10 New App Store Games To Watch [May 21 - 27]

Every once in a while there is a week with so many solid new games released that it’s hard for me to decide which ones to write about.  This was one of those weeks.  So, instead of recapping some of my entries in the intro, I’m going to mention a few that didn’t quite make my list.  Tennis fans should check out Virtua Tennis Challenge, the first installment of SEGA’s hit franchise to make its way onto iOS devices.  You’ll compete against 50 different computer players on 18 courts across the globe, or you can challenge your friends via WiFi and Bluetooth.  Chillingo fans were treated to 3 new games this week, but the one I’m most excited about is Air Mail.  You’d never suspect that delivering packages would be so adventurous, but the brief teaser video shows you travelling to exotic locations and getting shot at repeatedly.  Gamers that love side scrollers might be interested in Dragon Evolution.  If the simple fact that you get to play a dragon isn’t enough, how about 80+ missions, 36 skills and the ability to customize said dragon?

Men In Black 3 – Thanks to Gameloft you can take part in the same agency that promises to bring another smash hit to the silver screen this summer: Men In Black.  Agent O, Agent K and Frank are all present and accounted for, but unlike what you might expect you won’t be playing them.  Instead you’ll take on the role of the boss, and in time management style you’ll build up MIB to take on the threat of the alien Radiant.  Just like in the movie you’ll travel through time to fight different creatures in various popular New York locations.  You’ll train recruits, farm out all the famous MIB gadgetry, and expand the headquarters to facilitate R&D.  Better yet, share the experience with your friends on Gameloft Live and Facebook to help each other create the best MIB franchises you can.  The game is universal and it’s free, though you know the drill with IAP.

Men in Black 3 Gameloft, Men in Black 3 – Free

Sakura Slash – Gamevil wasn’t very informative with their iTunes description on this one, but when they release a new game it’s always worth taking note, so I decided to download it to see what they were offering this time around.  In contrast to most of their offerings this is a fairly basic concept, though it’s still quite engaging.  You simply swipe the screen to eliminate a constant onslaught of bad guys.  Special enemies must be dispatched before they flee the screen or you lose health, and so far there doesn’t appear to be a way to gain it back.  The art style is rather interesting and the music actually sounds kind of like an action movie soundtrack.  The main issue I see right now is that upgrading takes insane amounts of orbs, which of course can be rectified by IAP.  At the moment the game seems more suited for short bursts of play time than anything, but with a price tag of free it might just be worth checking out anyway.

Sakura Slash GAMEVIL, Sakura Slash – Free

Valentin – The Valiant Viking – The iTunes description pegs this as having “classic ‘point and click’ adventure” game play.  After spending a bit of time with it, though, I’d be more inclined to label it as “Cardboard Castle” advanced.  That’s not a criticism, mind you.  I just don’t want anyone expecting the next King’s Quest style game.  You play a young man trying to rescue a princess and prove his Viking-hood, which does very much sound like a plot that originated from the Sierra Online crew.  You’ll face several rooms full of traps, chests and guards, and it’s up to you to figure out how to make your way through each one without the guards laying a hand on you.  Each room is self contained, so you won’t have to worry about traipsing through several prior locations to solve some obscure puzzle.  The visuals have a cool paper cutout look, which strengthens the similarity to Cardboard Castle.  It’s a universal offering, and while my experience on an iPad thus far has been quite enjoyable I’d imagine this one would play just fine on a smaller screen.

Valentin - The Valiant Viking Playtinum, Valentin – The Valiant Viking – $0.99

Bat Simulator – While as a whole animals in games are nifty, there are two kinds of animals that make really neat game material in my opinion: spiders and bats.  You can guess by the title which one this has in it.  The down side is that you don’t really get to see the bat.  On the other hand, I like the concept of using the bat’s sonar to navigate through a series of mazes.  You get two uses of the sonar per level (three if you get the bonus), and then you have to figure out the maze from memory.  What’s really cool is that you can design your own mazes and share them with others via the internet.  You can even use photos from your album when making the mazes.  And, not only does Game Center provide you with achievements, but it allows you to filter which mazes show up in your “browse” list when selecting what you want to play.  The game is also integrated with something called Kiip, which apparently lets you win prizes for playing the game.  This isn’t going to wow anyone looking for the next great UDK experience, but if you’re looking for what could be a unique gaming moment, this might be one to look into.

Bat Simulator Francisco Troiano, Bat Simulator – $1.99

Slingshot Racing – I realize Crescent Moon Games is as much as publisher as a developer, but their catalog still seems to focus on one type of game: the RPG.  It sounds like Slingshot Racing intends to prove in a big way that the folks at CMG are anything but a one genre pony.  Not only does it look to have the Crescent Moon flare for stellar visuals, but it sounds like a unique player in the racing genre.  Rather than controlling acceleration, breaks and steering with separate controls, one finger is all you need to play this bad boy.  There is plenty of single player action with a 64 race career mode, a time trials option that lets you compete for high scores on Game Center, and an “escape the chomper” run where you have to stay ahead of the big, nasty vehicle that wants to crush you.  When that’s not enough you can take on up to three human adversaries on a single device!  Now all the game needs is internet multiplayer and this could be one of the best top down racers available.

Slingshot Racing Crescent Moon Games, Slingshot Racing – $0.99

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes Of Athelia – Though tower defense purists would probably argue this is not a true TD series, Defender Chronicles was the game that made me reconsider not liking the genre.  It was the first one I’d played that (1) used a side view perspective, (2) went mainly vertical instead of horizontal, and (3) had a main character that leveled up RPG style.  The sequel is even bigger than before, with one of 4 different heroes to control and command your armies.  You’ll have up to 24 types of troops at your disposal, and an astounding 50 unique enemies to combat.  There are 5 different ways to play this game, and each mode has 5 difficulty settings, so it will both appeal to a wide range of skill levels and give those you want replay options plenty to look forward to.  Game Center provides leaderboards and achievements, and a universal binary lets you protect Athelia on all of your devices.  Now all we need is some sort of Defender Chronicles multiplayer experience.

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia Gimka, Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia – $2.99

LostStar Tactics – This strategy RPG offering is a follow-up to the 2011 release Tactical Warrior.  The wasteland type setting has been replaced with an alien landscape as you find yourself trying to survive after cash landing on a dangerous planet.  You’ll engage in quick, turn based battles with the planet’s inhabitants and upgrade your troops with the spoils of war.  Your characters are fully customizable, and the group’s leader will have decks of cards that can be configured to best handle the variety of enemies thrown at you.  There are plenty of areas to unlock and explore, giving you access to more powerful items and advanced card shops.  Unlike a lot of genres, the beauty of strategy games is that a well designed one almost never feels like a copy cat, and from the sounds of it LostStar Tactics should stand on its own pretty well.

LostStar Tactics James Pawliuk, LostStar Tactics – $1.99

Bee Leader – While I have a hard time letting my kids actually use my iDevices, I still like to keep my eye out for family friendly games.  Bee Leader scores on the two main points for this distinction in my mind: content that’s appropriate for all ages and a game concept that’s actually both simple and fun.  You control a bee that must scour each level for as much nectar as possible, whether it’s collecting the blatantly obvious pellets floating around, sucking a flower dry or smashing pots scattered around the levels.  You have to watch out for all kind of environmental hazards, both natural and man-made.  There are currently 12 levels spread across 4 worlds, and hopefully more coming soon.  The game supports Game Center for achievements and leaderboards, though there are only 10 achievements at the moment.  Hopefully additional levels will bring more awards as well.  The game is universal and if you have both an iPhone and iPad it supports Joypad, which lets you use your iPhone as a controller to play the game on your iPad.  You might even learn a few interesting facts about bees while you’re playing.

Bee Leader Flightless, Bee Leader – $0.99

Stampify – I’ve never really been part of the “share your photos” crowd, either with my iDevices or on Facebook, but this is actually kind of a cool concept.  It reminds me of those puzzles that used to be on the back of kids’ magazines where you’d get a really blown up section of an image and have to guess what the source image really was.  The game comes with more than 100 stamps to whet your appetite.  The real fun, however, comes from creating your own stamps using the photos in your camera roll.  Zoom, pan and tilt until you find the perfect area to create your stamp from. Then send them to your friends on Facebook.  You can also download others’ stamps and see who among your friends can identify each stamp first.  As time goes on hopefully there will be more stamps added to the default collection, but more importantly the community should be able to provide a never ending supply of images to choose from.

Stampify Lateral, Stampify – Free

BlindSide – One intention with this article every week is to try and find games that will not only appeal to my readers, but are also probably not receiving the attention they deserve.  I have a feeling BlindSide is one such game.  As the hero of the game, you wake up blind and realize your city has been destroyed and odd creatures are consuming those “lucky” enough to have survived.  You must save yourself, your girlfriend and everyone that’s left, but you’ll have to do it all without sight.  To win the game you’ll have to guide your avatar using the gyroscope in your device, but don’t expect there to be anything on your screen to help you, because there won’t be.  More than 1000 sound effects and dialog clips will help guide the way – or lead you to your doom.  Welcome to a new arena of audio terror, as long as you have an iPhone 4S or iPad 2+.

BlindSide epicycle, BlindSide – $2.99

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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