10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 30 - Feb. 5]

This week racing fans can let out their impulsive urges with Reckless Racing 2, the third Reckless game to grace us with its presence on the iOS platform.  If it’s half as entertaining as the original or Reckless Getaway, there’s no question that it’s a must have.  If you prefer things a bit more supernatural Capcom has released an iOS port of their acclaimed Nintendo DS game Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.  Among other things you get to possess items and rewind time because you are, after all, dead.  If you’re still craving that Pokemon fix there’s Terapets, a monster capture / combat game with 300 different creatures to trap.  Good luck catching them all!

Droopy Blocks – I don’t want to sound like a cheesy PR email, but I’m pretty sure this game is unique on the App Store.  The premise is that the Droopy Blocks have melted, and it’s up to you to get them back to the proper shape.  The playing field is comprised of four “suckers” that can pull your block in the appropriate direction, and a diagram somewhere on the playing field shows you the position and final shape of the block.  What makes this interesting is that you can hold down parts of the block with your fingers so that they don’t move, and you can even use multiple fingers if need be.  The suckers have two speeds, and even the double speed can be a bit slow at times, but if you’re looking for a puzzle game unlike anything you’ve played before, this is definitely it.  The game is iPad only, and you can download it for free to play the first 10 levels.  The additional 70 are available for a single IAP purchase.

Droopy Blocks Mechanical Butterfy Studios, Droopy Blocks, – Free

Reckless Racing 2 – The Reckless series (Reckless Racing (TMA Review) and Reckless Getaway) has provided many hours of fun, so I can’t imagine that this iteration would be any different.  There are a total of 17 characters, 18 different cars and 24 routes to race, so you won’t be able to complain for a lack of variety.  Career mode allows you to race for money to buy different cars and upgrades, while Arcade mode gives you the chance to complete 40 predefined challenges.  When you feel like you’ve got a handle on things you can take it online and compete against others in single events like Race, Hot Lap and Elimination.  There are online leaderboards to prove your worth, and you can download ghost cars to help tune your racing prowess.  There are 5 different control layouts, and you can even customize the position of the buttons.  Visually the game employs lots of nifty graphics tricks, with enhanced optimizations for iPhone 4S and iPad 2.  Hectic, adrenaline filled racing is but a download away with this new release.

Reckless Racing 2 Polarbit, Reckless Racing 2, – $4.99

The Game Of Life ZappED Edition – A few weeks ago I had reported on a physical board game that used your iPhone or iPad to keep track of certain things, and now it looks like Hasbro is jumping aboard this technology fad as well.  They’ve decided to integrate the iPad with an update to one of their classics: The Game Of Life.  The precepts behind the board game haven’t changed.  You each get a car, and your goal is to reach retirement through a series of decent life choices.  The iPad app is free, and it provides a virtual spinner as well as some crazy animated pegs for your cars (though I’m not really sure how the latter feature meshes with physical plastic vehicles).  The game also provides more than 100 clips from the TV show America’s Funniest Home Videos to coincide with goings-on in the game, so that should be rather amusing.  There are even mini-games as Payday bonuses.  I will admit I’m a bit surprised that money isn’t handled by the game as well instead of having fake paper bills, but maybe that will come in an update.  The whole concept of combining physical family fun with electronics is intriguing, and I can’t wait to see where more companies take the premise.

THE GAME OF LIFE ZappED edition Hasbro, THE GAME OF LIFE ZappED edition, – Free

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective – As much as I’d love to see lots of original IP on my iOS devices in the adventure game category, I’ll take ports of really cool games if that’s all I can get.  Ghost Trick comes from the Nintendo DS, and it sounds like it might qualify for the “really cool game” status.  You play a ghost that must figure out who you are, why you were killed and who committed the fatal deed.  You’ll explore a series of locales, possessing and manipulating objects in order to get figure out what happened in each room.  You’ll also find that death seems to follow you around, but you’ll be able to rewind time to 4 minutes before a character’s death and attempt to change their fate.  The first two chapters of this intriguing sounding tale are free, with IAP for the remaining chapters.  If the game plays as good as it sounds conceptually, this could be quite the experience indeed.

GHOST TRICK: Phantom Detective CAPCOM, GHOST TRICK: Phantom Detective, – Free

Tank Battalion Blitz – I’m trying to figure out exactly what type of game this is.  “Game play” screens make it look like an action game, but then it talks about building a deck of tanks for the ultimate army so I begin to picture Magic: The Gathering with artillery.  Either way it seems like an interesting game.  There are currently two game play modes, with a Boss mode coming soon.  You can play by yourself or with others via Game Center.  There are 130 stages to complete in the campaign mode, which you can actually take on cooperatively with a friend.  If you’re into the whole “gotta get ‘em all” thing there are 150 different types of tanks to collect, some of which you can get via Gashapons (whatever that is) and Game Center achievements.  I always love trying out new tank games, and I think the whole deck building element will give this one a unique spin to make it worth spending some time on.

TANK BATTALION BLITZ NamcoBandai Games, TANK BATTALION BLITZ, – $0.99

Spice Invaders – Chillingo is back with another freemium game, this time in the tower defense genre.  You play the commander of a pirate force that is invading Earth to mine away its precious spices.  There are 55 levels spread over 5 different environments, and as you collect spices you’ll be able to buy new weapons and upgrade existing items.  There are 6 different tower classes with a total of 54 upgrades between them.  As you look through the screen shots on iTunes you’ll note that the layouts don’t seem like the maps of your typical TD game.  More interesting, however, is the ability to play against 7 other players online.  In fact, it seems that Spice Invaders was actually designed for online play.  That alone sets it apart from most games in the genre.  The best part is that the game is free, so there should be no reason that die hard tower defense fans haven’t already picked it up.

Spice Invaders Chillingo Ltd, Spice Invaders, – Free

Terapets – Take the monster capturing premise of Pokemon and toss in a dash of rhythm game and you’ve got yourself a little game called Terapets.  There are 30 areas to explore and a whopping 300 different pets to capture.  You can have up to 6 pets on your team at any given time, and continued battles will both help you level up (to a 100 level max) and allow your pets to evolve.  Some creatures can evolve up to 7 times!  Your main character can learn an impressive 261 different attacks as they level up.  There are 50 unique objects that can be collected and used for healing, enhancement and simply advancing through the story.  You can tackle AI pet handlers or take your competitive nature online and fight against real foes from around the world.  The best part is that all of this monster catching and fighting goodness can be had for free and played on both your iPhone and iPad devices.

Terapets TIKTAK GAMES, Terapets, – Free

 

The Hotel Z – When simply managing hotels isn’t hectic enough, the next evolution is naturally using said hotels to protect the world from an alien invasion!  At least that’s what the premise behind The Hotel Z would have you believe.  You’ll start with a basic hotel and as the game progresses you’ll earn EXP to upgrade that hotel up to 9 different levels.  You’ll even be able to customize the hotel rooms to accommodate the different type of clientele you get, but beware because some of your guests might be aliens in disguise.  You also get to build your own robots, which I assume are what will be fighting the aliens.  Naturally while all this is going on many unexpected events will take place at the hotel.  In many ways this sounds like a bad sci-fi comedy, but it’s certainly a unique premise for a time management game, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s as fun as it sounds bizarre.

The Hotel Z™ Sevens Entertainment, The Hotel Z™, – $0.99

 

Gamesculpt 3D – Okay, I know this isn’t actually a game, but as a developer myself I thought it might be worth mentioning for all you aspiring game designers.  It almost sounds like an attempt at taking a concept like Minecraft to the next level or two.  You can design an entire 3D world based off of 13 primitive shapes, and texture everything with predefined textures or from pictures in your photo library.  You can assign triggers to objects and make a fairly interactive environment.  There are even allowances for dialogs and such things.  The main character can have up to 14 objects in inventory and carry a gun (or not) depending on your desires.  An individual game can contain up to 10 levels, and you can export your games via email to share with your friends.  Now the reality is that you’re not going to create the next Call Of Duty or Shadowgun with this tool, but it could be an interesting way for motivated folks to create a “demo” without having to actually learn any programming on an iOS device.

Gamesculpt 3D Jordi Pérez, Gamesculpt 3D, – $11.99
Gamesculpt 3D Player Jordi Pérez, Gamesculpt 3D Player, – Free

Reiner Knizia’s City Of Secrets SkylineCity of Secrets (TMA Review) is a cool adventure game in the style of the classic Sierra Online and LucasArts games of the 80s and early 90s.  Reiner Knizia is a master board game designer whom I’ve written about many times as much of his work has been electronically recreated on iOS devices.  This collaboration is an effort to promote the forthcoming City Of Secrets 2, and while iTunes does not elaborate much on the game itself, I would expect it to be pretty interesting given Mr. Knizia’s track record.  What we do know is that there are 56 levels divided into 4 categories.  We also know that you can earn a prize that can actually be used in the upcoming City Of Secrets 2.  We also know that no sweet potatoes were hurt, though one developer did get a really irritating runny nose.  With the pedigree behind Reiner Knizia and the humor demonstrated in the iTunes description, I think this will be a pretty cool little game.

Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Skyline Aidem Media, Reiner Knizia’s City of Secrets Skyline, – $0.99
Reiner Knizia's City of Secrets Skyline HD Aidem Media, Reiner Knizia’s City of Secrets Skyline HD, – $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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