10 App Store Games To Watch [May 26 - June 1]

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It probably seems like this roundup has been a long time in coming, and that’s because it has.  Rather than give a long, boring explanation, let me just apologize and move on.  This collection actually included a fair share of platform games including cartoon series based Marcus Level.  Besides just being fun, I appreciated the fact that the game had built in replay value by making the five badges for each level unattainable in a single run through.  Western 1849 tasks you with protecting a small town from bandits during the gold rush.  There’s plenty of challenge involved and ample reward if you take out the bad guys before they get you.  Sunset Racing Multiplayer provides a decent overhead racing experience with several cars to unlock and level up.  The best part is that the game managed to entertain me even though I didn’t get to blow anything up.

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Pixel Wizard Adventure – A lot of developers seem to like to take us back to the old days when it comes to platform games, and Richard Elms is no exception.  This game feels like something that I would have had no problems playing for hours on my NES.  The controls are simple: left and right arrows to move, and buttons to jump and shoot.  Your main objective is just to get to the exit on each level, though there are coins to collect along the way.  These coins can be used to purchase new wizards that have more health and do greater damage to the enemies.  The different wizards provide no tactical advantage when it comes to the tricky parts of the levels, however, so a skilled player could probably make it through with the basic wizard.  There are 40 levels spread across four worlds, and if there was one major down side to the game it would be that you can’t start each level independently of finishing the others.  There is no Game Center integration, but the game doesn’t really feel like it needs that.  Anyone that enjoys a solid platform adventure with a difficulty level that eventually hearkens back to the old Mega Man games should really enjoy Pixel Wizard Adventure.

Pixel Wizard Adventure Richard Elms, Pixel Wizard Adventure – Free

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Sunset Racing Multiplayer – I have to admit that I’m a bit shocked – I actually managed to find an overhead racing game without weapons that I enjoy!  The game is pretty standard as far as overhead racers go.  There’s a Quick mode where you run a single race against 4 other computer drivers, a League mode where you try to climb the ranks on a particular track by racing one driver at a time, and a Duel mode which is presumably against other human players.  I actually like Quick mode a bit better than League mode because there are more racers and you can actually run into your competition to knock them off track.  League racing is where you’ll make the big bucks, however, and you’ll need some cash if you want to upgrade your current vehicle or buy a new one.  There are six vehicles in total and supposedly they all behave and feel a bit different, but so far I’ve been dumping all my winnings into upgrading my current ride.  The main issue for me is that there are only three tracks to race on, and while they are pretty fun I’d love some more options.  I believe that’s coming soon, however.  In the mean time this is a fun racer that won’t cost you a dime unless you want to supplement your in-game currency via IAP.

Sunset Racing Multiplayer Gennadij Tsodikov, Sunset Racing Multiplayer – $0.99

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Beware Planet Earth! – Okay, I guess I have to start admitting that tower defense style games aren’t quite as bad as I’ve made them out to be.  I’m still not overly excited about the mechanics of the genre, but I’m really starting to realize that atmosphere goes a long way towards making this style of game play palatable.  In this case you need to help a farm that’s stuck in his outhouse defend his cows from an alien invasion.  Every now and again he’ll invent a new machine to help you out (how he does that from the outhouse I’m not sure), and you’ll also get introduced to different types of aliens along the way.  Borrowing a bit from the Plants vs Zombie variant of the tower defense genre you’ll have to put up cog factories in order to generate the precious materials you need to build your machines.  One thing that’s interesting about this particular TD game is that defeated foes leave nothing behind… well, except a cow if they managed to snag one before you killed them.  One neat feature is that captured cows will actually try and return to their field once you’ve destroyed their captors.  This game is well designed, there’s plenty of humor and the artwork is really neat.

Beware Planet Earth! BANDAI NAMCO Games Europe, Beware Planet Earth! – Free

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Marcus Level – This is a platform game based off of a cartoon, which generally carries the same stigma as games based off of movies.  In the case of Marcus Level, however, they’ve managed to make a fun platformer despite its small screen roots.  You play a boy trapped inside a video game that must complete the game in order to return to his world, and the game is set up where you’re always running but can control the character’s attack and jump abilities.  This is not an infinite runner, though, as each level has a definite end.  There are also five goals to each level: complete the level, collect all the chokobongos in a level, finish the level under a certain amount of time, find all the secrets in a level and then beat the level without using checkpoints.  You will typically have to run through a level several times to complete all the goals, and you don’t even have access to the checkpoint goal (known as the Expert mode challenge) until you’ve completed all the other goals.  While it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re controlling a cartoon, there are definitely cartoon like influences throughout the game.  There are even 35 trophies to earn, each with somewhere between two to four levels of achievements.  If you like the type of game that has lots to earn and forces you to go back through the levels multiple times to do so, Marcus Level is definitely the game for you.

Marcus Level MondoTV France, Marcus Level – Free

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Shutter Creep – There are a surprising number of games on the App Store that strive to “scare the pants off” the players, and the reality is that most of them aren’t scary and are often actually annoying.  Shutter Creep is one of the rare exceptions that have the potential to be a true horror game.  The game offers 8 different locations that range from a graveyard to a playground, and it does a great job of presenting the locales in an eerie light thanks to a grayscale color scheme and dreary music.  Your task in each location is to photograph all the ghosts you can find so that the souls trapped within can be set free.  Of course if they catch wind of what you’re doing they’ll rush you and soon you’ll find yourself scared out of a job.  The main problem with the game is that it uses two “joysticks” to navigate the game’s 3D world, neither of which is very reactive to the touch.  In fact, that left joystick which controls the actual movement tends not to move you, or in some cases moves you forward when you think you’re pressing back.  If you’re willing to fight with the controls a bit, however, the game does provide some genuinely creepy moments, especially with the playground scene in general or more specifically when a photographed child dissipates.  And I was even playing the game without headphones in a well lighted room.

Shutter Creep Tomato Animation, Shutter Creep – Free

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Truffle Saga – It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good mascot-driven physics based puzzle game, and Truffle Saga certainly fits the bill.  Your job is to clear each level of all the menacing mushrooms using your trusty acorn.  Unfortunately you only get one shot per level, but luckily your “shot” isn’t over until the acorn falls off the screen or gets stuck somewhere that it can’t move.  Also working to your benefit is the fact that the acorn has a lot of bounce to it.  You’ll have to use every conveniently placed branch or leaf that’s curved to your advantage if you hope to clear all the levels.  As you progress through the game you’ll also start acquiring useful tools like a flower that catches the acorn and lets you re-launch at your will, bumblebees that act like breakout paddles and snakes that you can twist to guide the acorn in different directions.  Of course you’ll also face obstacles such as clumps of bugs that will block the acorn or Venus flytraps that will happily eat it.  Each level has three gems you can collect if you’re skillful enough, and there are plenty of trophies to earn as well.  Truffle Saga currently has 2 worlds with 30 levels apiece, and the menu promises that there is more to come.  I can’t promise much originality, but at least the game is well done and has a cute setting that might just put a smile on your face.

Truffle Saga Colossal Games, Truffle Saga – Free

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Western 1849 – If you’re a fan of shooting gallery style games then you’ll definitely love Western 1849.  Set during the gold rush, you are the sheriff of a small town that’s been overrun by bandits once it was discovered that there really was gold in “them thar hills”.  You’ll travel between 4 different areas in the town, shooting first and not bothering to ask questions.  As you eliminate bandits you’ll earn experience and level up, getting the chance to increase your health, base damage or chance at a critical hit.  You’ll also increase your score multiplier.  Defeating levels and completing missions earns you coins which you can use to buy new weapons, replenish your ammo for your secondary gun or purchase health packs.  Your health doesn’t replenish between shootouts unless you level up, so you might need to visit the sheriff’s office to heal yourself as well… or just don’t get shot!  Each area has multiple vantage points that you’ll need to take advantage of in order to take out all the bad guys, and little indicators will show you which direction your opponents are in and whether they are firing or not.  Unfortunately you can’t look around unless you’re standing up which makes you vulnerable to enemy fire, but otherwise there’s a lot to like about this old west shooting game.

Western 1849 Slynq Interactive, LLC, Western 1849 – Free

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Warfare Nations – Warfare Nations is another side scrolling castle defense style war game, except that it throws some traditional strategy game elements into the mix.  The locales that you visit are enemy buildings, and once you conquer them you actually get resources from them like gold and iron.  You also have three main buildings you can upgrade that provide you with soldiers, armored vehicles and support weapons like planes that drop bombs on a targeted enemy.  There are plenty of locations to visit and 7 different bosses to master.  The game offers two different factions to choose from, so I presume that once you complete the game with one faction you play again with the other to experience different types of troops and vehicles.  There are 36 different achievements to earn, and accomplishing these goals will reward you with XP and diamonds.  Gold and iron can get you pretty much everything you need to fight, but diamonds makes the world of production move a whole lot quicker.  There’s also a PvP mode, though I haven’t explored that option yet.  One aspect of this game that really stands out to me is that you have direct control of all your troops once you deploy them on the battlefield, and while the system could use a bit of tweaking it’s a nice change from just pressing a button and sitting back to watch.

Warfare Nations VOLV LLC, Warfare Nations – Free

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Star Lander – I remember a time when Flight Control clones practically outnumbered match 3 games, or at least it sure seemed like it.  They’re not quite as prevalent any more, but an entertaining genre never dies and so we now have Star Lander.  This outer space themed variant contains 8 levels with as many as 4 different types of craft at one time.  Landing areas can either be strips with one entrance, strips with two entrances or in the case of the UFO a circular landing pad that can be approached from any direction.  Thankfully ships cannot crash with the space station itself, but other craft and on some levels asteroids are certainly fair game.  The asteroids present a particular challenge because you can’t control them at all, so you may find yourself juggling several paths to accommodate the inconvenient rocks.  Star Lander has 9 different leaderboards, so if you like to compete against other players for rankings this is a good game for you.  There are only 7 achievements at the moment, but it will take a bit of effort to collect all of them.  There’s not really any new ground to be tread here, but the outer space theme could provide for some interesting obstacles if the developer decides to expand on this project in the future.  Black holes, anyone?

Star Lander Souva SAS, Star Lander – Free

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Super Blobs World (Platformer) – There were a couple of games in contention for this last spot, but in the end I decided to go with Super Blobs World.  The main reason for my choice is because I find myself continually coming back to this game to find out what the next level is going to offer.  There are a decent number of platform elements here like moving platforms, falling platforms and pits that you don’t really want to fall into.  Your interaction with the blob, however, is basically three-fold.  You can move and jump to get around the world, land on buttons to activate platforms, and collect keys to open doors.  It’s amazing how much flexibility so few options can afford you.  Many of the levels are challenging, and on at least a couple of levels you’ll sit back after you’re done and go “wow that was cool”.  The visuals are cartoony in a good way, and the music is nice both because there is a different track for each level set and it’s actually good music.  A better variety of villains would be welcome, but otherwise this is a sharp little platform game.

Super Blobs World (Platfomer) Lukas Feldkirchner, Super Blobs World (Platfomer) – 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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