10 New App Store Games To Watch [September 23 - 29]

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Guess what?  A whole bunch of new games came out last week, and I was there to download and try out as many as I could.  Crescent Moon Games released Fading Fairytales, a turn based strategy game set in a world where dark forces threaten to tear apart everyone’s favorite childhood stories (sounds awfully familiar).  Surprisingly the game is free to play, and it looks to put an interesting spin on all the fables you remember from your youth.  Mines Of Mishap is a new hack ‘n slash that doesn’t actually start you off fighting bats, rats or goblins.  You can have multiple save slots for each of four character types, there are 40 different gems to discover and upgrade your character with, and you can play co-op with up to four players over WiFi.  As usual there were plenty of infinite runners released over the week, but one that caught my eye was Buddy & Me.  Visually it looks like an interesting interpretation of The Neverending Story, and unlike most runners that have two characters in this one they work cooperatively instead of having to control them both in separate circumstances.

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Boson X – As I begin to write this entry I wonder how I’m going to fill up enough space, because there honestly isn’t a lot to this game.  Still, as endless runners go this is one intense, highly engaging romp.  You are trying to discover different particles by reaching various distances in an ever evolving particle accelerator.  There are no level ups, power ups or objects to collect.  The only sorts of boost are blue tiles which fill you with energy and red tiles which I assume take energy away.  The controls are simple: tap the left side of the screen to rotate and jump left, the right side to go right and both sides to jump forward.  How long you hold determines how far you jump.  The music is bizarre and the whole experience feels like a mash up between some weird Keanu Reaves dream and the old platform game Flashback.  If you’re one of those folks that think infinite runners are too easy you’ll hopefully find this pleasantly challenging as well.  The one feature it does have in common with its genre brethren is Game Center, where it has a leaderboard and one achievement for each level.

Boson X Ian MacLarty, Boson X – $1.99

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Matching in the Rain – Over the past several months I’ve written about many match 3 hybrid games, but this one takes a decidedly different approach by actually presenting a traditional game of match 3 without all the fluff.  On each board you have a limited number of moves to clear away all the colored tiles, some of which might take multiple matches to remove.  If you make a match of 4 or more items you’ll get a special cloud that will do anything from clear a few spaces around it to obliterating the whole row and column that it sits in.  The clouds are activated by tapping on them and don’t actually consume a turn in order to use them.  There are also a couple of different power ups that you can use by spending the stars you earn when you complete levels.  Because there are no time limits the game is quite relaxing, and the gentle sound of rainfall in the background just adds to the game’s soothing nature.  If you need a little oomph to your match 3 efforts this may not be the version for you, but for those that know how to enjoy the simpler things in life it’s definitely worth the download.

Matching in the Rain rubbleDev, Matching in the Rain – Free

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Fruits’n Goblins – When I started playing this I thought it was an embellished variant of Pachinko, but according to the iTunes description it’s a melting pot of Pachinko, Peggle and Pinball.  Ironically, I always took Peggle to be a hopped up variant of Pachinko as well, so now I’m even more confused.  Whatever the case, Fruits’n Goblins is lots of fun.  You’ll launch your goblin pals through 84 different levels trying to eat as much fruit as you can as well as collecting any coins you can get your paws on.  There are definitely some interesting level designs in the game, with lots of pointy things that like to hurt goblins which you need to avoid.  Once you launch a goblin you don’t have direct control over it, but you can tap the left and right sides of the screen to “tilt” the board and influence the goblin’s direction.  Just don’t go crazy because the owner of the arcade will show up and scold you.  Coins can be used to purchase extra lives and super goblins, and tickets will let you buy any one of 100 different hats, though I’m not sure how you earn the tickets.  There are 20 Game Center achievements to earn and a leaderboard that looks like a combined score of all the levels you’ve played.

Fruits'n Goblins Tuesday Quest, Fruits’n Goblins – Free

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Brother’s Revenge – If you remember the likes of Double Dragon or Streets Of Rage then Brother’s Revenge will instantly feel at home to you.  Your family has been kidnapped by a jealous brother, and you’ll have to plow your way through wave after wave of mindless thugs and insignificant bosses in order to get them back.  Along the way you’ll be able to pick up miscellaneous sundries like trash cans and spare tires in order to help take down the unwanted element, though sadly there are no weapons or food items to restore health lying about anywhere.  You will earn money from taking down each thug, however, and this loot can be used to upgrade several different aspects of your character.  The game also sports an interesting control scheme. You simply tap where you want to move or who you want to attack, and the game handles all the combat for you.  At times it feels like the system robs you of some of the control you have over a fight’s outcome, but it actually works quite nicely on a touch screen.  The game has 26 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each of the three difficulty levels.

Brother's Revenge Tekko Games, Brother’s Revenge – Free

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Crazy Chicken: Pirates – In some parts of the world it is known as Moorhuhn, but in English speaking countries the franchise is called “Crazy Chicken”, though outside of the iOS world any installments of the game I have played bore the non-English moniker.  Whatever you call it, though, the shooting gallery style iterations of the game have always been a blast to play, and Crazy Chicken: Pirates is no exception.  Your task simply to shoot anything you can, whether it be an errant barrel, the fin of a shark or a sword wielding fowl that will try and block your shots.  In classic and arcade modes you’ll get five screens of feathered goodness to contend with, and in classic mode you’ll even have quests to complete.  Defense mode is all about handling the pressure of increasing numbers of adversaries as you’ll only have one screen to contend with but you can’t let the chickens escape the boundaries of that screen.  The visuals are top notch and there are humorous moments like when one chicken “taps” on the screen to get your attention.  Game Center offers leaderboards and 50 achievements to master, and the ease of playability and tame contents make this a treat for players of any age.

Crazy Chicken: Pirates Teyon, Crazy Chicken: Pirates – $0.99

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Shadowrun Returns – If you’re like me you might think this is just another cyberpunk style video game – albeit a reportedly very good one – but you’d be wrong.  It turns out that Shadowrun is more than 20 years old and actually has its roots as a tabletop RPG.  Minute history lesson aside, this iteration is a turn based single player ¾ perspective affair, which is just the way I like it.  The game is actually a touch screen optimized version of a recent PC release which itself is the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign.  The world is a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, so you can expect to see trolls and elves amongst your modern weapons of mass destruction.  The game contains more than 12 hours of play time as you customize your character from one of 6 base types and load them to the hilt with more than 350 weapons, spells and abilities.  Along the way you’ll explore several wild locations, meet many interesting creatures and engage with plenty of NPCs that will help move the story along.  If you remember a time when RPGs were about using your brain and not just exercising your slashing finger, Shadowrun Returns will be a nice addition to your collection.

Shadowrun Returns Harebrained Schemes, Shadowrun Returns – $9.99

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Trouserheart – Based on the video, Trouserheart is everything I’d hoped it would be.  Forget about complex storylines and vast skill trees to master.  This is simple hack ‘n slash goodness that plays quick and thoroughly entertains.  Your pants have been stolen, and it’s time to get off the throne (not the porcelain one) and recover them for yourself.  You’ll fight a bunch of different creatures, many of which will try and steal your stuff.  You’ll also take on 10 different bosses that even start to get challenging in casual mode.  There are only four upgrades: attack level, defense level, health level and something that I think is how much loot is dropped your way.  What’s interesting is that there are several “divisions” for each upgrade, and each step within a division cost the same amount of gold.  In addition to casual mode there is a hardcore option, though the lack of profiles means you have to complete the game one way before you can try it the other.  For those that are extremely daring you can select the perma-death offering that rogue-like games made popular.  There are 26 achievements to earn via Game Center, but due to the nature of the game there are no leaderboards.

Trouserheart 10tons Ltd, Trouserheart – $2.99

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The Rats Online – This is kind of a bizarre little game, but I like it.  You control a clan of rats that is simply trying to stay alive and gather hordes of cheese before the rat-pocalypse of 2056 depletes all the reserves.  You start out with 3 rats, and you have to grow your clan by taking on rival players.  Steal their cheese to replenish your supplies or stuff their rats so full that they explode and give you rat souls.  Each 10 souls you collect will add a new rat to your team.  As you continue with your business your rats will level up, making them better at what they do.  You can also earn tokens to improve certain rat stats.  You start out with one room to your lair, but over time the rats will use their heads to knock out doors and gates and expand your territory.  You can check your daily progress on an interesting chart that has a bunch of pushpins stuck in it, and there’s also a journal though so far nothing has been added to it for me.  This is a quirky game at best, but given my overall distaste for typical online games I’m quite enjoying it right now.

The Rats Online INTENIUM, The Rats Online – Free

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Lost Echo – Alright, let’s get this out of the way first.  This is the perfect example of how we still have a long way to go before 2D gameplay translates to a 3D world.  It’s a bit cumbersome to walk around and somewhat difficult to interact with objects, especially when there are several distinct items in close proximity.  That being said, from what I’ve seen of the game so far I think it will be worth putting up with.  An “event” causes your girlfriend to disappear right before your eyes, and now you have to figure out what happened.  The problem is, no one except you seems to remember Chloe!  While I’m a fan of the adventure game genre as a whole, it’s nice to see games like this and Cognition that take a bit more “adult oriented” approach to storytelling.  And note that it has nothing to do with flashing body parts, Mr. Laffer!  So far the game is pleasing in both the audio and visual departments, and supposedly it still runs well even on the 3GS.  I’ve only had a chance to explore a little bit and navigate via one set of answers to the questions I’ve been asked, but hopefully the game progresses differently depending on the responses you give.  If you like “point and click” style adventure gaming, Lost Echo appears to be a great new addition to the fold.

Lost Echo KickBack, Lost Echo – $2.99

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Snailboy – Platform games have always been a staple of my gaming diet, so I’m always excited to see a new one show up for my iOS devices, especially if it’s of decent quality.  I would definitely say Snailboy qualifies in that regards.  You play a snail that has lost his prized shell collection and must traverse your enchanted garden in order to get it back.  Unfortunately it won’t be easy, as the garden is filled with pointy vegetation and insects that will be more than happy to make sure you don’t get what you’re looking for.  Along the way you can collect slimeys in order to get extra lives, and every fifth level you find a shell which boosts your jumping ability.  You can also buy a couple of different costumes if you get enough slimeys.  Forgoing the traditional platform control scheme, Snailboy uses an Angry Birds style maneuver to launch your snail around the screen.  For nudges you can swipe the screen to “slap” Snailboy, and tapping the screen will allow you to stick to mossy surfaces so you can launch your next move from a higher vantage point.  There are Game Center achievements to earn, but true mastery of this game will come from conquering the controls so that you can earn three stars on every level.

Snailboy Thoopid, Snailboy – $1.99

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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