10 New App Store Games To Watch [August 25 - September 1]

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This week was full of exploding cats, martial arts chickens and zombies that think humans are the infection.  Zombie Farm Battles is a card game based spin off of the Zombie Farm series featuring all the zombies you’ve come to love plus a bunch of new ones.  Build up your undead horde, mutate and combine to create the ultimate army and wreak havoc on those annoying humans.  On the other hand, maybe you just want to help Dr. Mouse rid the world of cats.  In the Pipes inspired game Ice Cream Cats – Control the Pipes Flow Puzzle Game it’s up to you to make sure each cat gets fed the ice cream they love until they can’t hold any more and end up exploding.  Perhaps you just want to master one of those arts that are supposed to be designed for defense and not offense.  If you don’t mind stepping into the feet of a chicken there’s Tiger & Chicken, a fun action game with giant crabs, floating elemental spirits and Shaolin trained poultry.

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Joining Hands 2 – Typically I’m a pretty big fan of 10 tons, but to be perfectly frank I didn’t really get into the original Joining Hands.  Maybe I just didn’t give it enough time, but I seemed to be flying through every single one of the puzzles without struggle.  The sequel hasn’t necessarily been brain wrenching so far, but there’s been enough diversity that it has actually managed to keep my attention.  You must help the Peablins, whose only desire is to be able to hold hands.  All you have to do is move them around the board so that they are next to a Peablin with a free hand, and they’ll generally do the rest of the work.  Of course the Starblins don’t have any hands, so you just have to surround them with loves.  Then there are the old Peablins who are too tired to move so you need to make sure that you move other Peablins into adjacent tiles that are in the direction that the old guys’ hands are facing – and don’t forget that their beards count as “hands” too.  In all you’ll discover a total of 8 different Peablins across more than 140 puzzles.  Joining Hands 2 is great for those that like to make gaming a family experience, and the simple mechanics and lack of a timer make it perfect for those that just want to relax with a puzzle game.

Joining Hands 2 10tons Ltd, Joining Hands 2 – $2.99

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Zombie Farm Battles – Yep, this is a card battle game that takes place in the same universe as the Zombie Farm games.  I like it because they try to give it a board game spin as well.  In some respects it makes the game kind of drag between battles, but at least it’s a slightly different approach to the genre.  You start out with one measly zombie, but it won’t take long before you build up a veritable army of the undead.  Of course how diverse that army becomes will depend on whether or not you want to shell out some cash.  I’m going to suggest that you can probably complete the game without buying any IAP, but like most card based games there are different levels of cards you can collect, and the rare and super sets will be quite challenging to invest in if you don’t part with some real dough in order to get the in-game resources needed to acquire the card packs.  In addition to the single player quest to rid the world of the infection that is the human race, you can also take on players from around the world in arena battles.  Rise through the ranks and become a champion in order to win period events and earn special cards.  Most of these card based games turn out to be more of a fad for me than anything, but so far this is one fad that’s quite entertaining.

Zombie Farm Battles Playforge Games LLC, Zombie Farm Battles – Free

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Match Racer – Here’s a game for the pyromaniac in all of us.  It’s an infinite racer where your vehicle and all of the obstacles are made out of matchsticks.  A force field allows you to pass through green matchsticks unharmed and red matchsticks with less damage, while your flame burst gives you the chance to play with matches and light the world on fire (just don’t tell your mom).  You have to be careful because you only have so much energy to expend on your gadgets before they need a recharge, and you only have a certain amount of health before your racer goes up in smoke.  Collect coins to buy upgrades and get refills for your energy and health, but pay attention because most of those things are intertwined with deadly matchsticks as well.  The game offers 80 achievements to earn and the chance to run quick races against your friends or random players via Game Center.  You can even go into design mode and give your racer a custom look… well, at least as much as you can customize a bunch of matches.

Match Racer Enter9 LLC, Match Racer – Free

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Puzzle Trooper – This is one of the latest, greatest “combat meets match 3” games to hit the iOS platform.  I was digging this game before I even played it because instead of the fantasy theme that permeates 95% of this hybrid genre’s existence Puzzle Trooper uses a military backdrop.  You get a leader and 4 troops to take into combat, and you can enlist the aid of another player’s leader to fight along side you.  Combat is based on matching elements that are the same color as your troops, and once you touch an orb to move it around you get 6 seconds to move it wherever you want on the board, meaning you can set up some pretty slick combos if you’re sharp.  Matching 5 or more of a color allows that troop to attack all opponents, and a match of 6 or more calls in an air strike.  There are more than 200 different soldiers to collect, and like most of these games any more you can enhance them with other troops that you don’t want to keep and evolve them into better troops when they reach a certain skill level.  150 missions will keep you quite busy, while special events will challenge you with some tough bosses.  Overall this is a rather nice addition to this combo style of game play.

Puzzle Trooper Kabam, Puzzle Trooper – Free

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Tiger & Chicken – So what do you get when you take the concept of Kung-Fu Panda and replace it with Shaolin trained chickens?  Well, that’s not quite an accurate description of Tiger & Chicken, but it certainly feels like the hit Dreamworks franchise might have been an inspiration for this game.  Instead of cool sidekicks like a stork and praying mantis, however, you will be accompanied by 4 outspoken elemental spirits.  So far the game seems to be as much exposition as hack ‘n slash, but given the quality of the visuals that’s okay because it does feel somewhat like an interactive animated movie.  You’ll explore a variety of locales and complete more than 50 different quests across four episodes, the first of which is a free download.  There are at least 25 unique classes of monster to take on as well as 5 hefty bosses to tangle with.  To do this you’ll have to upgrade your character’s skills along the way as well as equip him with the best equipment from the more than 150 items you find throughout your quest.  From what I’ve experienced so far this game looks and feels the part of a console style game, and if the character design looks familiar just think “Crazy Chicken” – or look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Tiger & Chicken Deutsche Telekom AG, Tiger & Chicken – Free

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This Is Not A Test: A Post-Apocalyptic Prequel – This sounds like a choose your own adventure style game done up as a comic book with a slick looking visual inventory, so assuming the story is good it sounds like the near perfect mash-up to me.  Choose your skills wisely to try to create the story you want to tell.  Make wise decisions and become a beacon of hope or throw caution to the window and rise up as the rebel without a cause.  Talk to characters you run across to learn more about what’s going on in the world, and then try and convince them to come with you to strengthen your chance of surviving.  Or just kill them so that you can keep everything to yourself.  You can even visit the community web site and offer suggestions for new choices to make and additional storylines to be told.  I want to call this “The Walking Dead” without zombies, and while that might not be a fair assessment to make, it would certainly be the kind of game I’d want to play.

This Is Not A Test: A Post-Apocalyptic Prequel Jon Richardson, This Is Not A Test: A Post-Apocalyptic Prequel – $0.99

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Ice Cream Cats – Control the Pipes Flow Puzzle Game – There have been plenty of takes on the classic Pipes game over the years, and quite honestly they all begin to feel somewhat the same after a while.  Thankfully Ice Cream Cats breaks that trend if for no other reason than because of its silly atmosphere.  Instead of just trying to get a flow of some substance from point A to point B or trying to manipulate a bunch of conduit in such a way that all items are connected, in Ice Cream Cats your goal is to get ice cream flowing to the various cats so that they gorge themselves and explode.  Don’t worry, though, because there’s nothing more than cartoon mischief to be seen in this game.  Each cat has a special flavor of ice cream, though they all like rainbow.  Use bombs to clear out sections of pipe and tap on crates to break them and reveal new pipe sections.  Play Levels mode and see how far you can get, or delve into Arcade mode and try to reach the highest score you possibly can.  Enjoy the game yourself or share it with your kids who will undoubtedly love it as well.

Ice Cream Cats - Control the Pipes Flow Puzzle Game Tapps Tecnologia da Informação Ltda., Ice Cream Cats – Control the Pipes Flow Puzzle Game – Free

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Angel Tomb Hunter HD Full Version – I wasn’t expecting to find a Tomb Raider trapped inside of this package, but Angel Tomb Hunter doesn’t even come close.  However, I think there is some potential here.  The game uses the Unity 3D engine and actually has some pretty good modeling and visual effects going for it.  The music and sound aren’t that bad either.  Unfortunately it’s not very clear where you are supposed to be going or doing at any given moment except for the fact that you have to constantly shoot things.  Apparently you’re trying to save your friend but there are no clues where you might need to look for this friend.  To compound that frustration, the developers thought it would be a good idea to have the fire button also control your ability to turn, so basically you can’t do one without the other.  Even worse still is the fact that you can’t actually run and shoot at the same time.  It’s almost like the folks that designed this game hadn’t actually played an FPS on the device before.  Taking all that into account, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this title in its current state.  However, if the developers get the controls cleaned up and give the game a bit more of a discernable direction, this game could be a lot of fun.

Angel Tomb Hunter HD Full Version Katie Cheng, Angel Tomb Hunter HD Full Version – $2.99
Angel Tomb Hunter Free Katie Cheng, Angel Tomb Hunter Free – Free

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International Boxing Champions – Normally I prefer the cartoony, over the top style boxing games, but there’s something about the simultaneous simplicity and depth of this one that I find refreshing.  You choose one of eight boxers and duke it out with the rest of the clan including yourself at some point.  There are three belts you can earn, and in between attempts at vying for the championship you can take on boxers you’ve already beaten in a grudge match.  Earn money to enhance your fighter by raising several different stats, or spend the big bucks to buy him some cool combo moves.  And of course by “big bucks” I mean the money you earn for winning fights, though you can supplement that through IAP if you’d like.  You get one fighter for free and the rest can be purchased using diamonds which are also available via IAP or by completing Tapjoy tasks, which usually require you signing up for something.  The controls are simple, though on the iPad they are just a bit too spread out for comfort (they would probably feel great on the iPad Mini).  The roaring crowd is a great motivator to keep on pressing on, especially since it seems to get loader and more vigorous when you’re actually winning.  All told this is a pretty decent entry in the genre that plays well on a touch screen device.

International Boxing Champions Coeus Creative, International Boxing Champions – Free

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Bubble Epic – A long time ago I was addicted to one of these bubble popping games on the internet, but since then I’ve not had too much of an interest in playing them.  I really like this one, though.  The premise is your generic “clear so many from the top row”, but it’s the star system that I think is cool.  You can earn up to three stars based on your total points for a level, and points are earned by getting bubbles into the containers at the bottom of the screen.  Anything that is no longer attached to the top of the board when you make a match will fall into the containers, as will anything left once you’ve cleared the required number from the top as well as however many bubbles you didn’t use while trying to clear everything away.  As you make combos the values of certain buckets will go up, and with enough combos all of the buckets will reach their peak score amounts.  The game offers nine different power ups to choose from and currently as 160 different levels available.  The only thing I don’t really care for is that you need gold to buy power ups, and it appears so far that the only way to get gold is through IAP, which doesn’t seem fair given that the cheapest power up I’ve seen so far is 2000 gold and pricing starts at $2 for 600 gold.  If you can live without the power ups and like this style of game play, Bubble Epic is definitely worth giving a try.

Bubble Epic 6waves Lolapps, Bubble Epic – Free

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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