So many new games, so little time to play them all. This was an big week for tower defense fans as there were at least 4 sizeable releases in the genre. One of my all time favorite TD games was Kingdom Rush, and now we have the sequel in Kingdom Rush Frontiers. With more than 18 tower abilities, 40+ monster types and 9 heroes to select and cultivate, this game promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor in every way. Speaking of sequels, the cubes are back in Cubemen2. In addition to everything else this installment might bring to the table, the game already offers a mind blowing 1500 user designed levels to play. Com2Us has stepped into the fray with Defense Technica. One standout feature of this offering is the use of tower cards which can be combined to create some unique defense structures.
Bellboy – This is a really cool game. It’s one of those where your character is always running, but instead of manipulating the character you move the rooms around to keep him going. The whole hotel atmosphere is a great idea, and the visual style is awesome. Your two goals are to deliver the luggage to each guest’s room and collect all the keys on each level, the combination of which can prove quite thought provoking on some levels. Of course with your bellboy in a constant state of motion you’ll need to think quickly. Along the way you’ll run into items to help you like signs that can change your direction, puddles of water that will slow you down and luggage carts that can speed you up. There are also hazards like dogs that must be fed bones and fires that you’ll have to extinguish. The trick with these types of things is that you have to move the rooms around in such a way that you get the hazard defeating objects before you run into the hazard. If you cause the bellboy to have no path to run to he’ll fall away like Wile E Coyote, but succeed in your task and you’ll be treated to a fifties style bellhop doing the moonwalk. And let’s not forget the disco music…
Maximus – The game starts out “along time ago when games were fun”, and I think the developer might actually know what they are talking about. In the golden era of the SEGA genesis there were two beat ‘em up franchises that reigned supreme, Maximus clearly being modeled after the medieval fantasy one called Golden Axe. You start with a choice of two heroes to play, and once you pass certain levels you’ll unlock two more. There are 16 levels total, and each hero has the opportunity to progress through all the levels. Of course for any given hero you can always continue at the last level you’ve beaten with that hero when you die. As you play your characters will level up and learn new skills, and you’ll also be able to enhance their abilities with coins and gems that you collect. Throughout the levels you’ll encounter 38 different types of minions and 15 bosses, and you’ll get the chance to ride different mounts, including a bird that looks a lot like the owl from Clash Of The Titans. In addition to the basic story mode there is an endless wave mode and boss vs. boss battles that you can wager on, both of which get unlocked after betting various stages. There’s even some IAP, but according to the iTunes description everything can be unlocked if you play the game long enough. Silly graphics, a decent sense of humor and references to some cool 80’s nostalgia truly do make this game one of the fun ones.
Mooff Games, Maximus™ – Free
Cattleship: UFO Cow Hunt – It seems that aliens are always trying to get their hands on some prime farm life, and this is no exception. You are the one tasked with collecting the bovine, though that bit of luck is mainly because you are a screw up. That little trait makes its way into the game as well, as this is one of the rare times where it actually feels like they designed a mission that you will undoubtedly fail. It’s all part of the story, though, and it’s the push that lets your boss okay the use of “any means necessary” to dispatch your unwelcome hosts and gather the desired cattle. The game actually has a pretty decent sense of humor, and it’s also decidedly challenging, though some of that comes from controls that could use a bit of tweaking as much as anything else. Thankfully they compensate for that by letting you blow away basically anything that doesn’t produce hamburger patties. Each mission has its own set of objectives, and you can keep trying until you’ve nailed them all. The game uses a somewhat primitive 3D engine but it still looks pretty cool, and the cut scenes where the aliens are chatting are quite amusing. I’m also pretty sure this is the first alien cow abduction game I’ve played where the cows actively try to escape your tractor beam.
Hoboglobal Intergalaktik,, Cattleship : UFO Cow Hunt – Free
The Redneckoning – They may not have all their teeth, and there’s a good chance they can’t pronounce many words with more than two syllables, but give a redneck a gun and they sure can blow things up. Even better, you don’t actually have to fight off an impending zombie apocalypse this time. Instead you get to tangle with aliens that look like steps on the evolutionary chain of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. This is basically an “endless waves” game where you see how long you can last until you succumb to the onslaught of alien slapping. You tilt the device to adjust your aim and tap the screen to fire, but be ready to swipe a couple of fingers across the viewport to clear away goo from aliens that got too close before they splatter. Blast power ups and health packs in the field to make use of them, and target explosive barrels to do widespread carnage. Completing waves and doing lots of damage earns you Bux so that you can buy a random boost at the beginning of each level, and each kill fills your rage meter so that you can launch one of four deadly attacks. This game could use a few things like a story mode and some permanent upgrades, but overall it’s a fun, mindless shooter that doesn’t involve zombies for once.
Jet Set Games, The Redneckoning – Free
The Rolling Dead – Zombie AR games are nothing new. Neither are games where you roll over zombies with a ball. I’m betting you’ve never seen an AR zombie game where you roll over zombies with a ball before, however. That’s the premise behind The Rolling Dead, one of the latest games to interface with the robot ball known as Sphero. Yes, even though this game is free you’ll need to purchase an additional peripheral in order to take advantage of it. The game basically has you taking out wave after wave of zombie with your remote controlled Sphero. You can shoot them with fireballs, but don’t roll over them unless you have flaming power up. I think this game would benefit from a wider variety of power ups, especially since there isn’t much you can do to vary the game play. I also am by no means suggesting that you should run out and get a Sphero just to try this game. The main reason I bring it up is because I always find it interesting to see how designers are attempting to integrate other products with smartphone devices. Maybe one of these days we’ll see an AR Marble Madness style game featuring Sphero.
Color Zen – This is one of those games that feels like it was meant to be played for five minutes at a time, yet if you’re not careful you could easily loose track of time while play it. The idea of the game is to simply get the screen down to one color, which is whatever the border color is. The screen is filled with objects, and the ones that you can manipulate are designated by a glow that throbs with the beat of the music. You can drag or fling an object around the screen, and when it touches another of the same color then all free space not occupied with other objects will be filled with that color. Objects are governed by physics, so you have to be cautious that you don’t get too sloppy and start hitting the wrong objects together too early. It is possible to match certain colors before their time and leave an object of that color trapped with no way to ultimately match and clear it. Thankfully this game is all about relaxation, so you just need to try again until you get the sequence of colors right. There is no score, no penalties for failure, and no Game Center. Occasionally it’s nice to have a game like that, as long as it’s done right. Also, if you’re a big fan of soundtracks you’ll definitely want to try this game. The music is worth listening to even when you’re not playing.
Large Animal Games, Color Zen – $0.99
Deep Dungeons of Doom – I had no idea what to expect from this game, but I think I’m hooked. The side view perspective reminds me of some of the old “goldbox” SSI games, but this is not a scrolling RPG. You command one character and you fight one on one with each monster in each dungeon, swiping downwards on the screen after every victory to move to the next room. Sometimes there will be shrines to investigate or people to talk to or something else besides a monster, but for the most part this is an intriguingly designed dungeon crawler. There are several different types of creatures, each with their own attack style that you have to memorize in order to defeat them. There is also a boss in each dungeon that can’t be touched until you discover its weakness. Collect equipment and buff out your character when you level up, but don’t get used to any of the good things you find because you’ll start fresh every time you enter a new dungeon. The graphics are deliciously 8 bit, yet at the same time sport some really nice animation. I’m not really sure how to categorize this little gem, but if you like anything action / RPG oriented, it’s definitely worth the download given the low price tag.
Bossa Studios, Deep Dungeons of Doom – Free
Jewel Thieves: Knight’s Armor – Many of you probably figured that if I mentioned a match 3 game in this roundup it would be that one designed by that famous Monkey Island guy. Of course if you know what I’m talking about that kind of validates my desire to pick less publicized games for this weekly collection. Anyway, this is one of those matching games where the objects are falling from the sky and you have to select and match them when there are enough together to get three or more. Of course the whole playing field is affected by physics, so as the gems bump together what was once three adjoining pieces might no longer be the case. Naturally selecting and removing gems will constantly alter the board as well. There are three game play modes: adventure has you progressing through a series of levels, each one requiring you to collect more gems. Lightening mode challenges you to make as many matches as you can in 60 seconds, and Zen mode gives you the chance to relax, as new gems only fall when you clear away old ones. You can buy several different useful power ups in the store with money you earn by playing or that you spring for via IAP. If you’re tired of all the mash ups but don’t want to go back to a basic bejeweled type format either, Jewel Thieves is a nice middle ground.
Konig Studios, Jewel Thieves: Knight’s Armor – Free
Kill The Clowns – Like Jewel Thieves, some might argue that there were better choices for this genre of game. In fact, while I don’t know how many total tower defense games came out this week, I know there were at least two others of some significance. Still, there’s something about this one that I really like. I’m guessing it’s the sheer silliness of the game. The premise is aliens have discovered that baby drool makes for some good candy. They want to steal all the babies on earth and it’s your job to stop them. To do this you’ll need to muster all of your talents including fruit tossing elephants, jugglers with an attitude and monkeys that ride unicycles and shoot guns. Don’t forget to throw in a mime or two when you want to mesmerize the aliens for a bit. The aliens happen to come in the guise of clowns, which makes the whole atmosphere even more wacky and fun. There are some interesting little tweaks to the formula like the fact that characters that are placed don’t immediately attack and once you have enough money to recruit a troop there’s a slight wait before you can buy them. Throw in the fact that aliens can short-cut certain paths on a whim and you’ll need to really pay attention to all of your timing. This may not stray too far from the norm for its genre, but it is certainly one of the quirkiest examples of a tower defense game that I’ve played.
OneEyeAnt, Kill the Clowns – $2.99
Sparkle 2 – Bubble poppers have always been an interesting genre to me. They are kind of like match 3 games in constant motion. One of my absolute favorites was Sparkle, so I was really excited when I found out there was going to be a Sparkle 2. So far I haven’t been disappointed with it for one moment. The thing that impresses me most about the game is that it isn’t all that different from the first one, yet it’s just as addictive. To me that just proves the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There is an underlying story about gathering keys and vanquishing evil, though it doesn’t really have much impact on the game other than giving you a reason for what you are doing. There is also an endless mode that you will unlock once you’ve completed story mode. Along the way in story mode you’ll earn pendants that give you benefits ranging from making a level easier to give you faster shots. You can only use one at a time, but you can switch them out at the beginning of any level. There are also some really cool power ups that appear with every three matches in a row that you make, including a few that I believe are new to this version. The visuals seem flashier than before as well, and of course the music is outstanding. If you’re ready to get hooked to simple, classic game play all over again, Sparkle 2 is the game for you.
10tons Ltd, Sparkle 2 – $2.99
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Jet Stone Studios, Fuz Rush – Free
- Beep Games, Inc., Scurvy Scallywags – $0.99
- David Klingler, Crashland – $0.99
- Bulkypix, Runaway: A Road Adventure – $4.99
- Microids, TITAN Escape the Tower – $1.99
- Chillingo Ltd, Bridgy Jones™ – $0.99
- Chillingo Ltd, The Quest – Celtic Doom – $2.99
- Gameloft, Gangstar Vegas – $6.99
- Electronic Arts, Supreme Heroes – Free
- SkyVu Pictures, Battle Bears Gold – Free
- Made with Marmalade, 9th Dawn – $2.99
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: