10 App Store Games To Watch [January 27 - February 2]

roundup-02032014-intro

Did you miss me?  I know it’s been a while, and I’ve missed bringing you the latest in iOS game releases, so now I’m back to once again give you the scoop on what games the App Store has to offer.  As always there were a nice variety of games released to the App Store last week, and since this is my first week back on the job in a couple of months I’m just going to skip the summation and jump right into the games…

roundup-02032014-pocket-martians

Pocket Martians – Pocket Martians like an alien form of pinball where the balls are the alien ships and you must knock your opponents into pockets on the perimeter of the playing field before they do the same to you (or just destroy their ships if that’s easier for you).  As you win matches and level up you can increase your characters’ skills and buy boosts to give you an advantage.  You can also collect parts so that your mechanic can upgrade your ships to be more effective.  There are several planets each with many locations to visit, and you can also unlock new characters along the way.  The game is “free”, but the caveat is that you must repair your ships at the beginning of each match which requires wrenches, and you not only start with a limited number but you only earn one every few hours.  There are two additional types of currencies that are used for things like buying boosts and crafting enhancements for your ships, but naturally those don’t pile up as fast as you’d like either.  Of course all of these things are available via IAP, so it really depends on how patient you can be.  I do recommend giving Pocket Martians a try, because aside from the almost inevitable need to buy IAP it can be rather entertaining.

Pocket Martians Game Insight, LLC, Pocket Martians – Free

roundup-02032014-pulse-logic

Pulse Logic – Some might be shocked to find out this is a puzzle game since the concept has sadly become roughly synonymous with physics and Angry Birds.  This is about the farthest from such a game as you can get as it relies solely on observation and timing.  Your goal is to get at least one pulse to each of the numbered circles at the end of a pathway.  The trick is that the pathway might have several looping portions, and there will always be one or more gates between the start point and your ultimate goal.  Some gates will simply split particles between multiple paths, others will hold particles back until both portions of the gate are filled, and some will toggle between multiple paths based on certain criteria.  While the tutorial levels are fairly straightforward, it doesn’t take long in the “you’re on your own” levels until you have to start playing the level multiple times to get the optimal score – or to even pass it in the first place.  The basic challenge comes in reaching all the objectives for a level, but the crowning achievement is when you earn a high enough score to get three stars.  If you’re looking for a puzzle game that will really wrack your brain, Pulse Logic is for you.

Pulse Logic Jeff Cohen, Pulse Logic – Free

roundup-02032014-microfighters

Lego Star Wars: Microfighters – I don’t really know anything about this offshoot of the LEGO Star Wars franchise, but I kind of expected it to be “kiddie” oriented.  Thankfully the game is not, or at least not any more so than you might consider any LEGO based game.  I didn’t even know what genre the game was when I dove in, but I was happy to see that it was a shmup and even happier that it’s actually a decently challenging game.  There’s nothing really revolutionary, or even evolutionary for that matter, about the game play, but it should appeal to those that are fans of the sci-fi mythos.  You do get to visit four planets that are key to the intergalactic space drama, and you also get the opportunity to pilot 6 different well known ships.  There are 18 levels to conquer that are split between the good and bad forces, so you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied.  I’ve never been much of a fan of the LEGO games but I do like the visuals, and you’ll definitely get lots of things blowing up and falling into little LEGO parts here.  You also get some great Star Wars music as well as a nice combination of classic Star Wars laser effects and digital LEGO crumbling sounds.  Overall I’d have to say this is probably one of my favorite iOS Star Wars games so far.

LEGO® Star Wars™:  Microfighters Warner Bros., LEGO® Star Wars™: Microfighters – $0.99

roundup-02032014-lost-oddies

Lost Oddies – It’s a good thing I covered Microfighters, or this might have turned into an all puzzle edition!  This is one of those games where you have to fill each of the target squares with an object, in this case an alien, by moving said objects around the screen.  Wrinkle number one is that all aliens of a like color move at the same time unless something is in their way.  Better yet, you will have multiple colors on most boards, each of which need to get to their own target spots.  Then you get the neutral ones that are asleep and take on the color of the first alien you bump them with.  Add to that the eventual environmental items like switches and doors, teleports and color changers and you’ll have your hands full with techniques to master.  Fill all the target squares to pass a level, but fill them efficiently to earn three stars.  The game currently has 96 levels with more to come, and there are 23 achievements to challenge your skills as well.  Lost Oddies is free to play, though you’re perfectly welcome to buy some hints which will also remove the pesky ads for you.

Lost Oddies Youda Games Holding B.V., Lost Oddies – Free

roundup-02032014-fea

Fea: Clash Of The Avian Minion – The iTunes description says that you get two control two characters in this game for a twist in game play.  I was intrigued because I thought playing multiple characters in a platform game was fairly common, so I decided to give Fea a try.  Turns out you actually control both characters at the same time using the left side of the screen to make the girl jump and the right side to move the crow up and down.  From my experience on the iOS platform this is a fairly original control scheme, and it actually proves quite challenging.  There are coins to collect which can be used to upgrade power ups, and the power ups themselves which can only be collected by and only impact the crow.  The visuals are rather interesting, and the music is enjoyable to listen to.  The best part is that the game is completely free, with no IAP to buy (at least that I can see) and no annoying ads to interfere with your playing.

Feá: Clash of the Avian Minion Alan Mc Grane, Feá: Clash of the Avian Minion – Free

roundup-02032014-tiki-monkeys

Tiki Monkeys – This is a great new casual game where you have to help a band of pirates recover their treasure from some mischievous monkeys.  You’ll jump from one randomly generated room to the next, tapping on simians and fruit but avoiding things with spikes or lava encrusted objects.  You can take out monkeys one at a time, but the big payoff comes when you touch several monkeys at once before lifting up your finger.  If you can get all of the monkeys with one gesture you’ll get a perfect for that level and the game will even collect the coins automatically for you.  Every few levels you’ll enter a whack-a-mole mode where you have to tap a certain number of enemies to continue.  As you collect enough coins you’ll be able to unlock new weapons and characters that have special bonuses, and you’ll also be able to extend the usefulness of your power ups or buy one time boosts to help on your current run.  Compete with your friends on Facebook and through Game Center or try to earn the 33 achievements that Game Center has to offer.  The game is free, and while you can certainly boost your in-game riches via IAP, I haven’t noticed any limitations on the game because I haven’t indulged.

Tiki Monkeys MilkCap, Tiki Monkeys – Free

roundup-02032014-clock-day

Clock Day – Clock Day is one of those games that appear to be for kids, and they will probably love it.  The problem is that you’ll sneak a peek when they’ve gone to sleep, and suddenly you’ll find yourself getting hooked on it as well.  Your task is simply to get all the clocks to read 12:00.  Of course it can’t be that simple, so changing one clock naturally affects others around it as well.  As you get further into the game you’ll have more clocks on screen at once, and eventually they’ll start having unique traits that make things more difficult.  For example, the first new clock you meet does everything backwards, and the second only moves her hands when she’s awake.  There are 11 different clocks to unlock altogether over the course of 120 levels, and there are also some stickers to collect (the game’s equivalent of achievements, I suppose).  You only get 15 levels for free, but it’s definitely enough to whet your appetite for the full game.  I just wish there was a more “adult” option for the music, because I really don’t want to hear Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star one more time.

Clock Day Yoseph Hadi, Clock Day – Free

roundup-02032014-evhacon

Evhacon – War Stories – This is the first in what appears to be a planned series of episodes that take place in a new fantasy world.  With names more complicated than those you’ll find in some Bible stories, you take on the role of an unknown hero helping some soldiers investigate several mysterious events.  In typical RPG fashion you’ll go on quests, fight monsters and level up your character.  Enhance your attributes and talents as you see fit to achieve the playing style that most fits your comfort level.  Gather an assortment of gear from all the usual venues: chests, traders and fallen foes.  In a neat little twist some chests and doors may actually require you to complete a lock-picking mini-game in order to gain access to them.  Once you’ve completed the designated quests you’ll still be able to scour the countryside looking for items to build up your character for the next part of the journey.  Future enhancements will include professions, a place to stash excess goods and the ability to transfer your character from one episode to the next.  Vivid, detailed graphics help the game world come to life, and every character is voice acted, which is still pretty uncommon for RPGs.

Evhacon - War Stories Pietro Nifosi, Evhacon – War Stories – $2.99

roundup-02032014-betamax

BetaMax – Sherbet Plains – If you can’t get enough of the old Super Mario Bros style platform games and are tired of waiting for Nintendo to really commit to mobile phone development, BetaMax might be a good way to tide yourself over.  The game features a goofy looking hero and somewhat “creepy in a cute sort of way” villain, the backgrounds look like they were borrowed from an early Mario game, and at one point you have to dodge giant rolling donuts.  There’s no real “wow” factor to the level design, but you do get 21 levels plus a final boss battle for the sum total of zero – no IAP, no ads, just solid, comfortable platform game play.  Each level does have a three star rating, so there’s even some replay factor if you don’t get all three stars the first time around.  My one real frustration is that the only way to get achievements is through Facebook.  Now despite not being a Facebook fan I have been willing to let past iOS games interface with my Facebook account, but after one recent game decided to post just about everything I did to Facebook and Twitter I’ve decided to shy away from said integration for a while.  Just add Game Center for achievements and I’d be a happy man.

BetaMax - Sherbet Plains James Cook, BetaMax – Sherbet Plains – Free

roundup-02032014-zombie-world

Adventures in Zombie World – Multiplayer Car Racing – Zombie World is one of those games that at first glance looks like a cookie cutter demo from some guide to programming.  I have to say that the more I play it the more I’m really enjoying it.  Your basic goal is to get to the end of the level at each location, avoiding barriers and abandoned vehicles and crushing zombies and pigs along the way.  When you run over things that can be crushed you’ll often be rewarded with coins, and once you’ve completed a level you can run it again to complete missions for even more coins.  These coins are used for buying one time boosts, new cars, upgrades to cars and companions.  You can have up to two companions at a time that mostly add to your destructive capabilities.  There are single player campaign and endless modes as well as a multiplayer mode so you can compete against live opponents.  Game Center provides a leaderboard as well as 39 achievements to earn.

Adventures in Zombie World – Multiplayer Car Racing Toccata Technologies Inc., Adventures in Zombie World – Multiplayer Car Racing – 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:

Next Article10 App Store Games To Watch [February 3 - 9]