10 New App Store Games To Watch [May 30 – June 5]
As far as I’m concerned, the big news of the week was the release of X-Men (TMA Review), a port of the 1992 arcade game. Sure the game is almost 20 years old, but it’s still a blast to play, and really holds up fairly well as far as graphics and such. Those yearning for some creature combat without the burdens of RPG quests will want to check out Fatal League or Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting. The former is a turn based strategy game with more than 20 hours of game play, and the latter is a one on one fight between you and monster after monster.
X-Men – I’ll admit that I’m a statistic; I’m one of those guys who normally doesn’t buy a game right away, because inevitably it’s going to go down in price in a few weeks. The X-Men game was different for me, however. This is the iPhone port of the 1992 arcade game, which as far as I’m concerned is still one of the best X-Men games ever made. Sure it’s nothing fancy – a basic side scrolling beat-em-up that just happened to feature some cool mutants kicking mostly sentinels around. But there’s something in its simplicity that makes it fun. The playable roster includes Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm and Dazzler, and you’ll tackle some nefarious villains including the Blob, the White Queen, and Magneto himself. You can play solo or with up to 4 other players via WiFi. I’ve heard some comments along the lines of “it might not be as fun as you remember it”, but so far it’s just as fun as I remember. Now Konami just needs to bring us TMNT arcade and I’ll be in retro arcade heaven.
Fatal League – I think this is one of those “looks are deceiving” games, because honestly the graphics don’t look all that good. I’m also not sure RPG is a good category for Fatal League, because it sounds more like a turn based strategy game. What’s more interesting, however, is it sounds like the game might simulate a “combat league”, as the iTunes description mentions working your way up through 4 divisions of 4 teams each. You’ll build a team of fighters from a selection of nine races and nine character classes. You’ll earn experience to level up your characters and gold to buy better equipment. The game sports more than 20 hours of play time, with hotseat multiplayer available now and online multiplayer coming. If you’re looking for some intense turn based combat without all the quests of a traditional RPG, this might just be the game for you.
Codens Oy, Fatal League, 41.2 MB – $3.99
Feed Me Oil – In a strange ecological twist, it would appear in this world that oil is not bad for the land. In fact, the land hungers for it. Your job is to guide the oil from the broken pipes to the mouths of the hungry creatures that rise from the land. The developer promises slick physics (no pun intended), which when combined with some interesting looking graphics should provide for an impressive visual experience. There is a large selection of puzzles, each of which can be solved in multiple ways, so the game can potentially keep on giving. Speaking of which, you apparently can gift free levels to folks, so I’m real curios to see what that’s all about. The soundtrack sound like a nice mix of genres, so aesthetically the game should be quite a treat. If the actual game play is as compelling as some of the other more recent physics puzzlers, this is definitely one to keep your eye on.
Spellsquares: Cursed Moon – This game pits you against a devious wizard, a dreadful curse and an ominous abandoned castle. It is part word game and part adventure, though it’s unclear as to whether the adventure aspect is more traditional or hidden object in nature. There are more than 100 puzzles to solve, and the game can be played in story or quickplay mode depending on your preference. There are also multiple difficulty settings and if things get too tough you can find magic items that will give you hints on how to solve the puzzles. The game’s visuals are designed for the HD capabilities of iPad devices, and judging by the screen shots it looks pretty sharp. Spellsquares also supports multiple profiles, so hopefully you can share the game with your family without having to worry about all the progress you’ve made.
Benthic, Spellsquares: Cursed Moon, 24.3 MB – $3.99
Icebreaker Hockey – I’m not a huge fan of sports games, but I do like it when developers take a particular sport and make an action game with the sport as the background theme. Icebreaker Hockey sounds like such a game, as instead of you controlling a whole team you take control of one player against wave after wave of opponents, intent on making the flashiest goal that you can. You use the accelerometer to skate down the rink, and buttons allow you to spin, deke and sprint past your opponents. Better yet, perform a hard stop so your opponents slide past you into the wall. At the end of the rink you use your showboating skills to confuse the goaltender and then make a charged up super-shot for bonus points. Three different difficulty levels, 42 achievements and many unlockable items will keep you playing. This is, of course, after the motion captured Open GL graphics suck you in. You can even customize your team by sticking your name on the jersey.
NaturalMotion, Icebreaker Hockey™, 73.6 MB – $0.99
Let’s Jump! – Let’s Jump is another “climb to the top” style game. In all honesty, between the screen shots and the promo video I’ve not seen much that screams “stand out feature”. Sure the graphics are good and the main character is cute, but that describes so many App Store games these days. Control is tilt based, you collect coins to unlock things, and the game is Crystal and Game Center integrated. There are 30 achievements to work on, but even that has become the standard these days. So why write about this particular game? Well, as far as I know it’s the only one of its genre so far to support multiplayer. This almost seems like it would have been a no brainer before now, but apparently that’s not the case. The game supports both local and online multiplayer, and the concept of competing against another human in a race to the top to me seems enough to put Let’s Jump ahead of the pack.
Chillingo, Let’s Jump!, 16.2 MB – $0.99
Mecapix – I haven’t quite figured this game out yet, and I’m not even sure that it appeals to me, but I believe it might be one to watch anyway. They bill it as an old school shooter, yet it doesn’t appear that your character is represented on the screen in any way. Instead, you’re bombarded with wave after wave of interestingly rendered attackers, and in response it seems you have to draw your bullets on the screen. The game has 27 levels spread across 3 worlds, complete with bosses and puzzles to solve. There’s also an endurance mode where you just need to see how long you can last. The game also supports Game Center for achievements and leaderboards, though there is no mention of how many achievements are available. One thing’s for sure – this is not your traditional shooter. If you’re looking for something different, Mecapix will most likely fit the bill.
Robotalism Soft, Mecapix, 12.2 MB – $0.99
MONSTER HUNTER Dynamic Hunting – I’ve yet to partake in this series of monster slaying games, but from what I gather it’s a popular series that primarily lives on Sony Playstation devices, with a few offshoots to other devices like then Nintendo Wii. The latest deviation from the Playstation universe brings the game to the iPhone screen in the form of Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting. The basic premise is that you play a monster hunter who must take on a series of monsters one at a time, slaying each one within a certain time limit. Since you’re only fighting one creature at a time, you can expect some pretty large opponents to wrestle with. The controls have been optimized for the iPhone’s touch screen, so beast slaying should come natural. In between battles you can use materials recovered from the monsters to enhance your weapons and armor, which is a nice touch. You can also play two player cooperative mode via WiFi, where only one person has to survive in order for you both to reap the rewards. I just hope the simpler iPhone controls don’t cheapen the experience any.
CAPCOM, MONSTER HUNTER Dynamic Hunting – $4.99
Popstar Physics – This is the sequel to Save Toshi DX, which in itself is a game I expected to delete after a couple of levels but still have on my device today. The best (but probably not most appropriate) way to describe this game is a 3D Angry Birds clone. Toshi has been kidnapped by demons that used her DNA to create zombie clones. You must rescue Toshi by crushing all the zombies in each of 20 levels of castle demolishing fun. In Angry Birds style you’ll toss things at the structures to make the walls come tumbling down. If it plays like Save Toshi it should be easy to control and lots of fun. From the screen shots I’d say it looks even better than the first. My only concern is the limited number of levels, but hopefully like the first installment they’ll soon come out with an update to increase that number. The game is currently free, so I’d grab it now if you can.
Nitako, Popstar Physics (Save Toshi 2), 67.3 MB – Free
Zombie Ball – I think it’s been at least a couple of weeks since I mentioned a zombie game, so I thought I’d conclude the 10 To Watch list with a game that combines my obsession for zombie themed games with one of my favorite type of arcade style games, the ball roller. Apparently you are the neighborhood watch, and it’s up to you to stop waves of zombies from invading your neighbors’ houses and eating their brains. You do this by using the accelerometer to control a large metal ball that you can use to roll over the zombies. The game features more than 40 zombie packed levels, 10 unlockable gadgets to enhance your ball, and 18 unlockable skins to give your ball that unique flair. There are online leaderboards, though it doesn’t say if they are via an established social network or custom made. There are also unspecified updates already being worked on. One hopes you wouldn’t be able to go wrong with yet another way to crush the undead.
Hindarium, Zombie Ball, 18.7 MB – $1.99
Velocispider – Every once in a while I like to throw in a bonus entry, and this week it’s one that I could actually write a review on here and now. Velocispider pays homage to old school shooters, and I highly recommend it to anyone that’s into such games. Despite the fact that a couple of the levels are worthy of hair pulling, and the issue of there being only 20 levels (please add more), it’s still one of the most entertaining shooters I’ve played in a while. It all plays on one screen like such classics as Space Invaders or Galaga but it never feels confining. The enemies are cool and the visuals are first rate. Some sort of endurance mode would be a welcome addition, but as it stands right now there’s little to dislike about the game.
Retro Dreamer, Velocispider, 3.8 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:
- DR Studios, Bug Wings, 12.6 MB – $1.99
- Colorbox, Rip Off, 18.1 MB – $0.99
- studiogiochi, Cartagena1, 42.8 MB – $3.99
- Kyunghun Kang, Cartoon Defense 2, 24.0 MB – $0.99
- Launching Pad Games, Mighty Fin, 19.8 MB – $0.99
- Chillingo, Incredible Express HD, 148 MB – $2.99
- Telltale Inc, Back to the Future Ep 4 HD, 188 MB – $6.99
- Skyworks, World Cup Table Tennis™ HD, 26.3 MB – Free
- Benthic, Spellsquares: Cursed Moon, 24.3 MB – $3.99
- EA, BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY™ 2 for iPad– $9.99
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: