10 New App Store Games To Watch [May 16 – 22]
For all you iOS RPG fans that aren’t me, the big news of the week was probably the release of Chaos Rings Omega. I wasn’t a fan of the first part, but with one character and a more concentrated storyline Omega might prove to be better than its predecessor. For the light hearted romantics there’s Bumpy Road, the game where you get a couple of lovebirds to their destination by manipulating the road they are driving on. If you’re into puzzle games you might want to give Casey’s Contraptions a try. You create fantastic machines out of everyday objects to help Casey get his toys back, and then you can make your own levels to share with your friends via email. Finally, turn based strategy fans can sink their teeth into Orions 2: The Deckmasters, a game that’s part empire building and part CCG.
Bumpy Road – I like a good “infinite run” game, but what I like even more are games that offer that style of game play along with something that has a more concrete goal in mind. Bumpy Road seems to deliver the best of all worlds, as you can go the distance in Evergreen Ride mode, discover some family history as you collect memories in Memory Lane mode, or try to beat the record time in Sunday Trip mode. What sets this game apart from similar offerings is that instead of a “jump” button, you actually manipulate the road the car is driving on to do whatever you need to accomplish. The visuals look great, and hopefully it has a fun soundtrack to go with it. Between the three different game play modes and Game Center leaderboards and achievements, there should be plenty to keep you busy with this cute casual game.
Simogo, Bumpy Road, 30.8 MB – $2.99
CHAOS RINGS Ω – I won’t lie to you – I’m probably one of five people that didn’t like the original Chaos Rings. Regardless, it was a huge success, and Square-Enix has followed up the massive RPG with this latest offering, Chaos Rings Omega. There isn’t much divulged about the game play in the iTunes description, but one thing you can be sure of is that there will be lots of combat. The question is whether that will be coupled with lots of needless wandering like in the first game. This installment seems to focus on one character instead of eight and appears to tell a single story instead of four separate tales, so maybe it will rev up more quickly to keep the player enticed. Omega takes place before the original, so fans of the first game should get a better understanding of why things were the way they were in the original Chaos Rings. The developer is promising monthly updates, the only disappointment there being that the update which introduces voiceovers will only be in Japanese. Hopefully they’ll do an English pack at some point.
Orions 2 : The Deckmasters – I spent a bit of time playing the original Orions on my Pocket PC, and if this iOS sequel (the original exists for iOS devices as well – TMA Review) plays at least as well as the original, then iOS gamers are in for a treat. The game is somewhat of a cross between Heroes Of Might & Magic and Magic The Gathering. You conquer islands to get real estate for building structures, and then you can produce cards with monsters and spells that you use to create an army and battle your foes. Several single player modes will keep you busy when you can’t or don’t want to be connected, and the ability to play online against the world will test your skills against real opponents. You can even play two players on the same device if you wish. You can collect more than 120 unique spells and creatures, all beautifully illustrated and adorned with special effects. Based on past experience with this developer I’d expect the soundtrack to be pretty decent as well.
Chillingo, Orions 2, 29.0 MB – $2.99
Bruce – I’m not 100% sure that we really need another iOS game where your goal is to either jump as high as you can or fall as far as you are able, but I just find the idea of a turtle careening down mountain walls in the pursuit of cabbage amusing. I also like the fact that while it’s technically a “fall as long as you can” game, it was designed for 1.5 to 2 minute rounds. All you have to do to guide Bruce down the mountain is press the left arrow to move left and the right arrow to move right, so it’s simple enough that anyone can play it. Those looking for a bit more of a challenge, however, can endeavor to collect 14 different achievements and unlock seven hats, and both of these categories will be receiving updates in the future. There are also new random levels generated every day, so your game is continually evolving. Best of all the game works on all newer generation iOS devices, so you can share the experience on whatever iDevices you own.
Fervent Interactive, Bruce, 31.9 MB – $0.99
Epic Gladiator – For me most of these Facebook style MMOs are starting to blend together visually, but I like the premise behind this one. You’re building up an army of sorts, but instead of military soldiers or fantastical creatures you’re recruiting and training gladiators. Your goal is to become the best trainer in the Roman Empire. Can you train the slaves to become expert fighters? You’ll get over 500 unique pieces of equipment to select from, and more than 30 portraits to choose for your characters. It appears that you can play the game offline as well, which is actually pretty neat. At a price point of free, there’s not a lot to lose by trying this one out, other than potentially a lot of time.
Critical Hit Software, Epic Gladiator, 17.8 MB – Free
Candy Train – After a slightly less than warm reception over their first offering of Unpleasant Horse, 4th & Battery is back with Candy Train. This is an iOS port of a game that Popcap Games created many moons ago, and focuses around a train conductor that must collect candy that’s popping up all over his train yard. You’ll need to rearrange the jumbled track in such a way that the conductor can reach all the candy before his time runs out. This sounds a bit more family oriented than Unpleasant Horse! The game is free, so give it a try, have some fun, and then if you can dig up an email send a quick congrats to the game’s developer. After all, she now has a full time position with Popcap’s game development team as a result of this effort!
PopCap Games, Candy Train, 14.1 MB – Free
Casey’s Contraptions – Casey’s lost his toys, and now you need to help him get them back by building contraptions from whatever is lying around the house. This reminds me of an Impossible Machines style game, and you’ll have more than 30 different items to build your contraptions with on the iPad. Share your solutions via Game Center and see how your friends solved the same puzzles. You can also create your own contraptions and challenge your friends through email to solve them. There are over 70 levels with the base package, and through creating and sharing levels the possibilities are limitless. Hopefully future iterations of this game will allow a more general way of sharing levels, or at least offer levels packs comprised of “the best of the net”. I can’t wait for an iPhone version of this one so I can try it out.
Snappy Touch, Casey’s Contraptions, 11.6 MB – $2.99
Riddle Runner – I love platform games, and this has got to be one of the most interesting ones to come along in a while. Each level has a series of questions to answer. Thankfully you don’t necessarily need to know the answers to the questions – you just need to find them scattered throughout the level! The game has 30 levels, and you must answer all questions right in a given level to move on to the next one. There are also challenging tasks to complete, and items scattered throughout the levels that will both help and hinder you. The graphics are hand drawn and certainly border on the side of being cute, and they are complimented by wacky effects and hilarious sounds. Even the hero is silly – a tutu wearing creature with a long nose dubbed “iBallerinaGuy”. Are you smart enough and secure enough in your adulthood to delve into this crazy adventure?
Holy Numbat Apps, Riddle Runner, 25.5 MB – $0.99
Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai SMASH – From the desk of “write about it simply because it exists” comes Samurai Smash, which I’m pretty sure is the first Power Rangers iOS game to exist. The game looks like Zombieville USA with a Power Rangers skin, actually making the game seem somewhat appealing. You’ll battle your way through 15 levels fighting crazy Japanese styled monsters in an attempt to defeat the evil Xandred. You’ll also have to solve puzzles along the way, and over the course of the game you’ll unlock all 5 Power Rangers. The precise touch-screen controls are easy to learn, but it will take some mastery in order to become victorious in the epic boss battles. I’m not a big Power Rangers fan, but this one could be fun despite its licensing.
Saban Brands, Saban’s Power Rangers Samurai SMASH – $1.99
Gamebook Adventures 6: The Wizard from Tarnath Tor – I’ll admit that this one is a bit of a cop out for me, because I’ve been a fan of this series since book one. Still, after 5 installments the Gamebook Adventures [TMA Reviews] seem to be as popular as ever, and if this follows suit with the rest they just keep getting better and better. The stories all take place in the realm of Orlandes, and in this particular case the city of Tarnath Tor. In classic “choose your own adventure” fashion you’ll read a segment of the story, and then decide which path you want to take. In some cases you’ll simply branch to another part of the story, in other cases you’ll have to roll against stamina to perform certain actions, and in worst (or best, depending on your viewpoint) case situations you’ll enter into combat with some unwieldy denizen of your surroundings. The amount of combat versus “basic” decision making is well balanced, and of course being a gameBOOK there’s a huge emphasis on story. The stories are written such that you don’t mind reading the passages over and over, though you can skip through the longer ones if you’ve been there a few times. Best of all, you can say you’re reading and having fun at the same time!
Tin Man Games, Gamebook Adventures 6, 93.4 MB – $4.99
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: