10 New App Store Games To Watch [Feb. 6 - 12]

 

This week should be paradise for scrolling shooter fans.  Cave released another game in the DoDonPachi series called DoDonPachi Blissful Death, and I’m sure it will provide the same frustrating “bullet hell” satisfaction that most other shooters they release do.  The graphics look a bit dated, but if there’s lots of destruction it probably won’t matter too much.  Next up is DariusBurst SP, the latest in a line of horizontal shooters that dates back to 1986.  This installment comes to us courtesy of a PSP port, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it provides a similar thrill to Taito’s earlier release, RayForce (TMA Review).  Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit different there’s Beat Hazard Ultra.  Sure it’s still a shooter, and if we’re lucky there will still be many things to blow up, but this one generates its level based off of the music in your on-device iTunes collection (or off of an internet radio station if you don’t have any music loaded).  Oh, and a few other games came out as well!

Ball On A Wall – BOAW is a platform game with a difference.  There are 90 action packed levels (12 for free, 78 via IAP) that will have you teleporting, dodging turrets, warping gravity and more.  There are 9 worlds with different themes, each adding new obstacles into the mix.  The difficulty modes really make an impact, so skilled players and novices alike can get the utmost enjoyment from playing.  You can even unlock 26 different skins to customize the ball to your liking.  The big difference, however, is that you control the platforms.  You’ll be able to push and pull the blocks that comprise the walls around to create the optimal path for your ball to travel.  It sounds simple, but don’t expect this to be a walk (or roll, as it were) in the park.  The game has been optimized for play on the iPad’s larger screen and runs incredibly well no matter which generation device you have.

Ball on a Wall SmallGreenHill, Ball on a Wall, – Free

The Tiny Bang Story HD – So many people raved about Myst (on the Mac) when it came out, but I never really got into it.  In my opinion, this is the game that Myst should have been.  A meteor has devastated your planet, and it’s up to you to make things right.  The game is comprised of 5 chapters, each of which contains several machines to fix and puzzles to solve.  The navigation is simple so you can focus on the tasks at hand.  The world is brought life with beautiful hand drawn images, and 10 unique themes will keep your ears happy.  There is no text in the game, though there are characters who tell their stories through thought bubbles filled with pictures.  The lack of words might make it easier for some to follow, and while the puzzles might tax the minds of younger kids the atmosphere is certainly family friendly.  I’ve played the PC version of this game, and from what I understand the iPad port is identical content wise, which means it will definitely be an enjoyable adventure.

The Tiny Bang Story HD Colibri Games, The Tiny Bang Story HD, – $2.99

Beat Hazard Ultra – The Radio Flare series convinced me that a scrolling shooter powered by music was a pretty cool thing.  Beat Hazard Ultra takes the concept up a notch by using the music in your library to create the levels!  Or if you’re like me and your device is devoid of music to make room for games you can use an internet radio station to drive the action.  Due to the game’s varied source for generating levels each game should be a unique playing experience.  To stir things up even more there are 3 different game play modes, and there are two different control schemes for beginners and advanced players.  As if that weren’t enough incentive to keep on coming back the game has 43 Game Center achievements and leaderboards you can compete on.  Plus there are 23 perks and 3 tactical weapons to unlock.  Just based on the description this is shaping up to be one of the best scrolling shooters on the App Store.

Beat Hazard Ultra Cold Beam Games Ltd, Beat Hazard Ultra, – $0.99

Pinball Arcade – I’m personally not a big fan of pinball games that don’t have a physical case with mechanical buttons to control the flippers and so on, but if you are this sounds like it might be the ultimate collection for you, especially as the updates come flowing in.  Rather than some fantastical board layouts with crazy physics, Pinball Arcade attempts to recreate as accurately as possible the machines that actually made many arcades worth going to.  For free you can get Tales of the Arabian Knights to play until the first high score, or you can shell out 99 cents right away to play Arabian Knights with no constraints.  IAP lets you acquire 3 more tables at various prices right now, with many more on the way.  There will be online tournaments for some healthy competition, promoted by Facebook support now and Game Center connectivity in the near future.  More game play modes will be coming as well.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm towards the genre, I might just be giving this one a try.

Pinball Arcade FarSight Studios, Pinball Arcade, – $0.99

End Night HD – Even though there are a lot of zombie games on the App Store, there really aren’t too many games that I’d say fall under the “survival horror” genre.  Most undead games are basically you blasting everything in sight until peace returns.  Taking its cue from stories like Resident Evil and I Am Legend, End Night sees a virus turn a small town into a bunch of lunatics.  It’s up to you to explore the town and try to piece together samples for creating the vaccine.  End Night takes a GTA style approach to game play, with dynamic missions that form around your choices as you wander the free roaming playing field.  You’ll have to loot anything you can to stay alive, so don’t expect any oddly placed stores selling goods here.  If the combat gets close you can expect to get dowsed with blood and guts, which it seems you’ll even get the chance to clean up.  Now the real question is if staying covered with zombie goop affects the game play or not.

End Night HD Ben Falcone, End Night HD, – $0.99

DoDonPachi Blissful Death – This has been a pretty intense week for shooters on the App Store.  This particular entry is another in a collection of “bullet hell” shooters from Cave, though Blissful Death is actually a port of a 10 year old game.  There are 6 different ship types and 3 elemental dolls to choose from, though the elemental dolls apparently only work in concert with two of the ship types.  There are also 4 difficulty levels to select from, and while it claims this allows beginners to share in the thrill of the Dodonpachi world, I have a feeling that the easy level might still be somewhat difficult for inexperienced players.  The combo and hyper systems that players familiar with the saga expect are present and accounted for.  Controls can be set to play like the arcade version or more like you’d hope an iPhone game would play.  Game Center and OpenFeint provide both achievements and leaderboards so you’ll have some proof that you’re actually good at the game.  The one thing I was a bit surprised about is that the graphics look a bit dated – I would have thought they might spruce them up a bit for the game’s iOS release.

DoDonPachi Blissful Death CAVE CO., DoDonPachi Blissful Death, – $4.99

Ragdoll Blaster 3 – I have mixed emotions about the whole “ragdoll physics” concept, because most of the time it’s either misused (in my opinion) or applied to fairly benign genres like “infinite falling” games.  While I’ve not partaken of the Ragdoll Blaster series yet, I think I will know that I’ve read about this third installment.  Instead of some mindless exercise in flinging limp bodies around the screen, Ragdoll Blaster provides more than 100 levels of puzzle solving fun.  You also have a cannon and you’ve gotta love cannons.  5 different ragdolls are at your disposal, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  You can even buy outfits for them in the in-game store.  Game Center leaderboards let you compete against ragdoll blasters from around the world, and instant replays give you the chance to study your mistakes and refine your skills.  The audio and visuals have been ramped up from previous iterations, making this the “best of the bunch” to date.

Ragdoll Blaster 3 Backflip Studios, Ragdoll Blaster 3, – $0.99
Ragdoll Blaster 3 HD Backflip Studios, Ragdoll Blaster 3 HD, – $2.99

Raid Leader – Well, it’s another Crescent Moon Games publication, so I should probably pull out my stock “this ought to be good” entry.  Now I realize that CMG is only the publisher and not the developer, but their track record of games they’ve picked to publish pretty much speaks for itself.  This time around you control a band of three heroes in a quest to save the land of Eldentir from the demon Belfanor.  The heroes each have their strengths and weaknesses, and over time you’ll be able to unlock more than 30 special abilities between them.  You’ll fight hordes of evil creatures and run into some really challenging bosses.  There are even Game Center achievements, which make sense, and leaderboards, which I don’t think are quite so common for this type of game.  All this is wrapped up in an extremely pretty looking bow, which is no big surprise.  I don’t know that there’s really anything revolutionary here, but if Crescent Moon has had their hand in the production at all you know there will be a certain flair that makes the tried and true special.

Raid Leader Crescent Moon Games, Raid Leader, – $0.99

Star Wars Pit Droids – In the “somewhat loyal to a fault” category comes this latest offering from LucasArts.  Despite the fact that Lucas basically destroyed my childhood with the three prequels to Star Wars, I still have to admit to at least a mild curiosity any time a new product makes its way into the franchise.  In this case it’s a new iOS game that focuses on the pit droids that take care of the speeders during that Tatooine races.  Apparently they’ve gone nuts, and it’s up to you to corral them in a puzzle like manner through 75 levels of zaniness.  The screen shots almost scream “sophisticated fan project” rather than a true LucasArts production, and the fact that it’s really basically a promotion for the 3D re-release of Phantom Menace means it should be free, but I guess this is what we get to settle for now that THQ no longer wields the Star Wars license for mobile devices.  I suppose it will at least give die hard Star Wars fans an iOS fix.

Star Wars Pit Droids LucasArts, Star Wars Pit Droids, – $1.99

DariusBurst SP – I thought I’d close out this week’s roundup with yet another scrolling shooter.  This one comes from Taito, and while I still find their price point intriguing to say the least, after RayForce (TMA Review) I’m more than inclined to believe the game is worth it.  The Darius series has been around since 1986, and DariusBurst SP is the iOS incarnation of the 2009 PSP installment.  This version has been optimized for the touch screen.  It also includes a remixed version of the PSP game that has new enemy patterns and alternate boss battles (the SP of DariusBurst SP), as well as a special ship from the arcade release and some brand new music.  The iTunes description doesn’t delve much more into specifics, but with a 25+ year lineage I’m willing to give DariusBurst SP the benefit of the doubt.  If it plays as well as RayForce I think Cave will have some strong competition when it comes to top quality shooters.

DARIUSBURST SP TAITO Corporation, DARIUSBURST SP, – $10.99

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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