10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 1 – 7]

I’m a big adventure game fan, and my top pick for this week just happens to fall into that category.  Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD tosses you in an asylum with no knowledge of who you are or why you’re there.  Gather items, solve puzzles and piece together the mystery, all in an atmosphere that’s just right for the Halloween season.  If you prefer some action you should check out Payback2, the sequel to a game heralded as “the best GTA clone you’ve never heard of”.  You’ll have plenty of weapons at your disposal and the chance to drive everything from a tank to an ice cream truck.  For those that just want to relax with some simple fun, former artists from the company Crytek have developed the game Fin Friends.  It’s an aquatic take on the whole “helicopter in a tunnel” theme, and while there’s enough challenge for adults the atmosphere will definitely keep the children entertained.

House Of Shadows – The Halloween games are coming out in droves and Armor Games in no exception.  Their first foray into the holiday spirit on iOS devices is House Of Shadows, and if it follows suit with the other games Armor has released so far on the platform, it should be rather fun.  You choose a boy or a girl and set out to explore 2 haunted houses with a total of 60 levels worth of puzzles and treasure.  The trick is that you have to sneak around the houses and hide from the ghosts and zombies that lurk within.  You’ll also have to guide your little sister to safety, since she managed to wander in while you weren’t looking.  The game was designed to be spooky but not scary, so it should be suitable for the whole family.  Be prepared for some outstanding visual effects, though, especially when it comes to the lighting.  The graphics have even been optimized for the iPhone 5 and new iPad.  Best of all, you won’t have to be bothered with little popups asking for ratings and the like.

House of Shadows Armor Games Inc, House of Shadows – $0.99

Fin Friends – Fin Friends is a cute little “infinite swimmer” brought to us by a couple of former artists from a little company called Crytek.  If you’re not familiar with the name, the pedigree includes such games as Crysis and Far Cry.  It has sort of a “Finding Nemo” vibe about it, with vibrant backgrounds and colorful, animated inhabitants.  A single tap control has you swimming up when pressed and descending when your finger isn’t on the screen.  Rather than feeling like Tiny Wings, however, the mechanic more closely mimics the old helicopter flying through a tunnel concept.  Thankfully you can’t crash into the floor or ceiling here, though there are plenty of obstacles that need to be avoided, including some boss creatures.  Even though randomly generated terrain means the game could go on forever there is a level structure, and there are also a variety of objectives to meet along the way.  There’s nothing particularly new about the whole thing, but a decent challenge will keep adults entertained, and the presentation as a whole is sure to please the kids.  Much like House Of Shadows, Fin Friends is a nice family game.

Fin Friends Claybox, Fin Friends – $0.99

Zaxxon Escape – Another classic makes its way to the iOS platform, though much like the recently released Pitfall, there’s some question as to whether the new direction really captures the spirit of the game.  This time around we’re talking about the Zaxxon remake, and I must admit it looks rather interesting.  The perspective is your ship barreling down a tunnel, and you’ll have to use a combination of tilt and swipe controls to stay out of trouble.  You’ll also be able to tap to shoot.  Ultimately you’ll need to use all of your skills to escape the castle you invaded 30 years ago.  As you navigate the never-ending labyrinths you’ll earn money that you can use to buy power ups and new ships.  It sounds like it has all the makings of a cool infinite runner.  However, what made Zaxxon stick out from the pack when it was released was the game’s isometric perspective, and that’s why people still care about it today.  Will fans of the original take to the new format, or will it become just another clone in an increasingly overcrowded genre?

Zaxxon Escape SEGA, Zaxxon Escape – $0.99

Nightmarium – Forget about slicing fruits, vegetables, or any other type of edible substances.  It’s time to let your inner monster hunter out and eradicate the things that go bump in the night.  At least that’s what the sleeping little girl would like you to do, because being woken up by horrible ghouls is not what any sane child wants to have happen.  This game will challenge your reflexes as you tap, slice and shake your way to victory.  Just be sure the girl doesn’t lose all of her Zs, or she might wake up with a fright she won’t recover from.  There are 5 haunting locations and a 6th bonus one for the skilled nightmare bashers.  There are also 20 achievements to earn, 7 of which are hidden.  Leaderboards let you challenge your friends if you have a Facebook account.  The artwork does a pretty good job of depicting a ghoulish world, and you can almost feel sorry for the girl as her eyes bulge when she gets awakened by too many missed ghosts.  The game is universal, but be warned that there are occasions where lots of creatures are on screen at once.

Nightmarium Startek Invest Limited, Nightmarium – Free

Payback2 – I never played the original, but apparently some likened it to GTA, which I haven’t actually played either.  In any case, the sequel looks to be bigger and badder than the first, with 9 game play modes and 50 career events to keep you busy.  When you’ve exhausted all of that you can build your own events, test them out against the computer AI, and then expose them to the world at large to get some human competition.  Take flight in a helicopter, drive an armored tank, or fool the locals when you get behind the wheel of an ice cream truck.  Lots of weapons and dozens of different vehicle types let you explore the huge game environments in a variety of different ways.  Online multiplayer support for up to 4 players and many achievements will give you much to strive for.  The graphics engine was written from the ground up to take advantage of the latest hardware, though for full visual splendor you’ll want to get the HD version.

Payback² Apex Designs, Payback² – $3.99
Payback² HD Apex Designs, Payback² HD – $5.99

Amok – This latest offering from Bulkypix appears to pay homage to the great side scrolling brawlers of the 80s and 80s like Streets Of Rage.  You start out with one character and can unlock two more, and you’ll use them to “educate” 100 levels of bad guys and big bosses about who the real boss of this territory is.  Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses and has skills and basic attributes that can be upgraded over time.  The game is free to play and universal but there is no mention of iCloud support, which would be nice if it’s not already available.  There is IAP to buy the coins required to upgrade your current character and unlock new characters.  You can also earn these coins by playing the game, but I have a feeling you’ll have a hard time racking up enough cash that way to unlock either of the two additional characters.  Still, it seems pretty solid from what I’ve played so far, and it’s got a price tag you just can’t beat.

Amok Bulkypix, Amok – Free

Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD – While not specifically branded as a Halloween game, this one certainly came out at the right time of the year.  Get ready to wander around a creepy abandoned asylum trying to figure out who you are and how you ended up there.  This has all the makings of a classic point and click adventure (minus character interaction, of course), and it should spark that nostalgia gland in long time gamers.  If you’ve never actually played a true adventure game before, you’re in for a real treat.  The visuals are stunning, the puzzles are just right to wrack your brain without causing you to pull your hair out, and a hint guide will guarantee that you’re never stuck if you’re inclined to use such things.  You’ll even discover a camera early on that allows you to take pictures of every room and write notes on it.  I would prefer to be able to type my notes, but this is still a feature every adventure game needs in one way or another.  The game is universal and certainly quite playable on a smaller screen, but I’ve really enjoyed it once I moved to playing it on my iPad.

Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD Glitch Games, Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD – $0.99

Speed Kittens – Zeppelins carrying milk are trying to get away, and it’s up to you to stop them.  What better way to do that than to hurtle cats at them?  This is certainly an interesting take on the whole physics destruction genre.  Instead of the typical “pull back to launch” mechanic most of these games employ, you’ll actually drag your finger towards the target you’re aiming at.  You’ll also have to catch your ammunition as it’s flying across the screen, instead of just having a set spot to fire the kittens from.  The battlefield is a single screen, which means things are going to get chaotic.  Get high scores to earn milk which will enable you to buy power ups and unlock new backgrounds to fight on.  You can even crash the kittens into each other to bolster your score, so long as you don’t forget about the Zeppelins.  The game supports multi-touch, though it gets so crazy I’m not sure how useful that would be on a small screen.  There is also iCloud support, so hopefully one of these days we’ll see a native iPad version so we can take more advantage of multiple shots at once.

Speed Kittens grey may LLC, Speed Kittens – $0.99

Sugar Kid – We all know how painful a little lemon juice can be when used inappropriately, but no one understands that more than Sugar Kid.  The evil Mr. Lemon wants his throne back, and he’s determined to drown poor Sugar Kid in order to exact his revenge.  It’s up to you to keep Sugar Kid safe by drawing barriers between him and the onslaught of nasty lemon juice.  Along the way you’ll also want to make sure the lemon juice fills up and pops certain bubbles to release the stars within.  Various power ups like an umbrella and extra hearts will make surviving easier.  There are three different game modes including Deadly Missions with a total of more than 90 levels of puzzling fun between them.  The graphics are cute, but you do have the option to turn on blood if you really need it.  If you’re looking for something a little bit different from the norm, Sugar Kid is a good choice.

Sugar Kid Bulkypix, Sugar Kid – $0.99

Jumpmaster – This infinite free-for-all adds a cool militaristic theme to the genre.  You’re a paratrooper with a mission, trying to take down the enemy as they zoom at you from below in a cool top down perspective.  You’ll be able to choose 3 types of grenades from several choices so that you can dispose of the enemy more efficiently and complete certain missions that have specific requirements.  In addition to getting rid of the opposition you’ll be able to collect coins in order to purchase more grenades and upgrades.  Of course you can also buy coins via IAP if you wish.  The graphics are sharp and the Matrix style effect when dodging close calls is pretty slick.  I also like it when your soldier gets smacked “against the screen” much like the old TMNT games used to do.  The game is universal, but you can forget about playing it if you don’t have an iPhone 4+, iPod Touch 5, or iPad 2+.  Still, if you meet those hardware requirements then the free download is well worth your while.

Jumpmasterâ„¢ Steamy Rice Entertainment, Jumpmasterâ„¢ – 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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