10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug 22 – 28]

Firemint is back with their first offering post EA acquisition, and it looks like a return to true form.  The game is called Spy Mouse, and it’s a new line drawing offering that mixes stealth, precision and a bit of cheese.  Old school RPG fanatics will definitely be interested in Dragon Fantasy, a game which obviously lends much thanks to the old Dragon Quest games from the NES days.  It looks to maintain all the retro charm while being native to the most current iOS devices.  On the other hand, if you just can’t play an RPG by yourself any more you’d do well to consider Star Legends, the second MMO offering in the Legends series.  This time the setting is Sci-Fi, but the game is still free and has plenty of content to offer.  Finally, those looking for something a bit different might consider MiniGames Paradise from Com2Us.  There are currently only 10 different mini-games to play, but hopefully that will expand rather quickly if Com2Us feels that people are interested in the game.

Puppysaurus – Since there’s still no indication that we’ll ever see a true Pokemon game on the iPhone, it’s nice to see that developers are still trying to make a quality replacement.  This is certainly one of the better looking variants that have popped up on the platform, with an overhead view that has decent graphics and battle characters that don’t look like they came from some cheap RPG graphics pack.  More importantly, though, is the fact that you can draw and import your own characters into the game.  As for game play itself, the solo adventure sports more than 10 hours of game play, and new quests are being designed for future updates.  You can also assemble the perfect collection of critters to battle other players online.  There are even OpenFeint achievements to earn and leaderboards to climb.  All in all, this could be the best Pokemon clone for iOS yet.

Puppysaurus Fuzzy Professor Head, Puppysaurus, 100.0 MB – $3.99

SPY mouse – This is the first collaboration between Firemint and their new owners, EA.  It’s also the first new franchise for Firemint since Real Racing.  Use your line drawing skills to grab some cheese, evade the watchful cats and escape through the mouse hole in each level.  There are over 70 levels to conquer across 6 worlds, and you’ll get some nifty gadgets to help you in your cause.  If all else fails you can call on the talents of Kiska to help you through a rough spot.  There are achievements to earn, and even secret levels to find.  Plus there will be updates in the future with more levels to master.  Assuming the quality holds true to their other titles, this should be another winner from Firemint.

SPY mouse Electronic Arts, SPY mouse, 199 MB – $0.99

Marble World – One of my favorite games from my childhood was Marble Madness.  Between the cool but often insane level design and addictive music, it was a joy to play.  While seemingly the perfect fit for the iPhone, it has yet to surface on iOS devices.  Thankfully Marble World looks like it could fill the gap until the one true marble rolling game arrives.  With its retro visuals and isometric perspective, it has the look down.  There is apparently a 3D view as well, though it is oddly absent from any of the screen shots.  The thought of “crazy marble physics” is starting to give me goosebumps, and 23 levels is a nice start until the promised extra levels arrive.  The now common inclusion of Game Center integration brings some modern replayability to classic game play.  My biggest hope is that they nailed the controls, otherwise this potentially awesome stand-in for one of my childhood favorites could become another quick dump to the recycle bin.

Marble World Retro-Soft Games, Marble World, 63.5 MB – $0.99

Gore Ball – The plot is your typical “revenge for the death of your family” type scenario, but the game itself sounds rather intriguing.  The game play is described as “bat-n-ball” with a twist, which already has me intrigued.  Throw in some all out zombie demolition, and it sounds like you’ve got the recipe for a perfect game.  The visuals are rendered in real-time 3D with your choice of camera views.  The controls are simple for pick up and play gamers, and random level generation provides for unlimited replay value.  Add to that OpenFeint integration and you’ll be coming back again and again for some zombie stomping fun.  There are even in-game forums and chat so you can brag about your accomplishments while you’re actually doing them!

Gore Ball Gear Worx Productions, Gore Ball, 44.0 MB – $0.99

Dragon Fantasy – I missed out on the Dragon Quest phenomenon until the first couple of games were released on the Game Boy Color, but once I started playing them I was hooked.  The series turned dungeon crawling into an art, and the simple graphics still looked good years after the game came out.  Now we have the chance to relive that magic thanks to Dragon Fantasy for iOS devices.  Based on the screen shots they’ve done an excellent job of capturing the appearance of the fabled Dragon Quest series, and the music has been orchestrated by a renowned 8-bit chip tune artist.  The game play is the perfect blend of overhead map exploration and one on one confrontations with crazy monsters.  The cast includes everything from pirates to crazy old woodsmen and promises to be unlike anything you’ve played on your iOS device so far.  Best of all, you can enjoy the experience on both your iPhone and iPad thanks to the game’s universal binary.

Dragon Fantasy The Muteki Corporation, Dragon Fantasy, 18.3 MB – $2.99

Space Trooper USA – This is a dual stick shooter unlike any I’ve ever seen before.  Instead of your traditional flat, multi-screen arenas, this game takes place on a 3D asteroid that you can walk completely around.  Now there have been a couple of games that have used this effect (Snake Galaxy comes to mind), but this one goes further in that you can terraform the planet in order to suit your needs.  In fact, the world is fully destructible.  The enemies are vicious and relentless while displaying an impressive crowd mentality.  Your weapons are upgradable and there are 7 powerful bonuses to collect.  The sound effects even play on the 3D aspect of the environment.  Game Center leaderboards allow you to challenge your friends and determine who is the best exterminator.  Assuming the game play is as strong as the description suggests, a lot will be riding on how easy the terraforming capabilities are.

Space Trooper USA Bento, Space Trooper USA, 19.0 MB – $0.99

Earth And Legend – Dvide Arts has had an interesting lineage, from the interesting stealth game Animals of Mass Destruction to the horrid “RPG” Angel Sword.  This one looks like it could be their crowning achievement or their biggest flop yet.  They promise an innovative combat system, though aren’t real clear on what it is that makes the system unique.  You can play the game solo or with a friend which allows you to tag team against the monsters and work together to solve quests.  Unfortunately, co-op only works over Bluetooth.  You can also acquire pets to fight alongside you, several of which are available via IAP.  I hope there are some that you can get when you actually purchase the full game, though.  The game has a full day / night cycle, which hopefully will be taken advantage of by certain quests or activities.  There is also an active weather element, and magicians will actually be able to tap into lightning from storms to make their spells more powerful.  The main thing that bugs me right now is the limited scope of the free version – you only get to visit the main town until you buy the game.  Unless there’s combat in town, I don’t know how that’s a good representation of what you’re buying.  I also think the IAP prices are ridiculous, but that won’t matter as much if you can actually find some pets and masks in the full version of the game.

Earth And Legend DVide Arts, Earth And Legend, 118 MB – Free

Dust Those Bunnies! – I can honestly say I never expected someone to create a game based off of those annoying little collections of leftover filth that gather under furniture and such other such dark places.  Now that someone has, though, it looks like it could be fun.  Your job is to sweep away the bunnies, making sure not to let any get away because you get too overzealous and rush the job.  There are two game play modes, one of which lets you play with all kinds of nifty gadgets, while the other is just you, the broom and all kinds of fluffy dust pets.  The game offers all kinds of unlockables in the form of new bunnies, weapons, war zones and tunes.  There are Game Center leaderboards so you can compete against your friends, and achievements that will in turn unlock in-game medals that you can proudly “wear”.  Beyond just the black and white color palette, the game has an old school film reel look to it, helping it stand out both visually and content wise from many other offerings.

Dust Those Bunnies! Gamers Rejoice, Dust Those Bunnies!, 30.4 MB – $0.99
Dust Those Bunnies! XL Gamers Rejoice, Dust Those Bunnies! XL, 23.0 MB – $0.99

MiniGame Paradise – Com2Us keeps trying to stretch its wings and cover new ground, and this time they’re venturing into a genre made famous by games like WarioWare and Rayman: Raving Rabbids: the mini-game collection.  The game sports 35 different characters and 70 quests (whatever a quest is), but interestingly enough there are only 10 mini-games.  I trust that number will grow over time.  The description claims easy AND simple controls, so I guess they are trying to emphasize the fact that you should have no trouble mastering the control scheme.  Also, while it’s not clearly defined in iTunes, it seems that you’ll be able to interact with friends that also own the game.  It’s always nice to see companies branch out and try new things instead of just sticking with what people expect them to do.  It just feels to me like there might not be enough initial content in this offering.  But, that’s why it’s one to watch.

MiniGame Paradise Com2uS, MiniGame Paradise, 20.0 MB – $0.99

Star Legends (3D MMO) – If you’ve played Pocket Legends then you should be a leg up on this one, since it’s made by the same folks.  I don’t really get into the online stuff myself, but it’s always nice to see an RPG that veers from the standard fantasy formula, especially when it takes place in an outer space setting.  You’ll get the chance to explore hijacked space ships, alien infested asteroids and more as you journey with thousands of other players from around the world over your WiFi, Edge or 3G / 4G connection.  Pick a character type, select your abilities and get ready to prove that you’re part of the team.  The game is free to play, and apparently you can even raise your character to the maximum level without spending a dime.  Of course if you want to get there a bit more quickly, there’s always IAP to help you out.  Not to mention the fact it’s probably a big encouragement to the developers.  If you have as yet to take the MMO plunge and you like Sci-Fi themed games, this might be a good place to start.

Star Legends (3D MMO) Spacetime Studios, LLC, Star Legends (3D MMO), 41.6 MB – Free

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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