I don’t know how the weather out by you is, but thankfully the iOS game “drought” only lasted a week. This time around Sqaure Enix released Deus Ex: The Fall, a new chapter in the lengthy first person action / strategy series. Expect a level of immersion not dissimilar to what you might expect from its “big boy” cousins, all nestled snuggly on your iOS screen. If you prefer your action with a bit more puzzle thrown in then you should check out Sprinkle Islands. This clever sequel to the 2011 release Sprinkle is tougher despite its cute appearance, and this time you actually get to move around the locations. If you really just want some brain teasing puzzle play – okay, there might be just a bit of timing involved – then Rescue Aliens is a good choice. There are several different aliens each with their own abilities, and while rescuing your fellow beings isn’t so difficult, collecting the three stars on each level can prove challenging.
Fodderp: Castle Defense – This is kind of a strange creature to describe. Unlike the vast majority of castle defense games, this one is in 3D, which already makes for a big strategic difference. The level so far are your basic “castle on each end” with waypoints in between that you can commandeer, but at the beginning of each match you actually get to decide what types of buildings, troops and such you wish to include in your current plan of attack. Of course at the beginning you don’t have many choices available, so you’ll have to build up your village by winning battles and completing quests so that you can unlock the necessary resources to enhance your combat. The quests are single player, but the game is quite heavily multi-player driven. Take on village leaders around the world to build up your skill and loot, and then form clans to get communal XP and even more bonuses. You can even compete in global events and earn real prizes like electronics and more. I think I barely scratched the surface of this game with the little time I was able to spend on it so far, but I’m pretty sure “castle defense” is a description that doesn’t do this multi-faceted game justice.
Mobius Industries USA, Inc., Fodderp: Castle Defense – Free
Crazy Squares: Milk River Run – So it’s time to switch gears a bit and talk about the next in an increasingly long line of promotional games. But hey, if a game is entertaining, who cares why it got made, right? In this case you control a Cinnamon Toast Crunch square that is using a spoon to surf an endless wave of milk. It looks like it might be a Tiny Wings style game, but thankfully it’s just a simple tap to jump or hold to do a flip. You can also tap while you’re in the air to lash out your tongue and try to lick enemy squares. The most important thing, however, is that you need to stay away from the giant square that is in pursuit and trying to eat you. As you play you’ll earn golden squares (albeit quite slowly) that allow you to buy permanent enhancements and additional types of squares. Of course they’re a bit deceiving because they seem so cheap until you realize how hard it is to earn a golden square. That’s okay, though, because it makes the game challenging. Speaking of which, there are challenges to complete, trophies to earn and medals to achieve. And the best part: when you lose you get to see a cool animation where you get eaten by the big square. This is definitely one to check out if you’re a fan of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch commercials.
General Mills Inc., Crazy Squares: Milk River Run – Free
Tomohawk – I’m always a sucker for a good shooting gallery style game, and Tomohawk is pretty amusing. It starts out with kind of a bizarre intro movie, and then drops you in a town filled with cowboys that really don’t like you. In a nice twist you actually start by tossing tomahawks at them instead of just firing a gun, which actually requires a bit more skill since you have to use a flick motion and a bit of aiming instead of just tapping on the enemy you wish to target. Of course you can get power ups that temporarily let you use a bow and arrow or gun if you really crave that “one tap pleasure”. The game actually starts off pretty slow, but I suggest you use that time to really practice the difficult shots because soon enough you’ll have opposition popping out of multiple spots at once and firing almost as soon as they appear on the screen. There are currently 6 levels available, but in order to get the last two you have to buy the fourth one (they are technically free but require level 4 to be unlocked). You can earn power ups on the playing field, but you can also buy them via IAP, with the gun and bow becoming permanent fixtures if you decide to spend the dough. Hopefully they’ll add more levels over time, and it would be nice to see a system that would eventually allow you to buy power ups with in-game money, but for a free offering Tomohawk certainly provides enough entertainment value.
The Pool Factory S.R.L., Tomohawk – Free
Zombie Blitz – While I’m a big fan of hunting the undead, we certainly have plenty of eye level, blast everything to bits style zombie games. Zombie Blitz takes a different approach as you get a zoomed out view of each of the sixty different locations you can visit. Instead of taking out each zombie with a fire button you’ll swipe to launch plane and helicopter attacks and tap to drop bombs or leave presents like mines and bait to lure and destroy the undead as they lumber along. So far I’ve encountered two types of missions: survive for a certain amount of time and survive as long as you can. Okay, so there’s not really a variety there, but this is a mass scale tactical zombie game, so I don’t really feel like I need much else. The real trick is what you’ll take into battle with you as you only get a few stock options and must buy the rest with coins and jewels that you earn from doing well or being willing to spend some IAP. The game has the standard leaderboards and achievement offerings that Game Center provides, so if demolishing zombies isn’t enough on it’s own you can compare yourself to other players. Part of me has a bad feeling this might turn into a case where you have to spend some dough just to beat the game, but the concept is different enough from most apocalypse type games that it’s worth at least checking out.
Headup Games GmbH & Co KG, Zombie Blitz – Free
Kavinsky – Unless you know who Kavinsky is, the fact that this is based off of the albums he produces probably won’t mean a thing to you. What’s important, though, is this has the potential to be a pretty cool modern day Streets Of Rage. Just like that classic beat ‘em up you stroll the streets looking for thugs to pound. Unfortunately you’re limited to a simple control scheme of one button for punch and one for kick, and there is no way to jump. That would be livable if it were easier to make contact with the goons you’re fighting, but the mechanics really need some work in that department. It also mentions deadly weapons in the iTunes description, but so far I haven’t run across any of those. The second level is some sort of augmented reality gimmick, but frankly it didn’t work well for me and I never saw my character on the screen. You can actually skip those if you’d like, however. There are even some racing levels to break up the beat down monotony, though those get old quickly because you don’t seem to actually race against anyone. So why bring this one up? Because I think it could really become something if the developers put some more effort into it. On the plus side, it does have a decent soundtrack and some really cool visuals that seem to be a mix between 16 bit goodness and modern cell shaded sweetness.
Record Makers, KAVINSKY – Free
TR: Dungeons – I have to admit that I actually passed on the original Temple Raider because I thought a “dungeon crawler” without anything to fight wouldn’t be all that interesting. I decided to give this prequel a shot, however, and it turns out I was wrong. Of course I think at some point the novelty will probably wear off, but so far I’m seven dungeons in and still enjoying it. Your goal is to collect a series of different sets of objects like armor and jewels. So far each dungeon has contained two different artifacts, and all of them contain a stash of gold that you can collect. In addition you must find keys to get through certain doors, and when there are arachnids about you must find a can of bug spray to get past them. The money you collect can be used in the black market to buy things like dynamite to blow up walls or old maps if you get really desperate when it comes to navigating a particular level. This game is definitely not for those looking for lots of action, but if you can handle a slow, methodical romp through unexplored tombs every once in a while, TR: Dungeons will suit you just fine.
Bedeka Creek, TR: Dungeons – Free
Slumber Sam – I’d venture to say this game is about as juvenile as your average farting application. However, I’ve managed to find myself getting addicted to this game. You are basically hurtling various objects at a semi-sleeping Sam, trying to annoy him as much as you can. Whether you were on the giving or receiving end you’ll most likely be able to relate to this if you were either a kid at some point or a slightly immature college student. You start out with a teddy bear and graduate to more endearing objects like a hamburger or slice of pizza when you get enough money. You can also work on bolstering various power ups as you gain coinage, but be warned that acquiring loot in this game can be a very slow process. Of course you know what I’d normally say next, but I’ll spare you that comment. What makes this game worth playing are the sights and sounds. Throw the teddy bear near his face and he might catch it and give it a kiss. Hit one of the portraits and watch the face in it actually change expressions. Just don’t make him roll over – it’s not a pretty sight. There’s no question you have to have a muted mentality to like this game, but when you’re feeling like letting your inner child out give Slumber Sam a few minutes of your time.
Spiel Studios, Slumber Sam – Free
Swords & Arrows – There were actually several strategy games released this week that looked interesting, and I’ll admit that I focused on this one mainly because I got to it first. So far it seems like a pretty slick game, though. If you’re fond of old school 2D square board turn based strategy games, this will be a breath of fresh retro air. You can train units, commandeer buildings for your cause, and research new skills. One thing I am disappointed about is that most of the unit specific skills revolve around the archer, but on the plus side you should end up with some powerful long range attacking. Each building serves a unique purpose, so you’ll want to be sure to have a variety of them under your control. When you select an opponent to attack combat happens on the same screen instead of some of the more “modern” games like Advance Wars that have fancy cut screens. Still, the graphics have a very nice pixel art look to them. The game supports up to six players either locally or through the internet, and there are 40 different maps to play. If you get bored with that you can even create your own maps and share with your friends. A solo mode would be welcome, but overall this should be quite the pleasure for fans of retro turn based strategy conquests.
John Sundell, Swords & Arrows – Free
Iesabel – To look this up in iTunes you need to spell the name with the first letter I, but when the game starts it is said and pronounced with a J. Whatever the case, this looks to be a promising Diablo style game. I haven’t had the chance to delve too far into it yet, but typical exploration, combat and looting that you’d expect from an action / RPG are all there. There are only two classes to start with, but at least you get your choice of a ranged fighter or a hand to hand brawler, so you have the basics covered. As you destroy the enemy you’ll be able to level up which provides skill points for you to enhance your abilities. You’ll also get to collect tons of items, some of which are labeled as ingredients which leads me to believe you’ll get to concoct your own potions at some point. The game has an extensive solo campaign, but you can also indulge in some serious multi-player hack ‘n slash with up to 7 other players. Better yet, they don’t all have to have iOS devices. And probably the best thing from my perspective, you use the same character for both gaming sessions. This could be a really nice boost for those that end up struggling in parts of the solo adventure. The only thing I’ve run across so far that kind of bugs me is that sometimes it’s hard to see things on the ground that you need to search for goods. If that ends up being the worst complaint, though, this should turn out to be an awesome game.
Forever Entertainment S.A., Iesabel – $1.99
Blastron – Blastron takes the premise behind the Terminator and adds a darkly humorous bent to it, if you can even picture that. The machines did rise up and kill the humans, but now they are bored so they’ve decided to fight each other. The game plays like a combination between a platformer and Worms as you use a joystick to move around but then use power / angle targeting system to take out your enemies. You always have to keep your eye out on the field so that you can grab weapons and items when you see them lying around. Upgrade your robots to make them the ultimate battling machines, and then get ready to take on the world. I haven’t had the opportunity to go multi-player yet, so I don’t know how many people you can take on at once, but given the turn based nature of the combat (yes, it is turn based) these might be one on one battles only. There is a campaign mode as well that gives you the opportunity to unlock new things to take with you in your quest for world domination. It’s a nice take on the turn based artillery games, and given enough support from players it could provide for some fun tournaments and such.
Kabam, Blastron – Free
Zoombar! – I’m running a bit behind schedule this week so I decided to throw in an extra entry, which I realize might not make a whole lot of sense. This game is certainly quirky. You get thrown right into the action with no explanation, and I don’t recall ever finding a help screen. As it turns out, however, the game is basically a psychedelic version of Bop-It. As each level rises to the top you have to react to every square that has a command in it. So far they have all been either “tap” or “swipe”, but it will be interesting to see what more advanced levels hold. The game is timed and the board is spinning, but don’t feel like there’s any pressure or anything. The object is basically to keep going until you can’t go any more. Much like Bop-It, this is probably best played in a group setting where you can pass the device on to the next person and say “here, you try and do better than THAT”. Of course it’s still fun to play on your own as well. It’s certainly not a deep game, but great when you have a few minutes to kill waiting for something else.
Antony Lavelle, Zoombar! – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Lostwood Games, Leviathan: The Last Day of the Decade – Free
- Big Blue Bubble, Buster Bash Pro – Free
- Witching Hour Studios, RAVENMARK: Mercenaries – Free
- Nevosoft, City Cat – Free
- Michal Knasiecki, The Twin Horizon – $0.99
- Masthead Studios, Jelly Tunes Castles – Free
- MadKapp Studios, LetterSnatch! – Free
- Kazuki Matsumoto, Megaton Hammer – Free
- Anton Dorofieiev, Cosmo Battles – $1.99
- Digital Reality Software, Sine Mora – $5.99
- BBG Entertainment, Dungeon of Legends – $2.99
- Scorpius Forge, Evolution: Indian Hunter – $3.99
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: