10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug. 29 – Sep. 4]
This week wasn’t so much “blockbuster release” as it was “cute casual goodness”. The one sports game of note was Madden NFL 12 by EA Sports, which among other things includes a staggering roster of 2500 playable characters! For Barry Steakfries fans the wait is over, as Jetpack Joyride has finally made its way to the App Store. I’m just glad they decided to go with a universal binary instead of just iPad, because this looks like a fun and crazy game. Old time gamers looking for a snazzy update to a classic should check out Frogger Decades from Konami Digital. There’s enough retro to get the nostalgia pumping, but enough new twists to make it feel fresh.
Muffin Knight – This game comes from the developers of Guerilla Bob and Predators, though you might not know it given the cutesy content. Fluff aside, however, Muffin Knight sounds like it might actually provide an engaging platform game experience. The game utilizes the Unity engine to produce some stunning looking “2.5D” visuals. You’ll be able to unlock and play with up to 15 different characters, each of which has abilities that can be upgraded during game play. You’ll face everything from turtles to dragons, leading up to the ultimate battle with the lava king. The game supports 2 player head to head matches, and you can even play against Android users.
Angry Mob Games, Muffin Knight, 81.0 MB – $0.99
Bounce The Bunny – The latest freemium offering from Backflip Studios is a physics game that combines bunnies, stars and magic bubbles. You’ll have 60 levels of wacky physics based game play to conquer across multiple worlds. There are different types of bubbles to help you along you along your way, as well as many unlockable upgrades to enhance your ability to play. You can earn money by collecting stars, which can be purchased via IAP if you so desire. The game has Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements, as well as Facebook integration so you can brag to your friends. When you get bored with bunnies, you’ll even have tigers and frogs to play with.
Backflip Studios, Bounce the Bunny, 32.6 MB – Free
DrawRace 2 – I enjoyed the first DrawRace because it had a unique mechanic for racing games, and it had a nice multiplayer system that didn’t require you to chat with the other players in order to have fun. DrawRace 2 looks like it takes the winning formula of part 1 and pumps it up in all the right places. Fans of the original will immediately notice the nice 3D visuals, obviously meant to compete with games like Reckless Racing. There’s a massive single player campaign that includes more than 180 challenges to complete. If that is not enough, you can race against your friends via pass-and-play or Friend Challenge modes. Realistic physics means each car will handle differently, but for that extra umph you do get a turbo button that when used wisely can set you ahead of the pack. DrawRace was one of the few games that I indulged in the multiplayer aspects of, so I’m hoping that this snazzy looking sequel helps keep that passion alive for me.
Jetpack Joyride – I loved Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash, both of which have a loving place on my device to this day. When Age Of Zombies was released I thought we were seeing the start of a cool franchise of disparate games sharing one commonality: the awesome Barry Steakfries. Unfortunately, Age Of Zombies didn’t quite do it for me. Barry is back, however, and from the preview video Jetpack Joyride looks awesome. At its base the game is a glorified, steak-fried version of Copter, but it looks like so much more. Instead of just worrying about floors and ceilings you must dodge all kinds of nifty obstacles like electricity fields and guided missiles. Along the way you’ll collect coins that will give you the chance to buy different jetpacks and other accessories. You’ll also be able to pick up goodies in the lab to help you defy the traps, not the least of which are some really cool looking vehicles. And in true Barry style you’ll have the opportunity to pimp out the vehicles. Naturally you’ll even get the opportunity to unlock achievements and compete on leaderboards. The only thing that might put a damper on this joy ride is if the cool items cost so many coins that you have to use IAP to buy coin packs if you want anything nifty. But then if all goes well, the game will be a blast even without those things.
Halfbrick Studios, Jetpack Joyride, 18.2 MB – $0.99
Bounder’s World – Instead of an “infinite run” game, Bounder’s World looks more like an “infinite bounce” affair. The main goal of the game is to guide Bounder from point A to point B while he continually bounces without a care in the world. Unfortunately there are plenty of hazards such as moving platforms, swinging obstacles and just plain bad timing. There are 4 different game modes, including a Speed trial that challenges you to use the least number of bounces and a Demolition mode where you need to land on as many buildings as possible – but only once! The game definitely has a lot of replay value, as you must collect a hidden coin on each level in order to earn the highest score and all the achievements. There are 144 levels total, but in order to access a majority of them you must earn all the achievements of the first 12 levels in a particular world. Finally, if the single player modes aren’t enough, you can take on another player via Bluetooth. This could be great fun if you actually get to interfere with each other’s progress.
Madden NFL 12 by EA Sports – I suppose one might argue that this is the definitive “realistic” football game series for iOS users. I’m probably the wrong person to elaborate here, as I’m not a fan of football, electronic or otherwise, but this certainly looks cool. You can play a quick game in Exhibition mode, a full 16 game season, or feel what is was like to participate in the 2010 / 11 playoffs. There is an incredible roster of over 2500 real life players, and you can play in 32 stadiums modeled after the actual structures. Better collision effects and crisper graphics help you get even more into the action. Each team has a unique playbook, enhancing the authenticity of the game play. The two things that stick out to me as potential drawbacks: no mention of multiplayer, and the need to use the Origin network in order to have leaderboards. Does every major publisher have to have their own social environment?
Dolphin Tale: Fling A Fish – With Summer fading away, so have the blockbusters. Warner Brothers is still turning out the movie tie-ins, however, though I have to admit I’d not heard of Dolphin Tale before writing this article. It appears it’s a “based on a true story” movie about a dolphin that gets a prosthetic tail, yet they’ve somehow managed to reduce the corresponding game into another cute physics adventure that involves feeding a perky protagonist. You’ll have 30 levels of fish flinging fun to conquer, with a variety of obstacles to battle including low flying pelicans that will swipe the food right out of the air. Realistic physics should provide for some interesting game play as the levels get more cluttered, and you’ll be able to unlock collectables not only by feeding Winter, but also by interacting with certain objects on the playing field. Seems like they’re limiting playability a bit by only connecting with Facebook and Twitter instead of a real social gaming network, but maybe that will come in the future. I just hope second string movie tie-ins don’t become a trend, or next thing we know we’ll be playing a dramatic episodic adventure game based off The Help.
Warner Bros., Dolphin Tale: Fling a Fish, 18.0 MB – $1.99
Frogbert – While no developers’ catalog has a perfect report with me (except maybe the ones that only have one game in them), there are very few games in the Donut Games collection that I don’t enjoy. These guys have pretty well mastered the art of one touch gaming, and Frogbert looks to break new ground for them by adding multi-touch support. The game has two modes, one of which will take you through 30 devious levels while the other challenges you to hop as long as you can across randomly generated terrain. There are plenty of achievements to earn, and the 30 level mode uses their standard 3 star system, which adds plenty of replay value to the levels. Game Center integration also provides leaderboards to compete in. Donut Games’ animal games tend to be cutesy in nature, and Frogbert appears to fill that role perfectly. And you get to slap around spiders and crabs with a long tongue, so what’s not to love about that? Oh, and for the real dedicated Donuts Games fans, Frogbert is #28 in the collection.
Donut Games, Frogbert, 9.1 MB – $0.99
Maze+ – Even without monsters maze games have the potential of being interesting, but unfortunately most iOS developers haven’t figured out a winning non-monster formula yet. It’s quite possible that Maze+ might be one of the exceptions. You can play this game by yourself as much as you want to practice and get used to the controls. However, to really get the most from Maze+ you must venture online to compete against others and see who can beat the maze with the best time! Along the way you’ll gather gems, and whoever actually wins the maze will get to turn those gems into coins that can be used to unlock different character, new levels and awesome items. Monthly updates will add new items, and randomly generated maps will guarantee that the whole thing stays fresh every time you play. And of course there is Game Center integration, which is what is used to hook up with other players. Hopefully there are some leaderboards and achievements as well. As of the writing of this article the game was free as well, so even the stingy players should check it out.
Frogger Decades – I love Frogger as a concept, but over the last few years the original implementation of the game has gotten kind of stale. At some point I played a PC version of Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge, and I realized that this should be the baseline for all new implementations of Frogger. If I’m right, Frogger Decades is the iOS version of that style of game play, which would make me a very happy person. While there are still swamp and road boards, there are also new varieties of locales including a pirate ship and factory, if the map be believed. Also, the game play is more than just “hop back and forth on a single screen”. The areas should be bigger, the paths not so linear, and some backtracking may be required. There are more characters than just Frogger to play as, each with their own abilities. The graphics are 3D, the soundtrack is original, and the game can be controlled through either a d-pad or intuitive touch controls. Both Game Center and OpenFeint are supported for leaderboards, and at least Game Center for achievements. If all this pans out well, this could be the best version of Frogger for me since Swampy’s Revenge.
Konami Digital Entertainment, Frogger Decades, 155 MB – $1.99
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more titles you may find of interest:
- SEGA, SAMURAI BLOODSHOW, 113 MB – $4.99
- UNAgames, Tapsteroids, 18.7 MB – $0.99
- Mentalwarp, Bloody Bunnies, 55.1 MB – Free
- Crescent Moon Games, Pocket RPG iPhone Edition – $0.99
- Bungie Aerospace, Crimson: Steam Pirates, 142 MB – Free
- Full Fat, Flick Soccer! HD, 32.5 MB – $4.99
- Nevosoft, Pioneer Lands: old west settlers strategy – Free
- Nevosoft, Pioneer Lands HD: old west settlers strategy – Free
- OrangePixel, Super Drill Panic, 9.0 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: