10 New App Store Games To Watch [December 3 – 9]

If this past week was any indication of the season as a whole, iOS gamers are going to have a good Christmas this year.  There were actually quite a few high profile games (or games that became high profile because of the forum chatter surrounding them), so I’m going to try and mention a few other games in their stead.  However, I will acknowledge that this week saw the release of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, another installment in what is possibly the most popular “bad boy” series in interactive entertainment.  If that’s not your style there’s also an enhanced edition of Baldur’s Gate, an extremely popular PC RPG.  The game includes a new adventure and several new characters and weighs in at 80  hours of game play.  Finally, Bulkypix has released Pendulo Studios’ third iOS port called Hollywood Monsters, which like their first iOS release is a port of a classic style point and click adventure game.  It looks to have all the polish of their first effort Yesterday but a much lighter tone.

Into The Dead – There was an infinite runner that came out a while back that reminded me of the scene in every horror movie where someone ends up running through the forest, except the game was missing an adversary.  Into The Dead ups the ante by providing not just one adversary but an unlimited number of them.  If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like running for your life through a sea of the undead, this might be the closest you’ll come unless you have some virtual reality equipment or a pack of undead lying around.  Some slick visuals, an incredibly moody atmosphere, and amazingly enough the lack of a soundtrack, actually make this game work.  The fact that you’re not being chased but rather have to worry about things like being grabbed from an adjacent row in a corn field, add to the game’s charm.  This is a complete departure from Pik Pok’s previous effort “OREO: Twist, Lick, Dunk” and just goes to show that they can handle varied genres quite nicely.

Into the Dead PikPok, Into the Dead – Free

Alien Escape TD – You might not be able to tell while you’re reading it, but it actually takes quite a bit of effort to put this article together every week.  Games like this are what make it worthwhile to me.  The truth is that it really isn’t much of a game at this point: there are only two maps, four or five types of aliens and three different towers.  I think there is a lot of potential in the game, however.  Instead of defending a structure, you’re trying to prevent the aliens from building a spacecraft and flying away.  For them to build the craft they must gather parts that are scattered around the map and take them to a certain location on the map, and obviously you have to stop them with your towers.  The other thing that is unique to my knowledge – where TD games are concerned –  is that if after a creature picks up a part and takes it to the ship, it doesn’t just vanish from the board.  It will actually go back for more until you kill it.  So while the content is largely missing, the concept is kind of intriguing.  Download this game, give it a shot, and if you like where it’s going drop the developer a note to encourage him to flesh this one out.

Alien Escape TD Nyxbull Software, Alien Escape TD – Free

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour – Some would argue that this series is just a cheap knock-off of Call Of Duty, but I say who cares?  I’m lousy at the games but still love them, and from what I’ve seen of the gameplay videos, this looks like the best installment yet.  A brand new engine brings gamers top notch visuals, while movie industry talent provides the voiceovers.  Solo gamers once again get to feel the thrill of taking down the enemy, but they can also flip the coin and see what it’s like to be the main villain in the game.  If you prefer live opponents Gameloft has gone through the trouble of completely revamping the online system.  Over 20,000 gun arrangements will let you tailor the war to your desires, and a new specialization system gives you the chance to show other players just what kind of solider you really are.  I’m by no means an FPS fanatic, but Gameloft hasn’t given me cause yet to doubt the Modern Combat franchise.

Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour Gameloft, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour – $6.99

KnightScape – You might get fooled into thinking this is an endless runner when you start swiping to move, jump and slide.  The third person behind the back perspective doesn’t help the confusion any either.  Of course this is the first Temple Run style game I’ve played where you could climb ladders, jump off cliffs, and scale the sides of walls almost like the Prince Of Persia or Disney’s Aladdin, depending on your mythology preference.  More importantly, though, is the fact that you have to actually fight in this game.  And we’re not talking “One Epic Knight” fighting where you simply brandish a weapon and run into your targets, but actual three button parry, block and counter fighting.  Oh, and did I mention you get to play dodgeball with a dragon (guess who’s doing the dodging?)  You’ll get to upgrade your equipment, buy new threads, and I’m assuming eventually rescue the damsel in distress.  The game is even free to play, though I’m not sure you’ll be beating this one without dishing out for some IAP at some point.

KnightScape Mojaro, KnightScape – Free

Santa Rockstar – When it comes to rhythm games, I don’t really get into the whole Guitar Hero Tap Tap Revenge with Beats style games.  If anything I prefer the more oddball products like Thumpies from Big Blue Bubble.  Santa Rockstar has shown me that given the right music even the more standard rhythmic variants can actually be entertaining.  And really, who can’t get into Christmas music?  A cool animated intro shows how a die hard rock and roller must come to the aid of a fallen Santa Claus.  There are five different stages each with multiple songs, and while I don’t normally care for the more heavy metal type riffs, so far I’ve liked the interpretation of every song I’ve heard.  You start with Santa Rockstar as your avatar and can unlock three additional characters including a beefed up Rudolph.  You’ll also be able to upgrade things like your guitar and amps in order to provide the maximum performance for your fans.  Even if you’ve never been a particularly big fan of this genre of game, Santa Rockstar might just help you get in the mood for Christmas.

