10 New App Store Games To Watch [April 1 - 7]

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I bet you know where this intro is going, but just in case you’re a bit skeptical, this was another week full of new iOS game releases.  The folks over at Warner Brothers actually managed to release a decent brawler focused on an alternate D.C. universe where no one knows who the good and bad guys are.  In Injustice: Gods Among Us you’ll take control of anyone from Superman to Harley Quinn as you duke it out in teams of three to see who reigns supreme when there are no rules.  If you like shooting gallery style games then the clear choice for you this week is Overkill 2.  This sequel ups the ante in many ways, but most importantly it offers more than 30 weapons with lots of customization options.  Adventure game fans might want to dig in to Paradigm Shift, as long as you don’t mind the whole “zombie apocalypse” theme.  In addition to actually having consequences for your actions, the game offers multiple endings for those so inclined to seek them out.

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Slayin – FDG Entertainment’s latest game is build as the world’s “first endless action RPG”.  I think that’s a bit of a stretch, especially since I’ve played games that feel a lot like this one before, but it’s still actually pretty entertaining.  Just keep in mind that you probably won’t enjoy yourself if you don’t appreciate a bit of grinding in your games… or in this case a lot of grinding.  You start out with the faithful knight and with a lot of patience – or the willingness to use IAP – you can unlock a wizard and a knave to use for your main character.  Each has a slightly different set of stats and some of the quests vary between characters, but otherwise it’s mainly what you feel most comfortable using.  The basic mechanics of the game are pressing left and right buttons to move back and forth and a big old button to jump.  Attacking is automatic if your blade is between you and the enemy, otherwise you’ll most likely take some damage.  There are up to three quests to work on at a time, or you can just focus and getting as far in the game as you can.  Besides the standard mode there is an advanced mode and Boss Rush mode, both of which can be unlocked for lots of Fame Points (another “currency” you can either earn or buy).  This is certainly not meant for someone looking for an in depth RPG experience, but casual gamers might get a kick out of it.

Slayin FDG Entertainment, Slayin – $0.99

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Overkill 2 – Overkill was easily my favorite game from Craneballs, and the sequel promises to be even better.  This is a first person shooting gallery style game, but you might as well just walk away now if you think your targets aren’t going to fight back.  In fact, once the enemies are in position the bullets are flying and you have little time to take them out before they do some serious damage to you.  Thankfully you have a decent sized arsenal at your disposal.  In addition to armor and one off items like grenades you have more than 30 weapons at your disposal.  Each gun has multiple points of customization meaning that you can have potentially thousands of different combinations of weapons at your disposal.  Of course you’ll need some revenue for all this, which for the most part is as easy as killing the bad guys and completing missions.  Some upgrades will require overkill medals which can either be earned through special circumstances or bought via IAP.  The game has leaderboards, its own server for backing up your game and supporting cross device playing, and the ability to add Overkill friends to give you in game bonuses.  There’s also a PvP mode coming in the next update.

Overkill 2 Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill 2 – Free

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Joompers – I think I grew out of playing the memory game Simon when I was 10 or 12 or thereabouts.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that Joompers was actually a modern twist on that theme, and that more importantly I actually liked it!  There are a few key differences from the classic which is what I think makes Joompers more appealing than its inspiration.  For starters, you don’t get any sort of sequence to follow.  Instead, you have to discover it all on your own.  Thankfully the sequence doesn’t regenerate when you make a mistake, but you do have to retrace your steps to where you goofed in order to move on.  You also only have a minute in order to build up the maximum amount of numbers in a sequence that you can.  That’s not such a big deal except that you’ll be playing against an opponent, whether it’s computer AI or a real person.  As you hit certain milestones (4 numbers in sequence, 6 numbers in sequence etc.) you’ll start to earn attacks and evades, which you can use to disrupt your opponent or block them when they try to throw you off.  This is definitely an interesting take on the concept of Simon and is an entertaining way to build up your memory.

Joompers Glauber Torres, Joompers – Free

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Paradigm Shift – If I haven’t mentioned it in the last roundup or two, I love adventure games.  Conceptually this is one of those games that just sounds right.  That is, of course, assuming you’re into the whole zombie apocalypse sort of thing, which I am.  Among other things you have to find your girlfriend, but I’ll forgive that yawn-able cliché.  I like the fact that your actions have consequences, which is something you don’t tend to see very often in adventure games any more.  Sure the right actions produce the expected result, but who remembers the good old days when you actually used to die in adventure games?  The game has multiple endings, which means there’s a better chance of there being one that isn’t weak compared to the rest of the game.  Having zombies roaming the city adds a nice sense of tension that you don’t find in many adventure games, even ones that are supposedly horror themed.  You’ll even get to fight some of the undead, which hopefully will add to the overall package and not feel like a pointless add-on.  There’s a lot of potential here, so the real question becomes if the game actually plays as good as it sounds in the iTunes description.

Paradigm Shift Ben Aprigliano, Paradigm Shift – $0.99

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Pyracubes – Pyracubes is a matching game of sorts, but you can toss any pre-conceived notions of match 3 out the window.  In this game you have to match all the blocks of each color together, and unlike most other matching games nothing ever disappears.  To make things more challenging, once two blocks of a given color touch they are joined together and move as one unit.  If all that wasn’t enough each level has a target number of moves, and you lose one star for each move you make that exceeds the target.  Pyracubes is a game that really encourages planning ahead – except that the whole timer issue makes even that rather interesting.  On the plus side you’ll often get helper icons to make things go a bit smoother, like bombs that can blow up walls or paint brushes that let you change the color of a block.  Better yet, you can play the levels in any order you want, and each level has an infinite number of undos.  If you really get stuck you can even have the game show you the solution.  You get 50 levels free with the download – 10 tutorial levels and 1 level pack – and you can currently buy two more via IAP.  Pyracubes is a nice change of pace from the majority of the puzzle offerings on the App Store, and it actually manages to be somewhat relaxing despite the timer.

Pyracubes Clockwork Pixels, Pyracubes – Free

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Injustice: Gods Among Us – There’s no question that comic book based video games have an iffy reputation at best, but I think Marvel has a slightly better track record, especially when it comes to fighting games.  It looks like Injustice might just balance things out towards the D.C. side a little.  In the game you’ll get to take a group of up to three fighters that you pick out of a continually growing collection of cards that represent your entire roster.  Characters include such mainstays as Batman, Superman and the Green Lantern, as well as fan favorites like Nightwing and apparently the Green Arrow.  On the darker side you’ll have such powerhouses as Lex Luthor and Solomon Grundy, as well as the “finer” specimens such as Harley Quinn.  Whomever you choose, you’ll have basic fight moves as well as special attacks that you control with such actions as rapid tapping or hitting the screen when a meter is in just the right spot.  As you win your characters will level up, and I believe you’ll also be able to collect item cards that help enhance certain players.  The mechanics are simple enough to work well on the touch screen yet still provide a decent amount of depth so you don’t feel like you’re just mashing buttons.  There are even unlockables that can migrate between the iOS and console versions of the game.  This might just be one of the best clashes of the D.C. juggernauts yet.

Injustice: Gods Among Us Warner Bros., Injustice: Gods Among Us – Free

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Mazement – This is one of those labyrinth games.  You know, the ones where you tilt the device to move your ball through a tricky maze?  It’s one of those types of games that actually makes sense for this platform.  Still, even too much of a good thing can start to feel repetitive after a while.  Fortunately Mazement throws a few things into the mix to keep this from feeling just like any other maze game.  First off, Mazement puts a story behind the proceedings.  You have a kingdom to rescue and friends to save, and you also have enemies to contend with.  If things don’t seem to be going your way, use a big jump power up to reach new heights or turn into a fireball to blast through some walls.  Each level has a five star rating that you can earn, and believe me when I say that they just don’t hand these stars out like they were nothing.  In addition to the stars each level has a certain number of friends to rescue and coins to find, so you’ll need to keep your wits about you and you might have to explore some levels more than once.  Even the level selection screen is a mini-maze.  Mazement is a solid offering that makes labyrinth style games enjoyable once again.

Mazement Wronghut, Mazement – $1.99

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Thumbs Up Toyzilla – This is a spin-off of the original Toyzilla game that takes place in the same universe but offers completely different game play.  And for me, unlike the original I actually find this one quite addictive.  The mechanics are very simple: tap on a button that corresponds to the block at the bottom of the tower.  The sword takes care of a solider, the hammer gets rid of a block, and of course the royalty always deserves a crown.  There are six game play modes, though only the first is unlocked from the beginning.  The others must be earned through scoring a certain number of points on the previous mode, unlocked via IAP or opened by downloading a free application.  Basic mode works exactly as described above, whereas stumper mode is the same but each tower is only two blocks high aside from the royalty.  In “The Invisibles” you don’t know what each block is going to be until it’s at the bottom of the tower, and “color fools” really switches things up by changing the buttons to colors and making you match the text with the text on the towers (yeah, you have to ignore the actual colors of the blocks).  There’s a leaderboard for each game and you can challenge other players to beat your score, but that’s about all the game offers.  It’s just a nice diversion for when you want to challenge your brain to a simple recognition game.

Thumbs Up Toyzilla OrionArts, Thumbs Up Toyzilla – Free

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Pixel Kingdom – Pixel Kingdom is a “Plants vs. Zombies” style game, for lack of a better description.  I don’t normally get into this style of game much, but Pixel Kingdom has my attention for some reason.  Maybe it’s the graphics that look good even though they seem like they are from the early 80’s.  I suppose it could be the narrator that when voiced sounds like the teacher from the old Peanuts cartoons.  Apparently the game has an infinite number of levels which are split across Classic, Underworld and Arena modes.  You start with a simple warrior unit, but along the way you’ll earn a few extra unit types and be able to unlock others with the money you earn from fighting.  There are 19 different units altogether, but you can only take 8 into battle at a time.  Each unit has their strengths and weaknesses, and once a unit has been unlocked you can upgrade it using gems, though I haven’t figured out how you earn those yet.  You’ll eventually have items and gear that you can buy as well, and once you get the appropriate codes you can unlock spells to unleash on your foes.  Combine all that with a bunch of achievements to earn and Pixel Kingdom does a good job of keeping you entertained in a genre that feels just about as much “been there, done that” as the tower defense genre.

Pixel Kingdom SmashGames, Pixel Kingdom – Free

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The Other Brothers – While the recently released Duke Nukem 2 is an attempt to bring vintage platform gaming to the modern masses, The Other Brothers is meant to pay homage to those classics with an entirely new gaming experience.  The visuals are hand painted pixel art goodness, with an engine designed to emulate Mode 7 visuals (congrats if you know what that means!)  Explore several large, multi-path levels that encourage exploration while keeping you in check with the ever ticking timer.  Engage all sorts of charming AI from the mob to local law enforcement, including zany boss fights.  While trying to give the feel of old fashioned console controls, the input has been tailored to take advantage of the touch screen world.  They also use a life system somewhat like the rings from Sonic, except the brothers like to collect birds, which have this nasty habit of flying away when you get hit to provide an extra challenge.  Rounding out the package are an original soundtrack, a three star rating system and some nifty unlockables.  A recently submitted update adds iCade support as well if you’re lucky enough to have one of those add-ons.

The Other Brothers 3D ATTACK, The Other Brothers – $1.99

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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