10 New App Store Games In Review [February 11 - 17]

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This week had a lot of titles that were both entertaining and cute, starting with the new puzzler Goats and Gadgets.  Your task in each of the 40 levels is to get one goat to the desired apple, mastering all the different gadgets at your disposal and dealing with things like yetis and trolls.  If platform action is more your style you might want to give Burt Destruction a shot.  Spending just a little bit of time with this game was enough to realize the developers have some familiarity with classic platforming romps, and the sense of humor is actually quite funny.  Now if you want something that’s just downright silly the Bunny Hill is the game for you.  This 2D side view racer takes place between a bunch of cube shaped animals, and while there’s really not a whole lot to it before long you’ll find yourself tilting your device in a vein attempt to make your rabbit go faster.

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Die Hard – I recently read a comment saying that the poster felt there weren’t many games based on movies like there used to be.  I’d say a lot of that has to do with the fact that movie based games tend to not be all that entertaining for the most part.  However, there have been some pretty decent ones on the iOS platform, and hopefully Die Hard will be another to add to the list.  Apparently the game fuses the infinite runner and first person shooter genres which leads me to believe it will end up being a lot like Starship Troopers with cops instead of space marines.  You’ll visit plenty of scenes from the movie as you step into the shoes of Jack McClaine and try to take out all the bad guys.  Unlock new power ups, gadgets, guns and characters, which hopefully includes Mr. “Yippie-ki-yay” himself.  There’s even the Die Hard version of bullet time called Adrenaline that lets you take out multiple bad guys in slow motion.  If there was a movie series that would lend itself well to a high intensity action game it’s the Die Hard franchise, so hopefully this game will do it justice.

DIE HARD Fox Digital Entertainment, Inc., DIE HARD – $0.99

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DDR Dance Wars – There might not be any magic mats to step on here, but if you’re looking for a mobile revolution of a musical sort, you might want to give the latest installment of Dance Dance Revolution a try.  From a mechanics perspective the game plays like many other rhythm based affairs where you have to press the right buttons when arrows appear over a certain spot.  Play in Mission mode to refine your skills as well as unlock music, characters and more.  When you’re ready for the big leagues you can take up to three members of your Dance Crew to challenge rival teams.  Now I haven’t had the chance to delve into this aspect of the game yet, but I gather your Dance Crew is actually comprised of other real players.  Much like many of these social games work now, you can make use of other players (and vice versa) even when they aren’t online.  There are also special Event Battles where it sounds like you can play with other players live to defeat special bosses.  When you’re tired of feeling the beat on your own, Dance Wars could be the relief you’re looking for.

DDR Dance Wars KONAMI, DDR Dance Wars – Free

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Meteroids – Asteroids is one of those games whose simple premise has managed to withstand the test of time, though there’s no question that certain variations and tweaks over time have been appreciated.  One spin-off of the genre that I’ve always enjoyed is the concept of protecting the planet in the middle as all sorts of space debris or enemy aircraft comes hurtling towards you.  Meteroids is a new offering in this off-shoot, and a rather entertaining one at that.  You still have to time your shots just right, but instead of tapping where you want the missiles to go you have to time the rotation of the planet to make sure the missiles get launched appropriately.  Destroy UFOs to collect power ups and recover gems left by demolished meteors to earn extra lives.  There are currently leaderboards so you can compete with your friends for top honors, and hopefully achievements will be added at some point.  The game is free to play, and while you can unlock all the extras via IAP, apparently you can earn everything just by playing if you have enough patience.

Meteroids Pixilabs, Meteroids – Free

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Bunny Hill – Bunny Hill is a silly game.  You have a bunch of cubed shaped animals all racing to see who can collect seven rainbows first.  The only control you have is to tap when you want to jump.  There’s a big vegetable collecting machine that you have to stay ahead of, and the help menu tells you to “eat your vegetables kids”.  Yes, there are vegetables to eat along the way.  I’m not really sure if they do anything for you, but they are there.  The standard mode has 5 levels and there is a survival mode that is either locked or simply doesn’t currently exist, since there’s no indication of what you need to do to unlock it.  The game is designed for the iPhone and while it does run on my iPad, performance and response seems a bit sluggish.  I’m not sure if that’s just my perception or if it doesn’t handle the iPad as gracefully as I’d like.  Still, despite the lack of content and questionable performance, I find the game engaging and actually notice myself tilting the device as I get into the game, much like a bowler waves at his ball hoping it will suddenly go in the direction the bowler is indicating.  I hope this game receives more to do and a true native iPad version, but as it is currently free I’d suggest checking it out anyway.

Bunny hill playtomo, Bunny hill – Free

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RunZ – I think I’m going to track down the person that came up with the first infinite runner and beat them over the head with my iPad.  I don’t think I’ve been this hooked on a particular genre since I discovered the adventure game way too many years ago.  Like many in this genre that I’ve mentioned lately I’m not sure RunZ adds anything new to the genre.  However, of all the games I played over this past weekend, RunZ was the one I kept going back to.  The game takes place in a series of malls, and the cartoon quality of the visuals is quite appealing.  There’s also something about sliding underneath a zombie suspended in the air by a pack of balloons that brings a smile to my face.  I will say that based on some of these crazy layouts, however, I’m really surprised any shoppers went to these malls.  Anyway, you have your typical assortment of power ups like a vacuum to easily collect coins, a propeller driven back of balloons to fly over the obstacles, and a potion to make you big and invulnerable for a short period of time.  In one interesting twist the challenges are offered on a daily basis, so I’m not sure what happens if you run out of challenges for a given day.  This may not break any new ground, but it makes a well worn path entertaining enough.

RunZ Limtree Studio, RunZ – Free

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Burt Destruction – If you remember a time when platform games ruled the shareware and console worlds you’ll definitely appreciate this game.  If not you might want to give it a try anyway.  You take on the role of Burt, who along with Bigfoot and Dr. Dodo must thwart Yeti and the forces of E.V.I.L.  The visuals remind me of the old SNES game Donkey Kong Country, and I was quite impressed with the couple of cut scenes that I’ve seen so far.  The humor is well executed and really adds to the overall character of the game.  Along the way you collect coins that you can use to upgrade power ups, unlock helpers and buy additional costumes.  There are also hidden objects to find, missions to complete and more difficulty settings to unlock, giving you ample reason to keep coming back.  Long before infinite runners even existed platformers were the kings of causal action games, and this should help you see why.

Burt Destruction RunWilder, Burt Destruction – Free

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Cubie Block – This is one of those games that typically drives me nuts.  You need to get blocks of certain colors into their corresponding squares by sliding them around the board.  Of course in the old days when sliding puzzles were a physical product and you got tired of messing with them you just pried the parts out and put them back together the way they needed to be.  Not only can you not do that in the electronic world, but they throw in extra brain teasers like blocks that take up more than one square, blocks that can be rotated an blocks that can only move in certain directions.  I’ve even run across a teleporter in one level so far.  You get 130 levels for free that range in size from 3×3 to 6×6 boards.  For 99 cents you can buy an additional 80 levels that contain boards up to 7×7.  There are more levels and board sizes on the way as well, so have no fear that there will be nothing to do when you’ve mastered the current set of boards.  My main complaint is that there is no in-game music, because the menu music is great.

Cubie Block Coolygon Corporation, Cubie Block – Free

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Chess Invaders – Some people might be interested in chess but just find the typical game a bit too boring.  I find chess fascinating, but I can certainly understand why many folks feel it is a snooze fest.  Chess Invaders is poised to change all that for you.  The playing field is a chess board, and the moves are all classic chess – a knight moves in an L shape and a rook moves in straight lines, for example.  However, this game is all action.  The premise is that aliens are invading and it’s up to you to wipe them out.  It just happens that in your alternate universe everyone moves like they were a chess piece.  You’ll learn the different moves and how to plan ahead to used them efficiently, and all the while you’ll actually be having fun doing it.  The game currently has three worlds with a total of 12 levels, but at a price of free that’s still a decent amount of play time.  Hopefully we’ll see new levels in the future, and a two player option would be awesome.  There are a few quirks in the interface yet, but there’s so much potential to this game and I hope the developer continues to make enhancements to it.

Chess Invaders Tim Tregubov, Chess Invaders – Free

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Goats and Gadgets – This game is a heartwarming tale of what goats will do to get a nice fresh apple.  Okay, it’s really just a set of 40 levels that will challenge your brain and entertain your senses, but the other description sounded more dramatic, right?  Basically all you have to do is flick the sheep around the screen.  They can move one square at a time in any direction, and they can be stacked seemingly infinitely because the newest one on the stack always goes on the bottom.  Everything else the sheep can do depends on them being in the right place at the right time.  That’s where the gadgets come in – at first simple things like switches and levers, but presumably more complex objects as you get into the higher levels.  You’ll also have to contend with yetis and trolls at the vary least, but thankfully the two don’t like each other all that much.  There are also items for your sheep to grab like golden megaphones and even a ham for the yeti to chomp on.  Goats and Gadgets is Game Center enabled with leaderboards and achievements and currently sports 40 levels, though hopefully more will be coming in future updates.

Goats and Gadgets Static Fiction, Goats and Gadgets – $0.99

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Shadow Steps – Shadow Steps looks like many other RPGs.  In the upper left corner is a nice little viewport to the world you’re exploring.  On the right side is a scrolling narrative of what’s going on in your journey.  There are even a few meager stats to give it that dungeon crawler type of atmosphere.  It’s the huge section in the lower half of the screen that makes this game stand out, however.  Using the icons in the central area you’ll continually play rounds of Simon (you know, that game where you have to remember and mimic a sequence of button presses) to progress on your journey.  I’m not 100% sure what happens when you miss a sequence, because you can’t really take your eyes off the icons for fear of missing the next pattern.  That’s the game’s biggest flaw at this point – lack of information.  A help screen or simple tutorial would be nice.  Shadow Steps could definitely use a coat of polish, but everything looks great and the concept is novel enough to make it worth trying in my opinion.  I never really thought something based around the premise of Simon would hold my interest.

Shadow Steps Expleo, Shadow Steps – $0.99

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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