10 New App Store Games To Watch [Aug. 6 – 12]


As always there were some fairly interesting games this week, but in particular a couple brought a twisted sense of nostalgia to my heart.  Activision released a re-imagining of their classic hit Pitfall to coincide with its 30th anniversary, and instead of going a more traditional platform route they chose to emulate the Temple Run formula.  The thing is, from the few moments I’ve had a chance to play so far, they might have actually done it better.  On the flip side of things is Organ Trail: Director’s Cut.  Rather than a simple retooling of the original Oregon Trail, this version takes the same basic game play and swaps out the pioneers setting for a station wagon and some undead adversaries.  Not to be left out of the “what’s old is new” jumble, Elevate Entertainment has published their take on the much abused brick breaking genre.  For Draw Breaker, however, instead of moving a paddle around you just draw one in where you want it, which adds a whole other dimension to the game.

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – For a long time gamers have been touting the death of the adventure game, and at one point I was starting to believe them, at least when it comes to mainstream efforts.  Thankfully this trend has been turning around, at least on iOS devices, and one of the most recent efforts is a rather interesting game called Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.  In the “real world” you play Edna, who must escape her confines in an insane asylum with the help of her stuffed pet rabbit Harvey.  When you get stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation, however, Harvey can transport you back to the past where Edna and Harvey will work together to remember and work out their situation in the present.  The artwork has a wonderful cartoon tone, the dialog is wacky, and it feels just like the old point and click adventure games that made companies like Sierra Online famous.  Unfortunately the offering is iPad only, and it’s a bit on the “premium” side at $5.99, but if the promised length of more than 20 hours of game play holds true, this game is definitely worth the asking price.

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout Daedalic Entertainment, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – $5.99

Draw Breaker – Thanks in large part to mobile devices I have come to appreciate the genre made famous by games like Arkanoid, though it’s still not my favorite by any means.  Every once in a while a game comes along that makes me reconsider that position, though, and Draw Breaker is one such game.  The atmosphere is great, with a back story that feels like a Dr. Doofenshmirtz monolog and some really cute and animated blocks.  What really sets the game apart, however, is the fact that you get to draw your paddle.  Yep, Draw Breaker has combined brick breaking with line drawing to create what ends up being both a fun and challenging variant of the standard game.  One would think that being able to draw the paddle anywhere would make the game easier, but that just presents its own set of challenges.  The game currently has 5 worlds with 9 levels apiece, and an endless mode is on its way.  Game Center is supported for achievements and leaderboards, and completing objectives helps boost your multiplier to earn you that coveted high score.

Draw Breaker Elevate Entertainment, Draw Breaker – $0.99
Draw Breaker HD Elevate Entertainment, Draw Breaker HD – $1.99

You Are Still A Box – In this cute little puzzle game your objective is to save the Nabbles from destruction.  Much like lemmings they wander aimlessly, and it’s up to you to guide them to the exit on each level.  The thing is, you are still just a box.  You can move left and right and when you have a balloon you can also move up and down, but ultimately you can only direct the Nabbles by letting the step on you and carrying them to their destination.  If it sounds tricky enough to begin with, there are also three pieces of cake to collect on each level, and timing is key because you often can’t get back to a piece once you’ve passed it.  Unfortunately the iTunes description doesn’t state how many levels the game has, though given the level select is a simple single line scrolling interface I’d wager it’s not too many.  Still, the game is free and universal, and definitely worth a look if you’re into puzzle games.

You are still a Box MyFreePlayYard, You are still a Box – Free

Organ Trail: Director’s Cut – I was one of the millions of kids that actually spent time both at home and at school playing the addictive game The Oregon Trail.  Still, I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed with the version Gameloft released to the iOS world.  Now The Men Who Wear Many Hats has taken a stab at the concept, and I approve of the modernizations they have made.  The stage coach has been replaced by a station wagon, and you can forget about hunting cute little squirrels and other innocent wildlife.  The apocalypse has come and it’s zombie hunting season.  The game sounds as though it plays very much like Oregon Trail, just in a modern setting with situations we can “relate” to (because we’ve naturally all been through a zombie infestation).  The graphics and audio are delightfully Apple 2 inspired, and a variety of diseases and choose your own adventure style situations boost the replay level of the game.  There are 28 achievements to earn as well as survivor leaderboards to compete on.  The best part is that the community was instrumental in helping script the more than 400 available tombstones.

Organ Trail: Director's Cut The Men Who Wear Many Hats, Organ Trail: Director’s Cut – $2.99

Dungeon Defiler – I love role playing games, but any more I just don’t have the time to get caught up in massive adventures with tons of quests and objectives I’ll forget because of all the time that passes between chances to play.  Thankfully there are games like Dungeon Defiler to provide the quick fix of combat and dungeon wandering without the baggage of long narratives and lots of stuff to forget.  You basically traipse through a randomly generated dungeon room by room, conquering bad guys and collecting items like weapons and potions.  There is a story, but it’s mainly comprised of one sentence narratives every now and again to tie everything together.  The combat system is interesting because you draw cards to determine your actions, including if the bad guys attack you!  The visuals are quite nice, and sound effects give the game a bit of a creepy atmosphere.  If you’re looking for some depth this probably isn’t for you, but if you want a rogue-like experience without the rogue-like interface, Dungeon Defiler delivers.

Dungeon Defiler The Game Kitchen, Dungeon Defiler – Free

Pitfall! – There’s no question that one of the biggest releases this week is the 30th anniversary re-imagining of the classic Activision game Pitfall!  At first I was a bit worried that the screen shots screamed “Temple Run”, but the truth is that the game just proves Temple Run was a simple catalyst for better things to come.  All the jumping, sliding and turning that you’ve come to expect from such a game is present, along with the ability to swing on vines and use your whip to take out some bad critters.  Interesting use of camera angles give the game an almost cinematic feel, though it does take a bit of getting used to.  The intro does a nice job of giving a nod to those that remember the original, but this is one instance where I don’t mind at all that the game plays differently than the Atari original.  Like most of these games you can use loot collected in-game to buy power ups that will enhance the overall experience and you can brag about your accomplishments on Twitter and Facebook.  I will say that I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some day they manage to sneak at least a level or two of the original in as an Easter Egg somehow.

PITFALL!â„¢ Activision Publishing, PITFALL! – $0.99

Cafeteria Nipponica – I’m shocked that Kairosoft didn’t call this Chef’s Story, but I suppose they are trying to branch out on the names a bit.  Anyway, as much as a new Kairosoft game catches my attention, this one in particular intrigues me.  I’ve played a lot of time management games revolving around the kitchen theme, and a big part of the appeal towards them in my opinion is the fast paced action of trying to serve the customers and keep them happy.  I’m curious as to how (or if) that type of game play will translate to Kairosoft’s simulation framework.  You’ll be able to customize every aspect of the restaurant from hiring the crew to choosing the floor that you like.  Constantly disappoint the customers and you’ll soon find yourself pushing a street cart, but wine and dine them appropriately and you could be hosting eating contests or cooking classes!  You might even work your way up to owning more than one restaurant!

Cafeteria Nipponica Kairosoft Co, Cafeteria Nipponica – $3.99

Super Mole Escape – I’ve never been a fan of Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, and my general apathy towards the brand has pretty much carried over to their mobile games division.  I rather enjoyed Monsters Ate My Condo, however, and Super Mole Escape looks like it might actually be quite fun as well.  Visually it reminds me of Chillingo’s Diggin’ Dogs, while game play wise it seems like a prison break version of Duckers.  You control 1 of 7 different prisoners with unique play styles and upgrades, and you simply need to travel as far as you can before you end up getting caught.  Between randomized levels and Game Center achievements there will be plenty to keep you coming back, but if that really isn’t enough you can compete against another player in versus mode.  The game is universal so you can use whatever screen size is easier for you.  Tilt and touch controls let you customize the tactile experience to your liking, and it even supports iCade if you’re lucky enough to have one of those.

Super Mole Escape [adult swim], Super Mole Escape – $0.99

Wannabat – I don’t report on sports related games very much because quite honestly they don’t usually interest me.  Every once in a while one piques my interest, however, and such is the case with Wannabat.  It feels like a street version of Com2us’ Homerun Battle 3D, which is probably why I’m getting into it so much (that was the first iOS sports game I latched on to).  You can play against the computer in both tournament and custom modes.  Basically you’ll want to use these games just to hone your skills and level up, though, because the true fun comes when you go online to face real opponents.  I haven’t tried that yet with Wannabat, but once again Homerun Battle was one of the few games that I enjoyed online play with, and I suspect this will be no different.  As you win games and level up you’ll be able to buy new equipment that will help you even more.  Of course you always have the option to buy things via IAP, and you can also buy the deluxe version of Wannabat which starts you off with a nice stash of stars to spend.  The game looks pretty sharp and handles fairly well on my rapidly declining iPod Touch 4, so that’s a bonus as well.  There are also some pretty nifty special skills to look forward to when you can acquire them.

Wannabat vitusoft, Wannabat – Free
Wannabat Plus vitusoft, Wannabat Plus – $1.99

Ancient Quest – It seems like action RPG games tend to sway more heavily towards the Zenonia style JRPG graphics, but Ancient Quest has chosen a more “grown up” look for its visuals.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if that’s enough yet to set this game out from the pack, which makes it most certainly fall under the category of “one to watch”.  From the little bit I’ve played so far the game seems decent if not overly substantive.  When attacking you get more of a traditional isometric view but when running it seems to shift towards an overhead perspective, which just feels odd.  The game has 4 maps with a total of 10 levels, which means the levels are either really expansive or this is a fairly short game.  On a more positive note the game is universal, and as of my writing this piece it was still free.  In the end I’m not confident this game measures up to what I like to see on this list, but I think the potential is there and figure if enough of you grab it while it’s free, maybe you can encourage the developer to keep expanding.

Ancient Quest NuOxygen, Ancient Quest – 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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