10 New App Store Games To Watch [June 11 – 17]
There were some rather interesting titles this week, but in the end cuteness prevailed. If you like matching games (and who doesn’t), Piston Games released Gemibears. Instead of simply matching objects of the same type you have to match halves of bears to form a whole of the same color. And when you want to take a break from playing the game you can visit their Youtube channel for some Gemibears cartoons. For those that prefer some good old fashioned platform gaming there’s Mike & Milkbox, the story of a detective chicken that must save the world. The mechanics are a lot like Super Mario, but the physics elements give it a fresh feel. Finally, I actually found an online game I might spend some time with. It’s called Throw It, and the basic premise is simple: you chuck objects at your opponent. The concept and graphics are cute, and I can play against other humans without having to actually be social.
WarGames: WOPR – Most any movie that centers around technology is cheesy, and they also tend to be pretty inaccurate. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun, however, and a prime example of that is the Mathew Broderick film WarGames. Now you can relive the techno-quirky 80s as you take control of the sentient computer WOPR and take on some of your favorite characters from the iconic film. The game contains more than 40 levels, and I assume that the compelling story is tied into the plot of the movie. You’ll have access to a variety of different tactics and mods to use against the humans, each with 6 levels of upgrades. GameCenter provides leaderboards and achievements while iCloud lets you take the game between your iDevices at will. I do find it a bit odd that game play is reduced to what sounds like a glorified matching game rather than a turn based strategy game, but the nostalgia of the game’s source material might just be enough to overshadow that. “Shall we play a game?”
Be-Rad Entertainment LLC, WarGames: WOPR – $0.99
Gemibears – I often lament about how games don’t do enough to differentiate themselves from the pack, but there are times when getting back to the roots of a genre aren’t such a bad thing. I don’t know if that’s strictly the case with Gemibears, but at least it’s a straight match game instead of a mash-up. It does have an interesting twist, however. Instead of matching three or more of an object, you’re trying to match two halves of cute little Gumi type bears. You also have the option of both swapping individual bears and moving a whole row of them. There are 60 levels across five different worlds, and a lite version that actually has different levels for you to explore, both of which will be updated from time to time. GameCenter provides leaderboard support, and there are 28 unique Gemis for you to unlock and collect while playing. There is even a Gemi channel on Youtube with Gemibear cartoons.
Suspect In Sight – Have you played all of the chase games for your iOS device and now you’re looking for something a bit different? How about taking to the skies in this new cop ‘n robbers game from Jujubee? You’ll get to pilot a police chopper and follow the perps around town, showing them off in your spotlight so the ground patrol can capture them. Detailed 3D visuals will give you a bird’s eye view of Miami, New York and Los Angeles (the latter coming in the first update), and the game takes advantage of the hardware on newer devices to bring you more effects and crisper visuals. Cutscenes are told in comic book style with the aid of a leading illustrator in the industry, and a nice dose of sarcastic humor lightens the tale. GameCenter provides leaderboards and achievements, and you can also brag to your friends via Facebook and Twitter. The game is universal, iCloud support lets you play seamlessly across your devices, and with the right equipment you can even watch the chases on your TV.
Jujubee, Suspect In Sight – $0.99
Zombie Carnival – I’m not really a fan of “social sims”, so despite this being the first such effort by Taito I was pretty much willing to dismiss it and move on. After reading the description, as sparse as it is, I’m actually a bit more intrigued now. You get to build your own theme park, which in and of itself isn’t new. The fact that it is geared towards the undead is pretty cool. What’s even better is that you’ll be able to fight groups of opposing undead, which as far as I’m concerned always makes a social game more interesting. I believe you can even get your friends to help you win the war. Then when you’re ready to expand your army, fuse different zombies together to create the ultimate hybrid. Since it is a social game you do have to be connected to the internet to play. However, the combination of undead patrons, combat and genetic experimentation could make the whole experience worthwhile.
TAITO Corporation, Zombie Carnival – Free
Rise to Fame: The Music RPG – I never quite imagined a rock band being the basis for an RPG, but here you go. In Rise to Fame you will travel around the world, performing for everything from cowboys to zombies as you electrify seven different stages across 22 levels. Earn money and fame to unlock additional gigs and special abilities. There are more than 20 upgradable skills and a variety of instruments to help take you to the top. Just like a real rock star you can smash your guitar, dodge the physical manifestation of audience sentiments, and even gather your groupies. While I’m sure this won’t feel much like an RPG in the traditional sense, it will be interesting to see if the blend of music and roleplaying has some synergy or not.
Throw It – I don’t really play online games, and to be perfectly honest a big reason for that is because I don’t feel like chatting with others when I’m playing a game. Well, that and the fact that I’m usually the worst one at the game. Throw It is one of those nice games that alleviates the first problem for me, and thanks to the simple mechanics might even cure the second issue. The premise is simple: toss stuff at the other guy, and the first person to go down loses. What’s nice is that you can pop in, go a few rounds with whoever is online, and jump back out without saying a word to anyone. Of course, chat is there if you want. Accumulated gold and gems can be used to buy better stuff to throw, cooler clothes, and various other paraphernalia. You can also steal money from your opponents, but remember they can take stuff from you as well. I’m sure the game is going to be too basic for many hardcore gamers, but if you’re like me and want just a taste of online life without getting too involved, this may just be the way to go.
Zentertain Ltd., Throw It™ – Free
Mystery Lighthouse 2 – I recently finished playing the original Mystery Lighthouse, and assuming this installment follows in the footsteps of the first then any adventure game fan will want to snap it up. What we got the first time around was truly a classic point and click style adventure game. There were plenty of items to collect, several puzzles to solve and a decent number of locations to visit. The interface was intuitive and puzzles were easy to interact with even on a small screen. Everything was pretty straightforward logic wise, which is a fresh departure from so many games that have convoluted twists and turns. There are no 3D visuals, but instead we get treated to good old fashioned Sierra style pixel art. From what I hear so far the sequel is everything the first was and it’s longer, so I know I’m in for a real treat.
Digi-chain Games, Mystery Lighthouse 2 – $0.99
Mike & Milkbox – You are a detective that just happens to be a chicken. Together with your cow pal Milkbox you must save the world from evil. The game plays out like a classic platformer with plenty of running, jumping and chick rescuing. While there is enough head bashing, box breaking activity to make any Mario fan proud, the game also uses physics elements to “modernize” the game play and keep things fresh. I sampled the first level before writing this piece and I can tell it’s going to be lots of fun for the platform enthusiast. There are 24 levels spread across 4 themes, so it’s not the longest game in the world, but I think it will be quite entertaining and worth the buck or two you might have to invest (though as of my writing this the game is currently free).
SangWoon Yi, Mike & Milkbox – Free
Dream Cheeky Smash / Hysteria – Are you one of those “nice” relatives that likes to buy your nieces and nephews noisy toys? Do you have an Animal trapped inside just waiting to get out? Dream Cheeky has an iDrum solution for you, and here’s some software to help. Like much of the budding crossover technology, the games themselves aren’t all that exciting yet: Smash is like a real time Simon Says game, while Hysteria has you trying to tap the right drum when a ball rolls over it on the iPad screen. What’s more interesting than the actual games, though, is the fact that they use a new add-on called the iDrum that lets you simulate a drum kit using your iPad and some Bluetooth connectivity. The company that makes the iDrum promises the device can withstand a lot of pounding, and there’s some real potential here for another level of interactivity with future rhythm games. Of course, this could be the repressed drummer wannabe from my childhood coming out as well.
Mutant Storm – While the engine might be 3D, Mutant Storm has a decidedly 2D top down look, which makes it the second in the stable of such games released from Crescent Moon Games. The number of dimensions doesn’t really make much difference in this high octane game, however, as you’ll be too busy blasting through 89 levels of mutant scum to care. Once you’ve completed the levels you earn your “belt” and move on to the next difficulty setting for another 89 rounds of pure adrenaline. Overall there are 8 levels of difficulty, adding up to a whole lot of levels. Forget tactics, as the arenas are so crowded it’s a simple matter of kill or be killed. Whatever you do, just don’t expect things to slow down at any point. You can earn achievements through GameCenter and compete on their leaderboards, and there are two different game play modes to boot. In the end, if you like blasting things to bits, there’s a whole lot of blasting to be had here.
Crescent Moon Games, MUTANT STORM – $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:
OrangePixel, Chrono&Cash – $1.99
Dragon’s Lair LLC, Space Ace HD – $4.99
Ubisoft, Babel Rising 3D – $2.99
Napkin Fight Studio, Zombies, Robots, and Aliens! – $0.99
Chillingo Ltd, Disco Kitten – $0.99
Chillingo Ltd, Eager Beaver – $0.99
RetroStyle Games, Zombie Run HD – $1.99
Disney, Disney’s GnomeTown – Free
Disney, Temple Run: Brave – $0.99
Cyan Worlds, realMyst – $6.99
Com2uS Inc., Swing Shot – Free
NimbleBit LLC, Pocket Planes – Free
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: