10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 9 - 15]

Chillingo was the big winner this week with two selections in my watch list.  Woody Woodpecker has made his debut on the App Store, though I’m not sure if his outing will appeal more to racing fans or Tiny Wings (TMA Review) enthusiasts.  On the other hand, Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time should undoubtedly appeal to players that like to blow zombies away.  Now if decimating aliens is more your style, then Star Marine: Infinite Ammo might just fit the bill.  Of course, if you’d rather take out aliens while flying a ship, you’re probably more interested in Rayforce, a port of a popular mid-90’s arcade game brought to us by Taito.

Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell – As both a parent and an avid adventure game fan, it’s nice to see publishers willing to invest in products that look to be both fun and kid friendly.  In this game you’ll explore everything from ancient ruins to a sunken airplane in order to figure out who stole the Great Conch Shell.  The game is filled with lovable characters, and every play through brings new clues, locations and culprits, so it should feel like a fresh experience every time.  Game Center integration provides in-game achievements, and you can even write your own song on the underwater organ.  The visuals look bright and colorful with a cartoony style, which honestly appeals as much to me as it might to kids.  This might not be the most challenging game for older players, but it sounds like it would be fun for kids and a great way for parents to spend some time with their children and their iOS device in the same sitting.

Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell Atari, Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell, – $2.99

Woody Woodpecker – Among the fine collection of animated antics that corrupted my youth was Woody Woodpecker, the exploits of a crazy bird and his nutty friends.  Now that world comes to life on your iOS devices thanks to this self-named game from Chillingo publishing.  I’m glad to see that they didn’t go the “easy” route and make this another Mario Kart clone, but I do find the choice of a one touch Tiny Wings mechanic interesting.  My main concern with the side view perspective that they’ve employed is the potential lack of variety in track design.  Of course if the game play is fast and fun it may not matter.  There are 5 characters to choose from, and thankfully the game supports multi-player so you can compete with others all around the world.  The real question is how much interest people have in a decades old property that really hasn’t been abused much in the last few years.

Woody Woodpecker Chillingo, Woody Woodpecker, – $0.99

Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time! – This may not be some big old 3D FPS zombie slaughter fest, but it still has the potential of being one of my favorite zombie games of the year.  Chuck is back, and this time he’s stepping across time to protect dwellings throughout Niceville’s history.  Along the way you’ll tackle all kinds of new enemies including ninjas, Vikings and sumo wrestlers – which, of course, are all dead.  Have no fear, though, as you’ll have a whole slew of weapons to take down these foes.  Get yourself a bottled lightning grenade or pocket UFO, or just load up “Betsy” with the latest ammo including Medusa rounds and frostbite bullets.  The important thing to remember is to clean up, because even ancient people don’t like messy floors.

If you missed out on the first Zombie Wonderland, you can read my TMA review here.

Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time! Chillingo, Zombie Wonderland 2: Outta Time!, – $0.99

Run Roo Run – When I first flipped through the screen shots I thought this was some sort of fancy “infinite running” game, but it appears that it’s a platform game comprised of a series of single screen levels, much like the recently released Alien Hominid PDA Games (though those were technically like 1 ½ screen levels).  In this case there are over 400 levels, with the promise of 10 new levels a week.  Like many of these “micro-games” Run Roo Run employs a one touch control scheme for easy pick up and play gaming.  Power ups range from clouds you can ride to gravity defying umbrellas, and you’ll need to make wise use of all of them to do your best.  Run Roo Run supports Game Center for leaderboards and achievements as well.  For those that care about lineage this comes from the developers of Scribblenauts, so it should have some high production values.

Run Roo Run 5TH Cell, Run Roo Run, – $0.99
Run Roo Run HD 5TH Cell, Run Roo Run HD, – $1.99

Word Jigsaw – I tend to shy away from word games because I honestly do not have a great vocabulary.  However, I really like the look of this one.  In Jigsaw Puzzle you have a square board and a bunch of pieces that look like they fit together pentominos style.  The trick is that each row must spell a word all the way across.  The game has six levels, each corresponding to a word length from 5 to 10 characters.  You get the first three levels for free.  Given the over 9000 word library available for the game, it should be highly unlikely that you’d ever have two games that are exactly the same.   This is a great way to boost your spelling skills, and could even help build your vocabulary assuming the game actually tells you what the words mean (if not that would be an outstanding feature!)  The game even keeps track of your averages, times and records for those who are really into statistics.

Word Jigsaw Megafauna Software, Word Jigsaw, – Free

Star Marine: Infinite Ammo – I was half expecting this to be a dual stick shooter, but it’s actually more like Contra in space, which is perfectly fine with me.  You take on the role of a marine captured by aliens who must figure out how to escape from their space ship.  You’ll get to choose from seven weapons with cool names like The Reaper and the Crippler.  You can equip two at once, with one acting as a primary and the other a backup.  You’ll also be able to equip several battle aids to give you the upper hand.  You’ll need it, as the levels are filled with alien vermin and several bosses that you’ll have to take on.  Once you’ve completed story mode there are boss and survival modes to keep you busy, and a whopping 80 achievements (50 game specific and 30 through Game Center) gives you a lot to strive for.  Destructopus showed that Glitchsoft had a heart for retro gaming, and Star Marine cements that passion.

Star Marine: Infinite Ammo GlitchSoft, Star Marine: Infinite Ammo, – $1.99

Hero Academy – From the makers of Age Of Empires and Halo Wars comes this somewhat humorous take on the turn based strategy genre.  You can choose between the Council and Dark Elves teams, though the latter must be purchased via IAP.  Customize whichever team you choose then get ready to take on an opponent on a randomized playing field.  Hook up with your friends via Twitter and Facebook for a friendly match or take on a random opponent for anonymous satisfaction.  The mechanics are pretty simple so you can concentrate on your strategy, and it should allow most anyone to jump in without too much trouble.  You can chat with your opponents while playing the game, or if you’re looking for a more hands-off experience you can just have push notifications alert you when it’s your turn.  Color graphics and light-hearted music keep the atmosphere fun.  The only down side to this experience is that there doesn’t appear to be a single player mode at the moment.

Hero Academy Robot Entertainment, Hero Academy, – Free

Spider Swiper by Mentos – Now here’s something I never would have expected to see – a spider smashing game sponsored by a company that makes breath mints.  Even more interesting is that the designer’s credits include 7th Guest and Quake III.  This game sure looks to be a far cry from that lineage.  What you get here is the chance to fight 6 different types of realistic spiders in super-realistic environments, including the “under your bed” scenario.  Press the screen to put up your hands and swipe to attack, unleashing deadly combos on these eight legged creatures.  Just be sure to keep an eye on your stamina and health.  A nebulous crowd will cheer you on, and Game Center provides standings just in case you want others to know you’re actually playing Spider Swiper.  The app is free, and defeating the first spider can earn you a free roll of Mentos.  The real question is if this marketing ploy is really going to provide any reasonable number of sales to Mentos or not.

Spider Swiper by Mentos The Martin Agency, Spider Swiper by Mentos, – Free

RayForce – Thanks to Taito’s efforts we can now play this 1993 arcade classic right on our mobile phone.  This is the first in a series of 2D scrolling shooters from a company known for this style of game play.  The game is delivered with two modes; an iPhone mode with flick-style controls and an Arcade mode with touch screen buttons.  You can choose to play with automatic or manual firing, and the visuals can be display in zoom mode to fill up the entire screen or in Original mode to preserve the exact ratio of the original arcade screen.  The graphics and sound have been faithfully replicated from the arcade, so it should feel as close to the arcade experience as possible without having an upright machine in your living room.  Now I love scrolling shooters and am quite anxious to take this one for a spin, but my one question is if it will be possible for a game like this to thrive in a 99 cent market with such a high price tag.  Developer Cave seems to manage fairly well with their shooters, but that will be a though act to follow.

RayForce TAITO Corporation, RayForce, – $11.99

EclipseCraft – So it looks like the race continues to see who can create the better iOS Minecraft before the fabled game actually hits iOS devices (assuming it ever will).  Interestingly enough, however, even though this game claims to be the only one of its kind you’ll need, EclipseCraft doesn’t seem to have anything to do with actually building levels.  Instead, it looks to be more of an exploration game, where the worlds you are exploring just happen to be built with blocks.  There are apparently two game play modes – gallery and block game – though neither is really elaborated upon.  There are monsters and aliens to tangle with, giving it a bit of an arcade bent.  The developers are promising more levels and worlds, which to me sort of enforces the thought that there is no actual level building going on.  There is also Game Center integration “coming soon”.  I’m not really sure what this game is supposed to be in relation to other “block” games, but if you find games like Minecraft a little to slow paced, this might actually be a better fit for you.

EclipseCraft Top Best Adult Entertainment, EclipseCraft, – $1.99

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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