10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 22 – 28]
By the time you read this Halloween will probably be over, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have some ghoulish fun with your iOS device. Check out my 2012 Halloween Roundup to see the games I thought might provide some spook-tacular fun. As for the “normal” week, it was filled with your typical selection of everything under the sun. The game that caught me off guard the most was Zombiewood, which I expected to be nothing more than another Gameloft dual stick shooter. While that’s true in a lot of ways, the humor, variety of objectives and ability to destroy many inanimate objects keeps drawing me back. Another game that pleasantly surprised me was Punch Quest, the latest offering from Rocketcat Games. This endless runner packs quite a punch, with plenty of upgrading and gnomes to boot.
Punch Quest – So what’s better than an infinite runner, you ask? Why an infinite runner where you get to punch things, of course. Yeah, I know there have been a couple of these already, but there’s something about Punch Quest that’s really addictive. I don’t know if it’s the ability to buy hats with the money you’ve earned, the forking paths in the level design, or just the fact that you have the chance of turning into a gnome. You’ll earn money simply by collecting treasure as you run as well as by completing the now standard three tasks per run that this style of game likes to offer. This loot can be used to beef up your appearance or upgrade some actual useful skills, which are actually needed in order to complete further tasks. The graphics have a great retro look to them, the music follows suit with tunes that feel like they were left off of some 16-bit soundtrack, and the overall feel is pure 90’s video game bliss.
Rocketcat Games, Punch Quest – Free
Wizardlings – I have to give Square Enix some credit. I’m not a big fan of their IAP pricing, and I definitely have not cared for some of their bigger releases on the iOS platform, but they continue to turn out one interesting offering after another. This time we have a cute “casual RPG” where you basically uncover the land square by square until you’ve conquered each land or run out of mana. Along the way you’ll uncover food, experience, treasures and various elements. You’ll also uncover a host of bad guys that either requires wands or magical spells to be defeated. There’s no real time combat, and I think about the only way to “lose” is if you don’t uncover enough potions to refill your mana, which gets consumed each time you reveal a square. As a result there’s not a whole lot of pressure in this game and you can play at your own pace. The graphics are charming and the owl that guides you along is more mascot than wizened magical beast, so it almost feels like a kids’ game in many ways. Hardcore gamers need not apply, but if you’re looking for something to fill a few minutes here and there, Wizardlings can actually be fun.
SQUARE ENIX, Wizardlings – Free
Bubble Galaxy with Buddies – It’s very rare that I’m actually glad I have a Facebook account, but this is actually one of those times. I say that because it turns out I’m enjoying Bubble Galaxy, and I can log in with my Facebook account so I don’t have to set up another account specifically for any “with buddies” games. This is my first experience with the franchise, and I like the fact that the games are set up so that you can play a round whenever you have the time, and the game will keep until each player has played three rounds. You can also start multiple games at once. Opponents can be either someone you know or a random player, and best of all you don’t actually have to chat with them (no offense, but this is the closest I’ll ever come to “social” gaming). The game itself is one where you launch bubbles at a constantly descending column to try to make matches and clear some of the clutter away. You can earn money to buy power ups, and also unlock planets where you can complete challenges to earn more stuff. Overall it’s a nice casual game that lets you be multi-player without really having to interact with the other players unless you want to.
Scopely, Bubble Galaxy with Buddies – Free
Night Whisper Lane – My senses are tingling on this one. Could Night Whisper Lane be the combination of adventure game and RPG that I was hoping Dungeon of the Damned would be? I like the fact that it uses a haunted manor for the setting instead of a dungeon. I’m also intrigued by the “Authentic Survival Horror Story” claim. That means it’s either going to be clichéd, cheesy or both. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for both personally. Weapons will be scarce so frugal use is encouraged, especially since there will be many potentially fatal encounters. There are also plenty of booby traps to suck the life right out of you. The game has many endings, and there are several ways for your character to die, so I’m curious as to whether there will be a “resume last position” option or if you’ll have to start over when you mess up. This offering came out just in time for Halloween, and it sounds like it might make a nice companion to such titles as Forever Lost and Haunted Manor – The Secret of the Lost Soul.
Emanouel Pontikakis, Night Whisper Lane – $0.99
He-Man: The Most Powerful Game In The Universe – The title is obnoxiously long, but I would expect nothing less from one of the cheesiest properties I cared about in the 80’s. Yes, I was a He-Man fan, and I was both excited and unsure about this latest release from Chillingo. You know you’re in for some serious silliness when the opening sequence has Skeletor plotting against He-Man with the help of an iOS app, but once you look past the ridiculous story there’s actually a decent platformer trapped inside. You’ll get to face off against famous henchman like Trapjaw, Merman and Beastman, and I presume you’ll eventually take on bone-face himself. There are also appearances from the good folks like Man-At-Arms, Orco and the Sorceress. As you beat the stages you’ll earn crystals that allow you to buy power ups. You might even have to traverse levels several times to uncover all the secrets. The visuals naturally sport a cartoony look and fall somewhere between the 80’s show and the 2002 revival. I just hope Battlecat shows up at some point.
Chillingo, He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe – $0.99
The King vs. Knights, Vikings, Wizards & other Scoundrels – Wow, this name is even longer than the last one. This is a quirky little adventure that has you as the king defending your castle against all sorts of nasty attackers. Apparently the budget didn’t allow for any soldiers. What sets this apart from the average entry in this genre is that once you unleash a barrel towards the enemy it takes on the physics properties of a pachinko ball. It’s actually kind of fun watching the barrel bounce off the heads of the bad guys as they are trying to scale the walls of the castle. You’ll have to battle with villains wearing armor and jesters that jump around to avoid getting hit among other things. As can pretty much be expected these days in an infinite anything style game there are quests to complete (aka achievements) so you’ll have plenty to keep you busy. And it meets two of my top criteria for likable games – it’s universal and free.
No Monkeys, The King vs. Knights, Vikings, Wizards & other Scoundrels – Free
League of Heroes – I’m not going to try and convince you that this game offers anything really unique compared to other casual action / RPG efforts, because so far I don’t really see that it does. Still, there’s something about the game that keeps me playing. Maybe it’s the dry sense of humor (I’m pretty sure when I left the game idle for a while I heard someone asking me to bring them a bag of chips). Or perhaps it’s the quirky critters like the tree gnomes with stretchy arms or the big blue monster that looks like a mean Sully from Monsters Inc. It’s got all the trappings of a freemium game, like energy that’s required for quests and must be bought via IAP or given time to renew. Still, I find myself actually eager to load up League of Heroes and take it for a spin for a few minutes here and there. When I figure out exactly what the true draw is I’ll let you know, but until then you might as well try it for yourself since it doesn’t cost you a thing to get started.
Gamelion Studios, League of Heroes™ – Free
Transporters – There are times when a game looks like a kids’ game but feels more like a game for adults, and then there are times when a game is clearly a kids’ game but is still lots of fun for older people to play. Transporters kind of falls under the category of “looks like a kids game and feels like one too”. That being said, it’s certainly not without merit. Transporters is one of those games where you have to swipe back and forth between lanes to avoid traffic and obstacles, but when you pick up certain power ups you can run into or tap certain things to clear them away based on the type of vehicle you change into. This is good for kids because it can teach them what different types of machines are used for. The pace is kind of slow at first but does thankfully pick up after a while. While it’s probably not going to become your favorite game as an adult, if you have kids I think it’s nice for something to keep them occupied when necessary yet still provide a diversion for you every now and again for a few minutes.
Volvo Group, Transporters – Free
Zombiewood – If you read my Halloween roundup than you’ll recognize this game from that list, but I’ve played it enough over the past week that I felt it was worth including in this roundup as well. You’d almost think given the double duty that this was the end all, beat all of dual stick shooters, and truthfully it’s probably not. However, the combination of humor, multiple objectives per level and ability to destroy lots beyond the zombies themselves make this a delight to play. The fact that you pretty much can’t complete all objectives for a level in one pass add to the replay value in a good way, while multiple movies with several scenes each are sure to keep you busy for quite some time. There are plenty of IAP options if you wish to speed up your ability to upgrade, but so far I’ve been able to enjoy the game perfectly well without spending a cent, which is more than I can say for a majority of freemium games. The game is universal, and while there is currently no iCloud support I don’t think it would be all that bad having to traverse the same levels on multiple devices.
Gameloft, Zombiewood – Free
Legends of Loot – The story involves a starving kid, a quarter and an evil wizard. The game will have you traversing almost 100 different mazes in modern rogue like style, killing monsters, claiming loot and building up your character. Combat is one on one with each monster, and in what I consider a first you have the option to bargain your way out of a battle. If you choose to fight the game employs an interesting real time connect the dots combat system that while conceptually simple will keep you on your toes. In another rouge-like first you have to gamble for your achievements. Before you begin each maze you select which achievements you think you can accomplish and while you will be handsomely rewarded should you succeed you’ll actually lose gold if you fail. You can even keep track of special events and your friends’ progress using an in-game calendar system. All in all this is a pretty cool iOS rogue-like with some nifty unique features. Oh, and did I mention it was free?
Majesco Entertainment, Legends of Loot – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Bouncing Ball Games, Aztec Antics – $1.99
- Frima, Nun Attack – $0.99
- Vladimir Plohotnikov, Energet – $0.99
- Chillingo Ltd, Totem Runner – $0.99
- Josh Presseisen, Hairy Tales – $0.99
- GAMEVIL Inc., AREL WARS 2 – Free
- Foursaken Media, N.Y.Zombies 2 – $1.99
- CAVE CO.,LTD., DODONPACHI MAXIMUM – $11.99
- Nolithius, Crossword Dungeon – $1.99
- TinkerHouse, Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 – $2.99
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: