10 New App Store Games To Watch [Sep. 5 – 11]

Tower defense fans can revel in evil a little bit this week with the release of Tiny Heroes, a game that actually lets you play the bad guy and set all kinds of devilish traps to thwart the poor unsuspecting heroes.  Time management fans can mix it up a bit by either expanding their temporary residential knowledge with Hotel Dash 2 or refining their monster breeding skills with Monster Pet Shop.  If you’re a racing fan you can get down and dirty with Race Illegal: High Speed 3D or maybe try something a little bit more cerebral with Grand Prix Story, the latest in the “story” series of 8-bit looking menu driven sims.

Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries – The first Hotel Dash (TMA Review) on the iPhone was a lot of fun and actually provided quite a nice challenge.  I’ve played the second installment on my PC and there are a few interesting additions, though trying to play it with a mouse instead of a touch screen takes away quite a bit of the enjoyment.  It’s nice to see the franchise back on iOS devices, even if it’s only for the iPad at this point.  The locales are a little more diverse this time, from a submarine to an ice palace.  Instead of just having elevators to move around the hotels you’ll travel via zip lines and slides among other things.  You’ll be able to decorate each of the hotels with specific themed items, and wait on several unique individuals including scuba divers and even mythical genies!  You can play the first five levels of the first hotel for free and unlock the entire story of 50 levels trough IAP.

Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries PlayFirst, Hotel Dash 2: Lost Luxuries, 66.5 MB – Free

MonsteNation – This is a real time 2D side scrolling MMORPG with a couple of interesting twists.  The first is the setting: instead of the traditional fantasy backdrop, this game takes place in the “real world”, except for the little fact that monsters have invaded.  As a result the locales are based on real places like New York and Paris, and weapons include an AK47, a mini-gun, and vehicles like a tank and a helicopter after the first update.  The game is designed for players of all ages, so it should be fairly easy to figure out and jump right into.  It also sounds like it favors cooperative game play, so you can fight alongside monster slayers from around the world.  Once the iPad version is ready you’ll be able to play on whichever device you like simply by logging in with the same user name on each device.  The other thing that’s rather interesting is that at the moment they are running a contest that you are entered into simply by creating an account for the game.  The top prize on this contest is a 16GB WiFi iPad 2.  And you get all this for a free download.

MonsteNation EiTkoCaT&i, MonsteNation, 65.1 MB – Free

Monster Pet Shop – Forget puppies and goldfish, monsters are the new pet of choice.  This new monster swapping game is part time management game, part Tamigotchi toy.  By breading creatures you can eventually sell over 100 different creatures across 25 unique monster types.  You can even trade eggs online with other players to speed up the whole process.  In Tamigatchi mode you’ll need to feed, clean and play with the animals in order to keep them happy so they sell for a better price.  The game is free to play, though there are naturally IAP items to help the experience progress more quickly.  One thing that will be rather interesting is to see if the Tamigatchi portion of the game proves to be more of a fun diversion or a time consuming distraction.

Monster Pet Shop Beeline Interactive, Monster Pet Shop, 134 MB – Free

Zanda – Linked Swords – Far be it from me to cry “copyright”, but this game seems a little bit familiar, especially for Nintendo fans like myself.  I especially find the name of the game rather interesting.  In any case, this is an action adventure game with 5 different worlds to explore.  Unlike its probable inspiration, it appears that this game focuses a lot on NPCs that you have to talk to.  In fact, I don’t see a single monster in the screen shots, which is rather bizarre.  You do have your trusty sword, however, so there must be something to fight.  There are also coins to collect, which I assume allows you to buy items later on in the game.  I will admit that what interests me most is the potential response from a certain big “N” company in regards to the content of this game and particularly the likeness of the main character.  Maybe some controversy will make this a collector’s item some day.

Zanda - Linked Swords Top Best Adult Entertainment, Zanda – Linked Swords, 5.1 MB – $1.99

Running Sheep HD – Another day, another case of some silly aliens abducting harmless, innocent sheep.  This time, however, you aren’t able to save them ahead of time, so you must try to save them before they lose their way aboard the alien ship.  All you have to do is set down arrows to point the sheep in the right direction, but there will be plenty of obstacles to impede your progress.  The nasty aliens will try to get the sheep back, and unguarded ledges can send them tumbling to their doom.  Some levels look fairly sizeable and potentially have multiple disconnected sections, and you only have so many arrows to go around before you have to reuse them.  There’s even one level in the promo video where a rather large, nasty looking object is following closely behind the poor sheep.  There are 51 levels overall, including 3 bosses.  The isometric graphics look pretty sweet, and there’s actually a nice variety to the level textures.  Angry birds and disgruntled pigs might be the trend right now, but abducted sheep ruled the roost long before they all come along.

Running Sheep HD Ladia Group, Running Sheep HD, 33.3 MB – $2.99

To-Fu 2 – I never thought I’d say this, but the To-Fu is back and looking better than ever.  This sequel to the popular health food flinging physics game boasts 100 brand new levels of brain teasing fun.  The new Super Ping move will allow To-Fu to smash through objects, and items like 45 degree blocks and rebound blocks will add new twists to the game play.  An additional Time Trial mode will challenge you to collect as much Chi as you can during a given time limit, and the let you submit your scores to Game Center to brag to your soy loving friends.  There’s even a new store that will let you buy cool outfits for To-Fu, as well as dojo backdrops and other goodies.  If you can’t get enough physics flinging fun, To-Fu 2 probably needs to be in your collection.  It’s universal, too, so you can enjoy it on the big and small screens as long as you’ve got them both.

To-Fu 2 HotGen, To-Fu 2, 17.6 MB – $0.99

jAggy Race – If you think this is your average kart racing game, think again.  Just looking at the game you can tell something is up, and that thing is gravity.  The game is billed as “gravity-centric”, and though the iTunes description doesn’t really go into details, I’d gather by the skills triad of “reactivity, timing and memory” that it’s something akin to being able to flip your gravity like some running games do.  jAggy Race has 4 worlds with a total of 23 courses, and each course has 3 difficulty settings.  Game Center integration includes a leaderboard for each track as well as more than 40 achievements to earn.  The main things that seem to be missing right now are opponents and multiplayer capabilities.  Hopefully at least one of those will make it into a future update.

jAggy Race SevenOnly, jAggy Race, 38.4 MB – $0.99

Tiny Heroes – It’s not unheard of for tower defense games to flip the table and allow you to play the bad guy, but I don’t think any have done it with quite the personality that Tiny Heroes seems to exude.  Between towers, traps, minions and spells you’ll have more than 30 defenses at your disposal, including things like treasure chests that eat their would-be lockpickers and spring platforms that launch trespassers into the great unknown.  There are over 50 levels to conquer, and each one has been lovingly crafted and tweaked for optimal balance – no random generic feeling here.  Over time there will even be additional levels and defenses available via downloadable content.  To round out the package you have Game Center and OpenFeint integration for leaderboards and achievements.  I just wonder when the well of ideas for tower defense games is going to run dry.  What we really need is one that will let one person play the good guy and another play the bad guy.  Are you taking notes, Tiny Heroes developer?

Tiny Heroes Simutronics Corp, Tiny Heroes, 30.8 MB – $2.99

Race Illegal: High Speed 3D – So Chillingo has decided to enter the 3D car racing game with Race Illegal.  Will it stack up to the leaders like Real Racing  and Need for Speed?  The game looks good, though I’m not sure if it’s as polished as the competitors.  Being able to customize the paint job is a nice touch.  As for the game play, it looks to be your standard racing fare.  There are 20 tracks across four different landscapes, and you can play a campaign or quick race.  What has me most intrigued is the different game play modes.  There are 5 altogether, including a “safe driving” mode that looks like it requires you to avoid everything, and a “smash them all” mode – well, you can guess where that one leads.  As long as these various game play modes flesh out well, I think Race Illegal will be a strong contender in this genre.

Race illegal: High Speed 3D Chillingo, Race illegal: High Speed 3D, 185 MB – $0.99

Grand Prix Story – I feel like I’d almost be remiss if I didn’t mention the latest “story” game.  What has me most curious about Grand Prix Story is the fact that they have taken a predominantly action oriented subject and wedged it into their menu driven style of game play.  I’m just wondering how much this will appeal to players of their previous games, and will it be able to attract the racing crowd if there isn’t the action of say Reckless Racing or any of the numerous 3D racing titles?  I’d also like to know if you just have to sit back and watch the races or if you get to actively participate.  In some ways this is certainly their most interesting project to date, and I can’t wait to see what the general public thinks about it compared to their other offerings.

Grand Prix Story Kairosoft Co, Grand Prix Story, 11.8 MB – $2.99

Sonic 20th Anniversary – I thought I’d throw this one in as a little bonus.  I’m not sure whether this is cool or disappointing to be honest with you.  This game comes with a demo of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 and a new game called Sonic The Sketchhog.  If you ask me, the new game looks like a cheap attempt at getting away without paying anyone to design new artwork.  At least it has Game Center integration, though, so you can brag to your friends about playing this 20th anniversary “treasure”.  You also get new wallpapers on a weekly basis, if you care about that sort of thing.  Finally, the app allows you to keep on top of all the 20th anniversary hedgehog news that’s fit to e-print.  My question is: SEGA, is this REALLY the best you could do for iOS users that want to celebrate the quick blue guy’s gaming history?  I think if I were more of a Sonic fan I’d feel a bit gypped with this one. That said, it is free, so you can always see for yourself if it’s a worthwhile download.

Sonic 20th Anniversary SEGA, Sonic 20th Anniversary, 45.3 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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