10 New App Store Games To Watch [April 2 - 8]

Racing fans got an interesting new option this week in the form of Sky Gnomes.  This little gem lets you take on the role of a gnome and race through the sky on a craft powered by an engine that consumes snowflakes.  If that’s not wacky enough for you then you might consider the new futuristic FPS Bounty Bots.  It’s free to play and lets you engage in warfare using exploding cacti and sniper chimps.  If you’re looking for something a bit more grounded in reality there’s Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort from G5 Entertainment.  This SimCity style game throws in missions, goods to sell and trade, and 4 different locations to hang your virtual hat.

Drag The Rope – First of all, good luck trying to understand the iTunes description.  That being said, I think this game is a simple matter of making designs with pieces of rope.  Now you may be thinking that I’ve gone mad considering that type of game play worth mentioning, but then I never would have expected that wrapping wooden blocks in rope would be fun either.  There’s definitely a game in here somewhere because there are more than 300 levels and you can earn up to three stars per level.  I’m not really sure how you earn those stars, but apparently there are multiple ways to solve each level.  And of course there is the almost obligatory Game Center support, along with Facebook and Twitter integration.  I do find it kind of refreshing that the game still supports iOS 4.x.  What’s most intriguing to me, however, is the mention of recording your mood after each level.  I’m real curious to know what that’s all about, and more importantly if it will affect the game play in any way.

Drag the Rope TIANGUA Co, Drag the Rope, – $0.99
Drag the Rope HD TIANGUA Co, Drag the Rope HD, – $0.99

Sky Gnomes– One thing I like about Foursaken Media (Bug HeroesN.Y. Zombies) is that they try to stray from the typical when making their games.  Sky Gnomes is no exception, as it clearly demonstrates that gnomes are good for something other than just gracing lawns around the world.  This racing game has you pitting your engine that runs on snow against other racers from across the globe.  If that isn’t odd enough, rather than a top down, isometric or first person view, this game takes a sky diving approach as you plummet towards the goal at the bottom of a free falling course.  You’ll be able to enter daily contests with real players to win trophies and other prizes.  You’ll also be able to race against the recorded times of others, even when you’re offline!  Collect in-game currency and parts to upgrade your engine and make the fastest racer known to gnomes.  You can even share your profile across multiple devices thanks to Game Center.  You’ve never experienced a race quite like this before on your iOS device.

Sky Gnomes Foursaken Media, Sky Gnomes, – $0.99

Combat Mission : Touch – If you’re tired of simple console style war games, Combat Mission might be just the breath of fresh mortar you’re looking for.  You can take control of U.S. or German troops as you relieve the events that transpired during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.  Zoom out for a more tactical perspective, or get as close to the action as you can for a fully 3D experience.  From the types of weapons and vehicles themselves to how they behave, everything is as accurate as possible.  You’ll even have to worry about things like troop morale and fatigue as you fight through 7 historically detailed maps.  You can go at this solo or take on a friend over the internet through Game Center.  The game employs WEGO control, which is described as “the fun of fast paced action with the strategy of turns’.  And to make things more immersive you can view that action from any angle.  Unfortunately you’re only going to experience this game if you have an iPad 2 or 3, but if you do have the equipment and you’re into war games then Combat Mission: Touch seems like a perfect match for you.

Combat Mission : Touch Battlefront.com, Combat Mission : Touch, – $4.99

Letterbox – I would say word games are probably one of my least favorite types of puzzles, probably because I don’t have a very good vocabulary.  I also get tired of almost every description for such a game claiming that it is the next evolution of the genre.  Letterbox might have something in that regards, however.  Instead of the typical Scrabble style board game, Letterbox utilizes a 3D playing field where you can make words up, down and all around, including around corners.  There are three game play modes, from the relaxed “play until there are no words” to the frenzied “clear words until the board reaches the top” panic mode.  Along the way you’ll get power ups like bombs and block rotation, all of which can help you play a longer game.  Game Center lets you compete against others for stats, and hopefully provides some achievements as well.  The one thing that could make this game really interesting is the ability to play two players at the same time.  I could easily see a mode where one player finding words causes extra blocks to fill the other player’s screen.

Letterbox ShockPanda Games, Letterbox, – $1.99

Avernum: Escape From The Pit HD – The folks from Spiderweb Software are back (makers of Avadon: The Black Fortress HD (TMA Review)), this time with the next installment of their long-lasting Avernum series.  The thing I like about these guys is even if you don’t like their games you can tell that love went into them.  When a game of theirs clicks with you, however, you can’t put it down (so where’s Geneforge iOS, guys?)  I’m hoping this turns out to be one of the latter category for me.  There is plenty of game play with dozens of side quests and three different main quests that will each give you a unique ending to the game.  A large overworld is connected by 80 towns and dungeons, and you can be assured that there is an epic story to go along with all of that territory.  Unique races and settings usher in an experience unlike anything you’ve had before.  And one of my favorite parts is the old school graphics that both look good and provide a sense of nostalgia.  This weighs in on the higher end price wise, but from my past encounters with their Windows products I’d say it will be worth every penny of it.

Avernum: Escape From the Pit HD Spiderweb Software, Avernum: Escape From the Pit HD, – $9.99

Freekick Battle – It looks like Gamevil is trying to do for soccer what Com2Us did for baseball: turn it into a head to head causal sport.  To get warmed up you can take on the computer in an arcade mode that lets you hone your skills and make some money.  Then you get the chance to show the world what kind of real man (or woman) you are by taking on other players in real time match play.  You’ll compete to see who can score the most goals in an allotted amount of time and earn some experience in the process.  All this effort will give you bragging rights as you flaunt your stats to your competition.  More importantly, though, is the fact that you’ll get to customize your character with a wide assortment of options.  I figure any game has to be worth checking out if it lets you assume the role of an undead soccer player.  And all of this is brought to in vibrant 3D with realistic physics.  Best of all, admission is free and play is universal.

Freekick Battle GAMEVIL Inc., Freekick Battle, – Free

Bounty Bots – In a West that never was (but still looks pretty wild) you’ll have to fight against real live players to claim your stake in the town of Deadbolt.  This game features exploding cacti, toxic goo and sniper chimps, so I think it’s got Worms beat in the area of weird weaponry.  The game adjusts itself to your playing style, regardless of whether speed or skill is your strength.  You can mix and match weapons and powers to customize your robot however you see fit.  Smooth online multiplayer action is brought to you courtesy of the folks that developed Archetype for iOS devices.  Besides the fact that the sheer nature of the game makes it somewhat social, Facebook and Twitter integration is coming in future updates.  Above all, the beauty of the game is that it’s free, and while you can buy coins via IAP, you’ll never be forced to retire your spurs should you choose not to indulge in a little extra in-game funding.

Bounty Bots MunkyFun, Bounty Bots, – Free

CreaVures – One of my favorite platform games from the 16 bit console era was The Lost Vikings.  What made it special was the need to use all three of the Vikings in order to solve the puzzles present on each level.  CreaVures looks to recapture some of that magic, though this time around you take control of five little creatures trying to save their forest.  Each CreaVure has a unique talent that just happens to help solve certain kinds of puzzles, but the real test comes in combining these talents in order to overcome great challenges and terrifying boss battles.  The visuals give the forest a surreal atmosphere, and the dark, neon palettes feel like Burton-esque inspiration.  Everything is tied together with a storyline that actually makes you want to help rescue the critters.  Chillingo’s one of those publishers that I’m willing to bank on at the moment, as I’ve rarely been disappointed with any of their offerings as of late.

CreaVures Chillingo, CreaVures, – $0.99

Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort – The granddaddy of all sim games as far as most are concerned is SimCity itself.  It might not have been the first, but it’s certainly the first one I remember.  The Virtual City franchise takes some of the core concepts that SimCity pioneered and adds the mission-minded flair of time management games to create quite an experience.  You’ll tour the country as you try and complete 52 levels across 4 diverse settings.  There are 29 unique mission scenarios to complete with an impressive 73 types of buildings to construct and 42 kinds of goods to transport or trade.  Throw in a whopping 98 achievements to earn, and there’s no denying this virtual adventure will offer plenty for you to do.  Assuming it follows suit with the first two games in the franchise you’ll be able to look forward to updates that include new content for your city building pleasure.

Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort G5 Entertainment, Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort, – Free
Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort HD G5 Entertainment, Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort HD, – Free

Dance Legend – The Fun & Free Music Game with Real Dance Moves – I think this product needs a name change; there, I said it.  That aside, in a market filled with “tap me too’s” it’s nice to see a slightly different approach to rhythm games.  In this case you’ll drag, swipe and generally maneuver your fingers across the screen to simulate some of the most popular dance moves from the last several decades.  If you’ve ever wanted to moonwalk across your iOS device, now’s your chance.  As far as the music is concerned you’ll have access to hits from all the popular artists like Lady Gaga and Nelly, as well as some classics like Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer.  The library will be continually updated, so if your favorite isn’t already in the list send a shout out to the developer and you never know what might happen.  The better you play the more you’ll be able to customize your experience, and you can “kick it up” to really impress the ladies (or gents, depending).  All this is encapsulated in a pretty 3D basket and wrapped up with a freemium bow, so you can get your groove on right away and see if you like it.

DANCE LEGEND - The Fun & Free Music Game with Real Dance Moves TuneWiki, DANCE LEGEND - Free

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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