10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 15 – 21]
The big news of the week is the fact that Square Enix released an iOS game that I actually liked! Ironically I’m not even a big fan of rhythm games as a whole, but there’s something about Symphonica that really strikes a chord with me. If infinite runners are more your style, there are actually a couple good ones to choose from. Save Them All from Chillingo challenges you to outrace mutants, aliens and more while rescuing as many innocents as you can until the end of each real world day, at which point the leaderboards are reset. For something a little less apocalyptic there’s Aloha from Hawaii, a runner about four penguins that just want to see what it’s like someplace warmer than the South Pole. And if you just want something involving lots of pure carnage there’s Carmageddon, the port of a 1997 game where you fare better by running over cows and pedestrians than actually completing the races.
Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies – Tin Man Games has made quite a name for themselves with their Gamebook Adventures, a genius blend of choose your own adventure and RPG game. Of course this combination owes a huge debt of gratitude to Fighting Fantasy, the print series that started the whole concept some 30 years ago. To celebrate the series’ anniversary, Tin Man Games has partnered with Ian Livingstone, co-founder of the original series, to create the electronic version of Blood of the Zombies, the print book that was also developed to honor the 30th anniversary of the books. The gamebook combines Tin Man Games’ stellar engine with a tale of zombie armies and mass destruction, so it pretty much sounds like a winner in my book. The electronic version has additional deadly endings that don’t exist in the print version, full color versions of the book’s artwork, and alternate unlockable art from another Fighting Fantasy veteran. I’ve always been a fan of Tin Man Games, and while others have made decent attempts at bringing the Fighting Fantasy series to the mobile electronic market, I’m glad to see the property finally come to the home of the masters in the genre.
Tin Man Games, Fighting Fantasy: Blood of the Zombies – $5.99
Carmageddon – In 1997 Interplay published an over the top racing game for several systems called Carmageddon. 15 years later the original developers have brought the cult classic to your iOS device so you can enjoy all the carnage while you’re on the go. Just make sure you’re playing the game and not trying to demolish people with your real vehicle. The game features 28 deranged opponents that you can take on across 11 environments. The Career mode spans 36 levels, and I’m hoping that the game features a free for all mode as well. You can race and wreck your opponents to earn 27 different achievements and unlock a whopping 30 playable cars. The game is universal and supports iCloud so you can not only pick your device of choice or convenience but you can share the save games between all of your devices. There is also a facility for making movies of your destructive runs and posting them to Youtube. Now all the game needs is some sort of multi-player capabilities.
Stainless Games, Carmageddon – $1.99
Sonic Jump – I must admit that I would not have expected Sonic’s first mobile only game to be a jumper in the vein of Doodle Jump and its many clones. However, even in a form completely unrelated to the platforming excellence Sonic fans have come to expect, it sounds like this little offshoot might just do the franchise justice after all. The game features an infinite jumping mode as one might expect, but it also contains a 36 level story mode. You’ll visit classic locations like the Green Hill Zone and take on new worlds introduced specifically for the game. You can play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and more, each with their own special abilities. Besides all the routine obstacles throughout the levels you’ll encounter boss battles with the evil Dr. Eggman himself. Compete against your friends on the leaderboards or challenge them to see who can jump the highest in arcade mode. The developers are already working to bring you new characters and worlds to visit, so the excitement shouldn’t run out any time soon.
SEGA, Sonic Jump™ – $1.99
Save Them All – There’s 24 hours on the clock; how many innocent people can you save? At first glance this game appears to be a lot like Canabalt, in large part thanks to the visuals. However, in addition to just running and dodging things, your goal is to save as many civilians as you can from the onslaught of aliens, zombies and other hazards that are destroying the Earth. To accomplish this you’ll have access to power ups like Vortex and Bullet Time, and you’ll even get the chance to fly. The game has both a story mode and a true endless mode with global leaderboards so you can figure out if you or your friends will be better at saving those around you in an end-of-the-world crisis. To stick with the 24 hour theme the leaderboards will actually be reset every day, so it truly is a day by day competition to see who is better. The game is universal and has a very slick visual presentation that should please no matter what device you are running. For some reason I have this image in my mind of a hybrid between the old arcade game Defender and Chillingo’s recently released The Last Driver, and that would be just fine with me.
Chillingo, Save Them All – $0.99
Dungeon Gate Sewer – First of all, I like the name. There’s nothing better than several random but potentially interconnected words thrown together to represent an entity. Beyond that it’s a 3D RPG with combat and puzzles to solve, which is always a good start in my book. What has me really intrigued, though, is the bit about shapeshifting. Apparently you can drain the DNA out of any character you come across and then actually transform into that character. It seems you can even upgrade each character independently, which if it works like it sounds would be quite cool. I love a well done grinder, and this sounds like it has that potential if you want to build up all the different creatures you can morph into. It also claims to have an open world dungeon which would fit into that whole grind mentality as well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
Wild Games Studio, Dungeon Gate Sewer – $1.99
Aloha from Hawaii – Taking a page from a Dreamworks cartoon, four penguins from the South Pole decide that they need to visit the sunny land of Hawaii. Your job is to help them get there in this game that’s formatted like and endless runner but also feels like a platformer. There’s a true infinite running mode, but there is also an adventure mode with discrete levels where you can collect up to three stars per level. It actually reminds me a lot of the game Unicorn Rush. One cool feature about the game is that there are four penguins, and throughout the levels you’ll get to switch between them at key points in order to use their special talents to get past certain obstacles. There’s definitely an animated cartoon feel to the entire presentation, and the easy controls make it accessible to gamers of all ages. The game is universal and actually plays pretty well on the iPod Touch 4. It’s free to try, though you’ll have to by the second and third level sets to get the whole story.
Forge Reply, Aloha from Hawaii – Free
Stupid Zombies 2 – Yes, my love of zombie games bleeds into the physics puzzle realm as well. I was hooked on the original Stupid Zombies for quite some time because unlike most similar games out at the time, Stupid Zombies was all about the ricochet. While the levels could certainly get frustrating, it was always satisfying finding the one (or in some cases two) shots that could clear the entire level. The zombies are back and so is the slayer, though this time you can choose between a male or female character. One thing I’m seeing in this game already that I don’t recall from its predecessor is that the zombies actually move around, which adds a whole new element to the strategy. The screen shots indicate other toys like barrels and chains, as well as different types of ammo like the triple shot. The game has 300 levels, and I would imagine that more might even be added over time. I’m already reminded of why I loved the first installment so much, and this time around I get to play it on my larger iPad screen.
GameResort, Stupid Zombies 2 – $0.99
Symphonica – I do a fair bit of picking on Square Enix, but I figure they’re big boys and they can handle it. I was fully prepared not to like this game, especially since I’m not that big a fan of Tap Tap style music games in the first place. Thankfully this isn’t quite like any music game I’ve played to date, and it definitely goes on the “win” side for Square’s iOS catalog. There’s actually a plot where you are an up and coming conductor trying to make your brother proud. There’s also some Hallmaster guy that you can’t tell if he’s good or bad, and a slightly odd lady that looks kind of like a porcelain doll. If you buy all of the chapters there are a total of 50 songs to conduct, 30 partials for practice and 20 full length for performances. And unlike so many of these games I’ve actually heard a good number of the songs because they are all classical pieces. There are a larger number of motions than I’ve seen in other games of this type, including pinch and flick moves. Unfortunately the game is not universal and the IAP (you get the tutorial and 3 chapters for free) adheres to their pricey standards, but this is one offering from the legendary developers that I’m actually considering splurging for.
Bird Up! – At first glance this game is nothing really special. You basically need to make a bird fly as high as you can before it gets tired and falls back to the ground. The thing is, you never actually touch the screen to accomplish this. The game uses a technology called MotionSDK to guide the bird based on your movements in front of the camera. If you flap like you’re trying to fly, the bird will flap as well. Of course you can scale the movements to be as small or grandiose as you’d like, depending on who is watching and how silly you want to be. Consequently this could make a great party game, with each person taking a turn to see who can get the highest score. There’s also a solo mode where you get three tries to accumulate a high score, with a bounce in between each flight giving you some added leverage. There’s certainly nothing deep or intense about this game, but I can see where it would be a great time waster if you’re just looking to have fun with your friends, and it’s free to boot since it’s most likely meant to be a demonstration of the technology.
OmniMotion Technology, Bird Up! – Free
Train of Thought – People will often joke of educational games: “yeah, it’s actually fun too”. I would imagine that it’s pretty hard to come up with that fine balance between learning and enjoyment, but either this developer has managed it or I’m a bigger geek than I thought. The premise is simple – you’ll visit train stations across the country, building words at each one that correspond to clues written across the bottom of train cars. You don’t even have to come up with the letters, since they’re given to you at the bottom of the screen. You just need to put groups of those letters in the right order to spell the answers to your clues. It sounds easy, but it can actually be quite challenging when the word you’re looking for eludes you. I’ve actually enjoyed playing this on my own, but I think it would also be a great tool for parents to sit down with their kids and not only learn some spelling but also vocabulary. Even the advertising is clever, as the ads appear like banners on the side of the train cars.
SGN, Train of Thought – 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, Zombie Rollers – $0.99
- Zynga, Twist Pilot – $0.99
- Ravensburger Digital, Take It Easy – $1.99
- Mobage, Inc., MARVEL War of Heroes – Free
- GMT Games, Dominant Species for iPad – $4.99
- Zynga, Zombie Swipeout HD – $0.99
- Kairosoft Co, Pocket Clothier – $3.99
- Bulkypix, Hidden Runaway – $2.99
- Elately, Reiner Knizia’s Qin – $4.99
- Broken Thumbs Apps, Famous Faces Quizzle – Free
- Thruster, VeggieTales: The League of Incredible Vegetables – $0.99
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: