10 App Store Games To Watch [August 4 - 10]

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I’m pretty sure someone has made the weeks shorter, because I just don’t seem to have nearly enough time to dive into these new games any more. This week one of my favorites was not only a Flappy Bird style game, but the protagonist was a feline and I’m about as opposite of a cat fan as you can get. Still, Kitty Hates Water was cute, the controls actually worked (sorry, bad controls are not a “challenge” in the positive sense) and goals were actually attainable. For those of you that like the character building of an RPG but the pace of an infinite runner you can find PixelHero on the App Store. You have to level up with randomly generated perks every time you play, but in between runs you can permanently upgrade certain stats. Finally, one of the masters of creating true video game worlds is back with Godus. This is Peter Molyneux’s second foray into the iOS platform, and it’s much more to his gaming roots than his first product. If you like games like Populous you should feel right at home with Godus.

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Crash and Burn Racing – Get behind the wheel, take to the streets and cause as much havoc as possible.  I’m not really sure what more you could ask for in a vehicular game.  Oh wait, did I mention that the streets are paved with bombs, rockets and boosts that make you temporarily invincible?  Crash into other vehicles from the side (or from behind while in boost mode) and generally just stay alive for as long as you can.  This will earn you points and ultimately experience which translates to leveling up.  For the first few levels you go up you’ll gain access to a new vehicle, though I’m not sure how you’ll be rewarded once the last vehicle is unlocked.  Sometimes you can collect money on the road as well, and this can be used to buy things like new rims, a different paint job and increases to your selected vehicle’s three base attributes.  I think this system might be a bit broken right now because the first time I bought a new set of rims it didn’t seem to take, but even without that it is loads of fun just racing through the streets and trying to take everyone else out.  You even have the option to record your crash and post it to social media.  It would be nice if money were a bit easier to come by, but I guess that’s what IAP is for if you really want it.

Array Lunagames Fun & Games, Crash and Burn Racing – Free

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Poison Ive – This is a puzzle game for those that like challenges and want something that doesn’t feel just like 90 percent of everything else they’ve played in the last few months.  You control Ive, and as luck would have it you leave a trail of thorny bushes behind you.  If the various creatures of the land run into the bushes it spells certain doom for them, but it also prevents you from retracing your steps.  Each level has 1 of 3 goals: reach the exit, kill all the baddies or clear away the slime.  Once you’ve completed your goal the level is over, so if you reach the exit and there are still bad guys left on the board you’re okay.  There are three flowers to be found on almost every level, and while you don’t need them to complete the level they come in useful later on in the game.  You’ll also collect money on each level, though the amount is not that great unless you get to spin the bonus wheel because you collected the three flowers on the level you just completed.  Of course there’s no guarantee that you’ll get anything from your spin, but you could win coins or an inventory item like a bomb or thunder cloud.  One other cool feature in the game is that you can rewind the game for as many steps as you’d like instead of just restarting a level.  If you’re looking for a brain teaser with a bit of a different flair, Poison Ive might be a good choice.

Array Capoot, Poison Ive – Free

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PixelHero – This game is like an endless runner combined with a rogue-like.  In normal mode you simply have to make it to the end of each level, though the critters that inhabit this world are going to try their hardest to make sure you don’t succeed.  As you defeat monsters you earn XP and eventually level up, and sometimes when you level up you’ll be able to increase one of two different stats.  The thing is that you really have to pay attention, because the game won’t stop just because you can level up.  For that matter you really have to keep an eye on your health, because it’s easy to not realize you’re running low until the game is suddenly asking if you want to revive your character.  While the game is simple to play conceptually, it definitely requires some concentration.  Luckily along the way you can pick up health potions and potions that remove things like poison, so just make sure you use them.  The two currencies in the game are coins and gems.  The former allows you to buy items at the beginning of a run or enhance one of your main attributes.  Gems are used to buy pets, though I’m not really sure how you earn those.  Overall this is an interesting blend of runner and rouge-like, but be warned that you have to be connected to the internet to play even though it’s a single player game.

Array BaiXiang Yu, PixelHero – Free

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Ice Age Adventures – The boys are back, and this time they’re taking your iOS device by ice storm.  Thanks to Scrat’s insatiable appetite for acorns the herd has once again been broken up, and it’s up to you and the unlikely hero Sid to get them back together again.  If you’ve played a decent selection of free-to-play games you know the drill: get quests, complete quests, earn rewards and repeat ad infinitum.  In this game your basic resources include berries for energy, shells for building things and acorns for speeding things up so progress takes a reasonable amount of time.  Naturally acorns are the most elusive to find, and of course you can get them via IAP if you like.  When you run across herd members that need to be saved you’ll either have to play an infinite running style sledding game or match 3 game in order to rescue the animals.  As you retrieve herd members you’ll start earning more berries and making your shattered island feel more like home again.  While this style of game play wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice for the popular dysfunctional ice age family, Gameloft has actually done a pretty decent job with the whole thing, and they’ve even brought back the cast members for some authentic voice-overs.

Array Gameloft, Ice Age Adventures – Free

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The Outcast – The developers of this game have set out to create something truly different in the realm of adventure games, and I think they are on their way to succeeding.  The game starts out with you launching it and then being instructed to close it.  As events unfold in the game you’ll get notifications, and when you open up the game again you’ll get a brief scenario that may or may not let you interact with it.  At the end of the scenario you’ll close the game again and wait for the next event.  When you do get to make choices it feels like a “choose your own adventure” game.  Whether or not you get to direct the action there is up to four different facets that could change: your food and water supply, your health and your monetary position.  If your health runs out the game is over, but I don’t know what happens yet if the other items go to zero – I’d imagine they provide a similar fate.  What I find interesting about the game so far is that it actually manages to engage you without consuming your focus, so you still get the sensation of an adventure game without feeling like you have to play it all the way through before you forget what’s going on.  It could be the world’s first “infinite adventure game”.  And if it’s not, it’s still something different that the developers are definitely passionate about and eager to hear your suggestions on.

The Outcast Seller: Simple Machine, LLC, The Outcast – $1.99

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Kitty Hates Water – Welcome to this week’s “Thank You For Not Being Flappy Bird” clone.  I’m not a fan of cats, and I personally expected this to be nothing more than a cheap knock-off (which is sad given the source) with some decent looking graphics.  Instead this turned out to be a really cool game.  You control a cat on an umbrella, and your job is to stay out of the water and dodge dogs while collecting birds, fish and sponges.  Birds and fish earn you points while the sponges help lower the water level which is slowly but constantly rising.  When you begin a round you’re given a mission, and for every three missions you complete you’ll earn a bonus like an extra umbrella or a net to help you catch fish from a further distance.  You can compete against your friends in Game Center and Facebook and just try to keep besting your own high score.  Best of all, you tap the screen once to go up and again to go down – no jerky, purposely bad controls unless you choose to make them that way.

Array Justin Leingang, Kitty Hates Water – Free

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Dot Hang-Man – Looking for some deep, thoughtful game play?  You’ve come to the wrong place, my friend.  In Dot Hang-Man you simply help a deluded super hero leap from one building to the next.  He handles throwing the rope on his own, and you simply have to tap when you think he should let go.  Your goal is to reach the increasingly smaller red stripe in the middle of your target building, which is a hard enough goal as it continues to shrink.  Once the wind kicks in, however, expect to miss a lot.  And of course when you miss it is game over and you have to start from the beginning.  The game does have one leaderboard via Game Center, and while it would be nice to have things like achievements and power ups, there’s something to be said for the simplistic nature of this game.  I know I certainly have trouble resisting the “yes” option when the game asks me if I want to play again.  Of course, just in case the developer actually wants suggestions I’d love to see a few actual obstacles like low flying birds and such, and maybe even an occasional extra popping out a window to wave “hi” ala Batman 1966.

Array Kwon HuckJune, Dot Hang-Man – Free

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Godus – At first I was planning on making some sort of comment about how I would imagine that this game was somewhat like the old classic Populous.  I suppose I should have read the iTunes description a bit better, because Godus is in fact the brainchild of Peter Molyneux, who just happens to be the creator of the other game I mentioned.  Basically, this is what you play when life doesn’t have to be all about death and destruction.  A pretty slick and powerful interface lets you terraform the land and get it ready for human habitation.  Build structures to increase the population which in turn advances your culture, and so on and so forth.  As you explore the land and grow your civilization you’ll earn cards that let you do more powerful actions.  You’ll also find stickers that you can use to unlock certain cards that you find.  Treat your followers well and you’ll soon have a fun, thriving community.  Connect with Mobage or Facebook (in theory, though so far my Facebook login attempts have failed) to see how other players are handling their world cultivating skills.  Eventually you’ll even be able to send your clan on voyages oversees.  This isn’t necessarily designed for those who crave immediate gratification, but if you like constantly working towards better goals, this is a rather interesting little offering.

Array DeNA Corp., Godus – Free

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Primitives Puzzle In Time – The irony of this game’s name is that there is no timer, at least not in the traditional sense of an LED display counting down.  Instead the timer is cleverly hidden in the calculation of the length of your path from the starting point to your goal.  Along the way you’ll want to try and pick up the three stars that exist in each level, though it’s not a requirement unless you wish to earn all the achievements or place on the leaderboard.  Control is simple: drag the shape to form the path you wish to take, and tap anywhere along the already created line to rewind to that place in line.  When you’ve run out of path the game doesn’t end your turn and make you start over, which is a welcome feature for someone like me.  The levels start out with fairly simple designs and mazes, but soon you get moving parts, gates that require you to be a certain color to pass and multiple objects that must reach the finish circle on each level.  The best part is that not only are the first two level sets completely free, but you get to sample the first five levels of each of the remaining sets.  The game is well designed, it looks good and the music is nice and soothing.  I’m glad that developers realize there’s more to “puzzle” games than flinging and cutting stuff.

Array Crazy Labs, Primitives Puzzle In Time – Free

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Music Run : Hall Of The Mountain King – I thought I’d end this roundup on a high note (see what I did there?)  This might not be the best rhythm game ever, but it’s one of the most entertaining I’ve played in a while.  You are an adventurer running through a cave filled with lava pits, spiders and ogres – there might be more, but I keep dying at the exact same spot for some silly reason.  You tap up to jump over the pits, down to slide beneath the spiders and attack to slay the ogres.  Of course you have to do this all to the beat as well.  Don’t worry, though, because a little circle beneath you will line up with a diagram of which button to press when it’s time to press that button.  That way if you happen to be rhythmically challenged you should still be able to play the game reasonably well.  I’m not sure if there’s only the one song to play against, but even if there is it was time well spent.  Besides, the game has great pixel art and the artist even went through the trouble of creating animations for the adventurer getting eaten by both the spider and the ogre.

Array KEGames, Music Run: Hall of the Mountain King – 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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