10 New App Store Games To Watch [Oct. 17 – 23]

This feels like a week designed for those who grew up with gaming in the late 80’s through the 90’s.  Dark Incursion has the look of the old Castlevania games from the NES days, except the setting is now a Steampunk world at the height of a world war.  Worms Crazy Golf takes tried and true Worms action and throws in some puzzle aspects and a dimpled white ball to mix things up a bit.  If building a paradise is more your style there’s Virtual City Playground, a modern interpretation of games like SIm City that allows you to build a city with no boundaries or to try and conquer 85 different challenges.

Mage Gauntlet – Up until now, Rocketcat Games has focused on games that involve your hero swinging from a hook in a variety of platform style games.  This time they chose to apply their wit and love for retro gaming to an action-RPG style game in the vein of Legend Of Zelda.  There are 84 levels to conquer between normal and Master modes.  You’ll find various items to customize your character’s strengths and weaknesses, including 110 different hats (the big connection between this and Rocketcat’s other games).  There are also 19 different pets to acquire that will follow you around and give you special bonuses.  Even once you’ve completed the game there are 86 achievements to earn, so there’s plenty of reason to keep on playing.  This developer doesn’t rest on its laurels either, as they’ve already got an update planned that will include a new game play mode and an extra pet.  If you’re looking for a quality retro experience with lots of play time, Mage Gauntlet might just be for you.

Mage Gauntlet Rocketcat Games, Mage Gauntlet, – $2.99

Fara – This game combines the best of old and new to provide the player with a unique action / RPG experience.  A fully implemented physics engine give the action part of the game a different feel than Fara’s peers.  Hand painted backgrounds combines with a modern effects engine to create a breathtaking world.  The island is populated with bizarre and fun characters that keep the story moving along.  Simple touch controls or a virtual joypad let you play the game in a way that’s most comfortable to you.  The soundtrack merges classic chiptune music with orchestral compositions for music that sounds familiar yet feels brand new.  Game Center integration provides you with leaderboards and a number of achievements to earn.  Can Fara dethrone the works of Gamevil to become the king of action RPGs?

Fara Pixel and Texel, Fara, – $2.99

Dark Incursion – Think Castlevania set in a late 1800s Steampunk universe with the main character a woman (yeah, I’m pretty sure Castlevania did that once or twice, but work with me).  An industrial revolution and world war are taking place, and it’s up to you to take out a secret military laboratory that you know is making devastating biological weaponry.  Your character has skills and bio-engineered weapons that can be upgraded as you progress through the game.  There are hundreds of deadly combinations to choose from when building your weaponry, which will help you take out the large variety of bad guys you’ll run across.  There’s an intriguing story to keep you intent on looking for the lab as you explore a lush world that pops in 3D if you happen to have a pair of red/blue 3D glasses.  Even without the specs, however, the cool pixel art makes the world worth wandering through.  I’d love to see a true Castlevania game make its way to the iPhone, but I think this could very well do in the mean time.

Dark Incursion Big Blue Bubble, Dark Incursion, – $1.99

Fruit Ninja: Puss In Boots – Fruit Ninja introduced the world to the addictive concept of slicing fruit.  Now they’ve made what could quite possibly be the perfect licensing crossover by combining that award winning game play with the ultimate feline swashbuckler, Puss In Boots.  There are two new game play modes to make the game even more enticing.  In Bandito mode you’ll take on a series of increasingly tough challenges, including a confrontation with that “fruit that will be a vegetable”, the tomato.  If that’s not enough there’s Desperado mode, which among other things introduces Magic Beans into the equation.  For those closet hoarders that will play there’s Puss In Boot’s stash, which will give you the opportunity to unlock new backgrounds and blades from the movie and from fruit ninja.  While there have been other slicers since Fruit Ninja came out this was still the first, and with the Puss In Boots additions it might end up back on the top again.

Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots Halfbrick Studios, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, – $0.99
Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots HD Halfbrick Studios, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots HD, – $1.99

Skinvaders – This isn’t a completely new concept (Piclings did it with photographs in general), but this is the first game I’ve seen it truly integrate a photograph of someone’s face into something more than just a texture or sliding puzzle image.  Skinvaders lets you take a picture of your face and then use it as the actual surface that the aliens emerge from.  Of course how impressive this is really depends on if the game recognizes any depth to the face or just uses it as a flat surface.  Still, I can certainly see this appealing to kids.  The game takes snapshots of your face as you play, and you can share the silliest ones with your friends via Facebook, email or text.  You can even switch things up a bit and select the back camera if you device has one to skinvade your friends.  Simple game play will draw you in, while 9 levels and a variety of skinvaders will keep you coming back for more.  There is no mention of social networking, which seems like a given for this type of game, but if it’s not there now hopefully it will be coming soon.

Skinvaders Total Immersion Augmented Reality, Skinvaders, – Free

Rope Rescue – I knew it was only a matter of time before someone actually came up with a different use for ropes in puzzle games.  You’ll find no cutting or burning here.  Instead, your goal in each of the 60 levels is to use a bird to attach a rope to a cage filled with your friends and free them.  You’ll have to use strategically placed gears to your advantage, while avoiding things like knives, fire cannons and evil bats.  There are multiple solutions to each level, and you’ll score more points if you use less rope.  You can also collect butterflies to unlock levels or provide hints to the levels you are currently playing.  You can admire your handiwork by visiting the bird sanctuary to see all the baby birds you’ve rescued, and then you can challenge your friends for high scores on the Crystal Leaderboards.

Rope Rescue Chillingo Ltd, Rope Rescue, – $0.99
Rope Rescue HD Chillingo Ltd, Rope Rescue HD, – $0.99


Worms Crazy Golf – While Scorched Earth was the game that really introduced players to turn based, team oriented destruction games, Worms was the one that made it okay for these games to be just plain silly.  Now Team 17 has decided to apply their wacky sense of humor (and their worms) to the great “sport” of golf, and an electronic hole in one will never be the same again.  The game controls much the same way you’re used to from previous installments, but instead of simply trying to blow away your opponents you’re attempting to best the myriad of courses to get your ball in the hole with the least score possible.  Lest you fret too much, however, there are still all the trademarks of the venerable series like exploding sheep and mines, and some new fun elements like ball-stealing moles.  The game has a single player campaign mode comprised of 3 18 hole courses, a single player challenge mode with 15 challenges, and the ability to play hot-seat with up to four players.  If you’re looking for a strict mini-golf game this may not be your cup of tea, but if you’d like something a bit different Worms Crazy Golf should suit your needs nicely.

Worms Crazy Golf Team17 Software Ltd, Worms Crazy Golf, – $2.99
Worms Crazy Golf HD Team17 Software Ltd, Worms Crazy Golf HD, – $4.99

Whale Trail – Some of the promotional material for this game billed it as “the game Tiny Wings should be”, and while Tiny Wings (TMA Review) was certainly a pioneer among iOS games and a fun one to boot, there may be some truth to their statement.  One thing Whale Trail definitely has going for it is that the world feels alive between clouds to dodge, creatures leaving bubble trails for you to consume, and even background elements that have personality.  The fact that you have to try and dodge the clouds gives the game more of a feeling that you have something to do than its predecessor.  You can even wipe out clouds when you’re in frenzy mode, which is cool.  There are 43 Game Center achievements to earn, and you can challenge your friends on the leaderboards as well.  The developer has promised new game modes on the horizon, so it will be interesting to see where the Whale Trail is headed.

Whale Trail ustwoâ„¢, Whale Trail, – $0.99

Virtual City Playground – Welcome to Sim City for the new millennium.  Virtual City Playground lets you create your ideal city from the ground up using a selection of over 90 different types of buildings.  You can play in Sandbox mode where you just keep building to your heart’s content, or you can take on up to 85 optional quests.  The game runs on credits, energy and investment points, which apparently you can earn in your sleep!  The game keeps on going even when you’re not playing, so if you’ve developed a well oiled machine you can rake in the resources while you’re busy having a life away from your phone. Virtual City Playground is integrated with both Game Center and Facebook, and you can earn investment points by posting your achievements on Facebook.  There are 95 achievements to earn, so there should be plenty to do.  And just in case you actually run out of stuff, the developers are planning free updates on a regular basis.

Virtual City Playground G5 Entertainment, Virtual City Playground, – Free
Virtual City Playground HD G5 Entertainment, Virtual City Playground HD, – Free

 Tiny Token Empires HD – Start with Risk, thrown in match 3 mechanics for combat, and include just a dash of puzzle solving for getting through key events, and you begin to comprehend what Tiny Token Empires is all about.  Don’t expect this game to take itself too seriously, though, as goofy characterizations abound.  There are 5 empires, and in solo mode you’ll get to assume leadership of each one of them for more than 15 hours of turn based strategy goodness.  Like RISK, your goal is to take over the known world.  You’ll do this via 25 different generals and 50 different kinds of units.  In addition to the main campaign there are 4 other game modes for both solo and multiplayer play to keep you busy for a long time.  You can even choose one of three difficulty settings to prove your mettle.  Do you have what it takes to be a world conqueror, or will you just end up as another deposed despot?

Tiny Token Empires HD Bulkypix, Tiny Token Empires HD, 94.20MB – $8.99

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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