10 New App Store Games To Watch [April 15 - 21]

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I think this might be one of the kookiest collections of games I’ve compiled in a while.  My biggest addiction this week came from the card game inspired Rocket Patrol.  There’s an online mode so you can take on the human element, but what really got me was trying to beat the computer AI, which I still haven’t been able to accomplish.  If you’re more interested in challenging your dexterity than you’ll really want to tackle Tilt Universe.  It feels like a Wii mini-game, but manages to up the challenge level a few notches.  As an added bonus, I’ve even decided to make the intro image a game.  The picture belongs to a game that was released this week, but I haven’t linked to it or written about it in this roundup.  Can you figure out what the game is?

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Rocket Patrol – I love this game… and I also hate this game.  It’s a casual card game with a space theme that’s easy to get into and extremely cool.  Your goal is to travel 350 light years before your opponent, and you do that by playing various denominations of light year cards when it is your turn.  You have to be wary, though, because your opponent can play red cards that will block your progress until you find the green card that negates it.  Thankfully you can play red cards on them as well, even while you’re waiting to find your magic green card.  The game provides two player support through Game Center, or you can play against the AI opponent who is pretty ruthless.  Of course the real problem here is that it’s real easy to lose the game simply because you can’t dig up that one green card to cancel the red card that’s been played on you, which can get quite frustrating.  This also strikes me as one of those games that could actually use a hot seat mode.  Still, if you don’t mind repeatedly losing to the computer or you have a lot of Game Center friends that will keep up with the game in a timely fashion, Rocket Patrol is a blast to play.

Rocket Patrol GRL Games, Rocket Patrol – Free

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Bookworm Heroes – Bookworm started out as a slick little word game where you would tried to keep spelling things until your playing field burned up.  Bookworm Adventures on the PC added an awesome RPG element to the mix.  Now we have Bookworm Heroes which continues the Adventures trend on iOS devices and adds a multiplayer element to it.  You start a game, pick a hero (or use Lex the Worm who doesn’t cost anything) and choose a pet if you desire.  Then you head to battle where you must spell words to attack your enemy.  Each tile has a point value, so while big words inherently mean more points, a skillfully played small word can be just as damaging.  Combat is turn based and you keep going until someone loses all of their life.  You earn coins for each attack, so even if you don’t win you’ll get something out of the match.  You can play several games at the same time, which you’ll probably want to do since there’s no guarantee that your opponents will get back to you right away.  The only down side to Bookworm Heroes so far is that there is no single player option, but as a multiplayer game it meets all my requirements – it’s fun, I can play it on my own time, and I don’t have to chat with the other players.

Bookworm Heroes PopCap, Bookworm Heroes – Free

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Tilt Universe – This game has an extremely simple concept.  You must tilt the platforms so that the ball rolls into the container at the bottom of the level.  Of course “roll” is a bit of a fantasy, because the ball really does a lot more bouncing than anything.  I’m still trying to conquer the first set of 12 levels and so far I’ve only encountered two types of platforms, the only difference between the two that they turn in opposite directions when you tilt the device.  So far that’s been enough of a difference to make for some interesting and hair pulling levels.  The foreground graphics are pretty basic and the background kind of feels like a 3D interpretation of the original Super Mario Brothers games.  The soundtrack reminds me of elevator music which normally would be fairly soothing except that the elevators in the building where I work are pretty scary.  All you have to do is tilt the device, but if there was one flaw it would be that the game often seems to suffer from sensitivity issues.  I suppose that might be part of the game’s challenge and charm, but it can get frustrating as well.  Still, Tilt Universe manages to have one of those “one more try” draws that makes it worth checking out.

Tilt Universe Brad Howard, Tilt Universe – Free

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Keep Of My Hill – Welcome to the game “King Of The Hill” for your iOS system.  Okay, the plot is actually that the earth is being overrun and you’re just trying to protect your little piece of land, but I’m sure there’s some inspiration from the old kids’ game.  That is, of course, except for all the weaponry you get to protect yourself.  You start out with one wall to guard and a log roller and fire hydrant to guard it with.  As you progress through the game you’ll earn money to develop more sophisticated weaponry, but you can only take so many items with you in a given round.  Thankfully the developers are kind enough to let you know what you’ll be fighting on each level so you can plan accordingly.  Each wall has two slots, and as long as you have enough resources you can change weapons along your walls as often as you want.  While there are certainly similarities to other defense style games, Keep Off My Hill also has a unique feel to it.  You can also try the first season out of three for free, which certainly doesn’t hurt things any.

Keep Off My Hill Isopod Labs, Keep Off My Hill – Free

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Arranger! – Apparently this is a re-release of a game that was originally put out by another publisher, but since I honestly don’t remember it from back then I’m going to pretend like it’s a new game.  Furthermore, while one would think the focus of a blurb about a music based game would be the music, I’m going to mention the graphical nature of the game first.  I know I’ve certainly tossed out the term “pixel art” a bunch of times, but I think this game epitomizes that phrase.  This almost looks like high definition ascii art, and the look is wonderful.  I especially love some of the translucency effects when you walk behind objects, which you’d never expect to see in this type of visual setup.  The game itself is an odd mash-up of adventure game, mini-games and musical boss fights, and I for one think it’s a great and quirky little game.  There are some unique characters to talk to and you’ll have several quests to complete before gaining control of the kingdom (assuming that’s what actually happens in the end).  I also really like how you have to combine three out of a potential 16 different instruments to take down each boss you meet.  Given the kludge of game styles and the interesting visuals this probably won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re looking for something different than the App Store norm you should consider giving it a try.

