This week’s new releases include pseudo-sequels, electronic versions of non-existent board games, and familiar games with new names. Street Fighter IV Volt sounds more like a repackaged update than a true sequel, but it does sport the one thing that most users were clamoring for – WiFi multiplayer fights. Cargo Runners is a game designed from the ground up for the iPad, yet it’s meant to look like a digital reproduction of an old fashioned physically printed board game. From what I hear, it does a pretty good job at that. Many of you might have noticed the game Mooniacs and looked at it with a quizzical eye, thinking you’d experienced déjà vu. Don’t fret – the game is actually a rebranding of the puzzle game Moonsters , this time under the publishing label of Namco. As long as it plays the game same, you’ll still be in for a treat.
STREET FIGHTER IV Volt – This game is for fighters what Super Mario Bros is for platform games – the one that started it all. Not to say there weren’t necessarily others before it came along, but Street Fighter and all of its successors made the two player multi-combo brawler what it is today. The most important enhancement to Volt over its iOS predecessor is the ability to play other users over WiFi, so you can battle with opponents around the world. The roster includes 17 fighters, three of which are new to the iOS platform. The game employs a unique 4 button control system that – along with the virtual D-pad – can be placed anywhere on the screen you’d like. All the combat of the arcade versions is here, including Special Moves, Ex Moves, Super Combos and Ultra Combos. Supposedly the combo system is designed to make casual players feel at home, though I must admit to floundering a bit with the original iOS version of STREET FIGHTER IV (TMA Review). Still, if you’re truly a fighting game fan and know how to appreciate incredible 2D visuals, this is one you won’t want to miss.
CAPCOM, STREET FIGHTER IV Volt, 382 MB – $5.99
Amazing Breaker – Here’s a physics game that takes a slightly different perspective on the whole “destroy the level” principle. Each level has an ice sculpture, and you must use bombs to destroy the sculptures. However, this game demands perfection, as the minimum amount of destruction required to pass a level is 90%, and three stars require that every last shard of ice is eliminated. To aid you in total destruction you’ll have special bombs like the ghost bomb which can be directly controlled and the split bomb that can be separated into 3 pieces. The game comes with 80 levels and there are more on the way. The visuals have a subdued, almost stained glass look to them, and hopefully being an ice based game there should be some decent shattering sound effects. Amazing Breaker seems like a nice change of pace from all the Angry Birds clones.
Dekovir, Inc., Amazing Breaker, 18.3 MB – $0.99
Cargo Runners – This is a goods trading, ship sailing adventure with the feel of a board game but specifically designed for the iPad platform. 2-4 players will engage in 20-30 minute sessions to see who will be king of the seas. You can either play hot seat, online multiplayer or “invite a friend” using Game Center. Unfortunately there is no solo option at this point, though that mode is in the works. Because contracts, Communique cards, weather events and other challenges are randomly distributed, no two games will be exactly the same. Your objective is to buy and sell 6 different types of cargo at 30 ports-of-call, vying to see who can earn the most money. The visuals look like they were ripped right from the cardboard of an old printed board game, and an original soundtrack accompanies the game (though you can listen to your own music). If you want to relieve the thrills of family game night without all the fuss of tiny plastic pieces to lose or flimsy cardboard decks to rip, Cargo Runners would probably worth looking into.
Trouble Brothers, Cargo Runners, 23.3 MB – $4.99
Pocket Academy – From the developers of Game Dev Story and Hot Springs Story come this latest sim, focusing on the academic life of some nation’s youth. Your job is to build an educational institution into the dream facility for academic scholars. Add classrooms, build clubs, and choose who the latest “hot couple” will be. Sponsor athletic meets, host art show, and do whatever it takes to attract students and build up your school’s prestige. Not a whole lot of specifics are given in the iTunes description of this game, but if it’s anything like Game Dev Story I’m sure there will be lots of options via pull down menus. I also find it amusing that in the picture activities seem to include skateboarding in the middle of campus and fishing in their own private pond. The visuals share the same simple yet detailed 8 bit goodness of the previous Story titles, though interestingly enough Story was not included in the title of this game. Still, if you’re a fan of the franchise this seems like it would be a worthy addition.
