10 New App Store Games To Watch [August 27 - September 2]
There were certainly enough new arrivals to keep even the most discerning gamer busy on their iOS devices this week. The biggest surprise to me was Final Fantasy Dimensions, the newest offering from Square Enix. I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I had no idea this game was coming to iOS devices, and you can even try the prologue for free. If you’re more into puzzle games Illusion Labs has resurfaced with their latest concept called Blast-A-Way. This 3D brain teaser has plenty of explosions, cute robots and even more adorable mischief makers. If you just want something that proves you’re never too old to have fun, check out Granny Smith from No Can Win. This quirky racer has you trying to recover apples before a rascally thief, and oh the places you’ll go.
Valkyrie Gauntlet 2 – Valkyrie Gauntlet 2 has a Diablo style perspective, a hack ‘n slash mentality and an arena based level design. Rather than traipsing through endless empty corridors and randomly generated levels you simply move between rooms that are simply cordoned off by gates until you defeat all the foes within that room. As you level up you’ll be able to raise your stats, and new gear is the reward for beating chapters. Get your Game Center friends to play and you’ll be able to earn some fancy items to take into combat. There are more than 200 items to collect and equip to dispose of your enemies, and 700 rooms to conquer. 50 skill levels await you, with 92 achievements to earn and 12 leaderboards to conquer. The game is universal, but best of all there is an estimated 20 hours of game play that’s all yours for free. While there is some IAP, you don’t need it in order to finish the game.
World Tree Games, Valkyrie Gauntlet 2 – Free
Blast-A-Way – Illusion Labs is kind of like the Blizzard of the iOS world. Granted their publishing schedule is a bit more frequent than the famed PC developer, but they take their time and publish what they want when they want, and don’t just drop something they know will sell because it has their name attached to it. Their latest effort is a bomb tossing, brain wracking 3D puzzle game that like previous efforts is different than what they’ve turned out before. You control 3 robots that must rescue the mischievous Boxies with the use of anything you can find laying around the levels, including plenty of explosive devices. There are 80 levels across 5 different worlds, and each world has a unique set of obstacles. The game is about precision and not punctuality, so timer-phobes can rest at ease. Retina visuals and the 3D dimension bring lots of life to the world, and Game Center integration connects you with the rest of the world.
Illusion Labs, Blast-A-Way – $4.99
Time Geeks & Friends – The original Time Geeks (TMA Review) was like Where’s Waldo on steroids, and the sequel looks to kick it up a notch. You still have the same wacky solo game play with more than 300 challenges to complete. There’s also a kids mode that you can enjoy with your children or set them up to play with on their own that dispenses with the timers and just lets them relax and have fun. More importantly, though, is the new “& Friends” part. That’s right – you can take on opponents to see who can be the first to find all the objects. Play against your friends or take on random opponents over the internet, and then compare your progress with others through Game Center. The visuals look to be the same pixilated goodness that made the first game almost a bit distracting, because it was just as fun to study the surroundings as it was to find your objectives. Combine that with retro sounds and music and this should be another hit.
Final Fantasy Dimensions – Sadly this still isn’t a new or iOS exclusive chapter in the Final Fantasy saga, but at least it isn’t a port of a 20+ year old console game either. This is the English language debut of Final Fantasy Legends, a serial game that came out in Japan in 2010 and 2011. You’ll find the typical “good vs evil” plot that permeates the bulk of the Final Fantasy legend, along with a healthy dash of crystals thrown in for good measure. The combat system is based off of job change and ability combinations, which might mean something to those more well versed in the lore than myself. The graphics have a decidedly 16 bit look to them, which is just fine with me. The game also has something called “Chiptune Arrange” which I don’t completely understand but sounds intriguing. The first chapter of the game is free, but ironically enough when you add all the subsequent chapters together that you can purchase via IAP, the total price makes this the most expensive iOS game they’ve offered to date. I would definitely make your way through the entire prologue before deciding whether you want to invest in additional chapters or not.
SQUARE ENIX, FINAL FANTASY DIMENSIONS – Free
Infinite Surf – This is No Can Win’s follow-up to their 2010 racer Cubed Rally Racer, and the main thing it shares in common with its predecessor is that it’s tough. This time around you take on the art of surfing, and the game plays out like an infinite runner on a surfboard. There are coins to collect that will let you buy new surfboards and unlock and additional background scene, but don’t think you can miss them and just make up for it later. Those coins actually act as your lifeline as well, and if you miss three the game is over. In addition to buying new boards you can upgrade ones you own, but in an interesting twist the upgrades you apply only last for a single run, which makes juggling your money all the more interesting. Of course you can buy extra coins via IAP if you’d like. Unfortunately there are no sharks to be found here, but maybe that will come in an update via IAP or something.
nocanwin, Infinite Surf – $0.99
The Echoes – This is a very intriguing game. The story is very minimalistic – a few lines of text with some background noise and music between each set of levels. Each chapter has several bells that you must transform from black to white by capturing a bunch of echoes. To do that you match their colors by tapping what look like Christmas ornaments at the bottom of the screen. If you don’t see the color you need you’ll have to tap more than one at the same time. Eventually echoes start developing powers, but luckily you have some tricks up your sleeve as well. After a while you’ll start earning “songs” that can be used to deal with the effects of special echoes. It’s all a bit odd, but at the same time almost mesmerizing. Unfortunately for you small screen types it’s an iPad only offering, but for those that happen to have one of the iOS tablets the download is free and there’s no IAP. Even if it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea I’d recommend checking it out. You might be pleasantly surprised.
In Somnio, The Echoes – Free
Dragon Island Blue – When I first started doing this roundup I’m not even sure there were Pokemon style games on the App Store, but there is a decent selection to choose from now. It’s still nice to see a new one spring up, though, and so far I’m enjoying Dragon Island Blue. Dragons were thought to be extinct, but their sudden resurgence has people wondering what’s going on. You must assemble a team of creatures, including dragons, to figure out why the mythical beasts have returned. You start with a baby dragon and collect other creatures on the combat field. You can raise and evolve them thanks to a load of quests that span 16 overworld screens and 15 different dungeons. Only three creatures fight at a time, but take more with you to replace fallen comrades during combat. Gather gems, collect recipes and find Soul Stones to help you in your battles. Unlock breeder licenses that will allow you to expand your capabilities, and ultimately tame more than 200 species of creature. Best of all this isn’t a social game, so you don’t have to invite your friends or be connected to the internet. An optional PvP mode would be interesting, though.
NTT Resonant, Dragon Island Blue – $0.99
Granny Smith – Granny Smith comes to us from the developers of Sprinkle, a very entertaining physics puzzle game with fire and lots of water. My son still loves the junior edition of that one, even though he’s beaten it several times. This is a very different type of game, however, as it pits you against a thief in a ragdoll physics race to see who can grab the three apples off of each level first. You’ll jump, slide, crash and otherwise careen through everything and anything to get to the finish first and you can keep trying until you get the coveted three apple jackpot on a given level. The graphics look great, granny seems to have a bit of an attitude on occasion, and the jazz soundtrack is fun to listen to. You can earn money to buy power ups and unlock two additional characters to use during the game, and when all is said and done you can watch your last run thanks to a vintage monochromatic replay. This may not be your grandma’s ordinary game, but this is certainly no ordinary grandma either.
Mediocre AB, Granny Smith – $0.99
Robot Race – It’s time to hit the tracks again, but this time instead of a car or boat or plane you’ll be racing giant robots in futuristic landscapes. Well, that’s not actually entirely true, because depending on which route you take during the race you will get the chance to transform into either a car or a plane. There are 7 different robots each with 4 unique skins, and 9 different weapons you can buy to deal with the other racers. Run a single race or take on the entire 6 circuits with 3 difficulty settings to accommodate various user levels. There are 11 achievements you can collect to increase your earnings as well. There are a nice variety of robots and armaments, but it sounds like a few more tracks are in order. Hopefully that will be coming in future updates, along with a multi-player mode, as this sounds like it would be lots of fun to compete against your friends on.
Easley-Dunn Productions, Robot Race – $1.99
Legend Four HD – I’ve grown extremely fond of games like Dungeon Saga and Puzzle Quest (TMA Review), and so far Legend Four is proving to be a worthy adversary. Like the aforementioned games combat is handled via an object matching interface, and in this case you get to see your character duke it out with the bad guy at the top of the screen. The epic story unfolds across 17 continents with more than 160 levels to explore. Conquer an excess of 150 monsters with some nasty bosses thrown in for good measure. There are 4 unique heroes to master and upgrade, each with their own equipment to level up as well. Coming updates will provide more land to protect and multi-player capability. The game is even free with IAP that simply enhances the experience rather than preventing you from enjoying anything.
Happy Elements, Legend Four HD – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Chillingo, The Last Driver - Free
- Smartmind Wall Breaker – Free
- Mr Qwak Limited, Qwak HD - $1.99
- Activision Publishing., Wipeout - $1.99
- Activision Publishing, Activision Anthology - Free
- Gamewave Group, Lihong run – Free
- GAMEVIL, LAST WAR™ HD – Free
- Chillingo, The Quest – Celtic Queen – $2.99
- BadBotGames, Battle Universe – $2.99
- Fancy Pencil, Ballonia – $0.99
- Warner Bros., Bastion - $4.99
- Three Goblins, Spellcraft – Collectable Card Game – Free
- Alawar, The Golden Years: Way Out West HD - $3.99
- Cipher Prime Studios, Splice : Tree of Life - $3.99
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: