10 New App Store Games To Watch [January 14 - 20]

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Well we’re finally starting to get some winter where I live, and in what can only be described as a coincidence the App Store is starting to feel a bit like Christmas again (the before part, not the few days when it’s closed).  Foursaken Media has released a new game called Heroes and Castles that sounds like a real time castle defense game where you also get to directly control one of the forces that protect your castle.  You can even join a friend to double the havoc you’ll cause.  If you’d prefer something a little more lighthearted you might consider taking Momonga Pinball Adventures for a spin.  This combination action game and pinball simulation has cute characters, cool 3D graphics and actually makes the concept of handheld pinball interesting… at least to me.  And of course the die hard Temple Run fans can breathe deeply now, as the long awaited sequel to this classic is finally out. Temple Run 2 is bigger, flashier, and just as addictive as the original.

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Final Fantasy All The Bravest – You’d think with as much as a lambast Square Enix’s iOS offerings that I’d give up on reporting about them.  The thing is, they continue to intrigue me both in game design and pricing structure.  Conceptually it sounds pretty cool: pick your favorite characters from several installments in the Final Fantasy series and engage in battle after battle, forgetting about any story in between.  Earn XP, level up your characters and gain additional slots to make your party even bigger.  There are more than 30 songs to listen to from various Final Fantasy soundtracks and 35 of your favorite characters to choose from… for a price.  Premium characters cost 99 cents apiece and guarantee you a random character?  If I’m paying money I would think I’d want to choose which character I get.  You can also by scenarios based off of classic Final Fantasy sagas.  As of this writing the base game cost $4 and additional scenarios cost $4 each, so over time this becomes another one of their “more than premium” games.  Obviously this pricing model seems to be working for them, but to me it seems awfully steep for a portable game.  Still, if you don’t mind parting with your cash this sounds like another original gaming experience from the minds at Square Enix.

FINAL FANTASY ALL THE BRAVEST SQUARE ENIX, FINAL FANTASY ALL THE BRAVEST – $3.99

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Heroes and Castles – I really like Foursaken Media (Bug Heroes and NY Zombies).  They don’t have a lot of titles, and half of them are sequels, but the reason for that is they put a lot of love and care in everything they do.  From the video trailers I’ve watched the same appears to be true of Heroes and Castles, which is a 3D castle defense game where you set up your forces and then take control of a single hero to engage in battle first hand.  I like games where you’re part of a team because let’s face it, if you’re not Rambo the “one man army” thing isn’t nearly as cool.  It appears that you build up your castle Might & Magic style and level up your character in an RPG fashion.  There’s also a two player mode so you and a buddy – or some random stranger – can protect your land together.  The visuals look to be some of the developer’s best yet, which says a lot given that their games always look sharp.  And knowing these guys I would expect to see new, awesome features creep up every now and again as well.

Heroes and Castles Foursaken Media, Heroes and Castles – $1.99

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Temple Run 2 – There have been knock offs and spin-offs, but there is only one Temple Run… okay, well now there are two.  This game has all the traits that make it a worthy successor of the game that started a fad and a few extra tricks up its sleeve as well.  The original already looked great, but this one looks even better.  I especially like the waterfalls and the landscape once you get into the mines.  Speaking of which, you get to ride mine carts in this one, which is pretty cool.  You also get to slide down ropes from time to time to break up the monotony of running.  Of course it would be nice to see this one pop up more often than it does.  Otherwise you have the typical objectives, unlocks and everything else that goes along with this style of game.  Despite the fact that it basically feels like a beefed up version of the original, I’ve found myself getting addicted all over again.

Temple Run 2 Imangi Studios, Temple Run 2 – Free

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Infestor – Best known for the League of Evil series, Ravenous Games seems to have a passion for making games with old school looks and a mix of retro and modern game play elements.  Their latest effort is a puzzle platformer that requires you to get to the exit on each level.  In order to do so you’ll have to overcome obstacles that can only be managed by taking over the bodies of characters that have certain abilities.  The game has 60 levels filled with challenging puzzles as well as Game Center achievements to earn.  It’s universal and supports iCloud saves so you can work on the same save game on whichever devices you own that the game supports.  From the looks of the screen shots it shares the same pixel goodness of the League Of Evil games, so get ready for another modern retro masterpiece.

Infestor Ravenous Games Inc., Infestor – $0.99

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Bee Story – If you glance at the screen shots you might think this is a kids’ game.  In fact, after playing the first couple of levels you might suspect that as well.  It won’t take too long before you realize that this is like the old Warner Brothers cartoons or The Flintstones – it has cute characters to appeal to the children but enough substance to keep adults entertained as well.  You start out simply having to tap flowers, but you’re quickly introduced to bad bugs.  Then you get little mini-games like tapping a group of tiles in a particular order, matching pairs of tiles until a whole group is cleared, and rotating tiles to form a picture.  This of course all goes on while you’re still moving around trying to collect flowers and tap the bad guys.  Even the bonus levels are challenging, where only the least number of moves will get you a decent ranking.  Along the way you’ll earn honey to buy and upgrade power ups which will give you a decent advantage when used wisely.  If getting a decent score isn’t enough for you the game supports Game Center for leaderboards and 39 achievements.  Buy the game to play with your kids, and then sneak in a few levels at night after they’ve gone to bed.

