10 New App Store Games To Watch [October 28 - November 3]

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Anyone out there tired of iOS gaming yet?  Hopefully not which is why you keep coming back here week after week.  Disney actually caught my attention this week with their latest original gaming IP Stack Rabbit.  Created by the folks that developed the insanely popular Where’s My Water?, Stack Rabbit puts an entirely new twist on the match 3 genre that’s definitely worth checking out.  Speaking of putting a new spin on things, Symmetrain takes the concept of “spot the difference” and tries to turn it into an arcade game.  Pay close attention as your train goes zipping past the randomly generated terrain so you can point out the difference between the left and right sides of the landscape as they go whizzing by.  If you’ve ever had a fear of carnival performers, now you can exact revenge with Burn The Lot.  This dual stick shooter has you hopping across the galaxy trying to thwart an intergalactic band of carnies that have some evil plan in mind.

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Symmetrain – I usually tend to pass up “spot the difference” games because quite honestly they all feel the same to me, much like how I’m sure many of you react to infinite runners.  Thankfully Smmetrain looks to try and break that stigma.  You’re travelling in a train, and instead of just having random pictures thrown up for you to dissect you have to determine what’s different between the left and right sides of the background surrounding the train.  Everything is procedurally generated so you get a unique playing experience each time.  There are 8 trains to choose from once they are unlocked, each one travelling at their own speed and coming with a different background to look at.  You need to be as quick as you can, because each missed difference brings the train closer to falling off the bottom of the screen, at which point the game is over.  iCloud lets you play across multiple devices and Game Center hooks you up with your friends so you can see who the fastest spotter is.

Symmetrain Black Pants Studio, Symmetrain – $0.99

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Dracula Twins – Anyone that has played a Nintendo console from their inception until now will feel right at home with this game.  From the world map to pummeling bricks from below to release items this game clearly pays homage to the Super Mario Bros franchise, which only makes sense since there isn’t much better in terms of platforming.  The world is filled with colorful characters and deadly traps and from a difficulty standpoint feels a little more like a Mega Man game.  You start out with the ability to play as either of the vampire twins, and once you either rescued Franislav or paid the ransom you can play as him as well.  The cool thing is that you can switch between the characters at any time, not just when starting a level.  Of course this would make a greater impact if they each had some sort of special ability, but maybe that comes later in the game.  The game has a great old school look – albeit with a hi-res sheen – and even has buttons that look like an old NES controller.  There’s plenty here for retro maniacs to love but it should still appeal to newer platform fans as well.

Dracula Twins Legendo Entertainment, Dracula Twins – Free

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Soccer Moves – This is really more of a puzzle than a sports game, so it might just give those wannabe geeks a chance to feel like a jock.  Then again, maybe not.  Through more than 90 levels your goal is simple: score a goal.  Of course nothing is ever that easy, and in this case you’ll have both static obstacles and “live” defenders trying to make sure you don’t reach your goal.  Thankfully instead of being an arcade twitch fest you get you plan out all of your moves.  Once you line up that last shot for the goal you get to watch everything play out and see if you accomplished your task.  You’ll earn between one and three stars per goal plus an exclamation if you achieve the bonus objective for a given goal.  Awards are cumulative, so if you get the exclamation but don’t earn a gold star you can work on the gold without worrying about losing your exclamation.  As you progress you’ll earn cash to buy one or two use boosts to get out of sticky situations.  You’ll also be able to unlock costumes and themes for different nationalities, and you’ll even be able to learn new moves to help make goal scoring easier.  Pure sports nuts may not enjoy this quite as much, but then maybe the sports based theme will open up a new world of gaming that you’ve never explored before.

Soccer Moves Fuzzy Logic (Pty) Ltd, Soccer Moves – Free

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Blur Overdrive – I thought it a bit odd at first that this developer’s only other iOS game on record was called “The Activision Decathlon”, but apparently they must be some sort of subsidiary of Activision.  Whatever the case I’m glad they got to handle Blur Overdrive, because they did a pretty good job with it.  Of course I’m pretty partial to the two major mechanics this game employs when it comes to racing: an overhead view and weapons.  There are 25 different cars that you can work towards owning, and each one can be upgraded in several areas as well as pimped out to reflect your own personal style.  There are several different styles of race to compete in, but the commonality is that you must destroy your opponents as thoroughly as you can and come in first.  And don’t feel bad, because they’ll be doing the same to you.  Grab one of eight different power ups to blast, shock or otherwise dismantle the other racers, and don’t forget the occasional wrench to fix up your own dings.  In addition to building up your cars you can work on your racer, and anything you upgrade on them sticks with you no matter what car you race in.  The only thing this game is really missing is some sort of multiplayer mode.

Blur Overdrive Marmalade Play, Blur Overdrive – Free

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Robot Mania – Like so many of the entries I write about, you’ve played this game before.  In this case you’re controlling robots, but the basic idea is that you need to get several objects from their starting place to a designated tile on the board, and once you set an object in motion it keeps moving until there is something to block it.  I like this variant because it adds nifty little environmental items into the mix.  There are tubes that transport you from one location to another, as well as blocks that will suddenly change your direction.  Some blocks require you to use another robot to trigger a switch to raise or lower the block, and certain switches are actually color coded to particular robots.  There’s even been one level so far that you had to play in the dark, so while you could see the robots, destination points and switches you couldn’t actually see any of the walls.  The game features more than 100 levels with the promise of new levels every week, and so far the only mention of IAP is if you want to buy hints, though I can’t even figure out where you do that from within the game.  Overall this is a nice variant of a well received game play style, and if you can tolerate the ads that pop up after every level it’s also free.

Robot Mania Azerbo, Robot Mania – Free

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Axes & Allies – This is one of those action / RPGs where instead of directly controlling your characters with attack buttons and virtual joysticks you draw lines between your characters and what you want them to interact with.  It’s a good thing, too, because controlling 3 orcs at once might be a bit difficult with the traditional action / RPG interface.  Axes & Allies is mostly about surviving and destroying the enemy with little plot development, but it is fun so there’s really no harm done.  As you defeat enemies you’ll earn XP and gold.  XP allows you to level up so you can learn new skills, and gold buys you upgrades to individual as well as group stats.  The game has 3 leaderboards to rank on and 9 achievements to earn.  It’s definitely a bit of a juggling act at times to keep your healer and archer out of harms way, and using your special abilities can often get lost in the shuffle, but it’s worth it if you persevere.  I just wish it were a bit easier to target foes at times.

Axes & Allies Everplay, Axes & Allies – Free

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Stack Rabbit – Disney has such a rich collection of IPs to draw from when making games that it’s not surprising most of their stuff is based off of existing properties.  Where’s My Water? proved that Disney could just as easily sell a new idea to mobile gamers, however, and now they’ve done it again with Stack Rabbit.  This is a matching game unlike any you’ve ever played before, because instead of sliding or swapping or otherwise manipulating the objects you need to match, you instead guide Ben around the farm to collect veggies in groups of three or more for a proper match.  The caveat is that you must collect the veggies in a particular order, so if you’re not ready for a particular type of vegetable then matches of that type don’t count.  You also have a limit to how many veggies you can hold at once, and did I mention that you only have a certain number of moves to complete your task?  Eventually you’ll get power ups to help you out and items like spring boards to quickly get you from one spot to the next, but eventually you’ll have to contend with Max the guard dog who will occasionally wake up and try to chase you down.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s too long before Ben shows up in cartoon form, but I’m glad we got to preview him first on our iOS devices.

Stack Rabbit Disney, Stack Rabbit – Free

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Just Like Heaven – This game has an interesting title, because if this is what Heaven is like I’m not sure it’s a place I’d want to go.  Theology aside, Just Like Heaven is an interesting game.  A man makes a deal with the Devil to be reunited with his lost lover, and of course the deal doesn’t go well for the man.  It seems that the enamored couple can’t be “alive” at the same time.  Basically you will spend each level killing one or the other of the couple in order to pass certain obstacles.  Depending on how you kill the person you’re controlling, the other one will come back in a state of water, fire, air or as a normal human.  Aside from the last state, each elemental state can deal with various obstacles the other can’t.  For instance, when you’re in the state of fire you can break through walls of ice.  There have been games like this on the App Store before, but the use of two protagonists to tell this tale adds a nice twist.  While I’m a fan of puzzle games in general, this is certainly a nice change of pace from what is typically available for your iOS device.

Just Like Heaven Joyguo Jobs, Just Like Heaven – Free

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Burn The Lot – I always thought carnies were bad news, and this game confirms it.  You play a carnie cop tracking down a gang of interstellar carnies that seem bent on something more than just the normal game of hypnotizing patrons and stealing them blind.  You’ll traverse 30 levels across 3 different planets in order to blast 12 different types of side show freaks and 9 bosses.  Each level has a primary and two secondary objectives to complete.  Doing well will earn you money that you can use to buy from a selection of 17 different weapons.  There are also several different characters to unlock and switch between.  Planned updates include more planets to visit, more goodies to unlock and buy and a survival mode for each planet.  The game is a dual stick shooter viewed from a third person perspective which does make it a bit challenging when you’re in the heat of battle and you need to rotate the view.  I like how they tried to do something different, though, as even the over the shoulder perspective is altered by the fact that you’re walking over a curved surface.  The game is free and apparently can be played all the way through without purchasing any IAP.

Burn The Lot Propaganda3, Inc., Burn The Lot – Free

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Safe House – I’ve watched a lot of zombie apocalypse themed movies, and I never really got the impression that slipping on a puddle could be nearly as bad as having your brains eaten by the undead.  Safe House is a game sanctioned by the Accident Compensation Commission in New Zealand, and apparently they’d like you to believe differently.  Sure your ultimate goal is to ward off the decaying masses, but if you don’t keep the household repairs in check you might just make the undeads’ job easier.  Use household items and buy gizmos from the store to fend off the zombies, but don’t forget to grab the dustpan and clean up the mess in the living room.  There are five different houses to protect, each with several levels to master.  Any given level has a to-do list to complete, but even though you manage to check off everything on the list you might not earn 3 stars if you take too many falls on the messes that litter the house.  I’m not really sure how serious gamers are going to take this as a warning against household hazards, but it’s an interesting concept with the perfect price tag.

Safe House InGame, Safe House – 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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