10 New App Store Games To Watch [June 6 – 12]
As if last week wasn’t good enough with X-Men, now we get Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp for the iPhone! If developers need to keep making ports, might as well make ports that I want to see. In other news, apparently both Evil Dead and Galaga are celebrating their 30th anniversaries, and as such they both have a game released this week (of course the Evil Dead series also had a game about a month ago, but that’s beside the point). The Galaga 30th Collection contains anniversary remakes of 4 venerable shooter classics, while Evil Dead looks to be a Minigore wannabe with the original wise cracking zombie slayer. Finally, if you’re in the mood for what might amount to more of a surreal experience than an actual game, you’ll probably want to check out Dream:scape. It looks sharp, but the real question is how engrossing it will be if there aren’t a lot of true game play elements.
Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp – As excited as I was about the release of Dragon’s Lair (TMA Review) on the iPhone (I think it’s the 4th system I’ve owned that game on), I’m even more excited about this one. The main reason is because I’ve never had the opportunity to play Time Warp before. I assume that will be able to expect the same level of quality animation that existed in the first installment. It also uses the same simple control scheme, which as far as I’m concerned still provides for an engaging experience and actually works quite well on the iPhone device. If it’s like the first there won’t be much of a tangible story, but the game will more than make up for it with crazy and cool death scenes. All in all this should be a great game for those who remember the days of laser disc games and those who just want a fun, cool looking game to play that doesn’t require you to master 50 combos but does ask you to remember a particular sequence of events. I for one can’t wait to sink my time into this one.
EA, Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp, 346 MB – $2.99
Galaga 30th Collection – If Pac-Man is the pioneer of the maze games then Galaga could probably be considered king of the classic shooters. Don’t get me wrong – Space Invaders certainly started it all. However, while that game in my opinion has gone a bit stale over the years, Galaga and its brethren are still quite playable. This definitive collection includes remakes of 4 classics including Galaga, Galaxian, Gaplus and Galaga ’88. You get Galaxian for free, and can purchase the other 3 games through IAP. Personally I would have thought that Galaga would have been the freebie, but oh well. Besides obvious enhancements like graphics and sound, each game (except Galaxian???) features a new Score Attack mode where you get a certain amount of time to score as much as you can. You can also earn Galaga Points to upgrade your fighters. There’s even integration with Game Center, Facebook and Twitter, so everyone can know of your retro exploits.
Namco, Galaga 30th Collection, 135 MB – Free
1000 Heroz – Platform games are starting to gain some momentum on the iPhone, and 1000 Heroz looks to set the bar high right off the bat. From a pure level design / mechanics standpoint, the game doesn’t look to offer much that we haven’t seen before. However, 1000 Heroz steals the show when it comes to content. True to its name the game intends to offer 1000 heroes over time, each one coming with its own level to solve. That comes out to almost 3 years worth of new content! Each hero also has its own relic for you to earn and its own leaderboard for your to compete with your friends and the world on. Plus, you can unite with your friends to create custom leagues for your own competitions. Don’t worry if you jump into the game late, either. All previous levels will be available to anyone that owns the game, though you can only compete in the leaderboards the day the level is released. I think future platform game developers are going to be hard pressed to come up with a gimmick to top this one.
Chop Chop Slicer – While conceptually on the iPhone it seems like a no-brainer, it feels like it took Fruit Ninja to make the concept of slashing items for points a fad. Several more games have followed, but the topics seem to focus on food, ninjas and zombies. Enter Chop Chop Slicer, the first game that I’m aware of to introduce the concept of slicing to the fascinating world of aliens. Besides the atmospheric difference, however, Slicer takes a nod from Food Processing and builds upon the idea of precision slicing. You get big rewards for slicing an alien as evenly in half as possible, and in one mode you even get penalized for not slicing the aliens in half within a certain percentage of 50 / 50. Add to that the fact that aliens will still attack and objects still hurtle towards you if you don’t slice enough away, and you suddenly have a new level of challenge not present in other slicing games. The visuals look to be on par with Gamerizon’s other games that use 3D characters. If you’re a fine of the non-sports side of the growing Chop Chop universe, you’ll probably find this enjoyable as well.
Gamerizon, Chop Chop Slicer, 31.6 MB – $0.99
dream:scape – The first phrase of the iTunes description is “Dream:scape is not a game”, but since it is in the games category I thought I’d cover it anyway. It’s actually billed as an “interactive experience” and an “explorable novel”, which in many ways is what a true adventure game is. I get the feeling you won’t find much in the way of inventory or anything like that in Dream:scape, however. What it does sound like is that you’ll be treated to vibrant, incredibly detailed landscapes realized in full 3D. You’ll also be treated to an engrossing story that’s both spoken and written as you wander through the environments. There’s even a lush musical score to accompany all of this rich imagery. The down side to all this is that those who need a lot of action with their games will probably be bored easily. On the other hand, if you can live with an expertly crafted tale that lets you participate, Dream:scape might be one of the most incredible things to grace your iDevice’s screen.
Speedbump, dream:scape, 199 MB – $1.99
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters – It’s interesting how they’re choosing to create standalone games for some of these superheroes instead of trying to make something that ties in with the big budget movie releases that are happening this summer. In the case of the Green Lantern game, however, I wonder if they might be tackling a story that’s too big for a game. The Manhunters are sort of the predecessors to the Green Lanterns, and unfortunately they’ve gone bad. As Hal Jordan it’s your job to stop them before they destroy everything in their path. Of course, the real story took place through almost every book in the DC comic universe over a 3 month period, so I’m sure the game doesn’t do it justice. I do like the fact that you have stats to improve and upgrades you can unlock, but the real test will be to see how the developers handled what the ring can do. I just hope this doesn’t turn out to feel like nothing more than an emerald iron man game.
Warner Bros, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters – $1.99
Evil Dead – I find it kind of interesting that just about a month after the release of a castle defense game based in the world according to Ash we now have a second offering in what has basically been a dormant property for some years. You still get to play Ash, and there are plenty of boomsticks and chainsaws to be found in this game as well. I will say that Evil Dead is a bit more my style, since it looks to be a Minigore style game. This one appears to hearken back to the original film, and its 30 levels are divided between the story of the film itself and a brand new tale. You can earn badges (achievements), and there are Game Center leaderboards as well. Hopefully the graphics are sharper than the screen shots might indicate, but if not at least music and dialog from the original game should help make up for it. I have a feeling this might be fun even if you’re not a fan of the movies, but it seems like this game might be more in the spirit of the film than Army Of Darkness Defense.
Trigger Apps, Evil Dead, 74.0 MB – $0.99
Amerzone: The Explorer’s Legacy – Hardcore adventure gamers will immediately recognize the name Benoît Sokal, though they are more likely to associate it with the masterpiece Syberia series. Amerzone is the first adventure game based on this renowned author’s work, and now we have the opportunity to play it on our iPhone devices. You have been tasked with finding the mysterious “white bird”, and if this plays anything like his other adventures you’ll be sure to visit many exotic locations in your quest. You’ll also have to solve some intriguing puzzles along the way. The one thing I’m not sure about is how many actual people you’ll run into on this journey. Whatever the case, I’m sure the landscape will be filled with lush visuals, and the soundtrack should be pretty nice as well. The developer also makes it clear that this is not simply a port of the PC version, though I don’t know if that means just in terms of mechanics or actual storyline. I’d imagine the adventure is somewhat lengthy since it comes in three parts, but be prepared to pay a sum that actually exceeds the highest priced Squaresoft game. Still, if original works are going to continue to come at a snail’s pace, I’ll be happy to check out at least the first act of what should be a modern classic.
Microids, Amerzone: The Explorer’s Legacy – Part 1, 737 MB – $4.99
Microids, Amerzone: The Explorer’s Legacy – Part 2, 1.03 GB – $4.99
Microids, Amerzone: The Explorer’s Legacy – Part 3, 974 MB – $4.99
The Incredible Machine – Long before Angry Birds was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, Dynamix published a series of games for various devices that required you to accomplish trivial tasks with wildly outrageous contraptions. The granddaddy of the line was The Incredible Machine, and now thanks to Disney you can experience this retro wonder on your iPad device. There are 60 levels of mind bending puzzles stock, with more levels available via download as well as additional packs in the works. You’ll have over 90 items to play with, and Game Center integration will allow you to compete with your friends to see who is the most skillful at using those parts. The graphics and sound have been redone for the iPad release, and the interface has obviously been tweaked for touch screen devices. Assuming that by “original designers” they mean the folks responsible for the first set of The Incredible Machine games, fans and newcomers alike should be in for a real treat.
Disney, The Incredible Machine, 23.3 MB – $2.99
Jack of All Tribes – Virtual City meets The Flintstones in this colorful new time management game from G5 Entertainment. You play Jack, a poor guy that has been transported to prehistoric times. Using your time management savvy you must help the ancient villagers create a place that even mom could call home. Over 40 levels you’ll build a thriving community, protect the tribe from dangers, and find artifacts to help you get home. There are 18 artifacts to find, as well as 12 trophies to collect. If past offerings are any indication, this game should be a blast. I would also expect some nice graphics and sound to compliment the whole package. I haven’t gotten bored with the time management genre yet, and I don’t expect this to be the game to push me over the edge, either.
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: