10 New App Store Games To Watch [August 12 - 18]

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I suppose you’re all expecting me to gush about Plants vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to a cultural phenomenon.  Well I’m not going to do it, though I suppose if you’re a devotee of the original you’ll find a lot more zombie busting to do this time around.  Speaking of sequels, the anime inspired RPG tale continues in Sage Fusion 2.  More game play, an engrossing story and thoughtfully planned encounters should make for an appealing adventure.  To finish out this thought, Erica Reed is back in Cognition Episode 2.  If this title even simply maintains the quality of its predecessor then any true adventure game aficionado will want to check it out.

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Crack&Match – Lately it seems like every match 3 game wants to claim that they offer something different, but few really do.  I’m not going to claim that this one does either, but it sure feels unique to me.  Your job is to match atoms of the same color, and besides just adding physics to the equation the development team has taken the playing field into the third dimension.  When the matches you make explode they actually jostle the board around a bit before new atoms come to fill the gap.  You can even shuffle the board yourself at any time without penalty other than the actual time that is consumed.  Don’t like the colors on the board?  Mix different colored atoms to create even more possibilities.  Special atoms will provide bonuses and score multipliers when burst, and each round provides you with a mix of one time and cumulative goals to try and achieve.  The sound is a bit sporadic on my iPad 2, and the 60 second timer can be a bit frustrating until you start getting better at playing the game.  Overall though, this is a match 3 experience that rises above the norm and definitely gives other developers in the genre something to aspire to.

Crack&Match richard masa, Crack&Match – Free

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Pocket Land – You’ve played this game before, or so you think.  Place two or more of the same tile adjacent to each other and they’ll merge into a better tile.  There are different types of tiles like grass, rocks and water, and at certain levels in the chain of a particular type the tiles can be harvested for resources.  Cut down a tree to get wood so you can build a hut, for example.  Also, some tile types can expand beyond a single square.  Make two ponds next to each other and they’ll merge together to form a river while continuing to take up two squares.  As you continue to merge tiles you’ll unlock new types to use.  All the while you have to be careful, though, because every type except the basic grass element requires mana to place, so you might just run out of the basic element needed to expand your kingdom.  The playing field is a sparse 6×6 grid which further heightens the challenge as you have limited space to work with.  There are definitely some cool possibilities if you have the patience to unlock the various building blocks.  The developers have also mentioned new features like disasters and different game modes, so let’s support them and encourage that kind of development.  A good earthquake can always shake things up when you’re getting bored with your current land.

Pocket Land Ozguc Yildirim, Pocket Land – $0.99

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Spiny Lobsters in Snaplantis – You might not be aware of this, but Snapple has a list of “real facts” on their web site; 928 to be exact.  Apparently they thought fact #694 was important enough to highlight, as that is the basis for this latest promotional game on the App Store.  In the style of the classic snake game you control a line of spiny lobsters that want nothing more than to conga the night away.  The problem is that a nasty witch who is bitter about her lack of participation in this event wants to stop the line, so you must collect fruits to power up Poseidon’s blast so that he can stop the witch from ruining your fun.  The game is not very deep, location aside, but the concept is silly, the music is fun and it can actually be addictive in small spurts.  And the idea of it being a conga line aside, the Wiki article on Spiny Lobsters seems to confirm this odd behavior.  Point for the Snapple researchers!

Spiny Lobsters In Snaplantis Kongotec, Spiny Lobsters In Snaplantis – Free

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Cryptic Cosmos – This is the fourth game in the Cryptic line of adventure games, though much like Cryptic Caverns it has nothing to do with the other two installments.  This time around you’re a skilled bounty hunter that has tracked his prey to a space station, though as soon as you arrive you realize the station’s inhabitants didn’t stand a chance.  You must explore the station to learn where your target has gone and track him down.  You’ll explore many areas on the space station and beyond, collecting more than 50 items to help you find your mission.  There is a map that shows you all the locations and where you are at any given time, and a data pad is used to record potentially pertinent information so you don’t have to keep notes yourself.  There’s an in-game hint system which is good, because I had to reference it more times than I’d like to admit.  There are plenty of object based puzzles and mini-games, and several of them present quite a challenge.  I’ve played 3 out of the 4 Cryptic games (I missed Caverns for some reason), and so far I’d say this is the best one.  Adventure game fans definitely won’t want to pass this one up.

Cryptic Cosmos 3D Methods, Cryptic Cosmos – $0.99

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Tangle Tube Deluxe – Having worked in the IT business for more than 20 years, I’ve dealt with more than my share of trying to trace a network cable from point A to point B amongst a whole mob of other cables.  Tangle Tubes basically takes that concept and turns it into a game, which I will admit is a lot more appealing than the actual task of trying to sort said bank of cables.  Of course this game uses pipes, but it’s more or less the same thing.  You tap the two ends of a pipe to mark it out, though it doesn’t actually disappear because that would make the rest of the level too easy.  Three wrong taps and the level is over, allowing you to hang your head in shame.  For free you get to try out 3 of the 5 difficulty levels.  If you want the other two difficulty settings as well as the ability to keep track of your times and the option of changing the look of the pipes you’ll have to dish up a buck to buy the full version.  I think this game will eventually need some more options to keep persistent gamers happy, and the ability to compete against others almost seems like a necessity in this type of game.  Hopefully we’ll see some updates to expand what Tangle Tube Deluxe has to offer.

Tangle Tubes Deluxe Terry DiFeliciantonio, Tangle Tubes Deluxe – $0.99

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Lionel Battle Train – I think it might have gotten more interested in model trains if they would have had weapons mounted on the top.  That may not be practical or useful in the real world, but thankfully it works quite well in the electronic world as demonstrated by this new offering from the pioneering model train company Lionel.  You’ll have to master 19 missions across 3 different areas as you try and track down Dr. DeRaille.  Add cars to your train, boost up the armor and slap on some high powered weapons so that you can take out all the RoboCars that will try and thwart your progress.  Running low on cash?  Check out one of the many side missions that are quite challenging but offer great rewards.  Stick with the basic train or cough up the resources to buy two other kinds for even more enjoyment.  Collect mechanic kits to fix damaged cars, keep the manually fired weapons busy so that you’re dealing maximum carnage to the bad guys, and make sure you change lanes before the one you’re on dead ends.  There are multiple Game Center achievements to earn and plenty of challenge to be had.

Lionel Battle Train Lionel, LLC, Lionel Battle Train – Free

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Perfect Kick – I’m a huge fan of Chillingo, so even though I don’t get into electronic soccer games too much I decided to give this one a try.  I was pleasantly surprised when I loaded it up and saw that the developer was Gamegou, who actually makes one of the few e-soccer games that I do really enjoy.  This one is much different than their previous efforts, however, as it focuses on one on one penalty kick competitions.  Score more goals than your opponent in the course of five kicks each, though you don’t have to win by best out of five.  Two goals will earn you a victory if your opponent only has one.  Win money to buy better equipment, and level up through repeated wins to unlock even more cool things to buy.  You can compete in weekly leaderboards, win trophies as you rise through the ranks, and unlock achievements to bolster your ego.  The controls are simple flicks so anyone can pick it up and start playing with a minimum of hassle.  You can play offline in practice mode, but the heart of the game is playing against a real opponent somewhere around the world.  I’ll definitely be adding Perfect Kick the list of multi-player games that I actually like to play.

Perfect Kick Chillingo Ltd, Perfect Kick – Free

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Telekinesis Kyle – While not necessarily cliché, the story has been told before – a naïve kid with special powers gets tricked into becoming a potential experiment.  Still, the game does a great job of telling the story with a mix of 3D animated sequences and cool comic book style cut scenes.  In between times there’s a pretty cool puzzle platformer to be played as well.  You’ll use your power of telekinesis to move crates, metal boxes, gears and more to navigate 27 different deadly rooms.  Build bridges to cross spike filled gaps, fix motors to get necessary equipment running, and block fatal laser beams with metal objects.  You must always be conscious of what you’re trying to lift because Kyle can only handle so much and certain tasks require you to move more than one thing at the same time.  You get seven levels for free, and they clearly show that some time was spent coming up with decent level designs, but it would have been nice to see a level or two that had something a-typical: lasers and spikes pretty much saturate every platform game in existence.  That aside, Telekinesis Kyle is a nice example of mobile platforming done right.

Telekinesis Kyle Vellum Interactive, Telekinesis Kyle – Free

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Geometry Dash – If you don’t think simple games can be addictive you’re just playing the wrong games.  All you have to do in Geometry Dash is tap the screen to jump at just the right time.  How much more basic can you get than that?  Yet if you play games anything like I do you’ll mess up over and over and over again.  The funny thing is that you won’t care, because you’ll be so determined to do it right the next time that you’ll keep right on playing.  Eventually you’ll master the part you had trouble with, only to fail somewhere else.  The game currently only has seven levels, but so far that’s been more than enough to keep me busy.  You can even play the levels out of order which is nice, because that way when you get frustrated with one you can move on to another and realize that the last one you were working on wasn’t so bad.  The game has both standard and practice modes, though the practice mode switches up the song so it almost feels like a new level.  At least practice mode gives you the chance to set checkpoints so you don’t have to start over when you die.  The game comes with a level editor, but in its current state it doesn’t feel too user friendly and the instructions were absent.  Still, the game is a blast to play and if they open up the level editor so that you can use your own songs it could be something quite spectacular.

Geometry Dash Robert Topala, Geometry Dash – $1.99

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Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy – I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if World Of Warcraft had been conceived in the “old days”, but frankly I never really have.  Thankfully someone has done the work for us, and the result is Game Of Watchcraft.  There is no multi-player, no skill tree, and quite honestly not even a whole lot of different colors.  It turns out the game doesn’t need any of that for it to be rather enjoyable.  The screen is split into two halves, the top half being the domain of demons and the “big boss”, and the bottom half containing goblins and treasure chests.  You’ll engage in epic quests like “fight the boss” or “collect 8 treasure chests”.  Combat earns you XP which allows you to level up, though I’m not really sure that does anything for you. Defeating the boss, on the other hand, earns you some cool accessory like boots or a better staff.  Please don’t even consider this game if you’re looking for a deep RPG experience.  However, if you remember what it was like to think LCD games were “cool”, you won’t want to pass this one up.  It’s one of the best remakes of an old fashion game that didn’t exist that I’ve seen to date.

Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy eSolution, Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy – $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:

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:

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