10 App Store Games To Watch [February 24 - March 2]

monday-roundup-02242014-intro

Is it over yet?  I hate to keep harping on this Flappy Bird fad, but all the annoying clones make it really hard for me to find new quality games.  Anyway, Chillingo’s release for the week was a Duck Hunt style game call Duck Destroyer, which at first begged the question “why?” in my mind.  Once I played it, however, I realized it was one of the best of the genre that I’ve played on my iOS devices so far.  If you like simple card games but don’t want to admit to playing solitaire, 9-line is a great alternative.  It’s easy to learn, supports both single and multiplayer modes, and even throws a little strategy in to boot.  For the budding zoologists in the crowd Nimble Bit offers Disco Zoo.  Unlike most zoo simulators I actually enjoyed this one for more than 5 minutes, in large part due to the fact that you actually have to find the animals that you’ll place in your zoo.

monday-roundup-02242014-burnin-rubber

Burnin’ Rubber Crash n’ Burn – This game is designed for those that are much more into the destruction of things than the actual skill of driving.  You select one of several cars that you unlock while playing, buy and upgrade gadgets to make your experience leave more of an impact, then hit the streets to wreak havoc on the other drivers.  Missions usually involve destroying certain targets, and completing them earns you stars that help you level up.  In addition to the missions there are 9 trophies to earn, and this game goes for the quality over quantity as some of them will take you a while to earn.  Of course you’ll also have to exert some effort if you want to buy all of the gadgets and upgrades, so be prepared to do some serious demolishing.  There are 6 cars to play with in the base game and you can buy 9 more via 3 IAP purchases.  The steering is the only thing that bugs me at this point, but the sheer wanton destruction you can cause pretty much makes up for that.

Burnin' Rubber Crash n' Burn Xform Games, Burnin’ Rubber Crash n’ Burn – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-segway-surf

Segway Surf – Segway Surf is another one of those single control, tap at the right time to jump platform games… except that it actually has two controls.  Segway Surf introduces the concept of a stop button, and it actually adds an interesting dimension to the game.  Segway Surf also includes some elements that don’t find their way into most games like this.  Many of the objects that you have to jump over actually move.  Lasers are more than willing to chop off your head if you don’t time everything just right.  One feature that I don’t recall ever seeing in a game like this is the teleport, which on at least one level even moves up and down.  The down side is that the game is quite short, unless you want to keep playing to try and beat it with less deaths than previous attempts.  There aren’t even any Game Center achievements to prolong the lifespan of the game, but it’s a nice example of how the genre is evolving conceptually.

Segway Surf Tommy Skogen, Segway Surf – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-cave-spider

Cave Spider – It seems like there were a lot of good choices for new releases last week yet I feel like I’m gravitating towards the more basic offerings this time around.  Cave Spider has graphics that look like it belongs on a Commodore 64 with music that I’m guessing you’d find in a classical collection.  The game currently has 30 levels where the goal is simply to get out alive, though if you want to you can try and collect all three coins on each of the levels.  Sometimes the exit can be a bit tricky to get to, but the main challenge comes from trying to collect the loot on each level.  There are plenty of obstacles to avoid like bad bugs, lasers and more.  On the water levels you also need to find a pair of goggles before you can get your 8 legs wet.  I like the fact that you can double tap to run and that you keep moving fast until you let your finger up, though sometimes when the spider catches up to your finger it can be hard to see the obstacles your hand is covering.  So far the levels haven’t been overly difficult as long as you have some patience, but it’s entertaining and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new level sets will bring.

Cave Spider Andrew Willeitner, Cave Spider – $0.99

monday-roundup-02242014-zomborama

Zomborama – Zomborama is a cool little strategy game about taking the land from the living.  You start out with a zomboy and a couple of corpsys (dogs) and as you take over cemeteries you’ll be able to recruit more powerful undead allies.  Winning battles also earns you mushrooms which are used to buy new recruits.  Not earning enough from your winnings?  Take over farms to harvest even more mushrooms.  Surprisingly there appears to be no way to supplement your mushroom intake via IAP.  Combat is more like playing pool than a typical strategy game as you demolish your foes by knocking them around the playing field.  The controls could use a bit of work, but for the most part they are manageable.  The game does offer Game Center integration for a leaderboard and 5 achievements, but unless I’m missing something it’s not readily available through the game itself.  Zomborama could definitely use some polish, but for what it is the game is strangely addictive.

Zomborama iTales.ru, Zomborama – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-frizzle-fraz

Frizzle Fraz – Before you get started on me, yes I did see that this game was made by GirlsGoGames.  But let’s face it, what man hasn’t watched at least one Lifetime movie because of his wife?  It turns out this is actually an amusing platform game, albeit way too simple for most older gamers.  You must rescue your kidnapped friends by collecting keys and freeing them from their cages.  They cannot be hurt but you can, and there are plenty of obstacles waiting to take you down.  Bridges crumble after a couple of bounces, flowers give you one bump before they try and eat you, and crystal masses are more than ready to puncture you (in a non-violent cartoon way, of course).  The game has 26 levels, but even a mediocre gamer won’t have too much trouble knocking them out.  Still, this is a nice example of the family friendly potential iOS games have, and it’s entertaining while it lasts.  Maybe the developer could throw in a few more levels and add a difficulty setting that makes it more challenging for adults, or you could just enjoy the fact that you can share this game and your time with younger children.

Frizzle Fraz GirlsgoGames.com, Frizzle Fraz – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-9-line

9-line – I don’t get into electronic card games very much, but this one is pretty neat.  The object is to empty your hand by playing same suited cards in open spots of the appropriate stack.  For instance, if there’s an 8 of spades on the board and you have the 7 of spades you can play it.  The rules are simple yet there’s still a bit of strategy in determining what to play so that you can get rid of your cards and still prevent your opponents from playing.  If you’re on your own you can play a single game with 3, 4 or 6 players, or you can play several levels of tournaments with varying entry costs that translate to increased payouts.  If you’re on Game Center you can choose to auto-match or select your friends to play against.  In addition to winning games and working your way up the leaderboards there are several achievements to earn that can also net you some coins.  The one feature I’d love to see added is the ability to play multiplayer in either hot-seat mode or over local wifi, because I could certainly see this being a fun party game.

9-Line axdmv, 9-Line – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-demonrock

Demonrock: War of Ages – This is a castle defense style game, though like many of the more modern ones you actually have a central character that you personally control.  You’ll guide the character through 40 levels of bad guy bashing goodness, upgrading him or her along the way to make sure that you are strong enough to defeat the enemy.  There are 8 different types of troops you’ll be able to unlock and you can take up to 4 types into battle at any time.  One thing I really like is that you don’t have to manage resource gathering – creating troops uses food which slowly replenishes over time.  As for upgrading your main character, you’ll do that by gathering coins and material that you find on your journey.  You can have up to five games going at one time, and since there are 4 different main character classes you can try them all out.  Of course you will need to be willing to buy two of them via IAP.  Even if you stick with the 2 that come stock with the game you’ll have plenty to do between conquering the 40 levels and experimenting with different equipment upgrade paths should you choose to play multiple times.

Demonrock: War of Ages Crescent Moon Games, Demonrock: War of Ages – $0.99

monday-roundup-02242014-trezzle

Trezzle – The number puzzle – Games like Sudoku proved that playing with numbers could be fun.  Here’s another creative example of how basic math skills can actually be entertaining and addictive.  The objective of Trezzle is to earn a certain number of points by selecting two tiles that solve a mathematical equation like x + y = 10.  You can also get points by matching 3 or more of the same number that happen to be on adjacent tiles.  You might have to earn the score in a certain amount of time, within a certain number of moves or using only a finite amount of tiles.  There are currently 400 levels to complete, but make sure you watch your life because if you fail too many times you’ll have to go back to your last checkpoint which could be quite a few levels if you haven’t purchased a certain IAP.  You have charms that can help you beat a particularly difficult level, and occasionally special tiles will pop up that help out as well.  You can even play multiplayer against Facebook friends and let your devious side out as you sabotage your opponents’ boards.  Even if you’re not a whiz at math I think you’ll find Trezzle rather intriguing.

Trezzle - The number puzzle Roopidy Creative, Trezzle – The number puzzle – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-duck-destroyer

Duck Destroyer – So do we really need another Duck Hunt style game on the App Store?  Maybe not now, but I’m glad the developers of Duck Destroyer didn’t let that question stop them.  This game is like Duck Hunt on steroids, with multiple weapons to buy and upgrade, plenty of gadgets to unlock and use, and different helicopter like robots that help you out.  The game offers 50 levels of foul blasting goodness with 3 stars to earn per level by completing certain tasks.  There is also the granny bonus to earn, which usually seems to involve score a particular amount on the level.  There are also 41 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each level as well as a cumulative leaderboard to compete on.  The game uses an interesting control scheme where you move with one hand and shoot your weapon with the other.  You can use the gyroscope to help fine tune your movement, though it can be frustrating to try and pick up bonuses with the free hand that you don’t have.  Overall this is one of the best duck shooting games I’ve played on the iPad to date.

Duck Destroyer Chillingo Ltd, Duck Destroyer – Free

monday-roundup-02242014-disco-zoo

Disco Zoo – Nimble Bit has had a lot of popular games, but I must confess that I haven’t taken to them as well as many iOS gamers.  Disco Zoo just might change all that.  There are several zoo building games available, but I like this one because it doesn’t feel like just a zoo wrapper around a city building game.  Instead you focus on collecting the animals, and the pens get built as you rescue the inhabitants to fill them.  In that regards you’ll collect a wide array of specimens but searching a grid battleship style to locate the hidden creatures.  Of course you only get so many attempts per rescue, so you might get lucky or you could come up empty handed.  The more animals you have the more coins you earn, but you can also get Disco Bux that fund Disco Parties and give you bonuses like extra search attempts.  This is a freemium game, and if you play it enough you’ll probably find you need to dump some money in to keep the pace flowing smoothly, but so far it seems to not abuse the whole freemium paradigm.  I just hope it doesn’t prove me wrong at some point.

Disco Zoo NimbleBit LLC, Disco Zoo – 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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