I’m really impressed with how many weeks in a row there has been a strong selection of games to choose from. Strategy buffs should check out Rivals for Catan, a port of a card game that is based off of a board game that has also been ported to the iOS platform. You construct cities, build transports and in true strategy fashion try and take over the world. If you prefer a little Pokemon style action then Monsters Invade: Oz might suit your needs. This game has colorful hand drawn visuals, plenty of quests to complete and 100 monsters to collect and train.
XCom: Enemy Unknown – As a long time computer and video game player, this is one of those franchises that I’m embarrassed to say that I have never played. As far as I’m aware the various installments have generally received rave reviews, and so far this one seems to be impressing the masses as well. This is a port of the version released for current gen consoles and Windows PCs last year, and it supposedly has all the bells and whistles that made the “parent” version a success. As always you play an elite squad of soldiers trying to dismantle an alien invasion. You’ll recruit and level up soldiers while studying alien technology to develop new weapons and equipment. The game is turn based so you really get the chance to plan out your attack, and the interface has been reengineered to take advantage of the touch screen. Missions are randomly generated so that there is plenty of replayability. Now all they need to do is add in some sort of multi-player mode and the option to play the aliens and this game would be complete. It’s definitely a premium game with a price tag of $19.99, and while the specs are iPad 2+ and iPhone 4S+ (not iPod Touch 4), it’s suggested you run it on an iPad 4 or above.
2K Games, XCOM®: Enemy Unknown – $19.99
Spellcreepers Prelude HD – Hey look, another game where you fight monsters one on one using a match 3 theme as the means of combat. Sorry, but the concept still hasn’t gotten old for me yet. This one has six different elements on the playing field: a sword for melee attack, fireballs and ice flames for magical attacks, a shield to boost your defense, a potion for healing and gold. You need three of the same to make a match, and you can match six for a double dose or combine two different sets of three depending on your needs. There is even a special spell that uses one each of the six different types of icons. Your selection isn’t committed until you tap the “cast” button which is cool, but you do only get 25 seconds to make your final selection. There are currently only eight monsters to fight, but I’m assuming we’ll see more in the full version which isn’t available yet. There is also a multi-player mode coming which should be pretty cool. I’m also gathering that the full version will give you some reason to actually be collecting gold, so I look forward to seeing how that all plans out. There isn’t much here yet, but I think this is a good one to keep an eye on for when the full version rolls out.
NeoBird GmbH & Co. KG, Spellcreepers Prelude HD – Free
Ark: A Free Match 3 Puzzle – This is actually rather refreshing. It’s a match 3 game that isn’t about combat but still has a purpose. You’re an animal specialist that has been recruited to capture some pretty rare creatures. The match 3 board is your “scanner”, and the more matches you make the rarer a creature you might find. There are 30 creatures to find altogether which will require you to explore several different areas multiple times. As you play you’ll earn coins that allow you to unlock new areas as well as replenish the precious energy that allows you to explore those areas. Of course the energy will refresh on its own, but you only get one unit per every 3 minutes and most areas take between 15 and 25 units of energy to explore. Power ups are kind of interesting because before you can use them you must actually “uncover” them by making several matches with whatever object is on top of the power up. The main thing this game is lacking right now is much of an explanation of what the game is all about. It would also be nice if there were some cut scenes every once in a while telling a story. Hopefully the developers will continue to work on this game and flesh it out some more.
Green Throttle Games, ARK: A Free Match 3 Puzzle – Free
Super Rabbit Fighting – Want to know what Streets Of Rage would be like with anthropomorphic characters? Well, this isn’t quite it, but Super Rabbit Fighting is a nice start. This is basically a 2D linear side scrolling beat ‘em up that features a bunny as the main character and a bunch of other animals as the bad guys. I really like the animal theme, and the graphics look like something from a Saturday morning cartoon which is always cool in my book. The controls are pretty basic with buttons to move left and right and buttons for kicking and punching. While a bit simplistic it can be entertaining for the most part, but it basically becomes impossible for you to run away from a bad guy that you can’t kill in a few swipes. Some way to jump or pass around characters to get to the other side would be nice. You can upgrade aspects of your bunny like kicking and punching and also buy him skills like healing and laser eyes. Trust me when I say you’ll need whatever you can get. Folks looking for hardcore combo driven combat need not apply, but if you’d like a simple brawler with a slightly different theme, Super Rabbit Fighting might just be for you.
TEMPLE OF FUN RUN AND JUMP GAMES LLC, Super Rabbit Fighting – Free
Gumulon – This is one of the best promotional games ever. Not that I’m running right out to the store to buy gum, mind you, but this game is cool. You take control of Ace, an alien miner trying to flee from a large subterranean creature that wants to eat you and take your picture while doing it. To escape you must fling yourself upward on pegs that are spread around the wall of the mine, but to grab on to the pegs Ace uses his mouth. Of course you can use your mouth too, as one of the control schemes uses the front facing camera to monitor your movements as you chew a piece of gum. I’m not a big fan of chewing gum, so I stick with the old fashioned tap method. There are plenty of obstacles to thwart your progress, like long tongues that block your path or electric pegs that knock you right off. There are also unlockables that you earn by playing the game, though I have as yet to uncover one of those. However, you can apparently earn these unlocks by scanning in packs of stride gum as well. I’ve always been of the mindset that cross-promotional games like this are somewhat silly and pointless, but at least they are starting to get a lot more fun.
MONDELEZ GLOBAL LLC, Gumulon – Free
Rivals for Catan – This is a card game based off of the same universe as Catan, the iOS port of the legendary board game Settlers Of Catan. The basics of game play are still about erecting cities, building methods of transportation and generally outsmarting your opponent. Whereas Catan supports up to four players in a hot-seat configuration, Rivals is for two players (or a single player and various degrees of AI opponents) and can be played locally or online through Game Center. There is a beginner’s game that sticks to the basic card set so you can get your feet wet and really grasp the fundamentals of the game. When you want a bit more variety you can check out one of the themed packs that will give you new tricks and tactics to use. If you’re really feeling up to a challenge try “Duel of the Princes”, a catch all mode that lets you play with all the themed decks at the same time. A card almanac and detailed tutorials will help keep you on track to learn the game, and the desire to best your friends will motivate you to master it. If you’re ready to conquer new lands that aren’t comprised of orcs, zombies or aliens, Rivals for Catan just might be the game for you.
USM, Rivals for Catan – $3.99
High Burger – As soon as you start playing this game you’ll start feeling a sense of déjà vu. Yes, it is pretty similar to the 2009 release Sky Burger from NimbleBit, even down to the eerily similar name. The thing is, I actually downloaded Sky Burger before writing this piece to make sure this wasn’t just some cheap copy, and the truth is that I actually like High Burger better. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that you see the people that are placing the orders, giving it more of a time management game feel. I also like the fact that there are things that get in the way of the falling ingredients, and while I don’t know that it benefits you any the hot pepper that sends your sandwich to a new stratosphere is pretty neat. The visuals are good, the music is fun and the sound effects are actually decent. You can catch extra ingredients on your burger, but that makes your tip go down. It would be kind of neat to get bonuses for catching the exact number of ingredients or actually catching them in a specific order. Also, a two player mode would be intriguing. Still, High Burger is rather entertaining with what it already offers.
Zariba Ltd., High Burger – Free
Kinito Music Puzzle – If you like classical music you’ll want to get this game, even though it has the potential of getting rather difficult. The idea is that you are trying to help the conductor get his concert in order, and you do that be rearranging blocks to put each of the 40 songs this game entails in order. Of course it helps immensely if you’re actually familiar with the pieces, especially when they involve singing. However, I’m having a blast so far and while I recognize most of the pieces I wouldn’t say I know them very well. You can listen to the clips each of the blocks represents by holding down on the block until the clip is complete, and then you can swap blocks by dragging one over another. You can listen to the clips all you like, but the longer it takes for you to put them in order the lower your score and the fewer clefs you earn. As you complete levels you’ll unlock new members to your orchestra, but beware because three incorrect attempts at organizing a song and the conductor will quit, ending your game. Thankfully you can always pick up at the last level you left out on. The only thing this game is missing is a way to listen to the whole song once you’ve completed a level. Even if that involved some IAP it would be an awesome option.
Delirium Studios S.L., Kinito Music Puzzle – Free
Monsters Invade: Oz – The Wicked Witch is up to her old tricks, and Dorothy must once again lead the revolution to free Oz from her evil grip. This isn’t the story the way you remember it, however. Toto is still around, but your other travelling companions have been replaced with monsters. In fact, this is basically Pokemon set in the land of Oz, with you as Dorothy collecting and training up to 100 different types of monsters. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion are with you in spirit, though, as each one offers you different bonuses to your monsters when properly upgraded. The monsters themselves will get stronger as you gather XP in combat, and when they reach certain levels they’ll evolve into stronger critters. There are more than 60 quests to complete along your journey, and plenty of monsters to combat even once you’ve captured your quota. The graphics have a nice hand drawn quality about them, and almost look like the work of a skilled child. The music is cool, and while I’m not sure this is really the first dynamic battle soundtrack, it’s still a nifty concept. The game is free to play but beware, because the resources needed to do things like heal your monsters can run out quickly, and then your choices are either to wait hours for your critters to revive or dump some IAP into the game.
LittleBox, Monsters Invade: Oz – Free
Pocket Mobsters – It seems like every few weeks there is a run of mobster based games, and while there have been others that caught my eye visually, I think the biggest problem is that most of them seem to take themselves too seriously. That’s certainly not the case with this game, and that in itself makes Pocket Mobsters fun to play. Like usual you’ll have to build up your crew, knock around rival gangs and generally let the town know who is boss. The game is online, so you can hook up with friends as well to form a cartel and rule the virtual world. Combat is a simple matter of repeatedly picking one of your crew from a randomly selected portion of them and watching the fight go down until one side is the victor. You can also run shakedowns on the local businesses to fill your coffers, but be careful that the cops don’t catch you. Everything is rendered to look like a Chicago style town using pixel art, which could be part of the reason I like it so much. If you allow the game to use your position you might even notice some of the establishments that litter the map of the town. If I didn’t know any better I might have thought this was something out of NimbleBit’s camp.
Massive Damage, Inc., Pocket Mobsters – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Aramik Pogosjan, Zombie Invasion: T-Virus – Free
- Bombhead, Dead On Sight – $2.99
- Chillingo Ltd, Gloomy Hollow – $0.99
- Disney, Where’s My Mickey? – $0.99
- Disney, Where’s My Mickey? XL – $1.99
- SEGA, Puzzle Pirates – Free
- Peter Lim, Heroes War – $0.99
- FDG Entertainment, Cover Orange 2 – $0.99
- Benjamin Rivers Inc., Home – a Unique Horror Adventure – $2.99
- Igor Migun, Dead Bunker – $0.99
- Konami Digital Entertainment, Slot Revolution – Free
- G5 Entertainment, Pilot Brothers 2 (Full) – $2.99
- G5 Entertainment, Pilot Brothers 2 for iPad (Full) – $4.99
- Zynga Inc., Eden to Green – 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: