10 New App Store Games To Watch [Feb. 28 – March 6]

This week had some very interesting releases, one of which was a rather pleasant surprise. Double Dragon, the forefather of modern side scrolling brawlers, has finally made its way to the iPhone.  If you’re into 2D beat-em-ups, this is one not to miss. For time management fans there’s a new entry called Fruitville, though it’s probably selling the game way short to label it as time management.  The online gangster wanna-bes should check out The Godfather Empire to see how a real mafia story plays out online. And, for those of you that want something you can toggle playing with NBA Jam, EA has released Fight Night Champion, the first iPhone installment of their award winning boxing series.

DoubleDragon – I was thrilled when I heard this game was coming to the iPhone.  If you’ve never played it you’re missing out, since this was the game that started the side scrolling brawler revolution.  Thankfully, even though the feel of the original is still there, the developers have been kind enough to modernize everything else for us.  It still has the 2D style to it, but the graphics look really sharp.  There are new levels to explore, new characters to meet, and new combos to smash the enemies with.  You can even play through the game as an enemy or with hidden characters that you must unlock.  The game sports two control methods to give you the best combat experience, and if you have a friend you can bring him along via Bluetooth for multi-player mayhem.  The game is also Game Center compatible, so you can see how well you clean up the streets compared to others.  I personally can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one.

DoubleDragon Bow Mobile, DoubleDragon, 37.1 MB – $3.99

Fruitville – I had a chance to sample this game before it was released, and the best compliment I can pay the game is that it is definitely not your average time management game.  The story is a typical “save the business” type spiel, but everything after that is pretty much new territory.  Instead of building a simple juice bar and trying to peddle your goods, you’ll actually be moving around town making your fortune a few people at a time.  You’ll have to build up a reputation and be smart about where you actually place your stands.  To actually make the juice you’ll have to play a match 3 game, but this takes place while you’re serving the customers!  You’ll even have quests to complete, and your character will actually have to rest at some point.  This thing has elements of match 3, time management, strategy and RPG all rolled up into one, and it does it fairly seamlessly.  If you’re a time management fan that’s been looking for something different, look no further.

Fruitville Minoraxis, Fruitville, 99.5 MB – $3.99

The Godfather Empire – Given that this is based on one of the most popular and endearing crime stories in movie history, I’m surprised it hasn’t received more buzz.  Your job is simple – build the biggest crime syndicate in 1940’s New York.  You’ll do this by recruiting over 200 unique associates that each have special abilities.  You add friends to your mob to eliminate the competition and help your associates level up more quickly.  You can even purchase Favors (read: IAP) to give your organization the advantage over everyone else.  You can defeat NPC bosses, or for a real challenge play online against other humans.  The big question, does this game make an offer that “you can’t refuse”?

The Godfather™ Empire Oceanside, The Godfather™ Empire, 44.0 MB – Free

MAPPY by NAMCO – Well, at least it’s not another Pac-Man game!  From what little I remember of Mappy it was pretty fun, and it’s nice to see Namco dipping into their expansive well if IP.  You play a mouse that has decided to fight crime, and you have to recover stolen goods and get the bad guys before they get you.  The game has two modes, one of which is a faithful recreation of the arcade game, and the other is a new mode which has you clearing the screen using microwaves.  Apparently no one told poor Mappy that those were bad for your health.  The game has several different control schemes optimized for iOS devices, so you can choose the one that best fits your playing style.  Game Center has been integrated for leaderboards and achievements, giving you something more to strive for than just beating the game.  I just wish they had a skin for arcade mode with some updated visuals.

MAPPY by NAMCO Namco, MAPPY by NAMCO, 5.9 MB – $2.99

Undead Island – Team Phobic has proven that they know their way around a platform game, so how will they fare when they try to throw a bit of action into the mix?  For what I’ve seen so far, I’d say pretty well.  You play a female ninja, and you must rid the island of hordes of zombies.  Sounds like the perfect side scroller to me.  You’ll have to master 15 levels of undead villainy using your sword, shurikens, and dragon spirit powers.  There are three difficulty levels that should appeal to newcomers and veterans alike, and you have the choice between tilt controls and on screen buttons.  The graphics look to have Team Phobic’s signature “cute yet detailed” style, and I’d imagine there’s a pretty slick soundtrack to accompany the action as well.  Plus, given Team Phobic’s history, I’m sure we can expect some nice updates along the way.

Undead Island Team Phobic, Undead Island, 43.7 MB – $1.99

Fight Night Champion – It seems that NBA Jam was only the first step in EA’s quest to revisit its past glory.  The Fight Night franchise actually started out as Knockout Kings in the late 90s, and in 2004 made the switch to its current lineage.  Fight Night Champion would technically by part 5 if they were serializing it, but it sounds like they decided to go for more of a reimagining of the series (a “reboot” to adopt movie nomenclature).  What we end up with is a game where you build a fighter from the ground up and eventually take on champions like Oscar De La Hoya and Muhammad Ali himself.  Interestingly, your character ages after every fight, so you can’t let your chance to take on the kings of the ring slip by because of old age!  If you’ve got a third or fourth generation device you can compete with your friends via local WiFi or Bluetooth.  Will you float like a butterfly, or will you fall like a rock?

Fight Night Champion by EA Sports™ EA, Fight Night Champion by EA Sports, 385 MB – $4.99

Can Knockdown 2 – Look, I’ll admit that there was a time not too long ago that I would have said an electronic game about knocking over cans or bottles with a ball was just silly.  However, as I’ve come to try out various carnival style games on my iPod Touch, the can / bottle knockdown segments are among the most amusing ones in such games.  iDreams seems to have kicked it up a notch as well, because in addition to the traditional “knock a stack of cans over” mode you have a mode where you have to hit specific targets in a given amount of time, and another mode where the cans are moving on conveyor belts.  The game supports Game Center so you can compete against your friends, and the graphics look quite polished for this style of game play.  I’m not sure the game will keep you playing for hours on end, but I have a sneaking suspicion it will become one of those that you pull out time and again when you need just a few minutes break from life.

Can Knockdown 2 Infinite Dreams  Can Knockdown 2, 35.4 MB – $0.99

Asphalt Audi RS 3 – This is really just a watered down version of Asphalt 6 from Gameloft, where you only get to race in two cities and you only get to use an Audi as your vehicle.  So why is this in the “10 Apps To Watch” list?  More because of what it hints at than what it is.  The application is free, and if you download and play it between March 3 and March 16 you can enter to win an Audi A3 Sportback!  The reason I think this is significant is because I wonder if other games will follow suit in the future.  Suppose one of the Safari hunting games offered you the chance to win a trip on a real Safari?  Or maybe a game like Harbor Master could have a special edition with a few levels that were tied to a competition to win a cruise!  While the marketing tie-ins obviously have to make sense, this one will hopefully pave the way for others to come.  Besides, it gives you the chance to try out what looks like a pretty slick racing game as well.

Asphalt Audi RS 3 Gameloft, Asphalt Audi RS 3, 227 MB – Free

Daybreak Heroes – There have been a few other online superhero games, but it’s always nice to see another one crop up in an arena that’s predominantly populated with medieval or mafia themed games.  In this case you create a teenage superhero that you can use to help save the city.  There are plenty of items to acquire and trade with folks around the world, and many quests to embark upon.  There are even more than 50 themed locations to visit, such as The Alternate History Museum.  An in-game economy allows you to buy and sell goods, but beware as there are also in-app purchases that will cost you real money.  The next version of the game will include PvP combat, leaderboards, competitive achievements and even more, so hopefully this is a hint at frequent updates.  If there’s any chance you still haven’t found the online game for you, maybe Daybreak Heroes is the one.

Daybreak Heroes Veiled Games, Daybreak Heroes, 28.4 MB – $0.99

Fright Control – Ever since Flight Control was released the App Store has been saturated with line drawing games, and most of them feel just the same.  I don’t know how different this one is going to play mechanically, but at least it’s a fresh idea… sort of.  In Fright Control you take command of zombies, and your mission is to guide them to fresh corpses.  Everything from open graves to heli-bombs will stand, lie or fall in your way to try and keep you from your goal.  The real question is if you are smarter than all these traps, even though you are undead.  The game contains 45 levels, and hopefully more will be added in the future.  The main thing I’m wondering about is if it’s really going to be very challenging with only a maximum of 3 zombies to control.  Still, it sounds like a fun twist on a tired genre.

Fright Control Daniel Caldwell, Fright Control, 15.3 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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