10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug. 15 – 21]

Well, as I’m sure you all know by now, the talk of the town this week is iBlast Moki 2. The sequel to one of the most popular non Angry Birds physics games on the App Store, this outing looks bigger and better than ever before. Conan: Tower Of The Elephant is a new action game from Chillingo that looks like it might do for Conan what the iOS version of Predators did for that franchise – make a good action game that’s actually fun to play. Match 3 junkies should check out Ice Cubes, a game that among other things provides multi-touch block manipulating capabilities and online play. If you like line drawing games you might be interested in Drawin’ Growin’, a game that combines line drawing with… gardening? Well, not exactly, but some nifty game play elements and slick looking graphics might just put this one on top.

iBlast Moki 2 – The first Moki (TMA Review) was a huge success, and if you believe the critics this iteration is even better.  The game is physics based, with all kinds of neat contraptions like paint bombs, ropes, rising balloons and rotating wheels at your disposal.  Watching the trailer, the vast variety in level design was amazing.  The game already has 90 levels spread across 6 worlds, but the developers are already promising more to come.  If that’s not enough, load up the very same editor that they used to create the existing worlds and make your own levels.  Once you’ve done that you can share them over the internet and download content created from other users.  The graphics look great, and it sounds like each world has its own musical theme as well.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the original, but iBlast Moki 2 might make me a Moki lover yet.

iBlast Moki 2 HD Godzilab, iBlast Moki 2 HD, 99.9 MB – $2.99

 Rogue Sky – In this quirky platformer you take on the role of a hot air balloon with an evil grin.  The controls are designed to give you ultimate guidance of your balloon, even through tight and tricky areas.  There are different objectives for each level to keep things from betting too repetitive.  You can collect coins throughout the levels to unlock additional balloons that each come with their own special attributes.  You’ll also be able to unlock things like new power ups and weapons as you progress through the game.  A combination of hand drawn backgrounds and 3D models provide an interesting visual style, and a whacky Gothic soundtrack keeps the mood in check.  Considering some of Chillingo’s recent publishing efforts like Storm In A Teacup, this platform game has a lot to live up to, but it sounds like it can handle the heat.

Rogue Sky Chillingo, Rogue Sky, 38.1 MB – $0.99
Rogue Sky HD Chillingo, Rogue Sky HD, 27.1 MB – $1.99

Draw Slasher: The Quest – Speaking of platform games, here is the latest game in the  Draw Slasher series.  One interesting innovation with this series of zombie action games is that there are no virtual joypads or buttons involved.  Movement and attack is entirely swipe and drag driven, allowing for some interesting combos that should be executable with minimal effort.  The game features an engaging story mode with multiple locations and RPG elements, as well as Challenge and Endless modes.  There’s even a multiplayer mode where you can either help your friend create the ultimate slaughter fest, or compete against him to see who can kill the most zombies.  One thing I remember from the original was some pretty stylish graphics, and this outing looks to have upped the ante a notch or two.  Game Center and OpenFeint support round out the package to give you a lot to play for.

Draw Slasher: The Quest Mass Creation, Draw Slasher: The Quest, 82.9 MB – $2.99

Conan: Tower of the Elephant – Long before becoming a poorly voiced Schwarzenegger franchise in the 80s (we still love you, James Earl Jones), Conan existed in a series of short stories penned by Robert E Howard.  This year he’s back in what will hopefully be a new blockbuster franchise on the silver screen, and thanks to Chillingo you get the chance to step into his moccasins on the small screen in Tower Of The Elephant, based off of Howard’s original short story.  I’m not sure the story is all that important as long as you get to thump lots of bad guys with your sword, but in case you do care the tale is told through nice looking comic book style cut scenes.  Much like Draw Slasher the game boasts a gesture based combat system, so hopefully fighting will be a bit more interesting than in most hack ‘n slash games.  There are 50 quests that you can complete which means that play time should be fairly sizeable.  And, when you’re feeling a bit weak, just hop into a bar and replenish your strength with a beer.  If this is half the quality of the Predator game, we should be in for quite a bit of fun.

Conan: Tower of the Elephant Chillingo, Conan: Tower of the Elephant, 141 MB – $1.99

RALLY-X RUMBLE – This latest offering from Namco looks to be their take on the whole Tron light cycle concept.  You can play up to four players either computer AI or human opponents.  There are four game modes, 2 of which are variants of the game New Rally-X, and the other two which are new to the iOS version of the game.  There are two additional game play modes coming in an update, as well as two IAP game packs that will each provide another two game play modes.  If you don’t want to play against the computer you can play locally via Bluetooth or over the internet via WiFi with up to three other players using Game Center multi-player.  There are naturally leaderboards and achievements to go with the Game Center integration as well.  Several different control options let you customize play to your tastes, and some interesting neon visuals should keep your eyes entertained.

RALLY-X RUMBLE NamcoBandai Games, RALLY-X RUMBLE, 47.5 MB – $0.99

Drawin’ Growin’ – First of all, any game attracts my attention that has sharp looking “paper cut” style graphics, and this looks to be one of the better ones on the App Store.  I’m also interested in line drawing games that veer from the traditional “guide vehicles around” premise, and Drawin’ Growin’ certainly fits the bill.  Your job is to help a creature named Meu restore the natural beauty to the kingdom’s flowers.  You need to draw lines between the elements (sun, water) and the flowers that need the nutrients.  To defend against attackers you can tap annoying pests and draw lines to form shields to block adverse weather.  And don’t forget about Meu – he wears two hats as both a grade A farmer and a help against the unwanted elements.  This may have a somewhat kid like slant in terms of atmosphere, but if the challenge is there I’m all for it.

Drawin' Growin' TAITO Corporation, Drawin’ Growin’, 182 MB – $0.99

Mercenary Scramble – Supermarket Scramble was one of those games that I bought for the fun of it and ended up enjoying so much I wrote a review for it.  As such I would expect no less from this spiritual successor.  What I like about the scramble series is how it seamlessly blends time management and match 3.  To fill your customer’s needs you have to match 3 or more of the items they are asking for in your supply grid.  As you progress through the levels you’ll be able to buy power ups that make your life easier, and these power ups can be used in Endless mode as well (though you can’t earn new power ups in Endless mode).  Because of the nature and sheer quantity of power ups available, you can conceivably have a different playing experience every time you play the campaign mode.  The graphics aren’t the most exciting, but in a game like this the most important thing is that you can tell what each of the objects are, and that shouldn’t be an issue.  Plus, the mercenary theme is something you don’t really see in time management games.  I fully expect this to be as entertaining as Supermarket Scramble.

Mercenary Scramble Rebel Box, Mercenary Scramble, 10.7 MB – $1.99

Banjo Piranha – The concept had me with the phrase “banjo obsessed vegetarian piranha”.  I think we’ve found the next official Muppet character!  In this physics platform game your goal is to collect banjos while avoiding your nasty brethren, who unfortunately still have a craving for meat – yours!  You’ll dive to the depths of the ocean and then lunge in the air, trying to either land on the necessary collectibles or knock them into the ocean by wobbling the platforms they sit on.  Gathering banjos boosts your score, while collecting your favorite fruits gets you access to higher levels.  To avoid the other nasty piranha you can either skillfully maneuver around them or distract them with meat when available.  The game has more than 50 stages, so it should keep you busy for a while.  Interestingly enough there is no mention of social network integration, which seems almost unheard of these days for this type of game.  Hopefully it was either an omission to the iTunes description or it’s planned for a future update.  Either way this looks like one amusing fishy caper.

Banjo Piranha Sauce Digital, Banjo Piranha, 12.1 MB – $0.99

IceCubes – This sounds like a super charged match 3 game with a few cool twists.  You can actually drag blocks to move them around and tap them to rotate them.  The game even supports multi-touch so you can manipulate several blocks at once.  Clear blocks that have fish in them and you’ll build up a meter which will eventually allow you to execute super moves, destroy lots of blocks at once.  If you happen to get bored with single player mode, go online and play against other people.  Finally, when all is said and done, you can record your games and share them with your friends so they can see how awesome you are.  There are also some new game play modes in the works, so fans will have plenty to look forward to.  This sounds like a real match 3 player’s dream.

IceCubes Game Jelly Online, IceCubes, 13.5 MB – $0.99

Hidden Wonders of the Depths 2 – I don’t normally feature games from companies like Big Fish because they are all rehashes of PC casual games.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you, but I try to focus on original games or ports of beloved classics.  The reason I bring this one up is that it’s one of the few games that we have in my house (on the PC, mind you) that everyone in the family has both played and loved.  You play a cute crab that must traverse 250 levels of treasure finding using several different variations of the match 3 mechanic of game play.  There are also some mini-games thrown in that have nothing to do with match 3, as well as a scene where you can repair a pirate ship and build up an aquarium.  Games that are fun for all, family friendly and have lots of content are not as prevalent as they should be, so if you’re looking for one, look no further.

Hidden Wonders of the Depths 2 Big Fish Games, Hidden Wonders of the Depths 2, 60.7 MB – Free
Hidden Wonders of the Depths 2 HD Big Fish Games, Hidden Wonders of the Depths 2 HD, 60.9 MB – Free

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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