10 App Store Games To Watch [June 9 - 15]

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So I’m still working my way up to not being behind, but it doesn’t seem like developers are slowing down at all in terms of turning out new games.  This week saw the release of rainblocks, a cool combination of matching and sliding puzzle genres.  The game can get pretty intense as you fight the timer in later levels, and it actually makes the concept of sliding puzzle games kind of fun.  Dragon June is an interesting take on the whole “flappy” craze (has it been going on too long to be a craze any more?)  This game is viewed from an over the shoulder perspective, it has bosses and it features a blue dragon that likes to eat carrots.  Pattap is a unique puzzle game that requires you to fold tiles until they are completely used up.  The controls are a bit sensitive, but the fact that I’ve never played anything like this before means I’m willing to put up with that inconvenience.

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Reckless Run – Finally, a “dodge everything” game that rewards you for running into things.  Confused?  The main objective of Reckless Run, just like any other “dodge ‘em” game, is to avoid all the nasty obstacles that get in your way.  One twist that the developers have thrown in, however, is that if you graze objects you can actually get bonus points instead of automatically dying.  The trick is to learn when and how to push the limits, because there’s no doubt that if you get too aggressive your runs on Reckless Run will definitely be short.  Each game is one long run, but there are stages which are conveniently marked with a dashed line across the screen and a label announcing the number of the next stage.  As you cross stage boundaries you’ll receive 25 bonus points and you’ll speed up just a bit, adding more challenge to the game.  You’ll also intermittently be thrust into a field of stars that you can collect for extra points.  It would be cool if there were some sort of store to make star collection more meaningful, but at least it changes up the game play a bit.  Currently there are no achievements, though the game does use Game Center for its single leaderboard.  And at the moment at least the top scores on the leaderboard actually seem reasonable that there were attained by human players.  Reckless Run has a simple yet slick presentation and a soundtrack that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Reckless Run Christian Ghelardoni, Reckless Run – Free

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The Legend of Zapitar – If you like being the center of your game, then this is the game for you.  Your craft is anchored in the center of the screen while the bad guys are coming at you in waves.  You have to take them out before they have a chance to collide with you are shoot at you.  In some cases you can actually destroy incoming missiles, but generally if a ship gets a shot off you can expect to get hit.  Your shield will absorb a certain number of blows and then the game over, though occasionally a wave of enemies or a friendly ship will leave you a capsule to replenish some of your shield.  A beam emanating from your ship shows your attack range, and pressing the screen fires your weapon.  If you let go of the screen your weapon will charge and your attack range will grow, and paying the IAP to remove ads will also give you a larger attack range.  When you get in a pinch you can press the bomb button to destroy everything on the screen, assuming you have one at your disposal.  There are currently 7 levels, each with three difficulty settings.  It would be nice to see some power ups added to the game, and the spin wheel that controls your ship needs a bit of tweaking because at times you’ll be half way through a rotation and your ship will suddenly start spinning the other way.  Still, the concept is cool and the variety of ship types makes game play interesting and challenging.

The Legend of Zapitar yuichi ago, The Legend of Zapitar – Free

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100m Stunt – Since folks seem to be into the frustratingly difficult these days, might as well at least have the game be interesting too, right?  In 100m Stunt your goal on each level is to make it to the 100m mark.  This won’t be easy, because each level is filled with all kinds of nifty obstacles that basically spell your death when you collide with them.  Much like in Flappy Bird, you tap the screen to go up and let go to fall.  Ultimately, though, you must keep going upward in 100m Stunt or you’ll eventually parish thanks to the floor of spikes that moves up with you as you get higher into the level.  One additional feature is that when you run into one of the outside walls you’ll change the direction you’re facing.  That’s assuming, of course, that you don’t collide with a part of the wall that contains spikes or some other such nonsense.  The game is comprised of 100 levels spread amongst four worlds, and while you can play each world separately you must complete the levels within a world in order.  There are 3 stars to collect on each level, and these act as the basis for both your achievements and your place on the leaderboard.  The visuals are cool and there is a different musical track for each world that all sound pretty good.  You’ll never be able to make the top of the leaderboard since several players have already collected the maximum number of stars, but it’s still rather entertaining trying to master each level.

100m Stunt Yu Ho Kim, 100m Stunt – Free

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rainblocks – I’ve never been much for the whole sliding tiles puzzle genre, but when you combine it with tile matching it actually becomes a rather interesting concept.  In rainblocks you fight against the timer as you try to match the two tiles of the currently desired color.  At random moments boosters will appear on certain tiles, and you can activate the boosters by sliding the tile, regardless of whether you actually use it in a match or not.  Some are good, like adding precious seconds back to the timer or slowing things down a bit.  Others are bad, like reducing the timer or making all the blocks muddy so you can’t see what color they are.  To get rid of bad boosters you need to make a match with the tile containing the booster without actually sliding the tile.  Eventually you’ll level up which resets the timer and makes things a bit more difficult, but I’m not entirely sure what triggers the level up process.  Game Center integration provides 39 achievements and a leaderboard for each level as well as an overall ranking.  Even if you’re not a fan of sliding puzzle games, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

rainblocks Eric Koziol, rainblocks – Free

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ozstone – Let me warn you right off the bat: this game is not overly difficult to learn, but it appears that the only “help” available are the tips when a new level is loading.  Still, if you’re willing to take a few rounds to learn the ropes it’s actually a pretty neat little game.  The characters are rooted in Wizard of Oz mythology, though the designs are definitely different than the MGM classic of days gone by, taking a decidedly more Manga feel to everything.  Your main characters are Dorothy, the Tin Man and the lion, and they’ll attack on their own.  Your job is to play the match three game on the right side of the screen in order to earn gold and keep the characters’ health up.  Additionally, if you can match 4 or more of the color associated with a particular character you’ll earn a special tile that can unleash that character’s super ability.  If you match 4 or more green or purple tiles you can add either a spell caster or archer on the wall to help defend your wall.  The gold you earn can be used between battles to upgrade one of three facets of each of your main characters, and at the beginning of each level you can buy one time boosters if you’d like.  Earning gold is a slow but steady process, although you can certainly augment your coffers via IAP if you’d like.  Overall this is both a decent foray into the land of Oz and a pretty fun wall defense game.

ozstone GPAX Co., Ltd, ozstone – Free

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Polygon Evolution – Along with “flappy this” and “2048 that”, another popular game mechanic that has spread like wildfire is the concept of combining three of a certain tile to produce one of a “larger” tile type.  While it sounds similar to 2048 you actually have control over where you place the tiles which makes the strategy a bit different.  This particular strain of the game seems to have been mashed with Othello because you can only put a piece next to a tile that you already own.  You also have an opponent that will try and take over your tiles, so you’ll want to do everything you can to contain the opposition or eradiate it if possible.  And of course the fact that the game is played on a hexagonal grid adds a nice twist to the proceedings.  The game offers classic and expert mode against computer AI, and you can also play multi-player on the same device or via the internet using Game Center.  There’s even a Zen mode, though I’m not quite sure what that offers apart from the two computer AI modes other than it might not ever contain any opponents.  There are 7 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each of the two modes that you play against the computer.  If you’re a fan of either the “merging tiles” or Othello styles of game play, you should find this hybrid intriguing.

Polygon Evolution Alex Dantis, Polygon Evolution – Free

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Dragon June – This week’s entry in the “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” category goes to Dragon June.  In this game you control a blue dragon that apparently likes to eat carrots, because that’s what fills up your power meter.  You’ll need that power too, because in one of the three level types you must shoot gems to earn bonus points, and in another you’ll have to take down a big boss, which as you can surmise both require power.  In gem mode you’ll need to tap one of four buttons that corresponds to the color of the gem you wish to shoot, but the game takes over flying duties for you.  In boss mode you’ll have to juggle both tapping the screen to fly and tapping the shoot buttons to take down the boss.  Each shot takes up power, and while in boss mode you’ll find extra carrots along the way the gem section is tougher because you don’t get power refills, so if you use everything up you might miss a few gems.  The game is presented in a third person infinite runner style, so the real challenge in the game comes from trying to judge the objects you have to dodge in the two modes were you control the flying.  If you can’t get enough of the flappy bird mechanic but are tired of the typical presentation, this is a nice alternative that won’t make you rip your hair out.

Dragon June benny bird, Dragon June – Free

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Puzzle & Dungeon – Yep, it’s another RPG lite / match 3 hybrid.  But I figure as long as they keep entertaining me enough I’ll keep reporting about them.  Unfortunately there are several features that are still in the “coming soon” stage.  What the game does offer is plenty of levels to conquer and many monsters to vanquish.  In this variant of the mash-up you select all the monsters you want to attack and all the weapons you want to use in the same chain, and any monsters whose HP is less than the total of the weapons selected will die.  You can also select shields to enhance your protection, potions to regain life points and coins to bolster your coffer.  Beware of bosses because they will do nasty things like reverse the effects of tiles or even change tiles into more monsters!  Defeating the boss completes the level and rewards you with XP and an item from one of four categories: sword, shield, armor or helmet.  All items can be upgraded using the cash you’ve collected, and some are enchanted as well.  When you get enough XP you’ll level up and increase some stats, and as you reach certain levels you’ll unlock new features to make your hero even more powerful.  There’s already a lot here to like, and I’m eager to see how much the “coming soon” features will enhance the game’s fun factor.

Puzzle & Dungeon Hero Mind, Puzzle & Dungeon – Free

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Pattap – This is one of the most original and frustrating games I’ve played in quite a while.  There are no enemies save for the annoying timer that steadily counts down and never seems to get any time added back to it.  Your job is to build a staircase to the top of each of two different towers, and you do this by folding tiles together until you’ve made all of them disappear on each level.  The first tower is comprised of triangles while the second is all square, so the methodology is slightly different in each.  The one hint you get is that several of the shapes will have numbers inside of them, indicating how often that particular tile needs to be folded over.  There are no leaderboards, though the game does offer 17 achievements.  You just need to make sure you tap the joystick on the main menu to activate Game Center so your games actually work towards your achievements.  The main issue with this game is that it is very unforgiving.  If you accidentally fold one space too far there’s no undo except to either let go which completely resets the current fold or hit the reset which redoes the whole level.  And there have been many occasions where the folding seems to go further than I “instructed” it to.  Still, if you can deal with the finicky controls, Pattap is definitely worth the experience.

PATTAP COLOPL, Inc., PATTAP – Free

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Cardboard Crooks – I’m already a bit biased here because I really love the whole shooting gallery style game play mechanic that Cardboard Crooks employs, especially since it is so well suited for touch screen devices.  Still, there are plenty of these to be found on the App Store, so such a game still has to feel a bit different to really catch my attention.  I like this one because it really makes good on the “cardboard” claim.  When you shoot a bad guy, unless you hit them in their sweet spot so they disappear completely you’ll blow a chunk out of them just like you had shot up a giant piece of cardboard.  Now it appears that if you shoot their weapon they can’t shoot back, which is really pretty cool, but I don’t think you get points unless you kill the bad guys.  Sometimes when you shoot an enemy you’ll get their weapon as a temporary upgrade.  You also need to watch out for lamps and pictures in the background, because shooting them could reveal a health kit to restore a heart when you’ve been shot.  So far there appears to be only one location, but right now that’s good enough for me.  The game offers 15 achievements and a leaderboard for highest score.  A new locale or two would be nice, and sometimes the balance of civilians seems a bit off, but overall this is a fun shooting gallery experience with plenty of replay value.

Cardboard Crooks Dodreams Ltd., Cardboard Crooks – 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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