I knew it had to happen eventually, but every week I was hoping it wouldn’t be THIS week. The seemly endless “Christmas in summer” we’ve been having on the App Store has temporarily come to an end. There were still some decent games to find, though, and the star of the show this time around is LIMBO Game. In all fairness this is a port of an already wildly popular Xbox et al game, but it was my first time playing it and it’s certainly a must have for fans of the platform puzzle hybrid genre. Vertical scrolling shooter fans might enjoy BeeCluster. While it lacks many of the amenities of modern SHMUPs it has a distinct atmosphere that actually works well for the genre. If you love the thrill of hitting homeruns but don’t care for the rest of the sport of Baseball electronically, PowerStrike might just be for you. It’s not quite as comprehensive as the Homerun Battle series, but I’m pretty sure you won’t find another batting game where you get to select a dragon as one of your hitters.
Money Witches – If you like to play with money than this is the game for you. It’s a matching game, but the amount you have to match depends on the denomination you’re trying to achieve. 5 pennies become a nickel, two nickels become a dime, etc. You can move coins around without making a match which allows you to build up combos, but make sure you pay attention to the indicators that warn you when additional coins will drop into the level. If the board gets full so you can’t manipulate the cash than the game is over. Arcade mode keeps you on your toes by constantly tossing new coins your way, whereas Training mode gives you pause to think as coins only fall after you’ve made a certain number of moves. You start out with one character and can unlock two others that affect the playing style and bring their own set up power ups to the table. Collect money for the unlocks by scoring big points or via IAP if you’re in a hurry. Game Center provides leaderboards for competition among friends, and there are 18 different achievements to earn while you’re at it.
aBit Games, Money Witches – Free
Doctor’s Hospital – If your kids are getting to that age where they are starting to want to play doctor, maybe you should get them this game instead to keep them out of trouble. You start by scanning each patient to find out what’s ailing them and then you send them to one of five rooms to try and cure their problem. Viruses can be taken out with a laser and a patient hand as you navigate the maze that is the player’s body to wipe out all the bugs. Giving them medication is accomplished either by tossing pills in their mouth via a flick of your finger or guiding a pill to their stomach in another maze like setup. In addition you fix teeth by tapping away mouth vermin or set bones and supply the wounded child with a colorful cast to keep them happy. This game is definitely geared towards the kids, and with the way they have “cartoonized” the processes I think the young ones will love it. There is nothing gross or disgusting to be seen here. It might not be the kind of thing that you’ll sit down and play with your kids, but it is certainly a game that you can feel comfortable giving them to keep them busy for a long car trip or some personal quiet time. If you really do want to give the game a whirl, though, you’ll find the most challenge to be in the mini-game where you have to zap viruses with a laser.
Umair Javed, Doctor’s Hosptial – Free
Super Forest Squad – This is kind of an odd game. You control one of six different animals trying to save the forest from evil robots by thumping them with your head. You collect coins from defeated foes, and damaging multiple enemies at once earns you bigger rewards. You can also get money from completing quests. This dough can be used to unlock food which gives you even more bonuses, power ups to help you last longer or new animals to destroy the enemy with. If you buy the full version of the game you can even use two animals at once for bonus smashing power. There’s a quick tutorial but otherwise the game doesn’t really give you much of any indication as to what is going on. Still, Super Forest Squad managed to keep my attention with its blocky visuals, silly atmosphere and frantic action. Super Forest Squad definitely won’t be for everyone, but since its free to try I’d suggest giving it a go if you have any sort of curiosity about it.
Mayuran Thurairatnam, Super Forest Squad – Free
PowerStrike – I’ll tell you right off the bat that this game does not have the polish of the Com2Us series Homerun Battle. That’s okay, though, because it has dragons instead! Whether playing solo or online you get to choose one of five characters that span different time periods, and only one of them is actually dressed like a batter. The arenas reflect the characters as well, so when you take control of the dragon you’ll be using your tail to knock cannon balls back at a large castle, while the Mongol type person uses a large wooden paddle to bat ammunition back at a fleet of warships. Solo mode is good for checking out the different characters and enjoying the backgrounds. The fun comes in online mode, however, because you actually get to build up your character as you win matches. I still haven’t figured out all the ins and outs of it yet, but I think there’s something good to be had here. I don’t like the fact that you need yet another user name and password to go online, and it would be nice if the game saved your password, but hopefully at least the latter will be worked out over time. The different arenas are pretty cool, and you really can’t beat playing a dragon.
WEO, PowerStrike – Free
Bro Dudes – The premise is silly. The graphics are kind of cheesy. Apparently it’s not even that long, though I haven’t beaten yet. The thing is, Bro Dudes is actually still a pretty cool little game. You play a “bro” and you must save the President’s supper from the clutches of some evil ninjas. Ironically so far all I’ve battled are zombie pirates, but I guess they are just the minions. You’ll also have to jump over spikes, take out laser guns and UFOs, and occasionally blindly hurtle yourself down long pits. One thing that actually really impresses me about this game is the level design. It’s clear these guys have a great understanding of what makes a good platform game. The levels are challenging without being so frustrating that you want to pull your hair out. There are no power ups per say, though there are these bullet things you occasionally find that might increase the damage you do – I’m not really sure. There are also beverage cans that can replenish some health when you’ve been shot. Three different control schemes will let you figure out what makes it comfortable for you to play, which is important because the game doesn’t save so you’ll need to complete it in one shot.
