10 New App Store Games To Watch [March 5 – 11]

The big surprise for me this week was Mass Effect Infiltrator, especially since it didn’t come out on the heavy release day of Thursday.  I’ve never really followed the Mass Effect series, but with a pedigree like Dead Space (TMA Review) iOS under their belts, this offering has me really intrigued.  If you’re into the lighter side of role playing games there are a couple of choices this week.  Kids vs Goblins takes a nod from the classic Henson film Labyrinth where you must save your baby brother from the goblin king.  Instead of one girl you have a team of three rescuers, and don’t expect a famous rock star to be playing the main villain.  On the other hand, if you’ve ever wanted to be one of the personnel in an RPG you now have the chance with Adventure Bar Story.  You own one of the precious taverns strewn across the typical RPG landscape, and among other things you’ll get the chance to prepare over 400 dishes made of select monster parts.

The Lost Shapes – From the creators of Saving Yello and Happy Hills comes this game of Magic Chess played by wizards far and wide.  The basic premise is that you’ll take tiles out of a queue and place them on the board in order to form certain shapes.  In Shape mode you’ll progress through 30 levels, creating more intricate shapes as you go along.  Survival mode challenges you to create detailed shapes without filling the board or letting the tile queue get overloaded.  Along the way enchanted tiles will help you do things like blow up other tiles or freeze time for a few seconds.  Certain tiles will be locked once placed, while other tiles will be free to be used more than once.  Game Center integration lets you keep track of high scores, and IAP provides extra levels for Shape Mode as well as a variety of power-up packages.  The game is universal so you can enjoy it on whichever device you have handy.  The one thing I’d like to see them add is a multi-player mode.

The Lost Shapes dreamfab, The Lost Shapes, – $2.99

TwinSpin – When I saw this name show up in the list of new games I did some digging because it seemed awfully familiar.  Sure enough I actually reviewed the PocketPC version of TwinSpin (called Twin Spin Deluxe) quite some time ago, and it was quite entertaining.  It’s brought to us by the same developers that created the PocketPC version, though I don’t know if the levels are actually the same or not.  Either way there are 72 of them, and assuming it plays pretty much the same, they’ll keep you busy for a while.  You control two balls joined by a bar, and tapping the screen plants one ball and sets the other spinning.  Using their conjoined motions you must pop all the balls on each level.  As I quipped in my original review it can often feel like running a three legged race with a partner that’s not paying attention, but I remember having a hard time putting the game down.  It’s actually a good game for one handed play, and the next update will make it a universal binary (playing one handed on an iPad might be difficult, though).

TwinSpin GlobZ, TwinSpin, – $0.99

Adventure Bar Story – Typically you play the hero in an RPG, and on rare occasions you get to play the villain.  There are usually several other characters in an RPG, however, and in this particular game you get to play one of the most prevalent and probably underrated – the barkeep.  Yep, you own one of those taverns that can be found in almost any complete RPG town since the days of Ultima I.  You’ll prepare dishes for your clients using monsters that you slay on the battlefield.  There are over 400 recipes that you’ll be able to fix, and the better the food you make the stronger your patrons get.  You’ll be able to win contests and complete quests to rank up your bar, which will in turn trigger more events in the game.  There is IAP for buying jewels, but apparently the game is fully playable and not crippled if you don’t spend extra money.  The game boasts 50+ hours of game play, so you should have quite an establishment once you’ve finished the game.

Adventure Bar Story RideonJapan,Inc., Adventure Bar Story, – $0.99

Mass Effect Infiltrator – I’ve never played any of the Mass Effect games except for Galaxy, which no longer seems to be on the App Store, but this one is really tempting me.  It comes from the minds of the folks that created the iOS version of Dead Space (TMA Review), which is one of my favorite iOS FPS games.  The story is an iOS original where you play a rogue Cerberus agent that feels the director has gone too far and vows to take down the organization.  The visuals and audio will give you the sense that you’re playing a console game, and a large free roaming world will provides plenty to explore.  Combat is fast paced thanks to intuitive tap and swipe controls, and things like biotic powers and stealth cloak abilities will help a skilled player take down the enemies with ease.  You can even gather intel that will help improve your Mass Effect 3 experience.  If this is half the game Dead Space was I’m sold.


Unstoppable Jake – I’m by no means a fan of all the “fart” applications that have existed on the App Store over the years, but there’s something about an evil scientist taking over a town using laxative gas that does tickle my funny bone just a bit.  Besides that, despite the lack of a pogo stick or really anything similar to the game, for some reason this reminds me of Commander Keen.  The Vorticons have been replaced with robots and instead of a pogo stick Jake gets a jetpack, but this game looks like it came right out of an era of shareware that I grew up with and loved.  There are 20 levels to conquer, many challenging puzzles to solve, and a nasty boss to fight at the end of it all.  The game runs at 60 FPS on the latest iOS devices, but still holds its own at a respectable 30 FPS on third and early fourth generation equipment.  Each level has its own achievements for multiple goals, and Game Center leaderboards let you compete against all the other Unstoppable Jakes in the world.

Unstoppable Jake GuyZ, Unstoppable Jake, – $1.99

Kids vs Goblins – I’m guessing David Bowie doesn’t make an appearance in this game, but it does sound just a bit like the movie Labyrinth.  That’s okay, though, because Labyrinth was a great movie and this sounds like a great game.  You take on the roles of three children whose little brother has been kidnapped by the Goblin King, and it’s up to you to rescue the child.  You’ll control all three kids simultaneously as you explore 6 different environments to complete 30 missions.  Along the way you’ll acquire the use of more than 60 spells including Fire Hammer Flurry and Dinner Table.  In story mode you’ll need to decide which spells are appropriate for each situation, because you must assign spells before starting the mission.  There are two additional game play modes – one offering endless random combat and the other letting the computer choose which spells you use.  With easy to learn mechanics and strategic depth of game play, there is plenty in Kids vs Goblins to keep you busy for quite some time.

Kids vs Goblins Crescent Moon Games, Kids vs Goblins, – $2.99

Lightopus – Sometimes a game comes along that seems to be almost more about style than game play.  That’s not to say the game isn’t fun, but you often wish you could just sit back and watch it play itself for a while.  Lightopus looks to be one of those games.  From the video it appears to be a “collect and dodge” style game, but you’ll still have to face off against some bosses in true arcade fashion.  Despite that, the fluid motion and bright colors give the game a serene sense.  You can collect stars from the various zones to unlock the Monster’s Hive, which apparently will give you a bonus game mode to play.  It is games like this that make you wonder how people can say that electronic entertainment can’t be works of art.  I just hope the game plays as good as it looks.

Lightopus Bulkypix, Lightopus, – $2.99

Cavorite 2 – I don’t know if it’s simply because I grew up in the right era or what, but I love games that look like I could have played them on the NES / SNES.  Of course, the video trailer for Cavorite 2 shows that it has a lot more to offer than just cool retro imagery.  The game is a cross between platformers and puzzle games, and while most platform games have puzzle elements these days, the emphasis in Cavorite 2 appears to be on the puzzles.  Armed with a simple anti-gravity spray gun, you must explore the depths of a subterranean labyrinth to gather enough gems to get home.  There are 63 levels across 3 worlds, including boss battles.  You will have to master new puzzle elements like swimming, explosions and crumbling walls.  60 Game Center achievements will give you a lot to strive for.  Overall there should be plenty to keep you busy for quite a while. [TMA review for Cavorite 1]

Cavorite 2 Cascadia Games, Cavorite 2, – $1.99

You’re The Chicken Mogul! – When Minoraxis makes sims they certainly go all out.  In most sims you handle one aspect of a business, but in You’re The Chicken Mogul you’ll do everything from hatching the chicks to running the corporate headquarters.  You’ll be able to buy land to expand your business or sell off facilities in order to liquidize your assets.  Make sure your chickens are well fed, clean and comfortably heated so they grow up strong to be processed for food.  Hire the right personnel to man your restaurants, train them well and keep the motivated, and don’t be afraid to fire them when necessary.  Run promotions to get more patrons, and develop new technologies to create better and more profitable products.  You can even bet the farm by going to the casino to try and boost your profits.  I’ve played quite a few time management games on my iOS devices, and this sounds like one of the most comprehensive ones available.

You’re The Chicken Mogul! Minoraxis, Inc., You’re The Chicken Mogul!, – $0.99

Zuma’s Revenge – There have been a lot of “marble poppers” on the App Store, but a classic finally makes its iOS debut with Zuma’s Revenge.  You play a rather talented frog that must take on the evil Tiki bosses to reclaim the land.  There are 60 adventure levels and 60 challenge mode tests to conquer.  Fruits and other targets will give you nice bonuses, while various power balls will give you temporary weapons like a cannon or tri-blast.  There are also new abilities to aid you like the ability to slide from side to side and to actually jump from one lily pad to another.  You can check your stats at any time to see how you’re doing in either mode and how much fruit you’ve collected.  There are iPhone and Universal variants, and if you have the means I would suggest playing it on the iPad to get optimal visual enjoyment.  If this version plays half as well as the PC one then you’ll be hooked in no time.

Zuma's Revenge! PopCap, Zuma’s Revenge!, – $1.99
Zuma's Revenge! HD PopCap, Zuma’s Revenge! HD, – $4.99

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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