10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 24 - 30]

The New Year’s parties are finally over!  There basically hasn’t been an outstanding week of new releases since Christmas, but this past week was pretty nice.  Of course the big news was Dead Space (TMA Review), and while I don’t always get to try the top contenders right away, I’ve been able to sink my mitts into this particular one.  I like it – a lot.  Nostalgia buffs should check out Pac-Man Battle Royale, which supports up to 4 pac-men at once and lets you eat both ghosts AND your opponents when you swallow the power pill.  Zombie Café takes the typical restaurant simulation to low places, and if you’re not careful the staff just might eat the patrons.  Finally, horror / adventure game fans finally get the chance to dig deeper into the mystery of Project H with Hysteria Project 2 (TMA Review), but be warned – you might be left with even more questions this time around.

Dead Space – While I try to lean towards the less heard of games in this article, I figured my editor would be a bit surprised if I didn’t mention Dead Space.  Besides, despite all the incessant drooling over this game you’ve read in various reviews, I can tell you from an unbiased perspective that it really is that good.  Even if it doesn’t make you jump, the atmosphere will keep you on the edge of your seat.  The storyline is actually a bridge between Dead Space 1 and 2 on other consoles, so you don’t have to worry about reliving the same experiences you’ve already had.  The visuals are among the best on the iPhone, and the lack of music in most places actually makes the proceedings tenser.  I’m not a big fan of FPS games, but much like Half Life did on the PC so long ago, Dead Space manages to transcend its genre to just be an incredible game.

Dead Space™ Electronic Arts, Dead Space (TMA Review), 291 MB – $6.99
Dead Space™ for iPad Electronic Arts, Dead Space for iPad, 301 MB – $9.99

Hysteria Project 2 – The quest for understanding continues in this long awaited sequel to arguable one of the best Full Motion Video games ever made.  What is Project H?  Are you involved in it?  How long have you been trapped when you finally wake up?  Most importantly, who’s the creepy dude with the hatchet that keeps following you?  You might get the answers to all this questions, though it’s more realistic that it won’t.  Either way it will be both fun and nerve wracking trying.  Assuming the video quality from the first episode is maintained and the interactive elements are just as nail-biting, this should be one intense psychological ride.

Hysteria Project 2 Bulkypix, Hysteria Project 2 (TMA Review), 264 MB – $1.99
Hysteria Project 2 HD Bulkypix, Hysteria Project 2 HD, 264 MB – $1.99

Pac-Man Battle Royale – Okay, I know I’ve kind of harped on Namco about milking a dead horse with their Pac-Man license, but I actually like the concept on this one.  It’s basically Pac-Man – navigate mazes, eat all the dots, and get rid of those nasty ghosts by eating power pellets.  However, for the first time in history you can play up to four players at the same time on your iPad.  As if that weren’t cool enough, when you consume a power pellet, not only can you eat ghosts but you can consume your friends as well!  Talk about the ultimate party Pac-man game.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s free in anticipation of the arcade version’s release?  I don’t know if the price will go up once the game’s upright big brother comes out, but I’d get it now just in case.

Pac-Man Battle Royale Namco Bandai Games, Pac-Man Battle Royale, 18.6 MB – Free

Cube Raider – This looks like an interesting little puzzle game.  If I had to guess based on the sparse description and screen shots I’d equate it to a 3D Sokoban.  Your quest will have you moving boxes, filling up holes, falling off cliffs and even turning the world upside down to open the door to the next stage.  Unfortunately there is no mention of number of stages or social network integration, but hopefully the former is a decent number and the latter is coming if not already present.  The graphics look pretty decent, and I really like the main character design.  Maybe if the game gets a decent enough response will see some significant updates in the near future.

Cube Raider Game Square, Cube Raider, 48.3 MB – $2.99

Legendary Wars – This sounds like an interesting hybrid that will be hard to classify.  There are elements of castle defense, castle siege, and “free build” (whatever that means), and you can even take direct control over certain heroes during combat.  There are seven unique heroes to control, and cool troops including elves, golems, and unicorns.  On the flip side you’ll get to fight ghoulish hordes comprised of werewolves, vampires, trolls, gargoyles and dragons, and even take on 12 different bosses.  There are 5 lands that comprise over 50 levels to explore, and when you’re done with campaign mode there are up to 10 different endless modes that can be unlocked.  While the screen shots look a bit chaotic at times the character designs are pretty sharp, and you got a love a game like this that tosses snowmen into the mix.  The best part is that it supports devices from 2G on up, and when they get a kink worked out it will run on OS3.x.

Legendary Wars Liv Games, Legendary Wars, 92.5 MB – $2.99

Zombie Café – Time management sims have never been so deadly before.  In zombie café you’ve decided that foreign labor isn’t cheap enough, so now you’re hiring the undead.  In typical fashion you’ll prepare food, serve the customers and try to make them happy.  However, if you need more labor, just inject a patron with some toxin and turn them into a zombie.  Is the competition getting too fierce?  Send over some of your employees to raid the opposition and get some new recipes.  Just be careful, because if your employees get too overworked they’ll start eating the customers!  Connect with Facebook friends to form franchises, and cook online to earn “frequent fryer” bonuses (the game can be played offline, however).

Zombie Café Capcom, Zombie Café, 88.3 MB – Free

Grim Joggers – Since I’ve had my iPod Touch I’ve become quite the fan of “run as far as you can” style games, but just like any other genre I’m always looking for new entries that handle the material a bit differently.  Grim Joggers sounds like it fits that bill perfectly.  First of all, instead of just controlling one character you get 15 joggers to keep track of.  There are three unique worlds with randomly generated levels, and the promise of plenty of ways to die, including polar bears.  The game sports over two dozen achievements and Game Center leaderboards, and a planned update will introduce a fourth world for your jogging and dieing pleasure.

Grim Joggers 10tons Ltd, Grim Joggers, 15.6 MB – $0.99

Reiner Knizia’s Teocalli – I’ve only played a couple of Knizia’s iPhone conversions so far, but I’m guessing they must be pretty popular, because it seems like there’s a new one coming out every month.  They’re always strategy based, but this one seems to deviate from the pack in a couple of regards.  First of all, it’s a single player game, with your only competition being the ability to compete against your friends to determine who has the best score.  There’s not even a mention of social network integration, so I guess you might actually have to talk to your friends to brag!  The other thing that’s notably different is that the game is a dice based game as opposed to the typical board or card games that Reiner makes.  It’s actually nice to see designers continually evolving, and given his track record based on reviews I’ve read, I would expect good things from this game.

Reiner Knizia's Teocalli Bigfoot Studios, Reiner Knizia’s Teocalli, 20.4 MB – $1.99

Rooms™: The Main Building – Rooms sounds like an interesting take on the whole sliding puzzle game.  Instead of just throwing new graphics on the 15 tiles of the traditional sliding puzzle game and calling it a new game, Rooms actually turns the whole sliding puzzle concept into a puzzle within a puzzle.  You must help Chris escape a series of rooms to get back to his own world.  The tiles that you will slide contain ladders, keys and other objects that will help Chris escape each room.  Your job is to create a path for him to get to the room’s exit.  The game contains 80 levels, and once you’ve completed all the levels you can play them in Timed and Challenge modes.  Rooms also supports Game Center, though the iTunes description doesn’t say in what capacity.  Currently this is only an iPad game, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will see an iPhone version soon.

Rooms™: The Main Building Hudson, Rooms™: The Main Building, 44.9 MB – $5.99

Pixel Fighters – I’m not quite sure what to make of this one yet, though I know I’m intrigued.  It’s described as a “turn-based mini-RPG”, and from what I gather it focuses primarily on the combat aspect of RPGs.  However, it does talk about a story mode, so I’m guessing the bouts of fighting are all linked together.  Then it mentions how the game is designed to be picked up and put down for short bursts of game play.  Confused yet?  All I know is that it would be nice to have something I could play every once in a while that felt like an RPG but didn’t make me have to remember important story elements between play sessions.  If that’s what Pixel Fighters offers than I’ll be a happy camper.  You do have the ability to play two players either split-screen or Bluetooth, and you can even make your own background via the camera or your photo library.  There are already planned updates and the developer seems eager to make this a game by the players, for the players, so check it out and give him some feedback.

Pixel Fighters BitWit Games, Pixel Fighters, 7.1 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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