Bee Story Nevosoft, Bee Story – Free
Bee Story HD Nevosoft, Bee Story HD – Free

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Undead Soccer – This kind of feels like a third person perspective sequel to Pro Zombie Soccer.  Sure you can’t do some of the wild combo head shots like you could in that game, but instead you get a slew of cool power ups and the chance to use a shotgun for a few rounds, just for old time’s sake.  You also get a trash can lid for a shield.  You’ll swap between 7 different themes, uncovering new zombie types and just trying to survive until your soccer flicking skills ultimately fail you.  There are 10 different ball styles to unlock and several more you can buy with money you earn in the game, as well as several different shield styles to purchase.  I don’t think they do anything, but they can help you customize the look of the game just a bit.  There are objectives to complete and achievements to earn, which are actually different in this game, and several collectibles to find.  You can even unlock extra difficulty levels if the standard one isn’t keeping you busy enough.  If you’re like me and can’t get enough zombie busting, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

Undead Soccer Bulkypix, Undead Soccer – Free

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Momonga Pinball Adventures – Momonga takes the classic pinball game mechanic and throws in a platform game twist – in other words, it makes the genre interesting.  You’ll meet Momo, Panda, Fry and Guaka who are all trying to help defeat the evil owls that have raided Momo’s village.  There are 9 well designed levels with multiple sections to conquer, and each has 5 different challenges which give you plenty of reasons to revisit the various levels.  While being batted around like a pinball you’ll have to use Momo to collect stars, break down barriers and flip switches among other platform style tasks.  There are also some segments where you actually get to fly (after all, Momo is a flying squirrel).  There’s even a story to tie the whole thing together.  The game is universal and integrates with Game Center for leaderboards and achievements.  The developers are already hard at work on new content, and based on what I’ve seen so far I’m looking forward to seeing Momo’s world expand.

Momonga Pinball Adventures Paladin Studios, Momonga Pinball Adventures – $0.99

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Rocket Island – Even after watching a video of this title I wasn’t 100% sure what it was all about.  Of course I didn’t have the sound on, so maybe there was some explanation that I missed.  At any rate I’ve had a chance to play it for a bit now, and it’s actually a pretty cool little game.  The world is falling apart, and you’ve been tasked with helping the inhabitants of an island escape to the moon.  There are casual and arcade modes, though the main difference to me seems to be the amount of time you get to play.  You’ll have to match the number of tiles specified by the counter to upgrade them to the next level.  When you match the appropriate number of rockets they’ll launch and take their passengers to the moon.  In the mean time everything from whirlpools to volcanoes to the occasional meteor will try and wreck your island before you can send the people safely away.  It’s a nice, fast paced puzzle game that you can play in your spare moments and easily get hooked on.

Rocket Island HandyGames, Rocket Island – $0.99

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Jumping Thief – Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to recover the legendary “Angel’s Tear”.  You are a thief, and you are very good at what you do.  In order to retrieve this prize, however, you will have to conquer 4 buildings full of deadly traps.  Along the way you’ll collect gems so you can upgrade your character and unlock new ones, and so you can advance to the upper levels of each building.  The characters have their own special abilities that you’ll need to master in order to make the most use out of them.  If you’re impatient you can buy gems via IAP, but you can replay levels as often as you’d like to collect more gems as well.  The graphics have a nice retro look to them, and game play is simply a matter of a single tap.  Within that basic mechanic, however, I like how the implement different styles of movement.  Sometimes you’ll be running and just have to jump at the right time, while on other levels you might have a power gauge to determine how far you’ll leap from a standing position.  Each level is different and quick so that repeated attempts don’t feel like a bore.

Jumping Thief POLYCUBE, Jumping Thief – Free

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Rise of the Blobs – Welcome to the next revolution of match 3 games.  Rise of the Blobs takes the playing field and throws it on a cylinder so you have to spin your way to finding the best match to make.  You also can’t just tap to get rid of like blobs.  Instead you have to throw a fruit of the corresponding color on a blob, and then tap it to get rid of it and all the blobs adjacent to it of the same color.  Earn coins to upgrade perks and power ups, and complete missions to get awesome rewards.  You can even customize your marshmallow for the ultimate “just for you” experience.  Connect with Facebook or Game Center to compete in weekly leaderboards.  As you play you’ll unlock different game mode to keep the addiction fresh.  If you’ve been looking for a different way to enjoy your match 3 experience, this just might be it.

Rise of the Blobs Robot Invader, Rise of the Blobs – 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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