10 App Store Games To Watch [9/7/15]

roundup-20150907-intro

As usual I’ve tried to provide you with a list of entertaining games to play, but the big surprise this week is that two of them are based off of iconic licenses and manage to transcend their genres to provide extremely fun games.  Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter takes the extremely over-saturated match 3 genre, adds in plenty of incarnations of the Ghostbusters franchise and treats the whole thing with enough respect to make it a worth addition to the most avid match 3 player’s sprawling collection.  Spider-Man Unlimited tackles the Temple Run style infinite runner in much the same way, and the incorporation of multiple versions of Spider-Man and his most famous villains is a great touch.  On a non-licensed note, one of the best strategy games to hit the App Store in some time made the list as well in the form of Galactic Keep.  If you want to learn more about what went into this game, check out my interview with one of the development team here.

roundup-20150907-sheeperzzz

Sheeperzzz [8/19/15] – Sheeperzzz is a cute game.  To be honest, it doesn’t really add anything new to its peer group, at least not from what I’ve seen.  You control a sheep, and your job is to round up as many sheep as you can by jumping over them to wake them up.  You can tap to jump or hold to double jump, and the key to longevity is in determining when to do each and then simply getting your timing right.  There’s not even any background music, which is really a shame.  But, as a father of three kids, I always appreciate family friendly games that have at least an inkling of being fun, and I think Sheeperzzz qualifies.  The graphics are neat, the sheep are cute, and there are some really cool moments, especially if you find a group of waterfalls in the randomly generated landscape.  There’s also a leaderboard for those that need such a thing.  I think if the developers threw in a bit more variety in what there was to jump over, some new landscapes and a few extra types of sheep, as well as added a bouncy soundtrack and a few achievements to earn, Sheeperzzz would be quite the family game.  It’s got a ways to go, but it’s definitely one to watch.

Sheeperzzz Ketchapp, Sheeperzzz – Free

roundup-20150907-spin-dash

Spin Dash – a fun twist for the impossible style games [7/14/15] – If jumping to avoid obstacles on a constantly spinning landscape is your thing, Spin Dash is your game.  What I like about it is that you’re not just jumping over random obstacles, but the landscape grows and fades away, and sometimes you’re actually in the middle of the world instead of on top of it, so watch out for those spikes overhead.  Speaking of heads, I think the original name (which also comes up on the splash screen) of “Are You In Over Your Head?” is more appropriate given the biggest gimmick of the game is the fact that if you allow it to use your camera then your face will literally be in the center of the action.  That novelty aside, there are plenty of characters to earn, each which comes with their own visual theme.  For every 100 gems you earn you can unlock a new character, or you can outright buy the ones you want immediately via IAP.  The game only has one leaderboard and 6 achievements, so most of your satisfaction will have to come from collecting all the characters and unlocking new worlds, but if you like this style of game play Spin Dash is certainly as addictive as the rest.

Spin Dash - a fun twist for the impossible style games MiniGamr, Spin Dash – a fun twist for the impossible style games – Free

roundup-20150907-galactic-keep

Galactic Keep [8/19/15] – This is one of the most intriguing games to hit the App Store in quite some time.  You can call it a rogue-like, an RPG or a strategy game, but personally I think it’s hard to classify.  The board game style presentation gives it a unique flair, complete with rolling dice and character avatars that you could easily imagine represented by plastic board game pieces in the real world.  You have several characters to choose from, each of which has unique skills to bring to the table.  Choose one, roll your stats and let the exploration begin.  If a character dies you’re not out of luck, though.  Select another one and continue the search.  If you find the remains of your fallen foe you can send them back to base to recuperate for later use.   There are plenty of monsters to encounter and items to find, and along with your characters everything is represented by nicely detailed cards that again feel like they were ripped straight from a physical product.  While there are a number of sci-fi games out there the genre is still sadly underused except for in action and shooting games, and Galactic Keep does a great job of capturing the genre in a unique style of game play.  There is currently only a tutorial and one campaign, but you’ll still easily get 8-10 hours of game play your first time through, and despite being a story driven opus it’s fun to play more than once.  In a market of F2P and copycat titles it’s nice to see a pay once to play title that’s original and has such high production values.

Galactic Keep Gilded Skull Games, Galactic Keep – $3.99

roundup-20150907-ghostbusters-puzzle-fighter

Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter [8/19/15] – Who you gonna call?  Not Paul Feig, that’s for sure.  Puzzle Fighter goes back to the roots as you explore the greatest moments from the original fab four’s journeys through one classic and one still pretty decent romp around New York city.  You’ll control all the old favorites including Venkman and Stantz, as well as plenty of other characters that have appeared in various incarnations of the Ghostbusters legend.  Take on the likes of Gozer, Vigo and more as you once again rid an unsuspecting city of all manner of apparitions.  You can have up to six team members on call at a time, three active in battle and three on reserve.  Each active battler has three unique skills that get powered up by matching certain colored gems on the playing field.  As you win battles you’ll earn cards that provide you with new team members or upgrades to your currently existing roster.  Once you’ve built up a solid team you can take on live players head to head as well.  The graphics are killer, taking familiar faces and giving them a modern look.  The music is awesome as well – I keep expecting to hear Ray Parker Jr.’s voice pipe up while the theme song is playing.  While I’d love to see a great mobile action game starring the Ghostbusters, for now I’ll just settle for a great mobile game.

Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter Beeline Interactive, Inc., Ghostbusters Puzzle Fighter – Free

roundup-20150907-blind-kiwi

Blind Kiwi [8/24/15] – In this game your job is to lead the kiwis back to the safety of their nest in each of the 30 levels.  The thing is, these poor tots have never fully hatched from their eggs, so they can’t see a thing.  You’ll have to block or unblock their path by moving boxes, turn arrows to spin them in the right direction, and prime springs to launch them to new heights.  Your basic kiwi is pretty defenseless, but as you earn coins you’ll be able to unlock new kiwis that can do things like turn around, jump and even go to sleep for a bit.  These skills can also be added to the less talented kiwis, but that can be a bit expensive.  You can earn 3 golden eggs on each level: one for acquiring all the pick-ups, one for completing it in a certain amount of time, and the third simply for completing the level.  To complete the first two tasks on many levels you’ll definitely need all the skills at your disposal.  The 30 levels are spread across three countries (don’t let the flags fool you – they are level group selects, not language options).  There are currently no achievements or leaderboards to climb, but for a simple, enjoyable platform game with a cute leading character you could do a lot worse.

Blind Kiwi Signify Limited, Blind Kiwi – Free

roundup-20150907-magic-river

Magic River [8/26/15] – I know, this is two Ketchapp games in one roundup.  That’s what happens when I don’t get to these roundups every week.  The thing is, for being a game where you simply tap to paddle left or right, this can get really addictive.  There are plenty of obstacles to dodge, and the fact that it doesn’t matter where you tap makes for somewhat of a brain teaser.  I often forget that the position doesn’t matter and think that if I tap on the left side of the screen I’ll turn left and tapping on the right will steer me towards the right.  This is one of the few games I’ve played that doesn’t work that way, so that presents a fun challenge in and of itself.  Thankfully there are also plenty of missions to keep you busy.  There are also lots of different driver / canoe combinations to unlock, which you can do every time you complete a certain number of missions or earn 100 coins.  The only thing I don’t care for is that you can’t choose which driver to unlock at any given milestone.  But, I just love seeing who I’m going to get to use next.  Also, despite the fact that I seem to die every 10 to 20 seconds, I actually find the game rather relaxing.  Between the music and the sounds of nature like the swoosh of water and frogs croaking the game is quite peaceful.  I may never be very good at the game, but it’s really fun to try.

Magic River Ketchapp, Magic River – Free

roundup-20150907-twins-dash

Twins Dash [8/19/15] – I’m pretty sure the working title for this was “how can we make Eric pull his hair out?”, but the developers were just worried that no one would know who Eric was.  You’ve played the game before – tap to jump over obstacles instead of running into them.  That’s it.  It’s amazing how difficult that task can be with one object to keep safe, but when you throw in a second one it’s time to thin out the hair a bit.  I’ve also discovered that either I have a worse sense of rhythm than Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, or this game doesn’t always follow the beat like games of this type often do.  That’s okay, though, because I’m pretty sure I’d die just as much if I had to follow the beat anyway.  The game offers 9 levels, which doesn’t sound like much, but given that after literally 100s of attempts I’ve at best made it through about 34% of the first level I think nine is a nice non-round number.  I do wish that there was some “I pity you” ceiling from the developer to where once you’ve died so many times the next level would unlock to provide you a varied torturous experience, but this way I just get to dream of how I’ll fail down the road.  The game has one leaderboard that appears to rank you based on percentage of the whole game you’ve completed, and there are currently no achievements.  The graphics are simple but effective, and the music is fun to listen to, unless you’ve died several hundred times in one level like me.  If you enjoy games that are impossible because of actual level design instead of just having bad controls, Twins Dash is a good game for you.

Twins Dash Thang Le, Twins Dash – $0.99

roundup-20150907-spider-man-unlimited

Spider-Man Unlimited [9/10/14] – The first comic I ever bought was an issue of one of the Spider-Man series at my local drug store.  Ever since then Spidey has been one of my favorite superheroes, but like most of the iconic characters he’s had a spotty history when it comes to video games.  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I found out this one was going to be a Temple Run style game, and when you first start playing it the game feels an awful lot like Minion Rush.  When you start swinging through the city in what almost feels like a distorted flappy bird setup, though, the game starts to take on a life of its own.  There are also scenes where you Spidey will free-fall in which case you just tilt the device back and forth to move.  What really sets this game apart from others of its ilk, however, is the story that is weaved while you’re playing.  There are seven “issues”, each with 25 levels, which cover some of Sider-Man’s most iconic villains.  You’ll constantly be in touch with Nick Fury, and the witty banter that ensues should make anyone familiar with the recent Spider-Man cartoons feel right at home.  Oh, and did I mention that you get to suck in Spider-Men from many different dimensions to help you in your quest?  Once you get past the base mechanics there’s really a lot of depth to this game, and they are continually adding more content.  If you’ve ever wanted to do what a spider can, now’s your chance.

Spider-Man Unlimited Gameloft, Spider-Man Unlimited – Free

roundup-20150907-path-to-luma

The Path To Luma [8/13/15] – When you go to download this game you probably won’t recognize the publisher, but if you load it up on your device the developer might sound familiar.  Phosphor Games is responsible for Dark Meadow and Horn, two incredibly cool and stunning 3D games that actually run quite nicely on my iPad 2.  The Path To Luma continues that tradition, but is a decidedly different beast in terms of game play.  Thankfully it’s still cool, and it’s also completely free with no IAP.  You take on the role of SAM, and your job is to power the inhabitants of several planets by providing them with clean energy sources.  You’ll have to open gates, power batteries, turn bridges and even occasionally rotate part of the world itself in order to accomplish your goals.  More importantly, you’ll need to do all of this using the power of nature, like the sun and wind.  There are only 20 levels, so it shouldn’t take you too long to complete, but it’s fun while it lasts, it looks extremely cool, and maybe it will convince you to try one of those other two games I mentioned earlier if you haven’t taken the plunge on them already.

The Path To Luma NRG Energy, Inc., The Path To Luma – Free

roundup-20150907-devious-dungeon-2

Devious Dungeon 2 [4/8/15] – If you haven’t seen my review of the first installment of this series, you might want to check it out here.  The reason I say that is because it will give you a pretty good foundation for what Devious Dungeon 2 has to offer.  That’s not to say there aren’t any enhancements, however.  To start with there are now 3 classes to choose from, each with different starting values for the 3 player stats.  Each class also has a special ability, though the barbarian’s “ability” is simply handling damage better.  They also revamped the armor and weapon system, and while it’s still fairly structured it gives you more options at once.  The levels are still randomly generated, but instead of just being lumped into generic groupings this time they are actually arranged by sections of the castle, which gives you a better sense of traversing the world.  There are also nice little changes like areas where you walk through water (a fairly simple effect in a 2D game, but it adds the detail level of the game) and mini-bosses in each section.  Not only is this a worthy addition to the Devious Dungeon franchise, but if you haven’t indulged yet I’d suggest actually jumping straight to this chapter.

Devious Dungeon 2 Ravenous Games Inc., Devious Dungeon 2 – $1.99

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 ArticleTiny Empire in Review - Cute And Challenging