Indie Games Studio, Bro Dudes – Free
BeeCluster – Top down scrolling shooters are a dime a dozen these days, and there are a number of extremely good ones on the App Store already. Of course for me this is one of those genres that I can always make room for additional entries in as long as the game gives me something to hold my attention. The reason I like this one is because instead of flying a ship or controlling a dragon or any of the other “been there, done that” scenarios that the developer could have chosen, they elected to have you control a swarm of bees. As you’re travelling along you can add to your collection to make your attack more powerful as well. There is a nice variety of bad guys to demolish, and the game certainly offers a fair amount of challenge. I would like to see some power ups besides the bees that you can add to your swarm, however. I also think they need to reconsider how you get the additional bees, because right now you have to tap them which take your hand away from the action of moving the swarm around. When the action gets frantic you should not have to choose between simply staying alive and increasing your swarm size. Still, the game is free and doesn’t force IAP down your throat, so overall I think it’s worth checking out if you enjoy this style of game play.
Takuji Fukumoto, BeeCluster – Free
Neko Land – At first glance you might think this is a platform style game since Neko’s world looks a lot like a map from Super Mario Bros. In this case, however, you’re not trying to get to the dots to reach new levels. In fact, the map is itself the level you are trying to beat. You tap the screen to move from dot to dot, trying to reach the end of each map. You can’t move backwards and you only get 15 seconds to make each move. It seems simple enough, but sometimes getting the timing just right can be tricky, especially when you don’t always see your next adversary on the screen. Speaking of which, each of the five levels I’ve made it to so far has had its own set of creatures and obstacles, which is a nice change of pace from most small games these days. Neko Land actually kind of looks like a kid’s game, but unlike Doctor’s Hospital that I mentioned earlier there’s enough challenge here to keep an adult occupied, especially when you factor in the idea that you only get three mess ups and then you have to start over from level one again. Talk about unforgiving!
Mengasoft, Neko Land – $0.99
Limbo Game – I had heard plenty of good things about this game, but truthfully didn’t really know what it was about. The funny thing is that now that I’ve spent some time with it, I still don’t know what it’s about! You control a little boy, and you just sort of wake up and go about your business without the fanfare of any sort of cut scenes or even instructions for that matter. Thankfully the controls aren’t difficult to figure out, though swiping to jump and positioning the boy just right to drag something can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately the coolness of the game should negate any frustrations you have with said controls. The visuals are shades of black and white, which when combined with the ambient noise does a great job of providing a spooky atmosphere. Also, even though blood is hard to discern thanks to the color scheme the deaths you succumb to can be gruesome, so this might not be the best game for younger players. Anyone else that enjoys platform games mixed with a healthy dose of puzzle solving should really enjoy Limbo.
Playdead, LIMBO Game – $4.99
Runtris – Runtris is an 2D side view infinite runner, and like all good games in the genre your character automatically runs for you. In this case, however, you don’t even control your character by jumping or sliding. Instead, you fill in impending gaps in the running area with Tetris style game pieces. You have three pieces to choose from at any given time, and obviously you’ll want to pick the one that accurately and completely fills the gap. As you keep going your guy will get faster, and sometimes part of the gap will be obscured so you’ll have to use your best guess as to what goes in it. You can collect coins that you can use to buy things like new hats and sunglasses, though sadly there are few truly game enhancing items to be found in the store. According to the iTunes description there are updates coming, so hopefully some of those will include more things to do with your money and some Game Center achievements. In the mean time, this is still a decent little runner with a unique game play mechanic.
David Ortego Lucas, Runtris – Free
Finest Hour – This is a new tank based game from Offworld Games, but unlike so many top down affairs where tanks are the main focus this is not an action game but rather a turn based strategy one. You can play one on one against an opponent or take on a team of two with a friend of your own. In solo play you simply take turns with your opponent, moving all the tanks you have on the field and then waiting for them to move theirs. You are alerted to your turn via push notifications and have 48 hours to respond to an attack with a counter of your own. I’m not sure if two on two play would see both members of one team moving or if play would go back and forth between the two teams. Items like Fog of War, LOS and realistic firing arcs give the game more flair and add some additional challenge, and the fact that a destroyed tank is a permanent outcome means you really need to plan carefully. Conceptually I like the game and I think it will be fun, but a couple of single player options would be nice. Right now the main drawback is waiting for the other player(s) to take their turn. At least you can have multiple games going on at once.
Offworld Games, Finest Hour – $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:
- GAMEVIL Inc., Card Guardians for Kakao – Free
- Paul Lind, Pocket Dungeon Pachinko – $0.99
- AnimaDreams, The Last Contact – $1.99
- HandyGames, 1941 Frozen Front – Free
- InvoCube, Prison Break Run – Impossible Breakout & Escape – Free
- Bader Nooruddin, Villain Wars – Free
- Heliceum, Naughty Boy – Sling and shoot – $1.99
- Bulkypix, Smooth Operators! – $2.99
- Mefuru Studios, Quarantine London – $0.99
- Mobage, Inc., G.I. JOE: BATTLEGROUND – 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: