10 New App Store Games To Watch [August 13 – 19]

This week saw the release of Horn, Phosphor Games’ follow-up to their interesting title Dark Meadow.  Horror has been replaced with fantasy, on-rails movement with full 3D roaming, and the graphics have been kicked up a couple of notches as well.  Tread of the Dead is a slightly different take on the whole zombie hunting theme.  Instead of relying on brute force and lots of ammunition you’ll have to skillfully cut down the undead hordes with a chainsaw that you toss at them and then control by tilting the screen.  Platform gamers will enjoy Random Heroes, the latest offering from Ravenous Games.  It looks to combine the level design goodness of League Of Evil with the hero and gun swapping craziness of Super Crate Box.

Puzzle Craft – There’s no question that the concept of a mash-up can breathe new life into a genre as overpopulated as one like the Match 3 genre.  The key to any successful mash-up is to be sure that you are combining two or more genres that while not necessarily obvious, ultimately blend together well.  Much like the peanut butter cup, I think Puzzle Craft might have found the perfect blend with its combination of SimCity town construction and Match 3 resource gathering.  Can you build the ultimate settlement?  You’ll need to construct buildings and hire workers so you can collect taxes to fund more building.  The people have to eat and buildings need materials, so you’ll have to tend to the crops and dig into the mines to get the necessary goods.  Even the way they limit your resource gathering is cool and fits well within the structure of the game.  You can craft tools to make mining and farming easier, and erect special buildings to increase productivity.  The game is a universal build and form-wise it actually plays pretty nice even on the smaller screen.

Puzzle Craft Chillingo, Puzzle Craft – $0.99

The Zombie Situation – I know very little about Jersey Shore and would like to keep it that way.  However, I feel I almost have an obligation to try out new zombie games, especially ones that are free, and as it turns out The Zombie Situation is actually kind of interesting.  You control anime style versions of Mike and some of his family members and you must protect your ground on the Boardwalk as it is being overrun by hordes of nasty zombies.  The game plays out in “gate defense” fashion (if that’s even a genre), and the challenge is beefed up by the fact that you don’t seem to earn money very quickly.  The visuals are decent and you can actually rotate the 3D view to get a better feel for what’s going on at any given moment.  What’s really nifty, though, is that if you flip the device upside down you’ll go into “interactive” mode and get to shoot the zombies from a first person perspective.  I know there are better entries to be found for this style of game play, but I think this one actually has promise, and you can’t beat the price tag.

The Zombie Situation Apps Genius, The Zombie Situation – Free

Horn – While I’ve only seen the game in screen shots and a trailer, it screams “Infinity Blade” in terms of the graphics quality.  I don’t normally start out that way, but in Horn it is certainly the first thing that will catch your eye.  However, it appears that the world of Horn is a fully realized 3D playground with no rails or confinements.  There are 3 unique lands to explore, with hidden bonus content if the main game isn’t enough for you.  With a sword, crossbow and horn as your main tools, I want to believe this is going to feel like later installments in the Legend Of Zelda saga, which would be perfectly fine with me.  Intuitive controls will help you get around easily, and hopefully provide for some quick, intense melee combat.  A game like this deserves an epic soundtrack, and not only was Horn’s score composed by an award winning musician, but it’s performed by a live orchestra, which should be phenomenal.  The only down side to all of this is you’ll need some power behind your hardware – an iPhone 4S or iPad 2 / 3 are recommended, and don’t even think about it if you’re still pretending your iPod Touch is good for gaming (I say that because I too am an iPod Touch owner).

Horn™ Zynga, Horn™ – $6.99

Keri Racing – I don’t get much into the Facebook style social games, because quite honestly they all feel pretty much the same to me.  Build up a town, complete some quests, and if you can’t do it fast enough spend some real money to complete things instantly.  Now I’m not going to lie to you and tell you Keri Racing is much different from what I’ve just described.  What I like about this game, however, is the fact that you actually get to raise and race a Keri (don’t worry if you don’t know what that is – it’s a made up bird).  I would have liked to have seen a bit more functionality in this part of the game, but I imagine that will grow over time, and at least it’s something different than most games of this genre offer.  The graphics are bright and colorful, and the overall atmosphere is all about fun.  The one other thing they need to do is make a native iPad version, and I might be enjoying my first iOS social game on a regular basis.

Keri Racing NEOWIZ Internet, Keri Racing – Free

Tread of the Dead – I honestly didn’t think much of this game when I saw the screen shots.  Once I started playing it, however, my opinion quickly changed.  Even if you’re a zombie game fiend and think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t played a game like this before.  Instead of mowing down hordes of the undead while running around, you stand in one spot and hurl chainsaws at them.  In all the levels I’ve played so far you get three tosses, and to pass the level you just need to chop down all the zombies.  If you actually want to excel on the level, however, you need to get them all in one shot.  The game features more than 100 levels, boss fights and 5 different game play modes.  It supports Game Center for leaderboards and achievements, and works on all your favorite iOS devices thanks to a universal binary.  Unfortunately there is no music, though you can use whatever is in your library on your device.

Tread of the Dead Spencer Cordes, Tread of the Dead – $0.99

Strange Loves 1: Vampire Boyfriends – I’ve been a fan of Tin Man Games since their only product was the cute little arcade game Frootrees.  Since then we’ve been able to see them grow into quite a powerhouse when it comes to gamebook adventures, novels that combine choose your own adventure mechanics with light RPG elements.  Strange Loves is quite a departure from previous efforts in that while it still has a concept of inventory, there are no stats to roll or combats to engage in.  Additionally, the fantasy in this story is geared more towards women players (or those that love such things as the Twilight saga).  It’s not particularly my cup of tea, but if there’s one thing you can count on with Tin Man Games it is quality, so that makes this one worth watching, especially if it progresses into a series.  If the writing holds up to past releases then it will be worth chasing down several of the 40 endings the book contains.  This offering is universal, so enjoy it on whatever size screen suits your fancy.  Just remember this is among other things a romance novel – I did warn you.

Strange Loves 1: Vampire Boyfriends Tin Man Games, Strange Loves 1: Vampire Boyfriends – $2.99

Random Heroes – The League of Evil series is probably one of the best examples of retro platforming on iOS devices, so when the developers of said franchise release a game that looks like a cross between that and Super Crate Box, my interest is piqued.  The game features more than 30 levels of pulse pounding action, with 15 characters and 10 weapons to unlock.  You can collect coins to upgrade both characters and weapons, or buy them via IAP to expedite the process.  Game Center achievements will keep you coming back, and a universal binary with iCloud support lets you continue your same game no matter what device you have available.  The most impressive thing about the game, though, is that it’s small and will run on devices with an iOS version as early as 3.1.  It’s very rare to find a good new game that is so backwards compatible.

Random Heroes Ravenous Games, Random Heroes – $0.99

Tangled Gardens: Pipes Puzzle – This is an interesting take on the good old pipes style of game play.  Your goal is to connect the roots of a plant to a water source so that you can make the plant bloom.  The thing is, there are certain tiles on the board your path must cross in order to win each puzzle.  Beyond that, the longer your path of roots is the more points you score.  There are 50 levels in the full version, though the lack of a level select hides how many are available in the free version.  In addition to playing solo you can play multiplayer online, which I imagine would entail seeing who can bloom the flower first.  This feature is also available once you upgrade.  Network play is unlimited, so it would be interesting to know if that means randomly generated boards or not.  This is one game that could certainly use a more robust iTunes definition, but if you enjoy the free version the full deal only costs 99 cents to purchase.

Tangled Gardens: Pipes Puzzle Absolutist, Tangled Gardens: Pipes Puzzle – Free

Capture The Lair – Most mobile gamers probably don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to a game in one sitting, which has lead to the somewhat popular sub-genre I call “RTS lite”.  These games usually consist of two teams with bases on the board, and each of you is trying to take over the entire board.  Resources are simply based on the structures that are under your possession, and all you have to do is select one of your towers and then one of your opponent’s towers to attack.  What I like about this game is that the “warriors” are dragons, and the “towers” are their lairs.  Unfortunately there are only 10 levels at the moment, but the developer did a nice job of designing the levels so it doesn’t feel just like any other game of this type.  You can also play two players via split screen so you can challenge a real opponent.  Hopefully in the future network support will be added, as well as some social network integration.  There’s not a lot of content here at the moment, but maybe some user feedback and encouragement will spark additional levels and game play options.

Capture The Lair Noveo Inc., Capture The Lair – Free

Tunnel Tail – The barrage of casual RPGs continues with this interesting little tale.  It feels kind of like a modern telling of The Rats Of Nihm, except that this time the rats are warring against themselves instead of the humans.  In fact, as a human you pledge to help the rats via a handy tunnel cam that lets you see what they are experiencing.  You’ll need to rescue and train oppressed mice to aid you in your fight against the Lumini, led by the evil Luzen.  You’ll have to use good judgment when deciding which mice to send on a mission.  Train them, equip them and customize your team for the ultimate battle experience.  All the mice’s power is driven from a force called “Tension” and if you keep the tension meter in line with your current’ mouse’s power level you’ll get bonuses when attacking.  The interface is polished and pretty straightforward, and the graphics look like they came from a Saturday morning cartoon.  Hardcore RPG fans might be a bit more, but if you’re looking for a role playing atmosphere without much fuss Tunnel Tail could easily serve your needs.

Tunnel Tail BEST, Tunnel Tail – Free
Tunnel Tail for iPad BEST, Tunnel Tail for iPad – 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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