10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 16 - 22]

Fighting game fans can rejoice this week as they get another port of a classic one on one combat fest, Soulcalibur.  The game sports 4 game play modes and a whopping 19 character roster for all your pixel pounding needs.  If you like good old fashioned platform games with stylish art and cool music then you need to check out Jazz: Trump’s Journey.  Strategy junkies should enjoy Time of Heroes, a turn based strategy game that sounds like the iOS answer to the Fire Emblem series.  A universal binary and iCloud save game support mean you could play it wherever you want with whichever device you have close at hand.  Time management freaks have a unique offering in Order Up!! To Go, a game that takes the backdrop of a Diner Dash style game and puts you in the kitchen instead of on the serving floor.  Best of all the game is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose if you want to take a peek.

Soulcalibur – The ports of popular fighting games continue with Soulcalibur, the combat game known for its weapons more than its fisticuffs.  The game boasts a huge cast of 19 characters, each with their moves faithfully recreated from the arcade classic.  The game currently has 4 game play modes which include the original arcade mode, Time Attack, Survival and Extra Survival.  The two survival modes sound like they should satisfy the truly skilled players, as they require you to get through the entire game with limited health (survival) and by killing enemies with a single hit (extra survival).  There are additional game modes planned as well, which will probably rely on user interest in the game as a whole.  Sadly there appears to be no multi-player options, so hopefully that will be added in a future release.  The game is universal, however you’ll need the latest crop of hardware which means iPhone 4/4S/ iPod Touch 4+ or an iPad 2.

SOULCALIBUR NamcoBandai Games, SOULCALIBUR, – $11.99

Unstoppable Gorg – I’m still not a huge fan of the tower defense genre, but thanks to games like the recently released Kingdom Rush I’m starting to warm up to the idea more.  From the looks of Unstoppable Gorg, I could be one step closer to calling this genre one that I enjoy.  The game is designed to pay homage to 1950’s Sci-Fi flicks, and from what I’ve seen via promo videos it does an excellent job of that.  The cut scenes were created using a combination of models, miniatures, actors and actual archive footage from other sources.  As for the game itself, rather than using the typical “Point A To Point B” tactic of most tower defense games, this one has a 360 degree playing field and allows you to rotate the satellites (instead of towers) along an orbit to best defend against wherever the enemies are currently appearing.  The game has more than 40 levels to conquer, as well as Game Center leaderboards to dominate and achievements to earn.  Unstoppable Gorg sounds like it could be the next revolution in tower defense games!

Unstoppable Gorg Futuremark Games Studio, Unstoppable Gorg, – $4.99

Steamscope – A variant on the infinite runner genre is the “tunnel runner”, a game where you have a first person view of an enclosed area that you’re running through (you may or may not see your own character).  Steamscope is a new entry to this genre on the App Store, though it has been on the Mac App Store for a while.  The graphics alone look to push it towards the top of the pack as far as this type of game play is concerned.  What has me more intrigued, however, is the fact that the game has end bosses.  That something you don’t normally see in a tunnel runner.  Additionally, the iTunes description talks about puzzles and a Tesla gun.  Suddenly this is starting to sound like a lot more than your average tunnel runner game.  I’m curious to see how these elements play into a genre that’s know for it’s high speed racing type action.  I just hope it doesn’t slow things down too much, because it’s nice to see new innovations creeping into a time tested genre.

Steamscope Digital Frame Studio, Steamscope, – $0.99
Steamscope HD Digital Frame Studio, Steamscope HD, – $1.99

Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam – I think this really should be more of an entertainment app than a game, but it was under the games category, and cross-platform promotional tools always intrigue me, so here we go.  You pick from one of seven songs, then use your device’s camera to film you or a friend getting your “grove thang” on.  The videos get remixed by someone you don’t know and will never meet, and viola – you are the star of a music video!  You can share the video with your friends and have Facebook competitions to determine who the best dancer is.  This is really just a cheap ploy to steer you towards the game’s big brother Dance Central 2 on the Xbox 360.  Ironically, though, the two titles have nothing to do with each other beyond the promotion – there is no way to interface between the two in any fashion.  So you think you can dance…

Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam Microsoft Corporation, Dance Central 2 Dance*Cam, – Free

Jazz: Trump’s Journey – This stylish platform game tells an “accounting” of the life of Louis Armstrong.  Once you look past the fact that there are probably few if any historical accuracies in the tale being told the game ends up being a rather entertaining little platformer.  I’ve been able to spend a little bit of time with this game, and while there’s nothing really new so far as the genre goes, the ability to stop time with your trumpet is pretty cool.  What really sets the game apart, however, is the aesthetics.  The visuals remind me of an old cartoon, while the cut scenes with exaggerated animations and dialog displayed between action shots screams “silent film”.  The music makes it clear that the developers are fans of good old fashioned jazz tunes, and that’s quite all right with me.  If you want a solid old school platformer with a slick presentation, you can’t beat Jazz: Trump’s Journey.

JAZZ: Trump's journey Bulkypix, JAZZ: Trump’s journey, – $2.99

Time of Heroes – This offering comes from the folks that created the iPad only dungeon crawler Companions (TMA Review), and it looks to be a 3D strategy game in the vein of great Nintendo classics like Fire Emblem.  The game interweaves an epic tale with groundbreaking turn based combat in a lush 3D environment.  You will have control over 6 different heroes and 6 different unit types, and you’ll face off against more than 25 unique enemies.  Different AI settings should help newcomers and experts alike to feel at home, and RPG like skill trees allow for a nice replay factor.  One play through is roughly 8-10 hours, and its universal nature and iCloud save capability means you can play wherever you are and no matter what device you have with you.  There is IAP available, but apparently it is just for those who want to get to the end more quickly or who are struggling with the game.  The developers claim it is completely playable without the IAP.  Turn based strategy games still aren’t as plentiful as they should be on iOS devices, so if this plays as well as it sounds it will certainly be a fine addition to any strategy gamer’s collection.

Time of Heroes smuttlewerk interactive, Time of Heroes, – $2.99

Stop Those Fish – At first glance this might just look like a silly clone of the game Super Dynamite Fishing.  When you consider the plot of bears trying to protect land dwellers by wiping out a league of evil hyper-intelligent fish… well, the silly part doesn’t go away.  However, the game play actually sounds rather interesting.  It’s a line drawing game, but because the targets are constantly in motion you have to plan for where they’ll be when your ammo gets to its destination, not where they are when you release it.  Add to that the fact that your resources are limited, and there’s actually a little bit of strategy involved in this casual game.  There are more than 50 levels of increasing difficulty with new obstacles and fish to conquer.  Along the way you’ll be able to upgrade your boat, weapons and defenses.  Multiple game modes and social network leaderboards and achievements should keep you busy for a while.  Stop the fish seems like it would make a great game for when you need a little diversion from reality.

Stop Those Fish Eye Interactive, Inc., Stop Those Fish, – $1.99

Order Up!! To Go – Order Up!! To Go is a time management sim with a twist.  Thanks to an interface reminiscent of cooking momma this game thrusts you into the kitchen to slice, dice and chop your way to the top.  You’ll have to cook your way across a variety of restaurants that each have a unique menu to conquer.  And naturally each establishment is more challenging than the last.  The controls have been designed with the touch screen in mind, so you’ll be flipping burgers, chopping vegetables and dunkin’ French fries in no time.  Don’t rest your laurels on your cooking skills, however, as you’ll have to deal with fires, rat infestations and even the nefarious health inspectors.  Over the course of a game you’ll be able to acquire up to six restaurants, and you might even have the chance to enter the famous Fortified Chef competition.  I’m a big fan of time management games, and it’s nice to see a developer taking a slightly different approach to the whole Diner Dash craze.

Order Up!! To Go Chillingo Ltd, Order Up!! To Go, – Free

Half Breed – Welcome to another in the growing conga line of freemium dual stick shooters.  Except that Half Breed isn’t necessarily dual stick… and it’s not actually a shooter.  Of course, it might feel that way depending on which powers you are wielding, but in Half Breed you play a half man, half alien experiment (hence the title).  Instead of traditional weapons you’ll collect up to 22 different powers in your quest to seek revenge on the people who created you.  Powers include offensive abilities like electricity and fire as well as defensive tools like speed and invisibility.  You start off with 3, collect more as you defeat bosses, and can pick up additional choices via IAP.  There are currently only 7 levels, but enemy spawners can help you extend the life of the game as long as you can keep things under control.  You can also play with a friend via WiFi in a closed arena, infinite enemy scenario.  The IAP is not required to complete the game, but part of the proceeds for IAP purchases will be donated to charities that help wounded veterans.

Half Breed Tricasa, LLC, Half Breed, – Free

Smash Cops – I tend to find overhead racing games more satisfying than “in the cockpit” ones, and as far as I’m concerned, the more damage you can do the better.  Smash Cops seems to fit the bill for both points, and you get the added bonus of actually playing on the right side of the law for once.  You’ll travel through a huge city as you try and complete 20 missions that range from fleeing heavily armed enemies to dodging civilian traffic and your co-workers as you close in on fleeing suspects.  There are also 4 mini-games to keep you entertained once the missions are complete.  Smash Cops uses a control scheme that has you guiding the car from behind with your fingers instead of using any sort of simulated steering wheel, which as far as I know is unique to racing games and could prove rather interesting.  Most important, though, is the fact that you get to smash everything in sight, including the felons’ cars.  It’s good the be the law.

Smash Cops Hutch, Smash Cops, – $2.99

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:

Next Article"Inside Apple" now available on iBookstore and Amazon