Arranger! Arman Bohn, Arranger! – $0.99

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CrazyRush Volume 1 – This game feels a bit like a qualifier for a race, except that instead of being timed your performance is based on how many points you get.  You earn points by collecting crystals, and the more you collect in a row the higher your combo gets (which means more points).  You can also collect up to 3 poulpies per course which will earn you some extra cash.  If you collect all three poulpies on each course in a given world you’ll unlock a bonus course in that world as well.  A course is two laps, and you can race each one as many times as you want to try and get better scores, to collect all the poulpies, or simply to earn more money so that you can buy booster upgrades, unlock more worlds or try out new pilots.  The courses are already pretty wild and crazy in the first world, so I can’t wait to see what subsequent lands have to offer.  The graphics are quite colorful, the music is upbeat and the mechanics are simple enough that kids will enjoy the game, but it’s also challenging enough to keep adults entertained.  One thing I would love to see down the road is a multiplayer option, but for now I’ll keep plugging away to unlock all the worlds in solo mode.

CrazyRush Volume 1 Vertical, CrazyRush Volume 1 – Free

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Ugly Animals – The story behind Ugly Animals is a sad, and more than slightly clichéd, plot.  ‘Ugly” guy animals have to win their way into the fair maidens’ hearts through strategically offered gifts.  Once you move past the cheesiness this is a really cool physics game.  Your job is to arrange all the blocks in each level such that you can set the present in the outline that has been drawn for it.  This sounds simple enough, but you’ll soon learn that this is not a one finger – or even one handed – game.  Not only will you have to move blocks but you’ll need to rotate them, which requires a finger and each end of the object that you can twist without trying to do a neat origami trick.  There are also occasions where you might need to move more than one object at the same time.  The game has some nifty physics going on, so plan on objects made out of certain materials reacting like you’d expect them to.  There are 20 levels available with the free download and an extra 80 can be unlocked thanks to a modest IAP option.  Isn’t it time you stood up for all the ugly animals in the world and helped them get their girls?

Ugly Animals cerasus.media, Ugly Animals – Free
Ugly Animals HD cerasus.media, Ugly Animals HD – Free

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Find HQ The Hotel – I suppose this game falls under the genre of “room escape” games, though the scope of it is larger than a single room.  They tend to be like adventure games except with little to no interaction with other characters and plenty of puzzles, many of which tend to be esoteric in nature.  There were actually several “Find HQ” games released this week; I just picked this one because it was the first that I came across.  What I like about these games in general is that while they feel like room escape games the puzzles tend to be easier and more logical to solve.  It may only take you 10 or 15 minutes to finish one of these games, but they are enjoyable from start to finish.  The graphics have an early 80s PC look to them which I like because that’s what I grew up with.  The best part is that all of the “Find HQ” games are free, so even though you’ll go through them quickly in the end you won’t (or at least shouldn’t) feel gypped.

Find HQ The Hotel Hooda Math, Find HQ The Hotel – Free

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The Legend Of Holy Archer – Usually when you’re doing what amounts to target practice in an electronic archery game you’re shooting at bull’s eyes or apples on people’s head or something like that.  In Holy Archer your targets are enraged mythical beasts that look like they’d rip you to shreds if they could get their appendages on you.  Thankfully they’re locked into their location, so all you have to do is worry about getting the arrows from your bow to the creature.  Thankfully you literally have some control over that as you can actually guide the arrow once it’s left your bow.  That still doesn’t mean things will be easy, however, as there may be lots of obstacles between you and the target.  Also, your current bow might not have sufficient strength to launch the arrow as far as you need, which means you’ll have to upgrade your weapon using money you earn from your kills.  If you’re skillful enough you’ll find and strike chests that will give you extra money and possibly even new weapons.  There are also power ups that you can take advantage of if you can hit them.  The graphics look really sharp and you even have the ability to choose a level of detail if your machine can’t handle all the frills.  If you’re tired of the whole “William Tell” approach to archery games, The Legend Of Holy Archer provides a nice change of pace.

The Legend of Holy Archer SummerTimeStudio Co,.Ltd, The Legend of Holy Archer – Free

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Mirror Mixup – Ready for a jigsaw puzzle with a twist?  In Mirror Mixup you have to rearrange the mess on the left side of the screen to form the picture on the right.  Unfortunately it’s not going to be a simple matter of rotating and / or moving pieces around the board to get everything into place.  There are boarders around portions of the picture, but a border does not necessarily designate a single piece.  Instead you have to select portions of the picture by dragging and highlighting a certain area and then decide in which direction you wish to flip that area.  It takes a little getting used to, but ultimately it’s a nice variation on the genre.  There are 125 unique levels spread across three game play modes, with an additional 200 levels to unlock which I’m guessing are more difficult variations of the ones you’ve already solved.  There is also a random mode which I’d imagine plays more heavily on the variation theme.  Some of the levels will challenge you enough to complete them in the maximum allotted moves, but many of them will probably prove mind wracking as you attempt to beat them under the Master move level.  As the stars of the Madagascar animated films might say, “can you flip it, flip it real good?”

Mirror Mixup Clockwork Pixels, Mirror Mixup – $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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