10 New App Store Games To Watch [January 7 - 13]

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It seems that we’re still easing into the new year as far as iOS gaming is concerned, but like last week I managed to dig up some titles that sounded interesting and several that I played that turned out to be quite fun.  A couple of ex-Rovio staff has started to do their own thing with their premiere title Noble Nutlings.  It’s a physics time trial game with a customizable cart and squirrels, so what are you waiting for?  If you need an action / RPG fix Gamevil has treated us to another installment in the popular and long running Zenonia saga, Zenonia 5.  It seems that they keep upping the ante with each new tale in the franchise, and I don’t think long time fans or newcomers will be disappointed.  If you prefer a simpler dungeon crawling affair you might want to give Dungelot a try.  It’s easy to get into, tough to put down and has a nice coat of slick graphics to seal the deal.

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Noble Nutlings – This is the first product from a couple of ex-Rovio employees, and I’d say they’re on their way to doing some cool things for iOS devices.  This is one of those games where you have to boost and tilt your vehicle to victory across a number of physics based levels (36, to be exact).  As you race through the courses you’ll earn coins which will give you the chance to upgrade your cart.  Get a new chassis, new tires (including various fruits) and other nifty upgrades to help you with your ultimate goal, which is to earn three stars on each level.  Coins are earned by running into various things and by collecting acorns, though you can naturally supplement the coffer via IAP.  The game uses Game Center for leaderboards and achievements but also connects to Facebook, which can apparently used to sync save games.  The squirrels are cool, the atmosphere overall is fun, and the controls are pretty solid.  Just wait until you try balancing on a unicycle!

Noble Nutlings Boomlagoon, Noble Nutlings – Free

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Fruit Master 3D – Did you ever wonder what it would be like combining Fruit Ninja with an endless runner?  Me neither to be honest, but here we go and it’s actually kind of fun.  Now the down side is that the fruit gets slashed automatically, whereas I think it would be interesting if you had to do that manually in addition to everything else going on, but that’s just the way it goes.  Good fruit increases your score while bad things take away time or lives, with the ultimate nasty item being the legendary bomb which ends the game immediately.  There is Game Center integration for leaderboads but no achievements.  In addition to having some goals to accomplish it would be nice to see more game play modes and maybe some more variety in the backgrounds.  On the other hand, the game is free and has no IAP, so maybe that’s the tradeoff.  Still, Fruit Master has a lot of potential to be exploited, and I hope the developer expands on it some day.

Fruit Master 3D Changqing Ye, Fruit Master 3D – Free

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Little Amazon – The folks that brought us Kung Fu Rabbit (TMA Review) are back, but they’ve traded the deadly assassin in for a cute little girl.  Make no mistake, though, this girl is far from helpless as she runs, jumps and uses special powers to fend off the creatures that would like to eat her alive.  The immediate selling point of this game is the visuals, which retain the highly detailed, cartoon like quality of Kung Fu Ninja.  There are even some similarities in the villain design, which is great because the bad guys in the other game were pretty cool.  It’s a pretty standard endless runner in the sense that you’ll run until you die, earn some coins, and buy upgrades so that you can run farther than before.  With every so many “meters” that you run you’ll unlock a bit more of the story, and I assume that eventually you’ll find out why you’ve been captured by these weird creatures.  Little Amazon uses Game Center for achievements and leaderboards, it’s universal and it’s free.  You can buy in-game coins via IAP, but it appears that everything in the game can also be earned if you don’t mind working for it.

Little Amazon Bulkypix, Little Amazon – Free

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Steampunk Racing 3D – It’s time to harness the power of steam and blow your enemies away.  This racer has 15 tracks across 5 circuits for you to race on.  There are several different cars to choose from, each customizable and with their own set of dastardly weapons.  They also handle differently, so once you’ve mastered your favorite give another one a try for a new experience.  The game has a campaign mode, but you can also play against 5 other racers locally or over the internet.  The visuals are pretty slick, the music is actually movie soundtrack worthy, and there are some interesting course designs.  I gave the multi-player a spin and let’s just say you’ll need a map to navigate those tunnels.  I think the whole multi-player setup could use a bit of polish, but overall the game handles well.  With the sharp look and the nice variety of weapons I’d say there’s definitely a lot of promise to this game.  Of course it certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s universal and free.

Steampunk Racing 3D Arb Studios LLC, Steampunk Racing 3D – Free

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Dungelot – I think this might become my new favorite casual rogue-like dungeon crawler, at least for a while.  The mechanics are simple: tap a square to reveal its contents.  To fight creatures you tap on them until you or they perish.  Cast spells, gather loot and more, all by tapping.  Each level has a creature that holds a golden key to unlock the door to the next level, but of course you can always uncover all the squares in each level before you proceed (yes, I am a glutton for punishment).  Build up your character, unlock new ones as you gain levels and repeat.  There is no “save and restore”, however, so once you die it’s time to start a new journey.  Unfortunately there’s also currently no save for the simple act of shutting off the game, but that’s coming soon.  The graphics are slick and despite the simple nature of the mechanics the game can be quite engaging.  There was a bit of turmoil over the initial couple of releases which I won’t go over, but if you’re curious just check out the thread on Touch Arcade.  Still, despite the game’s rocky start I think it will be well worth your time if you’re into story-less monster hacking exploits.

Dungelot Red Winter Software, Dungelot – $1.99

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Jelly Duel – The iTunes description on this one isn’t overly informative, but the concept alone intrigues me.  It’s a multi-player real time match 3 game.  Now I’ve played match 3 games before that lent themselves to multi-player even if they didn’t support it, but I’m curious as to how real time the real time is.  Do you each get the same board and see who can get to the matches first, or do you get different boards and your actions just affect the other player?  It also mentions 5 power ups, though it doesn’t go into details about what those power ups are.  You can face off against Facebook friends, and while it doesn’t mention Game Center some of the icons in the screen shots look kind of like Game Center icons.  It would be nice if both venues were supported.  There are 50 ranks / medals you can earn, just in case wiping cyberspace with your opponents’ loss isn’t enough.  Hopefully they’ll release a trial version of this one, though curiosity might get the better of me before that.

Jelly Duel Mega Studio, Jelly Duel – $1.99

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Dead Grind – This game is like an artsy version of Into the Dead.  Instead of simply trying to run as far as you can with the occasional burst of aggression due to a gun and a few bullets, this game is all about the shooting.  You start with a decent rifle and unlimited ammo and can work your way up through five more weapon types if you either have the patience or decide to dump some IAP into the game.  There is a story mode where you must rescue your family and two survival modes where the main difference is that in one you start out infected and the other you don’t.  Unlike many of these games you get more than one encounter with the undead before you’re gone, but once you’ve been attacked the time starts ticking until the infection kicks in and the game is over.  Thankfully head shots and pot shots on crows will give you some health back.  You can also earn or buy dynamite to clear out particularly big crowds.  The music helps create an intense atmosphere, and the action and energy are full throttle from the get go.  I have plenty of zombie games already, but I’m happy to add this one to my list.

Dead Grind Josh Brown, Dead Grind – Free

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Zenonia 5 – Gamevil has quite a collection of games to their credit, but without fail it seems like every few months they are turning out a new chapter in the ZENONIA saga.  I own all of them but have only played the first couple, and from the first non-title screen it’s clear that if nothing else the game has grown up graphically.  There are four classes to choose from, and I chose the mechanic because he gets cool firearms to work with.  It seems to be the typical good versus evil story, and I haven’t gotten far enough to prove otherwise, but there seems to be a lot more cut scenes than what I remember in the past.  The game could also use a better tutorial system, because there appears to be a lot of neat things this game has to offer.  From what I can tell you can mine for elements that I assume will be used to enhance / build things.  You also make friends with a fairy that can apparently generate magical stones for you to augment your weapons with.  There is also a fairly extensive skill tree you can use to customize your character.  There are even some PvP options as well.  If you like action / RPGs and you’re not the sort that needs to be hand-held through the basics, Zenonia 5 seems to have a lot to offer.

ZENONIA® 5 GAMEVIL, ZENONIA 5 – Free

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Chromentum – To be perfectly honest, I’m not 100% sold on this one yet.  However, it’s a puzzle game with 900 levels, so I figured it was worth mentioning on that merit alone.  Oh, and there’s also the fact that the game is free.  It’s filled with cute characters that have annoying messages and just need to get to their proper place on each level.  You can earn up to three stars per level, and for every 12 stars you will unlock a bonus level that takes only one move to complete.  What I do find interesting is that you can control your movements by either tapping or “shooting”, and each uses a different amount of energy and provides varying degrees of accuracy.  You’ll often have to use a combination of both movement styles to earn the desired 3 stars on a given level.  Over the course of the game you’ll be introduced to 17 different Chromates with unique skills, you’ll enjoy several story based levels (which you can skip if you’re not patient) and your ears can relax to 20 minutes of soundtrack.  I might not have hit my stride with this game yet, but there’s certainly a lot to keep the discerning puzzle gamer busy for a while.

Chromentum Alpha72 Games, Chromentum – Free

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Growtopia

Growtopia / The Blockheads – I’m going to call these Minecraft inspired games, simply because I probably don’t know any better (I’ve never played Minecraft).  I’ve spent a bit of time with each of them and they just really aren’t my cup of tea, but if you’re into the whole “destroying a world to gather resources to build a world” sort of game mechanics, I think both of these have something good to offer.  Growtopia seems to be simply about the building.  You can create your own world and just invite your friends or you can jump into someone else’s world, but you’re basically collecting, planting, breeding and harvesting seeds to get the materials you need to create your universe.  With The Blockheads, on the other hand, you’re more in a Sims style setting.  The building aspects are still there, but you need to clothe and feed your people and keep them comfortable.  Different landscapes are climate appropriate, the seasons change and day and night cycles exist.  The Blockheads also supports multi-player, but it sounds like at the moment it’s a duet affair only.  Both offerings are free, so if you’re in the mood to have your own little world on your iOS devices, give one or both of these a try.

Growtopia Robinson Technologies, Growtopia – Free
The Blockheads Majic Jungle Software, The Blockheads – 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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