10 New App Store Games To Watch [February 18 - 24]

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This past week was a great one for games, which correlates nicely with the fact that the impending snowstorm where I live will make it feel a lot like Christmas.  One project I found rather interesting was The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters.  This “sequel” to the 30 year old Gamebook was apparently officially sanctioned by the authors of the original tale, which is definitely a selling point.  Unfortunately the game isn’t really ready for prime time yet, but I’ll be eagerly watching its progress.  On the other hand, Alone In The Gloom 2 was a nice surprise and a worthy follow-up to the first installment.  You once again must help a little critter escape a multitude of caverns, but your only “guiding light” is a flicker of lightening at the beginning of the level to show you the cave’s entire layout.  If you’re tired of the infinite runner (and my constant babbling about them), you might appreciate Mr Jabbs: Epic Waste Of Time.  Sure there is running and jumping, but you can also warp into many hilarious situations that sound like entertaining mini-games.

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Sporos – Sometimes all it takes to make a good game is to do the opposite of what everyone else does, and that’s exactly the approach Sporos takes.  It’s kind of like a chain reaction game, but instead of trying to clear the board you’re trying to fill it up.  You’ll get a certain number of pieces per board, each of which has the ability to fill up rows and columns only in certain directions.  Your task is to skillfully place each of the pieces so that not a single tile on the board remains empty.  It starts off pretty easy, but as you get more pieces to use and the board starts taking on creative designs you’ll have to plan ahead to get everything in place and still earn three stars.  There are two level sets with a total of 500 levels between them, so don’t worry about running out of things to do too quickly.  The most refreshing part about Sporos is that the levels aren’t timed, so you can actually relax and feel like you’re trying to reason out each level instead of just throwing pieces out into the playing field until you solve it.  Sporos has a simple look that still stands out and a peaceful soundtrack that emphasizes the laid back nature of the game.

Sporos AppXplore Sdn Bhd, Sporos – $0.99

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MicroVentures – If you like your games old school then you’ll definitely want to give MicroVentures a try.  Visually it reminds me of the original trilogy of Ultima games, and the music makes me want to pull out my SNES.  The game play is a simple matter of wandering a randomly generated area fighting monsters, collecting items and ultimately accomplishing some basic goal that goes with the story told a the beginning of the chapter.  The missions, or at least the reasons for doing them, are often silly, and no mission takes more than a few minutes to complete or fail at.  There are three different characters that you’ll get to play as and during a mission you’ll be able to raise that character’s attack, but the missions are self contained so at the beginning of the next one it will be like your character is brand new again.  If you desire a deep RPG experience you’ll find nothing of the sort here, but if you want to do some quick beast slaying while you’re waiting in line for something MicroVentures should fit the bill nicely.

MicroVentures Micro Ventures, MicroVentures – Free

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Mad Merx: Nemesis – I like Trinity Interactive, but I won’t argue with anyone that says their games tend to feel like knock-offs of whatever is popular at the time.  Such is the case with Mad Merx, which clearly aspires to be the next Respawnables.  Personally I don’t think it’s quite as fun, but it’s actually still not a bad little game.  There are 3 environments to run around in, and 3 different types of game to play: death match, team death match and free for all.  As you play you’ll earn experience and level up, which unlocks more things for you to earn either by playing more or paying for in-game currency via IAP.  There are four types of characters you can choose to play as, but you’ll need to unlock three of those as well.  The graphics are actually some of the best to come out of the Trinity Interactive camp, and while the 3D engine suffers from the same issues that most do, it really looks pretty sharp.  My main frustration with the game is that it keeps telling me my internet connection is slow and my character (or the other players, I’m not sure which) seem to mysteriously jump around the playing field.  That’s one problem I never experienced with Respawnables.

Mad Merx: Nemesis Triniti Interactive, Mad Merx: Nemesis – Free

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Turbolab Pursuit – Nearly a year and a half ago Bulkypix published a puzzle game called Crazy Escape (TMA Review) that was not only challenging but quite silly and fun as well.  Now the developers are back with Turbolab Pursuit, which just happens to fall into my current favorite category of infinite runners.  This time around you become a mad scientist building a prototype vehicle that the local mafia wants.  You’ll jump, spin and shoot your way to freedom as you dodge enemy vehicles and the “big, bad blimp” that’s trying to take you down.  Along the way you’ll collect coins and also earn them by completing achievements.  These coins can be used to enhance your vehicle in the areas of speed, armor and jumping, not to mention simply making it look cooler.  You can also buy consumable items like a heart so you can continue when you die or a magnet to attract more coins to you.  Your weapons of choice are a bird (presumably angry), a sheep and a watermelon, so there’s not only a decent sense of humor but a polite nod to the popular games on the device.  Overall Turbolab Pursuit is another fun diversion for when you don’t want to play a deep, meaningful game.

Turbolab Pursuit Bulkypix, Turbolab Pursuit – Free

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Heal Them All – The way I keep mentioning tower defense games in these roundup articles you’re probably going to start believing that I’m a bigger fan than I usually let on.  The truth is that I’m actually starting to warm up to the genre, and it’s in large part thanks to games like this.  The first thing that captures my attention is the atmosphere: the visuals are vibrant and actually quite stunning, whereas so many of these games feel flat and outdated.  The music and sound effects are also quite well done.  Now I will grant you that mechanics wise it doesn’t deviate much from the norm, but I guess that’s the whole point of being part of a genre.  I do like the fact that you actually get to “apply” the power ups yourself – you’ll see what I mean if you try the game – so it’s not just a matter of planting a few towers and letting it be.  The whole backdrop of an infected organism needing to be healed is cool as well.  I know it’s been done before, but I like this one better than others I’ve tried.  The first few levels are free, so if you’re a TD fan you’ll certainly want to try it out, and even if you aren’t you might consider taking it for a spin.

Heal Them All Shortbreak Studios, Heal Them All – Free

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Color Sheep – This game looks like a blast.  It’s a castle defense style game, except instead of a castle it’s just one lone sheep against hordes of oncoming wolves.  It turns out this isn’t simply some defenseless, mindless lamb, however.  By mixing red, green and blue pigments this wooly bystander can create some pretty impressive attacks to devastate his howling foes.  There are 20 different color combinations to master and an endless number of lupines to demolish.  Facebook integration provides leaderboards and a means for you to brag to your friends and family about your exploits, though hopefully some sort of achievements will be added down the road.  It’s a pretty simple game conceptually, but then so many of the fun ones are.  The graphics look great and the animation seems pretty slick, and the whole color mixing to produce combos is a cool idea.  Just keep in mind that this game might not be for you if you suffer from any sort of color blindness.

Color Sheep Trinket Studios, Color Sheep – $0.99

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Simon’s Quest – You are Simon, and you must reunite with your beloved wife Maria and overthrow the Evil Queen.  The thing is, you’re just a bit on the dead side.  Thankfully a kindly witch has brought you back, and now you must scour the countryside to find your bride and take care of the bad guys.  Along the way you’ll meet some quirky characters, if the talking key in the first scene is any indication.  The visuals are top notch and so far the voice acting has been quite well done.  Each scene requires you to solve puzzles and find a specific list of objects, though it’s not doing it justice to call the game a hidden object game, so I won’t do that.  The world is 3D and you see your character on the screen, so it’s rather like a modern Sierra or LucasArts style game, which is probably why I’ve taken a liking to it.  The game is free to try with $1.99 gaining you entrance to the entire adventure.  I haven’t indulged in the full outing yet, but my one concern is the length of the game – the teaser scene you get to play is rather short, so I’m hoping the full game has a lot more to it.

Simon's Quest M-Group llc., Simon’s Quest – Free

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BloodPact – I’m not really sure what a “cross-action” game is, other than possibly a bad translation, but apparently BloodPact is one.  I also wish there were more information to go by in the iTunes description.  From what I can gather this is basically a modern day Castlevania, which already sits well with me.  The game features 7 exciting levels that will test your platforming skills complete with 7 deadly bosses to make sure you earn your passage to the next level.  There are also apparently 7 different weapons to choose from, though thankfully there are 20 kinds of monsters for you to combat.  BloodPact looks like it uses a pretty standard on screen control system, and the graphics have that “mid-series” Castlevania look.  All told this looks like it could be a decent Castlevania-esque experience, assuming the levels are of adequate size and there’s a bit of a story to tie everything together.

BloodPact Game OnnO, BloodPact – $2.99

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Speed Kills – And apparently so do bitter drivers, because I can’t seem to get ahead in this game!  You are an intergalactic race car driver, travelling from planet to planet to join and conquer some elite championship races.  There are 5 planets to visit with 50 different tracks and 100 races to compete in.  There are 8 different vehicles to unlock race, but you must choose wisely because while a car can be upgraded the type of weapon you get is specific to each vehicle.  Basically, you need to know how you want to decimate your opponents before selecting a ride.  I’m not 100% sold on the controls yet, but the package as a whole makes up for any deficiencies there.  The game sports the classic 16-bit isometric view that gamers from the 90s grew up on, but thanks to the Unreal engine has some nifty texturing and lighting to augment the graphics.  The game is free, so if you’re a fan of this type of racer there’s no reason not to grab it.  All Speed Kills really needs now is some anonymous multi-player action.

Speed Kills HWGCY Entertainment, Speed Kills – Free

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MaganicWorlds – This game is structured like an action / RPG where you have a character to build up through a series of worlds and levels that you conquer.  There is no button mashing and sword slashing here, however.  Instead, combat is one on one and facilitated through the use of cards like a customizable card game.  There are 154 cards altogether that do everything from heal you and replenish your mana to suck away your opponent’s stats and give them to you.  And of course there are the fun cards that just deal damage directly to your enemies.  There are three different game play modes for you to tackle, and with 210 levels there are plenty of hours of card battling to go around.  The developers are also planning on adding new content over time.  The game is easy to get into and has the potential of becoming quite addictive.  Hopefully there’s a two player mode coming at some point, because that would be like icing on the cake.

MaganicWorlds MaganicWorlds.com, MaganicWorlds – 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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