10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan 3 – 9]

Sorry for the absence of a “10 To Watch” article last week, but I could really only come up with 3 or 4 games that I actually wanted to write about.  Thankfully things have picked up a little bit this week.  Those looking for a platform game fix have a few choices this week, most notably the baby carriage tale called Grimm or Capcom’s MaXplosion, where the protagonist can make himself explode.  If you like strategy games you might want to take Metal Brigade Tactics or Ascendancy for a spin.  The RPG fan can take on Com2Us’ latest Inotia yarn, appropriately titled Inotia 3.

Inotia 3: Children of Carnia – For those keeping track, this is in fact the third tale from the land of Inotia (see our review of Inotia 2).  Sometimes people use numbers for effect, but it’s actually true in this case.  What I like about the Inotia series is it seems to follow in the footsteps of Final Fantasy where each episode is its own story.  Granted the stories usually boil down to “good vs. evil”, but that’s okay.  In this case the story is told across 130 different locations in both past and present times.  There are more than 200 quests to keep you busy, with enough major and minor cast members to feel like the last couple of seasons of the Cosby Show.  You can build up a party of characters from people you meet and mercenaries you hire, customizing and equipping each one as you see fit.  If these scenarios get any bigger the next step will have to be online!  The first two tales were pretty interesting, so I wouldn’t expect anything less from this one.

Inotia 3: Children of Carnia Com2uS, Inotia 3: Children of Carnia, 25.5 MB – $4.99

Grimm – I love platform games, and this one intrigues me because of its offbeat premise and unique style.  Using the accelerometer you must guide a baby carriage through 10 levels and 8 mini-stages.  Along the way you’ll encounter puzzles that will require you to actually use the baby that the carriage contains.  Ultimately you must reunite baby with its mother, avoiding the minions of Mr. Grimm at all costs.  What really catches my eye about the game is the graphics.  The artwork is quite stylistic anyway, but the use of black and white with the occasional object appearing in color is quite magnificent.  If the game plays as well as it looks, it should be quite a treat.

Grimm ROBOX Studios, Grimm, 51.7 MB – $0.99

Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space – This is actually the sequel to a game called Strange Adventures In Infinite Space, a game that made it to the small screens in the days of the PocketPC (yes, we had portable gaming before Apple).  Unfortunately it sounds like the amount of text makes an iPhone version of this game prohibitive, but it’s nice to see they at least brought it to the iPad.  The nice thing about the game is that the worlds are randomly generated and an individual outing is designed to last 30 minutes or less, which means the game has lots of replay value.  You select one of three ships and start exploring the universe in a turn based fashion on the star map.  You’ll rummage and trade to upgrade and tweak your ship so that you can take out aliens in intense real time battles.  With Weird Worlds the universe is yours to explore.

Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space Astraware, Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space, 23.3 MB – $4.99

Bug Heroes – This is the right way to make a mash-up.  You get to control 3 different characters in dual stick fashion, switching between them at any time.  While you’re actively using a character they’ll earn experience points that allow you to upgrade their skills when the level up.  Each character has a unique set of skills and is more useful against certain types of opponents.  Your main objective is to last as long as you can, and in order to do this you must protect both your party members and your fort.  You collect money to upgrade your fort, and you must supply your fort with food to feed your heroes when they are low on health.  There are even side quests you can take to earn extra resources, but you can actually suffer if you fail in the quests.  The visuals are sharp, and the fact that you get to control both a machinegun wielding ant and a spider that’s good with blades is awesome.

Bug Heroes Foursaken Media, Bug Heroes, 50.8 MB – $1.99

Metal Brigade Tactics – My preference when it comes to strategy games is the turn based variety, and it’s hard not to love giant robots.  The game offers a story based campaign mode with 19 different missions.  You can equip up to 10 robots per mission, and your pilots will actually level up between missions.  For more immediate gratification there’s skirmish mode where you can equip and customize up to 10 robots and to take on computer AI or a friend across a variety of different maps.  Combat is grid based, and artillery works in a delayed manner, adding a unique bit of strategy to the game play.  You have 13 different robots to choose from and a bunch of different equipment to enhance your selections, so every game can be different.

