This week’s 10 New App Store Games to Watch felt like Christmas in November, which made it kind of hard to pick just 10 games to talk about. I think I did a pretty good job of providing you with a nice cross-section of choices, however. If you like dinosaurs, TellTale Games released Jurassic Park: The Game 1 HD, a story that wedges itself nicely between the events that took place in the first movie. For those wanting to blaze a new trail there’s The Oregon Trail: American Settler, the game that finally shows you what happens AFTER the family survives the trip. Scrolling shooter fans will want to check out Space Tripper, a fast paced shmup with slick visuals and crazy bosses. Finally, the inner hero in you will want to take the reigns of Superman, one of the most iconic superheroes ever to grace fictional media.
Space Tripper – I remember playing this game on my PC and thoroughly enjoying it. When I saw that PomPom Games had started developing iOS games I eagerly awaited this title to make its debut, and now here we go, albeit under a different developer. Apparently on other platforms it has evolved into Astro Tripper, but as long as it still has the same 360 degree shoot everything that moves action, I’m all for it. This version spans 4 worlds for a total of 14 levels, all filled with lots of enemies and some big boss critters. You’ll get two different weapons to use against the different foes, both of which can be powered up along the way. The game has achievements and leaderboards as well as unlockable modes, and if it’s still as challenging as I recall it will keep you busy for some time.
True Axis, Space Tripper, – $3.99
Rebuild – I wish the iTunes description was a bit more descriptive, because this sounds intriguing from what little is documented. The game appears to be part Sim City and part castle defense. A zombie apocalypse has ravaged the country, and it’s up to you to build up and defend your city. You’ll reclaim the city in a simulation type atmosphere, managing resources while trying to revitalize the once thriving metropolis. In the meantime you’ll need to recruit and customize characters to help you fight, which looks like it is done in a more close up, castle defense type mode. You’ll have to scavenge for food, construct new houses and discover useable technology. Not only will you need to fend off zombies, but you’ll have to deal with rival gangs, disease and looters. Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to enjoy this interesting mash-up if you have an iPad 2. Hopefully that requirement will change some day.
Sarah Northway, Rebuild, – $2.99
Mafia Farm – For the record, I’m kind of sick of all the farming games and mafia games that are out there. Do we really need so many? However, I decided to mention this one because I never thought I’d actually see the two concepts combined! The farming aspect allows you to initially fund your operations as you build up a powerful base with hotels, casinos, harbors and more. Then your underworld instinct can kick in as you use real estate and “jobs” to fuel your thriving business. When you’re ready you can spy on other players and then take them on to show them who is boss. And for those who want this to be more than just a business you can collect rare planes, cars and ships to keep at your base. You do need to keep in mind that this game is online only, though, so a WiFi or 3G connection is necessary in order to play.
Mindstorm Studios, Mafia Farm, – Free
Jurassic Park: The Game 1 HD – I have to admit that I’m not real privy to past incarnations of games related to the Jurassic Park franchise, but it appears that there have been quite a few over the years. Obviously none of them have made much of an impact, but maybe that will change with this latest outing from TellTale Games. True to the majority of the company’s catalog, this game is more adventure than anything else. The storyline is wedged between the first and second half of the original film’s plot, and involves a rogue corporation trying to recover the embryos that were stolen and lost by Dennis Nedry. Not much is revealed about the actual story, but it seems that it will actually follow the exploits of two separate groups, one comprised of the bad guys and the other made up of the park veterinarian and his daughter. Given the talent behind this game, I would expect nothing less than great storytelling and thought provoking puzzles. Sadly, this game is also an iPad 2 exclusive, so I guess I’ll have to wait for the PC version.
Telltale Inc, Jurassic Park: The Game 1 HD, – $6.99
Minecraft – Pocket Edition – If you’ve managed to get sucked up in the whole Minecraft phenomenon, then this is probably the portable game you’ve been waiting for. Sculpt randomized worlds to your liking using a toolbox of 36 different building blocks. You can build anything you can imagine whenever the creativity strikes you. You can then invite your friends to play in your world over a wireless network. You can even save shared worlds to your phone. I think the price point of this game might make it appealing only to those who are already fans of the PC version, but hopefully the game will be updated like it’s desktop inspiration to make it more intriguing to a wider audience. At least it should appease those who have been resigned to cheap knock-offs until now.
Mojang, Minecraft – Pocket Edition, – $6.99
Superman – Any veteran gamer knows the curse of comic book based video games; it’s almost as bad as movie based games. Superman is no exception to that curse, starting way back in the days of the Atari 2600. Hopefully this new iOS game will be one of the few that bucks the trend. You take control of the Man Of Steel across 18 diverse levels, taking on helicopters, mechs and more in your ultimate quest to take down Lex Luthor. You’ll have access to all the best Superman has to offer, including heat vision, super-strength and super-breath. You’ll even get the opportunity to fly out into space and destroy asteroids before they crash into the Earth. An original story told via comic book panels make you feel like you’re a part of the tale. The levels each have three medals to earn, so you can see if you’re up to earning the gold or not. Now all we need is the ability to change in a phone booth!
Forbidden Island – This iOS version of an award winning board game challenges 2-4 players to find 4 hidden treasures on a sinking island. These treasures presumably let their holders wield the powers of the elements, and their former owners set the island to sink should anyone step foot on it to reclaim the powerful relics. Now you must work together as a team to recover the treasures and flee before you end up visiting Davey Jones’ locker. If you’re really ambitious (or have no friends) you can play multiple characters on your own. However, the true joy in the game comes from gathering together with your friends and each taking control of one of the adventurers. The game is has two different layout depending on whether you want to sit side by side on a couch or huddled around a table. There are unlimited save slots so you can have multiple games going, and Game Center achievements to reward you as you conquer the island’s mysteries. The game also has Facebook and Twitter integration so you can share your exploits with your non-Game Center friends.
Button Mash Games, Forbidden Island, – $4.99
Oregon Trail: American Settler – I was a fan of this game from back when computers were scarcely more powerful than today’s calculators and monitors could display single colors like green or amber. I personally wasn’t all that keen on last year’s modernization of the franchise, but this installment of the series sounds rather intriguing. Now that you’ve conquered the trail it’s time to settle down and build a village Sim City style. You’ll run into important figures from history, and you’ll also be able to learn true facts from the townsfolk. Be prepared to deal with things like a stampede of buffalo or a hurricane, and in the mean time play some mini-games to gather resources for your townfolk. You can even visit other villages, which I assume means that this is an online game, though it’s never mentioned in the description. Thankfully the game is free, so you can find out for yourself if you have what it takes to settle down in the old west.
Gameloft, The Oregon Trail: American Settler, – Free
Bullet Time HD – When I first saw the game play video for Bullet Time I thought “iDracula with levels”. I have a feeling there’s a bit more to the game than that, however. You play a desperate man trying to rescue your family from some evil creatures in a post-apocalyptic world. The epic tale unfolds over two large campaigns with more to come. Your character and his gear is highly customizable, and there will be plenty of boosts and power-ups to collect. When you’re ready for a break from the main mission you can join up with two of your friends over WiFi or 3G and play a co-op game. And just in case rescuing your family isn’t enough, there are Game Center leaderboards and achievements to keep you coming back for more. The game has a pretty tasty price tag as well, though the 0 dollar entrance fee can easily be negated with In-App Purchases.
Kiloo, Bullet Time HD, – Free
Color Frenzy – You’ve probably gotten to this point in the list and thought there were several games you knew came out that didn’t show up here. As much as I like to report on the “big games”, the fact that you’ve heard about their release probably means I don’t need to. When I get the chance I love to talk about games like this. I know there are several “augmented reality” games on the market, but this is the first one I’m aware of that actually uses your surroundings in a tile matching game! As you scan the area with your camera, the match button is constantly changing to reflect an average of all the pixels in the viewport. When you press the button, tiles on the game board that come close to matching the hue, saturation and brightness of your color are considered matches. You only need to get 20 pieces to clear a level, but incorrect matches could result in bogus pieces that can’t be cleared. If you’re looking for a different sort of matching game then Color Frenzy is certainly for you, and you might even learn a little something about color manipulation along the way.
Skudio, Color Frenzy, – $0.99
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Halfbrick, Age of Zombies Anniversary, – $0.99
- Com2uS Inc, HOMERUN BATTLE 2, – $4.99
- Glu Games, Blood & Glory, – Free
- Romper Games, Raccoon Rising, – $0.99
- dreamfab, Saving Yello, – $0.99
- Bulkypix, RPM: Gymkhana Racing, – $2.99
- Chillingo, Extraction: Project Outbreak, 77.43MB – $0.99
- Abu Dhabi Media, Manny Pacquiao: Pound for Pound, – $2.99
- Disney, Tap Tap Muppets, 18.71MB – Free
- Electronic Arts, Road Trippin’, 90.20MB – Free
- Codito, Reiner Knizia’s Tigris & Euphrates, – $5.99
- KONAMI, Winning Eleven 2012, – $6.99
- Bungie Aerospace, Crimson: Steam Pirates for iPhone, – $0.99
- Full Fat, NFL Flick Quarterback, – $2.99
- Full Fat, NFL Flick Quarterback HD, – $4.99
- Electronic Arts, SPY mouse HD, – $2.99
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: