10 New App Store Games To Watch [September 9 - 15]

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Apparently I spoke too soon last week when I cried that the Christmas like flow of games had ended for now.  I could probably write double my normal size article this week and still have games I’d want to cover to spare.  Anyway, Tiny Death is a new platform game that’s sure to resonate well with former – or current – console gamers.  Cute graphics, decent level design and a nice sense of humor may not make this game worth dying for, but it would certainly be prudent to check it out.  Disney has upped the ante for cute physics puzzlers once again with the release of Where’s My Water? 2.  You can expect more game play elements, additional quirky characters and I even hear rumors of gravity manipulation.  If you can’t get enough of infinite runners you’ll definitely want to check out Infectonator : Hot Chase.  This sequel to Infectonator takes the action to an infinite side scrolling format, but you still get to turn people into zombies.

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Clash of Elements – This is the way I like my online games.  Sessions are quick, smack talk (or any kind of conversing, for that matter) is absent and the game is just plain fun.  You control one of several different types of elements and you fight against other players that also control such elements.  Each round of combat is divided into three 30-second segments where you make as many matches as you can on a match 3 board.  Two element types help build up your defense while the rest of them bolster your attack capability.  At the end of each 30 second divide you get to watch the two elements duke it out, and when it’s over the person with the most health left wins.  As you win you’ll work your way up the global leaderboards, but more importantly you’ll complete achievements which earn you money that you can spend in the store.  You can buy power ups that will help you master the match 3 board, and you can also buy options to refill your energy bar so you can keep on playing instead of having to wait for the bar to slowly refill on its own.  According to the developers future enhancements will include an updated store, new skins for the elementals and computer controlled boss characters.  It’s already a fun little game, so I can’t wait to see what all of these enhancements bring to the table.

Clash of Elements Cube Investments sp. z o.o., Clash of Elements – Free

monday-roundup-09162013-beach-games

Beach Games – Donut Games has always been one of my favorite indie developers, and I was happy to see a game from them among the list of new releases last week.  Aside from their “rat” series, each new release tends to bring something different, and that is certainly the case with this outing.  The game currently features five different events including Frisbee Throwing, Balloon Throwing, Roller Skating, Water Skiing and Hang Gliding.  Each game controls and feels different, though they do all have a similar scoring mechanism.  Every game has three categories: endurance, skill and special.  As you complete tasks related to each of these categories your level will go up and you’ll get harder tasks to complete.  You also get an overall score for each game which all adds up to help you compete on the leaderboards or just give you a something that you can use to help better yourself when playing.  Just like with any compilation the games vary in quality, but the main thing I have to gripe about so far is that the control is not as smooth as their games typically are.  Still, pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from a Donut Games production is packed in there, and overall I am enjoying the experience.

Beach Games Donut Games, Beach Games – $0.99

monday-roundup-09162013-catching-clowns

Catching Clowns – This is an interesting take on the whole car chase theme.  You play one of three detectives chasing the crooks of the city in your flashy car.  You pretty much try to stay on the road as you blast away at the bad guy, collecting all the coins that get dropped and dodging the bullets when the thug with the gun decides to pop out and shoot back at you.  You also have to keep the streets clear by blowing away any cars that come towards you, and you have to make absolutely sure that you actually turn when the big arrows tell you to do so.  You get a basic car and one detective for free, and you must unlock the rest through the coins you collect or buy via IAP.  Until you get really good the coins come at a slow pace so you’ll definitely feel accomplished when you get your first unlock.  There is Twitter integration but no social networking or achievements of any kind at this point.  The biggest problem right now is that swiping to turn can be touchy at best, which means you’ll see a lot of unnecessary deaths.  Overall this game could use a nice spit shine, but what’s there is worth checking out in the hopes that some encouragement will get the developers to keep polishing this one up.

Catching Clowns Blackcube Productions , Catching Clowns – Free

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Ugh! – I was just thinking to myself the other day that Skyworks had kind of faded into obscurity, and then as I’m looking through last week’s new games I see that they’ve finally released a new product.  Even though they know their way around the casual game industry pretty well I was a bit disappointed at first when I started playing and realized it was one of those “endless lines of enemies” type games that I always took for a cheap knock-off of a shoot ‘em up.  It turns out I have a hard time tearing myself away from this game every time I load it up.  You have your typical in-game currency, which in this case happens to be eggs, and you can buy upgrades to your main gun and power ups as well as one time boosts.  You also collect cards that help you to unlock 10 different “trading” cards and earn you extra hearts, which are the objects that allow you to continue a game when you’ve died.  Completing missions helps build up your score multiplier, and there are more than two dozen Game Center achievements to keep you occupied.  The visuals are pretty cool and the sound effects remind me of something out of a sci-fi cartoon.  Ugh is well presented and makes a somewhat worn style of game play entertaining again.

Ugh! Skyworks, Ugh! – Free

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Ookibloks – This is one of those games where you move an object – specifically a cute little monkey in this instance – around a board by sliding it in a direction and letting it go until it hits another object.  The object of each board is to make contact with every square that contains bananas.  You’ll also have to fend off various creatures and occasionally take on bosses that fill up more than their share of the screen.  Periodically you’ll be introduced to new game elements like teleports, poles that you can use to change direction and tiles with punching gloves hidden in them.  There are more than 15 devices to discover over the course of 100+ levels, and an excess of 30 types of creatures to fend off.  Daily challenges will give you the chance to win power ups, and Banana Chase gives you an endless mode to hone your skills.  One really cool feature is that as you hit the tiles with bananas in them a musical note is emitted, allowing you to create your own “jam” over the soundtrack that will never be the same twice for a given level.  Game Center provides 22 achievements to earn and several leaderboards to compete on, and those of you that are looking for something both you and your kids can play will be perfectly safe with this offering.

Ookibloks Lampert & Sons, Ookibloks – Free

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Prohibition 1930 – Cop’s Revenge VS Mafia – This is my kind of shooting game.  One of the big reasons I never really got into the whole FPS thing was that I’m not very coordinated when it comes to running around and shooting at the same time, but Prohibition 1930 handles the footwork for me so I can concentrate on simply being bad at the shooting.  You play a hard boiled detective that takes on the Chicago mafia after his family is assassinated, and you basically get to go around shooting first and not bothering to ask questions.  Throughout the course of the game you’ll acquire several different types of weapons and take on plenty of hoodlums that would prefer you dead than alive.  Just be sure to try and avoid the hostages when you’re shooting.  Apparently your choices in the game affect the outcome, though I haven’t gotten deeply enough into it yet to see that happening.  The controls are pretty easy to manage, and the “slow time” feature is a nice addition to this shooting gallery style game.  It’s the perfect match for a touch screen environment and I can’t wait to continue my revenge on the godfather (no, not Marlon Brando).

Prohibition 1930 - Cop’s Revenge VS Mafia Microids, Prohibition 1930 – Cop’s Revenge VS Mafia – $1.99

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My Mini Castle – This castle defense game is about as simple as you can get.  Tap on the bad guys to throw fruit at them, and tap on the castle door to go outside and collect more ammunition from the slain baddies.  It’s still quite entertaining, and trying to decide when to go out and get more vegetables is akin to determining the optimal time to reload in an FPS game, since there’s no one to fire the cannon while the penguin is out.  The graphics and sound have a Gameboy feel to them, while the nice variety of upgrades is definitely in line with modern mobile games.  Between the basic premise of using vegetables because the penguin forgot to by cannon balls and the quips that the penguin spews throughout the game there’s a decent sense of humor to be found.  There is Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievement, though unfortunately that wasn’t working correctly as of the writing of this article.  That should be fixed in the next update, however.  This game plays really well on a touch screen device and is the type of game you can play for just a few minutes while passing the time waiting in a line or something.

My Mini Castle Tijmen Tio, My Mini Castle – Free

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Dead Effect – So I just got done talking about how I never caught on to the FPS craze because of my lack of run / shoot coordination, but for some reason I’ve kind of taken an interest in the genre on my iOS devices.  I particularly seem to find myself drawn to the horror themed games like Resident Evil and Dead Space, and now I’m going to add Dead Effect to the list.  So far it’s been nicely tuned to my mediocre skill level, which might turn off the more hardcore players or fans of games like N.Y. Zombies, but I quite like it.  In typical fashion you’ll find new weapons as you traipse through the corridors of the facility that you’re in, and you can also buy things in between missions.  The main game is comprised of 12 missions and you can replay any mission that you’ve already completed in order to find hidden goodies like orbs and tablets that are lying around.  There are also 5 survival missions, but I’m not sure yet what actually unlocks those.  In one of the menus there is an option for Game Center, but that doesn’t seem to be working at this point yet.  The main drawback for me right now is that you apparently can’t save in the middle of a mission, which I believe to be a no-no for any mobile game.  Otherwise I think this is another fine survival horror offering for iOS devices.

Dead Effect Bulkypix, Dead Effect – $3.99

monday-roundup-09162013-dodge-this

Dodge This! – Yeah, I seem to have a bit of a shooting theme going on here, though this one certainly takes the sillier side of the concept.  You control a cannon and must skillfully knock wave after wave of runners off of a bridge before they can cross from one side to the other.  You’ll meet all kinds of colorful characters from the soldier floating on balloons that shields other runners, the thief who never goes down but earns you coins every time you peg him and the sleepy head that slows your reflexes every time he naps on the bridge.  There are more than 30 different types of runners all told, and you get introduced to each one in a manner similar to the old Road Runner cartoons from Warner Brothers.  Missions abound, the completion of which will earn you some coins over time.  You also get loot for completing waves and by shooting it out of the sky.  All of this dough can be used to unlock a bevy of cool things like new locations, different cannons and wacky power ups.  You can connect with Facebook and there are several achievements to earn, though they don’t appear to be linked to Game Center in any way.  Dodge This is a blast to play and a joy to watch, especially when certain kills engage in a Matrix like slow mo finish.

Dodge This! Chillingo Ltd, Dodge This! – Free

monday-roundup-09162013-shove-pro

Shove Pro: Producer’s Cut - I feel like I have several mini-themes permeating this week’s roundup, one of which is games that simulate scenes from blockbuster action movies.  This is still a chase game like Catching Clowns, but this time you’re on foot and you’re the one being chased.  More importantly, however, is the fact that instead of trying to avoid obstacles like you do in most games, in Shove Pro your goal is to create as much commotion as you can.  When you near a prime target you select them and then drag in the direction you want to push them.  At a minimum you’ll hopefully slow your pursuers down.  Ultimately you’ll create a chain reaction that will get you a big score and look really cool.  Earn in-game currency to update your character with cool movie props and to buy new special effects to use when you’re pushing people around.  Customize your movie name and watch as the plot details are filled in based on your actions.  Travel through 8 different cities and share the resulting movies with your friends.  The sad part of this whole package is that the shove mechanism is actually fairly hard to execute, but assuming either they tweak it to make it better or you can get used to the current system there’s an interesting runner to be played here.

Shove Pro: Producer's Cut Rad Dragon, Shove Pro: Producer’s Cut – 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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