10 New App Store Games To Watch [January 28 – February 3]


Chillingo’s Pixel People

It’s that time again.  Actually, 2013 is going to be a big year for Tin Man Games, and they’re kicking it off with the release of Fighting Fantasy: House Of Hell, the next in their line of Fighting Fantasy adventures.  This one takes place in a creepy mansion and in addition to all the bells and whistles you’ve come to expect adds the element of fear to keep you on your toes (literally, it’s a new skill that gets tracked).  Racing fans that like something besides the traditional Daytona type fare should check out Table Top Racing.  This over the top racer actually takes the micro machines approach to the genre with 8 tracks, 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade and several multi-player options.  If you’re looking for some lite strategy Monsterra could be just the game for you.  The rules are simple, individual games go quite quickly and you can either play against the computer or another player depending on your preferences.


Candy Shop War – The game partially plays out like a simple platformer / infinite runner.  With the on screen character you’ll run, jump and slide to collect ingredients to make candies.  In the other half of the game you’ll actually need to take the ingredients you’ve collected and throw them in a pot to make the target candies.  Now you can try to juggle this all alone which will require some dead time with your character as you toss ingredients in the pot and vice versa.  To get more enjoyment from the game, though, I highly recommend finding a friend and having them do one activity while you do the other.  In two player mode you’ll get a split screen view with each half facing the opposite end of the device so you can each have your own side to work with.  Earn coins or buy them via IAP to unlock more characters, candy types and so on to flesh out the game.  You’ll even get a sampling of the books that this game is based off of.  As a single player game it’s okay, but I think there could be lots of fun with two player, and it seems like a good game to play with your kids if you have some.

Candy Shop War Deseret Book Company, Candy Shop War – Free


Tito’s Shell – Yeah, Tito’s Shell is another physics puzzle game with a cute main character.  Let’s face it, games like Cut The Rope didn’t become popular simply because the puzzles were good.  Tito’s Shell can certainly hold it’s own as you travel through 45 levels trying to help Tito reunite with the shell he keeps misplacing.  It doesn’t matter if you knock him into the shell or vice versa, as long as the two join forces before anything bad happens to either of them.  Pits, spikes and a whole host of other obstacles will try and keep the two apart, but your sharp wits can bring them back together.  As you progress through the levels they’ll get more challenging to complete, but more importantly they’ll give you a run for your money when trying to get all three stars.  The puzzles are well designed, the atmosphere is lighthearted, and once you get started you’ll have a hard time not wanting to go for that second or third star.

Tito's Shell 99Games Online, Tito’s Shell – $0.99


Table Top Racing – This is another one of those Micro Machine style games where you race on larger than life tracks that look like they were set up in the middle of your house.  There are 8 tracks to race on and 10 different cars to unlock and upgrade.  You can go it alone against computer AI or take on up to three other players in multi-player races either locally or over the internet via Game Center.  Playing single player you can run through 4 championship circuits, engage in 30+ special events, or simply pick a course to run through to practice your skills.  One thing I really like so far is that not every race has the same winning conditions.  One race might require you to eliminate all of your opponents by lapping them one by one, while another has you simply trying to “tag” your opponent to win.  Sometimes you’ll get to use power ups and others you might get one specific power up or no weapons at all.  The only thing that seems a bit odd so far is that you have to upgrade your vehicles in a specific order, which I’m not sure if I like or not.  Overall this game is proving to be a lot of fun so far, and just goes to prove my theory that you can never have enough fun racing games.

Table Top Racing Playrise Edge, Table Top Racing – $2.99


Fighting Fantasy: House Of Hell – I suppose I could paste most of what I wrote about the last game here but that wouldn’t be fair to those that consistently read this article.  You might also be getting sick of entries on Gamebook Adventure titles, but until they stop being worth reporting on you’ll have to live with it.  This time around the collaboration is with Steve Jackson, still one of the pioneers of the genre, and rather than a new adventure commemorating the anniversary of the series it’s actually a modernization of one of the original tales.  The story starts off a bit cliché, with the obligatory storm and the misguided refuge in the strange mansion.  I can pretty much guarantee that the story strays from the norm after that, however.  As with other early adventures in the series you have the basic stats of skill, stamina and luck to guide you through, but in House Of Hell you also get a Fear trait.  If this reaches its maximum level, you will actually die of fear!  The game has all the cool bells and whistles like nifty artwork, a slick soundtrack and a stellar interface.  If you never got to try this adventure in its original format or just want a piece of nostalgia you’ll definitely want to give House Of Hell a try.

Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell Tin Man Games, Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell – $5.99


Puzzle Retreat – When I hear the word “retreat” I think of a peaceful, relaxing experience that is designed to refresh and invigorate.  That’s exactly what Puzzle Retreat does… until the challenge kicks in.  Thankfully the game is designed in such a way that you don’t mind when things get extremely tough.  Puzzle Retreat recalls a time when games weren’t about achievements or three stars, but simply about beating each of the puzzles.  The game also realizes that some of us just don’t do well under pressure so it dispenses with any sort of timer.  So what do you have to do?  Well, taking a nod from Sokoban you basically have to fill all the target spots with blocks.  It just happens that in this case the targets are every single open tile on the board.  On the plus side, blocks will slide on top of each other until the reach an open spot.  On the other hand, blocks will eventually take up multiple spots, and you’ll also get tiles that change a block’s direction, stop a block and more.  If you do get stuck feel free to skip to another puzzle or live chat with other players to discuss a solution.  There are 96 puzzles with the base game and additional puzzle packs available via IAP, with new puzzle packs to be introduced each month.  If you want to wrack your brain without tossing something across the screen, Puzzle Retreat could be the game for you.

Puzzle Retreat The Voxel Agents, Puzzle Retreat – $0.99


Stratego – Official strategy board game – When I was growing up you played Risk if you wanted to take over the world or Stratego if you simply were interested in winning the war.  Now this is labeled as the official version of the board game, but then so was the iPhone one that came out in 2010.  Personally, I think this one looks way cooler.  It includes the classic 40 piece option as well as a quick mode where you can play with only 10 pieces.  Play against the computer to hone your skills and then take your game online to challenge players from around the world.  Save the initial setup of your pieces so if it seems to work you can use it again.  Select different artwork for your pieces, change the colors of your battle crest or move to a new battlefield to keep the atmosphere fresh.  This game should appeal to those who fondly remember the old board game as well as folks that just want a solid strategy game that’s challenging but not overly complex.

STRATEGO - Official strategy board game Keesing Games, STRATEGO – Official strategy board game – $6.99


Suspect: The Run! – This is an infinite driver that takes you on the flip side of the game Suspect In Sight from the same developer.  Instead of trying to apprehend the crooks you are the bad guy, and your primary goal is to not get caught.  Of course along the way you’ll want to cause as much damage as possible by using nitro to blast through barricades and oncoming cars.  Collect coins so you can upgrade your vehicle and buy power ups.  Complete objectives to earn even more coins.  If this all sounds familiar its probably because you know the routine by heart if you’re an infinite anything fan when it comes to gaming.  I don’t know that this really has anything new to offer the genre, but it’s entertaining and it looks good.  More importantly, though, is that it has whet my appetite for Suspect In Sight, which I have neglected for way too long.  Download this game, have fun for a while being on the wrong side of the law, then go support the developers by checking out Suspect In Sight (or buy some IAP in this game, though I suspect you’ll have more fun the other way).

Suspect: The Run! Jujubee, Suspect: The Run! – Free


Monsterra – Monsterra is one of those cool games that doesn’t look like much on initial inspection but actually turns out to be quite a nice little gem.  Its one of those “get the most territory” type of games, but has a unique approach towards getting it.  The board is made up of tiles of different colors, and when its your turn you’ll get to choose one of those colors and take over all the land adjacent to yours that is of that color.  Once you get to where you’re touching enemy property you’ll engage in battle which consists of chucking three soldiers onto a playing field like you were playing marbles.  When you have sufficiently trounced your opponent in terms of the amount of land owned you’ll wage the final battle where you pick three spots to attack your opponent on in the hopes that they don’t block all the shots.  You can play against the computer or with a human opponent via WiFi, Bluetooth or Hotseat.  It’s pretty basic strategy but it’s entertaining, the visuals are great and something that even younger kids could handle.

Monsterra K. Kravchenko, Monsterra – Free


Tower Of Saviors – This style of game play has become quite a popular variant of the match 3 / RPG hybrid, but it’s still fun every time I play one.  In this case you’re trying to scale a tower to defeat the “ultimate enemy” at the top.  You can have up to five team members at once as well as a character to act as an ally for other players.  You activate your team members by matching runestones that correspond to the elemental color of your teammates.  As you win battles you’ll earn coins but more importantly you’ll get spell cards that give you new creatures to work with.  You can either replace team members or use the new cards to enhance the traits of currently existing team members.  You can also evolve your team members once they’ve hit the maximum level at their current stage.  Make friends with other players and use their characters to help you fight your battles, benefiting both players in the process.  As with some other games on this list Tower Of Saviors doesn’t necessarily revolutionize the genre, but it’s an extremely solid entry that looks good and is easy to get hooked on.

Tower of Saviors Mad Head, Tower of Saviors – Free


Pixel People – At first glance this might seem like every other money grabbing town sim that’s been made since FarmVille became popular.  There’s no question that the format is similar: build a structure, get someone to work in it and make some money.  If you don’t want to wait for your buildings to get erected you can spend “utopium” to speed up the process, but you only have a limited supply of that.  What I find intriguing about this game is the clone system.  When a new clone arrives at your town they are a blank slate. Using the gene splicer you’ll pick two jobs from what will eventually become a wide array of choices and meld them together to create a new job.  There are 150 jobs to discover all together, so get to work!  Over time you’ll get rewarded with things like coins, utopium, and even new types of buildings that you can make.  There are even more than 80 types of animals to discover so you can have lots of wildlife roaming your creation.  The best part is this is all rendered in awesome pixel art, which actually makes it worth exploring.  The game is universal, free and iCloud enabled, so build to your heart’s content, and when you get restless it might just be worth dumping a bit of IAP into it to speed things up a little.

Pixel People Chillingo, Pixel People – 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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