10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 2 – 8]

Things still haven’t quite picked up from the holiday break yet, but I did find a few games to talk about this week.  Old school RPG gamers might want to give Dungeon Of The Damned a try, a dungeon crawler that harkens back to the days of games like Dungeon Master with some adventure elements thrown in to boot.  If you’d like a simple action game you would probably enjoy Super Crate Box where your sole purpose is to dodge monsters and collect crates.  It sounds awfully basic but a lot of people are saying it’s quite addictive.  For those that wish to unleash their inner Jedi without spending lots of money on Knights Of The Old Republic online there’s Brisksaber, a cheesy looking promotional piece between a beverage company and one of the kings of filmmaking to promote the upcoming release of the 3D version of a certain galaxy spanning saga.

Brisksaber – To be honest with you, when I saw the name I actually thought this was some sort of joke application.  The screen shots don’t really help much, either.  As it turns out, though, this is a legitimate cross promotion between Lipton and LucasFilms to celebrate the release of Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D.  So, if you’ve ever wanted to turn your finger into a light saber and slash away at the enemy on your iDevice screen, now’s your chance.  You can compete against others via a leaderboard on Brisk’s Facebook site, and I will admit that the thought of slicing up Jar Jar Binks is somewhat appealing.  At least there are plans for updating the app with new sabers and characters, which I presume will coincide with the re-release of more of the Star Wars films in 3D.  On the plus side, the application is universal and free. I’m just not sure that fighting a bobble-headed Darth Maul will seem all that intimidating.

Brisksaber Mekanism, Inc., Brisksaber, – Free

Water Wars – I wasn’t sure that there were any more ways to make the Battleship experience unique (except for that bizarre looking movie coming out this summer), but I guess I was wrong.  The folks at Spin Island LLC have combined Battleship with line drawing, and it might just make the aging strategy game interesting again.  Rather than just one type of vehicle, you get both aircraft and watercraft to control.  You can choose different maps to compete on, each with their own set of obstacles.  To attack you simply draw a line from your ship to some other point on the map, and if that line happens to cross an enemy vehicle you’ll take that vehicle out.  There are seven different achievements to earn, which hopefully will be expanded over time.  You can play with two people on the same iPad or remotely via Game Center, though it doesn’t sound like Water Wars supports computer AI at the moment.  It might not have the most robust feature set, but it is a free download.  Check it out and give the developer some positive feedback and maybe we’ll see that feature set grow.

Water Wars Spin Island LLC, Water Wars, – Free

Dungeon of the Damned – For anyone that remembers the old school dungeon crawlers like Bard’s Tale or Dungeon Master, this appears to be a title that pays homage to those classics.  You set about exploring a 3D dungeon in an attempt to escape for your life, not knowing why you’re there in the first place.  Grid based movement will get you through the dungeon, while point and click exploration will help you find objects you need to solve puzzles.  There will also be the traditional dungeon crawler fare like levers to pull, pressure pads to hold down, and teleports to blindly walk through.  And, lest you feel slighted, there will be plenty of monsters to fight.  The visuals certainly have old school charm, and atmospheric music and sound effects should help bring the dungeon to life.

Dungeon of the Damned Digi-chain Games, Dungeon of the Damned, – $1.99

Pocket League Story – The folks at Kairosoft are back, and this time they’re tackling the popular world of soccer (or football, depending on which side of the pond you live on).  You’ll hand pick your teams and make your way to the top of every league.  As you win games and collect sponsors your fanbase will grow, and you’ll eventually be able to sell merchandise, erect a gym, and maybe even put up your own stadium.  You’ll also be able to experience the thrill of the game, listening to the fans cheer as the word “Goal!” is screamed across the stadium.  Much like their racing effort, I do wonder how much control you have during the actual event.  If you’re basically sitting and watching, than I imagine this will appeal more to armchair coaches then anyone.  Still, there must be some strong appeal for these simulations since Kairosoft keeps churning them out.

Pocket League Story Kairosoft Co, Pocket League Story, – $2.99

Street Wrestler – The big thing that appeals to me about this game is that it reminds me of one of my old console favorites, Streets of Rage.  Of course the Luchador vigilante hero is a bit of a twist, but as long as the four main characters come with some killer signature moves that will work just fine for me.  And if we’re really lucky there won’t be a guest appearance from Jack Black.  Anyway, it looks like there are a nice variety of locales to act as a backdrop for your pounding pleasure.  There also appears to be some depth to the game based on the position of some of the bad guys in the screen shots, which should be a nice change from a lot of the completely linear side scrollers that grace the iOS platform.  I love the cell shaded look of the visuals as well.  Since the game has four different wrestlers to choose from, it would be nice to see a two player mode in a future update, even if it’s just local WiFi or Bluetooth support.

Street Wrestler Chillingo, Street Wrestler, – $2.99

ZDay Survival Simulator – Often I like games because they don’t take themselves very seriously.  This one, on the other hand, caught my attention because of how over-the-top serious the author of the iTunes description sounds.  Now I’m sure they don’t really believe that there will be a zombie apocalypse, or that if there were this app would somehow really help you prepare for the chaos that would ensue, but the well written enticement has got me intrigued enough to check out the game.  The game is presented in a “choose your own adventure” format where you’re provided with one scenario after another and must simply tap a button to express what you would do given that situation.  The game tallies your choices and makes an “accurate” prediction of how well you’ll survive an undead rampage.  The illustrations are courtesy of a renowned DC comics artist, and if the game is written as entertainingly as the iTunes blurb, it could actually be quite good.  Plus, if you really want people to know what kind of conspiracy nut you are, you can share your results via Facebook or OpenFeint.

ZDAY Survival Simulator Mongadillo Studios, ZDAY Survival Simulator, – $1.99

Recorder Master – I don’t own a record, and I’ve never really had the desire to play one.  However, this certainly falls under the category of “cool way to control your device”, so I thought I’d bring it to your attention.  Basically through 30 levels of game play of various styles you’ll use your recorder to run, jump or do whatever you need to in order to avoid obstacles and get to the end of the level.  It’s a great way for kids to learn to play, and it might even keep slightly older ones interested in learning music as well.  Players will strengthen their rhythm, tone production, finger technique and other skills vital to being a good musician.  The songs were developed specifically for the game, so you won’t feel like your kids are simply rehashing the latest pop songs.  If you don’t actually have a recorder you can still activate the game via the touch screen.  One thing you can’t get around, however, is the fact that you’ll need an iPad 2 to give this one a try.

Recorder Master JoyTunes, Recorder Master, – Free

Super Crate Box – The indie ports continue with Super Crate Box, the simple game that has inspired such iOS hits as Muffin Knight.  The thing is, there really isn’t a whole lot to this game.  You basically run around one of a few different backgrounds, dodging or dispatching four different types of monsters while you collect as many crates as possible.  The game play is basic, the visuals are retro pixel goodness, and it actually doesn’t have as many features as some of its competitors.  It’s already receiving some fairly strong accolades, though, which seems to indicate that portable devices are a good home for the “simpler can be better” philosophy.  I’m curious to see what the developers’ surprise is going to be once 5 million crates have been snatched in the iOS version.

Super Crate Box Vlambeer, Super Crate Box, – $0.99

Tiki Kart 3D – If you like Mario Kart style racing but haven’t found a game to fill that void on your iOS device yet, maybe Tiki Kart 3D will do.  This racer has no official license to back it, yet it looks pretty good.  Rather than your typical vehicles you can race anything from a volcano powered lump of rock to a tropical drink kart complete with umbrella.  All told there are 8 different types of karts each with their own stats, which should hopefully make for a unique feel depending on which one you play.   There are also 15 different courses you can race on.  Most importantly, however, you must consider the weapons.  Fireballs, rockets, land mines and more will be at your disposal to help you guarantee that your friends do not win.  One thing that’s not mentioned is multi-player capabilities, but if they aren’t there now hopefully they’ll come in an update.  The game is free to play, though there are a significant number of IAP items which seem to cover most of the different kart types.

Tiki Kart 3D Arb Studios, Tiki Kart 3D, – Free

Garden Dash – The gals at DinerTown are back at it again.  This time you play Barb the Businesswoman, who was so inspired by Flo’s success in the restaurant business that she decides to give up corporate life and take up gardening.  Not content to stay in the back yard, though, you’ll have to help Barb through 50 levels in an effort to turn 5 dumpy city lots into garden paradises.  If this plays out anything like the typical DinerTown time management game you’ll be up to your ears in cranky customers and fertilizer in no time.  You can play music to soothe your plants, and you need to make sure they stay warm at night.  Fend off pests (no, not annoying customers), handle the elements carefully, and make sure your customers stay happy as well.  So far I haven’t played a DinerTown game yet that has let me down, so I don’t expect anything different from this release.  Sadly, small screen gamers will have to wait, as right now this is only an iPad release.

Garden Dash PlayFirst, Inc., Garden Dash, – 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:

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