10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 14 - 20]

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The biggest problem I had with the roundup this week was that there were so many games that came out last week that looked interesting I didn’t know where to start when it came to testing to see which ones to include.  I think I’ve given you a pretty well rounded list to work off of, though.  Some intriguing ones that didn’t make it on the list this week include the new adventure game offering Device 6.  It’s actually kind of hard to tell how this game works, but anything that seeks to reinvent the text adventure sure has my attention.  Another one that has me excited is Rabbids Big Bang.  This is a great IP, and I’m thrilled to see them in something on iOS devices besides a virtual pet simulator.  To round out the intro I’ll mention D&D: Arena of War.  It’s supposedly the first F2P mobile game set in the D&D universe, so if you’re a Forgotten Realms fan or just like D&D in general you might want to check it out.

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Super King – This is a really cute take on the “dodge everything to stay alive” theme.  You control a king that must survive wave after wave of orcs until you just can’t handle it any more.  Along the way sheep will come out to bring you various cool weapons, as long as you can catch them to claim the power ups.  Things like rockets, guns and freeze rays will help keep the bad guys at bay.  You can also collect money to help you upgrade power ups you already have or buy new ones.  There are plenty of upgrades to unlock over time, but money trickles in slowly so it will probably take a considerable effort to get a variety of gadgets unless you decide to buy some coins via IAP.  Of course this isn’t necessary in this particular game, but it will certainly speed up the process some.  There is a special power up where if you collect five pieces of chicken you’ll turn into a super king and be indestructible for a short amount of time.  The game has one leaderboard to compete on and 51 achievements to earn, though the achievements aren’t in English so I’m not really sure what I’m earning.  My big gripe, however, is that none of the control schemes work all that well.  Otherwise, this is actually a decent option for this style of game play.

Super King ShangHai Plus5, Super King – Free
Super King HD ShangHai Plus5, Super King HD – Free

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Host a Plot – I’ve always wanted to try one of those “host a murder” dinner party games.  Well guess what: now there’s an app for that!  One person shells out for the master program (or if you have nice friends they might chip in), and everyone else downloads the Join a Plot program to their iPhones or iPads.  For three days prior to the party you text each other trying to get to know the characters that you’ll portray at the party.  The night before the party the murder is committed, then you must all gather to figure out who done it.  Of course the ultimate results of the party night are fully dependent on how much the participants really want to play.  The game has 8 characters, and according the description no one is inconsequential, so you really need 8 people to effectively play the game.  It also says the story is Halloween themed, so if you don’t like playing holiday driven games after the holiday you have a limited window in which to enjoy this.  I also wonder what the replay value of the game is once everyone involved has played through it.  The premise is pretty intriguing, though, and hopefully more adventures will be released for the system over time.

Host a Plot Lost Plots Ltd., Host a Plot – $13.99
Join a Plot Lost Plots Ltd., Join a Plot – Free

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Fist of Awesome – In some sort of bizarre taunt this game was released for free the first day, but sadly the action was corrected before I could grab a copy.  I will definitely be picking it up at some point, though.  The developer describes it as “Quantum Leap but with more bears and lumberjacks”, and when you add in the fact that your name is Tim Burr and your best friend during this journey is your left hand which is now self-aware, you know you’re in for some good chuckles.  More importantly, though, is that this is an homage to the old school brawlers like Streets of Rage and Double Dragon, which to me have always been more interesting than straight up one on one fighting games.  Supposedly the game employs ‘revolutionary” gesture based controls, so I’m eager to see how it handles when there are lots of enemies to combat on screen.  The visuals look great, though you must be sure to check out the video trailer because screen shots don’t do it justice.  I also like the fact that this is another Kickstarter success story, and I find it amusing that the game started as a Valentine’s Day gift for the developer’s girlfriend.  Oh, and there’s already promise of additional playable characters and levels to explore in a free update down the road, so you can enjoy the game now and look forward to more later.

FIST OF AWESOME I FIGHT BEARS LTD, FIST OF AWESOME – $3.99

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Massteroid – If you’re thinking this is some sort of fancy new asteroids remake you’d be wrong.  It’s actually a bit like Katamari Damacy, except here you control an asteroid and are trying to pick up all the junk floating in space, as well as an occasional UFO or satellite.  If you’re playing the main game your ultimate goal is to crash into the Earth, and your size on impact will determine how well you do.  There are also Sudden Death and Infinite modes, and my favorite mode which is Gourmet.  In this mode you are a pizza and you must collect the topping of choice at any given moment until you reach the consumer’s mouth.  You can use tilt, drag or tap options to control your asteroid, and in the main game there are three difficulty levels to suit players of most skill levels.  The game has a leaderboard for each difficulty of the main game as well as one for each special mode and a combine totals leaderboard.  There are also 33 different achievements to earn.  While I’m all for giant boulders of doom, it’s nice to see a different type of large destructive object get the spotlight for a change.

Massteroid Mighty Kingdom, Massteroid – $1.99

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Paint it Back – Paint it Back is a puzzle game featuring nonograms, which are grids that you create pictures in by filling in some of the squares and leaving others blank based on numbers at the start of each row and column.  It’s the type of thing that, much like Sudoku, you can reason through every puzzle to win, although guessing will let you muddle through many of the easier puzzles if you really want to.  I like this particular implementation because of the premise: you are an artist in a painting gallery, and you must restore all the paintings after a ghost scares the colors out of them.  The interface is easy to use and there is a thorough tutorial, though folks that have played this style of game before might find the tutorial a bit overinflated.  The game is divided into rooms, and you get three rooms and the tutorial for free which amounts to 30 rooms.  The rest can be purchased in groups of 3-4 or as one package for a slightly reduced price.  There are 18 achievements to earn and provides 6 different profiles so several people can play using the same install.  It even has iCloud support so you can play across multiple devices.

Paint it Back Casual Labs LLC, Paint it Back – Free

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Mega Dead Pixel – When I first browsed the screen shots on this one I had it pegged for one of those Chillingo games that I might not actually like.  You’d think after all this time I’d give them more credit than that.  The game looks like an ASCII graphics designer’s pixilated dream and sounds like it came from the 80’s.  Of course that’s half of the game’s charm.  Your job is to keep your pixel alive as it plunges continually downward, painting or destroying the blocky shapes that randomly fill the screen.  To move your pixel you just tap the left or right sides of the screen, and they are even kind enough to provide a guide so you know exactly how you are lining up with all of the objects that are approaching you.  Of course that doesn’t stop me from having a twitchy finger anyway.  If you’re good you can collect a decent amount of money on a given run, but if you’re like me the pot will accumulate rather slowly.  You can earn cash by completing missions as well, but sometimes the missions cost more than you earn.  Your earnings will buy you more shapes, power ups and hats.  In this game, hats are not just for decoration but actually affect the game play.  If you haven’t taken the plunge yet with Mega Dead Pixel I highly suggest you do so.

Mega Dead Pixel Chillingo Ltd, Mega Dead Pixel – Free

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Encircle – This was one of the first games I reviewed back in 2004 on my PocketPC.  I guess good things never completely fade away, do they?  The object of the game is to swipe tiles horizontally or vertically so that the patterns on them end up forming complete shapes which will make the tiles disappear.  You’re under a time pressure, but as long as you keep making shapes your time will stay steady or even go up slightly.  You can also get bonus time by encircling clocks.  There are other items to encircle as well to get bonus points, but be cautious because eventually you’ll get things like skulls that are not good when you encircle them.  Eventually the patterns on the tiles will get more complicated allowing you to make bigger shapes, and if you’re really skilled you can set up combos to earn mega points.  Besides bad objects you’ll start getting obstacles like tiles that can’t be swapped.  The game has normal and mayhem modes, and if it’s anything like the PocketPC counterpart mayhem mode starts you off with all the nasty stuff right from the beginning.  The only real negative I’ve seen so far is that the free download only goes to level 4 and doesn’t let you sample mayhem mode at all, so you don’t get a test of the cool stuff you’re missing if you skip out on buying the full game.

encircle Adam White, encircle – Free

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Pocket Titans – While I love full blown strategy and RPG games, it seems like the mobile world is designed for games that even though they might take a while to complete as a whole can be enjoyed in small bursts where you still feel like you accomplished something.  I think the folks that designed Pocket Titans feel the same way.  Unlock eight different characters, each with their own strengths.  Choose wisely as you enter a given battle and watch your characters succeed and level up.  Earn money to buy equipment or wait and hope you acquire some random loot as spoils of war.  Over the course of the single player campaign you’ll run into 30 different types of creatures and take on 5 evil bosses.  You can even take your finely tuned characters and go head to head with other players online.  What I really like about the game is the mechanic used for combat.  Instead of directly moving your characters you slide the rows and columns of the playing field to maneuver your characters into place or at least move the bad guys out of the way for a bit.  It’s a nice twist that gives the game a unique feel.

Pocket Titans Kumotion Ltd, Pocket Titans – $0.99

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Stand O’ Food Empire – This franchise has been around for quite a while, but despite the fact that I love time management games I’ve never really delved into it.  I finally decided to give it a spin with this latest installment and ended up getting a lot more than I bargained for.  Even the time management part isn’t your standard Diner Dash fare as the ingredients for your dishes comes out on conveyor belts and you need to build the sandwiches in the right order which means sometimes you might end up playing a mini game of Towers of Hanoi to construct your burger just right.  Beyond that, though, the game throws in aspects of Sim City as you have to build up the neighborhood around your restaurant.  Add residential buildings to bring in more customers, but don’t forget the farms and factories so you can actually produce the goods that you need to serve those customers.  The game features more than 200 quests revolving around 3 different restaurants, with a whopping 271 unique recipes to learn.  There are almost 200 buildings, factories and decorations to choose from when building up your city, so the Sim City aspect is every bit as important as the time management portion.  The best part is the game is free to play, so while you might decide you want to dish out some IAP to speed up some of the mundane construction processes you can certainly try this cool mash-up without risking anything other than the time you might lose when you get hooked.

Stand O’ Food® Empire G5 Entertainment, Stand O’ Food® Empire – Free

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Space Animals – This game starts out simple enough.  Critters are being dropped from a UFO, and you need to make sure the plot of land that matches their color is underneath them when they strike the planet’s surface.  All you have to do is swipe to swap tiles around when necessary (if only real landscaping were this easy).  The thing is, this game doesn’t want you to get bored because rescuing the critters is too easy.  In the first few levels you get introduced to ships that drop bombs which you have to tap to destroy, a trampoline which you have to use like a game of pong to get the critters to their appropriate land spaces and multiple spaces of the same color which when moved next to each other cause the inhabitants of the plots to eat each other.  There are four worlds altogether, each with several levels to conquer.  The developer promises new mechanics at every turn, and from what I’ve seen in the few levels I’ve played so far that’s probably quite true.  The whole atmosphere of the game should make it appeal to kids, but the challenge factor means adults won’t grow tired of it either.

Space Animals Cybernate, Space Animals – 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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