10 App Store Games To Watch [August 25 – 31]

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The long haul of the holiday season has begun, and there’s still no shortage of new games on the App Store.  I’ve been juggling between two games for the last entry in this week’s list, so here’s a bit about the one I didn’t pick.  The game is called Appointment With F.E.A.R., and it’s the latest collaboration between Steve Jackson and Tin Man Games.  You get to take on the role of a superhero, and the whole game is told in a comic book format rather than a more traditional book like the rest of Tin Man Games’ offerings.  You get to choose a superpower which will affect how you handle different situations, and you’ll also have to choose at certain times who want to help when multiple crises rear their head simultaneously.  It’s a nice departure from the typical gamebook, and I’d venture to say it’s probably a different superhero experience then you’ve had in electronic games before.

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Angry Cloud Adventures – Free Casual Game – This is what I like to call an RTS lite; it’s one of those games where you try and take over a playing field which is comprised of friendly, neutral and enemy bases, and you just select a friendly base and then a non-friendly base in order to attack.  I have to say that I don’t often find myself describing this sort of game as cute, but even the bad guys in Angry Cloud Adventures have a certain amount of charm.  Don’t let that fool you, however, because the game is tough.  Currently I find myself stuck on level 8 without much hope of passing it to move on.  Still, there are some features of the game I really like, such as the fact that there are multiple types of bad guys that will actually attack each other instead of just you.  There are also allies that will not only help you by attacking others but send reinforcements your way to actually build up the strength of your clouds.  This is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a game of this style.  There are three types of power ups that you can select at the beginning of a level, assuming that you’ve already unlocked them at some point during game play.  It’s an interesting take on the genre, and its cute atmosphere should appeal to the younger crowd as well.

Angry Cloud Adventures - Free Casual Game ZHUZHU YAN, Angry Cloud Adventures – Free Casual Game – Free

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Tower Boxing – This is another one of those genres that I don’t really get the popularity of.  Usually the target of your frustrations is a tree, but basically your job is to keep demolishing the object in the center of the screen for as long as you can before you accidentally get clobbered in the head by something protruding from the aforementioned object.  I guess the thrill is supposed to come from honing your reaction abilities, but up until Tower Boxing I never cared much for the concept.  The funny thing is that Tower Boxing doesn’t even offer different modes like many of the games in this genre do.  What it does, however, is replace the tree with a tower and give you one of several giant creatures to demolish it with. You get the boxer to start with, and as you demolish enough and collect coins you can buy other monsters eager to take a crack at the tower.  At one point I was also awarded a Godzilla like creature, though I’m not sure if that’s free for everyone or if it was a special deal for some reason.  The game does offer a leaderboard and 19 achievements through Game Center, and you can Tweet your accomplishments as well as post them on Facebook.  I think the reason this game holds my attention is because it reminds me of a mini-game version of Rampage, which is probably one of my favorite monster-centric arcade games ever.

Tower Boxing FDG Entertainment, Tower Boxing – Free

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Epic Eric – Welcome to your typical tale of a damsel in distress and the valiant knight that must save her.  The problem is that with me in control of Eric, the damsel might be in more distress than if she just stayed with the evil nemesis.  Your job is simply to reach the fair maiden in each of the 45 levels, but to do that you’ll have to swing on gears, bounce on high jump platforms, get propelled by swinging gates and more.  While making your way across each level can be challenging enough on its own, the real test of skill comes in collecting the three stars that are available on each level.  Have no fear, because the game is designed in such a way that you’ll want to get that last star.  You know you can, even though you’ve just tried the same exact thing 20 times and it didn’t work.  You’re positive you’ll be successful on the 21st time.  There is Game Center integration, and the iTunes description even talks about achievements, but it appears that they haven’t actually been implemented yet.  The plus side is that will give you a reason to replay the game once you’ve mastered it!  The graphics are colorful, the music reminds me of something off of the Pee Wee’s Big Adventure soundtrack, and in a modern PC twist you can play the damsel in distress as well.  Epic might be a bit of a stretch, but the game is certainly good fun.

Epic Eric 232 Studios, Epic Eric – $0.99

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Skybound – Since Temple Run was released on the App Store one of my passions in mobile gaming has become the infinite runner.  The problem is that while just like any other genres there are definitely some standouts, for the most part they tend to all feel the same after a while.  Skybound does not fall into that category.  You’ll pilot a Gryth through lush backdrops, trying to keep your seed meter full and avoiding the nasty red seeds that take away from your energy.  If you fill your meter the red seeds will become golden and you’ll be able to pick them up, and this is what you’ll use to buy auras and new Gryths.  Of course the price tags on the Gryths are pretty hefty, so you better plan on getting really good or playing a lot, though doing both wouldn’t kill you.  Like most infinite runners this game has missions, but unlike the majority of its peers you won’t be flying through the missions in Skybound like they were nothing.  I still haven’t completed the third mission of the first set, which is to simply skim the surface of the water for 500 meters.  The nice thing about the game is that even if you aren’t very good at it, there’s plenty of entertainment value just flying around the landscape.  It kind of reminds me of Knights Into Dreams in that regards.  If you’re a fan of the genre or just like touring vivid, detailed locales, Skybound is certainly worth your time.

SkyBound HARTH LABS INC, SkyBound – Free

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Glue Knight – I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of one touch runners.  Glue Knight actually uses a two touch system, but I like it so much I’m going to give the game a bit of leeway.  Basically it’s a platformer where you have no control over the forward motion of your avatar, in this case the Glue Knight.  Whereas normally in this sort of game you’d simply tap any time you needed to execute a maneuver, however, in Glue Knight the mechanics have been expanded quite a bit.  Tapping the left side of the screen once jumps, and the longer you hold the higher he jumps.  If you tap again while in the air Glue Knight will do a slam attack with his sword.  If you tap the right side Glue Knight will slash his sword, and if you hold the right side as you approach a while Glue Knight will actually climb the wall.  These extra mechanics allow for some interesting level design and also give you more of a range when interacting with bad guys.  The game is comprised of six worlds, each containing between 9 and 13 levels.  The best part is that while you have to complete levels within a world in order, you can play any world at any time.

Glue Knight Balazs Buri, Glue Knight – Free

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Criminal Case – I’m really kind of getting tired of the whole “complete free to play” mantra.  Criminal Case is the perfect example; the game is actually pretty interesting, but unless you don’t mind playing for only 5 or 10 minutes at a time you’ll be spending money on it sooner rather than later.  As a budding homicide detective your job is to solve a series of murders.  You’ll explore crime scenes via a hidden object interface.  Collected evidence can be taken back to headquarters and analyzed, while body parts should be autopsied for clues.  The kicker here is that running autopsies takes time unless you want to pay for instant gratification, and checking out the evidence requires stars.  Stars are earned by exploring the crime scenes, but the scores necessary to get a single star are absurdly high and each visit to a crime scene expends energy.  Naturally you can replenish your energy via IAP as well.  I really like the look of this game and the different aspects involved in solving each crime, I just think they need to come up with a better way to handle the monetization aspects of the game.  If that’s something that doesn’t bother you and you’re looking for a decent foray into the world of detectives, Criminal Case is worth exploring.

Criminal Case Pretty Simple, Criminal Case – Free

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Alien Creeps TD – Once again I am forced to rethink my position on tower defense games.  While I’m not overly impressed with the level designs so far, there are enough plus sides to this game to make that not much of a concern.  There are four types of structures you can build, and each has at least 10 upgrades you can purchase over time.  You also have the ability to call in reinforcements and airstrikes (both of which have limited uses until you buy or earn more), and each of these actions can be upgraded several times as well.  You have a hero that you can move around the map who levels up and can be trained (okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying upgraded), and you even have access to a Tesla coil that gets three charges per attempt at a level and can do a decent amount of damage to a reasonable group of bad guys.  When you complete a level with three stars you’ll have access to higher difficulty settings on that level that provide tougher enemies and limited resources but also reap more rewards.  Connect with Facebook and you can sync your game across multiple devices and send and receive gifts from friends.  The best part of the game for me is that despite the relatively small size of many of the objects the graphics are nicely detailed and really well animated, making the world really come to life.

Alien Creeps TD Outplay Entertainment Ltd, Alien Creeps TD – Free

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The Iron Fists – Mini Fighter – For most people a fighting game doesn’t provide much of an experience if there aren’t 20 buttons to mash and hundreds of combos to master.  Thankfully that’s not really my style, and The Iron Fists is actually much more my speed.  There are two moves: tap left to attack left and tap right to attack right.  The game is all about timing, and different enemies with various attack styles will be sure to challenge your reflexes.  You’ll also be assaulted with knives, food and bags, though the latter two work to your benefit as food restores health and bags reward you with money.  In between bouts you can spend the money you’ve earned to upgrade your character or buy special attacks that you can trigger with the tap of an on screen button.  You start with Bruce and can unlock two other characters using rubies which are attained when you level up or via IAP.  This game has simple mechanics and honestly doesn’t offer a lot of variance in game play, yet it has still managed to keep me entertained.

The Iron Fists - Mini Fighter nameun lee, The Iron Fists – Mini Fighter – Free

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Gunspell – I was thinking the other day that there were two types of RPG / Match 3 hybrids: RPGs that just happened to use match 3 mechanics for combat, and match 3 games that throw in some RPG elements just to spruce things up a bit.  Gunspell definitely falls into the former category and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  I think I missed a key dialog towards the beginning of the game, but from what I gather you belong to some special order of folks that can cross between dimensions and you must rescue your sister and a party of adventurers that she is with.  You’ll explore a series of hexagonal maps, uncovering useful items and fighting bad guys to further your quests and level up your character.  There are lots of items to find along the way but you have limited storage space, so you’ll constantly have to make decisions about what to keep and discard.  The main market where you can buy goods refreshes every so many hours and you’ll also run into one time stops, so if you see something you really think you want you might have to pick it up and stash it away for later.  The match 3 mechanics are pretty standard for this type of game, but one cool feature is that you can get weapons that are filled up by the various rubies on the board, and when you fire the weapon it doesn’t actually take up your turn so it’s like getting a bonus shot.  One thing I like about the game as a whole is the grittier, more realistic presentation which is quite refreshing given the cartoony graphics that seem to permeate the majority of these hybrids.  If you like this combination of game play then Gunspell is a must for you to check out.

Gunspell AKPublish, Gunspell – Free

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Armies of Dragons – At first this looks like your typical row defense game, and in some ways it is.  There’s much more to it than just tossing your troops on the line and hoping they will succeed, however.  Unit types need to be unlocked, and then you’ll also want to be sure you actually upgrade them from time to time as well.  Before placing a troop on the battlefield they must be charged in a center of the same color, and these centers can be upgraded so they train your troops more quickly.  You can also buy and upgrade various one time boosts to give you a leg up on the competition.  You can even buy different types of towers to make your defense much stronger.  Each segment of a campaign has four objectives, and you can replay the segments until you complete all of the objectives.  Finishing a segment will earn you 2 gems while completing all the objectives will earn you six more.  There are also missions to complete which earn you honors, and honors give you bonuses in battle.  You can even hook up with your friends through Facebook to get allies in battle if you so desire.

Armies of Dragons Animoca, Armies of Dragons – 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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