This week saw a lot of high profile ports arrive on the scene. Mac addicts will be happy to sink their teeth into Marathon 1, an FPS that helped define the genre for the Macintosh. Those that enjoy bullet hell shooters can give Deathsmiles a spin, with all the goodness of the Xbox 360 version in addition to a mode specifically designed for the iOS complete with a new character and story. The King Of Fighters is the second iOS entry from SNK, and hopefully proof that someone besides Capcom knows a thing or two about colorful 2D fighters. If Deathsmiles is a little too intense for you then you might want to check out Battlesquadr1, a slick looking port of an old Amiga game that actually makes a decent transition to the “modern” gaming world.
Marathon 1 – I have a feeling that this will appeal more to nostalgia buffs than anything, but I figure it’s worth mentioning since it’s sort of a hallmark of 3D gaming for Mac owners and also because it was created by a somewhat well known studio named Bungie Software. You are a security officer that must defend the starship Marathon against alien invaders. There are 27 levels divided among six chapters, and tasks will include exploration, puzzle solving and mass extermination. There are 7 unique weapons for you to get your hands on, and it’s up to you to figure out when best to use them. I don’t know how much of the game’s resources are new versus being lifted from the original game, but I’m guessing this isn’t going to look like Dead Space (TMA Review). However, if you’re at all interested in where 3D gaming on the Mac stems from (or what Bungie did before Halo, for that matter), Marathon is probably worth checking out. It’s also interesting to note that this is the first of a trilogy.
Soli Deo Gloria Productions, Marathon 1, 67.8 MB – Free
DEATHSMILES – The king of the bullet hell shooters is back with another interesting title called Deathsmiles. This is actually a rollover from the Xbox 360, which goes to show the perceived power of the iOS platform. Having played some of their other titles, I can assure you that you’re in for lots of carnage and bullet dodging in this game. In addition to the standard arcade mode, this version sports a practice mode as well as a brand new iPhone only mode with new characters and story. There’s also a new soundtrack if you don’t want to indulge in the original arcade version. Game Center and OpenFeint support provide achievements and leaderboards, including rankings for each game mode and every character. Customizable controls should provide an optimal experience for any player, and the game is even “Guinness certified” (not sure what that means, but it sounds cool).
CAVE CO., DEATHSMILES, 272 MB – $8.99
Supercow: funny farm arcade platformer – You might look at this and think to yourself that it appears to be a pretty standard platform game. In a lot of ways it is. However, I’ve played the PC version of this game, and when the opportunity arises I like to point out solid games that are good for the whole family. Supercow is one such game. The game has 50 levels, so it’s a nice little jaunt for experienced players and a good haul for younger gamers. The levels are fairly well designed, and the story can be amusing at times. The visuals are actually pretty decent, and the characters certainly have some personality to them. This might not be the ideal platformer for older gamers, but if you have kids and you want to give them a game you can feel good about (and probably enjoy yourself), Supercow is a great choice.
Swords and Soldiers – From the developers of Toki Tori comes a side scrolling RTS with lots of attitude. You’ll command Viking, Aztec and Chinese forces through three different campaigns for hours of silly game play. Once you’ve mastered all that it’s time to hit the fully customizable skirmish mode for infinite replayability. Game Center support provides leaderboards and achievements for even more to do. If Toki Tori is any indication I’d expect colorful and detailed graphics, and there’s probably a solid soundtrack behind it all as well. From the sounds of it we’re even in for a decent dose of humor. And let’s not forget the ninja monkeys – what RTS would be complete without those?
THE KING OF FIGHTERS – With all the attention Street Fighter IV has been getting, it stands to reason that other 2D fighters “from the day” would start popping up. King Of Fighters was the headliner for the Neo Geo platform, the system that allowed gamers to experience arcade action in the comfort of their own home. There are 4 different game play modes, and Bluetooth connectivity will allow you to play the 3 on 3 team battle mode with all of your closest friends. You can also exchange trading cards this way. The game currently sports a cast of 13 characters, and another 6 are promised by October. My old fashioned math seems to think this will bring the total to 19, though the iTunes description says 20 characters. Either way that’s a lot of fighters to contend with. The game uses a virtual control pad with buttons for various attacks, but for neophyte players there’s a “Simple Specials Button” to make pulling off complex combos easy. If you dig 2D combat but want something a little different than Street Fighter, KOF might be the game for you.
