10 App Store Games To Watch [6/30/15]

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What do Stan Lee, Alexey Pajitnov (you know, the Tetris guy), and 8 other creators have in common? They’re all on the list this week. Stan Lee has already given us so many cool Superhero based properties in one medium or another, and with Stan Lee’s Hero Command he just keeps on giving. You take control of one of three (or technically 4, since one choice is twins) new characters and make your way through several missions that come straight from the cheesy and loveable imagination of one of the industry’s greats. Multicross, on the other hand, is the next evolution of Tetris, which so many before have claimed to already have developed. It figures that it would take the man behind the original to create this next great addiction.

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Stan Lee’s Hero Command [3/18/15] – Excelsior! I was so relieved when I started playing this to find out it was a good old action game instead of what I was expecting, which was FarmVille with superheroes. Anyway, you start out by recruiting one of three heroes using shield points, and then you take them on a variety of missions including item collection, defeating all the enemies and even guiding the wondrous Stan Lee himself to safety. In fact, from what I’ve played so far there’s even been a mission where you control Stan Lee and try to get him through the level without being detected by the bad guys. As you complete missions you’ll earn orbs which can be used to upgrade your heroes. By completing daily missions and certain other milestones you can also earn some shield points which are used to unlock new heroes or buy mass quantities of orbs. Shield points are a bit trickier to come by, however, though you’re certainly welcome to spend some dough to get them via IAP. This is just the kind of adventure you’d expect from the man who helped build the Marvel empire and it is one more step in the right direction for comic book based games.

Stan Lee's Hero Command F84 Games, Stan Lee’s Hero Command – Free

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Mini Jump [6/17/15] – Yeah, this is just another one of those one button “jump as high as you can” games. You start with a cool block ninja, and for every 100 coins you collect you’ll be able to unlock a new random block character. There are 43 in all, and while they don’t blatantly label them in groups, there are hidden divisions of characters that each has their own background theme and music. Some of them, like the queen I just unlocked, are even holding items (in this case a torch). I believe you can even unlock specific characters of your choosing via IAP, though anything App Store related on my device takes so long to load that I’ve never been patient enough to let the character selection screen fully refresh. There is only one leaderboard and no achievements at the moment, but like most casual games of this nature you can post your accomplishments – high score or character unlocks – to social media like Facebook or Twitter. There’s not a whole lot to Mini Jump, yet every time I load it up I find myself getting lost in the notion of collecting enough coins to unlock the next character.

Mini Jump Playfo, Mini Jump – Free

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Godspeed Commander [4/29/15] – Finally, someone does something a bit different for a match 3 hybrid. This game takes place in space, and as the commander of a ship you are trying to make a name for yourself. Tour the galaxy collecting bounties for your conquests then use your gains to hire additional crew, upgrade your ship or tailor your weaponry more to your needs. When you think you’ve had enough of the computer AI you can take on real opponents for even more gain or more embarrassing defeats. As you win matches against the “real” world your online ranking goes up, which is the basis for the game’s leaderboard. If you loose you’ll still earn some experience and the game will go on, but you won’t earn any cash. Keep in mind, though, that a loss could also result in the permanent destruction of some equipment or the loss of a crew member. This doesn’t always happen, but make sure you don’t spend all of your loot making your avatar look pretty so that when it does you can replace what you’ve lost. The single player mode gets fun and challenging once you move past the first ship, but I really encourage you to try online mode, even if you don’t normally care for online play. There’s no direct IMing or anything, and it’s more satisfying both in terms of financial gain and being able to climb the ranks.

Godspeed Commander Nah-Meen Studios LLC, Godspeed Commander – Free

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Multicross [5/17/15] – People are always claiming to have invented the next evolution of Tetris, a game that probably ranks as one of the first high profile “easy to play, hard to master” type casual games. Now Multicross comes along and proves that sometimes it takes the creator of the original to take a game to the next level. The pieces may have been ripped from the game about falling blocks, but instead of dropping from the sky they sit at the bottom of the screen until you drag them into the playing area. As soon as you create one or more complete rows or columns those lines will be cleared, and if you create a complete row and column at the same time you’ll wipe out the entire board and get some bonus points. That’s really all there is to it, and yet even without multiple game modes or any “extras” the game is quite compelling. There is one leaderboard, but plan on basically worrying about beating your own score or challenging a friend since the top player somehow managed to score 38 million points. The game is quite enjoyable even without that lofty goal.

Multicross ANDREY NOVIKOV, Multicross – Free

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Astro Run – Endless Fun [11/20/14] – Other than the fact that you’re trying to rescue a cow, Astro Run is a pretty typical endless flyer. I still find it quite enjoyable every time I load it up, however, and I’ll admit to spending far more time with it than I probably should. Your main objectives are to dodge everything that’s harmful and collect as many stars as you can, because you will most likely never see that precious cow again. There are also letters to collect, and spelling out a word launches you ahead for a nice boost in your total fly distance for that run. Occasionally a mission will require you to gather astronauts, but you’ll only see these guys for that reason. You also have to collect a power up for the first time before you can use it. Sadly you do have to pay for the power ups at the beginning of each flight, but that should just encourage you to collect more stars. Stars can also be used to upgrade your ship, alter aspects of the game such as having less asteroids, or even give you the ability to add designs, decals or simply change the color of your ship. As mentioned there are missions to complete, but at this point there is no social network integration. If you can’t get enough of simple, addictive endless level games, Astro Run is a great choice to add to your collection.

Astro Run - Endless Fun Grzegorz Reglinski, Astro Run – Endless Fun – Free

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Shipwrecked Shambles [5/14/15] – This is a clever variation on one of those games where you have to take a bunch of shapes and make them all fit nicely into one large area. In this case the area is always square or rectangular in shape, and the pieces are comprised of two or three tiles in line, corner or L shapes. The game has a cool pirate theme to it, and to add a little complexity to the proceedings water creatures must go on water tiles on the board, while land creatures always sit on the docks. If there’s junk floating in the water you have to be sure to put a clear tile over that. The game is comprised of four worlds, each with 27 levels. As you complete a level you can earn between 1 to 3 skulls depending on how quickly you get it done, and new worlds will be unlocked once you earn a certain number of skulls. I do wish there was a bit more variation in mechanics as you explore new worlds, but the base game play is solid and the visuals are well drawn and nicely animated.

Shipwrecked Shambles Diversido Mobile LLC, Shipwrecked Shambles – Free

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Nom Chops [5/13/15] – I wasn’t sure I wanted to include this one, because there really isn’t much of a game here. While I’ve covered such minimalist things before, I figured I’d have to spend more time talking about not including it than what the game was about. But, in the end I decided to throw Nom Chops in the list, mostly because I love the artwork. It reminds me of my childhood when I’d watch these live action shows that would have segments where someone would seemingly draw something by hand out of the blue and then it would be miraculously animated. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but that’s what gives it the authentic hand drawn feel in the first place. The game itself is simple: hold the screen to make the nom eat, and let go so the nom will close its mouth and not consume the pepper bombs. For each consecutive slime you consume you build up a combo, and while missing slime doesn’t hurt you it will reset that combo. Three pepper bombs, on the other hand, and it’s game over. There are two leaderboards, one for high score and one for max combo, as well as 8 Game Center achievements to earn. You can even acquire Lootsie points, which apparently can be used to “purchase” discounts on real world goods and services.

Nom Chops PagodaWest Games, Nom Chops – Free

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Symbol Quest: Riddle Challenge [5/25/15] – This is an interesting take on the whole “guess the symbol” type of game. You start with a blank slate and get to draw five lines across the playing field, revealing parts of the symbol as you go along. You then have to guess what the symbol is using the letters you are given and the empty squares that are below the drawing area. For each one you get right you earn five coins. You can use those coins to give yourself additional lines to draw with or to get rid of some of the excess letters. You can also reach out to your Facebook friends by posting the symbol as a picture and asking for suggestions on letters to use. The iTunes description says there is an endless amount of riddles available, and while I don’t believe the supply is truly limitless, the design of the game certainly would allow for new puzzles to be added rather easily. Symbol Quest is a relaxing little game that should run well on most devices, even older ones, and give you a chance to exercise your brain without working your blood pressure or twitchy finger.

Symbol Quest: Riddle Challenge RedOrb Games, Symbol Quest: Riddle Challenge – Free

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BeatDefense – Music, Rhythm, and Missiles [2/25/15] – I feel like there should be an “oh my” in the title somewhere, but a good game is a good game. This one is sort of like a modern day missile command with a much welcomed touch screen interface and dancing buildings to boot. Don’t let the musically inclined structures distract you, though, because the missiles are just as deadly as they were in the old days. Your job is to tap them out of existence before they make contact with the buildings and end your potentially short career as a military advisor. More important than ignoring the jiving towers, though, is trying not to get too caught up in the beat. While it’s true that you can use that somewhat as a judge of when to tap, it becomes increasingly less useful in the later levels. There’s definitely a nice progression of difficulty as well – the first couple of levels were relatively benign, the third level bested me after I put up a good fight, and skipping to level 8 I was done in just a few seconds. There currently are only 8 levels, but for a free download it’s certainly worth your time.

BeatDefense - Music, Rhythm, and Missiles 16 Escalones Producciones, BeatDefense – Music, Rhythm, and Missiles – Free

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Warriors of Nom Nom [6/3/15] – I don’t normally go for games where the main activity is mindlessly tapping the screen, and I still haven’t really taken the plunge to becoming a full fledged online junkie. In this case, however, the combination actually manages to work for me. Warriors of Nom Nom is an online food eating competition where you simulate wolfing down the main course by tapping it into oblivion. The question is whether or not you can tap faster than your opponent. You can actually practice against computer AI, but the real fun comes in challenging an opponent from somewhere around the world. Take on a friend by entering their user name and an invite code, or let the computer match you up with a random opponent that’s at a similar ranking to you. There are five characters to choose from, each with their own special skills. You can also acquire up to 36 different cards with various bonuses on them, and depending on which character you choose you can take a certain number of them into battle with you. There’s not necessarily a whole lot of depth to this game, but if you’re going to mindlessly tap the screen anyway, might as well have some fun doing it.

Warriors of Nom Nom Kuyi Mobile, Warriors of Nom Nom – 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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