10 App Store Games To Watch [June 23 - 29]

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Some weeks the biggest problem with new releases is deciding what to play next.  In addition to the games detailed below I spent some time with the lemmings style game Hamsterlings.  Instead of assigning tasks to the hamsters you have to direct them to gadgets to pick up and use, and you also have to directly control each of them to an extent which adds a nice degree of challenge.  Number Twelve – Count from 1 to 12 sounds like a kid’s game, but don’t let that scare you away.  Never before has a basic numeric skill been so exciting.  On the heels of Sky Force 2014 BulkyPix released the helicopter based shooter Heli Hell.  While not quite as compelling as that other modern shooter classic, it still holds up really well compared to most of the recent offerings in that genre.

monday-roundup-06302014-shadow-defense
Shadow Defense – Tired of long, winding pathways that seem to come and go nowhere?  Shadow Defense is one of those games that take the tower defense genre to its basics – you get one tower in the middle of the screen and you have to defend it against everything swarming towards it.  You start out with one measly gun to support your cause, but luckily every creature you kill earns you some cash that you can apply towards better defense mechanisms.  Your main weapon always has unlimited ammo, but you can upgrade it to do more damage and take less time to recover between shots.  Buy some armor so that your tower takes longer to crumble.  Better yet, purchase and upgrade 4 different abilities that will help you make short work of the villains.  And, if you’re feeling like you weren’t quite ready to give up, use some of your hard earned cash to continue where you left off when you die.  There are several different types of enemies to fight, some of which will surprise you with their abilities.  The only thing this game is really missing is some sort of achievements system.

Shadow Defense Galaxy One Limited, Shadow Defense – Free

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Cliff Hero – I’ve never understood the apparent in the type of game where you have to tap one color tile while avoiding others, but I decided to give Cliff Hero a try because of its theme.  I’m starting to see why these games could be addictive.  In this variant of the genre you have to keep your character from falling into the lava for a specified amount of time by tapping the tiles that appear on the screen.  To throw even more challenge into the mix, some tiles have creatures on them, and to defeat them you must tap the creatures a number of times indicated by the hearts above their heads.  Killing creatures earns you coins, which can be used to buy new characters that have added benefits.  It’s a simple concept and it certainly keeps me coming back again and again.  I’d love to see them expand on the whole purchase system, though.  Maybe make the individual characters upgradable somehow.  Still, given the rather basic play mechanic this game is centered around, the game’s theme and hint of “combat” help this particular entry to stand out from the crowd.

Cliff Hero SEOK PIL CHEON, Cliff Hero – Free

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Knight Girl – As I mentioned in one of my last couple of articles, I still love a straightforward match 3 game these days, as long as it is entertaining and doesn’t feel exactly like all the other offerings out there.  Knight Girl does just that with its medieval setting and characters that pop up between each level to tell a basic story.  You have your typical blocks like stones that require one or more matches adjacent to them to be cleared and gold that must be matched on top of to be acquired.  You will also have various items along the way like wood and pumpkins that you have to match in order to collect.  Then there are the bonuses you get by matching 4 or more of a particular gem tile.  4 tiles gets you a rocket, 5 gets you a rocket bundle and T or L shaped matches get you a bomb.  The bundles are cool because they will clear all the tiles that are the same color as the bundle.  What’s fun about the rockets is that you can use them in conjunction with another perk called a mirror to clear off multiple tiles in rows or columns.  You will also unlock three specialty items over time that you can use, but they will cost you some gold every time you use them.  The game is free but uses the 5 hearts before you need a refill system to encourage you to buy some IAP.  If you’re patient I believe you can get through it all without paying, but if you do consider throwing the developers a buck or two for IAP anyway.

Knight Girl Mentals LLC, Knight Girl – Free

monday-roundup-06302014-monster-crush
Monster Crush – Puzzle and Adventure – The 2048 genre mash-up is starting to gain momentum, and this is certainly a cool way to do it.  In this case you control one of four heroes and you must defeat as many monsters as you can.  Swipe monsters together to form bigger monsters and attack your foes.  Unlike a lot of these games, in Monster Crush everything only moves over one tile at a time, allowing you to be a bit more strategic with your actions.  You also have two special items you can use: a die that randomly chooses a new next piece to place on the board and a bomb that destroys one selected piece.  There are two of each of these available initially, but I’m not sure how or if you can replenish them once used.  As you continue to defeat monsters you’ll earn money that you can use to level up your heroes as well as upgrade their weapons, armor and shield.  If you’re not generating money as quickly as you’d like you can exchange gems for some in-game cash, and so far it looks like the main way to get gems is with real cash.  One leaderboard keeps track of your high score, but there are no achievements at this point.  If you like the 2048 puzzle concept, you might find the RPG elements an intriguing twist that breathes some fresh life into the genre.

Monster Crush - Puzzle and Adventure JING XU, Monster Crush – Puzzle and Adventure – Free

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Z-Infect – While the zombie slaying games far outweigh the zombie playing games, there are still a fair share of the latter.  Thankfully this one is different from any of the others I’ve played in the past.  Of course the overriding goal is still that you come in contact with the humans to turn them into zombies.  In this game, however, you’ll have to rotate the board until you can make your undead minion collide with the hapless fleshies.  Of course nothing can ever be straightforward, so expect to have to deal with a number of obstacles besides the simple fact that the humans move when you rotate the board as well.  Gaps in the walls are easy for both you and the humans to fall through.  Metal boxes won’t hurt anyone but they do a good job of keeping you apart.  So do wooden boxes, but fortunately they can be destroyed with bombs… as can you.  Spiked walls aren’t very healthy for anyone.  There are only 30 levels at the moment, but a three star ranking based on number of moves is sure to keep you busy on some of them.  If you’re a fan of zombie or puzzle games I suggest checking it out, and hopefully the developer will add more levels one of these days.

Z-Infect MyFreePlayYard ltd, Z-Infect – Free

monday-roundup-06302014-air-racing
Air Racing – This is a pretty basic overhead flying game.  You start out with a fairly weak plane and have to try and earn money to either upgrade your current plane or unlock a new one.  As you complete training races you’ll level up and earn new licenses.  Not really sure what they do for you, but at least you can “officially” not be a beginner any more.  You’ll have missions to complete that can earn you additional coins, and of course you can buy coins via IAP if you’d like.  What I think is neat about this game is the multiplayer mode.  Every week you can enter competitions based on your skill level, and the top three players for the week earn coin prizes.  The best part is there is no chit-chatty interaction.  You pay your fee, run the race as best you can, and then just wait to see if you take home the prize or not.  It’s a nifty concept that helps set this otherwise pretty frill-less entry above most others of its type.  Of course the cute, colorful visuals mean your kids will probably enjoy it too if that’s something important to you.

Air Racing Zero Plus Plus Software, Air Racing – Free

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Digits – Puzzle games certainly don’t have to be complex to be fun and challenging, and Digits is proof of that.  Each board presents you with a bunch of squares containing numbers, and your goal is to clear all the squares.  When you tap a square the number on it and all adjacent squares is reduced by one, and when a square goes to 0 it disappears.  Seems simple enough, but the trick is that you can only clear away tiles that are adjacent to each other, so if you strand a tile by itself you’ll have to back up and try again.  The game is kind enough to let you simply undo your last move so you don’t have to start from the beginning, but you always can go back to the start if it helps you think more clearly.  Once you solve a puzzle you can play it again to earn a star, and this presents its own challenge as the tile with the star is the last one you have to tap.  The initial download comes with 100 puzzles for free, and you can buy up to 500 more via IAP.  The interface is simple and clean, and the music is actually pretty snazzy for this type of game.  There are even a few achievements if you really need them.  My one gripe is that the game needs a reset button in addition to the undo.

Digits Simple Machine, LLC, Digits – Free

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Train Town: Build & Explore – Every now and again I like to throw in a title that’s really for the kids, and Train Town seemed like a great choice for this roundup.  As you might have guessed by the title, this game is about interacting with an environment focused on trains.  While you can certainly spend a lot of time riding around creations of your own and others, the real treat here is the editor.  Lay down some tracks, add buildings, inhabitants and many other varieties of decorations and then tweak to your heart’s content.  You can scale, rotate and move any object you wish as well as clone an object you’ve placed on the map.  I particularly like how easy it is to make a multi-sectioned track and the stretch the various sections to get a cool look stretch of railway.  Once you have something you want to test out you can put the game in drive mode and take a train for a spin around your bustling town.  If you’re not feeling overly creative there are many towns online that you can download and explore, and if you believe you’ve designed the next masterpiece you can upload your creation to share with others.  With the initial download you get a selection of objects that give you a good feel for what can be done, but there are many more items available that you need coins or real money to unlock.  This is the main feature that’s not so kid friendly.  Still, it’s a great tool to teach the kids about designing their own levels, and it might even keep some parents entertained for a while.

Train Town: Build & Explore N3V Games Pty Ltd, Train Town: Build & Explore – Free

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Paperama – I’ve always been amazed with what Origami crafters can accomplish, but I never really cared for doing it myself.  I certainly didn’t expect that it would make for the basis of an interesting game, but FDG Entertainment certainly proved me wrong.  This game has no “obstacles”, no timers or for that matter nothing that is meant to stress you out.  Instead you just get more than 70 levels of paper folding fun… yes, I said fun.  You start playing the game and between the relaxed atmosphere and soothing music it is really easy to get lost in the art of Origami.  Don’t take that as a declaration that the game is easy, however.  Even in the early levels you’ll sometimes look at the shape and go “I have to make THAT from a square?”  Plus, while there is no time limit you only get a certain number of folds to complete your shape, and you have to be a certain percentage “right” before you can move on to the next level.  You do get infinite tries at each level and there are hints available, though once you’ve used up your hint point allotment you’ll have to dish out some IAP for more.  As far as I can tell the levels are all free, so you might be able to finish out the game without spending any money.  There are 5 achievements to earn which mostly revolve around completing the level sets, but the three star rating on each puzzle should keep you busy for a while.

Paperama FDG Entertainment, Paperama – Free

monday-roundup-06302014-supernauts
Supernauts – It seems like every day there’s a new social city building application arriving on the App Store.  While most of them tend to focus on protecting your city and crushing other players in war, this one takes a decidedly different approach to the genre.  Earth is in trouble, and it is up to you and all the other players to build new worlds for Earth’s inhabitants to reside in.  Special zappers allow you to remove building materials from various structures and then reuse them to construct fresh domiciles on your ever evolving landscape.  Rescue Earthlings to increase your population and complete tasks to earn coins and gems, which in turn help you to build a better land.  You can visit other players’ efforts and drop them a note to wish them well, and I think you might even be able to help them build up their dwellings and vice versa.  There are also multi-player missions you can embark on.  The whole superhero angle is a nice departure from most games of this type, and the overall atmosphere is fun and lighthearted.  If you like and have the patience for sandbox style games, you can definitely build something here to be proud of.  Oh, and did I mention the superheroes?

Supernauts Grand Cru, Supernauts – 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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