Kairosoft, Pocket Academy, 13.6 MB – $3.99
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – ‘Tis the season for summer movie blockbusters and their video game tie-ins, and the trend continues with Dark Of The Moon by EA. I rather enjoyed the Autobots’ last outing (TMA Review) on the iOS thanks to Glu Mobile, but that had two things going for it: no movie tie-in, and a strategy backdrop instead of pure action. Still, I’m a huge fan of the Transformers and always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and this does look pretty sweet. I just hope it plays as well as it looks. There are 13 levels ripped straight from the plot of the movie, and you’ll get your choice of Optimus Prime or Bumblebee to wreak havoc among the Decepticons in either robot or vehicle form. There are 13 unlockable weapons to upgrade your characters with, and you’ll need them to win the 5 boss battles against foes such as Shockwave and the might Megatron himself. I just hope this plays out a lot better than the Thor game released a while back.
Puzzle Agent 2 – This sounds like it picks up right where the previous adventure (TMA Review) left off. The FBI has declared the case closed, but something leaves an unsettled feeling in the pit of your stomach. You decide to go rouge and head back to the town of Scoggins, Minnesota to figure out what the deal is with the “Hidden People” for certain this time. Having played a bit of the first game, I can tell you that this will most likely have an amusing but dark story with crazy characters and outlandish tasks. The game is formatted somewhat like an adventure game but make no mistake that this is primarily about solving lots and lots of puzzles. Also, expect to have every brain cell challenged in order to solve some of the puzzles. If you’re into more of the Myst type experience (but with a lot witty story and actual characters to talk to), the Puzzle Agent series is probably right up your alley.
The Dungeon Saga – This looks to be a nice balance between Puzzle Quest 2 (TMA Review) and Dungeon Raid (TMA Review), which happen to be two of my favorite match 3 mash ups. You’ll choose between a warrior and a sorcerer, and build your stats up by defeating countless enemies in an ever changing dungeon. There are 20 spells to learn and upgrade, and 20 different monsters to combat against. The game supports OpenFeint and Game Center for leaderboards and achievements. The graphics look sharp, and it promises to have an epic soundtrack. If you want more variety than Dungeon Raid without all the traipsing back and forth required by Puzzle Quest 2, The Dungeon Saga should fit the bill quite nicely.
GameLab, The Dungeon Saga, 64.4 MB – $0.99
Project MOS – This sounds like what you’d get if you took a game like Wing Commander and made it massively multiplayer. The universe is divided into two factions, and you have to pick one and help the rest of the team defend your carriers against the onslaught of a massive, live enemy faction. Lock on to enemy targets and fire away in order to earn points towards new ships. The game has 3D graphics, though they look fairly simple, and employs realistic physics. An internet connection is required, but it’s free to try, so if you feel like taking part in an intergalactic battle of epic proportions, why not give it a shot?
Vocabolaudio, Project MOS, 8.2 MB – Free
Burn The City – What do you get when you cross the control scheme of games like Angry Birds with the city leveling demeanor of the classic Rampage? You get Burn The City, the new physics action game from JoshOClock. You take on the role of a cute lizard monster that looks to be an anime-inspired version of Godzilla. You’re tasked with spitting fire on the city, burning it to the ground. You’ll earn bonus points for things like getting multiple structures with the same fireball and hitting structures in their weak spots. Use items like conveniently placed boulders and packs of TNT to further your destruction. Unfortunately the game seems to be absent any sort of social network integration at this point, but I’d be perfectly willing to trash cities for my own gratification until such integration comes along.
JoshOClock, Burn The City, 34.9 MB – $0.99
Mooniacs – A trio of crazy looking aliens have crash landed on a planet, and you need to help them get home. With familiar gaming mechanics you’ll drag your finger to set a launch angle and velocity, then let go to release the alien. You have one shot to try and collect as many JujuBees on a level as you can, which you’ll use to exchange for parts to your ship. The overall amount of JujuBees you collect will determine which of three endings you see, and can also be used to contribute to a community web site in order to unlock “group” rewards such as a 10 level bonus. The game has 90 levels to start with, so that would just be icing on the cake. In addition to the community rewards the game has Facebook integration and Game Center leaderboards and achievements. And if you’re thinking to yourself that you’ve seen this game before, there’s a good chance you have. This is Namco’s rebranded version of the game Moonsters. Assuming it hasn’t changed too much it should be a pretty fun puzzle adventure.
Namco, Mooniacs, 140 MB – $1.99
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: