10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 31 – Feb. 6]

I’m so happy to see a strong flood of games coming in again.  My iDevice was starting to get bored (just kidding).  At any rate, action RPG lovers should give Gameloft’s freemium adventure Sacred Odyssey: Rise Of Ayden a try.  Rumor has it that the game feels sort of like an iPhone Zelda, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.  If you want some dry British humor with your physics puzzles than you might want to take Monty Python’s Cow Tossing for a whirl.  It combines classic Holy Grail shenanigans with the game play style of certain disgruntled fowl to hopefully bring you a hilarious wall crumbling experience.  Addicts that just can’t get enough of the actual Hasbro toy should check out Bop It!, the iDevice implementation of said game that offers several new gadgets to play with, as well as 4 solo and 4 multi-player modes.  Finally, those that aren’t sick of zombie games yet can sail the 7 seas with Zombie Isle, the story of a human pirate captain that happens to have a crew of undead minions.  And no, Jack Sparrow won’t be popping by these seas any time soon.

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden – Are you ready for the most ambitious action RPG ever created for the iOS?  Gameloft thinks you are, and they think they’ve created it.  I won’t bore you with story, because if you’ve played a fantasy game before you can probably guess the basics.  In this particular variant you’re trying to reunite the parts of a magic grail to defeat the ultimate evil.  In addition to standard “on foot” combat you’ll get to take on fields of enemies while galloping along on your horse.  You start with a simple sword, and along the way gain a shield, gauntlet, boomerang and grappling hook.  Sound like any other popular franchise hero we know?  You can try the game for free, and unlock the full adventure through IAP.  This is being touted as the “new business model”, but isn’t that what IAP was originally developed for?  Hopefully the concept will work out better for Sacred Odyssey than it has for many other games that have tried it.

Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden Gameloft, Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, 403 MB – Free

League of Evil – I’ve played through the lite version of this one, and I’d wager that just about any Mega Man lover will enjoy this game.  For that matter, any platformer fanatic should love it.  You are a super agent who must defeat a league of evil scientists.  The level designs are well thought out, and the difficulty reeks of old school NES games.  The controls are nicely implemented to provide an incredible platforming experience.  There are more than 50 levels spread over varying locales, a 3 star ranking system based on time of completion for each level, and OpenFeint achievements to keep you coming back for more.  The graphics and sound are pure 8-bit greatness.  All we need is a version that lets you play as a bad guy.

League of Evil Ravenous Games, League of Evil, 15.8 MB – $0.99

Zombie Isle – You might be getting tired of zombie games by now, but I’m certainly not.  Besides, this one has pirates, so that’s a double bonus right there.  You take on the role of a pirate that just happens to you zombies for his crew.  You’ll get to take on rival ships at sea, as well as investigate and plunder exotic islands.  Infect ports to build up your crew, and choose between 10 different types of zombies to supply your army with.  Upgrade your ship to become the fiercest pirate on the sea, and collect more than 100 different types of treasures which can be traded in for valuable rewards.  The game supports both online and offline play and the saved game can be shared across any device running at least OS 4.1 and Game Center.  The best part is that it’s free, so what are you waiting for?

Zombie Isle Glu, Zombie Isle, 26.9 MB – Free

Battleheart – From the folks that brought us Zombieville USA and OMG Pirates! comes an RPG / RTS hybrid that appears to retain the graphical finesse of their earlier products while providing a whole new style of game play.  You create a party of 3 heroes and face off against a series of increasingly more difficult adversaries.  You can customize and upgrade your heroes as you win battles, and you can even face off in survival arenas to gain rare and unique items.  There’s also a 30 level campaign complete with epic boss battles.  All this game needs is multi-player PvP and it’d be all set to go.

Battleheart Mika Mobile, Battleheart, 62.6 MB – $2.99

Monty Python’s Cow Tossing – Let’s face it: Angry Birds has become the latest Bejeweled in terms of the frequency of clones appearing on the App Store.  In theory, though, I can’t think of a better backdrop than Monty Python to bring some witty and interesting humor to the genre.  You are the supposed keepers of a “Holy Grail”, and it’s up to you to keep the silly English folk out of your citadel.  You’ll do this by tossing everything from swallows (both European and African varieties) to the kitchen sink – and yes, even cows – at your adversaries to keep them at bay.  You’ll even have to build up an arrogance meter to unlock new types of animals to toss at the King’s army.  There are 80 levels of game play, 6 different types of animals to toss at your enemy, and power-ups that appear mid-flight.  You can even unlock clips from the movie on which the game is (very loosely) based.  One can only hope that a red herring figures into the unlockable animals somewhere.

Monty Python's Cow Tossing Zed Worldwide, Monty Python’s Cow Tossing, 46.4 MB – $0.99
Monty Python's Cow Tossing HD Zed Worldwide, Monty Python’s Cow Tossing HD, 46.6 MB – $1.99

Etolis: Arena – So is this going to be the next big dual stick shooter?  It’s got a pretty generic plot, but that shouldn’t matter if the action is hot.  The game offers story mode and three variations of endless mode, and I like the fact that one variant gives you nothing to play with but a hammer.  In the main mode you’re promised the chance to play with some pretty amazing weapons, so the question there is if the selection is anything different than what we’re already used to.  The sci-fi setting should provide for some slick visuals and some cool enemies to fight.  The game supports Crystal and Game Center for high score competitions, but what the game really needs is face to face competition.  Maybe that will come in an update?

Etolis: Arena Chillingo, Etolis: Arena, 112 MB – $1.99

Devil May Cry 4 refrain – Capcom is trying to bring their popular gun / sword slinging action game franchise to the iPhone with this outing that’s an original adventure based on the Devil May Cry 4 console game.  You’ll experience the same action and thrills from the console version as you destroy demons across 10 adrenaline filled levels that contain 8 bosses.  A complex combo system rewards you for dealing with your foes in a stylish manner and the “devil bringer” arm ups the ante when it comes to the combos you can execute.  You can also collect and spend red orbs to customize your character and vary your playing style.  Devil May Cry even sports Game Center achievements for your demon smashing pleasure.  This has the making of becoming one of the best action games on the iPhone from the sounds of it.

Devil May Cry 4 refrain CAPCOM, Devil May Cry 4 refrain, 155 MB – $1.99

Megan and the Giant – More often than not I get turned away by “family friendly” games, because they don’t look that interesting.  For some reason, this one has caught my eye.  It’s billed as a “stealth action” game, but it’s basically hide and seek where you opponents are all computer controlled.  It should definitely be easy for kids to play, as the only controls are tapping for general movement and dragging your finger to draw a more specific path for Megan to follow.  There are more than 30 levels spread across four chapters, and according to the iTunes description this is only the first episode.  Hopefully that means will see additional content in this game, though whether it will be free or IAP is not obvious.  The visuals are a combination of 2D and 3D, which always has the potential of being either interesting or really odd looking.  Overall, though, I think this would be a good choice if you’re looking for something to play with your kids.

Megan and the Giant Studio Pepwuper, Megan and the Giant, 46.4 MB – $0.99

Bop It! – This is the iPhone implementation of a really cool toy from Hasbro.  When my kids got one of these for Christmas I think the adults had more fun with it than the kids did (I suppose we could have shared more!)  The physical game has 5 different things you can do, but it appears that the iPhone version has either 12 or 15 – I can’t decide for sure based on the description.  Either way it would be quite interesting to see what they’ve come up with for the electronic implementation of the game.  I also wonder how well the feel will translate, since the physical game involves pulling, smacking and twisting objects, which you can’t really do on an iDevice.  Multi-player mode can also get a bit frantic, and there’s no wrist strap for your iDevice like there is on your Wii remote!  Still, with 4 different solo modes and 4 insane multi-player modes that allow up to 10 participants, this has got to be a riot.  Just put a bunch of pillows on the floor to save your device when it slips from someone’s hands!

Bop It!â„¢ Electronic Arts, Bop It!, 56.1 MB – $2.99

Spires – For a while it seemed like you couldn’t sneeze without another tower defense game coming out.  That flow seems to have tapered off a bit, but there don’t seem to be a lot of offerings lately that do anything new for the genre.  It seems like Spires might be a game changer in that regards, if you’ll pardon the pun.  The game actually tells a story, and even has voice acting for the dialog.  You command three different heroes, each with unique abilities when it comes to the spires they can erect.  What really sets the game apart from its brethren, however, is that fact that you actually use the spires to mold the path your enemies must follow.  Simply guide them away from their target, or to seal their doom direct them towards an area full of devastation.  The choice is up to you.  Once you’ve completed the 15 level story mode, you can revisit the game in Gauntlet and Endless modes for many hours of fun.  Hopefully future updates will bring more levels, but if the replay factor is strong enough, that might not be a necessity.

Spires Prophetic Sky, Spires, 94.0 MB – $0.99

Glu Games – Thought I’d throw this in as a bonus.  Not so much a game as a utility, Glu Games works in conjunction with, well, Glu games to give you exclusive game content and rewards just for playing the games you’re already playing.  It does require Facebook, however, but it helps you find people that are also playing Glu games, as well as points you towards the latest and greatest free games.  The main question is – it’s bad enough that some companies have their own social network instead of using “common” ones like OpenFeint or Game Center, so do we really want to have to use a separate app to keep connected as well?

Glu Games Glu, Glu Games, 0.9 MB – Free

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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