10 New App Store Games To Watch [March 12 - 18]

This week’s 10 New Games to Watch article was somewhat challenging.  Not because of a lack of cool looking games, mind you, but because of a lack of detail in iTunes descriptions.  Still, I managed to piece together what I think is a diverse and interesting lot for you to choose from, though I will admit that several of the games have RPG elements coursing through their veins.  First up is the third installment of a popular Square Enix title, though the title Chaos Rings II would lead you to believe it’s the original game’s sequel.  Among other features, this outing has a revamped combat scheme, so if you weren’t a fan the first time around it might be worth checking out again.  If you love FPS games there’s Mission Sirius, an interesting looking Unreal 3 engine game from a relatively unknown developer.  Match 3 fanatics should check out Azkend 2 HD – The World Underneath (TMA Review).  I’d go on about this one, but I already have on several occasions.

Real Air Combat – If you’ve ever wanted to be the “top gun” with a futuristic looking craft at your disposal, now’s your chance.  Real Air Combat lets you take control of 1 of 12 advanced aircraft, each with their own stats and unique set of equipment slots.  Customize your craft with more than 15 different weapons and multiple additional add-ons like thrusters and shields.  Then you’ll be ready to take on enemy aircraft, battleships and turrets as you attempt to conquer an excess of 60 different islands across such diverse terrain as glacier ice and tropical forests.  The world is a fully realized 3D environment that’s at your disposal, so feel free to island hop at will.  In addition to the primary mode where you must conquer all the islands there is a Gauntlet mode that turns the islands into time trial races, and a survival mode that pits you against an endless onslaught of enemy targets.  Any money earned in these three modes lets you make upgrades that apply to your entire game play experience, so you don’t have to start from scratch to try out a different aspect of the game.  The one thing that seems to be missing is multiplayer mode, but maybe that will come in the future.

Real Air Combat Farzad Rashvand, Real Air Combat, – $0.99

Azkend 2 HD – The World Underneath – If you haven’t read my preview or review of this game yet, shame on you.  To summarize them: this game is awesome!  If you like match 3 games where you draw a path between matching objects instead of swapping tiles around, this game is for you.  If you’ve not been fond of that type of game play in the past then you probably haven’t been playing the right ones – this game is for you.  This sequel actually has a story, and it’s done just right so that you actually want to know what’s going on.  Besides the typical “set all background tiles to the same color” mode there are several variations on the theme of preventing some bad thing from reaching a certain spot on the board.  You will earn many different power ups along the way, and sometimes a challenging part of the puzzle is figuring out which power ups will help you beat a particular board.  The visuals are top notch, and the music will make you feel like you’re watching a movie instead of just playing a match 3 game.  Azkend 2 comes in both iPhone-only and universal flavors, and I would definitely suggest the latter on an iPad if you’ve got it.  I enjoyed the game immensely on both my iPad 2 and iPod Touch 4G, but the tablet’s bigger screen made for a better experience.

Azkend 2 HD - The World Beneath 10tons Ltd, Azkend 2 HD – The World Beneath, – $3.99

RPG Slots HD – I’m beginning to think combining RPG mechanics with other genres is a bit of a fad, because I certainly wouldn’t have expected this combination.  I don’t go to casinos in real life, and I really haven’t found a virtual slot machine yet that I’ve found interesting, but RPG Slots HD could actually change all that.  Much like Puzzle Quest replaced the combat portion of an RPG with a match 3 game, this RPG uses the elusive slot machine to determine the outcome of battles.  Get a good payout and harm your foe but beware, because they are using the same machine and not only score payouts themselves, but can mess your spins up in the process thanks to a shared reel in the center of the machine.  There are 8 skills to master, 17 different items to collect that will change the landscape of the game, and more than 80 pieces of equipment to really make this feel like an RPG.  There are 3 campaigns spread across 24 dungeons with a combination of almost 100 battles to fight.  Additional content will come as free updates as well.  If you’ve never quite felt the allure of mobile slot machines before, maybe this one will change your mind.

RPG Slots HD Frozen Star Studios, RPG Slots HD, – $0.99

Chaos Rings II – I guess Chaos Rings Omega was just a filler because Square Enix has just released Chaos Rings II on the App Store.  In this installment you play the role of the “chosen one” who must slay five innocent souls to appease a merciless tyrant.  The trouble is that one of those to be sacrificed is a friend of yours since childhood.  The storyline is driven by your actions, and thankfully you don’t need any knowledge of prior installments in order to enjoy this one.  More importantly, however, is that this chapter comes with a brand new battle system.  The iTunes description doesn’t really go into any details about what this involves, but it has to be better than the original one (yep, I wasn’t a fan of Chaos Rings).  There are even hidden bosses and multiple endings to keep you coming back for more.  The graphics get a face lift with a new engine as well, and voicework helps the story come to life.  There are already two major updates planned, so if you enjoy the game you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.  As always the biggest down side to me is the price, but I do admire Square Enix for trying to prove that iOS games are worth at least half as much as their console brethren.

CHAOS RINGS II SQUARE ENIX Co., CHAOS RINGS II, – $17.99
CHAOS RINGS II for iPad SQUARE ENIX Co., CHAOS RINGS II for iPad, – $19.99

Super Lemonade Factory – I think it’s my love of retro kicking in again, but this game looks like lots of fun.  It rivals the likes of Super Crate Box (TMA Review) and League of Evil in terms of having visuals that give the game both a dated and incredible look at the same time.  There are two playable characters, each with their own abilities, and both of which must be used in conjunction to complete each level.  One of the characters can even carry the other as one of his abilities.  As you traverse the 72 levels of the game you’ll meet several characters that help tell the story of the factory.  Unlike the usual clichéd platform tales this game sounds like it has an interesting background dealing with such topics as war-time business dealings and labor relations.  If you manage to unlock and conquer all 72 levels that come stock with the game you’ll have access to the same tools the developer used to create your own levels.  You can test them in a flash version of the game and then submit them to the developer for possible inclusion in future editions of the game.

Super Lemonade Factory Shane Brouwer, Super Lemonade Factory, – $0.99

MotoHeroz – I’m not really a big fan of side view racing games, but I figure RedLynx (makers of  Monster Trucks Nitro 2) has enough experience with racing games and side scrolling affairs that they might just be able to make it fun.  You have your choice of 6 vehicles to race on 30 tracks in some intense physics based racing.  Single player mode allows you to unlock tracks by winning races and completing certain challenges.  If you want to race against your friends you have that option as well with asynchronous multiplayer capabilities.  You can upgrade your vehicle and collect power ups for some incredible boosts, and the adventurous types will have a great time trying to find all the hidden secrets so they can say they finished the game 100%.  Global leaderboards let you take on the world, while friend leaderboards make the competition personal.  The game weighs in below 20 MB, so all the action is delivered with minimal load times and instantaneous restarts.

MotoHeroz Ubisoft, MotoHeroz, – $0.99
MotoHeroz HD Ubisoft, MotoHeroz HD, – $2.99

Monster Patrol: Fiends with Words – I wish iTunes gave more of a description about this game so that I could entice you with nifty details.  Basically it’s another attempt at mashing some genre with monster fighting in order to create something different.  This time around the monsters coming at you will have words on top of their heads, and you must find those words within a word search puzzle.  Once you find and highlight the word the monster is vanquished and you score points based on how quickly you found the word.  The unfortunate thing is that there is no mention of things like levels, power ups, or social network integration.  It also seems like it would be a cool multiplayer game.  I think this is definitely one to watch, though, as the basic concept seems intriguing to me.  Hopefully future updates will come with a better iTunes description detailing more of the game’s features.

Monster Patrol: Fiends With Words Mitchell Software, Monster Patrol: Fiends With Words, – $1.99

Mission Sirius – The more I play FPS games on my iOS devices, the more I like them.  I’m especially intrigued when a decent looking option comes along from a company that doesn’t really have a high profile background.  This developer’s pedigree tends to fall mostly in the casual game category, but Mission Sirius looks like an interesting sci-fi drama that might incorporate shades of such games as Dead Space and Half Life.  Apparently you’re on a prison planet that’s filled with tests and illusions.  Of course, given all the hardware you get to play with I’d wager that these “tests” and “illusions” can do a pretty good job of killing you if they’d like.  It sounds like this might be a rails shooter since the only actions described are aiming / shooting and reloading.  The visuals appear to be very nice thanks to the Unreal 3 engine, and it sounds like there are many different areas to explore.  This game has a lot to live up to given some of its competition, but it’s always nice to see additional entries in genres that aren’t yet oversaturated.

Mission Sirius OURPALM, Mission Sirius, – $3.99
Mission Sirius HD OURPALM, Mission Sirius HD, – $3.99

Delve : The Dice Game – Continuing the RPG onslaught for the week comes Delve, a game based off a physical card and dice game of the same name.  I have to admit that part of what intrigues me about Delve is that I had come up with a similar idea in my head a year ago or so.  From the brief description it sounds like combat is handled in a fashion akin to Yahtzee, where you roll dice and try to make combinations like straights and full houses in order to attack your opponents.  You can even hold on to some dice and reroll others to make your ultimate attack.  The graphics have a decent cartoonish look about them that kind of reminds me of an updated version of the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.  There are Game Center achievements to try and earn, which should keep you coming back for more.  The biggest down side at this point is that there are only 5 quests in the current version, which can apparently account for as little as 25 minutes of game play.  I’m not sure this is quite ready for the big leagues yet, but I think with a few updates this will definitely be one to keep an eye on.

Delve : The Dice Game Code Bunny Games, Delve : The Dice Game, – $1.99

Rune Raiders – This is another case where a cool looking game had a mediocre iTunes description, but luckily I actually have this one to test out.  I think I can see myself getting hooked on it quite easily.  Be warned, though, that if you are purely a “hard core” RPG nut you might not be quite so amused.  You control a party of explorers that are represented by tiles, though they are certainly quite animated.  You’ll face a bunch of tile based foes that also know how to make an impression.  There are 12 heroes that you’ll have access to over time, and 15 types of enemies to fight.  The missions are silly, the quips are humorous, and all the fun can be had with a miniscule learning curve.  There are two game play modes and Game Center achievements to keep you entertained for some time, and it’s the kind of game where you could easily have two different games going on the same device or even one game on your iPhone and another on your iPad.  Even in story mode the causal nature means you don’t have to worry about getting too far into it and then being forced to restart because you couldn’t remember what you were doing.  This could shape up to be one of the best causal RPGs on the App Store.

Rune Raiders Retro64, Rune Raiders, – $0.99

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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