10 App Store Games To Watch [March 17 - 23]

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After all this time giving Flappy Bird and its legion of clones a hard time I actually had some good things to say about one, but you’ll be able to check that out later on in the roundup.  Meanwhile, Mobage has partnered with Crytek to bring us The Collectables, a squad based tactical affair that uses collectable cards to provide you with new troops and weapons.  It’s an interesting mix that works well and looks good to boot.  Dark Guardians is another sharp looking game, this time combining the infinite runner with rhythm based mechanics.  The game is very engaging and always keeps you on your toes.  If you want something a bit more relaxing you might give Epic Paint Adventure a try.  It takes a fairly popular style of mobile game, adds in goals to achieve and limits the amount of turns you need to do it in – but at least there’s no timer.

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Rolling Blitz – Treasures of Montezuma has become just about my favorite non-mashup match 3 game for mobile devices, and in some ways this feels like a second hand knock-off of that franchise.  Thankfully even if that’s the case, it’s a very entertaining clone.  It’s hard to imagine that this used to be all the rage, but all you have to do is match 3 or more of the same kind of idol.  There are no stats, no combat or anything that doesn’t resemble a match 3 game.  What Rolling Blitz does offer is lots of different power ups to unlock by increasing your level or shelling on some in-game money which will probably ultimately cost you real money.  The more points you earn in a single game the higher your experience rises and the quicker you level up.  You do earn coins from time to time, but not at a high enough rate to be overly useful, especially if you want to buy hearts when you run out instead of waiting the 30 minutes for them to replenish.  The game is teetering on the “freemium is annoying line”, but I’d be okay if they’d just offer an unlimited hearts option.

Rolling Blitz Melesta, Rolling Blitz – Free
Rolling Blitz HD Melesta, Rolling Blitz HD – Free

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SuPeCa – This game is like Tiny Wings with a vehicle and opponents to race against… kind of.  You have a choice of three cars with varying stats and can buy two more when you raise the cash.  You can also buy wrenches that allow you to upgrade your chosen vehicle, though you can only apply five wrenches to any given vehicle. The nice thing is that you can rearrange your selections at any time, and you can use the same five wrenches for every vehicle if you remove them from one and apply them to another.  There are 4 different classes to race, though you must unlock each one by completing the last.  It also appears that you don’t earn any money unless you complete a class which makes it hard to buy upgrades.  The control scheme is interesting and takes a little getting used to, and I’ll admit I’m not quite there yet.  The only apparent IAP is the “unlock full” option, but the game doesn’t actually tell you what you get for that purchase.  SuPeCa is definitely a bit rough around the edges, but I think there’s a lot of potential and while I haven’t by any means mastered it yet I do like the unique control scheme.

SuPeCa n-Dot Game, SuPeCa – Free

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Dark Guardians – Take one part infinite runner, throw in some rhythm game action and you have Dark Guardians.  In some ways the game is fairly simple – there’s no jumping, sliding or dashing, and the only power up is the legendary Dark Horse that temporarily allows you to plow through everything.  Still, the need to match weapons with attackers based on color (a little Guitar Hero-ish) makes for some exhilarating moments.  You also have a designated area where you have to slash the beasts in, and you get ranked all the way up to perfect depending on how centered they are in that area.  Of course if you miss them altogether they’ll do some damage and when your life meter runs out you die.  You will earn currency for defeating monsters, and this can be used to increase your maximum health amount, give yourself a longer striking distance or start the run farther along the path.  Each item can be upgraded five times.  In addition to the frantic game play the visuals are quite a site to behold.  Overall this is a solid entry in the infinite runner category that scores points for slick graphics and cool rhythm game style controls.

Dark Guardians Mathieu Akita, Dark Guardians – $1.99

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reTales – The first discussion I saw concerning this game described it as a Puzzle Quest clone, which personally I don’t think is a bad compliment.  The truth is that the game is actually pretty fun, though not nearly as deep as its protégée.  You basically jump from battle to battle using match 3 mechanics to decide who the victor will be.  As you win and earn money you can buy more powerful equipment and spells and hopefully stay ahead of your opponents.  You also earn experience points and level up which allows you to increase your base skills.  It basically has all the trappings of your typical entertaining RPG, minus the hours wandering across sandbox style environments.  The problem is that besides money the game also uses gems as currency, specifically for the purpose of repairing equipment – yes, your stuff does wear out.  The issue is compounded by the fact that you apparently don’t actually earn gems anywhere, which means when you run out you have to hit the App Store to buy some via IAP.  I just hope this doesn’t deter players from checking out what could potentially be a very engrossing game.

reTales Alex Gievsky, reTales – Free

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Epic Paint Adventure – My friends at Kuyi Mobile are back at it again which always makes me happy.  This time around we get one of those games where you have to move object around the board to make matches while more pieces are randomly popping up at different locations on the board.  In this case you’re gathering paint to help some of history’s most famous artists complete their masterpieces.  Each level requires you to collect a certain amount of several different colors of paint, and in addition to worrying about the board filling up before you can get things moved where you need them you also have a limited number of turns to make your matches.  If you fail you can buy 5 more moves for a sum of coins.  Ultimately when you are unable to complete a level you lose a heart, and once all your hearts are gone you have to wait for a period of time for them to replenish.  Of course you can buy coins and hearts via IAP, but if you’re talented and / or patient you can technically complete the game without spending any money, which is kind of a trademark of Kuyi Mobile’s games.  I’m not particularly a fan of this type of game, but as usual the Kuyi charm makes it quite playable.

Epic Paint Adventure Kuyi Mobile, Epic Paint Adventure – Free

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Monster Rift HD – When Angry Birds meets a cave climber you might just end up with something like this.  You are Dood and your job is to explore more than 40 rifts, collecting eggs and defeating monsters.  You might find some treasure chests along the way, and that’s okay too.  Dood is a fairly springy guy, so feel free to launch him Angry Birds style up the rift (no slingshot required).  Just remember that what goes up can come down, so don’t try to be too much of a guy and launch Dood at full force every time.  If you do start to fall back down the rift you can launch a web to catch yourself.  Additionally, time is of the essence unless you use time discs to keep the clock running.  Both items are limited in supply, but you can spend the gems you collect to get more.  You also get to hatch any eggs you find, hopefully recovering the rift babies needed to unlock subsequent levels.  So far the game has been pretty relaxed so you can play at your own pace, and it seems that you can revisit levels as often as you want.  There are even 80 achievements to earn if you actually want to feel like you’re accomplishing something.

Monster Rift HD Veritas Design Group, Monster Rift HD – Free

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Adventure Beaks – Welcome to the infinite runner that’s not an infinite.  The game plays like a runner because your character is always on the move and you just make him jump or slide, or in this case dive if you jump and then slide in quick succession.  Your primary goal is just to survive each level, but then you can go back and replay the levels to earn three stars by completing three different secondary missions.  It would be nice if you could work on these in any order, but just having them there adds decent replay value because it will force you to explore alternate paths in a level that might be more dangerous but yield better results.  At the end of a level you get rank on coins collected, number of penguins lost and enemies stomped, though this information is really just for your benefit since the details aren’t summed to create any sort of uber-score.  Along the way you’ll collect coins that can be used to be outfits.  They don’t affect the game any, but they do make your penguins look stylish.  Overall I’m quite impressed with what this game has to offer.

Adventure Beaks GameResort LLC, Adventure Beaks – Free

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Flappy Swoop Down – Get ready for a shock, guys, because I’m actually going to promote a Flappy Bird clone!  This is an example of how to actually do such a game right.  You still have the same dead simple mechanic: tap to go up and release to fall.  The game is also still very challenging, though now because of the actual content of the game rather than a shoddy interface.  Instead of just navigating through sets of pillars you get a Jetpack Joyride type of obstacle course.  Your points come from actually collecting items instead of simply passing by obstacles, and there are also power ups to pick up like slowing down time.  You even have multiple lives in this one that you can actually replenish if you find more on the level.  In other words, this feels like an actual game.  Not to mention the fact that instead of “retro” graphics that looked like sloppy Photoshopped alterations of images from other games, Flappy Swoop Down actually looks pretty cool.  If you really need some sort of Flappy fix, I highly recommend this as an alternative to whatever you’re currently playing.

Flappy Swoop Down TVS Games, Flappy Swoop Down – Free

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Red Wizard – I don’t know if there’s some sort of overriding goal to this particular rogue like game, but lack of a mission hasn’t made a difference so far.  This is really just a typical rogue like with randomly generated dungeons, plenty of monsters to fight and lots of loot to manage in your limited inventory space, but I just like the simplicity of it.  The interface is clean and well thought out.  When important events like running out of food or an item being cursed takes place, friendly reminders pop up at the bottom of the screen.  Your character will even automatically eat for you every four rounds as long as you have some rations on hand.  If you are low on health and out of food the game even makes it easy for you to purchase extra supplies (using in-game currency, not IAP).  I love the NES style graphics, and while the music is not constant and subtle even when it is playing it seems pretty good.  The game is free and the only IAP that I’ve run across is the ability to remove ads, which frankly aren’t that intrusive anyway.  Red Wizard might not bring anything new to the rogue like table, but it does the genre well and makes it accessible to those who might not be experienced with it.

Red Wizard Charles Baker, Red Wizard – Free

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The Collectables – No, this is not the trading card version of Sylvester Stallone’s little ensemble.  This is actually an interesting combination of squad based real time strategy and collectable card games.  Build and enhance your squad by earning and buying card packs, then deploy the team to the field where you’ll guide them in groups or individually to take down the enemy and complete certain objectives.  While on the field you can use specialty cards like weapons and medical equipment by dragging the cards on the field to the desired target.  You can actually replay missions multiple times to earn better rewards, and while you might not always like the grinding it can come in handy when you try to tackle more difficult tasks.  Do keep in mind that like many freemium games these days playing missions does require energy, so weigh that into the mix before deciding to move on versus retrying a level.  The graphics are powered by Crytek’s engine so you know the visuals are going to be sharp.  I’m aware of at least one other game somewhat like this on the App Store, but I like this one because you actually get to participate in the combat instead of just watching your troops duke it out.

The Collectables Mobage, Inc., The Collectables – 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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