10 New App Store Games To Watch [Feb. 21 – 27]

It’s time for another Story as this edition’s lead game is Hot Springs Story, the quirky follow up to the widely revered Game Dev Story.  You trade in your programming shoes for gardening sheers, but the end result is still the quest to be number 1.  If you prefer futuristic sports brawls you might want to check out Speedball 2 Evolution, the iPhone update of a 20+ year old franchise.  If you’re looking for a causal game that’s a bit different I’d recommend Slot Life: Haunted Mansion, and slot machine simulation with a story and some mini-games to augment the game play.  For puzzle fans there’s RoboSockets, a game that’s part Tetris, part pipes and part match 3.  That’s a lot of parts!

Speedball 2 Evolution – Speedball 2 has been around for a long time and existed on several different systems, the most popular of which I gather to be the Amiga.  In case you missed the game over its 10 year, multi-platform reign, you can now enjoy it on your shiny new iPhone or iPod Touch.  The game appears to be some sort of futuristic football / soccer variant which has play modes ranging from a quick match to tournaments and a career mode.  You can choose from 28 different teams comprised of 336 individual characters, so replayability is not an issue.  There are 22 Game Center achievements to earn, and you can even take on your best friend in multi-player mode via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.  The nice thing about futuristic sports games is they can “play by their own rules” so to speak, and Speedball 2 looks to be no exception to that rule.

Speedball 2 Evolution Tower Studios, Speedball 2 Evolution, 86.8 MB – $3.99

Pricklees – Given IUGO’s track record, I figured this is one worth looking into.  It sounds like it’s either a “keep on running” or platform style game, but your actions are governed by tapping to the beat.  I always find the off-beat rhythm games to be more entertaining anyway, so that gives Pricklees a big plus right there.  You get 3 characters and 7 tracks to choose from, and you can get more of both through IAP.  The levels are dynamically generated based on the music and difficulty level, adding greatly to the replay factor.  And of course you can expect frequent updates, though hopefully some of those will be applied to the base version as well as the IAP products.  However they come, the initial experience is free, so why not give it a try?

Pricklees IUGO Mobile Entertainment, Pricklees, 47.5 MB – Free

Sovereign: Kingdoms – Hey look, another MMORPG for the iPhone.  Sometimes I wonder if these are really popular enough to sustain so many varieties, especially since I never see much talk about many of them.  I guess as long as they innovate there might be room for just one more, however, and this sounds like such a case.  It’s your typical “see the land and slay the monsters” type fantasy RPG, but in this one you also get a plot of land to build on much like fan favorites such as Farmville.  Additionally, planned updates will include PvP combat, markets where players can exchange goods, and the ability to form guilds for ultimate support and carnage.  The game supports a virtual currency called Destiny, but I’m sure IAP will help you boost those stores quite rapidly.  The game also has Facebook integration, though it appears that Facebook is just an option and not a requirement.  The game is free, so you lose nothing by checking it out (unless you can’t control your IAP urges).

Sovereign: Kingdoms Jirbo, Sovereign: Kingdoms, 74.4 MB – Free

6th Planet – Apparently in the future humans decide that Saturn might be inhabitable, so they send a monkey out there to scope out the situation.  This is that story.  The game appears to be a simple Cavern style affair, where you have to navigate the monkey’s pod through treacherous tunnels and harrowing levels.  So why is this noteworthy?  The game itself features 50 levels, with an additional Master level set that will be unlocked on the completion of the basic levels.  This Master level set will be updated over time.  Still not so impressed?  How about the 188 screens worth of comic book style cut scenes?  My math is a bit rusty, but they claim that’s two comic books worth of material, and if the story is good that in and of itself could be worth the price of admission.  Still, if you’re not a big comic book fan the $2.99 price tag for this type of game play might seem a bit steep.  I’m mainly curious to see how this one expands in the future (maybe Pixar will make the animated movie?)

6th Planet Monkube, 6th Planet, 124 MB – $2.99

Shadow Era – Kyle Poole sure has come a long way since his humble beginnings as mastermind behind the Palm classics Kyle’s Quest and Kyle’s Quest 2 (yes, that’s PRE-WebOS Palm).  Shadow Era is a CCG like Magic: The Gathering that can be played online against AI opponents or other humans.  You start out with a hero and a starter deck, and by defeating others you can earn more cards.  There are currently 100 different cards that you can collect, with more on the way through continual updates.  I’d imagine that there will be bundle packs available through IAP, though it’s not mentioned in the iTunes description anywhere.  The game can be played on an iOS device that has a compatible client, as saved games are stored on the Shadow Era server.  You can even play it in your browser if you don’t actually own an iOS device or don’t happen to have it on you.  Oh, and since I failed to mention it yet, the game is free.

Shadow Era Kyle Poole, Shadow Era, 78.3 MB – Free

Slot Life: Haunted Mansion – I’m not normally drawn to slot machine games, but this one actually seems kind of interesting.  Even though it’s a thinly veiled one, the game actually has a “plot” – you’ve been trapped in a haunted mansion and you must survive until dawn.  You have two slot machines you can play, and there are also 4 mini-games to help pass the night away.  As you explore the mansion you can earn investigation points that will help you rise through the ranks of the OpenFeint and Game Center leaderboards.  There are also achievements that you can earn.  Much like modern hidden object games, while the slot machine is the main game mechanic there are enough other things going on to make it feel like a fresh style of game play.

Slot Life: Haunted Mansion Alchemy Games, Slot Life: Haunted Mansion, 43.1 MB – $1.99

Food Processing – It looks like Fruit Ninja has started a fad, and Chillingo is the latest one to jump on the bandwagon with Food Processing.  While I’m not entirely sure the iPhone needs another (or 10 more, as we’re likely to see) food slicing games, at least this offers up something slightly different.  Instead of ancient ancestral martial arts you get a kitchen, and your job is to carve up the food as it passes by on a conveyor belt.  What’s important here is that each food must be prepared in a certain way.  Perfect cuts can earn you combos, and lots of points will unlock secrets, including Hell’s Kitchen mode.  The game has leaderboards and achievements thanks to Crystal and Game Center, so you’ll always have someone to try and beat with your mad slicing skillz.  The big question is if iOS players are ready for another “food is the target” slicing extravaganza.

Food Processing Chillingo, Food Processing, 19.1 MB – $0.99
Food Processing HD Chillingo, Food Processing HD, 27.8 MB – $1.99

RoboSockets – A game billed as a mix of “Tetris, pipes and match 3” already has my attention.  Add in the selling point of “memorable characters with exclusive anatomy”, and I’m not sure why I haven’t already purchased this game.  The reality, though, is that if this game has managed to capture the essence of the three games it mimics and mashed them into a cohesive playing experience, it should easily sail to the top of the charts.  The storyline is a nice touch, though I’m assuming there are other game modes besides story mode.  Since this comes from the creators of the Carnivores: Ice Age (TMA Review) series I expect the graphics will be pretty slick.  Game Center support provides the draw to keep you coming back for scores and achievements, and Facebook integration lets you brag to your friends.

RoboSockets Tatem Games, RoboSockets, 30.1 MB – $0.99

TargetHunter for AR.Drone – I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession for a device I’ll probably never own, but the thought of controlling an RC helicopter via my iDevice is quite intriguing.  These add-on games, while not officially endorsed by AR.Drone’s developer, are just icing on the cake.  In this case you mark your targets with “stickers” (not sure what that means, but I’ll run with it) and then guide the helicopter around the room, hunting the targets down.  Each successfully shot target earns you credits to “upgrade” your helicopter.  The thing that caught my attention was the suggestion of marking moving targets.  It might almost be worth cat-sitting just to try chasing the felines down with an RC helicopter and a cool target shooting game.  One can dream, can’t one?

TargetHunter for AR.Drone Tommy Kammerer, TargetHunter for AR.Drone, 5.0 MB – $3.99

Hot Springs Story – When Ifirst read the title of this game I thought maybe it was going to be a knock-off, but once I saw the images I realized our friends were back.  Kairosoft brings us the next Story saga, and if it’s anything like Game Dev Story it should be wildly popular.  This time around you’re trying to build the ultimate Japanese paradise, complete with restaurants, arcades and baths.  You can even testing your green thumbs by fashioning the prefect Japanese garden.  Your goal is to attract VIPs, which apparently include pop stars and novelists.  Now that you’ve proven your skills building the greatest software development company, do you have what it takes to create the world’s best relaxing getaway?

Hot Springs Story Kairosoft Co, Hot Springs Story, 7.3 MB – $3.99

Tiny Wings – The astute will notice that this game’s release doesn’t actually fall into the date range of the article.  However, it has come to my attention that I made a huge mistake not including this in my roundup last week.  How was I made aware of this, you ask?  I actually bought the game, and have been playing it… and playing it…  If you have not tried Tiny Wings yet, go buy it now.  It’s a simple “keep on running”, or in this case “sliding and flapping” for as long as you can style game, but it’s magnificent in its simplicity.  The music is great, the sound effects crack me up, and the graphics are decent enough to not bother me.  I wondered how this game could usurp Angry Bird’s throne, and after spending some time with it I get it.  So should you.

Tiny Wings Andreas Illiger, Tiny Wings, 10.5 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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