10 App Store Games To Watch [March 10 – 16]



It took me a while this week to find some games I could really sink my teeth into, but there were some out there.  Braveland is probably one of the best turn based strategy games I’ve come across in quite some time.  The battles are fun, the little story snippets along the way are often amusing, and the visuals are well done and nicely animated.  Pocket Gunfighters is one of the latest offerings from Gameloft, and it should be a great example to future developers of shooting gallery style games.  With more than 50 gunmen to unlock there’s plenty to keep you busy, and it’s even worth it to die once to watch ninjas do a happy dance at your disgrace.  Tower defense fans should check out Mad Dan – Puzzle TD.  Among its features the game boasts 150 different levels, and you can play the whole thing for free.


Braveland – I’ve run across a few games this week that have been fairly entertaining, but this was the first one that I was really excited to write about.  Anyone familiar with the Heroes of Might & Magic series will instantly appreciate the rich strategic turn based combat.  While it does not appear that you get to have your own castle in this game, you do get to pick up party members along your travels as well as buying help in the local taverns.  You can also heal your existing troops at the end of a battle as long as you have enough money.  Your hero doesn’t fight directly, but as battles are won he gains XP which let him level up and choose skills that will help all party members fight better or protect themselves more efficiently.  You will meet many different characters, both friend and foe, and engage in lots of challenging battles.  The visuals are nicely drawn and well animated, and the music is easy to listen to.  This is definitely one of the best turn based strategy games I’ve played in a while.

Braveland Tortuga Team, Braveland – $2.99


Beware Of Horns – So you’re one of those people that would rather try your patience than tax your brain, huh?  I bet even you are getting sick of all the “I’m not Flappy Bird” releases, and that’s where Beware Of Horns comes in.  This simple game has you jumping along the outside of a moo-ving train, trying your hardest to land on the heads of the cows that apparently ride on top of the cars to get some air.  You tap to jump, and it appears that to an extent the longer you tap the farther you’ll jump.  You can tap a second time to glide for a bit, though the results might not turn out much better than your initial jump.  Since the train is moving at the same time you’ll have to take that into consideration, and then there are the bulls – hence the warning in the title.  The game is pretty basic, the music gets repetitive extremely fast and I still can’t manage to get more than four points.  All that aside, I often find one or two tries turning into several minutes of frustrated but fun playing.

Beware of Horns 2 Ton Studios, Beware of Horns – Free


Pirate Fist – This game is silly and kind of pointless, and it honestly won’t have a very long shelf life on your device.  Still, for the short time it’s there it’s worth spending a few minutes with every now and again.  Basically, just like the iTunes description says you must pound a treasure chest until it gives up its goods.  When it releases some contents you’ll be treated to three coins and two mystery bags.  The bags might contain more coins, a pair of metal gloves that help you pound more efficiently, a forgotten relic or an octopus.  If you get the octopus you’ll have to knock him off before you can continue to abuse the treasure chest, and your ultimate goal is to acquire all the relics.  Sadly once you’ve completed your collection you’ll have no reason to come back for more because there are no achievements to earn or leaderboards to rank on.  If nothing else I’d recommend it for some minor stress relief and to see the artwork and animation, which is actually pretty good.  Maybe the developers will put some time into making this a full fledged game some day.

Pirate Fist Mauricio Galaz, Pirate Fist – Free


Rise of Gladiators – This is a matching game of a very different sort.  You are Beefus Maximus and you are trying to claim victory in a Roman Colosseum.  Fortunately you have all the weapons you need to defeat any foe that comes at you.  The problem is that each warrior must be felled by the same color weapon as the outfit he wears.  You have a virtual joystick to run around the arena and a button to switch between each of the three weapons.  In order to slay a foe you simply have to run into him, but remember that when one weapon is drawn you are completely vulnerable to the other two types of soldiers.  Yellow soldiers will charge you when they are close, and blue soldiers will try to stun you from a distance and actually run away when you get too close.  Rise of Gladiators proves to be quite a challenge in timing as you quickly swap weapons when you’re swarmed by enemies.  Unfortunately like a lot of these games it lacks any sort of social network integration, but it does provide a challenging experience and a game mechanic that doesn’t feel like a simple derivative.

Rise of Gladiators Garry Law, Rise of Gladiators – Free


Pocket Gunfighters – I’ve always felt the touch screen was the perfect medium for shooting gallery style games, and Pocket Gunfighters is a great example of how cool one can be.  Your job is to take down a ring of time travelling villains, and you’ll assemble a team of more than 50 different characters to do so.  Each character has several stats that you can upgrade, and you can take 3 with you into combat at any time.  You can also buy abilities that will affect the entire team and power ups that give you a one time boost to make it through tough levels.  What I really like about the levels is that you don’t just have static “props” popping up for a bit and then going away again.  The bad guys will actually hop on and off the screen in a more dynamic fashion than a lot of these shooters employ.  The visuals are fun, and both sides are willing to do a happy dance when they’ve won.  The game is freemium, and the biggest way they get you is that when your gunfighters die in battle you either have to revive them, wait a period of time before they are usable again or pick different gunfighters to use.  Naturally IAP makes all of this less painful, but it’s certainly playable without dumping a ton of cash into it.

Pocket Gunfighters GAMEVIL USA, Inc., Pocket Gunfighters – Free


Finder’s Keep – These primarily menu driven RPG games seem to be pretty popular, and from what I’ve played so far Finder’s Keep has a lot to offer.  While you still don’t actually get to see your character, when you’re in dungeon you do get to explore it board game style with some neat fog effects.  In combat you get to pick 3 from an eventual pool of 6 actions, and finding the right combination for a given creature is paramount to continued success.  As you trudge through the dungeons you’ll gather money and equipment, and you also get keys that can be used to unlock treasure chests full of random goods after you complete the level you’re on.  Defeating monsters lets you level up and build up certain attributes, and hooking up with friends lets you earn rewards for their exploits.  Equipment can be reinforced and fused to make better weapons and armor, and you can even dismantle some items to get material for others.  While I still prefer a full fledged RPG where you see your character wandering around the world, this is a pretty decent alternative.

Finder's Keep Big Blue Bubble, Finder’s Keep – Free


Beach Hero – Normally I don’t really go for these simple defense games, but for some reason this one is drawing me in.  You control a gun at the bottom of the screen and your job is to destroy wave after wave of incoming soldiers before they reach and destroy your wall.  What’s nice is that each of the enemy units really has a distinct purpose, and assuming you get the choice you’ll have to decide what to take out first.  Of course this can be difficult when you get rows of soldiers with shields that not only make them harder to kill but protect other advancing troops as well.  In addition to your gun you have access to grenades that damage everything immediately in front of the wall as well as bombs that hurt anything on the screen.  Whether you win or lose you’ll earn some money – you just happen to get a lot more if you win – which can be used to upgrade several aspects of your combat prowess.  You can also use the money to buy grenades and bombs.  Sadly there are no leaderboards or achievements to work towards, but so far just trying to get the latest weapons upgrades to see how they affect game play have been enough to keep me going.

Beach Hero Sesame game, Beach Hero – Free


Mad Dan – Puzzle TD – I’m not much of a tower defense fan myself, but I would imagine for those that are this would be a nice little treat.  Instead of using the typical tower defense mechanics you use objects to help guide the enemies’ path, and then you zap them with your mental powers.  Yes, you are mental, which is probably why you’re in an institution in the first place.  The setting is another thing that helps the game stand out from its peers.  The game boasts 150 levels with 3 different difficulty settings, and 3 special “hardcore” levels that you can play in tournaments to win prizes.  There are 23 different types of workers in the game that you’ll have to contend with, 5 of which wield different kinds of weapons.  There’s even a story to tie everything together.  The best part of all, however, is that you can play through the whole game without ever paying a cent (at least according to the iTunes description).  Tower defense fans should be jumping all over this one.

Mad Dan - Puzzle TD Etorki Games SL, Mad Dan – Puzzle TD – Free


Case Files Vegville Mystery – This is a clever take on the hidden object genre.  Your ultimate goal is to solve a mystery, but in order to uncover the clues you’ll have to find shapes hidden in various locations.  For each level you’ll be presented with a variety of boards that contain a shape you must find, and while it may seem easy the catch is that you must not only match the form of the shape but the colors as well.  There are more than 200 levels to beat in single player mode, so while nothing has been overly difficult so far I can see where there will still be plenty of game to play.  There are also two multiplayer modes – pass and play and “with friends”.  Pass and play lets you engage up to 5 other players on a single device, and while they suggest you don’t show others what you are playing I tried it out on my own with two players and the boards appeared to be different for each player.  “With Friends” mode requires either a Facebook account or an account with Tornado Games and lets you play against other players around the world.  Multiplayer is all about who can score the most by being the quickest which will probably interest older players more than the single player mode.

Case Files Vegville Mystery Jetacer Interactive, Case Files Vegville Mystery – Free


Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad! – Minesweeper was certainly a novel concept when Microsoft popularized it on their early Windows platforms, but obviously games have matured a lot since then.  Thankfully some developers have successfully morphed the concept and as a result we get games like Astro Mined.  Here you are just trying to help an astronaut escape from a series of planets, and maybe collect a little bit of loot along the way.  Just like in Minesweeper you’ll be warned if you’re adjacent to a tile that has a mine, but in Astro Mined you don’t need to clear all the non-mined spots.  You just need to make it to the exit in one piece.  Collect coins and fruit to bolster your score, and find power ups to make your life a bit easier.  One cool addition to the game is the boulder which can be used to detonate several mines so you don’t get blown up.  This has the side effect of turning some levels into Sokoban type game play as well.  You get to try the moon set of levels for free, and I think you’ll see that it’s a pretty slick overhaul of a classic game.

Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad! MakeGamesWithUs.com, Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad! – 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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