10 App Store Games To Watch [8/18/15]

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I got another list of games for you.  Many of the entries this time are variants of popular games that have been cloned to death, but games like Sword & Dragon demonstrate how you can put an extremely fresh spin on a stale concept.  Scrappy Cat, on the other hand, actually proves that borderline annoyingly difficult can actually be fun as well.  And then there’s Mountain Goat Mountain, which just goes to show that goats really are cool.  In the end, I don’t think you’ll go wrong no matter what you choose from this list.

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Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots [7/29/15] – You can’t get much simpler than this.  You have a circle with dots on it, and a diagram in the left corner that shows you witch dots need to be tapped.  There is one caveat, however, and that’s the arrow inside the circle.  The arrow is your guide to which dots need to be tapped, and before long the diagram starts rotating so the arrow in the diagram isn’t pointing in the same direction as the arrow on the playing field!  If that’s not enough of a challenge for you, at some point the playing field will start rotating as well.  Throw in a timer and suddenly this simple premise becomes rather challenging.  The game offers a leaderboard and 16 achievements via Game Center, and there are plenty of color schemes, arrow designs and circle types to unlock to keep you occupied for quite some time.

Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots Thumbspire Inc., Mind The Arrow: Match The Dots – Free

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Scrappy Cat [7/27/15] – Scrappy Cat is a one tap platformer.  It always amazes me when a developer can make a good game based around a single input, and this is the perfect example.  You tap the screen to jump and then hold in order to cling to whatever surface you might come in contact with.  If you then let you you’ll slide, which can often help you adjust your location to make the next appropriate jump.  Your cat is in constant motion unless you run into or jump off of a wall, which will reverse the kitty’s orientation.  You start the game with 9 lives, but once you’ve used them all up the first time you can only get 3 lives at a time unless you complete a level with all of your lives in tact.  There are 18 levels to complete, each with their own leaderboard.  There’s also a leaderboard for the best overall ranking in the game.  The graphics and sound aren’t going to blow away cutting edge junkies, but if you’re old school like me you should get a kick out of the audio / visual design.

Scrappy Cat Totebo Ltd, Scrappy Cat – Free

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Dungeon Quest Rival – explore the underground monster world [7/27/15] – I think it’s time for my “merits of a shorter title” article.  In the mean time, this is an interesting little game.  You explore a bunch of randomly generated rooms in an increasingly growing tower with the intent of fighting the end boss for all the glory.  Sound familiar?  What makes this game interesting is that as you finish each set of floors – in the first level there are 3 floors, for example – you have the option of going on or returning home (assuming you’ve unlocked the next set of levels).  If you go home you must spend some gems in order to keep the goods you’ve collected, but regardless of your spending habits you lose all of the stats you’ve worked to build up.  To add insult to injury, you only have a limited number of moves, and when you run out its back home for you, which means saying goodbye to all of your stuff again.  Thankfully when you do work it out to where you keep your equipment you can use gold you’ve found to upgrade it, and if you somehow manage to score an excess of diamonds (or buy them via IAP) you can add bonus slots to use more items or get some special equipment to make your journey last longer.  This game definitely won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a dungeon grinder you should be in seventh heaven.

Dungeon Quest Rival - explore the underground monster world Jason Saxon, Dungeon Quest Rival – explore the underground monster world – Free

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Sling Kong [8/5/15] – Sling Kong is a silly arcade game about flinging poor critters from peg to peg, hoping to avoid all the nasty obstacles that don’t play nicely with their delicate bodies.  You start out with a monkey, and as you earn coins you can play the prize game to see if you can win other animals.  Occasionally you get the chance to earn coins by watching an ad, and after increasingly longer intervals you get the opportunity to play the “magic spin” to earn some additional loot.  It would be nicer if they dispensed with that and put more coins actually along the route that you’re flinging your animal, but in the end I’m not sure what you’ll use the coins for once you’ve earned all the animals anyway.  The traps range from opening and closing blocks to flowers that spew fire at you, as well as the ever popular spinning blades of doom.  What I like the best is that eventually the peg you’re hanging on will start beeping and disappear, so while you’re reactions don’t need to be instant there is a bit of urgency to the whole process.  In addition to collecting the animals there are two Game Center leaderboards, one for score and the other for prizes won.  Hopefully future updates will include new animals and some achievements to earn, but for what it is already Sling Kong is pretty fun when you have a few minutes to spare.

Sling Kong Protostar, Sling Kong – Free

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Mountain Goat Mountain [7/16/15] – This is like Qbert meets Temple Run with a goat.  Once you get past my mostly erroneous comparison you’ll find that Mountain Goat Mountain is really pretty entertaining.  It is like Qbert in the sense that the board is laid out in an isometric tiled format that seems like a crazy set of stairs.  And, just like Temple Run it is infinite (or at least my lack of ability to get to the end of the level tells me so).  And, just like in Temple Run you’re collecting coins to buy new characters, which in this case just happen to be goats.  So far what I’ve seen as far as “aids” are the coins that you get you new goats, springboards the jump you a few levels higher on the board (usually), and springs that give you a bit of an extra jump as well as some armor temporarily.  There are definitely a lot of things trying to kill you as well, like logs, boulders, snowballs and of course simply inadvertently jumping off of a cliff.  The gamer offers a leaderboard and 22 achievements via Game Center, so you have something to do besides collecting all the cool goats.  The best part of the game is the visuals, which are not only cool to begin with, but so far change with each new goat.  I’m not sure how many goats there are altogether, but that’s potentially a lot of cool themes.

Mountain Goat Mountain Zynga Inc., Mountain Goat Mountain – Free

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Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest [8/13/15] – In the scheme of things this is probably one of the most basic games of this style to come out in a while, yet I find myself oddly addicted to it.  I like the fact that it has gone the minority route of using the “clear tiles by tapping a group” mechanic instead of the more traditional tile swapping mode.  I also appreciate that it has forgone the increasingly annoying 10 levels of tutorials whether you want them or not road, though it would be nice to at least have an optional help screen that you could pull up.  The characters do not always conform to the standards for this type of game, and even better is the fact that the art style itself is unusual and nice.  It has kind of a “pixilated watercolor” feel to it, whatever that might mean to you.  The game uses an equipment tree similar to Devious Dungeon’s in that each area that you can upgrade only has one path of increasingly powerful items, but in this case you can switch to previously purchased ones if you wish.  I haven’t tried to mix it up much yet, but apparently the different weapon, skill and armor types react uniquely to the various creatures.  I think this game has a lot of potential, and hopefully if they intend on updating it they’ll add some sort of reference so that you don’t have to go to the iTunes description to find out exactly what’s going on in the game.

Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest LV1, Puzzle Dragons: Jewel Quest – Free

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Bird VS Zombie [8/13/15] – It’s been a while since I’ve had a “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” installment, but this game certainly qualifies.  The mechanic will feel intimately familiar, and there’s no doubt you’ll die repeatedly.  However, the control is tweaked enough that you actually have some control over it, and while you die a lot you’re not croaking every couple of flaps.  This game also provides you with something “meaningful” to do – on one side your job is to eliminate all the zombies, while on the other hand you must infect every human.  Yep, there are actually two factions you can play for, and each even has their own set of birds to unlock!  Granted I think the powers each bird have basically parallels that of the opposing force, but it’s the thought that counts.  There are 54 birds to collect altogether, and a bunch of quests to complete as well, so running out of things to do shouldn’t be an option for a while.  The game does have Game Center integration, but as of the writing of this article I don’t think it’s working correctly.  Hopefully that will come in an update, because it looks as though they plan to provide both leaderboards and achievements.  The best part is that unlike it’s long lost predecessor, this game gives you lives, so it’s not a “1 hit you’re done” phenomenon.  The clones keep coming, and I’m glad that there are still those that like to stretch the boundaries of what this type of game should offer.

Bird VS Zombie RAIN&D Inc., Bird VS Zombie – Free

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Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon [7/29/15] – Games where you spin around a planet to protect it from incoming projectiles are nothing new.  Mechanosaur takes an entirely different approach to the genre, however.  Instead of shooting down the projectiles before they get to the planet, you must use the gravity of the moon you control to attract the asteroids away from the planet.  To make things a bit trickier, your moon only travels in one direction, as one might expect from a body orbiting another body.  The only thing you can do is hold the screen to speed up and let go to slow back down, so you have to be able to anticipate where the asteroids are going to be when they enter the planet’s orbit.  This isn’t so bad at first, but it gets much more complicated when you start facing asteroids that split apart, double back or simply teleport to another part of the screen.  As you progress through the game you’ll earn “meanings of life” that do things like give you a percentage increase in score.  You’ll also unlock more devious asteroids to contend with.  The game has one leaderboard and 26 achievements through Game Center, but the biggest challenge comes from actually mastering how to handle each new type of asteroid.

Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon XperimentalZ Games, Mechanosaur Hijacks the Moon – Free

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Sword & Dragon [6/29/15] – The 2048 genre is one that is proliferated with “I’m not the same but I really am” clones.  Sword & Dragon is one of the rare entries that truly break the mold.  In fact, aside from the sliding of tiles and the accumulation of numbers on similar tiles, Sword & Dragon is really its own beast.  Each board has a heart, and when that heart’s count goes down to zero you lose.  To protect the heart you have swords, and you must use them to slay the dragons that would rip your heart apart.  The game is heavily dependant on direction, so if you slide the heart into a dragon you’re safe, but the other way around means bye-bye vital organ.  There are also gold bricks that you can collect by sliding your sword into them and potions that will increase the points on the heart when you slide the heart into them.  Fortresses don’t harm anything but can get in the way, and they can be disposed of with swords just like the dragons.  Unlike the potentially unending nature of a regular 2048 game Sword & Dragon has distinct levels with goals, and also has a three star system depending on the score you achieve.  2 leaderboards and 20 achievements via Game Center round out this entertaining little package.

Sword & Dragon Iyoda, Sword & Dragon – Free

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Circix [3/24/14] – I think I did pretty good staying current this time around, but I’m going to dig into the vaults a bit for the final entry.  You’ve probably played a game like this before: the board is filled with objects that each contain a number in them, and you have to create links between the objects such that each object is joined by the number of links that it contains.  The premise is quite basic, and I haven’t run into anything overly challenging yet in terms of the individual puzzles.  What I like about the game is you do have to think about it a little bit, but it’s not so taxing that you can’t relax while playing it.  It does start to get more demanding as the boards get bigger and objects can be linked to other objects multiple times, but there’s never anything that makes you want to pull your hair out, or at least that I’ve encountered yet.  The game comes with over 200 free levels, and you can buy additional packs if you can’t get enough of it.  If you’re looking for a game that will work your mind without raising your blood pressure, Circix would be a good choice.

Circix Russell King, Circix – 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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