Metal Brigade Tactics Busking Software, Metal Brigade Tactics, 13.1 MB – $7.99

MaXplosion – I’ll admit that I’m a bit predisposed towards platform games, so I like to feature them whenever possible.  Still, I’d venture to say that we’ve gotten lucky this week to get two rather interesting platform games in the form of Grimm and now MaXplosion.  This one has your typical “escape the bad guys” plot, but what makes it sound interesting is the fact that your character can explode at will.  Let’s face it – that would be one of the best powers ever.  Not only will it help you defeat the bad guys, but it can aid you in reaching places you couldn’t get to otherwise.  The game features 20 levels and 3 major bosses, and there are 44 different achievements to earn.  There are also leaderboards for each individual level as well as one for overall scores.  Like Grimm this game features some pretty snazzy looking stylized artwork, though here it’s more of a Saturday morning cartoon look.

MaXplosion CE Europe, MaXplosion, 81.5 MB – $0.99

Flying Hamster – Besides platform games, my other favorite type of game is the scrolling shooter, and this one looks like quite a doozey.  Just flipping through the screen shots it appears to be one of the most colorful shooters to arrive on the iPhone to date.  Beyond that, however, the game looks like it’s actually creative.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never played a game before where a cow shot at me with udder-guns!  There are six worlds to conquer that are filled with over 35 different enemies, including 7 bosses.  You’ll get the chance to try out 8 different weapons, and I have a feeling that zany doesn’t adequately describe what you’ll find.  The game sports four different control modes, so you should find something that feels comfortable to you.  With 40 achievements and an unlockable hard mode, there should be plenty to keep even the veterans busy.  It will be interesting to see how the higher price point affects peoples’ interest, especially since this isn’t developed by one of the “big guys”.

Flying Hamster Game Atelier, Flying Hamster, 106 MB – $5.99

Social Sudoku – I haven’t played Sudoku for a while, but there was a time when it was one of my favorite puzzle games.  The thing with Sudoku is that in order for it to truly be a Sudoku game, you’re already going to know the rules.  Sudoku is Sudoku.  What makes each electronic version different is basically the interface.  At least that was the case before Social Sudoku came along.  This version of Sudoku gets its name because it allows you to play two players on the same game!  You link up through Game Center, and you’re both presented with the same board.  As you fill in numbers you’ll score points and the numbers will show up on your opponent’s screen.  Guess wrong and you’ll be locked out for a few seconds while your opponent continues to play.  This sounds like a nice twist on the game that could make it interesting again for those that have drifted away.  I wouldn’t count on the smack talk being very brutal, though.

Social Sudoku Cluemaster, Social Sudoku, 13.7 MB – $1.99

Brutal Fantasy – The Orcs of Undermountain – Take Streets of Rage, put a D&D theme on it, and I have a feeling that’s how Brutal Fantasy plays.  Thankfully, that’s not a bad thing at all.  The game features a story mode that takes you across 20 action packed levels, but you can keep playing after the story is over to maximize your characters and kick lots of Orc tail.  Along the way you’ll gather funky items like vampire skulls and lich dolls, and you’ll also get some powerful weapons such as the “Ice Queen” sword.  There are even seven different spells to learn.  A dynamic musical score and intense graphics round out the picture.  If it’s anything like their other scroller, Cut Him Up!, don’t expect to be too happy playing on anything less than a 3GS.  I know “Cut Him Up!” was quite sluggish on my poor old iPod Touch 2G.

Brutal Fantasy - The Orcs of Undermountain Iskandar, Brutal Fantasy – The Orcs of Undermountain, 132 MB – $1.99

Ascendancy – The iTunes description is a bit light on this one, but it’s a reimagining of the 1996 game of the same name.  The developers promise that it will retain the feel of the classic while taking advantage of the technology that iOS has to offer.  You pick 1 of 21 different alien species then set about building up planets, learning new tech and ultimately reaching for the stars.  It’s up to you whether you want to try and succeed through diplomacy or tyranny, but the unique strengths and weaknesses of the different races promise for a varied experience every time you play.  Interestingly, the art, music and sound are taken right from the original material, so those that have played Ascendancy should feel right at home.

Ascendancy The Logic Factory, Ascendancy, 42.0 MB – $7.99

That was just 10 of the 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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