10 New App Store Games To Watch [July 18 – 24]

This week’s releases are all over the road map when it comes to style and developer.  The leader of the pack is Deadlock: Online from Crescent Moon Games, a multi-player online dual stick shooter with great 3D visuals.  Next up is the classic Sid Meier’s Pirates!, a strategy game for the iPad that will have you singing “Yo ho, Yo ho” in no time at all.  If you’re curious what a nine year old can do when he teams up with the world leader in casual gaming, check out Allied Star Police from Popcap games.

Deadlock: Online – You probably know more about this game by now than I do.  It’s from the developer of such hits as Aralon (TMA Review) and Gears (TMA Review), and it lets you engage in 8 player online combat in a rich 3D world.  Unlike most multi-player shooters that adopt a first or third person over the shoulder perspective, Deadlock is actually a dual stick shooter.  You can play across 5 different maps, with more on the way, and you get to choose from an arsenal of 30 weapons.  You’ll have the opportunity to compete in daily and weekly tournaments to earn unlock points for all your gadgets, or I’m sure you can expedite the process with a little IAP.  For the militant loner there is survival and bot modes offline, though I’m sure they aren’t nearly as fun as competing with other players.  You can even sync your characters between any iOS devices that you own.  I’m not much for online games, but this one sounds awfully tempting.

Deadlock: Online Crescent Moon Games, Deadlock: Online, 67.8 MB – Free

Dark Exile – I think Dark Exile is going to be one of those games that falls under the category “don’t judge a book by its cover”.  From what I can tell on the screen shots the graphics aren’t great, and honestly the stats aren’t very impressive: 11 campaigns, 5 enemies and no mention of how many offensive units.  However, you get the opportunity to construct space stations and upgrade them through three different technology paths.  You can also watch as your units gain XP, which is a cool feature that most tower defense games should employ.  There are different mission objectives, so each campaign feels fresh.  And, in an interesting twist, enemies will actually dodge your attacks, unlike the mindless drones you find in most tower defense games.  There is also an endless mode for when you’ve mastered all the campaign levels.  I just hope the future brings us a longer campaign and more types of enemies.  A better trailer that shows off the supposedly beautiful units would be nice as well.

Dark Exile Majestic Software, Dark Exile, 43.4 MB – $1.99

Temple Trouble – This top down puzzle game has you playing the part of a bumbling adventurer that happens to come across a series of temples which contain precious treasure guarded by insidious traps.  You’ll have all the usual pitfalls like gaps that must be filled to cross, paths that crumble under your feet, and icy floors that might take you where you need to go – or cause you to slide past your destination.  Mirrors will help you direct lasers to where they will be most useful (probably out of your way), and triggers will affect the pressure and time on the levels.  There are also ancient, dangerous monsters to encounter, though I don’t seem to see any of those in the screen shots.  The game currently has 50 levels spread across 5 temples, and the developers are promising free life-time updates of new areas to explore.  I’ve played Sheep Abduction, one of their previous efforts, so I have faith that they know their way around a puzzle game.

Temple Trouble Sticky Studios, Temple Trouble, 28.1 MB – $0.99

Grinder – There’s not much to say about this one.  It’s a game of infinite falling.  But it’s also a game of infinite climbing.  The trick is that you have to do them both at the same time.  You will control two characters, each with one virtual joystick, and you have to make sure that one keeps going up while the other continually falls down.  To add to the simple confusion of manipulating two characters at the same time, there are saw blades coming from the top or bottom of the screen (depending on the character’s direction) that will happily tear the characters apart.  The visuals have a slick black and white look, and from the best of my recollection this is a first in terms of mechanics for this genre of game.

Grinder Bale, Grinder, 15.6 MB – $0.99

Death Dragon – Awakening – I love dragons, so this might be me being hopeful more than anything else.  In this game you get to choose from one of 35 dragons and basically wreak havoc in a 3D world.  Assuming the controls are up to snuff, I’m not really sure what could be much better than that.  It would appear that there are both action and puzzle elements to the game.  You also get to enhance the skills of your dragon as it levels up.  That’s pretty much all I can take away from the iTunes description, which obviously was not translated by someone that natively speaks English, but it is certainly enough to get me intrigued.  The visuals actually look pretty slick as well.  My one concern is that with all the games this developer has on the App Store, I don’t think I’ve played a single one of them.  I’m not saying that means anything, but since I’ve been reviewing iPhone games for almost 3 years now I would think I would have played at least one title from them.

Death Dragon - Awakening 1Games, Death Dragon – Awakening, 73.0 MB – $1.99

TEKKEN BOWL – So what do some of the most fearsome fighters around do when they aren’t kicking each other around an arena?  Apparently they bowl!  This mini-game from Namco / Bandai features 3 characters, including a Panda.  They each bring their own skills to the table, though I doubt they’ll be as devastating as they might during a full out brawl.  The regular bowling mode allows you to challenge others via pass and play functionality, or you can exercise your brain a bit with puzzle mode, which combines fighters, bowling and physics.  The game supports Game Center achievements as well as in-game medals to collect and show off to your friends.  The game is free, so this craziness won’t set you back any.  It would be nice to see a few more fighters included in the future.

TEKKEN BOWL NamcoBandai, TEKKEN BOWL, 54.8 MB – Free

Allied Star Police – This is what makes gaming all worthwhile.  Sure you’ve probably played games like it before.  The enemies come at you from one side, following predefined lanes on the battlefield.  You populate those lanes on your side of the screen with troops to fight off the bad guys.  I will say that I think this is the first time I’ve seen this particular structure of RTS game with a space theme.  However, what sets this game apart is that it was designed by a nine year old boy.  Not only that, but it was developed by the talented folks over at 4th & Battery, a subsidiary of Popcap games.  All this was made possible through the make-a-wish foundation.  It’s nice that they released the game for free, but in a way it’s a shame that they didn’t charge the nominal 99 cents and donate the money to Make-a-wish.  Maybe Apple would have even considered donating their cut… okay, now I’m really dreaming.

Allied Star Police PopCap, Allied Star Police, 22.3 MB – Free

Jet Set Go – Chillingo has published a lot of games over the years, but the time management genre is one they really haven’t tapped into all that much.  Given the description for Jet Set Go, it appears that they were just waiting for the right game to come along.  There have been airport based time management games before, and some that take place in resorts, but this is the first one I’m aware of that delves into the travel agency aspect of things.  I like the fact that there are 12 different locations to explore, and I’m curious to see what they mean by “5 different styles of game play”.  There are 14 distinct types of customers to serve, which is a lot for a time management game, and you can earn 24 service awards for your efforts.  It all sounds rather ambitious, so the real question is: will the game play be balanced or will it just get to be too overwhelming?  Personally I can’t wait to find out.

Jet Set Goâ„¢ Chillingo, Jet Set Goâ„¢, 96.2 MB – $0.99

Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad – Anyone that’s been a gamer for more than a few years has heard the name Sid Meier.  Of course, you’re probably more familiar with his Civilization franchise, but before this prolific game developer had you settling down to raise an empire, he encouraged you to set sail and conquer the seas.  Choose from one of 27 fully customizable ships and get ready to take on the most nefarious villains that ever sailed the seas, such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd. The game has been re-envisioned for the iPad to take advantage of touch controls, allowing you to engage in sword fighting, ship combat and dancing with the greatest of ease.  Now’s your chance to join generations of gamers that have weathered the tides and hoisted a sword to Sid Meier’s epic masterpiece.

Sid Meier's Pirates! for iPad 2K Games, Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad, 436 MB – $6.99

TrollBridge! – This is a slightly different sort of infinite runner.  You are a bridge troll, and you have to make it from bridge to bridge before the sun comes up.  If you don’t get to the safety of a bridge before the sun rises you’ll turn to stone.  The game has 50 levels to conquer with 5 bonus levels to unlock.  In addition to normal activities like running, jumping and rolling, you get to smash through buildings as well.  An advanced physics engine makes this all worthwhile.  If you’re looking for something with a bit of a lighter tone to it that will be relaxing instead of taxing, Troll Bridge sounds like it might just fit the bill.

TrollBridge! Play-All-Day, TrollBridge!, 8.1 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:

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:

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