10 New App Store Games To Watch [May 14 – 20]

Mini Mix Mayhem

It’s that time of week again, and I’ve got my list of games that will hopefully tickle your fancy.  NerdHerder is a free experience that lets you get exercise your geek wrangling skills.  Unity 3D graphics, an AR interface with virtual fishing pole and lots of misguided office inhabitants running around should make for an interesting time.  If you’re more into quick play time and immediate feedback you’ll love Mini Mix Mayhem.  This mini-game marathon lets you play 4 games at the same time in single player mode, or a whopping 20 in the same game on the iPad.  If you’d like a world building experience like Minecraft but want something a bit more, you might consider The Sandbox from BulkyPix.  This pixel art universe creator throws physics into the mix, and even gives you the chance to make your own music.

NerdHerder – As a self-proclaimed nerd I have two choices when it comes to the ridicule that comes with the title: get mad or embrace it.  Now I’m not going to try and tell you I’m the picture of tolerance when it comes to the associated ribbing, but one thing that does get to me is all the “abuse the nerd” type games.  This one, however, actually seems rather amusing.  It’s an experimental game that heralds from the Augmented Reality Game Studio at Georgia Tech, and lets you use your iOS device as a virtual fishing pole to lure computer generated geeks around an imaginary office.  As with many AR games you must print out a game board (this one comes from micronerd.net) and then use your device’s camera as a gateway between you and the virtual world.  The 24 levels will challenge your puzzle solving, physical and organizational skills.  The game is built on top of Unity 3D for slick cartoon-like visuals and uses Qualcomm’s Vuforia SDK for the augmented reality features.  It’s free and works on both iPhone and iPad devices, so there’s no reason you can’t become a nerd herder right now.

NerdHerder Georgia Tech, NerdHerder – Free

Thorg – The name is actually an acronym that quite nicely sums up the game: The Hidden Object Roleplaying Game.  Interestingly enough, I’m not sure this would satisfy the cravings of hardcore gamers in either camp, unless they’re looking for a light reminder of their addictions until they have time to get to full blown renditions of their beloved genres.  The board is a simple 49 square grid, and the entire experience is randomized on every play.  Each cell contains either an upgrade to health, attack, defense or money or a battle.  The battles actually take place via a hidden object screen, which in all my considerations of a similar type of mash-up would never have occurred to me.  Every time you uncover a cell future encounters will become more challenging, and it would seem that the developer plans on you dying a lot.  Of course if the game just takes a few minutes that might not be a big deal.  I have a feeling this is going to fall under the label of “niche” games, but it’s a niche that sounds fairly intriguing to me.

THORG Armaan Khan, THORG – $0.99

Pawns Unleashed – I’m actually still trying to figure this one out, but from what I can gather it sounds pretty interesting.  It’s actually a tie-in to a new action / RPG from Capcom called Dragon’s Dogma, though it would appear that you don’t need that game in order to enjoy this one.  You will, however, need a Facebook account to enjoy this experience.  You’ll select 3 pawns from a choice of 6 different classes then set them upon the world to race for prizes.  To access missions you’ll need to “check in” to locations around the globe.  There will also be missions that only you can engage in so that you can earn extra points.  Eventually there will be leaderboards and activity boards so you can see how your competitors are doing.  Besides the missions you can search for RIFTS that will give you access to the world of Dragon’s Dogma.  You’ll even be able to engage in #PAWNRevolution missions that will let you earn DLC for Dragon’s Dogma.  It’s interesting to watch as gaming experiences on various devices becomes more and more integrated.

Pawns Unleashed CAPCOM, Pawns Unleashed – Free

Mini Mix Mayhem – There were a couple of key Nintendo DS games that really popularized the concept of mini-game collections for handheld gamers, and Mini Mix Mayhem looks to up the bar a notch.  In this title you will play 4 different mini-games – at the same time!  There’s nothing complicated about an individual game, but try wrapping your mind around 4 separate objectives simultaneously.  On an iPhone or iPod Touch you can play two players at the same time, each on one end of the device.  If you have an iPad you can throw the game in party mode, where at least 20 mini-games will fly across the screen during the duration of your session.  The best part is that the game is universal, so you can try out both multi-player modes if you have the appropriate devices.  The game currently has 24 mini-games to toss in the mix, but promises that a “heap more” are on the way.

Mini Mix Mayhem Chris Burt-Brown, Mini Mix Mayhem – $0.99

Scotland Yard – Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only one that can solve baffling cases.  In this electronic update of the 1983 classic board game you’ll take on the role of one of Scotland Yard’s finest as you attempt to track down the elusive Mister X.  Or, if you’re feeling a bit sinister you can slip into the shoes of Mister X himself and try to escape the detectives.  The game offers a single player mode or supports 3 to 6 players on the same device, over Wi-Fi / Bluetooth, or online using Game Center.  It’s a universal app, so you and your friends can sleuth the night away on different devices.  There’s a nice tutorial making it easy for both beginners and experts to start their clue finding careers.  The best part is that you can enjoy beautiful HD graphics instead of having to mess with a board and pieces, hence there’s no setup or cleanup involved.

Scotland Yard Ravensburger Digital, Scotland Yard – $4.99

The Restless Traveller – Do you like the concept of Monopoly but are tired of the same old Boardwalk and Park Place?  How about a game that uses the actual continent of Europe as your playing ground?  In this appropriately named game you become a restless traveler who wants to see as much of Europe as possible.  You’ll start in a randomly selected city and must take as many routes as possible before the game is over.  The game includes 1000s of routes, so it should take you quite some time to see all the sites.  Your ultimate goal is to earn as many tires as you can.  In addition to getting tires based on driving times, you’ll also be awarded with 1000 bonus tires if you are the first person to visit certain cities.  The other way to accumulate tires is by purchasing hotels, restaurants and pubs.  When you have any of these establishments, you’ll get tires based on how long people stay in the cities where you own the businesses.  Do you have what it takes to become the best Restless Traveller in Europe?

The Restless Traveller Hieralex, The Restless Traveller – Free

Crash Mayhem – For those looking for unabashed, wonton destruction, Crash Mayhem is the perfect solution.  Forget the intersections, as this game lets you take your carnage all around the city in an open world environment.  The game gives you 20 levels to explore and 10 cars to run amok with.  Standard game play lets you mess up your favorite intersection, while “Market Mayhem” gives you the opportunity to terrorize the town as a whole.  If you prefer pressure situations you can “Get My Pills!” for some time trial action.  Crash Mayhem is free to play, though you have to purchase the last 5 levels 3 cars via IAP.  This will also remove the ads, which is the one sticking point for me in the little time I’ve played the game.  The ads make it really annoying to play on an iPod Touch.  Make me want to buy the game because I like it, not because I get frustrated with the ads.  Still, if you can deal with it or are willing to pony up the measly 99 cents, there’s lots of devilish fun to have here.

Crash Mayhem Bravo, Crash Mayhem – Free

Carnimalz – There are plenty of car racing games on the App Store, but this is the only one I can think of off hand that as designed specifically with kids in mind.  The cars are imbued with animal spirits and consequently have special abilities relating to their wildlife namesakes.  The Tigercar can leap across bothersome gaps, while the Carligator has an advantage on the water.  Rhinocar is strong, Giraffetruck has a long neck and nasty kick, and the Panthercar is vicious and carefree.  The game only requires one finger to play, so it will be extremely easy even for the younger crowd to quickly grasp.  Your child can play single player or against a friend thanks to WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.  There are five unique natural environments full of obstacles and hazards to overcome.  There’s even a chance some of you “kid at heart” types might be able to enjoy this with your children.

Carnimalz RaLight Solutions, Carnimalz – $0.99

Colorforms Revolution – Colorforms is one of those toy ideas that when I think back on it, I’m amazed it was so much fun.  Basically you stick a bunch of unanimated objects on top of a static picture.  I guess there was something compelling about a scene that you had total control over.  The brand name has endured for more than 60 years, and in the digital age you can now indulge in this bizarre fantasy on your iOS devices thanks to Colorforms Revolution.  Play Set mode is what I remember from my childhood, and you get 8 different themes to manipulate and 180 stickers to work with.  In Create mode you can play with more than 100 generic shapes, colors and patterns to create a geometric work of art.  If you’re looking for more of an actual game, Puzzle Board provides you with just that.  This may not appeal to you as an adult, but it could be the perfect way to keep your kids busy while you play “grownup” games on another device.

Colorforms® Revolutionâ„¢ Out of the Blue Digital, Colorforms Revolution – $1.99
Colorforms® Revolutionâ„¢ HD Out of the Blue Digital, Colorforms Revolution HD – $2.99

The Sandbox – I’m probably one of a handful of gamers that hasn’t had any desire to try the phenomenon called Minecraft.  Aside from the official minecraft for iOS there have been a few attempts to mimic this style of game play and personally none of them have looked all that impressive.  The Sandbox decided to take a different approach to the subject and has come up with something that sounds quite interesting.  You’ll still get to create your own universe on your iOS device, but this one uses physics and organic elements to help you imagine an ever evolving landscape complete with evaporating water, eroding stones, growing plants and more.  There are 24 missions to complete, and I’d suppose there’s a true “sandbox” mode as well.  You’ll be able to post your creations online, rate other players’ worlds and even comment on their masterpieces (that last part is coming soon).  When all is said and done, compose some slick chiptune music to complement your thriving environment.

The Sandbox Bulkypix, The Sandbox – 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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