10 App Store Games To Watch [7/27/15]

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The summer’s drawing to a close, at least as far as school is concerned in our area.  Thankfully the App Store doesn’t care if there are kids around to play its games or not, and the new offerings are still flowing on a daily basis.  One of my favorites this time around is Rush Star – Bike Adventure, an over the shoulder “infinite runner” style game with some cool motorcycles and intense level design.  If you prefer to do your racing on the water you might want to check out Driver Speedboat Paradise, a game that somewhat pays homage to the arcade classic Hydro Thunder but offers so much more game play.  Maybe you’re just not into motor vehicle games at all, in which case you might consider MicRogue, a game that looks like a rouge-like but plays more like a puzzle game.

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Spandex Force: Champion Rising [12/17/14] – While I’m somewhat of a match3 hybrid addict, they are starting to feel more and more alike to me.  Thankfully there are still some that stand out, and Spandex Force is one such game.  You’re an average Joe or Jane that some crotchety old wizard is convinced he can turn into a superhero in 30 days.  This will be no luxury heroic life, however.  You’ll have to train in one of three disciplines to build up your super powers, round up all sorts of hooligans to gain street credit, and actually earn money to pay for everything – apparently the wizard doesn’t have a bankroll.  Every confrontation or event is handled with a match 3 game, but the rules vary slightly depending on what you’re doing and the rewards are also different.  One thing I really like about the match 3 portion of the game is that if you make a match of 5 or more items you’ll also clear off some adjacent tiles, so the more you match the more it really benefits you.  The graphics have a nice comic book touch to them, there’s actually somewhat of a story with some witty dialog at times, and the whole game just feels pretty polished.  The only down side is that instead of capping at a certain skill level or something of that nature, the free version of the game appears to give you only an hour of play time per new game.

Spandex Force: Champion Rising Miro Karjalainen, Spandex Force: Champion Rising – Free

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Rush Star – Bike Adventure [5/1/15] – Rush Star feels like an infinite runner, but there is a definite end to each level.  The trick is actually making it there in one piece.  At least you get to ride one of several different bikes, each of which can be unlocked by riding a certain distance with the previous bike.  Sadly you can’t upgrade the bikes themselves, but you can purchase up to 4 different boosters to help you beat the courses.  There are also power ups that show up occasionally on the routes, but you won’t know which power up you’re getting until you collide with the constantly changing sphere, and not all of them are good.  My favorite is the semi that gives you a lift for a bit, because it can even derail a speeding train.  Take that, Optimus!  Along the way you’ll collect coins that can be used to pay for the boosters or the new bikes once they are unlocked, and you can also pick up “collectables” that earn you even more coins.  The other form of currency is dollars, and this is used to continue the game once you’ve met one too many unfortunate incidents.  The course designs are some of the best and some of the toughest I’ve seen for this style of game play, and the graphics do a great job of immersing you in the environments.  Even if you’re kind of burnt out from the “may be an infinite runner, maybe not” genre, you should give this one a try.

Rush Star – Bike Adventure JellyBus Inc., Rush Star – Bike Adventure – Free

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eVubble [6/27/15] – Finally, a bubble dodge ‘n smash game that feels different!  Instead of just running into smaller bubbles to get bigger or simply avoiding bubbles altogether, in this game you must guide your bubble into the other bubbles in a color sequence defined by the squares at the bottom of the screen.  You only have a certain amount of time to collect each sequence, and when the time runs out the game is over.  When you collect the sequence you get some time added back to the clock and a new sequence begins.  If you botch up the sequence you don’t have to start over, but your bubble will get bigger.  In this game you don’t want that because a bigger bubble inadvertently hits other bubbles, and if the bubble gets too big it will explode, which once again means the game is over.  You increase your score by collecting the right bubbles, and increase it even more by collecting plenty of bubbles in a row without hitting the wrong ones in between.  More importantly than score is the stars you collect along the way which allows you to buy and upgrade power ups.  The game also offers two leaderboards: one for high score and the other for longest streak.  There are 10 achievements to earn as well, but those mainly revolve around getting the power ups.  The graphics are simple and slick, the music is easy to listen to and the overall experience is just right for a casual, pick up and play game.

eVubble Yosuatreegames LLC, eVubble – Free

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Deadlings [3/4/14] – I’m digging into the archives again a bit for this one, but I think it’s worth it.  Artifex Mundi has always brought some intriguing hidden object games to the iOS platform, but it turns out they’ve got a pretty good action / puzzle game as well in Deadlings.  Death is lonely and friendless, and apparently decides to humor himself by building a factory to train the undead to do his bidding.  You’ll have to master the skills of 4 different types of zombies in more than 100 levels spanning four different worlds.  The zombies are easy to control, but it will take some finesse to conquer all the traps that death has laid out for testing purposes.  Some levels require more than one type of zombie to complete them, and every level has a limited supply of testers unless you want to spend hard earned skulls for a rescue pack or simply start over after they are all extinguished.  There are three stars to be earned for each level: one for completing it, another for collecting all the brains and a third for beating it in under a specific time.  There’s a leaderboard which ranks you based on your total point score as well as 48 achievements to earn through game center.  Toss in some great pixel graphics and a decent sense of humor and you have an action oriented Lemmings game for the Undead, which in my opinion works really well.

Deadlings ONE MORE LEVEL S.A., Deadlings – $1.99

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Shake Duck Off [7/1/15] – If you’ve been yearning for that Duck Hunt experience ever since you sold, lost or broke your NES, this probably isn’t going to do it for you.  The game means well, and I like the added touch that you actually control the dog to try and shoot down the pesky ducks.  The problem is that the “tilt to aim” control is flawed and frustrating, and at the very least needs to be inverted so that tilting left or right does in fact move you left or right respectively.  Still, if you can deal with that the game is a cool if not simplistic take on the genre, with ducks getting scared and trying to escape if they’re too close to a shot and a fever mode that lets you score ridiculous amounts of points.  There is a leaderboard via Game Center, and hopefully achievements will be added in a future update.  The visuals have an incredible style and the music is fun to listen to.  There’s definitely a lot of potential here, which is why the game made my list, but ultimately it’s going to fizzle out if they don’t do something about the control scheme.

Shake Duck Off Pine Entertainment, Shake Duck Off – Free

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Goblin Quest: Escape! [3/18/15] – You are a goblin that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Your boss decides that you are going to be the one to help test all of his new traps in his deadly dungeon.  That means you’ll have to dodge all manner of critters, catapults and more as you attempt to simply make your way from one end of each room to the other.  As you wander around you’ll collect coins and gems which can be used to buy and upgrade one use items as well as clothing that gives you permanent power ups.  You can earn up to 3 diamonds per level, one for completing it under a certain amount of time, another for not dying and the third for finding the secret area.  In addition to providing accomplishments for the levels, a certain number of diamonds are required to pass gates between certain levels.  The game has 26 levels, 9 of which are free and the other 17 available via a onetime IAP purchase.  Goblin Quest is an interesting combination of dungeon crawler and tower defense where you are actually the object being defended against, and it works quite well.

Goblin Quest: Escape! Daniel Kalmar, Goblin Quest: Escape! – Free

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MicRogue [4/28/15] – MicRogue is rouge-like in the sense that the levels are randomly generated and the game is turn based.  However, it really plays out more like a puzzle game.  There are only 10 levels to conquer, but it will take all your wits to do it, and so far I haven’t been successful.  You can move up to two squares in each of the four main directions (N, S, E and W) assuming there is somewhere to move.  If you land on a creature you kill it, and if your shield is facing a creature when it attacks you automatically defend.  You only get three shields for the entire game unless you pick one up should a spare appear on a given level.  The trick with the shield is it only protects you in the direction it is facing, and it only points either East or West, so all other directions are vulnerable – and some monsters can move diagonally.  Each creature has its own movement pattern, so it pays to learn them all and use them to your advantage.  The other thing you have to watch out for is spikes, but those can also kill creatures, so keep that in mind as well.  If you’re looking for a rogue-like with unique game play, you’ve come to the right place.

Microgue Crescent Moon Games, Microgue – $1.99

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Battle Of Love [7/13/15] – Have you ever felt like tower defense games were a bit too hands-off for your tastes?  Battle Of Love is about to change all that.  Your job is to protect the love of your life, who for some reason can’t see fit to actually reside in a tower with some defensive walls or anything like that.  As a result you must ward off all of the cruel king’s minions by slashing them Fruit Ninja style.  Thankfully there are no bombs to worry about, but each baddie that gets to the top of the tower takes away one of your girl’s hearts, and when all three are gone the level is over.  As luck would have it slaying bad guys earns you some coins which can be used to buy power ups like extra life or a hammer that lets you temporarily kill your opposition with one slash.  The game currently has only 20 levels, but some of them can be challenging and there is a map labeled “coming soon” to whet your appetite.  Just make sure to give your finger a rest every once in a while, because the later levels will really tax your slashing abilities.

Battle Of Love Sivakumar kumar, Battle Of Love – Free

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Driver Speedboat Paradise [4/8/15] – One of my favorite arcade games and one of the few racing games I’ve ever played outside the comfort of my living room was Hydro Thunder.  This is sort of like the iOS version of that game, and while so far the track layouts haven’t been quite as impressive, the overall game offers so much more than that classic.  There are plenty of boats to choose from, each one having four different attributes, some or all of which can be upgraded depending on the boat.  This game is just as much about the driver as the boat, however, so you’ll have to keep up with the latest wardrobe trends and fanciest house accessories in order to please your fans.  You actually have two experience meters to keep up with in this game, one for your general racing skills and the other for your lifestyle, and leveling up in each will unlock different things.  There are several locations to conquer, each consisting of multiple races.  To keep things interesting, not all races will be your typical “do a couple laps” thing either.  In some instances you’ll drag race, which introduces an entirely different line of boats, and sometimes you’ll have to keep out of last place or get caught by the cops.  For being an actual hands-on racing game rather than a management sim there’s a surprising amount of depth, and since I don’t see Hydro Thunder popping up any time soon Driver Speedboat Paradise works for me.

Driver Speedboat Paradise Ubisoft, Driver Speedboat Paradise – Free

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Hoodee Hero [6/4/15] – You are the hoodee hero, and it’s your job to rid the Earth of the menacing bug like robots that have invaded.  You do this by swiping left, right, up or down in accordance with the boards that are falling from the sky.  Each board that is destroyed by matching the correct pattern earns you a point, an attack against your opponent and some coins.  Every time a board escapes to the bottom of the screen, though, you’ll lose a heart.  You only get three of those before the game is over.  The premise is simple enough, but the patterns get longer, boards show up more frequently and they often overlap so it’s hard to see certain patterns.  The coins you collect can be used to buy different heroes, some of which look really cool.  I’m not sure they make any difference to game play, however (at least the first one I bought didn’t seem to).  This game could use some variety like different character abilities, different types of monsters and maybe even some power ups.  It’s a nifty concept, however, and a nice promise of things to come.  The graphics look really cool too!

Hoodee Hero Thang Le, Hoodee Hero – 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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