10 App Store Games To Watch [March 24 - 30]

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The Flappy clone craze is still in full swing, with what feels like 15% to 20% of new releases falling under this category.  That may be a bit of a stretch, but they’re definitely everywhere so I’ve decided to bring my own suggestion to the table this week.  Happy Matchy Bird is a nice variant of the genre that’s actually addictive from my opinion.  Instead of controlling the bird you actually open up the pillars for it by matching 3 jewels together to make a gap for your feathered friend to fly through.  For those not at all interested in this style of game, maybe you’d prefer Shattered Planet (RPG).  This rouge like ditches the fantasy scene for a sci-fi background, it has plenty of randomly generated terrain for you to explore, and it actually makes your primary mission discovering new things, which is always cool.  If you like to shoot first and ask questions later then Exodite might be more up your alley.  This scrolling shooter pits you against plenty of bullets (and a few space ships too), and it’s definitely a challenge, so don’t expect to be finishing it too quickly.

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Word Monsters – This little gem comes to us from Rovio Stars, which I’m assuming is an indie publishing arm of the studio that made Angry Birds a sensation.  Whatever the case, this is a pretty fun social word game.  A big part of the attraction for me with this game is you only have to be reasonably good with words and spelling.  All the answers are already on the board for you – you just have to select the words in the appropriate order so that the rest of the tiles will collapse and form the remaining words you need.  There’s no pressure, but you do only get 60 seconds to complete a level unless you use the slow down boost.  There are other boosts as well, but they each cost cookies to use, which aren’t easy to come by.  There are several themes to get your word lists from, and many items that you can use to customize your monster, all of which costs coins.  Again the coins don’t come very freely, unless of course you want to spend some IAP.  The game consists of a single player mode for honing your skills, two player mode which consists of 5 rounds against a random player or your Game Center friends, and league mode which I haven’t explored yet (I believe you can actually accumulate some in game currency through the leagues).  The game has achievements through Game Center and you can post about your achievements on Facebook if you’d like.

Word Monsters Rovio Stars Ltd., Word Monsters – Free

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Shattered Planet (RPG) – Shattered Planet is a space rouge like on steroids.  You simply play a clone, which is cool because you never really die.  Sure you might get your head handed to you in battle and lose all your goods that you had on that run, but you’ll just come back all the stronger and wiser for it, and you don’t relinquish any levels you’ve gained or any increases you’ve made in wits or strength, the two primary stats in the game.  You also get to keep any scrap metal or crystals you find along the way, which is good because those are the in-game currencies you will grow to love.  You will visit your space ship base many times throughout the game, and this is where you raise your stats, change your DNA if you have enough money and also restock on equipment before your next trek (again if the resources permit).  There are 4 different missions to embark on as well as an explorer mode where your only goal is to get as far as you can.  The cool thing is that within the missions the playing fields are randomly generated, and you actually get rewarded for discovering things so find as much stuff as you can.  I love the sci-fi versus the typical fantasy theme, and there are just lots of little things that make Shattered Planet loads of fun.

Shattered Planet (RPG) Execution Labs, Shattered Planet (RPG) – Free

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Voro Blitz – This is the follow up to the cool matching game Voro.  What’s cool about the concept in general is that instead of specifically being squares or circles or hexagons, the “tiles” are just random shapes that flow freely as you move them across the board.  Speaking of which, instead of just having to swap to tiles as is the norm for matching games, in the Voro series you can simply drag a “tile” all the way across the board to find a match if you want.  Of course Voro Blitz also lets you just tap groups of tiles that already have four or more in them.  The big difference between Blitz and its predecessor is that now you only have 60 seconds to clear as many boards as you can.  You have both classic and “liquid” modes to conquer, though the latter is only available via IAP.  You can also play in tournaments to earn real money, though you’ll want to check out the game itself for details on that.  The one other thing this game does that is really cool for a matching game is that it provides a colorblind mode.  Overall the game might not have as many options as some match 3 offerings, but the dynamic flow of the board alone makes it worth checking out for anyone that loves a good match 3 game.

Voro Blitz Abstratum, Voro Blitz – Free

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Galaxy Games Planet Conquest – Planet Conquest is another classic game given the sci-fi treatment; this time the inspiration is the board game Othello.  For those that are unaware, the premise is to dominate the board by surrounding your opponent’s pieces and changing them to your color.  This version has a couple of interesting variations, starting with the fact that you and your opponent get to choose your starting positions.  There are 16 planets scattered across the board (not including the center one), and you each get to pick 8.  After that you take turns placing your spaceships which can go next to either a planet or another spaceship of your color.  If you surround an opponent’s planet on opposite sides it becomes yours, and if you surround your opponent’s spaceships on either side you’ll actually destroy them.  There’s a single player mode as well as two players on the same device or over the internet.  Planet Conquest provides a nice twist on Othello, is free with non-intrusive advertising, and doesn’t hound you with IAP purchases because there aren’t any.

Galaxy Games Planet Conquest NCook, Galaxy Games Planet Conquest – Free

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Exodite – I love shmups, though I’ve always found the “bullet hell” strain a bit on the annoying side.  Still, every once in a while a game that classifies itself in this extreme category catches my attention, and Exodite is one such game.  While the game is extremely challenging and there are definitely bullets flying all over the place, it’s a bit more forgiving in that you have a life bar which not only keeps you from dying on the first hit but replenishes over time if you don’t get hit.  You also have a robot companion that travels with you, but I’m not sure the purpose of that at the moment since I can’t add weapons to it.  You do earn money if you can complete missions and there are better ships you can buy, just don’t expect to be jumping aboard a new cruiser very quickly as you don’t get much money per mission and best I can tell there is no way to replay missions short of starting a new game.  One thing I find interesting is that you supposedly have limited ammo, though that hasn’t really come into play yet that I’ve noticed.  Overall this is a solid scrolling shooter that is fun to play despite the fact that you might have to relive a given mission many times before successful completion.

Exodite David Fernandez Vara, Exodite – $0.99

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Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story – There is a subset of adventure games known as the “room escape” game, which is somewhat erroneous given how many of this type of game involves multiple rooms or occasionally no rooms at all.  Anyway, Cabin Escape is what I like to call a “room escape game done right”.  It’s a prequel to the Forever Lost series of games, and it maintains the same high level of puzzle implementation and visual detail that helped make Forever Lost such memorable games.  Cabin Escape also utilizes one of Forever Lost’s greatest features, which is the ability to take screen shots of any area and then take notes on those screen shots.  Of course my fingers don’t work so well for trying to scribble little details on a touch screen, but it’s a cool concept none the less.  The game isn’t overly long, but it does a nice job of giving some insight into a couple of the characters that you’ll learn about in Forever Lost.  It’s really meant to be an interactive teaser for the main series of games, but it does a nice job of standing on its own.  Personally, I’d love to see the developers make a couple more of these prequels as it is always interesting learning more about the mythos behind Forever Lost.

Cabin Escape: Alice's Story Glitch Games, Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story – Free

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Happy Matchy Bird – One of my mini-missions has become bringing you Flappy Bird style games that don’t stink.  Thankfully this will pass when the flappy fad does.  This week’s decent flappy clone is Happy Matchy Bird, and what makes it decent is that it doesn’t play like a typical flappy game.  Instead of controlling the bird you have to make matches of three of the same kind of block within the columns that the bird is trying to pass.  If you are successful the bird will fly through and you earn a point.  If you fail it’s game over and you simply start again.  They even try to trick you because sometimes there is more than one set of same colored bricks in a column, but you can only match one of them.  Occasionally a donkey will suddenly appear and help you by charging through 2 or 3 poles for you, and I’m pretty sure this is just a random event you have no control over.  Maybe it’s the match 3 fan in me, but this is one flappy game that could actually be addictive for me.

Happy Matchy Bird WildTangent, Inc., Happy Matchy Bird – Free

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Kotoro – If you’ve ever felt like all that stuff you learned in art class wouldn’t pay off, now’s the time for that knowledge to redeem itself.  Kotoro is a game of colors; specifically, it’s a game about mixing and matching colors so that you get rid of all bubbles that aren’t of the target color.  You start with a white bubble which takes on the color of the first thing you run into.  Mix two primary colors to get different colors.  Run into a subtractive bubble to remove a primary color from the mix, or slide through a multi-color bubble to change the color of your main bubble.  There are currently 5 different level sets, each introducing a new concept into game play.  Thankfully there are no timers, though the last game play element to get introduced is the concept of bubbles fading away, so there is some timing issues you’ll have to deal with.  You have to play levels within a set in order, but you can skip between level sets at any time.  The interface is minimal and clean, the bubbles look pretty cool in their simple design, and the music makes for a very relaxing atmosphere.  This game manages to challenge, test and sooth all at the same time.

Kotoro Semidome Inc., Kotoro – $0.99

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Chaos Fighters – At first I shied away from this game because I falsely assumed it was multiplayer online only, and I’m still just warming up to that concept.  As it turns out there’s rather extensive single player options in the game as well, and even the multiplayer might not be as bad as I feared.  Another incorrect thought on my part was that this would be a street fighter style combat game.  Instead it’s more like a trainer where you create a character, decide what equipment they’ll use and configure their skill sets, but the game handles the actual combat.  I wasn’t quite sure at first that I liked that feature, but it’s pretty cool to sit back and watch the fights given the slick visuals and well done animation, and most of them don’t last long enough for you to get bored.  As for what you actually do, most missions revolve around slaying a particular creature or building yourself up to a certain level or one of many other mundane tasks, but at least it gives you an excuse to pump up your warrior.  When you feel you’ve made significant progress you can head on over to the arena and challenge real players from around the world.  Victories in battle and the completion of quests earn you experience which eventually let you level up, at which point you learn new skills.  You only have six skill slots to work with and you can learn up to 40 skills, so play around to see what combinations work for you, or at least what you think looks cool!  So far I’m quite impressed with the potential level of customization, and since the arena is “jump in, jump out” with no intervening smack talk I can even enjoy that feature.

Chaos Fighters Coco Entertainment International, Chaos Fighters – Free

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Gon – Before a certain infamous bird came along the infinite runner was the casual action game to copy.  Gon is a nice variant that doesn’t quite copy the mechanics of either game.  There is no flapping, jumping or sliding to be found here.  Instead you keep your gon in the game by drawing platforms for it to bounce on.  Hitting the top of the screen is okay, but if the gon falls of the sides or bottom of the screen the game is over and it’s time to start again.  In this game the obstacles don’t kill you, but they can knock you in a direction you don’t want to go.  You can draw the line wherever you want, and it won’t go away until either you draw another one or the gon bounces on it once.  You get at least one point for each obstacle you pass and there are coins you can collect which gives you more points, but these only turn into silver gonas.  You need gold gonas to buy new skins, power ups and multipliers, and those come rather slowly unless you visit the IAP section.  Still, the game is pretty entertaining even if you don’t make it very far, and the cheesy recordings when you die always put a smile on your face.

Gon Max Hudson, Gon, 80.3 MB – 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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