire’s armada.  Enjoy the ultimate AR experience as you use your device’s camera, gyroscope / compass and accelerometer to maneuver the gun and fight in familiar surroundings.  There are over 20 levels from such memorable moments as the Death Star escape and the infamous Kessel Run, and as you demolish the empire you’ll earn credits that will allow you to purchase upgrades for the mighty cargo ship.  Of course, IAP will earn you those enhancements more quickly if you desire.  Retina Display support brings the classic Star Wars world to life, and Game Center and Facebook integration let you challenge your friends and earn special surprises.  Note that you will need a 3GS or above iDevice to play this game.

Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner THQ, Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, 127.93MB – $4.99

RAGE – When ID Software released the tech demo of their next gen engine on the iPhone in conjunction with Apple’s “event’ a while back, gamers with equipment that could support the demo were quite impressed.  Now the first game using that technology has been released, and aside from the ridiculously generic name Rage, it looks to be a keeper.  The screen shots aren’t bad, but I think the first thing to blow you away when you see it hands on will be the visuals.  However, if anyone knows how to make a shooter it would be ID Software, and the fact that they’ve gone for the rail shooter mechanic like they did with DOOM Resurrection makes me a happy camper.  I like the whole post-apocalyptic TV show theme, and trying to find some loot while being hunted by hungry mutants is always good to get the adrenaline flowing.  The game only has 3 levels currently, but hopefully more are in the works.  You’ll need to at least be running iOS 3.2 (so either an iPad or iOS 4.x), and there’s a special hi-res version for fourth generation devices.

RAGE id Software, RAGE, 536.80MB – $0.99
RAGE HD id Software, RAGE HD, 743.50MB – $1.99

The Train episode 01– A new adventure game has finally arrived for the iPhone, and it actually looks pretty cool.  Set in a dystopian future – as many good sci-fi / fantasy games are – it appears that you are in search of your beloved Isabell.  You’ll be treated to beautiful hand drawn artwork as you travel through 21 different locations and talk to 13 unique characters with over 100 pages of dialog between them.  You’ll guide your character using an intuitive interface with multi-touch interactions.  There are 12 items to collect, and 4 cut-scene animations to help flesh out the story.  There’s even a soundtrack made by professional composers.  And if all goes well we’ll be treated to more episodes in the future, though I imagine they’ll be separate games.

The Train episode 01 The Moonwalls, The Train episode 01, 154.74MB – $2.99

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit – If you’ve ever felt like you wanted to take down the bad boys, now’s your chance with Hot Pursuit.  Instead of your typical racing or even fleeing from the cops game, this iteration of the popular Need For Speed series puts you behind the wheel of a cop car and lets you chase down the racers.  The best part is that they are cop versions of real world cars such as the Lamborghini Reventon.  You can play the game in career mode, starting as a rookie and making your way through the ranks, earning up to 24 career events and getting to use some really nifty toys along the way.  If you still feel the need to be bad you can challenge a friend via WiFi or Bluetooth, with you being the cop and the other as the racer.  The visuals are hi end 3D, specially optimized for Retina Display.  Get ready to show those bad boys what you’re gonna do.

Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit EA, Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit, 380.24MB – $4.99

Ducktastic – I can’t say there are too many games on the App Store where you get to play as a duck.  Still, you may be wondering why I find that noteworthy.  I actually don’t, but it’s a certain nifty feature of this game that has me intrigued.  If you have an internet connection (I’m assuming WiFi works, though it is not specified) and you allow the game to use your location, the weather effects in the game will be based on your real world weather!  To be quite honest, this is a bit of genius if you ask me, and I’m really surprised that no one else has thought of it before now.  The best part is that things like wind and clouds can affect the game play.  As for the game itself, you need to guide the duck through 18 levels, collecting food to eat and avoiding getting shot by the hunters.  Not exactly ground breaking, but with the varying weather effects you could be playing a different game every time.

Ducktastic VNA Solutions, Ducktastic, 29.25MB – $2.99

-KingdomConquest- One of the latest freemium MMOs comes from SEGA, and it looks rather intriguing.  It’s part SimCity, where you get to build up your empire by managing resources, making alliances and conquering foes.  It’s also part Final Fantasy as you join with up to 3 other players and dive into 3D dungeons, conquering creatures, finding treasures and earning monsters to use in your own army in the world above.  You can get new monster and item cards by trading with other players and through in-game auctions as well.  You’ll need an account to play, and apparently you get the choice between a proprietary Kingdom Conquest account and using Facebook Connect, though it sounds like the two aren’t compatible.  The ultimate goal is to conquer the 7 towers in the land, but you won’t be able to do it alone, so the main question is – which alliance will you choose?

-KingdomConquest- SEGA, -KingdomConquest-, 68.58MB – Free

SPLATTERHOUSE– This is an eagerly anticipated remake of a game that first surfaced more than 20 years ago.  It seems to be getting rather mixed reviews so far (TMA Review), I think primarily because people were expecting more of an update than a straight translation with spiffed up graphics, though it sounds more like the later is what they received.  Still, you wouldn’t think one could go wrong with a premise like man trapped in cursed mansion dons hockey mask and pummels creatures with 2×4 in order to rescue his possessed girlfriend.  There’s even a rush mode where you fend off creatures coming at you from all directions for 2:00 minutes to earn high scores.  Interestingly, the visuals don’t even look like they’ve received much of a boost from the original.  Still, for potentially being 22 year old graphics they look pretty decent.

SPLATTERHOUSE Namco, SPLATTERHOUSE (TMA Review), 19.07MB – $2.99

Trucks and Skulls – Here we go – another game to compare against Angry Birds.  Be that as it may, you’ve got to love exploding monster trucks and leering skulls.  There are 6 different monster trucks to choose from, and three areas to conquer.  You have to deal with collapsing buildings, unstable scaffolding, and boiling lava pits.  After all, as the developers so kindly point out, everything is better with lava.  So yeah, you might construe this as an Angry Bird knock-off, but let’s recap – cool monster trucks, evil menacing skulls, and boiling pits of lava.  I think I’m willing to tolerate another Angry Birds style game for that.  If you get the iPad version you can even design your own levels, and based on some of what I saw for Cannon Cadets a game’s user base can usually come up with some cool ideas for new levels.  I’d expect a lot from this one in weeks to come.

Trucks and Skulls Appy Entertainment, Trucks and Skulls, 28.77MB – $0.99
Trucks and Skulls HD Appy Entertainment, Trucks and Skulls HD, 28.50MB – $1.99

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

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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