SNK PLAYMORE, THE KING OF FIGHTERS-i 002 – $7.99
The Isle – This is a massively multiplayer online game with a difference. Forget the mafia, fantasy settings, or vampires. In this game you simply wake up on an island after falling overboard, and you must scavenge to survive. The game boasts over 300 items to collect, and you’ll need to fight both savage creatures and other players for these items. Thankfully you’ll be able to customize your character’s skills as you level up, and you can always visit the store to buy helpful items and services. Game Center provides leaderboards and achievements, and future updates will bring new items, collections and features, all free. This is an online only game, so if you’re an iPod Touch user make sure you’re near WiFi.
SimbergSoft, The Isle, 2.4 MB – Free
Space City – I’d say this is “Sim City in space”, but I don’t want to insult your intelligence as you’ve probably already figured that out. Your task is to build a thriving space city on the surface of an asteroid. You’ll have your choice of more than 60 buildings to fill your city with, in hopes of attracting different types of aliens that can contribute their unique talents to building your floating paradise. In typical Glu fashion you’ll be able to interact with your Game Center and Facebook friends and visit their asteroids for in-game bonuses. Where this game takes a twist from the norm is that the city is in full 3D, so you can pan, zoom and spin around your town to see it from every angle. It’s mainly a gimmick to be sure, but a cool one none the less. And at a price point of free, it certainly can’t hurt to check it out.
Glu Games, Space City, 59.7 MB – Free
Jules – The population of the world has been boxed up by alien invaders, and it’s up to you to set them free. This ball rolling game has a broader scope than most, as the maze is the world around you. You’ll roll through houses, trainyards and more than 20 other locales as you try to free all the humans from their wooden entrapments. All you have to do to free the people is run into the boxes, but be careful: if you hit a blocky minion you’ll end up getting boxed yourself! In addition to 30 campaign levels there are 4 unlockable endless modes for infinite replay value. Of course there are also achievements and leaderboards thanks to Game Center, but that’s just about a given these days. The other thing to note is that the visuals are hand painted, giving them a unique look amongst iPhone games.
Eternity Warriors – Another week, another freemium title from Glu. I suppose you might consider this “Gun Bros meets D&D”, or maybe it’s simply Zenonia with grownup graphics. Either way it looks like your typical fantasy action fun, with lots of beasts to slay and equipment to gather and equip. Naturally you’ll get to hook up with your Game Center and Facebook friends, because we all know “the more the merrier” when it comes to extermination of the wicked. At this point I’m not sure if these games from Glu are worth watching so much for the games themselves, or more for seeing when they’ll finally hit a threshold where this freemium formula starts to wear on people. Personally I’m not real keen on paying $10 or $20 for IAP just to get the game for free initially, but apparently it’s profitable enough for them at the moment that they are willing to apply that model to most of their new games.
Glu Games, Eternity Warriors, 129 MB – Free
BattleSquadr1 – Corny attempt at a “cool” name aside, this is actually quite an impressive shooter. I had the pleasure of beta testing this game, and it’s proof that the concept for shooters was just as solid 15 years ago as it is now. The game has three levels of difficulty, the highest of which is a direct port game play wise from the Amiga version. There are 3 underground levels to conquer, and an above ground level that has the unique distinction of continuously scrolling to let you build up your weapons for your underground invasion. If you’re not ready for the challenge that await below, simply bypass an underground entrance and keep fighting on the surface. 3 different control modes will help you get comfortable in the pilot’s seat, and 2 player simultaneous mode is in the works for a free update.
Cope-Com, BattleSquadr1, 13.8 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: