10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 29 – November 4]

This has definitely been an interesting week for games.  There was a lot to choose from, and I’ve tried to build a list that not only proves fun for me, but provides a nice diversity of game play for all the discerning gamers out there.  The game that really took me by surprise this week was Coin Army.  I’ve never really cared for coin pusher games – either physical or electronic – but the combination of amusing visuals, combat elements and power ups has caught my attention with this one.  The other thing of real interest to me this week was the Square Enix Latin American Game Contest 2012.  I’ve included two games from that competition, Run for Rum and Soul Savior, but there were a total of six finalists in the competition.  They’re all free, so download them all and then vote for the ones you like the best.

Coin Army – I don’t generally enjoy the coin pusher machines you find in the arcades, and the electronic versions you find on mobile devices don’t fare much better on my “to play” list.  Thankfully Coin Army is a whole new ball game.  The basic mechanic of pushing coins to get them to fall down a slot is present and accounted for, but in addition you’ll be taking on a bunch of bad guys by flicking coins at them.  As you defeat the enemies you’ll be rewarded with gems and upgrades that become yours once they get pushed into the slot by the constantly moving wave of coins.  You also have shields to block incoming coins that the enemy will fire at you.  There are even boss battles when you get far enough into the game.  Coins will regenerate over time, though if you want to play fast and frantic you will run out quickly.  Of course you can buy additional coins and gems via IAP, which the heavy players will no doubt take advantage of.  If you’re looking for a fun, free casual experience, this is a good game to try.

Coin Army Chillingo Ltd, Coin Army – Free

Outlaw – So Atari’s latest release is a modern imagining of the Atari 2600 game with the same name.  I wasn’t sure I had played the original so I took a few moments to look it up, and boy is this new version different.  Not just in terms of graphics which is to be expected, but in actual game play as well.  Whereas the original was a one on one duel (or one against a target if you had no friends), the iOS version of Outlaw is a shooting gallery style game that looks good and for the most part plays nicely.  There are several locations to conquer as well as a reputation to inflate and several weapons to buy and upgrade.  The game is free to play, though your gold and silver stash can be augmented via IAP.  A universal binary lets you practice your sharpshooting on whatever device you have handy, and Game Center integration provides leaderboards and a whopping 93 achievements.  The one glaring omission in this remake is the two player mode, though I suppose that might be kind of difficult with the shooting gallery format.

Outlawâ„¢ Atari, Outlawâ„¢ – Free

Animal Ark! – Occasionally I run across a game that seems worth mentioning even though I’m not particularly sure about it, and Animal Ark is one such game.  The premise is rather benign; save a bunch of animals whose world has been overrun by the land eaters.  There are 40 animals to be exact, and you’ll have to guide each one of them to safety through several levels of obstacles and traps.  In sliding tile puzzle fashion you’ll have to build a path for the critters to escape, which is what I’m not so keen on at this point.  As you save each animal they’ll take up residence in an ark that’s waiting to take them all to a new world.  Along the way you’ll discover furnishings hidden in chests that can be used to decorate the animals’ rooms on the ark.  You’ll also earn skill by completing each level that can be used to upgrade elements of the animals or Old Nav, the wise one that helps you on your journey.  The graphics are cute and the whole ship decorating thing will definitely appeal to kids, though the sliding puzzle concept might be a bit challenging for the younger ones (then again, my kids could probably beat me in a lot of video games).  Animal Ark is free with IAP, so if you’re like me and not too keen on the sliding tiles style game play, it still won’t hurt to give it a try.

Animal Ark! COLOPL, Inc., Animal Ark! – Free

Run for Rum – Apparently Square Enix held a Latin American game development contest, and the current finalists are available on the App Store.  I was originally going to lump them all into one entry, but once I started playing them (they’re all free, by the way) I decided that at least a couple deserved their own entries.  In Run for Rum you play Short Legs Bill who thanks to his lies has helped create the evil villain Road Jack and caused a curse that has wiped out the region’s supply of rum.  Now you must defeat the evil scoundrel and recover your precious drink.  The meat of the game takes place in turn based combat sequences where you’ll have to use your smarts to come out victorious.  When you win you’ll get to add one of the defeated to your fold until you’ve built up an army of seven different characters that will fight by your side and level up as the game progresses.  There are also some story levels with a decent sense of humor that let you know how things are progressing.  Unfortunately for some this game is only available for iPad, but if you have a compatible device I highly recommend checking it out.

Run for Rum SQEX S.A de C.V., Run for Rum – Free

Dragems – There was a time when I loved seeing a new Pokemon style game pop up because there weren’t many popping up.  While the genre hasn’t risen to gem swapping or physics puzzle proportions, there are actually quite a number of such games on the iOS platform now.  Thankfully there is still some innovation to be had, and Dragems does just that.  The objective is to collect and raise monsters which you can feed or evolve to help grow.  You can also hook up with friends to help you in battle, which lets you both earn XP and friendship points.  What I like about this feature is that you can select them for your team and consequently control them for the battle, instead of actually running around with them and playing (sorry, but I’m still a solo player by nature).  The other thing I really like about Dragems is the combat, which actually uses a gem swapping system like many of the newer casual RPGs.  Instead of just flipping two adjacent gems, however, you can move one gem anywhere else on the board you’d like.  Unfortunately the game is only for the iPhone / iPod Touch, though you could of course play it in 2x or small screen mode on your iPad.  The game is also online only, but this is one of the rare exceptions where I’m willing to live with that.