Santa Rockstar Clarin Global S.A., Santa Rockstar – $0.99

D.O.T. Defender Of Texel – This is a rather unusual RPG, and there are times when we need that as iOS gamers.  You always have 9 active characters in your party, and along the way you’ll be able to add new ones and transform the ones you currently have through fusion.  So far missions seem to be simply getting from point A to point B, fighting enemies along the way.  You also get the opportunity to fight other groups of defenders, though I can’t tell if you’re fighting them real time or if you’re simply fighting computer controlled versions of another player’s party.  Either way these battles are nifty because they don’t cause permanent damage like true enemy battles do.  You can also request to friend a defender once the battle is over.  If all your characters die before reaching point B due to enemy battles the gig is up.  Combat is interesting because you choose groups of three characters to fight at a time, but then you have no control over the battle until it’s time to choose groups again or someone wins.  The visuals are a very interesting and mostly appealing combination of pixel art and Minecraft style graphics.

D.O.T. Defender of Texel (RPG) Mobage, D.O.T. Defender of Texel (RPG) – Free

Sprinkfield – I’m betting you folks that live on a farm have never really looked at your life as a puzzle, but in Sprinkfield you have to help Farmer Walter water his fields in the most efficient fashion possible.  In puzzle mode you have a certain number of sprinklers to cover each field and you have to use them all.  In Fullfield mode you have an unlimited number of sprinklers but the goal is to maximize your profits, which can be trickier than it seems.  There are 130 levels between the two modes, and if that doesn’t seem like enough for some crazy reason, 16 achievements and a three cloud ranking on each level are sure to keep you busy for a while.  Things start out “simple” with a few rocks to block your progress, but eventually you’ll get scarecrows that need an empty plot, acreage that needs to be watered more than once to reach its full potential, and pigs that do whatever it is that pigs do.  I like this game because I can honestly say that it doesn’t feel like anything else on the App Store, and of course it doesn’t hurt that it’s free.

Sprinkfield Webstar Works, Sprinkfield – Free

Nitro Chimp – The whole side scrolling BMX trick riding genre is another one that I don’t really get into that much, but combining it with a chimpanzee was pure genius.  Okay, that might be too strong of a word, but this game is quite entertaining.  In actuality it almost feels more like an infinite runner on a motorcycle than the stuff I rambled about in the first sentence, though you do get to perform a lot of tricks along the way.  Each time you start a race you get a mission like performing a certain stunt or collecting so much money, and they will accumulate between races if you don’t complete them.  You’ll also gather some money as you ride, and this money can be used to buy anything from clothing to new tricks that you can perform.  There’s also a nasty gorilla that will do whatever it can to stop you in your tracks.  Since I don’t play this type of game very often I really don’t know what Nitro Chimp has to offer that other games of its type don’t, but I do know that so far I like what I see.

Nitro Chimp Chillingo Ltd, Nitro Chimp – $0.99

Minigore 2: Zombies – I think I’ve done a pretty good job of staying away from the games everyone else has been talking about, but I had to mention this little gem.  I remember when dual stick shooters were first gaining momentum on the App Store and the “cool” gamers were either playing Minigore or iDracula.  I loved both, though I have to admit I preferred iDracula just a bit.  Anyway, regardless of my preference back then, only one has a sequel to mention now.  Given that this title was running toe to toe with the likes of Bauldur’s Gate and GTA: Vice City for game of the week on the TouchArcade threads, there must be something special about it.  Maybe it’s the 300 challenges, 60 enemy types or 7 bosses?  How about the 20 playable characters which includes guest appearances from many popular iOS games, or the 10 weapon choices for both melee and ranged combat?  Or perhaps you just like the fact that each character has its own companion and beast game play?  I could go on, but I think you get the point.  If you loved the original you’ve probably already bought this, but if you were luke-warm the first time around, perhaps this installment will push you over the edge.

Minigore 2: Zombies Mountain Sheep, Minigore 2: Zombies – $1.99

Bouncy Golf – I like to throw in a sports game every once in a while just so you don’t think I’m completely biased against the concept, though I must confess that this is really more of a physics game with a sports theme than anything.  Still, I’m willing to admit that I like something golf related, so cut me some slack.  Basically, the groundskeeper of a golf course has kidnapped all the pros because he doesn’t like the way they’re treating his greens, and it’s up to you to defeat him and his critter friends and free all the pros.  In typical physics game fashion you’ll set your angle, adjust your power and then take your swing, hoping that you’ve accounted for things like giant mushrooms that bounce the ball back at you.  Each course has a campaign and quick play mode, and any hole you’ve played in campaign becomes available in quick play.  You’ll collect acorns along the way that can be used to buy special balls and unlock the pros that have been kidnapped.  The main disappointment so far is that it doesn’t seem to save your progress in campaign mode, but with only nine holes per course I guess it shouldn’t take too long to get through a course in one sitting.  This will by no means satisfy hardcore sports gamers, but for casual folks it’s a way to get your sports without really getting a sports game.

Bouncy Golf Five Acorns Ltd, Bouncy Golf – 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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