10 New App Store Games To Watch [April 25 – May 1]

This week’s lineup includes ball rolling bliss, the next World Of Warcraft (maybe), and a little bit of controversy.  First up is Gears (TMA Review), the game that has redefined what users will expect from ball rolling games.  If you catch it while it’s still on sale for 99 cents you’ll be getting a great deal, but if not it’s still worth the asking price.  For those of you waiting on a true 3D fantasy MMORPG, the wait might finally be over.  Gameloft has released Order & Chaos Online, and from the screen shots and description it looks like they’ve made every attempt at bringing World Of Warcraft home to your iOS device.  If you prefer to live on the edge there’s Unpleasant Horse and Snuggle Truck, a couple of games that tangled with Apple because their original submitted content didn’t quite sit with the overlords of “good judgment”.  They’re available now, however, so hopefully the content didn’t veere to much from what was originally intended (though it’s pretty safe to say in one case it did).

Gears – What do you get when you cross traditional ball rolling tactics with a 3D engine?  As far as I’m concerned, you get one of the best ball games I’ve ever played.  Yes, this is one of those rare instances where I get to play the game before I publish this article, and I can say now that this game is awesome.  The level design is great, and the 3D engine allows for levels that stretch both horizontally and vertically, making the game feel different than any other ball roller you’ve played before.  The game currently sports 27 levels, which at first may not sound like a lot, but most gamers aren’t going to pass a level in just a minute or two.  Add to that multiple difficulty levels, including one where you have to play the entire game with one life, and there’s plenty to keep you busy.  Plus, I believe they are working on an update as I write this (though I have no idea whether any new levels will surface as a result of that update or not).  Either way, this is one great game that you should grab as soon as possible.

Gears Crescent Moon Games, Gears, 115 MB – $0.99

ZENONIA 3 – What can I say?  ZENONIA (TMA Review) was lots of fun, the second one looked good (have it but haven’t played it yet), and this one supposedly dwarfs them both.  With 227 maps and 136 quests, there should be plenty to keep you occupied for quite some time.  There’s even a network mode that lets you explore dungeons in co-op mode with another player.  There are four character classes to choose from and a wide array of goods to collect to customize your character.  In addition to solving quests you can earn 48 Game Center achievements and 47 in-game titles.  The visuals have always been good, but Zenonia 3 seems to have taken the graphics up a couple of notches.  Overall, this seems like it would be a fine edition to most iPhone RPG gamers’ collections.

ZENONIA® 3 GAMEVIL, ZENONIA® 3, 17.0 MB – $4.99

The 7th Guest: Infection – In 1993 the world was introduced to the story behind the The 7th Guest (TMA Review), and while folks weren’t quite as mesmerized as they were with  Myst (TMA Review), there was still a lot of interest in this game as well.  Not only has the game been ported to the iPhone, but it has spawned a stand alone version of one of its many puzzles, and thus was born Infection.  To tell the truth, other than the fact that it takes place in a microscope and looks a lot like Othello, I’m really not sure what the game is about.  The game can be played single player against computer AI or two players which can be matched up via Game Center.  There are seven difficulty levels to conquer, and it appears that the highest AI setting can be quite maddening.  If you’d like just a small taste of what The 7th Guest has to offer, Infection is a great place to start.

The 7th Guest: Infection Trilobyte Games, The 7th Guest: Infection, 17.2 MB – $0.99

Unpleasant Horse – This is the first release from Pop Cap Game’s experimental game label 4th & Battery.  What an experiment it was – apparently Apple turned down the first version due to issues with the content.  You play an unpleasant horse with wings, whose goal is to jump on the backs of other wings horses and cause them to plummet to their doom.  Now I’m sure you’re thinking that doesn’t sound too bad, except that “ultimate doom” is at the hands of a strategically placed meat grinder wherever the horse falls.  Try explaining that one to your five year old!  On the plus side, at least the grinders don’t play favorites. If you miss a jump or a horse, you’ll share the same fate as all your victims.  I’m not quite sure a disgruntled mare with the ability to fly is really interesting material for an iPhone game, but for the staggering price tag of free, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

Unpleasant Horse 4th & Battery, Unpleasant Horse, 15.5 MB – Free

Hidden Object Crosswords – I love hidden object games, but they are a class of game that truly does start to get repetitive after a while.  Thankfully this one throws something new into the mix, as the objects you need to find are the answers you must fill in to your crossword puzzles!  There are more than 50 levels to play, and the topics cover everything from pop culture references to proverbs.  You can get hints where necessary and play the game at your own pace, but you will receive bonuses for completing the puzzles in a timely fashion.  This sounds like a refreshing twist to the standard hidden object fare, but right now it’s only available for the iPad.  Guess I’ll just have to add it to my ever increasing list of reasons to get one of those devices.

Hidden Object Crosswords Dekovir, Hidden Object Crosswords, 55.6 MB – $4.99

Alcatraz Breakout – The line drawing genre has covered the gamut of subjects, and now prison escape can be added to that list.  Your mission is to help inmates break out of one of the most famous prisons in history.  The combination of line drawing and stealth will have you sneaking past guards, hiding behind objects, and gathering special items to help you make a clean escape.  Leaderboards and achievements will help determine who the sneakiest line drawer is.  There are a total of five scenarios to unlock and conquer in the main game, and IAP provides another 4 levels for you to play with.  It’s always nice to see variants of the line drawing theme that don’t involve vehicles, and the stealth aspects of the game should appeal to a less casual crowd of gamers.

Alcatraz Breakout Konami, Alcatraz Breakout, 29.7 MB – $0.99

Snuggle Truck – Here’s another game mired in a bit of controversy, as the original game was meant to be a satirical look at the act of smuggling illegal immigrants over the border for jobs.  Fortunately the original version (Smuggle Truck) is available on less censored platforms like the PC and Mac, but to give us iPhone users a taste of what we’re missing the developers made an Apple friendly version called Snuggle Truck.  In this version you need to rescue a load full of fuzzy animals by getting them to the zoo as quickly as possible.  You’ll catch fuzzies along the way, plow over armadillos that get in your path, and generally launch yourself through hills, caves, deserts and forests thanks to an outrageous physics simulation.  The visuals are rendered by a veteran whose resume includes Curse Of Monkey Island, and they look like something out of a Warner Brothers cartoon.  There are plenty of leaderboards to rank on and achievements to earn, and you can even use this version as a remote control if you own the Mac or PC version of the game!

Snuggle Truck Owlchemy Labs, Snuggle Truck, 17.7 MB – $1.99
Snuggle Truck HD Owlchemy Labs, Snuggle Truck HD, 26.9 MB – $2.99

Battle Fury – I suppose this is what you might call a Tactical RPG, as I’m gathering most of your time is spent in the battlefield as opposed to wandering around towns and countryside like in a traditional RPG.  You’ll create a squad of warriors from more than 50 different character classes, and lead them on over 100 quests and boss battles.  As you win battles you’ll be able to upgrade your heroes and hone them into the ultimate fighting force.  There are online ladder challenges with folks across the world, and you can even pilfer treasures from other players!  It will be interesting to see if the game ever supports PvP battles.  It appears that there is plenty to do, so if the battle system is sound this should be one slick game.  The best part is that it’s free, so you can check it out without any risk (except taking the chance that you might get addicted to it).

Battle Fury Noumena, Battle Fury, 11.1 MB – Free

Order & Chaos Online– Is this the iPhone’s World Of Warcraft?  Well, it certainly seems to fit the 3D real-time fantasy mold, and it’s an MMORPG.  The real question is if it has the staying power of legends such as WoW.  You can choose between 4 different races, 2 for order and 2 for chaos, and a single account allows for up to 4 characters.  There are 1000 skills and 2000 items in the game to help you make a truly unique presence.  The game already contains more than 500 quests, and I’m sure others will be added as time goes on.  You can probably get by playing the game solo, but it sounds like the real treat is when you team up with others to overthrow rival factions.  Do keep in mind that the game requires both an internet connection and a Gameloft Live account, and after 3 months you’ll be required to pay a subscription fee to continue playing.  Of course, 99 cents a months is nothing compared to most subscription based online games out there.

Order & Chaos© Online Gameloft, Order & Chaos© Online, 589 MB – $6.99

Vampire Rush – The folks at Chillingo certainly love vampires, and this latest entry to focus on the undead bloodsuckers looks like an interesting mash-up of tower defense and hack and slash.  You take on the role of Captain Greg, and your mission is to protect the gates that would allow hordes of vampires to cross over into the world of the living.  You’ll erect towers to fend off the evil creatures, but as you’re not one to sit idly by you’ll also engage in hand to hand combat to wipe out anything that gets too close.  You even have some special abilities that you’ll be able to unleash on the enemies.  The one thing that seems a bit surprising is the small number of creature and tower types, but hopefully future updates will correct that.  In the past Chillingo has had some pretty good success with vampire games, so Vampire Rush will have a lot to live up to.

Vampire Rush Chillingo, Vampire Rush, 83.9 MB – $1.99
Vampire Rush HD Chillingo, Vampire Rush HD, 82.0 MB – $2.99

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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