10 New App Store Games To Watch [November 19 – 25]

Hopefully you missed me while I was gone.  There were some pretty cool games I wanted to talk about last week, but have no fear because there are plenty of good games for this week’s article as well.  To start with, Steve Wozniak has decided to lend his incredible talents to the game design world with Vengeance: Woz With A Coz.  It’s a retro platform game that he not only designed and wrote the story for, but also stars in!  If you’re a slingshot physics game-aholic but are still craving something a bit different, why not give Temple Raid a try?  Sure the mechanics are tried and true to the genre, but this multi-player affair lets you construct your own fortresses and take on folks from around the world to see who the best ammunition tosser is.  For the Fruit Ninja fan who thinks they’ve played it all, why not apply those slashing skills to some chocolaty goodness?  Yes, thanks to PikPok’s OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk you can have your cookie and play with it too.

Dragon Slayer – I’ll get this right out in the open – Dragon Slayer is nothing more than an arena combat game (with a slight story if it really matters), and in some ways it’s a fairly basic one at that.  I don’t know if it’s the cool avatar, the slick looking dragons and reptiles, or what exactly is doing it, but this game just appeals to me.  I’ll admit that I’ve struggled getting into more in depth strategy type games since I’ve become primarily a mobile gamer, but offerings like Dragon Slayer give me a nice dose of combat without all the management baggage.  Like most post-Infinity Blade games of this nature you’ll have chances to block and then to attack, though this one adds a couple of nice perks like a stun move should you successfully dodge certain attacks as well as the ability to compound multiple rapid attacks to do some serious damage.  You’ll get the chance to upgrade your character between fights, and while the game is free, you’ll most likely struggle to get the coolest enhancements unless you shell out some cash for IAP.  Does Dragon Slayer really do much of anything new?  Not so much.  Does it do what it does well?  I think so.  More importantly, it won’t cost you anything to see if I’m right or not.

Dragon Slayer™ Glu Games, Dragon Slayer™ – Free

Cubed Cow Racer – A couple of years ago a cool isometric racer called Cubed Rally Racer was released.  Last week in the roundup I didn’t get to bring you, I was going to talk about the successor title in that series, Cubed Rally Redline.  This week saw the release of Cubed Cow Racer, which seems like maybe it’s the free version of Cubed Rally Redline.  This way I can kill two birds with one preview.  Like the original racer, Cubed Cow Racer has randomly generated tracks.  On the other hand, it follows suit with Cubed Rally Redline in providing you with an endless racing experience – that is, endless until you crash.  Also, the freeform movement of the original has been replaced with what feels like a slotcar racing mechanic.  There are three tracks to choose from, and you tap the left or right sides of the screen to switch lanes.  Special drift power ups let you earn bonus points as you careen around corners, but as soon as you change lanes or the time expires the bonus is gone.  I like the simple mechanics of the game, but more importantly I like the random nature of the tracks as well as the cool visual style.  Pick up Cubed Cow Racer to see how nifty the concept is, then go and buy Cubed Rally Redline to help support the developer and to get something besides a cow to race with.

Cubed Cow Racer Jared Bailey, Cubed Cow Racer – Free

Vengeance: Woz with a Coz – I get that when you have money and respect you can do pretty much whatever you want, but I never really expected to see Steve Wozniak starring in his own game, iOS or otherwise.  Better yet, the pairing of Woz and Danny Trejo seems brilliant somehow, though I can’t quite put my finger on why.  Toss in the fact that the Woz actually wrote the story himself, and this seems like one not to miss for any true Apple fan.  Steve Wozniak and Danny Trejo team up to rescue Steve’s wife who was kidnapped while the happy couple were out for an evening stroll.  The game takes on an 8 bit look with some intense old school platforming action.  There are bosses to defeat, weapons to collect and upgrade, and Street Kredits to earn.  All this great retro action is a nice lead in to 2013’s silver screen blockbuster Vengeance starring… you guessed it: Danny Trejo.  Now the big question is if we’ll see a cameo from the Woz..  If Stan Lee can do it, why can’t he?

Vengeance: Woz With A Coz ITN FLIX, Vengeance: Woz With A Coz – $0.99

Boulder Dash-XL – In 1984 First Star Software released Boulder Dash to unsuspecting gamers everywhere, and electronic mining simulations were never the same.  There have been many clones since, but few have maintained the relevance of this boulder dropping, gem collecting treasure, which has seen official releases in some form on just about every major gaming system since its arrival.  Now thanks to Herocraft a new generation of gamers wielding their iOS devices can enjoy this phenomenon on the go or in the comfort of their own home.  This port provides mobile gamers the same frantic action that Xbox 360 and PC owners are accustomed to, but without the need to carry around heavy monitors or long extension cords.  There are more than 100 caves to explore, complete with boulders, dynamite and lots of annoying monsters.  There are 5 different game play modes including a retro option for fans of the classic franchise.  It also sports the typical bells and whistles like high score tables and achievements.  There’s even an option for left-handed controls, which is good news for me.

Boulder Dash®-XL™ HeroCraft, Boulder Dash®-XL – $2.99

Railbot – Armor Games has been a pretty consistent contender on the iOS market, and has actually grabbed my attention a couple of times with the likes of Kingdom Rush (TMA Review) and Flight!.  Railbot sadly isn’t quite up to those standards, but it still borders on being an addictive game and has lots of potential.  It’s an infinite runner where you control one of several robots that can jump and slide along conveniently placed rails throughout the course of the game.  Of course the level layout is randomly generated, so one could use the argument that it never feels like the same game twice.  I don’t know if that’s true so much here, but at least it keeps things from getting completely monotonous.  You start with one robot, and when you travel for a certain distance in a single game you’ll start unlocking more robots to choose from.  You’ll collect money along the way to buy outfits which don’t seem to serve any purpose other than visual stimulation and power ups which actually do benefit you.  The main problem I have with this game is that it’s iPhone native at this point and doesn’t run on my iPod Touch 4.  I can play it on my iPad 2, and it runs smooth enough, but there seem to be some control responsiveness issues which might be because it’s not universal.  Hopefully they’ll get this one working on the iPod Touch 4, or better yet release a universal version so I can play it at native resolution on my iPad.

Railbot Armor Games Inc, Railbot – Free

OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk – The “who would of thunk it?” award for the week goes to this sweet little offering from PikPok.  This is what you get when you combine Fruit Ninja with one of the world’s best mass produced snack foods.  The mechanics are simple – swipe once to twist, swipe again to lick, then drag the resulting masterpiece to the glass of milk for the final dunk.  It sounds simple enough, but wait until you get 5 or six cookies on screen at the same time (they all have to be swiped in the same direction).  The more points you rack up the more coins you earn, and eventually you’ll be able to unlock Oreo flavors beyond the original four that you start the game with.  What’s really neat is that once you unlock a new Oreo you can click on it to learn about how that flavor originated.  The game is universal and supports Facebook for high scores, so there are no achievements for this one.  It’s free, and sadly you’ll have to put up with a bunch of advertisements, but the game is entertaining enough that it’s not too much of a bother.  Ironically, this is a game that I’d probably actually consider paying the 99 cent “remove ads” fee if they offered it.

OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk PikPok, OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk – Free

Asura Cross – Boy does this game take me back to my days spent on the Sega Genesis, getting my tail handed to me in one fighting game after another.  Something about being able to pull of the special moves that I never could master, regardless of the game I was playing.  So what’s changed?  Not much other than the fact that now I have to deal with virtual controls and I still can’t pull off most of the moves.  Despite my inability to play the game well, however, I’m actually quite enjoying it.  It’s kind of a small cast with only eight playable characters, but each has their own fighting style and can be upgraded using AP (Asura Points).  AP can be purchased via IAP, but so far I’ve only managed to earn 3 points through actually playing the game.  There’s a fairly substantial story mode which actually has more dialog than many adventure games I’ve played recently, and there’s also an arcade mode where you select one character and systematically take on the rest of the cast in “best two out of three” matches.  There’s also a VS mode so you can play against another human through either split screen or Bluetooth.  I’m not sure how in depth this might be considered for the hardcore fighting gamers, but for someone like myself that doesn’t play fighting games very often on my iOS device it has just the right amount of options.

Asura Cross™ GAMEVIL, Asura Cross™ – Free

Temple Raid – Here’s an interesting take on the whole slingshot physics puzzle genre.  Forget nasty pigs or menacing robots or any other thematic villains.  In this implementation of the “destroy the tower” theme the enemy is the rest of the real world.  Your goal is to build and protect two main temples as you visit other players and loot their fortresses.  In order to gain new materials and money to build your temples you’ll need to compete against others in many turn based matches.  You can compete against your friends or have Game Center automatically match you up, and you can have up to six matches going at the same time.  The game is universal, and if you have iCloud saving enabled you can use the same saved game on all devices so that you can build up your stronghold more quickly.  The main down side to the game is that you’re pretty much at the mercy of other players getting back to you to complete a match whenever they get around to it, which could make progress rather slow.  Still, the concept is intriguing and it certainly puts a different spin on a concept that’s getting to be decidedly old hat in the iOS world.

Temple Raid Cynthia M. Bandara, Temple Raid – Free

Ninja In Barrel – Do those games where you have to get from point A to point B in some convoluted manner where only certain things stop you from moving once you’ve started tend to drive you nuts?  They usually do for me after the first few levels, but thankfully Ninja In Barrel has put a fresh spin on the whole genre.  If you haven’t guessed already you play a ninja in a barrel, because apparently that somehow helps your mobility or stealth (I don’t really know the reason for the getup).  You’ll traverse 96 levels of monster slaying action, where you’re only recourse for changing course is running into the scenery or a monster right before you slay it.  As the game progresses you’ll get more interesting monsters like ghosts that must be hit twice and blobs that split in two when struck, requiring 3 hits to permanently dispatch.  There are also interesting objects to use such as gates, teleports and totems.  There are 4 level sets comprised of 20 base levels and 4 extreme levels, and there’s already a “coming soon” barrel in the main menu.  The game is fun, it makes the genre feel fresh, and it’s not physics based, so it’s a winner in my book.

Ninja In Barrel 4Play Studio, Ninja In Barrel – $0.99

DuoTasking – At first glance you might think someone was showing you screen shots of a Nintendo game, or possibly something even older.  I actually pegged DuoTasking for a Lode Runner style game before I read the description.  I might not have been completely wrong, as your goal is to move through similarly styled levels collecting items and dodging the bad guys.  Instead of digging holes to trap your foes, however, you have lasers on the side of the screen to eliminate the opposition and destroy certain obstacles that get in your way.  The trick is that you have no direct control over the cannons.  They simply move up and down as you move your character left and right.  You also have to be careful as the cannons can be attacked by the enemy.  I can see where this has the potential to get frustrating quickly on the more complex levels, but at the same time it sounds like a unique concept that will prove challenging to both mind and reflexes.  If you like the retro look with modern game play twists, this just might be the game for you.

DuoTasking DigiCroc Productions, DuoTasking – $0.99

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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