10 App Store Games To Watch [August 18 – 24]

monday-roundup-08252014-intro

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I certainly did not rush out over the past couple of days to try and get an iPhone 6 / Plus, nor did I bother to pre-order one.  And, even though I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, I didn’t hop a plane to the land down under to get one either.  I did, however, upgrade to iOS 8, despite my usual rule of “wait a few weeks and let other sort out the kinks first”.  Anyway, regardless of whether you’re running the absolute latest hardware or iOS revision, like usual there are a slew of games out there waiting to be played.  So, without further ado, here are 10 more for you to check out…

monday-roundup-08252014-papee

Papee – Welcome to the ultimate causal game.  All you have to do is drag your avatar, which in this case is a giant dog head, around the screen avoiding all the nasties and collecting every star you see.  Stars are used to upgrade power ups such as invincibility and slow motion.  On rare occasions a gem will float by as well, but most gems are earned by completing challenges.  Gems are used to revive Papee when he gets killed, though at this point the only benefit I see to that is if you’re looking to get on the leaderboard for most points.  Challenges are internal to the game, but there are also Game Center achievements for the world to see, which I believe correlate one to one with the challenges.  What makes this game so fun are the different types of enemies – kamikaze chickens, flying sharks, flame spewing serpents and more will try to take you down.  The graphics have a nice retro console look to them, the sound effects are well done and the music is even pretty decent.  Papee isn’t necessarily the most innovative game around, but there’s something about it that’s just lots of fun.

Papee Andrey Torchinskiy, Papee – Free

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Space Escape – If you like open world, infinite flying, shoot first and ask questions later type of games then Space Escape is just the game for you.  Outer space is your sandbox and the other children don’t play very nice.  Shoot down your adversaries, collect the scrap metal from their destroyed chasses and trade with the local space station to get upgrades and new ships.  There’s lots of real estate to explore, and you might even find yourself navigating through an asteroid field or two.  Just be mindful of your energy, because both shooting and moving takes up precious power.  When you get low it’s time to find a moon to mine for energy.  I do think the game could stand a bit of tweaking for new users as the path you need to take is often hard to determine, moons for mining aren’t easy to come by and the enemy just seems to show up out of nowhere.  Putting all that aside, the concept behind Space Escape is interesting and the game shows a lot of potential.  Just make sure you bring a bit of patience to the table.

Space Escape Sebastian Davies, Space Escape – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-ice-cream-nomsters

Ice Cream Nomsters – This game was clearly designed with the younger set in mind, at least when it comes to the aesthetics, but that hasn’t made it any less entertaining for me to play.  You are an ice cream delivery man, and it just happens that your customers are monster houses!  Deliver the goods, earn money and upgrade both your vehicle and the depots where you get your ice cream from.  You can pick up as many as three power ups at a time, and don’t use them too sparingly because you don’t get to keep them across levels.  You’ll earn XP every time you play a city, and when you earn enough you’ll unlock the next city.  Of course you’ll still have to pay via in-game currency in order to play that city.  One thing I think is cool is that instead of having different types of vehicles and depots, they simply increase the maximum level of each of the three upgradable stats when you move to a new landscape.  The cities are randomly generated each time you play, and each new location adds different nuances like multiple depots and multiple trucks to control!  The controls are quite simple, and they make it pretty easy to plan ahead or change your mind should you need or want to.  This is a great game to play with your kids and then sneak a few extra rounds in once they go to bed.

Ice Cream Nomsters Firedroid, Ice Cream Nomsters – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-wan-nyan-slash

Wan Nyan Slash – Overall I’m not really into this whole “Nyan cat” phenomenon, but then this doesn’t feel like your typical Nyan cat game.  You control two cat samurai in an infinite runner where your success depends on not letting the bad guys get all the way across the screen.  To defeat the villains you must slash them using the cats, so it’s not about pointing the cats where the bad guys are now but rather directing them to where the bad guys will be once the cats actually execute their slash attacks.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the attacks are all or nothing, so both cats must be directed before they will attack.  Slash two or more at a time to earn combos and build up a chain to keep your score high and work towards unlocking costumes.  You can also slash presents to earn power ups that will let you attack in something other than straight lines.  Besides altering your appearance, the costumes will give you bonuses like shorter slash times or an increase in the amount of time it takes before the chain modifier goes away.  There game offers three difficulty levels, and I would suggest that if you have any sort of skill at this type of game you don’t start with easy because you’ll probably find it a bit boring.  There are currently no achievements, but Game Center is used for a single leaderboard.  The interesting game mechanic, kooky enemies and cool retro look and sound make Wan Nyan Slash an entertaining infinite run ‘n slash game.

Wan Nyan Slash Alvin Phu, Wan Nyan Slash – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-hunger-crunch

Hunger Crunch – This game plays like an infinite runner although there is an end to each level.  You control a cute little creature riding atop a cute big creature that together are trying to stomp out hunger and collect some candy along the way.  Each level has a three star rating that I believe is based on the number of minions that you squash along the way.  There are also 4 goals on each level, though unless I’m missing something there’s no real indicator of what you’re trying to accomplish unless you already find it.  Still, there’s lots going on in these levels and for folks that like to explore it should provide lots of entertainment for free.  The main reason I’m bringing up this title, however, is because of its connection with Rice Bowls.  Rice Bowls is an organization that partners with orphanages to provide food for needy children.  Money that is made via the IAP in Hunger Crunch goes to this organization, and I always like it when games raise money for a cause.  Please understand, however, that I am currently not an advocate for this particular cause, so make sure you do your own research to determine if you think the effort is worthwhile or not.  In the mean time, at least you get a fun game out of it.

Hunger Crunch Rice Bowls, Inc., Hunger Crunch – Free

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Rowing Drummer – The music is repetitive and the drumming, which is sort of the main feature of the game, gets old real quick.  On the other hand, there’s something that I genuinely like about the simplicity of this game.  Your job is to row as far as you can before you collide into one of the many pillars rising from the water.  So far I have run into no other type of perils.  There are also no power ups to aid you, levels to reach or XP to earn.  Your only real prize is that there are a couple of new boats to unlock once you’ve rowed a certain number of meters in one haul or a certain number of meters overall.  There’s also one boat you can acquire by liking the developers on Facebook.  Again there is nothing special about the boats – they just change the look of the game a bit.  The game does have 5 achievements through Game Center, each one equating to unlocking a different boat.  There is also one leaderboard for distance in a single run and one for total distance.  I haven’t quite nailed down what makes this game a “one more try” type of scenario yet, but for the free price tag you might as well find out on your own.

Rowing Drummer bong koo SHIN, Rowing Drummer – Free
Rowing Drummer Golden Edition bong koo SHIN, Rowing Drummer Golden Edition – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-lantern-odessey

Lantern Odyssey – This is the kind of adventure that combines thinking puzzles with twitch game play and throws in a dose of physics just for good measure.  There are only 20 levels so far, but don’t let the simple nature of the first couple throw you off.  Not only do the rules change from level to level but sometimes they change from one part of the level to the next.  Wait until the first time you lose control of gravity and can only control left and right movement instead of being able to manipulate up and down navigation.  Every level is solvable, the real question becomes do you have the wherewithal to do so.  About the only constants in the game are that white walls are fine, blue walls are bouncy and red walls are bad.  There’s probably a lot more I should be telling you about the game, but to be perfectly honest I can’t even get past level 4.  The visuals are stunning in their simplicity and the music is so serene it almost wipes away the tense nature of some of the puzzles.  You’ve probably not played much of anything like this on the App Store before, and even if you get frustrated and delete it after a few levels it is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Lantern Odyssey Nemanja Komar, Lantern Odyssey – Free
Lantern Odyssey Premium Nemanja Komar, Lantern Odyssey Premium – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-pocketer-bbq

Pocketer BBQ – This is a quirky little time management game, but don’t expect to see Flo running around here.  Instead you have your grill, a bunch of ingredients and a constant flood of customers coming in.  Serve them well and you will be rewarded appropriately.  Make them wait too long and you can kiss your spotless record goodbye.  Story mode (as denoted by the “start” button has 60 levels, and there are also random and never end modes.  From what I can tell in random mode the game picks one of the 60 levels for you to play and gives you an extra random bonus for completing that level.  After finishing certain levels you’ll unlock upgrades that require a decent sum to be purchased, and these bonus modes are a nice way to collect the money to do that.  One interesting thing about the grill is that the food comes in different shapes and sizes and it can almost be like playing a mini game of Tetris to keep the grill organized and to capacity.  The characters appear to be “borrowed” from the Pokemon franchise, which is a bonus if you’re into that fad.  The music kind of reminds me of a 16 bit console RPG game, which I actually find pretty cool.  In some ways this game is kind of basic for a food based time management sim, yet I still find it entertaining and I like the overall presentation.

Pocketer BBQ Jun Lv, Pocketer BBQ – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-dodo-master

Dodo Master – Different genres have always translated to varying degrees on consoles, but one that has always reigned supreme is the 2D platformer.  Sadly that’s really not been the case on touch screen devices, but Dodo Master is one of the best exceptions I’ve seen to date.  You control a mother dodo bird trying to reclaim all of her stolen eggs, and clearly something does not want you to have them.  There are 80 levels overall in this game, and from what I’ve played so far each one is lovingly crafted to be both fun and challenging.  If you grew up in the 8 and 16 bit console era with games like Mega Man or Castlevania or even in the early days of shareware PC games you’ll certainly appreciate Dodo Master from a design perspective.  Of course you might want to pull your hair out sometimes, but that just comes with the territory when a platformer is well constructed.  There are 20 doors to explore, and each one holds a key to the next – though in a very nice twist you get to choose which door to open every time.  If you collect all of the eggs on a level you’ll unlock a new hat to wear, but if you don’t you can always go in again to get the ones you missed.  The graphics are incredible, the sound is well done and even the music isn’t too bad.  I can’t say that I’ve seen anything new mechanics-wise in what Dodo Master has to offer, but what’s there is executed to perfection.

Dodo Master semir Saleh, Dodo Master – $0.99
Dodo Master Pocket semir Saleh, Dodo Master Pocket – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-after-coma

After Coma – Taking a cue from Aladdin, this game is a real diamond in the rough.  It starts out like an adventure game, and then drifts into a sniping game.  The problem is that I don’t know what comes after that because the game keeps locking up during the sniper mission, which I’m going to assume is what is supposed to put me in the coma mentioned in the title.  After Coma uses the Unity 3D engine and the background objects for the most part seem pretty basic and lack textures.  Interestingly enough, though, the character models are actually decent, which is usually the worst part of a small indie 3D game.  The controls are not great, and the only way to really get around in the world is if you constantly use the run button.  The game appears to be divided into chapters, but while they are small you can’t save in the middle of one, so you have to make sure you allot enough time to complete a chapter before quitting the game.  There are even some coins to collect for some inexplicable reason, but the designers did a great job of hiding them – between the two sections I’ve played I’ve only come across 4 of a possible 13 so far.  Despite all of this I think the game has a lot of potential, but I would definitely suggest starting with the free version.  Hopefully they’ll get the kinks worked out soon or I’ll figure out why the game seems to keep freezing on me.

After Coma is currently not available on the U.S. App Store

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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