10 New App Store Games To Watch [Dec. 12 - 18]

I imagine that those of you that have been following iOS gaming news are expecting me to jump right in and talk about Grand Theft Auto III, but I’m sure there are enough folks spreading the details on that one right now.  I thought I’d direct your attention towards Legion Of The Damned, a turn based strategy game that allows up to four players to participate in brawls on randomly generated or custom made maps.  Hidden object game aficionados will do well to check out Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure, a free to play mansion exploration game for the iPad that actually has some social aspects integrated into it.  If you’re into lifestyle simulations you might consider Venture Towns, the latest offering from Kairosoft or The Sims FreePlay from Electronic Arts.  One takes a broader perspective as you build up a town, while the other lets you get up close and personal managing the lives of up to 16 Sims.  Best of all, the latter offering is free.

Venture Towns – Hot on the tail of Oh! Edo Towns, Kairosoft has released their latest pixilated simulation called Venture Towns.  This looks to be their version of games like SimCity, but of course rendered in that same great pixel art style we’ve come to know and love from their games.  You’ll be responsible for constructing stores, houses, mansions… whatever will help your town thrive and the landscape blossom.  Putting particular types of structures together will result in combos that drive up the price of the land as well as earn you big combos.  Thanks to your construction efforts your population will get jobs and earn money to buy houses, cars and pets.  Some lucky soul might even win the lottery.  If you’ve enjoyed previous Kairosoft outings you’ll probably find this one intriguing as well, just at a slightly larger scale.  So I wonder if they’ll take on world creation next?

Venture Towns Kairosoft Co.,Ltd, Venture Towns, – $2.99

Suicide Sheep HD – Pirates have found a new way to terrorize people, and it involves strapping bombs to innocent little sheep.  This cute little puzzle game is an iPad exclusive, and it requires you to navigate 25 mazes, rotating the board to guide the sheep toward the man who can defuse the bomb.  The levels are timed, so you must think fast to avoid catastrophes.  The main drawback to the game is that there are only 25 levels, but it’s free and ad-free, so it might just be worth your time to check it out should you like quirky puzzle games.  My hope is that down the road the developer will add bonus packs, even if they require a slight IAP to acquire, but I imagine that sort of expansion will rely on your positive comments towards what is already there.  If you download it and like it, send an encouraging word to the developer.

Suicide SHEEP HD APIX Educational Systems, Suicide SHEEP HD, – Free

Trenches II – For those not familiar with the series, the general concept is that you are in the middle of war, and you must choose your side and press forward to overrun your opponents before they do the same to you.  The game takes place on a 2D side scrolling playing field, and while you must initially build your troops out of the base on the left side of the playing field, I believe that eventually you’ll capture waypoints that let you prepare for battle closer to the enemy.  The game features new units including cavalry and tanks, and you’ll get more than 20 to choose from altogether.  The game spans 50 locations across the continent of Europe, and when you’re done messing with the computer AI, you can take on your friends in multiplayer modes over Game Center, WiFi and Bluetooth.  While still developed by Thunder Game Works, this installment is published by EA, so we’ll see what that means for future enhancements of the project.

Trenches II Electronic Arts, Trenches II, – $1.99
Trenches II for iPad Electronic Arts, Trenches II for iPad, – $2.99

My Bedrock – My, how the prizes in cereal boxes have evolved!  When I saw the first couple of lines of the description for this game I actually thought it was going to be a fan-made game.  Turns out it’s a legitimate app from the folks at Post Cereal, the fine producers of such delectable breakfast treats as Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles.  In fact, in order to play this game you need to collect special game cards found on the back of the boxes of said cereals.  You clip the cards, lay them out on a table, and use the camera in your iPhone or iPod Touch in order to create a 3D street scene that you can drive the Flintmobile on.  Fruity Pebbles let you control Fred while Cocoa Pebbles put Barney behind the wheel, and if you collect them all you’ll unlock a special mini-game that puts them both in the car.  I’m not going to imagine that the game is really all that fun, but I think it’s a great example of thinking outside the box (in a manner of speaking) when it comes to electronic entertainment and cross-promotional marketing.

My Bedrock Post Foods, LLC, My Bedrock, – Free

Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure – To the best of my knowledge, this is the iPad’s first social hidden object game.  Not in the “open a chat window and talk” sense, mind you, but you can do things like leave each other tips, help each other to find items in rooms, and I believe even exchange needed items.  I haven’t figured out how all of this works yet, but I’m excited about what opportunities it will open when I do.  The game takes place in a Clue-like mansion, where each room can be searched for a variety of objects that help you complete collections.  These collections, when “charged”, provide you with money to buy useful items.  There are also diamonds you can earn to buy certain things, and both diamonds and coins can be bought via IAP.  Items to search for may be presented as a normal list, a list with scrambled words or a set of shadow objects, and you often have to search for items in a dark room with a flashlight.  There are many other little gimmicks that make this quite different than just about any hidden object game I’ve played before.  IAP annoyances aside, if you are into hidden object games I definitely suggest downloading this free one (and add RustySabre as a friend).

Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure Game Insight, Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure, – Free

Ice Rage – This looks like a hockey game for those that don’t like their sports games to be complicated.  You basically control one field player and a goalie using a virtual joystick and a button.  It appears to be more like an arcade game than a true sports Sim, but for me that’s just fine.  You can choose from 9 human players or pull out the special forces like Santa or Rudolph the Red Wall.  There are even special guest appearances by John Gore and Enviro-Bear.  You can customize the matches to suit your playing preferences and choose between three difficulty levels.  You can also play two player on the same device where supported.  The graphics have that Minigore vibe about them, since the game does come from the same developer, and the audio elements are brought to you by the audio designer of such hits as Alan Wake and Max Payne.  If you want to relieve the old days before sports games required you to be double jointed with 15 fingers, the simplicity of Ice Rage should make you feel at home.

Ice Rage Mountain Sheep, Ice Rage, – $0.99

Legion of the Damned – Legion is a tactical turn based strategy game that looks to be set in a fantasy / sci-fi setting.  The game offers a 16 mission solo campaign with voice acted cut scenes and the scenario is based off of novels by bestselling author William C. Dietz, so it should be a solid story.  More importantly, however, are the multiplayer options.  You can select randomly generated maps and even create your own using the built in map editor.  Then choose to play with a combination of up to 4 human / AI players either in teams or in a free for all to rule the world.  You can play over the internet or locally through pass n’ play, so you have plenty of options available.  The game even has a soundtrack with 12 original songs, which is pretty impressive for this type of game.  Strategy games still aren’t as prevalent as they could be on the iOS market, and this looks like it should be a nice addition to the pack.

Legion of the Damned Offworld Games, Legion of the Damned, – $4.99

The Sims FreePlay – If you’re actually not familiar with the franchise by now, this is basically an offshoot of the mega-popular series SimCity (TMA Review) where instead of managing an entire community you simply manage a subset of the population.  In this case you get to create and fully customize up to 16 different Sims.  You’ll get to design dream homes for them, get them jobs, and help them live a lush lifestyle of playing with pets, growing a garden and baking cakes.  Goals will come up that when met earn you lifestyle points for acquiring cool items.  Of course your job will earn you Simoleons to help in that regard as well.  The Sims even live on your life cycle so when it’s day by you it’s day by them.  The game is even free to play (hence the name), but of course you can bolster your supply of Simoleons or lifestyle points via IAP purchases.  I wouldn’t be surprised if before long you could purchase extra Sims through IAP as well.

The Sims™ FreePlay Electronic Arts, The Sims™ FreePlay, – Free

Arrow Of Time – This is a third person shooter that utilizes the Unreal 3 engine.  You take on the role of a cop who gets transported back in time while trying to save a girl and recover an ancient sword from some bad men.  The time portals will continue to play a role in the game, and there will also be some puzzles to solve along with more standard TPS action like shooting lots of villains.  There will even be some platform elements like climbing and jumping, and some stealth maneuvers required for good measure.  The term “gesture based Quick Time Events” is also mentioned a couple of times, so I’m curious to see what that’s about.  The iTunes description does say that certain motions will actually be triggered by shaking the device rather than through on-screen control, which could be quite interesting if it works well.  Cut scene animations tell a detailed story with the help of slick music and voice acting.  I’m excited to see if what sounds like a fairly well made shooter from an independent party can hold up against the likes of companies like Gameloft.

Arrow of Time Puya Dadgar, Arrow of Time, – $1.99

Breakout: Boost – When you talk about brick breaking games there are two that come to mind as the granddaddies of them all: Arkanoid and Breakout.  Well, you can guess which one this is.  To coincide with Atari’s 40th anniversary they’ve decided to bring the classic ball and paddle game to iOS devices.  This version is “enhanced” with things like power ups and special brick types, though ironically such novelties have exited in modern clones of the game for years.  The one thing that is new is boost control, or the ability to manually adjust the speed of your ball.  The faster it goes the more points you get but the less control you have.  Game Center and OpenFeint support has been added as well so you’ll be able to compete on high score leaderboards and hopefully there will be plenty of achievements to earn.  Breakout: Boost is free to try, though you sadly only get 5 levels with the free version.  The 3 level packs that are currently available will boost your total to 200+ levels and set you back $2.97.  I think this offering will appeal to nostalgia buffs more than anything, because there are a few other brick breakers currently on the market that seem more creative than Breakout: Boost.

Breakout®: Boost Atari, Breakout®: Boost, – 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:

Next ArticleAugmented Reality-Powered browsAR App Applies QAR Code Magic to Facebook