Dragems Tapcloud Interactive, Dragems – Free

Spooky Treats – This would have been a great addition to my recently published Halloween roundup, but unfortunately it wasn’t released until the day after that post was made available.  Still, just because a game has a Halloween theme it doesn’t mean you can’t play it any time of the year and Spooky Treats is certainly no exception to that rule.  You play a kid that loves candy and hears of a town where sweets line the streets.  It turns out the town is filled with things that go bump in the night as well, and you’ll have to escape everything from animated pumpkins to Dracula wanna-bes in order to get your hands on the delectable treats.  It seems that monsters can’t see behind them, so keeping your distance is the order of the day.  You’ll also be able to hide in various items that litter the hallways and don a ghost disguise that fools the monsters into thinking you’re one of them.  The game has 40 levels as well as an infinite survival mode once you’ve played the first 14 quest levels.  Spooky Treats is a universal application and it’s free, so why not get your post-Halloween scare on (warning: it’s not really scary)?

Spooky Treats GameTantra Digital Entertainment (p) Ltd., Spooky Treats – Free

Air Patriots – I’ll admit that I mainly downloaded this game because it was new, it was free and the graphics looked cool.  Not that this really matters, but I was a bit surprised when I saw that it was published by Amazon; I knew they sold games but didn’t realize they were in the software publishing business as well.  More importantly, though, is that I was pleasantly shocked by the fact that this was basically Flight Control meets tower defense.  I’ve never been a big fan of Flight Control, but something about throwing combat into the mix makes it a whole other ballgame.  I also like the concept of a tower defense style game where you have so much control over your “towers”, and while I’ve seen this concept used in fantasy themed games before I think this is the first time the game has been focused on vehicles.  As you defeat enemies you’ll earn gears that can be used to purchase new planes and maps to fight on.  The one down side is that most maps are only available via IAP, and at 99 cents a pop you’re better of just buying the two dollar map pack that gets you all current and any future maps that get added.  At least the game is free to try with 3 maps, and all but one of the planes is unlockable with gears.

Air Patriots Lemon Games, SL, Air Patriots – Free

Soul Savior – So now it’s back to the Latin American contest with an infinite runner / flier that has a story which I’ve frankly not been patient enough to read.  It’s not long, but I just like jumping into things as quickly as possible.  I don’t know that this game offers anything that others of its type don’t, yet I find myself strangely drawn to it.  I like the overhead perspective and the visuals are actually pretty decent.  The music is pretty neat as well.  The game itself basically consists of collecting souls and dodging the bad guys until you get hit enough times to use up all of your life.  In typical fashion there are power ups that you can unlock and upgrade and various missions (achievements) that you can complete.  Souls are the currency of the game, and interestingly enough there is no IAP to buy additional souls even though the game is free.  I’m not going to try and convince you that this is the best infinite whatever game out there, but I am quite enjoying it.

Soul Savior SQEX S.A de C.V., Soul Savior – Free

I’m Jack – Okay, so here’s a more traditional infinite runner that even ditches the over the shoulder Temple Run perspective to give you the more traditional 2D side view affair.  What this game does offer, however, is four unique maps each with their own graphics, music and missions.  There are nearly 150 missions between all four maps, so you should be pretty busy for quite some time.  There are several power ups, and while you still have to upgrade them just like in other runners in I’m Jack the power ups are at least unlocked to start with.  There are three different characters you can play with, and in addition to the typical jump and slide actions they have a rope at their disposal to get them over obstacles that a mere jump can’t handle.  Unfortunately the rope is a disposable item (it gets used up when you activate it), but thankfully everything in the store can be purchased with in-game coins, so you can earn it all on your own over time with enough patience.  Of course you’re more than welcome to supplement your stash via IAP if you’d like.  The music is quite energetic, and the hand drawn visuals look pretty nice.

I'm Jack UGR Studios, Inc, I’m Jack – Free

Monster Crew – Monster Crew is old school platforming taken to its roots.  Forget about confusing paths, keys to find or puzzles to solve.  You simply have to travel from floor to floor, smashing everything you can and collecting loot that will let you upgrade your skills and buy Monster Crew cards.  The cards can be used once per game and will give you all kinds of nifty perks to help you get through a level.  The story involves 17 mysteries linked by a cute story, and once you’ve completed that you can test out your skills to see how far up the mansion you can climb, earning new stuff all the while.  I’ll be the first to admit that at times it would be nice to have something to do besides jump and smash, but it is cool getting new cards to see what they’ll do for you.  Maybe someday they’ll actually add a bonus where you can play a card game with all the Monster Crew cards.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one.  The game is universal and as of this writing it was free, so if you’re a platform fan you won’t want to pass this one up.

Monster Crew BonusXP, Inc., Monster Crew – Free

Chromabot / Barbarian Siege / Commander Flag / Poltergeist: 16 bit horror – Yeah there’s a lot to the title of this entry, but don’t worry because I’m not going into great detail about any one game.  These are the remaining entries for the Latin American Game Contest 2012.  I’m not sure why other than the fact that I love seeing indie developers succeed, but this whole concept has struck a positive chord with me.  I’d encourage you to download and check out all of these games because they are free, and then vote for the one you like.  For me personally the two I listed separately are my favorites, but there were a couple of interesting ones in this bunch as well.  I’ll leave it to you to decide which ones I might have liked from the last four.  Also, after the links for each individual game you’ll find a link to the home page for the contest if you want to see what it’s all about.

Chromabot SQEX S.A de C.V., Chromabot – Free
Barbarian Siege SQEX S.A de C.V., Barbarian Siege – Free
Commander Flag SQEX S.A de C.V., Commander Flag – Free
Poltergeist: 16 bit horror SQEX S.A de C.V., Poltergeist: 16 bit horror – Free
Latin American Game Contest 2012

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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