10 New App Store Games To Watch [Dec. 6 - 12]

Wow, if you’re an RPG fan you’d better be thanking both the App Store approval folks and several developers for this week.  The big guns were Infinity Blade and Dungeon Hunter 2, but in total this roundup is filled with 5 awesome looking RPGs.  If that’s not really your style of game, however, there is a new Angry Birds like physics puzzler called Pirates Vs. Ninjas Vs. Zombies Vs. Pandas that looks pretty entertaining (and the name is fun too).  Finally, if you’re looking for a “board” game on the go you might want to check out Jenga, the official electronic version of the popular tower toppling table top game.  Try and say that one fast five times!

Infinity Blade – This game pretty much stole the show last week in terms of most talked about new release.  It’s not surprising, given that it sits atop the Unreal 3 engine, which has translated quite nicely to the iOS environment.  The story’s a bit cliché, but I’m not sure that matters once you start playing.  Simple swipe and tap controls will help you easily navigate the beautiful 3D world, which has been optimized for the Retina display of the iPhone 4.  Of course, from what I’ve seen of Epic Citadel, it shouldn’t look too shabby on an iPod Touch 4G either.  Several NPCs will help tell the epic tale, while stat manipulation and an endless array of equipment combinations make for some hefty character customization.  The game is Game Center enabled for achievements and leaderboards, and for those who need it, multiplayer is expected in an update.

Infinity Blade Chair Entertainment, Infinity Blade (TMA Review), 318 MB – $5.99

ILLUSIA – From the makers of Zenonia comes a bit more casual RPG goodness in the form of Illusia.  As you’d expect you can choose from a number of different classes, each with their own skill sets.  Naturally you’ll get a lot of weaponry and armor to choose from to customize your character.  There are seven stages to work through on two difficulty settings.  In addition to the normal “missions” mode there’s also a “rush” mode, which sounds like it might be somewhat akin to Monster Dash.  Judging by the visuals I’d say it has a lighter tone than most RPG fare, but given the developer’s pedigree I don’t expect it to be any less fun.

ILLUSIA GAMEVIL, ILLUSIA, 10.0 MB – $4.99

Dungeon Hunter 2 – The RPG madness continues, and if you’ve played part 1 you’ve already been drooling over this one.  If you haven’t played the first installment, my opinion is that this is the closest the iPhone has come so far to Diablo.  I think someone needs to trademark “deep customization system”, though, as this at least the third RPG to reference that phrase in its iTunes description.  Still, with 3 characters types boasting unique skill trees and hundreds of collectable items, there’s some truth to that statement.  This is pretty much Dungeon Hunter on steroids, with a refined control scheme, better save system, and flat out more to do.  You can even play with up to four people at the same time, and while this functionality is supported in iOS 3.1.2, you’ll still need a 3G device or better to take advantage of this feature.  Thankfully, the game will adjust itself to accommodate for multiple good guys.

Dungeon Hunter 2 Gameloft, Dungeon Hunter 2, 540 MB – $6.99

Puzzle Quest 2 – Puzzle Quest was the game that made it okay to mashup match 3 games in general, but even more specifically with RPG elements.  The sequel seems to maintain the same premise where you select a character and gain experience and gold by defeating monsters strewn throughout the kingdom.  Unlike its predecessor, however, Puzzle Quest 2 looks to take a more rogue-like approach to game play, as you actually get to see your character move through the locations instead of just tapping on an area and being immediately thrust into combat.  Don’t misunderstand me, as I love the original Puzzle Quest, but I think this will add a breath of fresh air to the franchise.  On the other hand, the fact that combat is still match 3 driven makes Puzzle Quest 2 a nice take on the whole dungeon crawling genre that shouldn’t be ignored.  It’s also a universal binary which is nice, though the hefty price tag might make some shy away.

Puzzle Quest 2 Namco, Puzzle Quest 2, 574 MB – $9.99

Eternal Legacy – If you’re like me, you’ve probably been craving more of a Final Fantasy experience on your iOS device than what Square-Enix currently offers.  It looks like Gameloft is trying to give us a Final Fantasy experience without encroaching on the aforementioned juggernaut’s territory via Eternal Legacy.  Your main objective is the whole “save the world” spiel.  The richly detailed 3D environment is a nice mix of fantasy and sci-fi, where you might feel just as comfortable picking up a gun as a sword.  You can even fly your own ship!  The game uses an interesting turn based combat system where you queue up attacks that get executed when your action meter is full.  You can have 3 characters at a time participate in combat, though from the sounds of it your party will grow larger if you’re cordial and recruit people.  Aside from the stunning visuals the game is fully voice acted, so it should feel like a living, breathing world.

Eternal Legacy Gameloft, Eternal Legacy, 551 MB – $6.99

DEAD RISING MOBILE – Another popular zombie bashing franchise makes its way to the iPhone with Dead Rising Mobile.  This time around you play a freelance photojournalist that ends up getting trapped in the local shopping mall of a zombie infested town.  Maybe this is really just someone’s sordid Christmas shopping tale?  Anyway, being as you’re in a mall, anything you can pilfer from a store serves as fair game for a weapon.  And feel free to help yourself to any food that might be lying around in the various vendors.  When you finally fall beneath the endless onslaught, feel free to give your friends a shout out via Facebook or Twitter.  If someone revives you they’ll get bonus points (whatever that means), and if not you can haunt them by becoming a “named” zombie in their game.  The ultimate revenge, of course, would be if you could actually control that zombie.  Wishful thinking, I suppose.

DEAD RISING MOBILE CAPCOM, DEAD RISING MOBILE, 169 MB – $4.99

Hero Project – Games based off of hot superhero properties are fine if they are done well, but there are too many restrictions based on established universe protocols.  On the other hand, if a game like Hero Project does well then it establishes a new universe whose only bounds are those placed on it by the technology and the developers.  Create a hero, fashion the ultimate fear-inducing outfit, and choose some cool powers to help fight crime.  Then it’s time to hit the streets and make sure that no kitten gets left stranded and no super-villain is left to wreak havoc.  As you refine your skills you’ll work your way up from minions to full blown super-bosses.  When it’s time to relax after a hard day crime fighting you can head on over to the REC-CON to hang out with other folks’ superheroes.  Best of all, Hero Project is free, though it does require iOS 4.2 (and a connection to the net).

Hero Project Glu, Hero Project, 27.1 MB – Free
Hero Project for iPad Glu, Hero Project for iPad, 53.2 MB – Free

Jenga – This one has me intrigued because it just doesn’t feel like the type of game that would translate well to a computer screen.  You have a tower built out of wooden blocks, and you have to keep removing blocks and adding them to the top of the tower until someone accidentally topples the structure.  Up to four players can participate in “pass ‘n play” mode, though I suppose if you disregard the turns any number of people can play – you’ll definitely know who killed the tower!  Realistic physics combined with touch control should do the best possible job of simulating the real thing.  There’s a new arcade mode that allows you to earn coins to buy specials which enhance the game play.  The game supports Game Center for leaderboards and achievements, and you can even monitor your tower’s height against other players around the world while you’re playing.  Most importantly, the developers consulted with Leslie Scott, the creator of Jenga, so if any translation should be good, this is it.

Jenga NaturalMotion, Jenga, 30.8 MB – $2.99
Jenga HD NaturalMotion, Jenga HD, 35.2 MB – $4.99

Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas – Yeah, it’s “another Angry Birds clone”.  But watch the teaser trailer and tell me that the game doesn’t look like fun (even though the trailer doesn’t even show game play footage).  The game has 4 campaigns spread over 45 levels with 8 unique characters that you can use to cause some major damage.  As with Angry Birds or Cannon Cadets your “ammunition” on each level is limited, so you must use the characters’ special abilities as well as the physics of the environment to ensure that all your targets get destroyed.  The visuals look quite charming, and based on the few screen shots available in iTunes there appears to be some rather interesting level design.  I wasn’t really a fan of this type of game before Angry Birds, but as long as such creative entries keep coming I’m always up for one more try.

Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas PAN Vision, Pirates vs. Ninjas vs. Zombies vs. Pandas - $0.99

Vikings Can Fly! – I usually try to have a good balance of “big name” games vs. indie titles, but this week just happened to have a whole bunch of premium titles to talk about.  I figured I’d end the roundup with kind of a silly entry, however.  In the vein of Fly Kiwi, Fly!, you play a Viking that has the urge to fly across the world in search of a lovely Valkyrie.  You’ll build contraptions and master achievements to earn gold so you can build bigger, better gadgets.  You’ll also get the chance to travel through 11 different locations in your quest for true lust.  Fly Kiwi, Fly was quite amusing, and this seems like it has all the humor that made the other game so enjoyable, so I have a feeling it’s worth the price of admission.

Vikings Can Fly! Forge 11, Vikings Can Fly!, 17.3 MB – $0.99

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