10 App Store Games To Watch [May 19 – 25]


This week’s games had a lot of interesting features, but one trait that surfaced in a lot of the entries was good old fashioned pixel style graphics.  Defend your Crypt brought this look to the “treasure defense” genre.  Despite only having seven different types of traps to work with this game offers quite a bit of strategy and proves to be a frantic challenge even in the early levels.  PixelGolf is what I would have imagined had Sierra Online made a miniature golf game in the late 80s.  The level designs are lots of fun, and you can play up to 4 players on the same device or online.  Super Surf Bros brings you pixel waves and fun in the sun.  Play a gnarly campaign mode and work your way to number one in the big surfing contest or take on a real opponent for head to head wave action on the same device.

Super Surf Bros – This is not a complex surfing simulation.  In fact, other than spinning yourself into nausea with 360 degree turns the only other trick you can do is laying flat on the board while “surfing” in the air.  Instead, this is just a fun way to kill some time and enjoy the silliness of pixilated frat surfer dudes.  Story mode has you competing in a big surf camp match, which apparently lasts until you actually win (I haven’t yet).  There’s also a practice mode, but that’s kind of boring because there are no other surfers; maybe they should throw in a shark to sweeten the pot a bit.  Finally there’s head to head mode, where you can take on another player on the same device.  I haven’t experimented with this mode yet, but it could be kind of interesting.  Story mode was the main focus for me, and I liked the way that you could earn items from other surfers once you beat them in the competition… and in a healthy match of rock, paper, scissors.  The controls are simple and the graphics remind me of the good old days when Sierra Online used to reign supreme.  Game Center offers a leaderboard and six achievements, but my one fear with this game is that it will grow old once you’ve tackled story mode.

Super Surf Bros Wonpwn, Super Surf Bros – Free

Bear Simulator 3D Madness – Maybe I’m being unfair to the game, but I’m going to assume this is a response to all those weird goat games that seem to be popping up lately.  Whatever the case, this could actually be a rather interesting game, and it is entertaining at least for a little while.  The gist of the game is that you’re a bear on the loose causing havoc to everything you run into.  You do that almost too well, as you can easily take down tanks, helicopters or whatever else gets in your way.  It would be nice to see something in this game besides the bear traps try and stop you.  Even better, when you run into another bear you should be able to duke it out with that bear.  The metro level needs to be more than the wilderness level with some pavement as well; some actual buildings would be nice.  As it stands Bear Madness Simulator has a lot of potential, but it feels like a tech demo more than anything else.  Download it, play it for a bit, then send the developer some nice comments and suggestions so that maybe this will get fleshed out into a more full-fledged game.

Bear Simulator 3D Madness Ksenia Tsarkova, Bear Simulator 3D Madness – Free

The Outbreak – This is not a very long game at all.  In fact, it might be quicker for you to download it and play it then to read this synopsis.  Still, if you’re a fan of zombie games I think this is worth your time.  Much like Super Surf Bros, this game sports some pretty slick Sierra style graphics, though you’d be hard pressed to find anything from their VGA catalog that was nearly as gory (well, as gory as pixilated blood spurts can be, anyway).  The mechanics are quite basic: left and right to move and a jump button to get over obstacles and squish zombies by jumping on their heads.  The game is divided into several small sections, and you get 4 lives to complete each section.  Unless you’re really bad at this type of game or just decide to goof off there should be no reason for you not to complete the whole thing on your first play through.  Despite the somewhat clunky graphics there does manage to be a couple of instances that border on creepy, but more importantly the game is entertaining for the couple of minutes it lasts.  It’s also hopefully a sign of good things to come.

The Outbreak lauren drinkwater, The Outbreak – Free

Defend your Crypt – Forget Dungeon Keeper, it’s time to protect your gold even more old school style with Defend your Crypt.  This is kind of like a sadistic version of Lemmings.  The creatures – in this case humans – still fall from the top of the screen and walk in predetermined paths to a goal, but in this case instead of trying to help them you want to obliterate them.  There are seven types of traps you can use to lure the thieves to their deaths, and with all the fun I’m having after being given two of them I can’t imagine the chaos when I have them all at my disposal.  I’m only on level 4 of the 21 levels that are currently offered and I already wish I had a few more fingers and eyes to keep track of everything.  I also like the twist that instead of buying and placing traps you simply pay to unlock the traps that are already scattered around the board.  It’s more a matter of deciding which ones to open up and then how to use them most effectively.  For those that like a little more interactivity in their defense games this is definitely for you, and you won’t be disappointed with the level of challenge either.

Defend your Crypt Adrian Vega Carpintero, Defend your Crypt – Free

Chrono Express – I have to confess that there was a slight tingle in my spine when I saw this title and accidentally considered that it might have to do with a certain critically acclaimed NES RPG series.  Anyway, this is actually an infinite runner style game with a Steampunk setting where you deliver packages via a new express delivery route.  The concept is amusing (think Google drones but with actual drivers) and the game is actually pretty fun.  You’ll start out with a basic bike and no accessories, and as you make runs and complete missions you’ll earn cash to buy new equipment.  You’ll also unlock new obstacle types, which over time can make for some rather interesting levels.  So far the most interesting obstacle is the “no place to land” enhancement which gives your vehicle wings and temporarily turns the game into an over the shoulder Flappy Bird experience.  There are 22 badges (achievements) to earn and a “highest revenue for a single run” leaderboard to place on.  It will definitely take some work to earn most of the cool stuff, but the missions are fair and it never seems like real grinding to keep pressing forward.

Chrono Express Ming Gao, Chrono Express – Free

PixelGolf – As I’ve mentioned many a time I’m not a big fan of electronic sports games, unless of course they tend to be a bit on the silly or unrealistic side.  Of course one might argue that mini golf isn’t really a sport anyway but it is close enough for me, and this is one of those exceptions to my “no sports games” rule.  First of all, this has some of the best course designs I’ve seen in a mini golf game in a while.  And naturally, the course layouts are a big part of what make a mini golf game a success.  Second, I love every pixilated inch of the visuals.  The control scheme is interesting, consisting of a spin wheel to determine the direction and a slider bar to gauge the power of the shot.  In concept it’s pretty cool but in practice it makes those precision shots at the end a bit of a pain.  Needless to say I was a bit above par my first time around.  Enjoy the game on your own or really dig into the fun by playing 4 player pass-and-play or online.  There’s only 1 eighteen hole course currently, but you can play as much as you’d like without any IAP or ads to hamper your fun.  I will say that I would happily pay an additional buck or two IAP if they created a new course down the road.

PixelGolf Kristian Keane, PixelGolf – $1.99


Ruzzle Adventure – This is my kind of word game.  Instead of being just a “how long can you go” type game or requiring you to play against another person, Ruzzle Adventure is a solo adventure divided into plenty of bite sized levels.  Sure you can hook up with your friends via Facebook to compare high scores, but you don’t have to.  Each level has a main goal that you have to complete in a certain number of moves in order to win.  While you’re working towards that goal (or once you’ve completed it if you have extra lives) you can keep finding words to build up your score and earn up to three stars per level.  You can even replay levels to earn missed stars, but once you’ve collected all three on a level you’re basically just trying to beat whoever holds the high score for that level.  As you play through a level unused tiles will start to accumulate bonus multipliers to boost your score even more.  Using 5 or more letters at once earns you a bomb to help clear out entire rows or columns, and other boosters will become available over time, for a price no doubt.  Overall Ruzzle Adventure is nicely presented, it feels fresh and you can cris-cross your lines and make diagonals which is always a bonus in my book!

Ruzzle Adventure MAG Interactive, Ruzzle Adventure – Free

Bill Killem – This is one of the latest offerings from Chillingo and is a collaboration with Everplay, which in my opinion happens to be one of the better retro pixel action game developers on the App Store.  Bill Killem certainly doesn’t disappoint, either.  It plays kind of like a side scrolling infinite runner except that you can actually move backwards as well as forward, as long as you keep ahead of the wall coming from the left that will crush you.  It also has a bit of Super Crate Box thrown in because you’ll get crates that supply you with random weapons when you blast them.  In this case, however, it appears that all of the weapon types are unlocked from the beginning of the game.  Completing missions earns you money to upgrade your upgrades and buy new disguises, but to initially unlock most of the upgrades you must spend some real money via IAP.  You also level up as you keep playing, though I’m not really sure what that does.  Game Center offers a leaderboard and 13 achievements to earn.  Finally, you need to make sure you collect the clocks, because in addition to all of the fun death scenarios, you could simply run out of time.

Bill Killem Chillingo Ltd, Bill Killem – Free


No Food For You – So I’m sure you were just sitting there thinking you needed another tower defense game, right?  I’ll admit that mechanically it plays like a pretty standard TD game, but in this case I like the presentation.  Instead of the typical scenario where you’re trying to keep some sort of creatures from invading your territory, in this case you’re trying to destroy food before the creature at the end of the path can eat it.  Your weapons of choice are conveniently destructive plants, and while the waypoints are established for you on each level you can choose which plant to grow at each station.  Obliterating the food rewards you with calories that you can use to grow more plants or to activate one of three different special abilities that you can launch at any point along the path.  Once you complete a level you’ll earn some gems and up to three stars.  Any level you obtain 3 stars on will offer a bonus star that you can earn by beating tougher waves of monsters.  The waves are randomly generated each time you select a level, and unlike most TD games where you are gradually introduced to different creature types, here you will usually get several types in a single wave.  Gems are used to upgrade three different aspects of each plant to make your weapons more useful.  If you’re a TD fan you should feel right at home, but this might offer just enough of a fresh feel to intrigue those that don’t normally indulge in this genre.

No Food For You Christopher Jude Sanchez, No Food For You – Free

Obtuz Rush – I suppose it’s the parent in me, but I feel like whenever I can I need to thrown in what I’d consider a “child friendly” game, assuming of course I think adults might get at least some enjoyment out of it as well.  Obtuz Rush is a side view infinite racing game where you have to collect coins, knock turtles out of the way and avoid all sorts of silly looking creatures.  Each race starts with a owl call, and even though I know it is coming I chuckle every time.  At the beginning of a run you’re presented with up to three goals, though this is one of those games where you have to complete all three before you get any new ones.  Completing a set of missions increases your level which gives you a better score multiplier and gets you closer to unlocking more useful cars.  There are 10 medals to earn which I’m guessing are based on score, because I have multiples of the more basic ones and none of the higher level ones.  The colorful characters and upbeat music will no doubt keep the kids entertained, but there’s enough of a challenge that parents can enjoy playing it as well.

OBtuz RUSH iNEXT creator inc., OBtuz RUSH – 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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