I had a lot of fun with the new games that were released last week. My need for wacky golf games was placated this week with Boom Boom Hamster Golf. Wild course layouts, a huge cannon and a “ball” that dances when you score below par on a given hole are just part of what makes this title so amusing. The strategy fan in me was torn between TurtleStrike and Toy Monsters. The former shows lots of promise with squad based aquatic combat played in a turn based real time format, but the server seemed a bit sluggish to me. The latter is an interesting offering where you get to take back your toy room from invading aliens or play against other humans in quick, intense strategy matches.
Element Defender 3D – This is one of those games that combines tower defense with mild action / RPG elements, and it actually does a pretty good job at it. You are the lone defender of the Magicrystal, and the bad guys will spring out of the woodwork from every direction to try and destroy it. You can take them on brute force with a variety of staffs that you’ll pick up along the way, or you can take advantage of the towers scattered throughout each level to deal some damage to the vile creatures before they even get to you. Each tower can be assigned one of three types of powers – fire, lightening and ice – and these can be changed at any time during the level. Each power type can be upgraded, as can any of the staffs you collect. You can also boost your health and regenerative capabilities along with those of the crystal. In addition to all that you can have one of several pets fight along side of you, and these can be trained and upgraded as well. Just be sure you feed them so they don’t get weak. The game currently consists of 5 chapters and a total of 25 levels, and there are 3 difficulty levels so you can step up the challenge when you feel ready. Several achievements give you that extra added something to strive for in this universal offering.
Feamber Ltd., Element Defender 3D – Free
Boom Boom Hamster Golf – Tired of your electronic golf games being too realistic and bored with the typical mini-golf offerings? In the words of Monty Python: now for something completely different. Move over golf clubs – it’s much more fun to use a cannon. And who needs golf balls when you can use cute, cuddly little hamsters? Don’t worry though, no hamsters get harmed in this game… well, I would suggest not aiming for the water traps. You drag the back of the cannon to rotate it and set the trajectory, and then you press a button to determine the launch power. Once the hamster lands you have a bit of leeway to change its course by swiping on the screen. You can try to find all the shortcuts to keep your score well below par, or go for a good score to compete rank in Game Center. Maybe you’ll be interested in trying to collect the coins scattered about the course so you can buy some goodies in the Pro Shop. Or you could just indulge in a little bit of hamster target practice. Whatever the case, this game is a blast to play, if not maybe a bit more challenging when it comes to judging your aim than the usual golfing affair.
HammerCat Studio, Boom Boom Hamster Golf – Free
TurtleStrike – The Penguin used penguins to do his bidding in Batman Returns, so why not have armory-enhanced turtles? This new iOS strategy game looks to have a lot of potential. You take your squad of turtles into battle after battle to earn achievement points so you can unlock cool new stuff. You’ll get advanced weapons, be able to change the look of your turtles and even select what environment you wish to play in. Combat is turn based real time which means you and your opponent plan your attack in the same interval, and when time’s up you get to see the results of your action. It keeps the game flowing and helps build up tension, and at the same time forces you to anticipate what your opponent might be planning. Hook up with friends via Facebook or directly through the game, or if you’re into the random opponent thing trust the system to find you an adversary that won’t bore you or blow you out of the water too quickly. You can even compete in tournaments (for a small fee, of course) that reward you with real prizes. The only thing I would contend with at this point is the iTunes description claim that you never have to wait. It seemed to take quite some time for me to get hooked up on the server and finally get an opponent, and then I’m guessing they bailed because ultimately I was the winner for no apparent reason, but there certainly was some lag in receiving that verdict. Still, the experience hasn’t deterred me from looking forward to giving the game a second try.
Tiny Story! – This is the tale of a bug and his lady love. The thing is that this lady is not easily wooed, and it’s going to take all your brain power to figure out how to get her what she needs in order to become your creepy crawly gal. This is not a Disney-fied game, so don’t expect any cute voiceovers or silly dialog. In fact, this is a silent story in terms of the plot. For that matter, the game is not very forthcoming in what exactly you’re supposed to do. Prepare to spend a decent amount of time exploring and discovering on your own. Even once you’ve determined what you can interact with, figuring out how to actually solve a given puzzle takes a lot more brain power than your average point and click adventure. There are no simple “use this object here” style puzzles in Tiny Story. For the genre the developers have slapped on the game the play style is definitely different than what most gamers will be used to, but I’d encourage any fan of adventure games to give this one a try. You might just be pleasantly surprised, and then you can help encourage the developer to make the second chapter.
On5, Tiny Story! – Free
Bloodmasque – Square Enix’s latest offering has you hunting down the original undead, no other than the bloodthirsty vampire. Even better, you get to pull a Blade and be half human, half vampire yourself. You’ll design your character’s looks with an in-game editor or choose a photo of your own to use as your avatar’s likeness. You’ll have the option of instilling privacy settings so that only your closest slayer friends can see your true digitized face. You can also recruit your friends to share in your vampire slaying fun. A simplified control system means you should feel right at home tackling the undead on your touch screen device, though keep in mind that you’ll need to be in the upper echelon to play the game, as only iPhone 4S+, iPod Touch 5+ and iPad 2+ is supported. The game has roughly 12-20 hours of game play, depending on how thorough you wish to be, and IAP only adds to the fun rather than detracting from what you can do. Besides the device requirements you’ll need a bit of space (about 1.2 GB) and an internet connection, but if you’ve got what it takes and you want to see how one of the premiere game developers tackles the folks that want to suck your blood, this is just the game for you.
SQUARE ENIX, BLOODMASQUE – $6.99
Toy Monsters – This is a pretty sweet little strategy game. You select one of three toys to play as and then you have to conquer the room full of alien toys. The playing field is a rectangular grid filled with all kinds of cool gadgets, and you and each of your opponents picks one square to move to based off of a certain range of movement. Combat continues until you or all of your opponents lose their health, and then you gain some reward based on whether or not you won. There are a bunch of quests to complete, like using a certain weapon to kill a boss or activating a health power up so many times. As you continue to win battles and level up you’ll get the chance to upgrade your character and provide it with cool armor and equipment. There are 12 major missions to play in single player mode, and you can also challenge a live player for some intense PvP action. The game is compatible with the PC version, and you can even play your same game in a desktop browser if you’d like. Toy Monsters is free to play, easy to get into and can provide a nice level of challenge as you try to anticipate your enemies’ moves while planning the best one to make yourself. The only down side is that you have to be always connected, even in single player mode, and if their servers go down you’re out of luck.
Melesta, Toy Monsters – Free
Asterix: MegaSlap – I know very little about Asterix. I’m not even sure if he’s a comic book character, a cartoon hero or what. But his world does make for an interesting “launch for distance” style game. Each attempt starts off with a new level of absurdity as you wind up Asterix’s fist to punch a Roman into flight. At least it provides for a new game mechanic, though, as you actually have to spin your finger to build up momentum for Asterix and then swipe towards the Roman to execute the punch. Once you send the Roman on his way you generally don’t have any more direct control until he lands, though at least one power up – the owl – allows you to interact with the game to provide the Roman more flying time. Of course you can buy and upgrade several power ups to get maximum distance out of each launch. You can even unlock other characters from Asterix’s universe in order to help you on your quest, which is ultimately to win a kiss from the beautiful Panacea. Challenge your friends, who will appear on your course as Romans inflated like balloons. There’s nothing overly original here, but I had a hard time tearing myself away from it when I first played it, and there’s always something amusing about the whole wind-up punch gimmick.
Bulkypix, Asterix: MegaSlap – $0.99
Prehistorik – This is a throwback to the awesome platform games of the 90s. In fact, this is a remake of a 90s platform game of the same name. If the original was anything like this new version I think I missed out on something. You play a Neanderthal who must recover all of his village’s food, which has been stolen by a mean giant. Almost immediately you’ll rescue a fly that will give you advice on how to play the game but mostly probably annoy you. So far the game is your typical platform affair in the sense that you can run, jump and clobber things with a weapon (in this case a club). I’ve only had the chance to explore the first level, but if the rest of the game follows suit it will be pretty well designed and big. Factor in trying to collect all the food on each level and finding hidden bonuses – if you care about such things – then there is plenty to do. There are three worlds to provide you with a variety of different themes, and in addition to traditional platforming you’ll get to strap on a jetpack and pigsurf. The game has a good sense of humor, some cool modern retro graphics, and controls that don’t force you to scream and hate your device.
Microids, PREHISTORIK – $2.99
Go Alien, Go! – Much like the recently released Dig!, this game goes to show that given the right context, the mechanics from the classic Qix can still make for an interesting game. This time around you play an alien who is forced to wander through space due to an explosion on your home planet, only to get sucked in by the gravitational pull of Earth. That’s okay, though, because it turns out that Earth has quite the tasty smorgasbord running around its grassy plains. Your goal on each level is to capture 90% of the terrain or all of the animals. There are six major areas and two mysterious places to visit, 100 missions to complete and several different types of critters to catch. Some animals can even be turned into aliens to help you on your quest. You can also unlock different aliens to get better stats, new ufos to be able to capture more animals, and additional locations to explore. Call on your Facebook friends to help you in your conquest or challenge them to see who will reign supreme on the leaderboards.
AMUSE Mobile, Go Alien, GO! – Free
Escape from New Earth preview – The title pretty much says it all. This game isn’t actually out yet, which in a way almost makes it the epitome of the “one to watch” mantra. This is an Indiegogo crowd funding project, and if successful it will become an epic sci-fi adventure involving a human lab rat from 1963 that ends up getting teleported through time instead of just space. If you’re lucky there is maybe 2 minutes worth of game play in this demo, but it does a good job of showing off the interface and giving you a bit of background on the story. While the graphics are pretty rudimentary at this point I’d say the user interface mechanics are basically established, and it works rather well on the touch screen environment. Escape from New Earth feels like it’s going to be an adventure game told from an isometric perspective, though it sounds like the developer would like to add some basic RPG style combat to the mix. Despite the preview being so short I think it shows a lot of promise, and I for one am looking forward to seeing this become a full blown product.
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Konami Digital Entertainment, MLB Live Challenge – Free
- Schmeuk Studios, Conquist Tournament – Free
- Anawiki Games, Runes of Avalon 2 HD – Free
- SMS Services O.o.o., League of Mages – Free
- Chillingo Ltd, Iron Force – Free
- Ubisoft, Prince of Persia® The Shadow and the Flame – $2.99
- Vector Unit, Riptide GP2 – $2.99
- Lee-Kuo Chen, A Ride into the Mountains – $0.99
- Budge Studios, The Jungle Book: Fruit Dash! – $1.99
- Michael Dickman, Space Bits – $0.99
- Second Fiction, Codename Birdgame – Free
- Garden Knight Games, Bat Pack – Free
- Alexander Lading, Sky Tourist – $0.99
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: