10 App Store Games To Watch [6/14/15]

roundup-06142015-intro

This roundup is still loaded primarily with casual games, but at least there were some that put a fresh spin on old genres.  Brickies is a brick breaker game, but it adds a pong like element and some nifty power ups to put a fresh coat of paint on a tiring game mechanic.  BUBBLA – chain reaction does something similar for the chain reaction genre, forcing you to not only clear the playing field but do it in a way that maximizes points and allows you to collect the elusive golden fish.  Ball King, on the other hand, takes the concept of rapid basketball dunking and quite literally turns it on its side, complete with pixel graphics and plenty of non-basketball items to shoot.

roundup-06142015-one-more-dash

One More Dash [5/27/15] – Talk about an appropriate name for the game.  This is one of those causal games that will have you pressing the play button again and again, even though you KNOW you have other things to do.  The goal is simply to keep your avatar alive as long as you can, racing from circle to circle to collect points.  Most circles have at least one barrier preventing entry, while some have two or more.  Thankfully there are gaps in these barriers, though they might not always sync up with each other.  Some barriers even have spikes on them, so while you can bounce off of the tamer barriers and try again, spiked barriers mean instant death if you touch them.  To make matters worse you can only spend a certain amount of time in a circle, so if the next target has a slow moving barrier you might be out of luck.  In addition to collecting the points that are inside the circles you can get tokens that orbit the outer part of the circle.  These tokens can be used to buy new visual schemes or different avatars.  The game offers a single leaderboard and 32 achievements through Game Center, and there are also 200 missions to complete that will earn you additional tokens for buying stuff.

One More Dash SMG Studio, One More Dash – Free

roundup-06142015-ball-king

Ball King [5/20/15] – I don’t much get into “true” sports simulations, but I like a good sports themed game as well as the next guy.  Ball King has certainly caught my attention in that regards.  The goal is simply to make as many baskets as you can.  In challenge mode the first basket you miss signals the end of your run, whereas in timed mode you can miss but it deducts from your score (my first outing netted me a -5, so you can go below 0).  The game uses the Angry Birds style of dragging your finger to create an arced path between the player and the basket.  At first you just have to worry about the basket moving after each shot, but eventually you’ll have to take wind into consideration as well.  You can collect diamonds by making sure your path crosses them when they show up, and you can also earn them by watching videos or simply by playing for a long enough period of time.  These diamonds will get you new “balls” to play with, but the objects can range from an old tire to a floppy disk and even a fish bowl – animal lovers might not want to use the latter.  The game offers a leaderboard for each game play mode, and you can also challenge your friends to see who has the best aim.

Ball King Qwiboo Ltd, Ball King – Free

roundup-06142015-brickies

Brickies [5/20/15] – Don’t like brick breakers?  Then you haven’t tried Brickies yet.  Okay, I feel like I’m cheating on Anodia a bit here, but while there’s no question that game has better level design, this one has definitely managed to grab my attention.  I like the fact that you actually have two paddles – one at the top and one at the bottom – instead of just one.  I also think it’s cool that the ball never actually “goes out”.  Instead, if you miss it with the paddle it just turns red, and it won’t break any more bricks until you paddle it again.  Power ups can stack on top of each other, and Brickies tries to do things you haven’t seen before… including my current favorite which lets you temporarily guide the ball with your finger.  The visuals are great, and the ever present timer counting down in the background always lets you know how you’re doing without being obtrusive or not visible enough.  The 100+ levels each have a three star ranking, and if you don’t do well the first time around you can go back after you’ve unlocked more powerful power ups.  There’s also an endless mode to challenge you skills.  There is a leaderboard and 33 achievements via Game Center, so there’s always something to strive for.  Overall this is one of the best entries in the genre that I’ve run across so far.

Brickies Noodlecake Studios Inc, Brickies – Free

roundup-06142015-silly-sausage

Silly Sausage in Meat Land [3/24/15] – Lately it seems like another roundup means another Nitrome game.  Either I’m taking too long in between roundups or they’re just releasing a bunch of decent games recently.  This time around you take control of a dog that has this innate ability to show up Mr. Fantastic when it comes to stretching.  You’ll have to open gates, slide through Mario style pipes and dodge flying, knife wielding hands in order to get from dog house to dog house.  Along the way you’ll collect gems and you can either use the gems or watch videos when you arrive at each dog house so that you can resume the game from that house.  The task seems simple enough, but when you start getting into combinations of things like only being able to stick to certain platforms and needing to flip multiple buttons at the same time, the game can get rather tricky.  The visuals have the same great pixel style you’ve come to know and love from a Nitrome game, and each section provides new and interesting challenges.  The only thing I’m not keen on is the fact that so far the game seems to be just one really long level, but I guess it would be the same game play wise whether it was broken up or not.  I just prefer more, smaller levels.

Silly Sausage in Meat Land Nitrome, Silly Sausage in Meat Land – Free

roundup-06142015-zombiebucket

Zombiebucket [5/27/15] – What could be better than a match 3 game with a zombie theme?  How about a match 3 game where you actually match the zombies?  In Zombiebucket you must keep your bucket from filling up with zombies by matching zombies of like colors.  As long as they are touching it doesn’t matter if they are up, down or diagonal from where you start, and you’ll want to get as many in one try as you can.  As you get rid of the zombies more will take their place, and as the levels increase you’ll get different types of zombies thrown into the mix.  Fortunately you also get power ups like randomly zapping several zombies not in the selected pool or destroying anything in the path of a laser beam.  Killing zombies earns you zombie brains, as does tapping on special zombies that are thrown into the mix upon completing certain goals.  These zombie brains can be used to upgrade your current bucket or buy a new one.  There is a leaderboard which has been severely hacked, but there are also 37 achievements to earn if collecting the superzombies isn’t cool enough for you.

Zombiebucket ONE MORE LEVEL S.A., Zombiebucket – Free

roundup-06142015-bubbla

BUBBLA – chain reaction [5/25/15] – After a while I stopped downloading games from this genre because while one might have looked better than another graphically, they all just started to feel the same to me.  Now there’s no arguing that the base mechanics are there – explode every object on the screen in the given number of moves.  It’s cool that the objects are evil fish and that when you explode them the innocent fish inside get set free, but that doesn’t affect the game play any.  What is important, however, is the order in which you explode things.  There are multiple ways to complete each level, but only one will get you the maximum score so that you can earn three stars, as well as give you the chance to acquire the golden fish for that level.  Most of the levels are easily beatable for one star, but it will take a true master to collect all the golden fish.  A leaderboard unlocks after you’ve conquered 35 levels, and at certain points you will also open up each of three different power ups that can be activated by spending coins you collect or buy through IAP.  According to the iTunes description, though, you can complete all levels without the power ups, and since the game is free you theoretically could complete it without spending a dime (if you like it make sure you treat the devs right, though).  Just so you understand the value you’re getting, there are 1500 stars to earn, which means the game sports a whopping 500 levels!

BUBBLA - chain reaction TINYSOFT, BUBBLA – chain reaction – Free

roundup-06142015-bear-vs-art

Bear vs. Art [4/8/15] – Here’s a game where you get to play as a bear and tear up artwork, so I don’t know what there is to not like (disclaimer: I do like art).  You were a relatively happy bear until some inconsiderate folks put a huge art gallery in the middle of your forest, and now you want to get revenge.  You’ll travel through many different rooms, the goal of most being to demolish all the paintings.  Sometimes you’ll have to take out the patrons as well, and on rare occasions you might even need to avoid them.  Restrictions include limited time and / or moves, and to make things even trickier this is one of those games where once you pick a direction you keep moving until something gets in your way.  Along the way you’ll earn coins which can be used for a variety of things like buying outfits and leveling them up.  There are also different skills you can enhance over time as you earn skill points.  The game has 20 achievements to earn, and with 150 levels and the tease of more to come you’ll certainly have plenty to keep yourself entertained for quite some time.

Bears vs. Art Halfbrick Studios, Bears vs. Art – Free

roundup-06142015-gunbrick

Gunbrick [1/7/15] – Guess what?  I found another Nitrome game to include in my roundups!  This time around you play a slightly off-kilter duck that happens to get his hands on a rather destructive cube.  One side sports a really big gun, while the opposite end has a nice shield.  Your task is to traverse a bunch of puzzle filled levels, destroying everything in your path that you can while making sure that the exposed sides of your cube don’t fall prey to the soulless lasers, flames and other obstacles that would do you harm.  The trick is that you can only swipe to move left or right and tap to shoot, so if you want to go down you have to fall off a cliff or if you wish to travel up you need to make sure your gun is facing down and then tap to shoot.  This control scheme makes for some very interesting puzzles.  Combine that with killer pixel art and a really cool soundtrack and you have yourself a great modern retro game.  There are several achievements to earn, but the lack of level completion stars or any sort of score cements that old school feel this game exudes so well.

Gunbrick Nitrome, Gunbrick – $2.99

roundup-06142015-get-hi

Get Hi [5/25/15] – I might as well disappoint a lot of you right now by saying this is not a marijuana smoking simulator.  The object of the game is to simply bounce an object as high as you can before it falls off the platforms that you control.  Tapping the screen causes the platforms to tilt one way, and releasing your finger makes them go the opposite direction.  If you can manage to get a rhythm going you’ll do really well, otherwise you’re probably not going to get a very high score.  The only boost you’ll find is the triangle which will knock you up a few extra levels.  Periodically you’ll also see other objects on the board, and if you can bounce your current object into them you’ll be able to use them as your bouncing object.  The cool thing is that each object has their own style of platform – for instance, when you switch to the golf ball the platforms become clubs, and when you select the sushi roll the platforms are chopsticks.  There are 50 objects to collect, as well as a leaderboard and 11 achievements through Game Center.  I’m not sure this game will hold up well in long spurts, but for a few minute jaunt while in line somewhere it can be quite entertaining.

Get Hi Philipp Stollenmayer, Get Hi – Free

roundup-06142015-nubs-adventure

Nubs’ Adventure [5/28/15] – Let me count the ways that I love this platform game.  If you have any sense of nostalgia you’ll immediately fall in love the fine combination of pixel art and awesome animation.  There are plenty of areas to explore, with a slick teleportation system that easily gets you to key locations in each region.  The game has a map that is actually useful, showing you how all the rooms interconnect and what you have left to complete in each room.  And, unlike so many platform games these days, you can actually get back to just about any previous room in case you missed something like a gem or other item that isn’t necessarily essential to completing a puzzle.  Speaking of which, Nubs will have to solve many environment based puzzles to finish his adventure.  Thankfully he’s not alone, and at certain points in the game you’ll need to control either the wisp Ally or the giant worm Brute in order to pass sections that Nubs can’t do on his own.  Nubs’ Adventure even has decent controls, but if you want a true platform gaming experience Nubs supports game controllers as well.

Nubs' Adventure Maximilian Csuk, Nubs’ Adventure – 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:

Next ArticleThe Silent Age: Episode Two in Review - If Sierra Still Made Adventure Games...