10 New App Store Games To Watch [May 13 - 19]
This was another week where there were a lot more options than I had slots available to talk about. I didn’t want to upset the delicate balance of the list by including two infinite runners, but another one that caught my attention was Blade Journey. Combat, some interesting terrain design and a health and mana system make this much more than a simple Temple Run clone. On the surface Evilot looks much like a Plants vs. Zombies spin-off. Be careful, though, because some Triple Town style mechanics could mean you suddenly don’t have defenses where you thought you did, providing for an interesting layer of strategy. Turbo Racing League is a joint effort between PikPok and Dreamworks Interactive to promote the new animated film Turbo. More importantly, playing between now and the middle of June will give you a chance to enter a contest with a million dollars worth of prizes!
Air Dodger – Air Dodger takes spaceship dodging games to the next level. These guys don’t just try to run into you; they’re more than happy to shoot you dead as well. Unfortunately you decided to take the unarmed ship out for a ride, but some careful navigation will have you destroying the enemy with their own bullets in no time. Earn money to raise basic skills on your craft as well as purchase some 25 different artifacts to help you in your quest. The first item you get is a nifty little device that lets you randomly control one enemy ship which in turn will start to fire on the other enemies until it is destroyed. In addition to fighting off wave after wave of computer controlled villains you can take to the social scene to be a bit unfriendly. When you need some extra loot you can raid other player’s starbases to bolster your own treasure trove. Make sure you build up your base, though, or you might become the victim of your own karma. This iPad only offering adds some nice twists to an already entertaining genre.
Oleg Kapitonov, Air Dodger – Free
Pixel Rush – This is another infinite runner, just in case the name didn’t give it away. The reason I bring up this particular entry in the genre is because I believe this is the infinite runner game for folks that feel the genre has become too easy and complacent. Just like most other runners there are a bunch of one time boosts you can buy. However, aside from some dress-up type stuff and different characters, there don’t look to be any permanent upgrades that actually improve the game play for you. Additionally, you don’t automatically earn money once you run into it. In order to keep the coins you have to NOT collect coins for 5 seconds. Then everything you’ve earned since the last time you cashed in your pot gets added to your permanent total for that run. It actually adds some strategy to collecting that probably won’t appeal to ultra casual gamers. Besides the normal hazards that will take you down there are slimes that latch on and slow you down as well as oil containers that temporarily cloud your screen so you can’t see all the other hazards. Add to that the great pixel graphics and retro music and this is a nice change of pace in an overly crowded genre that unfortunately will probably leave some gamers frustrated.
Pixel Heart, Pixel Rush – Free
Karateka Classic – A few months ago a company simply known as Karateka LLC released a remake of the famous karate game that was a precursor to the even more famous Prince Of Persia. Now they’ve decided to give us a lot more nostalgia in the form of Karateka Classic, which does its best to emulate the original right down to “loading times” with a noise that sounds a lot like the old Apple II drives. The visuals are spot on, with an option to select green, amber or “full color” to match whatever version of the computer you grew up with. The game play is there as well, with high, middle and low kicks and punches. I really like how you share a health bar, so the only way for you to get more health beyond your initial allotment is to take your opponent down a few pegs and keep them there. What I don’t like is that while you can resume from your last successful battle during a given play session, when you shut the game off and come back you have to start all over again. There are certain things about the old days that I don’t miss. Thankfully I think they toned down the difficulty level a bit, so when I have enough time to play through I might actually be able to beat it. Just remember: never greet your opponent while not in a fighting stance.
Karateka LLC, Karateka Classic – $0.99
Rabid Rascals – Rabid Rascals is a very different type of racing game. You don’t focus on your car, and in fact you never actually see your vehicle on the track. Instead, your job is to use your trusty slingshot to knock your opponent from their ride in order to win the race (because who wins honestly any more?) Thankfully whether you win or lose you’ll earn some experience and money, though I imagine you’d win more if you actually won, which is a situation I’m not privy to yet. As you earn money you’ll be able to upgrade your equipment level to receive different types of slingshots, helmets and armor. You can also buy different carts, fancy limited supply ammo and medical kits. Your character levels up through the experience you earn after each race, except I’m not really sure what that does for you. Overall this is a rather interesting take on the racing genre. There are a couple of things I’m not thrilled about, though. I don’t particularly care for the controls, as they seem finicky. Also, this is mutli-player only, so if you can’t find someone out there that wants to race you’re out of luck at any given moment.
Ender’s Fund Inc., Rabid Rascals – Free
Shattergun – This is a pretty basic FPS game. You are a secret agent tasked with retrieving a special gun, rescuing some scientists and then decimating the ship that you’ve infiltrated. There are 4 main missions altogether, and while the iTunes description says you can complete them in any order it’s probably best to follow as the game directs you. I don’t imagine there’s much replay value to the game once you’ve completed the objectives, since I don’t believe there’s any free play mode. So why bring this particular game up? Well, despite its short length and simple nature, I think it would be wise to keep your eyes on the guys that developed this one, assuming of course they actually stay together to make more games. Plus, I think it’s a nice showcase of what folks at the Vancouver Film School are turning out. I particularly like the cell shaded visuals and the ability to shatter walls once you have the shattergun itself. If you’re expecting something along the lines of Dead Space or a Gameloft game you’ll most likely be disappointed, but for a quick FPS experience with an unbeatable price tag, Shattergun is worth a few minutes of download time.
Vancouver Film School, Shattergun – Free
Nikko RC Racer – Lately there seems to have been several slot car style racers released on the App Store, but I’m more of an RC guy myself. Apparently it’s Nikko’s 55th anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than to give me a free racing app! There are 10 cars to choose from and 9 tracks to race on. You only get two cars to begin with, and the others can be unlocked via IAP or with codes that can be found in real life RC car packages. The cars have different stats, and you can definitely tell the difference in handling between the various vehicles, so I’d suggest testing them all out to determine which one best suits your playing style before challenging players online. Even though Game Center is used for leaderboards you still need Facebook to challenge other players, which is fine except for the fact that they don’t include a random player option. It would also be nice if there were some computer AI to race against if you weren’t able to get online for some reason. But, I do like the fact that you can basically race the track backwards and that some of the cars do a real good job of racing and flipping over things they probably shouldn’t, so I’ll keep myself busy until one of my friends accepts my challenges.
Paladin Studios, Nikko RC Racer – Free
Western Story – This is one of those games where you have to help build up some sort of community, in this case an Old West town. You’ll do this by completing quests to earn money, experience and resources. It’s also one of those games where every action requires energy, and if you’re not careful you won’t be able to play at some point until you let your energy pool recharge. Of course you can buy energy via IAP if you’re too impatient to wait for it to recharge naturally. Normally I don’t get into this style of game, but there’s something about Western Story that just tickles my fancy. I do like the fact that you accomplish most tasks by pulling out your revolvers and asking questions later. Then there’s the way the graphics fade to monochrome and look like old film when you play a card game. Or the fact that there’s a guy that looks like Mad Magazine’s rendition of Clint Eastwood. Maybe it’s simply the overall theme of the game. Whatever the case I found myself pretty entertained after loading this one up, so for now I’ll give it the thumbs up for my readers.
Play Today, Western Story – Free
Frozen Synapse – I’ve not experienced this game on any platform yet, but when I looked at the screens shots it really didn’t seem like “all that” to me. One of my most respected sources for info on games I haven’t played is AppSmile.com, however, and they paint a decidedly pleasant picture of this game. It’s a simultaneous turn based strategy game, which sounds odd but presents some rather intriguing possibilities. Basically you plan out your moves and test them based on the current state of the playing field, but every players’ turn gets executed at the same time, which means what you thought would happen and what does could end up being two entirely different things. The game features a 55 mission single player campaign, which means even if the missions are fairly short there’s still a lot of game play to be had. When you’ve completed that you can try out one of the 5 different multi-player modes which can be played either hot-seat or over the internet. If you get tired of real people trouncing you go back to the solo game because there’s enough randomly generated content that a second play through will feel like a fresh game. Best of all, the game is compatible with the PC version not only in terms of multi-player but for the solo campaign saves as well. If you’re one of those players that haven’t succumbed to the “iPads aren’t for deep strategy games” mentality yet, Frozen Synapse is definitely for you.
Mode 7, Frozen Synapse – $6.99
Crazy Cat Lady! – I’m not a big fan of cats, so consequently I’m not that thrilled about cat based games. However, I’m really digging this one, as long as I hold back the urge to crush an unsuspecting feline under a precariously timed anvil. You play the titular crazy lady, and your job is to get all your cats back into their carriers. It seems that the path to your kitty carriers has become littered with objects, however, and it’s up to you to skillfully clear the way so your pets can rest comfortably once again. So far the only elements I’ve run into are crates and anvils, but that’s already been enough to provide for some challenging levels. Some crates have to be broken, while others can only be moved and will disappear when matched with others of the same color. The anvils are triggered by buttons that can only be activated by the cats, and they are just as content squishing organic matter as inanimate objects. You’ll eventually run into spike laden pits, nasty dogs, teleportation mirrors and other obstacles as well. The visuals are great, the music is wonderful, and three different game play modes will give you plenty to keep you busy.
Smallrock Software, Inc., Crazy Cat Lady! – Free
Catch A Ninja – So you’ve mastered all of those ninja and samurai games where you slice up everything under the sun, right? How about turning the tables and actually taking on the ninja for once? That’s exactly what Catch A Ninja lets you do, though you unfortunately don’t get to chuck any fruit at them. You can either slice the ninja Fruit Ninja style or smash the like a whack-a-mole game, but slashing can lead to combos and higher points. There are bombs to dodge here as well (must be a ninja thing), but these will only take away a life in classic mode or some time in survival mode, rather than ending the game prematurely. On the other hand, a tapped lantern can add a life or increase time, depending on the game play mode. There are several scenes to play through as well as 40 achievements to earn. There are 3 different power ups you can acquire that drastically change game play, except you can only get them through IAP. It would be nice to see some power ups that you can actually earn simply by repeatedly playing the game, but overall this is a cute alternative to all the food slashing options that are out there.
Pedro Nastari, Catch a Ninja – $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:
- Prime73 Inc., Cut The Link – $1.99
- Chillingo Ltd, Bombcats – Free
- Naquatic LLC, Guncrafter – Free
- dreamfab, Chasing Yello Friends – Free
- Studio OnMars, Critical Missions: SPACE – $2.99
- Microids, Fire & Forget The Final Assault – $1.99
- Elephant Mouse LLC, Star Trek Rivals – Free
- Kabam, Fast & Furious 6: The Game – Free
- Hooda Math, Grow Mountain – Free
- Utopian Games, Little Viking Dungeon Of Doom – $0.99
- Creative Heroes, Tug of Gore – Free
- Absurd Interactive, This Is Not A Ball Game. – Free
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: