10 New App Store Games To Watch [September 16 – 22]
This was another incredible week for iOS games, starting with the release of heavy hitters Infinity Blade III and Angry Birds Star Wars II. Turns out a lot of other folks released games as well, with the powerhouse known as Disney actually publishing three separate titles. The one that caught my eye more was DuckTales: Scrooge’s Loot, a third person online treasure hunt involving all the quirky characters from one of Disney’s best 80’s after school cartoons. If you prefer something a little more offbeat you might give Captain Bubblenaut a try. This interesting take on the Tiny Wings phenomenon has you rolling over the opposition while moving the landscape back and forth to guarantee your character a safe landing. The You Don’t Know Jack franchise continues to expand with You Don’t Know Jack Party. This time around the object is to taunt your friends in person, so the focus here is to get 2-4 people together, hook the device running the game to your TV, and then use all your other devices as the controllers for this irreverent quiz game show.
Puzzle Knights – I didn’t realize it at first, but this game comes to us from the developers of KnightScape, which I actually wrote about in an earlier roundup. Once again they’ve managed to take a genre that has become at least saturated and put a unique spin on it. Your task is to train up a knight to become the strongest hero in the land. You do that by vying against and conquering your peers, but the journey won’t be an easy one. New equipment cost money, and money doesn’t come so quickly unless you win matches. In order to win you must devise a battle plan by placing several commands in the order you wish for them to be executed. You can alter this plan at any time, except when you are in the middle of a battle. To fuel your attacks you must fill up your energy bar which is done by playing a match 3 game. There isn’t much in the way of frills where the match 3 mechanics are concerned, but it’s an interesting switch to see the energy and combat phases separate like they’ve done here. Once you’ve filled up your stamina meter and selected your battle plan you get to watch your knight square off against a random opponent or a friend from your Facebook list. If you like match 3 mash-ups but are looking for something a bit different, Puzzle Knights is worth checking out.
Angry Birds Star Wars II – I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve given Rovio grief a time or two about being a “one trick pony” with the Angry Birds series, albeit a very popular and long running trick. Still, I decided to give the franchise a go again after quite some time of not playing new installments, and not too surprisingly it still maintains that “easy to play, hard to master” addictiveness that made the game skyrocket to the top of the charts in the first place. Of course it doesn’t hurt that in this case they’ve melded with one of the preeminent sci-fi franchises of the last 3 decades. From the opening song fans will realize that Rovio has done a nice job of merging the two universes. The characters are well designed, and the cut scenes do a humorous job of telling the Angry Birds version of a tale that takes place a long time ago… you get the drift. There are more than 30 characters to work with, and you even get the chance to walk the dark side with the pigs! You can also swap out characters in the slingshot at any time. Another new feature that’s pretty cool is that you can add characters to your roster by purchasing actual figures at your local toy store. Angry Birds is back and quite possibly better than ever.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, Angry Birds Star Wars II – $0.99
Guns’n’Glory Zombies – The Guns’n’Glory series started out as a fairly traditional tower defense game with a few neat twists, but now it’s beginning to evolve into its own sub-species. The latest iteration drops you into a zombie apocalypse and gives you four girls and a pug to save the day. The girls will handle the business of obliterating the zombies automatically, but it’s up to you to make sure they are in the optimal location at any given moment. And you better keep an eye on their ammunition because they don’t automatically reload, either. As you clear off the city streets you’ll earn currency and candy that you can use to buy items, upgrade weapons and increase certain skills that each of the ladies possesses. While you’re playing – and even while you’re away – the pug will spend his time digging up goodies for you to use in your battle. Now don’t hold me to this part, but it sounds like if you take too long cleaning up the streets then areas you’ve cleansed can get re-infected. I can’t confirm or deny that at this point, but that could be either a real interesting incentive or a nasty deterrent depending on how much time you can spend with the game. There are 19 Game Center achievements to earn, and you can even fight for a spot on the leaderboard if you need to prove that your apocalypse management skills are better than everyone else’s.
HandyGames, Guns’n’Glory Zombies – Free
Get Water! For India – I had to get my infinite runner in for the week, though don’t hold your breath that this will be the last one for this roundup. Anyway, this is actually a sister release of Get Water!, but since I didn’t cover it the first time I decided to mention it now. The first difference you’ll note is that there is no mechanism for jumping or sliding. Instead you just draw lines and the main character Maya will run to the appropriate spot. Your task is to gather as much water as possible, but be wary of the red water drops as well as the turtle and peacock that will try and bother you. Along the way you’ll earn pencils that can be used to buy power ups to make your task easier and hopefully help you last longer. There are also missions to complete as you run, just like most any other infinite runner that you’ll find at this point. The main reason I included Get Water! For India, however, is that it benefits a good cause. The game itself is free, but 50% of all IAP purchases goes to charity: water, an organization whose goal is to make sure everyone has safe water to drink. I’m not a sponsor or anything, and I suggest you check the organization out before supporting it yourself, but in the mean time you still get a decent infinite runner with a different play mechanic for a great price.
Decode Global, Get Water! For India – Free
Infinity Blade III – I suppose every once in a while I need to cover some of the “big” titles, and there’s probably nothing more anticipated this week than Infinity Blade III. I actually own the first two, though I have only played a bit of one of them and I honestly couldn’t tell you which one it was that I played. Still, I get why these games are popular, and it sounds like this one is bigger and better in most every way possible. If you’re familiar with the series you already know about the responsive, easy to use controls. This iteration has more ground to cover than ever before, with environments that dynamically change as you set your own destiny. They’ve also included a world map to make travelling across great lengths just a bit easier. You can play as two different characters this time, and you also have a base of operations affectionately called “the hideout” where you can visit other allies as you unlock them. When you need a break from saving the world on your own you can join with players around the world in three different game play modes that will allow you to conquer demanding bosses and collect rare items. If you’ve been with Siris from the beginning you’re probably already playing this game, but if you haven’t taken the plunge yet this closer to the trilogy seems like as good a jumping in point as any.
Chair Entertainment Group, LLC, Infinity Blade III – $6.99
Reaper – Tale of a Pale Swordsman – This is a pretty stylish platform game from Hexage.net. You control the Black Swordsman and in typical fantasy fashion have to right some horrible wrong. Instead of defined buttons to control your character, however, the screen is divided into three sections. The left moves you left, the middle moves you right and the last section does various things depending on whether you tap or swipe. Typically this style of control is not handled very well, but Reaper actually does a pretty solid job with it. You’ll travel the world via an overhead map like traditional console platformers, and along the way you’ll meet various characters with which you can actually have branching dialog based conversations. Based on some of them it appears that you can even turn down certain quests and such. As your character levels up you’ll be able to expand your skill sets, and the money you earn for doing quests will get you new equipment. Game Center provides leaderboards and achievements, and you can sync your game via iCloud to play on different devices. The game is free until you get your character up to level 10, but then there is just a one time unlock purchase and no additional micro-transactions. The visuals are quite slick, and even if you don’t plan on taking the plunge to get the full game you should indulge yourself with the free portion.
Hexage.net, Reaper – Tale of a Pale Swordsman – Free
Speed X – The graphics are pretty simple, though they look cool anyway. You only get two ships to choose from, one of which you have buy via IAP. Each ship has just a few stats that you can upgrade, and there are no power ups to be found (at least none that I’ve run across so far, though the iTunes description does mention “crazy power ups”). The game has at least 9 levels, and while levels 1 through 3 are described as “happy time” I have as yet to make it past level one. The game is time based, so when you die you lose a few seconds rather than the game just simply being over. You can gain extra time by destroying bosses, but eventually your time will run out. There are two control schemes, and gravity actually means tilt for those like me that might not catch on right away, but personally I much prefer the touch control. Game Center is used to provide leaderboards, but there are currently no achievements to work towards. The game has a pretty minimalistic nature, but the one thing it does extremely well is provide a video game rush. It’s definitely worth the download to check this one out.
dai lin, Speed X – Free
Cavemania – Already having spent a decent amount of time with Scurvy Scallywags, I was expecting this title to be good. They don’t come from the same developer, but at the basic level they provide the same kind of game play. The thing is, I think Cavemania actually does it better. The pirates have been replaced with Neanderthals, and I don’t think the humor is quite as strong, but there are several nice twists that make Cavemania a bit more accessible to less skilled players. On each level you have one or more tasks to complete which could include things like collecting a certain amount of food or killing X number of creatures. Collecting items takes place by matching 3 or more of said item. To kill creatures you have to have your character standing in an adjacent square, but unlike most games of this style you can move characters independently of making any matches. You can also have more than one character on the board at a time. You’ll even get to the point where you have to make and protect structures. As you complete levels you’ll earn money that can be used to upgrade various aspects of each of your characters. The graphics are great, the victory dances are priceless, and the game is free unless you want to spend IAP in exchange for a quick fix of in-game coins.
Yodo1 Games, Cavemania – Free
Tower of Fortune 2 – It’s been a while since I’ve played the first installment of this series, but I remember really enjoying it. The sequel sounds even better. You are a lone warrior trying to make it to the top of a mysterious tower so you can be granted the ultimate wish. The game is centered around one touch game play, and you won’t have to worry that lack of lightning fast reflexes will affect your performance. There are 5 different kinds of equipment to update and 50 random abilities to acquire. In addition to hordes of monsters to fight you’ll run across 24 different NPCs that you can deal with in various ways. The overall game has 9 different endings for you to discover. Upgrade 20 unique skills and participate in 50 events scattered throughout the land. The tavern even has 7 mini-games for you to indulge in and maybe win some rewards. There are more than 80 achievements to earn as well, so there certainly isn’t a lack of content in this game. As with all of this developer’s games the visuals have a great Gameboy style and if the first Tower of Fortune is any indication then there should be a lot to enjoy here.
Game Stew, Tower of Fortune 2 – $1.99
Elevator Joe – I’m pretty happy trying out just about any game that looks or sounds cool, but there are some developers that I actually can’t wait for their next release, regardless of what the game is. Kuyi Mobile is one such company, and their latest endeavor is Elevator Joe. Like all of their games this one is easy to play and family friendly, but that doesn’t make it any less fun for adults. Your job is simple: make sure Joe gets all the Chibizens to the floor of their choice. You start out with a paltry 3 floors, the ground level and a basement to contend with, but ultimately you can expand the building up to 10 floors and unlock dozens of restaurants. As with any good time management game you not only need to deliver the goods but you have to keep the patrons happy as well. Buy upgrades to make the elevator more pleasant to ride in or move faster, help the VIPs first if at all possible, and make sure you don’t get distracted by your relatives. Compete with your friends on Game Center to see who can run the most efficient lift, and try to accomplish all of the challenges the game offers.
Kuyi Mobile, Elevator Joe – Free
That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:
- DreamingTec, Sardonyx – Free
- Avakai Games, Leap Leap Leap! – Free
- Secret Boss , Da Baddest Orc – Free
- Toccata, Conquer – Epic of Dice Wars – Free
- Avam Studios, Panic Bob – $0.99
- SUN JIAQIAN, Doomsday Ares – $0.99
- Gaming Corps, Riddick: The Merc Files – $2.99
- Gamesmold, Shadow Vamp – $0.99
- gao xiang, Eternal Sword – $0.99
- Jagex Games Studio, Carnage Racing – Free
- Another Place, Dragon Finga – Free
- PlayFirst, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: Foodimal Frenzy – 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: