10 App Store Games To Watch [February 10 - 16]

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Despite the fact that about 30% of the new release entries seem to be Flappy Bird clones, I did manage to find what I think is a rather interesting collection of iOS games for your idle time.  In addition to the games I’ve detailed below, Chilibite Entertainment released Tower Tapper, a NinJump style game where you try and help a snail reach his date.  The concept is cute, the graphics are well done and it’s actually pretty fun.  I also quite enjoyed Bridge Me, a simple game about trying to help a man build bridges to get across chasms.  There’s not much variation to game play, the graphics are simple and there are no achievements or power ups, yet it still held my attention a lot longer than Flappy Bird did.  And, for those that like to get back to the basics Chillingo released a silly matching game called Jelly Love.  The main gimmick is that you can move a block around anywhere instead of just swapping with its neighbor, and the jellies are just really cute.

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Calc Dash – Honestly, Calc Dash is a fairly standard infinite runner.  You swipe to switch between three lanes, avoiding bombs and collecting coins.  The coins can be used to upgrade power ups or buy a mystery box.  There are also different outfits that you can unlock, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.  What I like about this game is that every so often there is a wall with a math question, and you have to run through the door with the correct answer to the question or the game is over.  If you’re right you get the added bonus of picking up a power up.  The sad thing is that the only answers I’ve ever seen are 3, 5 and 7.  If they expanded this so that the answers could be any number between 1 to 10 – or maybe even 1 to 100 – and added subtraction and possibly even multiplication and division as advanced options, this could be a great tool for younger kids trying to learn math basics.  The music is catchy, and who doesn’t like an infinite runner or two?

Calc Dash hamon, Calc Dash – Free

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My Fear And I – Take a journey through a world of killer socks as imagined by a frightened seven year old.  You’ll need to master your trusty plunger gun to get through some challenging platform designs, and your best bet for defeating the sock monsters is to let the light shine.  My Fear And I is an interesting combination of platform game and light beam manipulation puzzle.  It works on several levels, from the foreboding atmosphere and interesting mechanics to the wonderful creature design.  The main problem is that in the current state the controls are quite rough.  I often find myself releasing the plunger when I’m sure I tapped an appropriate platform to swing to, and the reeling and swinging controls when you’re on the plunger aren’t very conducive to making split second actions.  Still, if you can work around those issues the game is pretty interesting, and I look forward to seeing what challenges each new level brings.

My Fear and I DADIU, My Fear and I – Free

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Montezuma Blitz – One of my absolute favorite match 3 series has been the Treasures Of Montezuma, and this latest edition is poised to be the best one yet.  There are 120 levels of tile matching goodness, and just like in previous installments you can unlock totems to help you in your quest.  Each totem has a unique ability that is unleashed when you make two matches in a row of that totem’s color.  In addition there are power ups that you can unlock and upgrade that do things like give you more time or strap some dynamite to a tile which explodes when you use that tile.  The gems embedded in tiles also returns in Blitz, and you can collect these gems as currency for booster upgrades and for bringing totems into battle.  Each level has required tasks and bonus tasks that you have to complete, and if you finish enough bonus tasks you’ll get extra rewards.  If you hook up with Facebook you can even challenge your friends and compete in weekly tournaments to find out who the real Blitz master is.  The game is free to play, but each turn cost a bolt of energy to play which takes its sweet time to recharge.  You can also buy gems via IAP, which might become necessary if you become really attached to having your totems with you on every level.

Montezuma Blitz Alawar Entertainment, Inc, Montezuma Blitz – Free

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Blockman Jump – If you like one tap timing games, then you should at least find Blockman Jump interesting.  All you do is tap the screen to jump, so it’s really a matter of tapping the screen at just the right time to leap over all the impending obstacles of doom.  The big gimmick of the game is that the screen is divided into three sections, and you have to run each section in the opposite direction from the last.  What this means is that you not only have to pay attention to the section you’re running, but you have to be ready to make the first leap in the new section with no pause in between.  The other feature I’ve seen so far is that in some sections either you or the objects you’re trying to jump over fade in and out of visibility.  This can prove to be a rather interesting challenge.  The down side is that it took me all of about 5 minutes to beat the free version.  I’m not sure how long the full version is, but it could be a rather short game overall unless you want to try and beat your overall score to place on the one leaderboard that’s available.  For those that enjoy one tap platform games, it’s at least worth a download for the free version to check it out.

Blockman Jump xiaoze liu, Blockman Jump – $0.99

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Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes – Developers have been experimenting with many ways to infuse different combat mechanics into RPG games over the past few years, and as far as casual gaming goes this is one of my favorite so far.  Basically imagine Temple Run, but instead of running from creatures you fight them, and as a reward you actually build up the characters that you’re using.  You even get to switch between three different heroes at any point throughout a level, as each hero works better against different types of monsters.  Collect gold and earn scrolls so that you can enhance your equipment, and give each hero a chance to participate in killing monsters so that they can level up and increase their skills.  Select a random player at the beginning of each round to “accompany” you and help each other out.  There are plenty of levels to explore, and Game Center integration provides leaderboards to climb and achievements to earn as well.

Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes Mobage, Inc., Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes – Free

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Slam Dunk Basketball 2 – How many shots can you make in 60 seconds?  That’s what the second installment of this popular causal basketball game intends to find out.  Compete with other players around the world in head to head bouts or 8 player tournaments to find out who is the best.  The higher the level the more the entrance fee is, but naturally the sweeter the rewards are as well.  Keeping winning so that you can have the cash to continually enter matches, visit the free coins page to check out a variety of offers to gain more loot, or simply buy the coins via IAP if you desire.  There are more than 40 different ball designs you can buy, but don’t think they’ll help you any.  This game has no power ups or boosts of any kind, so your ability to win is tied solely to your skill in playing.  Turns out that works out even worse for me than getting clobbered by the guy that steals all the power ups in other multiplayer games.  There is Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements, and the fact that it’s multiplayer only guarantees that every game will be different.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 VisualDreams, Slam Dunk Basketball 2 – Free

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Moby Dick: The Game – Man, I wish I could have written games for English class when I was in school!  Anyway, this is of course based off of Herman Melville’s classic of the same name.  There’s not really much to the game: you eat fish to keep your hunger satiated, rise to the surface to refill your air and generally decimate every boat that comes along.  As you progress through the game you will earn points that you can use to upgrade things like power, speed and how hungry you get.  The game does use my favorite form of upgrade system which allows you to readjust your points any time you want.  The game offers 15 stages of ship sinking mayhem which includes 3 bosses.  There are Game Center leaderboards, but at this point there are no achievements to earn.  What I like about the game is that it actually shares the story of Moby Dick, albeit in a very abbreviated fashion, and it brings a literary classic to the game world without zombies or werewolves or whatever else most people think is necessary to make old masterpieces relevant.

Moby Dick: The Game Li Tan, Moby Dick: The Game – Free

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A Darker Shade of Red – I’m happy to see that adventure games are apparently more than just a fad on iOS devices.  It’s also nice that developers understand adults play these games and want something more than just the next “stalwart guy saves beautiful damsel from vicious dragon” type plots.  That being said, some of the content I’ve experienced so far has been a bit odd, and this is definitely not a game you want to let your kids play.  I really like the whole private eye noir atmosphere, and the fact that the characters are animals instead of human provides an interesting twist.  The interface hearkens back to the good old days when Sierra made the transition between text command and a true graphical interface, though it does support modern niceties like the ability to drag inventory items where you want to use them.  The graphics are really well done, and the support characters are fully voice acted (some of your lines are voiced as well, but not all of them).  Overall this is a very nice production, especially for a free game.

A Darker Shade of Red DADIU, A Darker Shade of Red – Free

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Wicked: The Game – It’s rather well known that medium such as books and movies don’t translate well into games, and I’m not even sure that there has been one based off of a play before (because all good plays get turned into movies first, right?)  Anyway, I appreciate the fact that rather than trying to somehow recreate the “magic” of the play, Wicked: The Game is simply a fun match 3 game with the story of the play as a backdrop.  There are two styles of game play in Wicked.  The first has you trying to unlock a wide assortment of objects by making matches to open up a pathway so that green energy can flow from the starting point to where the object is being kept.  The other style of play has you making matches to try and get cages to fall to the bottom of the playing field, at which point the animals trapped inside will be freed.  Occasionally you’ll unlock special items that can be used to help clear the levels.  After each level has been successfully completed you’ll be rewarded with a nicely drawn panel depicting a scene from the story, and for every 15 stars you earn from completing levels you’ll get a chance to visit the wizard and win some power ups.

WICKED: The Game 505 Games (US), Inc., WICKED: The Game – Free

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Deception Force – This is an FPS game with a bit of a twist.  You are a member of an elite security team, and it is your job to cleanse the data center of all of its nasty infiltrations, which for you materialize in the form of vicious looking creatures.  The game looks cool and could certainly be enjoyed by anyone that likes to blast things first person style, but I think those that know what a DDoS or SQL Injection are will appreciate the characterizations much more.  Unfortunately, the controls need some work.  There is no way to strafe, which means creatures have this nasty tendency to surprise you, which thankfully hasn’t been too much of an issue so far.  There is no way to adjust your vision up or down which as a result has you relying on auto-targeting.  Sadly, the auto-targeting is sometimes a joke.  The game has that “lots of potential” feel to it, so if the developers could bring the controls up to modern standards Deception Force could be a lot of fun.  It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially since it’s free.

Deception Force Juniper Networks Inc., Deception Force – 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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