10 New App Store Games To Watch [August 5 – 11]
Much like the protagonist in the first game I wrote about, this week’s games were out for revenge, not wanting last week’s fine collection to get the better of them. The only thing worse than a post-apocalyptic nightmare is being cast into the midst of the demons for something you didn’t do. That’s the premise behind Trial by Survival, where you must fight off the hordes for 14 days to prove your innocence. While we’ll most likely never see Zelda on the iOS platform, Kingdoms Fall makes a valiant attempt at bringing us a similar experience. The graphics have an RPG Maker feel to them and the controls could use a bit of work, but there’s a lot of potential to be had with the game. Line drawing games seem to have simmered down a bit in the last few months but they’re still coming, and one of the latest is Animal Line Crossing – Draw to Control the Farm. It’s a cute variant of the theme that will appeal to kids and could still prove somewhat challenging to adults as you get into the later levels.
The Red’s Revenge – First of all, while fairy tales might not be the mostly upbeat yarns that Disney spins, I don’t even think the Brothers Grimm were quite this gruesome. This game is definitely not for kids. In this tale of the crimson cloaked damsel the wolf has still consumed your grandma, but it’s not a pleasant picture. Your task is to hunt the wolves down and recover grandma’s body parts so that you can resurrect her. You start with a simple knife but as you collect wolf’s blood you can buy more brutal weapons to accommodate your playing style. It feels kind of like an infinite runner in the sense that the character automatically runs, but the playing field is actually a 360 degree arena. You tilt the device to steer Red, and when the wolf is in target you’ll automatically fire whatever weapon you have active. If you run into an obstacle or the wolf gets too far out of site you have to start the level over again, but even if you catch the wolf there’s no guarantee he’ll have one of your grandma’s body parts inside of him. Even gathering bonuses requires a little effort on your part because instead of just running into a crate you have to tap the screen when a sliding meter is in the right position in order to get the contents of the crate, if there are any. The visuals are pretty slick and the overall mechanics of the game are different enough to make it interesting for more than a few seconds.
Cyscorpions Inc.,, The Red’s Revenge – Free
Farm Family – I struggled with including this one because in a lot of ways it feels like “just another match 3 game”. Truthfully, though, it’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun with a match 3 game that wasn’t actually a mash up with some other genre. As you might guess the focus of the game is life on the farm, and your task on most levels is to match a certain number of several different types of crops. As the game progresses you’ll get specialty items like objects that need to morph through several stages by being next to successful matches or objects that need to be matched so that they can morph into another object to be matched. One thing I really like is that when you make a match, any crops adjacent to that match get a bonus modifier added to them so that if you use them in the next match they actually count towards more crops being collected. There are also levels were you are only required to collect a certain number of crops in total, and it doesn’t matter what kind they are. You only get a certain number of moves to meet your goal, and on the levels where you have specific crops to collect if you have spare moves you go into Mania mode and the resident farm animals collect extra crops for you for a bonus. There are also special items you can buy to help clear the board in one way or another. The game is free to play, and as long as you keep winning you can keep playing, but five failed boards means you have to wait for a period of time or spend some IAP to keep on going. Still, if you’re careful and patient you can have a pretty good time without spending any cash.
Kritter Ball – This one is probably more for the kids, but I’ve been having some fun with it so I thought I’d mention it here. Besides, from a company that seems to be known for releasing look-alike games soon after their “inspiration” has been released, I’m having a hard time pinpointing what this one might be a copy of. Anyway, it’s pretty bare bones in that you hit a ball around a one screen wide by one screen high playing field, collecting all the coins you can and occasionally taking out the wildlife such as wolves, bears and gophers that appear on the field. For free you get growth and multiple ball power ups that pop up sporadically, and at the beginning of each round you can buy four more power ups with the coins you’ve collected or bought via IAP. As you continue to play you’ll level up which increases your score multiplier and progresses you to new levels with different scenery and obstacles. Each game costs a unit of energy and when that runs out you have to buy more via IAP or wait patiently for it to refill. In other words, this is your typical Facebook style game. In fact, you can log in to Facebook to challenge your friends and participate in weekly tournaments. The game also has Game Center leaderboards, though there are no achievements at this point. There’s not a lot of frill to Kritter Ball, but it’s free and it would probably keep the children entertained.
Triniti Interactive Limited, Kritter Ball – Free
Rad Skater Apocalypse Boom! – Apparently this originally came out in June as a game just for iPhone / iPod Touch devices, but the universal version was just released as a separate free download and since I don’t actually remember this from before I’m going to talk about it anyway. Obviously it needs the press since I missed it the first time around. You are a skater who must defend the world from the 8 bit apocalypse, or at least try and get your mix tapes back. It’s a simple side scroller with a button for jumping and a button for grinding or playing your synthesizer if you’ve unlocked it. You’ll actually get the chance to unlock several things, some good and others bad, as you continue to score more and more points. The visuals would fit in well with the stuff that Sierra Online turned out in the 80s, and the music and sound effects have that first or second generation Nintendo feel. The game supports Game Center for leaderboards and the only IAP that I can see is if you wish to get rid of the ads. Otherwise the game seems fully playable with the free version. The one thing I can’t figure out is why you’re collecting all the money you do, because there’s no place to spend it.
muzboz, Rad Skater Apocalypse Boom! – Free
Every Hero – This is kind of an interesting twist on the Lemmings concept. The land of Sugarloaf has been besieged, and it’s up to you to recover the realm territory by territory. Each level requires you to use one or more heroes to accomplish your task. However, there are no buttons to control your heroes’ actions. Instead, each hero can take on one of ten different jobs. It’s up to you to determine which job is appropriate for each situation and assign one or more heroes to that job by dragging the job icon onto that hero. If you want to assign the same job to all heroes just double tap the job. For the first level or two there are signs indicating what job would be best for a given scenario, but you’ll soon be on your own. There is a lot to remember, but thankfully they’ve provided a tutorial that shows what each job can do that you can access as often as you want to. The graphics kind of have that “professional doodler” look, but the music is surprisingly well orchestrated for this style of game. There does not appear to be any social integration at this point, and the only judge of how successful you’re doing is the best time tagged on each level. Every Hero feels like it could use a few simple embellishments, but overall it’s an intriguing concept that has lots of merit.
Sungrand, Every Hero – $0.99
Mikey Hooks – The sequel to Mikey Shorts, this game is basically Mikey Shorts with hooks! Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you, because it contains the same frantic fun as its predecessor. You must traverse 36 levels across 6 environments, running, sliding, jumping and hooking to get to the end as quickly as you can. The real question is do you try to get the lowest time possible and earn three stars or pick up every coin that you can. Thankfully you don’t have to strictly choose because you can always go back and play levels you’ve beaten again to either get a better time or collect more bling. You can even race against your own ghost if that helps you make more informed decisions about what to do differently the second time around. There are 32 achievements to earn, 25 leaderboards to compete in and a total of 220 different items to purchase between headgear, eyewear, facial features and hooks. The game is universal and has iCloud support so you can play on whatever device you have handy. One thing I really appreciate about the game is that it handles hook swinging better than most games that employ such a mechanic, which means I can concentrate on being quick and getting my moolah.
BeaverTap Games, LLC, Mikey Hooks – $1.99
Little Alchemist – This is a cute little card game where you have to conquer your foes by playing a better (or at least slightly more clever) set of cards than them. It’s another in a long line of descendants of such games as Magic: The Gathering, but its simplified rule set makes it easy to get into and attractive to a more casual collectable card game audience. There are more than 150 different cards to collect, and I’m sure there will be more added over time since booster packs indirectly provide a source of IAP. You use in-game coins and diamonds to buy the packs, but of course you’ll find it a lengthy process to acquire in-game currency unless you spend some IAP. In the mean time you can take multiple copies of the same card and combine them to create more powerful cards, and you can also research combinations of different types of cards which can be used in combat for neat effect. For example, take a baseball and a bat and combine them to form… you guessed it, a baseball bat! There is what seems like a fairly substantial single player campaign as well as the ability to play two player both over the internet via Game Center and locally. Just like with real collectable card games you’ll have a rough time besting a foe that has dumped some cash into buying extra cards, but the ease of playability and the colorful cards make it worth trying given the cheap entrance fee.
Chinzilla, Inc., Little Alchemist – Free
Make My Head Grow – While The Red’s Revenge was merely a gruesome retelling of a well known childhood tale, this game is just plain disturbing. You are a little man trapped and a box, and your job is to stretch as far as you can and then bang your head on the ground. Stretch too much and your head will explode, otherwise it will nicely expand in size. When you feel it’s big enough you ram yourself into the side of the box in an attempt to knock the other player, who is also inside a box, off the edge of the playing field. Before you do anything, though, I would strongly suggest staying on the start screen long enough to hear the theme song. Assuming you have the proper sense of humor you won’t regret it. There are three levels of difficulty to play against the computer, or if you happen to have a depraved enough friend in the same house you can play two player on the same device. There are 12 achievements to earn and 3 leaderboards to rank on, so while it’s not an overly deep game it’s great to kill a few minutes when you feel the need to satisfy your seedier side.
Funday Factory, Make My Head Grow – Free
Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar – It has been a long time since I’ve wandered the lands of Britannia, and never have I ventured into the online realm before. Ironically enough the game starts off feeling like a solo effort, so I was a bit surprised when I read the iTunes description and saw that this was an online game where you could connect with up to three other players to wreck havoc in the land’s many dungeons. Character creation and subsequent leveling up is based on the concept of eight virtues, each representing a different personality trait. How you answer a set of initial questions determines your starting reputation, though you can choose to jump right into the action if you wish. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to mold that reputation later as each response you give towards a character or quest helps shape who you are. As you defeat foes you’ll collect different types of keys, and which ones you use to unlock the various treasure chests you run across will determine what is contained within. There’s definitely a lot of similarities to the various other action RPG titles that exist on the iOS platform, but there are also enough tweaks to give it that Lord British (or in this case Lady British) flair. I don’t know how die hard Ultima fans will feel about the game, but if you’re looking for a solid action RPG to play with your friends, this is definitely worth looking into.
Electronic Arts, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar – Free
Wormix – I think the name is a bit unfortunate, especially given that the game was released in the same week as the third installment of a certain other franchise with similar nomenclature and a distinctly common style of game play. Still, this game does a pretty good job of standing on its own, first and foremost by introducing multiple creature types that each has their own impact on game play. Also, from what I can tell you only ever control one combatant at a time, though in certain game modes you can hook up with your friends to lay down some carnage… and then turn on them when the time is right. There is a decent selection of single player missions to embark on as well as several bosses to fight once you’ve leveled your character up enough. If you prefer the human element you can enter into a PvP arena or challenge your friends to a good old fashioned duel. You can customize your character with hats and artifacts and boosts their skills to make the perfect fighting machine. Speaking of which, this game boasts over 50 different weapons to add to your arsenal, almost making it too comprehensive. If you’ve been looking for a change from the aforementioned long running series, this might be a very suitable alternative.
Pragmatix Ltd, Wormix – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- Frima, Nun Attack: Run & Gun – Free
- Funday Factory, Butterfly Sky – Free
- Kongregate, Tyrant Unleashed – Free
- Toylogic Inc., The Draco – Free
- HeroCraft Ltd., KIKORIKI. Team Invincible – $0.99
- Young Hoo Kim, OilMan : Seekers of Black Gold – Free
- Blue Systems DK, World Supremacy – Free
- MLB.com, MLB Ballpark Empire – Free
- Team17 Software Ltd, Worms™ 3 – $4.99
- Larva Labs Ltd., Gurk III – the 8-bit RPG – $1.99
- Give me Five Entertainment Group, Past Memories – $0.99
- Quark Games, Inc., Champs: Battlegrounds – 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: