10 App Store Games To Watch [9/25/15]

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No, I haven’t ordered an iPhone 6 anything yet, and I have no plans on getting an iPad Pro right now (I have enough problems with my hands going numb using my regular sized iPad).  I also haven’t scored an Apple Watch yet.  I do, however, have 10 more games to tell you about.  As my passion for match 3 / RPG hybrids had finally started to burn out I found Hero Emblems, and now I’m addicted once again.  Thanks a lot, @AppUnwrapper.  If Breakout style games are your thing you’ll definitely want to try out Sketch Breaker.  You can put the paddle wherever you want, and it has some of the most unique board designs this side of Anodia.  I even managed to dig up another online game I enjoy called Walking War Robots.  Giant robots, no idle banter and the chance that I can actually come out on top occasionally is a winning combination.

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Walking War Robots [4/15/14] – Once again I’m digging in the archives just a bit.  In this case it’s to help further one of my many secondary goals for this article, which is to provide the reader with fun online games for people that don’t like online games.  The game flow is simple: select “To Battle”, and when you’ve been connected to a match decide which robot you’ll use.  Each team has 6 players and the teams get dropped onto opposite sides of the field.  Your job is either to take out all of the opposition or capture and hold the most beacons for the duration of the match.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the clock completely run down to zero, but at some point the game will declare one side the winner.  You’ll earn some coins, and the top three players on the winning side get gold as well.  Coins are used to buy new robots and equipment or upgrade what you have, while gold is used to speed up the upgrade process or buy more slots so you can acquire additional robots.  The graphics aren’t the most advanced around, but they look good and more importantly the game runs pretty smoothly on my increasingly worn out iPad 2.  What takes the cake for me, though, is the fact that you can pop in, play your match and pop out without being social.  While that seems counter-intuitive for an online game, that’s just how I like things.  Besides, in game where you can have someone pummel you with bullets from point blank range and ultimately come out on top is okay in my book.

Walking War Robots Pixonic LLC, Walking War Robots – Free

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Wormarium Arcade [9/9/15] – Wormarium was released back in June, and to be honest I’m not sure what the big differences are between that original release and Wormarium Arcade other than the fact that this version is F2P.  When the original was released I had a hard time recommending it because while I enjoyed the concept, the game went from fun and challenging to impossible and frustrating in the course of one level.  While I can imagine the same thing happening here, at least you can try it first to see if it’s your cup of tea before you spend the $2.99 on the full version (or spend some IAP on this one).  Anyway, the game itself is about you directing the course of a worm to fill up some tunnels without getting caught by the mischievous moles.  Generally you can only move forward, so you need to make sure you turn down the right paths to outwit the moles, and I can tell you from experience these moles are more deceptive than they appear.  One thing offered in this version and apparently introduced in the full version after I gave up is two power ups: one to temporary stun a mole (though you still can’t run into it head first), and another to backtrack so you can change your route.  There are plenty of collectibles to acquire and 19 achievements to earn.  The visuals are cute, and I love the animations when you give up and the mole makes you the appetizer.  Not everyone will appreciate the difficulty level, but if you like “easy to learn, hard to master” and especially if you’re in need of family friendly games, Wormarium Arcade is a good choice.

Wormarium Arcade Trompo Games Inc., Wormarium Arcade – Free

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The Hit Car [6/13/15] – Welcome to another Flappy Bird.  Sure the game play is nothing like that of the fidgety avian, but it’s one of those games that’s incredibly difficult yet keeps you coming back for more.  Although in this case I actually do find myself wanting to keep playing.  Basically you drive a vehicle around a location, attempting to run down all the zombies while avoiding anything that’s solid enough to stop your progress.  The thing is, you can only turn left and right by tapping the appropriate sides of the screen, and you have no brakes or reverse to get you out of a bind.  You also don’t get any coins unless you run over crates and then run over the coins to collect them.  Needless to say it makes that “cheap” 15 coin upgrade a challenge to acquire.  At this point the game is pretty sparse in terms of content.  There are 2 areas, each with their own vehicle.  There are a couple of weapons to buy and a few upgrades to the ammunition capacity of your vehicle.  Game Center provides a mere 5 achievements and 2 leaderboards, one for each area.  Thankfully the iTunes description promises more of everything, and with a bit of substance I think The Hit Car has a lot of potential.

The Hit Car Adrian Kumorowski, The Hit Car – Free

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Sketch Breaker [8/26/15] – If you like Breakout style games you really need to try Sketch Breaker.  The premise is that imps have gotten mixed up in your paintings and you need to set them free.  Unfortunately in order to accomplish this goal you’ll have to dismantle each of the works of art using a ball and paddle.  Unlike most games in this genre your paddle is not fixed to a particular area of the screen – simply draw a line where you want the paddle to appear.  You just need to make sure that you let go of the screen before the ball gets to the paddle or it will pass right through.  If you strike the same color area three times in a row then the next hit to that color (without hitting another color first) will reward you with extra points and paint residue that you can collect to level up your skill.  There are a couple of power ups you can buy at the beginning of a level, but most of your power ups come from freeing the imps from the colorful prison.  Thanks to Game Center you have 5 leaderboards to rank up on as well as 26 achievements to earn.  There are currently four worlds with plenty of levels between them, and a “coming soon” area teases even more levels in the future.  The other thing Sketch Breaker has going for it is one of the coolest theme songs I’ve ever heard for a Breakout style game.

Sketch Breaker FDG Mobile Games GbR, Sketch Breaker – Free

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Escape Alcatraz – Devious Escape Puzzler [9/4/15] – When it comes to adventure games the “room escape” sub-genre seems to dominate the playing field, at least from the perspective of quantity.  The problem is that due to the general lack of a story, most of the feel the same after a while.  Escape Alcatraz is a very creative exception to that rule.  As you might have guessed, the goal is to break out of the iconic prison.  In order to do that you’ll have to complete a series of mini-games that will help you acquire all the items you need for your early exit.  Instead of just collecting items in one spot and using them in another, however, the mini-games take advantage of the extended capabilities of your device.  Warning: minor spoiler ahead.  If you want to knock something off of a table, swipe it to the floor.  Tilt your device to keep things in balance when needed.  There’s enough of a variety in the way you have to solve the various puzzles that it doesn’t feel like any other escape game I’ve ever played.  There were a couple of times when it wasn’t quite obvious what you should do, but for the most part the challenge comes in figuring out how to solve the puzzles, not where to start.  The game is divided into two sections, the first of which you get for free and the second you either have to pay for or complete a “special offer” to unlock.  Whichever way you choose to complete the journey, it’s worth it to have your Tim Robbins moment.

Escape Alcatraz - Devious Escape Puzzler FreshGames, LLC, Escape Alcatraz – Devious Escape Puzzler – Free

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Hero Emblems [1/8/15] – Like most genres that were once exciting and creative on the iOS platform, the match 3 / RPG hybrid has grown somewhat repetitive and uninspired.  Thankfully I’m still such a fan of the genre that I try as many of them as I can, which gives me great pleasure when I run across one like Hero Emblems.  I’m not going to say that I’ve seen anything completely revolutionary so far, but what it does it handles extremely well.  Whether it be one eyed bats, energetic beavers or boss characters with bad attitudes, there’s a great bestiary to deal with.  Combat is handled in waves, and the board doesn’t actually get reset between each wave, which can be either a blessing or a problem depending on how you manage it.  Treasure chests give you plenty of loot if you get them open or they’ll take a bite out of you if you take too long to get the keys.  Defeat passive gnomes to score some treasure as well.  As you defeat monsters and complete quests you’ll level up.  You’ll also be able to acquire skills and emblems to boost your characters’ fighting prowess.  There’s plenty of overworld map to cover, and there’s even a decent story that unfolds along the way.  The visuals and animation are great, and the music’s not even that bad if you ignore the slightly repetitive nature.  If you’re in the market for the next match 3 / RPG fix, Hero Emblems is the perfect choice.

Hero Emblems CHUN LUNG KUO, Hero Emblems – $3.99

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Raider Rush [9/2/15] – What do you get when you take a pixilated Indy with no iconic hat or bull whip and make him collect coins in a trap laden tower while avoiding a deadly upward flow of lava?  If you said Raider Rush then I really need to come up with some tougher questions.  I was honestly ready to delete this after the first time I played it, but I decided to give it a second chance and now I find myself thoroughly enjoying my little interludes of hair pulling frustration as I try to scale one room after the next.  Your mission is to escape a series of rooms within a tower, each one filled with brutal traps and a bad lava leak.  All you can do is jump left or jump right, and if you’re close enough to the edge of a landing the game will grab on for you automatically.  The length of your touch determines how far you jump, but once you’ve selected a direction you’ll keep running until something gets in your way or you jump the other direction.  The fact that you automatically jump when switching directions takes a bit of getting used to, but it also gives the game a unique feel.  From spikes to blades to deadly spears, each level is chock full of nasty obstacles to pass.  In addition to simply completing a room there is a coin to find on each level, but that’s for the skilled, twitch happy individuals only.  Thankfully you can revisit levels later on to recover unclaimed loot.  You get one tower for free, and through IAP you can unlock a second tower as well as infinite mode.  The game offers 3 leaderboards and 11 achievements through Game Center, and Raider Rush will definitely make you work for those achievements.

Raider Rush Wilhelm Clemm, Raider Rush – Free

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Evolution Planet [9/19/15] – This is one of those games where you combine three items to make a bigger or better item.  Based on the name you’ve probably guessed that in this case you’re “evolving” animals.  What I like about this game as opposed to most others of its type is that instead of just playing until you’ve filled up the board, in Evolution Planet you actually have levels with goals.  Depending on how well you do on your way to accomplishing those goals you’ll earn between 1 and 3 stars for the level.  Collect gems so that you can move creatures around the board and gather special items to boost your score.  On some levels you’ll have to fight bad guys and even big bosses, and on other levels you’ll need to free your trapped comrades.  Hook up with your friends on Facebook to watch them evolve or give them a heart when they are running low.  There are currently 6 worlds to visit, each with plenty of levels to conquer.  The characters are colorful and well animated, providing a nice family atmosphere.  Evolution Planet is an object merging game with a purpose, which is just what this genre needed.

Evolution Planet Play Wireless, Evolution Planet – Free

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The Biking Dead: Survival Course Simulator [9/16/15] – The Biking Dead takes extreme biking to a level 6 feet under.  As a zombie biker you’ll have to traverse some death defying courses, take out your undead fans along the way.  You’ll collect pink diamonds, consume brains to keep your energy up, and evade lots of guns that are shooting at you so you can last longer.  As you complete missions or watch advertisement videos you’ll earn green emeralds, and you’ll be able to use both types of gems to unlock additional items or upgrade what you have.  There are several different bikes and suits to buy, each of which has upgradable specs.  You can also acquire different heroes (ie: head swap, since you are a zombie) that give you special bonuses.  There are 5 different courses, each with their own set of missions and level up counter.  You can freely switch between any of the unlocked courses whenever you want.  Besides the missions there is a leaderboard in Game Center so you can see how miserably you compare against the top riders.  While I’m not a huge fan of rag doll physics it just seems to make sense you add in the zombie element.  I’m still trying to figure out how you manage to pedal the bike when a gun has shot off your legs, though.

The Biking Dead: Survival Course Simulator Space Inch, LLC, The Biking Dead: Survival Course Simulator – Free

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The Moaning Words – Trading Card Game in the Cthulhu Mythos [12/20/13] – I’m raiding the vaults again, but I didn’t even know about this one until a few weeks ago.  The game is written by Alan Dean Foster and firmly entrenched in the Cthulhu mythos.  The “action” in the game takes place via a 3×3 grid where you place your cards in such a way that the numbers on the side next to your opponent’s cards are bigger than theirs so you can capture them.  The player with the most cards at the end of the battle wins the match.  There’s also a story mode that plays out like a gamebook adventure where the majority of your choices are driven by your remaining action and sanity points.  Win gold and Elder Signs so that you can buy some nifty cards and additional tools to help you in your journey.  Once you’ve completed or if you want to take a break from the solo missions you can tackle other players PvP style.  If you’ve always fancied yourself a budding storyteller you can even try your hand at creating your own gamebook story that can be shared with other users and rated by them.  And for those of you that just have to have Game Center, The Moaning Words has 11 leaderboards and 22 achievements to earn.  It’s time to get your moan on.

The Moaning Words - Trading Card Game in the Cthulhu Mythos Thumbstar Games Ltd, The Moaning Words – Trading Card Game in the Cthulhu Mythos – 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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