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

This week saw some pretty notable releases, one of which was exclusive to the iPad.  Top billing this week goes to Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, which almost sounds like a medieval Sienfeld – a game about nothing.  Still, the artistic nature of the game is supposed to be top notch, and it has garnered a lot of positive attention. For those who are a little more traditional there’s Final Fantasy III, the iOS port of the Nintendo DS remake of the 1990 NES game from Square Enix (then just Square).  Got it?  Next up is City Of Secrets, a tap and explore adventure game that pays homage to the greats from companies like Sierra Online while creating a world all it’s own.  Finally, for the kid in you – or the kid you have at home – there’s Max And The Magic Maker, a platform game where the main character can make objects appear simply by drawing them with his trusty writing utensil.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP – If you’ve been following the buzz on this game comments seem to range from “incredible visuals but so-so game play” to “best iPad game of the year”.  From the brief iTunes description it looks to me like this is one of those attempts to prove that videogames can be considered art.  From audience reaction, it may have accomplished that goal.  You basically wander around a mystical realm, fighting inhabitants with your trusty sword and using “sworcery” to solve musical mysteries.  Apparently you can interact with others via Twitter through the game as well.  I must admit I’m quite intrigued by the whole concept, but I’m not really sure who this is going to appeal to.  Still, if you have an iPad, I think this is one game you won’t want to miss.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP Capybara, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, 133 MB – $4.99

Final Fantasy III – I’m probably going to sound like a heretic to Square Enix lovers everywhere, but I think I’ll stick to my DS copy of Final Fantasy III.  Still, if you’ve not had the opportunity to play the game before now, and you don’t mind shelling out $16 for a 20 year old game, I’d highly recommend checking it out.  As can be expected with any Final Fantasy game, there will be an epic story played out both in-game and through incredible cut scenes.  This version does include additional story sequences that are unique to the iOS family, so that might be incentive for those who have already played the DS version of the game.  The visuals have also been upgraded to take advantage of the latest iPhone hardware.  If Square Enix’s native iPhone offering have made you question people’s loyalty to the company and their works, playing this (or any of the early Final Fantasy offerings) will help you see that devotees do in fact know what they are talking about.

Final Fantasy III SQUARE ENIX Co., Final Fantasy III, 208 MB – $15.99

Angry Birds Rio – I’m likely going to get myself into a lot of trouble with this roundup, but I’m actually getting kind of tired of the Angry Birds hubbub.  Still, when there’s a new release it’s worth mentioning, because there’s no question it’s going to be popular.  This time around there are a couple of twists, as the game is actually a tie-in with a new animated film coming out this summer called Rio.  It’s also a bit different in the sense that instead of just trying to destroy the enemy, you’re also trying to rescue trapped birds.  Sure the mechanics are roughly the same, but at least it’s a slightly different focus.  The game comes stock with 60 levels, and the one thing you can be sure of is that Rio will receive updates just like the other two Angry Birds titles have over time.  If you’ve not actually succumbed to the Angry Birds pressure yet, Angry Birds Rio would probably be as good a place as any to start.  If you’re a die hard fan, I’m sure you already own the game by now.

Angry Birds Rio Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds Rio, 13.1 MB – $0.99
Angry Birds Rio HD Rovio Mobile, Angry Birds Rio HD, 14.6 MB – $2.99

The Witcher: Versus – I’m not really familiar with the source material for this game, by I do know that fighting games set in a universe already established by other genres of games tend not to fare very well.  Lucky the iPhone doesn’t have a whole lot of original choices yet when it comes to Street Fighter style games, so there’s some hope for this one.  You choose one of three classes which include a Witcher, Sorceress and Frightener, and then you customize your character and head to battle.  The game supports online combat against other players, and you can even share your profile with a browser based version of the game.  Interestingly, the iTunes description mentions nothing about local multi-player (Bluetooth or WiFi) or solo mode.  However, there are achievements and you can win weapons, amulets and magical items to help bolster your character’s abilities.  Besides, whatever type of creature Fredo for the screenshots is looks really cool.

The Witcher: Versus Chillingo, The Witcher: Versus, 54.9 MB – $0.99

City of Secrets – Having been playing games since the days of Zork and King’s Quest, I’m a huge fan of the adventure game genre.  Many development houses have given up on the genre, saying people aren’t interested and you can’t make money on that type of game any more.  Thankfully the developers of City Of Secrets didn’t feel that way, and what we’ve ended up with looks to be a fun take on the quests of yesteryear with modern technology to bring it to life.  You play as the mole that must save the day because, well, you’re available.  You’ll collect items, solve puzzles and travel to all kinds of nifty locations to accomplish your quest.  From the videos I’ve seen so far the visuals look tremendous, the dialog is amusing, and the voice acting is quite nice.  Apparently these characters have been around for quite a while in Europe, and if we’re lucky they’ll make enough of an impact that we get to witness their further adventures globally as well.

City of Secrets Aidem Media, City of Secrets, 263 MB – $0.99
City of Secrets HD Aidem Media, City of Secrets HD, 341 MB – $4.99

Dungeon Fighter Slayer Edition – I guess Nexon Mobile has decided to take on Com2Us and Gamevil with their very own side scrolling action RPG.  The game has some pretty interesting stats, including 37 base monster types for a total of 400 different monsters, and 1700 weapons and game items.  There are also 40 dungeons to explore that are spread across 5 different themes.  What I find most intriguing about this offering, however, is that it sounds like they basically sacrificed online game play for storyline.  Slayer Edition is based off of the popular online version of the game (just called Dungeon Fighter online), yet there is no mention of multi-player play in the description.  One has to wonder if this trade-off will be worth it in the end.  We have quite a few action RPGs on the iPhone, but I’m not aware of any that are multi-player.  This would have been a great selling point for Slayer Edition, and it will be interesting to see if the concept makes its way back into later editions of the game.

[Not Currently Available in U.S. App Store]

Max and the Magic Marker – When we were kids, we probably all read stories about children that could draw and make things come to life.  Now you get the chance to play out those stories as Max, the boy with the marker that makes doodles become a reality.  The game contains 58 levels spread across 3 worlds, and the trick to solving the myriad of puzzles within these levels is to draw objects using your wonderful marker.  You must be sure to keep the ink well full so that you can continue to make your doodles, and there are gold spheres and a legendary black sphere to collect as well.  Earn achievements for solving puzzles, and ultimately locate the evil monster that you accidentally unleashed as your first doodle.

Max and the Magic Marker EA, Max and the Magic Marker, 115 MB – $1.99
Max and the Magic Marker for iPad EA, Max and the Magic Marker for iPad, 116 MB – $4.99

Keg Bearer – The “wacky but intriguing” slot this week goes to this hex based strategy board game for the iPad.  The game is designed for 2-4 players on the same device, and there’s not even a mention of single player mode.  Game play is a simple matter of drag and drop to move and attack, and dragging and releasing a crossbow to fire a bolt.  Each unit has their specialties, and all units can do something even after they’ve moved.  The amusing part is the Keg unit, which can use his might ale container to either bash the enemy or heal his comrades.  Maps can be littered with terrain obstacles that allow for things like crossbow cover.  You can play every man for himself, or you also have 1 on 3 and 2 on 2 matches.  There’s even on option where everyone can move at the exact same time!

Keg Bearer Snowpunch, Keg Bearer, 70.4 MB – $2.99

Treasure Raiders – Now’s your chance to play the part of Nicholas Cage in National Treasure.  Well, okay, this might not be quite so adventurous, but it still gives you the chance to travel the world and seek ancient relics.  You’ll visit ancient ruins deep within undiscovered rainforests in order to claim your prize.  There are 40 treasures to collect, and you’ll be able to put them on display in your own museum that other people will be able to visit.  The game is free, so now is as good a time as any to start your treasure hunting adventures.

Treasure Raiders Glu, Treasure Raiders, 38.6 MB – Free

Nightclub Story – The latest installment of the Story franchise from Team Lava has you trying to build the next great Nightclub.  You’ll get to configure the dance floor and lighting, and decide the optimal place to put the speakers and promotional posters.  Of course you’ll also get to mix and serve drinks to the patrons.  Make dance mixes from in-game music or use whatever is in your personal iTunes library.  You can visit your friends’ clubs and invite them to be your neighbors via Facebook.  My only question is how receptive people are going to be about a nightclub game full of bobble-headed dancers.  I’m not a nightclub person myself, but it seems like the visuals sort of diminish some of the allure and sex appeal of the nightclub scene.  Still, the game is free, so it can’t hurt to try it if you’re looking for another time management style game.

Nightclub Storyâ„¢ TeamLava, Nightclub Story, 19.8 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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