10 App Store Games To Watch [June 30 - July 6]

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One of the App Store’s best and worst points is that there is never any shortage of new games coming out.  This roundup saw the release of Disney Bola Soccer which threw me for a loop because it doesn’t take advantage of any of the myriad of high profile properties that Disney owns.  It turns out the game doesn’t need them because the developers provide a solid mobile soccer experience that even manages to get the controls right… almost.  I also found one of my favorite Flappy Bird clones in the form of Lava Bird.  Where else can you play a game where you get to dodge your own volcanic spit?  My latest infinite runner obsession also falls in this week’s list thanks to Zombie Z.  The game doesn’t really offer anything new, but there’s something about the atmosphere and the ability to shoot zombies both in front of and behind you that keeps drawing me back.

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Zombie Z – The iTunes description likes to bill this as an endless runner like no other, but I think that’s a bit of an overstatement.  Still, I’ve become quite hooked on it over the last few days, so that makes it worth sharing in my opinion.  You can forget about The Walking Dead, because these undead know how to move.  Not only that, but they come at you from both the front and back, so depending on how close they get you might need to hurdle the ones coming from behind as well.  Luckily you can jump and double jump by tapping and also collect weapons that will fire automatically for you in whichever direction has the closest adversary.  There are 9 weapons to unlock and upgrade as well as 4 heroes to recruit in addition to the one you start with.  There are three goals at a time to work towards, and when you complete one you’ll earn some extra food, which is apparently the currency in the game.  Zombie Z is linked to Game Center, but oddly enough there are no achievements or leaderboards at this point.  This is kind of like Monster Dash with a darker attitude and a focus on zombies, and that works just fine for me.

Zombie Z Pine Entertainment, Zombie Z – Free

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Dirt Inc – You know those annoying games you figure no one plays where you just keep tapping something in the middle of the screen for a million times?  Well, this is kind of like one of those games, except you have lots of dirt, thieving gnomes and electric fences.  Your goal is simply to collect as much dirt as possible, and you do that by tapping the screen.  It doesn’t matter where you tap, because your guy always moves in the same pattern, left to right and back again, from the top of the screen all the way to the bottom.  Normal blocks equal a certain amount of dirt, and special blocks earn you even more.  Use the dirt to buy upgrades such as faster digging and automatic digging even when you’re not tapping the screen.  Just beware of the gnome blocks – you can’t avoid them, and they’ll unleash nasty critters that try and steal your dirt.  This is the one instance where you have to specifically tap on them to get them to go away, or you can build up a nice electric fence to zap them out of existence.  This game is silly and ultimately pointless, yet I can’t help but get caught up in it every time I turn it on.

Dirt Inc Digital Panda Studios, Dirt Inc – Free

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Infected City Drive HD – Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game – Yep, I really like zombie games.  What I like about this one in particular is that unlike most vehicular based undead affairs, your goal in this game is not to run over as many corpses as you can.  In fact, you actually can’t hit a zombie or it will end your current run.  Instead you are tasked with various chores like bringing a doctor to a sick patient or making sure an old lady gets safely home.  Sure the missions get repetitive quickly, but what makes the game interesting is how you cut corners and dodge nasties in order to make your destinations on time.  As you get further into the game the zombies get more aggressive and the complexity of the roadways increases, and because you’re in town there are lots of opportunities to run into things like buildings and lamp posts as well.  You start out with a little bit of money and so far I’ve earned 400 coins for each mission I’ve successfully completed.  You can use that money to upgrade your vehicle, buy a new one or unlock additional locations, though given the prices you’ll probably be stuck re-running the first location for a while unless you want to spend some real cash on IAP.  The game isn’t quite as flashy as certain other 3D zombie games but the visuals do have a certain rustic charm to them.  If you’re tired of the same old zombie game, Infected City Drive HD is ready to give you something different.

Infected City Drive HD - Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game Tapinator,LLC, Infected City Drive HD – Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game – Free

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The Delivery Man – I’m sure some of you reading this article had a job as a paper delivery person when you were growing up.  Well let me assure you that this experience is nothing like what you remember.  You’ve managed to find probably the only infinitely scrolling block on the planet, and it’s your job to deliver a paper to every single doorstep that doesn’t already have a person standing on it reading the news.  All you have to do is flick the paper on or near the porch, but if you get it too far away you’ll get fired.  If you completely miss a house you’ll also lose your job, though this shouldn’t really be a problem unless your initial toss gets eaten by a pesky dog that jumps in front of you every once in a while.  The game uses Facebook to keep track of high scores, and that’s really about it.  As basic and frill-less as this is, however, I like it for some reason.  I do hope the developer adds some features over time, but it’s a fun and simple start to what could be a really interesting game.  The artwork is pretty awesome, too.

The Delivery Man AurelienCampistron, The Delivery Man – Free

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Disney Bola Soccer – If you’re any sort of long timer you’ve probably noticed that I don’t cover sports games very often, mainly because I’m not a big fan of the whole e-sports super-genre.  I’ve been enjoying Disney Bola Soccer, though.  First off, kudos to Disney developers for turning out a solid game that doesn’t involve liberal use or abuse of any of their famous properties.  You get a team of generic soccer players with no special powers or weird traits that just want to play the game.  Give them a name, set the team colors and shirt design, and pick a sponsor.  Then head out to the playing field for quick, fulfilling matches that don’t sting too badly when you lose.  You can either try to work your way up the tournament ladder or engage in one on one matches against players from around the world.  I believe the “human” matches are still computer controlled, but you’re playing against other players’ teams so that they can earn XP should they win even when they aren’t actually playing.  Earn cash and gold to enhance your team and ultimately become the world Bola champions.  They even did a better job than most of getting the controls almost right.

Disney Bola Soccer Disney, Disney Bola Soccer – Free

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Zombie Puzzle Panic – I think my subconscious goal for this roundup is to see how many zombie themed games I can throw in.  After the first couple of levels I wasn’t honestly too impressed with this game, but now as I approach the second “boss” I’m actually kind of addicted to it.  If you’re familiar with match three games you know the basic tenants – clear blocks away to earn points and get a certain number in a row or make particular patterns in order to get special bonus tiles.  There are even some tiles that you need to clear away, which in this case just happens to be slime instead of stone or whatever other materials different games might use.  Then there are the zombies which like to litter the board.  You can eliminate them by making matches adjacent to them, though you can’t actually move the zombies themselves.  At times you might have bodyguards to help which will shoot the zombies when they get close, and in other cases you’ll have to protect scientists from getting eaten by the zombies.  You might even have some cases where you have to collect a certain number of a particular type of tile.  This is all wrapped up in a nice little visual bow with Game Center and Facebook connectivity to boot.

Zombie Puzzle Panic Noodlecake Studios Inc, Zombie Puzzle Panic – Free

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Lava Bird – I had to get my “Thank You For Not Being Flappy Bird” clone in this week, and for once it actually feels kind of like a Flappy Bird clone.  Luckily though, this one actually has some pretty decent controls.  Also, instead of having to fly through narrow gaps, all you have to worry about is a floor and ceiling… well, that and the birds that are pursuing you.  Oh, and did I mention that you spit out balls of lava every time you flap that can come back and hit you?  Other than that, this game is just like Flappy Bird!  Okay, I should probably point out the secondary game mode called Ice Cave, where you tilt the device vertically and have to dodge your own lava spit for 20 seconds while trying to avoid the spikes on the sides and bottom of the room you’re in.  The nice thing is that if you complete this mode successfully you start off the other mode with 20 bonus points.  If you really need a game that not only plays sort of like Flappy Bird but kind of looks like it as well, this is one of the best entries so far.  Just be sure to chuckle when you pass me in the leaderboard, assuming I ever even make it there.

Lava Bird Unept, Lava Bird – Free

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Mondos – It turns out that this is the developer’s second game to use this type of game mechanic, but I apparently missed it the first time around so here you go.  You play Koto Mondos, and your quest is to find and kill your father who has become evil.  In this crazy western themed game you’ll have to master your skills as a shooter, which despite the name is a skill related to how well you can toss your comrades at the enemy and not how versed you are with firearms.  You start out with your trusty horse sidekick, and as you visit various locations you’ll conquer and gain new allies.  Each has a different vibe about them, and you can decide for any given battle which ones you want to take with you.  Collect money along the way so that you can level up your characters and complete the goals of each location in order to unlock bonus powers and cool new items.  If you’re lucky you’ll even get the privilege to play the Gold Rush rounds to earn lots of extra coins.  The game uses Facebook and Twitter for social interaction, and at this point there are no achievements to earn.  However, there’s so much replay potential as you revisit locations to try and complete the special goals that you probably won’t miss achievements all that much.

MONDOS Monstars Inc., MONDOS – Free

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Callys Caves 2 – Apparently Cally’s parents have a bad habit of getting kidnapped, and as usual it’s up to you to save them.  This game has all the sensibilities of a modern mobile platformer.  The levels are quick and while they span multiple screens you will very rarely find yourself getting lost even without a mini-map.  Despite potentially having to play some levels multiple times it never gets old, and so far it seems like it is possible to work your way back to the entrance of each level if you want to retrace your steps for some reason.  There are 20 different types of critters to dispose of and 6 unique bosses to smack around, but thankfully you’ll have 16 weapons at your disposal.  You always have your trusty sword at your disposal, and the second weapon slot can drift between whatever long range weapons you pick up along the way.  Each weapon levels up as you use it and every so many levels the gun will transform into a more powerful weapon.  Your character levels up along the way as well, and whatever you can’t gain by leveling up can be enhanced by spending the coins you collect at the in-game store.  The game does have one leaderboard, albeit for the weird stat of how much total time you’ve played, and there are 42 Game Center achievements to earn.

Callys Caves 2 Jordan Pearson, Callys Caves 2 – Free

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Jelly Lab – Every once in a while it’s fun to play a completely mindless game, and I think Jelly Lab more than qualifies for that title.  There are three game play “modes” with one overriding goal: smash the jellies.  Okay, in one of the modes you actually slash the jellies by swiping, but you’re still eliminating them.  The other two modes consist of tapping out all the jellies before they get too big and collide with each other and tapping a single jelly as many times as you can while it grows bigger and bigger.  The cool thing is that the game just randomly switches between modes in a single run, so you never know quite what to expect from a given play through.  There are currently no achievements in this game, so your main drive is to see if you can beat your score from previous runs, thereby improving your place on the Game Center leaderboard.  There are Facebook and Twitter icons as well, so I’m assuming you can brag about your accomplishments on these two social networks.  Just remember that “mindless” does not mean “easy”, so be prepared to think you’re doing well and suddenly lose the game because two jellies you didn’t even see got together to ruin your run.

Jelly Lab MildMania, Jelly Lab – $1.99

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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