10 New App Store Games To Watch [November 26 – December 2]

This was a great week for iOS gaming.  Other than the fact that I wouldn’t have time to finish it, I could have easily doubled the number of entries in this week’s roundup.  To start things off we have SEGA’s iOS port of Jet Set Radio.  All the skating, graffiti spraying and cop avoidance is there, along with 29 of the 30 original musical tracks from the Dreamcast version.  The next installment of the Chop Chop franchise is now available with the release of Chop Chop Ninja World.  I’d venture to say this is Gamerizon’s most ambitious title yet, and it seems like it might be one of the most enjoyable as well.  If you just can’t get your fill of zombies but are tired of simply shooting them all the time, Activision’s The Bowling Dead might just be for you.  Pick up a bowling ball (with assorted upgrades when available) mow down an alley full of the undead, and enjoy a humorous tale of post-apocalyptic strikes and spares.

Mercenary Ops – I don’t know if you recall the first time you saw the Half-Life trailers (especially for part 2), but they pretty much blew me away.  I actually felt a bit of that watching the trailer for Mercenary Ops, and for the brief opportunity I’ve had to play the game so far it doesn’t disappoint.  The game looks incredible, even on my poor “old” iPad 2.  It makes great use of the Unreal Engine, but plays like an on-rails shooter for folks like me that still can’t quite handle full 3D movement.  There is a hard mode with “action” controls that I haven’t tried yet, but I suppose that could be more of your freestyle type movement.  The game provides an 8 mission story mode for those that like that sort of thing, but you can also play in unlimited survival mode to test your true endurance capabilities.  The game is universal, and while it lists earlier hardware as compatible, it is recommended that you stick with iPhone 4S+ on the small screen or iPad 2+ for larger tastes.  It’s free to download with IAP for a full game unlock, though it might be possible to unlock the game by earning it as well – the description doesn’t say either way.

Mercenary Ops Mocool Limited, Mercenary Ops – Free

The Walking Dead: Assault – I thought the TellTale adventure series was the “official” Walking Dead game, but apparently this one is.  Or maybe they both are.  Anyway, besides the actual style of game play, this here differs from the TellTale Games effort in that you actually follow the events of the comic book series / television show instead of wandering a parallel but alternate path.  You’ll choose up to four characters from fan favorites like Rick, Glenn and Andrea, and you’ll travel through familiar locations from the hospital to the overrun survivor camp outside of Atlanta.  It appears to be a hybrid action / strategy game where you’ll get to upgrade your characters and cause distractions to try and escape from large groups unscathed.  Game Center provides leaderboards and achievements, and you’ll also be able to unlock device wallpapers and behind-the-scenes trivia as you play.  The visuals have an interesting black and white comic book feel to them which I have a feeling is hard to appreciate from still screen shots.  I’m curious to know if this more closely resembles the comic book or the show… okay, I really want to know if we’ll get to control Daryl or not.

The Walking Dead: Assault The Walking Dead: Assault, The Walking Dead: Assault – $1.99

Jet Set Radio – As a game reviewer and self-proclaimed junkie, there are certain games that almost make me feel dirty when I admit that I haven’t played them.  Where SEGA is concerned, Jet Set Radio is one of those games.  You’ll travel around Tokyo-to, marking your territory with graffiti and trying to avoid the cops.  You’ll also get to perform nifty flips and tricks using your magnetic in-line skates.  Gather more than 10 characters for your gang, each with unique markings to apply to their surroundings.  You’ll be able to create your own graffiti as well as snap pictures with the camera to import into the game and decorate.  The game features a whopping 29 tracks from the 30 that can be found on the Dreamcast version.  Part of me really wishes I could have experienced the original game, but it sounds like SEGA has made this conversion worthy of the critically acclaimed mantle.

Jet Set Radio SEGA, Jet Set Radio – $4.99

PongWorld – Whenever a classic gets “reimagined” I always have to wonder why, and that question was especially prevalent when Atari held their Indie Pong Developer Challenge earlier this year.  It appears that it was in correlation with their 40th anniversary, and the result is this entry in my roundup, PongWorld.  I think there’s potential here, but just like with Breakout: Boost I believe they missed a great opportunity.  The paddles are actually creatures that you can upgrade, which is kind of cool.  There are four levels and three different game play modes, though the survival mode seems too tough for the resulting rewards and battle mode requires two players on the same device.  Some sort of internet enabled two player mode would be awesome.  Unlocking levels, paddles and boosts require coins which you can collect while playing or purchase via IAP.  What I’d love even more would be the ability to purchase a “remove ads” option, because they pop up to frequently to not be annoying.  Oh, and there also seems to be a bug that sporadically reduces the number of coins you’ve earned.  I think PongWorld could be the next generation of Pong if Atari spends some time with it, but right now it feels like it came directly from the winner’s circle of the competition.

Pong®World Atari, Pong®World – Free

Matchblocks – When I first had the chance to review this game I passed on it.  Then the guy that runs TouchMyApps.com asked me if I wanted to check it out and I decided to give it a shot.  I really shouldn’t have passed on this the first time.  You may think you’ve played every falling black / matching color game there is, but unless you know something I don’t you haven’t played a game like Matchblocks.  To clear a group of blocks from the screen you have to tap the corresponding colors on the pad at the bottom of the screen.  It’s an intense fusion of puzzle and action that needs to be seen to really be appreciated.  There are four game play modes, though you must unlock arcade, time and zen by progressing to a certain point in other modes.  The graphics are simple, the music is soothing, and the action gets madding after a while – in a good way, of course.  This game is almost too difficult to describe in one paragraph, but puzzle fans that like a little bit of kick to their games will especially enjoy this one.  There is a free version that lets you try the arcade mode if you’re not quite sure.

Matchblocks One Minute Games, Matchblocks – $0.99

Gunner Runner – I’m sure you’re sick of me writing about infinite runners by now, but until such time as I don’t find one that tickles my fancy you’re doomed to hear about them.  At least this one takes a slightly different approach to the genre.  Sure you’re still running from some opposing force, collecting currency (in this case actual coins) and trying to earn upgrades and unlock new characters.  In this case power ups are acquired during play by freeing old men that have been captured, much like the beloved Metal Slug series.  More importantly, however, is the fact that this time you get to fight back.  The only thing you can do to guide the runner is tilt the device to move left and right.  However, you can shoot at the enemies by tapping on them as well as unleash cool power-ups by tapping the appropriate buttons, assuming you have the power-ups to spare.  Like you would expect there are missions that you need to accomplish in order to “level up”, though sadly many of them have required buying power ups from the store.  Still, the initial download is free and if you’re patient I imagine you can get everything you need without buying coins through IAP.

Gunner Runner Ghostbox, Gunner Runner – Free

The Bowling Dead – I read the title and assumed this was going to be one of the millions of cheap zombie chum with poor graphics and lousy game play that permeate the app store.  Imagine my surprise when I realized this was from Activision.  Even more amazing is that it’s actually kind of fun.  It has a similar sense of humor to Zombie Flick from Full Fat, though the focus here is obviously chucking bowling balls rather than the wide assortment of goodies you get to flick in the other game.  Still, it’s amazing how deadly a bowling ball can be, especially when we’ve been lead to believe all these years that you had to shoot a zombie to get it good and dead.  You’ll also get everything from a manhole cover to a chainsaw to deal with the undead that get up too close.  There are 40 levels in campaign mode that are tied together with short but amusing narrative sequences.  You can also unlock a survival mode that lets the zombies keep on coming until you can’t handle it any more.  The game looks good, the action is simple and satisfying, and it’s yet another chance to take out the undead in style.

The Bowling Dead Activision Publishing, The Bowling Dead – Free

Tesla’s Electric Mist – While it may be true that a good tester is doing a developer a favor, I also consider it a privilege to be able to test games because it gives me a chance to play them ahead of time.  I got the opportunity to help beta test this game, and I was so excited to see it finally come out.  Tesla’s Electric Mist involves time travelling and an experiment gone wrong (two separate events), the crux of many a good science fiction story.  You start off exploring a family home and soon find yourself in Colorado Springs in the late 1800’s.  The game contains more than 150 scenes to explore and dozens of puzzles to solve.  There is plenty of challenge, but you’ll never feel like you’ve really gotten stuck anywhere.  The graphics are among the best I’ve seen in an iOS adventure game, and there’s enough to do that you’ll never get bored.  I do wish that more of these adventure games would up the ante on NPC interaction, because that’s one thing I really enjoyed about the heyday of adventure gaming in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Other than that, this is one top notch product.

Tesla's Electric Mist iCOOLgeeks, Tesla’s Electric Mist – $0.99

Chop Chop Ninja World – The ninja’s back and he’s brought along a friend for twice the fun.  There have been several entries in the Chop Chop series since the debut of Chop Chop Ninja, but this is the first journey back into the ninja’s world since Chop Chop Runner and boy has it grown.  The game takes place over the course of 3 worlds and 30 levels, but in addition to clobbering a wide variety of villains you’ll actually be tasked with literally rebuilding your kingdom time management style (minus the resource gathering, however).  Not only that, but you can help your friends defend their kingdoms, and even challenge your friends across 30 multi-player missions.  One thing I’ve already noticed in this game is the ability to pick up things and toss them Angry Birds style, which I don’t remember existing in the original game.  This is basically the Chop Chop Ninja we knew and loved on steroids, and it promises to be so much more enjoyable.  The developers are already promising new content in free updates, including the hopeful ability to play the game smoothly on an iPod Touch 4.

Note: To celebrate the release of Ninja World, all of Gamerizon’s Chop Chop games on iOS are now FREE (limited time offer).

Chop Chop Ninja World Gamerizon, Chop Chop Ninja World – Free

Math Fu – the reality is that it’s often easier for kids to learn when the education is wrapped in something fun.  That’s why we have cool games like Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego.  Now I’m not suggesting that Math Fu is the same caliber as the previously mentioned educational games, but it is actually a pretty cool little game, especially if you have some younger ones struggling with arithmetic fundamentals.  The visuals have a great pixel art style, and the interface is clean and easy to use.  You can play a comprehensive single player campaign and also go head to head with real competitors.  There are many items to earn to help turn the tide of battle, and everything can be acquired without making any IAP purchases.  In fact, for the time being the game itself is free.

Math Fu Daniel Floyd, Math Fu – 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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