10 App Store Games To Watch [5/13/15]

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It’s that time of year again. Yep, that time when you should be going outside and enjoying nature but if you’re like me, you’re probably staring at some sort of glowing screen instead. Thankfully iOS developers have no respect for the seasons, so there’s just as much to play now as there was over the holidays. Casual gaming is somewhat the order of the day in this roundup, but I still think just about anyone could find at least one title in this group that would interest them. And as usual most of the games are free, so it can’t hurt to at least try some of them.

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Corridor Z [4/1/15] – This is a game about high school, zombies and… running.  It is an inverted runner, which means your character is running towards the screen instead of away.  It’s not really unique since at least Boulder Jack takes advantage of the same perspective, and it can be frustrating because it makes it more difficult to know when turns are coming up (the neon signs help with that), but at least it’s a start at making the game stand out from the crowd.  There are three characters – the last survivors of the zombie infection – and you get them all from the very beginning.  In fact they are crucial to game play, because in order to truly progress in the game each of them must complete certain goals.  While you can certainly run in an “infinite” capacity, the overriding goal is to make it from room to room, and this can only be accomplished by running with every character.  As you progress through the game you’ll unlock new weapons that can be upgraded, you’ll acquire various gadgets that can be equipped at the beginning of each run (for a price, of course), and you’ll recover diary pages that explain what in blazes is going on in the first place.  One really neat aspect of the game is that instead of “changing lanes” or jumping over things, swiping left, right or up at the right time makes the user grab objects to toss in the zombies’ way and slow them down.  There’s no doubt Corridor Z is a runner, but with an atmosphere that’s more like The Walking Dead then Bruce Campbell’s The Evil Dead and the whole “obstacle tossing” mechanic it feels fresh and can get quite addicting.

Corridor Z - Inverted Zombie Runner Mass Creation Sp. z o. o., Corridor Z – Inverted Zombie Runner – Free

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tap tap tap (game) [3/30/15] – If you’ve ever played the handheld game Bop It, you have an idea of what tap tap tap is like.  Now you might be thinking “don’t they already have a version of Bop It for iOS?”, and you’d be right.  Instead of trying to emulate the physical game, however, tap tap tap uses actions that are native to the touch screen.  Tap, Double Tap, swipe and drag / drop to earn high scores.  The game is rather minimal, with only one game play mode and no achievements or leaderboards.  On the plus side, the single mode that is available is actually rather entertaining, and while there’s no ready way to compare your accomplishments with the rest of the world you can at least go old school and pass your device to another player to see who can get the highest score.  The visuals are pretty minimal as well, but what is there has a cool style to it.  It would be great to see this game expand to include some sort of ranking system as well as additional modes of play, but for now it’s a fun basic offering at an unbeatable price.

tap tap tap (game) Bart Bonte, tap tap tap (game) – Free

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Oil Hunt [4/9/15] – Apparently when giant monsters aren’t busy destroying towns and eating innocent bystanders they like to drink oil reserves dry.  At least that’s what they’d have you believe in Oil Hunt, a cute variation of the “build a stick bridge to cross gaps” style of game play.  Instead of going horizontal and trying to navigate treacherous drops, you build a large straw vertically that you attempt to stick into a pool of oil beneath the ground.  Your timing has to be just right, however, because a straw that’s too short will have you sucking air while one that’s too long might cause you to ingest the dirt below the oil reserve.  You travel from reserve to reserve until you mess up, then it’s time to start over again.  As you successfully consume oil you fill up a meter, and when you meet your quota you get to choose a random gift.  This is the main thing that I don’t particularly care for.  I’m not necessarily against random bonuses, but so far 2 out of the 4 times I’ve won a monster I already owned.  Now there are other prizes you can earn as well, and I get that those might repeat, but when it comes to winning new monsters they shouldn’t put one back in the running that the player has in his possession.  In addition to collecting the creatures there is a leaderboard which thankfully hasn’t been tainted by far out numbers that no one could possibly reach yet.  There are no achievements at this point, though hopefully we’ll see some one of these days.  If you like simple, uncluttered games with some old school charm, Oil Hunt is a good choice for you.

Oil Hunt PlayFlame OU, Oil Hunt – Free

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Grow Me Up! [4/16/15] – This game is all about the trials and tribulations of raising a child… okay, not really.  Your task is to keep shoving food into Alex’s mouth (or one of the other two characters once available) until they grow to be 100.  Of course your task gets complicated as the tosser seems to like to interject slightly non-edible items like shoes and soccer balls.  And just like any other game of this type, bombs are bad – really bad.  On the plus side you’ll also get power ups like resurrection and additional life, as well as coins to collect to buy power ups with at the beginning of a session.  Make sure you swipe these away from Alex though, as he’s not very discriminate about what he’ll eat.  As Alex consumes food he ages: every five years his progress is saved and every ten years his hearts are renewed.  The game offers a leaderboard which appears to be based off of the highest age you’ve reached (I guess the first one to 100 wins!), and there are 11 achievements to earn.  Currently Alex is the only available character, but there is a girl and a zombie coming soon.  The graphics are cute, and Alex goes through lots of transformations over the years.  The food also changes periodically, like ice cream cones will get bigger and helpings of egg become two eggs instead of one.  Grow Me Up will definitely appeal to kids, and it’s also not a bad time waster for adults.  It’s just too bad you couldn’t have more than one profile to play on.

Grow Me Up! Yury Koshechkin, Grow Me Up! – Free

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The Quest Keeper [3/31/15] – The Quest Keeper is a game about a cute blocky adventurer exploring randomly generated areas in search of coins and mystical items.  He’s constantly on the move unless he runs into a wall or by some ill fate stumbles upon one of various traps that don’t sit well with his desire to live.  If you play infinite mode your goal is to collect as much loot as you can, because this will allow you to unlock quests for specific items as well as buy upgrades to your hat, shirt, boots and staff.  You can buy as many of each item as you want, but you can only equip one of each at a time so figure out what works best to enhance your playing skills and go with it.  Much of the equipment seems to be tailored towars specific quests, so keep that in mind as you are buying and equipping stuff.  Whether you’re playing infinite mode or a specific quest you’ll often run into revive points which are helpful if you’re one of those that like to continue instead of just restarting when you die – however, using a revive point comes at a cost that might disagree with your piggy bank.  At then end of each run you’ll make some progress towards a mystery chest which offers you bonus money for your troubles.  At this point there appear to be no achievements or a leaderboard, but the game really doesn’t need those things anyway.  Cute graphics and decent music round out the package to provide a solid pick up and play diversion when you’re at home or standing in line somewhere waiting to be next.

The Quest Keeper Tyson Ibele, The Quest Keeper – Free

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Must Deliver [4/16/15] – Apparently even during the zombie apocalypse people expect their packages to get delivered.  Thankfully in Must Deliver you have just the crew for the job.  Choose your character and head out into the undead infested wasteland to try and drop off as many parcels as you can before succumbing to the vile flesh devourers.  Actually, the game is much more lighthearted than that, with avatars ranging from Dr. Tomb to Mr. Goldie Locks, who looks suspiciously like the man who pities the fool…  Each character has a special ability that you can unleash in order to slay some zombies, and each character can be upgraded at least once (I’m not sure if there are successive upgrades because I haven’t even been able to afford the first one for any character yet).  When you are playing you earn coins by making deliveries and killing zombies, but you can actually earn more coins by watching a video at the end of each run – unless you actually have some skills at playing the game, which doesn’t seem to apply to me.  The graphics are done in a top down perspective which I normally don’t care for when it comes to runners, but in this case they actually work pretty well.  Besides simply unlocking and upgrading new characters the game offers three separate leaderboards: one for best score, another for most zombies killed and a final one for total number of deliveries.  There are also 32 achievements to keep you on your toes.  This is definitely a different take on the zombie genre, and it can actually be quite entertaining.

Must Deliver cherrypick games, Must Deliver – Free

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Tower Slash [4/22/15] – If you’re starting to feel like all infinite runners are the same, Tower Slash is worth taking a look at.  It uses the same building scaling principle that you’ll find in Backflip’s NinJump, but instead of bouncing back and forth between buildings you must defeat your enemies by swiping in the direction of the arrow that hovers next to them.  To complicate matters, some enemies have red arrows which means you have to swap in the opposite direction.  Worse yet, other arrows are spinning until you get really close meaning you have less time to react and swipe in the correct direction.  Then there are the bosses which require you to execute multiple chains of moves in order to defeat.  Fortunately as you continue to defeat enemies you work your way towards unlocking new characters, and unlike many of these games the new avatars aren’t just for looks.  One might boost your score while another provides a slow mo option when approaching spinning arrows and so on.  In addition to that you have a leaderboard to compete against your Game Center friends as well as 9 achievements to unlock.  Throw in some cool retro graphics and a catchy old school beat and you have a fun, challenging infinite runner to add to your growing iPhone games collection.

Tower Slash Joao Costa, Tower Slash – Free

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The Phantom PI Mission Apparition [7/23/14] – Apparently even the dead can be bothered by their own, as this take on paranormal extractors has you aiding those that have already passed on.  In particular you’ll need to help rock legend Marshall Staxx as he continually gets robbed by a nasty ghost with a large appetite for musical paraphernalia.  You’ll take on the role of either Cecil or Cecilia and traverse 20 levels comprised of puzzles, ghost capturing and basic arcade tactics.  On the puzzle levels there are four objectives: find all the documents that provide background info on everything that’s going on, capture the spirits that inhabit random object and make the move for no reason, collect the more aggressive spirits with your bizarre ghost capturing gun, and use those spirits to collect gems while avoiding floating skull and crossbones symbols.  The last one is kind of like a mini-game on each level.  Every fifth level provides you with a little arcade game style level where your objectives are to collect all the gems and beat the level in a certain amount of time.  I don’t think you need to finish any of these objectives to complete a given level, but it sure makes things more fun.  In addition to all that you’ll be building a scrapbook of all the background items you run across in each level as well as collecting cards that detail certain facts about the case.  The graphics are excellent, and the soundtrack and sound effects really build a great atmosphere for the game.

The Phantom PI Mission Apparition Rocket 5 Studios Inc, The Phantom PI Mission Apparition – $0.99

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Borderline – Life On The Line [1/8/15] – I love it when simple games are fun, because I can handle simple games.  Of course I don’t mean that the game is easy, but you only have three simple rules: tap left to move to the left side of the line, tap right to move… you guessed it… to the right side, and release to center your avatar on the line.  Collect bonus glowing objects to bolster your score, and every 10,000 points you’ll earn a crown and a heart.  You can also find hearts along the line, and these can be used for continuing a game when you’ve struck an obstacle or for buying items in the store.  Purchasable goods include new avatars, ornaments for that avatar, the trail the avatar leaves behind and new musical tracks.  There’s plenty of each to keep you busy earning hearts for a while if you want to collect them all.  You can play in single player mode or against another Game Center participant, but the one time I tried to hook up with someone I never got a bite.  Still, the option’s there if you want to try and take advantage of it.  The simple visuals are appealing and hopefully there will be at least one musical track that catches your fancy.  The game does offer a couple of Game Center achievements, but the real challenge will be in beating your own high score each time through.

Borderline - Life On The Line Crazy Labs, Borderline – Life On The Line – Free

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Anodia 2 [5/6/15] – While not a fan of the brick breaker genre as a whole, the original Anodia really captured my attention.  Anodia 2 certainly follows in its predecessor’s footsteps.  First and foremost, this is not a brick breaker.  Sure there’s a paddle and you’re hitting balls against objects to try and destroy them, but the game does everything it can to make you forget about the typical Arkanoid type layout.  Each level is hand crafted and might contain triangles, light bulbs or other balls.  When you beat a level you unlock the next one, or you can use money you collect along the way or earn from watching videos to play a lottery and unlock new levels ahead of time.  All the typical power ups for this type of game are present, and there are some cool additions like one that creates mini-balls which orbit your main ball and do damage to other objects around you.  The best part is that if you get stuck you can tap on an object that’s still left and your ball will automatically target that object.  This “power” takes some time to reset, but I believe you can use it as much as you want on any given level.  It sure beats spending half an hour to get the ball to bounce right to eliminate that hard to reach piece.  There is a leaderboard via Game Center, though at this point there are no achievements to earn.  The visuals are top notch and the music has an almost zen-like quality about it.  Just like the original, Anodia 2 is one of the best this genre has to offer for iOS devices.

Anodia 2 CLM, Anodia 2 – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

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