10 New App Store Games to Watch [July 23 - 29]

Gamers that remember the “good old days” have a lot to check out this week.  Blazing Star blasts onto the iOS from SNK Playmore, and faithfully recreates some side scrolling shooter memories from the Neo Geo era.  If you’re more into stealth and sabotage you might like Spy vs Spy, the reboot of the old Commodore 64 / Atari computer game that pits two bumbling agents against each other to see who can recover the top secret briefcase first.  Play the updated version, or switch to the pixel perfect retro mode for lots of nostalgia.  And, while it’s not really a remake or reboot or anything, Giant Monsters Ate My City might just remind you why you used to love the wanton destruction you could cause in the old favorite Rampage.

Spy vs Spy – One of the highlights of MAD Magazine for me when I was a kid involved the antics of two spies trying to beat up, blow up or otherwise humiliate each other in self contained strips or even along the margins of the magazine.  I also spent quite some time trying to play one of those spies in the ancient Commodore 64 game, which I can now relive thanks to my iOS device and Robots and Pencils Inc.  The game includes Simulvision, the great split screen mode that lets you see what the other spy is doing.  There are a total of 24 embassies to invade, the original 8 plus 16 new ones for this remake.  In “modern” mode you can engage the other spy in club-to-club combat.  You can play with fancy retina graphics, or turn on the nostalgia with pixel perfect 80’s computer visuals.  The game even supports local and online multiplayer support.  Game Center integration provides leaderboards and achievements, and a universal app lets you play with whatever you have available.

Spy vs Spy Robots and Pencils, Spy vs Spy – $0.99

Jurassic Park Builder – I don’t really get into these social building games very much, but if there was ever a property that seemed suited for such treatment it would be Jurassic Park.  Get ready to build your own dinosaur park from the ground up, including actually discovering the amber that will let you breed the necessary attractions.  Be creative and maximize revenue by setting things up in such a way to best entertain your patrons.  Set up amusement centers, hotels and restaurants, and don’t forget the security buildings to keep both mischievous customers and dinosaurs in check.  There’s even a ‘Code Red’ mode that requires at least 5 carnivores, and hopefully simulates what would happen if the beasts were on the verge of breaking out.  You’ll get to interact with the characters that made the movie great, who will give you missions to help build your credibility.  Visit the parks your Facebook friends have created and trade with to help each other build the best parks possible.

Jurassic Park™ Builder Ludia, Jurassic Park™ Builder – Free

Walking Dead: The Game – What do you get when you combine one of the game industry’s best storytelling companies with one of the most intriguing post-plague stories currently available?  The answer is Walking Dead: The Game, and now all of us iOS gamers are lucky enough to share in the experience.  Like most of TellTale’s games this is a five part episodic journey, with parts 2 through 5 hopefully appearing not long after they show up on the PC.  In a new chapter of the ever broadening Walking Dead saga you’ll take on the role of Lee Everett, a man that has taken on the duty of safeguarding the orphan girl Clementine.  Instead of simply blasting through hordes of zombies you’ll have to make logical decisions about how to best handle each situation – even when it comes to helping one person versus another.    In an unusual twist for adventure games, you’ll also have to make decisions right away, not after you’ve had plenty of time to think about it.  Be prepared to suffer the consequences as well, as each choice you make impacts the overall story.  The artwork is inspired by the comic book series, and if you’ve been following the tale you’ll feel right at home in some of the locations you visit.

Walking Dead: The Game Telltale Inc, Walking Dead: The Game – $4.99

ORC: Vengeance – Tired of playing the same old humans, elves and dwarves in your dungeon crawling endeavors?  How about taking on the role of Rok the Orc Warchief in order to defeat the Dark Lord and free your enslaved brethren?  This new release from Chillingo looks to bring Diablo style game play to the iOS world in a big way.  Intense combat and epic boss battles keep you engaged, while a deep storyline ties everything together in a way that gives meaning to your victories.  Loot and sell items to buy bigger and better weapons, and uncover the books of the ancients to learn all about the Dark One.  Get ready for some intense visuals as well, as based on the game play video I saw this appears to be one of the best looking games of this format available on iDevices.  The game is universal with retina support and iCloud ready.  It also has 4 save game slots so you can share with your family without stepping on anyone’s toes.

ORC: Vengeance Chillingo, ORC: Vengeance – $2.99

Blazing Star – The latest retro shooter port comes from SNK Playmore in the form of Blazing Star.  There’s no doubt that one of the Neo Geo’s highlights was its lineup of intense shooters, and from the little I’ve played so far Blazing Star seems to fit the bill nicely.  Play the game as it was originally intended with Arcade Mode, or perfect your skills on a particular level with Mission Mode.  Select from six different ships to use in combat, each with their own strengths.  Directly guide your ship with touch mode, or use a virtual pad if that feels more comfortable.  This game makes you work a bit as well because there is no auto-fire, though you can put the controls wherever you’d like on the screen.  If you need some help link up with a friend via Bluetooth to play the game in two player mode.  Game Center has been integrated for some achievements, and a universal binary gives you freedom to play on any device you own that has sufficient specs.

BLAZING STAR SNK PLAYMORE, BLAZING STAR – $2.99

Shatter Crash – For decades folks have been coming up with creative ways of representing the act of “cleansing” a virtual world from viruses.  Jeffrey Nakai has decided to take a stab at it with his new game Shatter Crash for the iPad.  Your job is to travel the nodes of a mainframe, clearing out the bad stuff by playing what amounts to an interesting combination of match 3 and Tetris.  The playing field is multilayered and spherical, presenting an interesting set of challenges.  Each node has a primary and secondary objective to meet and can be played many times to help you earn credits to level up your robot and buy special programs to make the cleansing process easier.  It’s an interesting look at the cyber world, and future updates promise more mainframes, additional robot types and other nifty upgrades to make virus blasting even more entertaining.

Shatter Crash Jeffrey Nakai, Shatter Crash – $0.99

Giant Monsters Ate My City – There are no shortage of B-grade monster movies where a giant rubber-suit abomination terrorizes a city, and Rampage did a great job capitalizing on such cult phenomenon by letting you control such a monster and wreak havoc on cities across the world.  Thirdway Studio looks to bring that visceral fun to modern gamers with Giant Monsters for iOS devices.  In this game you get to control a prehistoric turtle, a robotic dinosaur, a nuclear worm or an ancient spider queen.  Your goal is simply to destroy everything.  Pick up cars and throw them at things for even more damage, or eat people to gain some health back.  Hopefully the cities are randomly generated to add replayability.  It would also be nice to see multiplayer added in the future, as smashing urban landscapes with a friend is much more fun.  There’s also no mention of social networking integration, but I could just imagine some of the creative achievements, so with fingers crossed maybe that will be coming in the future as well.

Giant Monsters Ate My City ThirdWay Studio, Giant Monsters Ate My City – $1.99

Lunik Swings – How many of you remember fondly spending hours on a swing set when you were a kid?  Let’s face it – some of us even seek out the solace of a lone swing as an adult from time to time.  Of course most children at least contemplated launching themselves from the swing at least once, and now someone has gone and built a whole game centered around the premise.  Now I will say that I don’t recall my playgrounds being overly large or sporting trampolines and man-ejecting plants, but then I didn’t live in the ultra-posh neighborhoods, either.  The game currently sports 21 levels of twisted playground design that will have you pondering the video game laws of physics.  Can you earn three stars on each level?  More importantly, can you time it so that your feet never have to touch the ground?

Lunik Swings Black Moon Games, Lunik Swings – Free

Bar Fight Live – My how the times have changed.  I remember when Apple insisted that anything released to the App Store was a fully realized application, which made the advent of a “lite” version quite interesting.  Fast forward to 2012 and Bar Fight Live, the game that’s not actually a game; at least not yet.  The main character is Stunt Guy, Hollywood’s premier stunt man, and the setting is the filming of a bar scene for your generic action flick.  Beyond that, the game is heavily in development, so there’s nothing to actually play yet.  However, in an attempt to mimic the success of sites like Kickstarter, you can make in-app purchases that will give you early access to the game as it develops, and even give you the chance to help guide its direction.  If this approach to fundraising actually manages to work, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more efforts like this popping up all the time.  While you’re waiting for something to materialize with this game, you can check out Stunt Guy, which while not particularly original at least gives you an idea of the production value this developer is capable of.

Bar Fight Live Kempt, Bar Fight Live – Free

Worm vs Birds – I figured I’d round out this roundup with another Chillingo offering, this time the whimsical puzzle game Worm vs Birds.  If you’ve played Stupid Zombies you’ll feel right at home here, and like me you’ll probably get hooked right away.  You must help a worm get its revenge on his natural enemy, the bird, by launching some deadly snails at a whole host of unsuspecting avian targets.  The snails have some interesting abilities, and you can earn and also buy specialty worms that are even more devastating.  Ultimately you must clear all the birds from each stage, and ideally you’ll be able to do it with one shot.  You can earn up to three stars per level, and these stars allow you to unlock additional level sets and eventually a second game play mode.  The game initially comes with 60 levels, and hopefully like many of its kind we’ll see additional level sets added over time.

Worm vs Birds Chillingo, Worm vs Birds – $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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