10 New App Store Games To Watch [December 10 - 16]

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Wow.  I was afraid my last roundup was an accident and that there wasn’t going to be much to write about this week.  Instead I think I might have had more options to choose from!  That being the case I’ll mention a couple of games that didn’t make the main list, starting with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.  It’s got a weird name, it’s a rhythm based Final Fantasy, and it could quite possibly have the most IAP of any of their games to date.  One Million Monkeys is more than a word game, it’s actually a story creation game.  It sounds like it takes Mad Libbing to the next level, and it might even get this stubborn game playing loner to engage in a more social multi-player experience.  Monsters, Inc. Run takes one of the best Pixar films and fuses it with one of my favorite genres, the infinite runner.  I don’t know if it adds anything new to the mix or not, but when you combine two of my favorite things I have to give it a shout out.

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You Don’t Know Jack – Electronic trivia games have always been a bit of a mixed bag for me, but You Don’t Know Jack was the one game that always proved entertaining, because it never felt “just like the others”.  The game is presented like a game show with an irreverent off screen host that would just assume make fun of you as keep the game going.  In addition to your standard question with four answers type trivia, YDKJ features such classics as DisOrDat, The Gibberish Question and Jack Attack.  There are also some new question formats made specifically for the iOS version of the game.  There are several achievements to earn, as well as commercial and “sponsors” (all fake, mind you) to unlock.  You get one free game a day, but you can play more by spending in-game coins which you can either earn or buy via IAP.  Note that this is an online game, and while you don’t have to use Facebook to play it would probably make things easier.  But don’t worry – it will find some competitors for you if you don’t have any friends.

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK Jellyvision Games, YOU DON’T KNOW JACK – Free

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TetDraw – If you’re any kind of “serious” gamer, you’ve probably played some variant of Tetris in your life, even if you haven’t played the one that started it all.  I’d say it ranks up there with Angry Birds in terms of most cloned style of game play, and that’s fine with me.  TetDraw takes the concept to the next level, and I can pretty much guarantee you’ve not played anything like it before.  You’re goal is still to clear rows of blocks, but now you can clear columns as well.  You can forget about the falling block groups, though.  In this version of Tetris you’ll actually draw the groups onto the playing board.  If that seems a bit too easy, keep in mind that you can’t actually rotate the groups that you’re given.  There’s also the fact that once you clear a row or column, how the rest of the board shifts depends on what you’ve done.  The whole concept feels fresh and while I’m a fan of the Tetris concept as a whole, I think TetDraw provides a sorely needed evolution to the genre.

TetDraw - Relax Puzzle SMS Services, TetDraw – Relax Puzzle – $0.99

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Wheel Of Fortune – I’m not a huge fan of the show, and there has already been a version of the game released on the App Store.  I bring this one up mainly because it is in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the show, and whether or not I’m into it I certainly acknowledge its place in the history of TV game shows.  The game has a big emphasis on the show’s history with two game play modes that will take you through 30 years of Wheel Of Fortune goodness.  The “Spin Solo” mode even has a storyline, which strikes me as a bit out of place for this type of game, but intriguing none the less.  You can personalize your avatar and acquire additional themes that will even let you dress up as your favorite Universal monster.  There are also Game Center achievements to keep you spinning that wheel for a while.  And, when the computer AI just isn’t challenging enough, compete with friends and family in a hot seat multi-player mode.  Now personally I would have expected them to pull out all the stops on multi-player (you know, the internet), but at least the option is there.

Wheel of Fortune Sony Pictures Television, Wheel of Fortune – $2.99

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Letz: The Story Of Zed HD – Hey, you got your match 3 game in my word game!  No, you got your word game in my match 3 game!  At its heart there is no question that Letz is a match 3 game and it really kind of reminds me of why I first fell in love with Bejeweled.  As you get your momentum going and start making bigger matches and chains you get cool superfluous visual effects and an occasional British sounding voiceover letting you know you’ve done something really neat.  It’s also a game of words, though thankfully it’s done more at my level.  You see, all you have to do is collect the letters, and the game will spell the words for you (unless you opt to turn that feature off).  There is also a key word in each level that once collected lets you hear the next line in the story that’s being told.  Of course the storybook feature is more for the younger set, but it’s still kind of cool.  I’ve had a great time with this title so far, and I find myself spending a lot more time then I need to on any given level even once I’ve met the three objectives of the level.

LETZ: The story of Zed HD About Fun, LETZ: The story of Zed HD – $1.99

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Metal Slug 1 – When I discuss vertical scrolling shooters I’ll often mention 1942 as a reference point.  If you flip the genre on its side and have the player control a gun toting hero, one series that has stood the test of time is the Metal Slug franchise.  Interestingly enough the series actually debuted with part 3 on the iOS platform, but this week saw the release of the first installment to this classic set of games.  I’ve only had the chance to it for a little bit so far, but it’s clear they’ve managed to capture the vibrant graphics, slick animations and above all frantic gameplay that make Metal Slug the awesome series that it is.  Besides the classic arcade mode the iOS version includes a “mission” mode that lets you select any level you’ve already beaten to play again.  There’s also the option to play two player via Bluetooth.  And of course what would an iOS port be without the inclusion of Game Center for achievements.

METAL SLUG 1 SNK PLAYMORE, METAL SLUG 1 – $1.99

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Salvo Saga – After playing just a few levels of this vertical scrolling shooter I was hooked.  The first thing you’ll notice is the unusual backgrounds followed by the incredible music.  The enemies are quite interesting as well, many of which look like micro-biotic organisms.  You only get five lives, and this is a one hit death style game, but in a unique twist you regenerate a life every five minutes.  Like most games you collect currency along the way, in this case “memories”, but instead of picking up power ups as well you get “materials”.  These materials can be used to create more than 120 different parts to upgrade your craft.  I always enjoy shmups that have permanent boosters.  The levels tend to be a bit on the short side, but there are 240 of them in the game, each with an end boss.  I’d imagine it will take some patience and a bit of upgrading to reach the higher levels.  The best part of the whole thing is that the game is free, and the only limitation seems to be that you get just 3 bombs per day.

Salvo Saga COLOPL, Salvo Saga – Free

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Potshot Pirates – At first glance I had a feeling this might be like a 3D version of the game Siege Hero.  After testing a few levels I’d say there was at least some inspiration to be found in that game.  You control a pirate ship, and your goal is to launch your crewmates at villagers on desert islands.  It’s Angry Birds style in that they are on these oddly fashioned structures that you must knock over, but it’s more Siege Hero mechanics in that you actually zoom in and tap a spot to focus your attack on.  There’s also the nifty feature of being able to circle the island to get the best vantage point to launch your attack.  There are more than 100 missions that will take you from the island of Yokka Pukka to such venues as Africa and North America, so if you’ve ever wanted to virtually tour the world in a silly way, here’s your chance.  When your crew aren’t deadly enough you can purchase specialty cannon shots, and when all else fails it’s time to unleash the Kraken.  Get ready to sail the seas and do some awesome physics damage.

Potshot Pirates Chillingo, Potshot Pirates – $0.99

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Mister Frog! – Had I simply seen this one in passing through a “new games” list, I might have just skipped over it, which is exactly why I’ve included it on the list.  I actually had the chance to help beta test this one, and while it didn’t grab me at first I soon found myself wanting to come back to try and snag one achievement after the next.  I’m glad it’s finally in the App Store so I can get my achievements actually recorded in Game Center!  While it may seem like a simple “catch bugs with your tongue” kind of frog game, it’s unique in the fact that you actually draw the tongue’s path with your finger.  There’s an arcade mode where you get a minute (not including any time modifiers you pick up) to eat as many bugs as you can.  Then there’s survival mode where there is no time limit, but every bug that escapes costs you one of your precious three lives.  Since survival mode arrived after my beta testing, the one thing I’m not digging is that achievements alternate between survival mode and arcade mode, so you have to switch back and forth to keep up with them.  Otherwise, this is just as addictive now as when I got to beta test it.

Mister Frog! Coconut Island Games, Mister Frog! – $0.99

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Respawnables – When Zynga first started publishing other developers’ games I was afraid they were going to turn everything into a Ville spinoff.  Granted I’m not sure that RespawnVille would have been much worse of a name, but questionable nomenclature aside this is actually a pretty fun game.  The single player mode is basically a series of achievements that must be earned while trying not to die at the hands of bots, but at least it gives you some pick up and play FPS training that you don’t have to think about.  The multi-player mode is just like I like it – jump in, die, jump out and you never have to talk to anyone.  No offense to anyone, but I’m still not a big fan of multi-player games, so I’m always partial to ones that let me stay pretty much a loner among other people.  There are 15 weapons, 50 customization items and a progressive skill tree that combine to help you mold the experience to your own liking.  The graphics have a cool cartoon look, complete with Rat-a-tat-tats when you fire your weapon.  The game also happens to be free, so there’s no risk to trying this free for all unless you end up getting addicted.

Respawnables Zynga, Respawnables – Free

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An Unexpected Tavern – Forget the Lord of the Rings, Bobo Buttkins is lord of the spices.  In this clever parody of a certain billion dollar fantasy franchise, you must help a poor hobbit feed creatures far and wide in his quest to recover the secret ingredient that makes all his dishes worth enjoying.  Like any good time management game you’ll have to constantly upgrade the facilities to keep the food flowing and the customers happy.  Give them more places to wait and dine, speed up the existing stations, and hire new help to keep things moving along.  You’re certain to recognize comical versions of your favorite characters, and the whole plot and setting is just goofy and fun.  Fans of the genre should get a kick out of this, and if you happen to like The Lord Of The Rings as well that’s a nice bonus.  If you’re just a fan of the lore you might not appreciate this as much, but it’s a free download, so give it a shot.  There are IAP options, but so far I’ve seen no indication that you have to buy anything in order to finish the game.

An Unexpected Tavern Basalt Games, An Unexpected Tavern – 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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