10 App Store Games To Watch [4/28/16]

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Several of the games for this edition of the roundup came in pairs.  CarsBattle and On The Run are both vehicle based games, though one is more like an infinite runner and the other lets you drive like a maniac and blow everything up… okay, at times there’s a bit of that in both games.  If you like the undead there’s Chill Out! Zombies and Zombie Maze: Puppy Rescue, both oddly enough featuring zombies.  The first is a quirky Flappy Bird clone, and the second is a neat puzzle game that can prove really challenging at times.  Versus Run and Exodus really have nothing in common in terms of game play.  Instead, they are both published by Ketchapps, and they both have that casual addictive quality to them.  And just for kicks I threw in a mini retro-review as well.  It’s actually a game I’ve written a full review for in the past, but I thought after all this time I’d check it out again and see if it still lives up to my original lofty sentiments.

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Chill Out! Zombies [8/27/15] – Welcome to the latest installment of a “Thank you for not being Flappy Bird” clone.  This time around you actually do control a bird, but there’s a big twist.  You have a zombie – or skeleton, pumpkin headed scarecrow or other leftover from a productive Halloween – tethered to you, and if it gets too riled up you’ll become its main course for the flight.  Your job it to keep it unconscious by hitting it against the various boxes, chests and other obstacles that come your way.  Just make sure you don’t get too close to anything yourself, because your skin isn’t nearly as tough as your passenger’s.  You’ll collect coins as you travel, along with a bonus if you beat your previous high score.  You can also earn money for watching videos and claiming the free prize that’s awarded every so often.  These coins are used to purchase eggs that hatch into more birds for you to use.  And of course since this is a free game you can buy coins and birds via IAP as well.  There are 10 achievements to earn and a leaderboard to place on, but the real fun is getting to “live out” what feels like a sequence from an old Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Chill Out! Zombies MassHive Media, Chill Out! Zombies – Free

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Zombie Maze: Puppy Rescue [3/23/16] – See, I felt so bad about neglecting the zombie genre recently that I’m bringing you two undead related games this week.  In Zombie Maze you’ll have to use your brains (before the zombies eat them, of course) in order to navigate through 48 levels that are divided into three chapters.  While there might not be one on every single level, your primary goal is to rescue all the puppies.  To do that you must get a key to unlock each puppy’s cage.  The game is turn based, so first you’ll move and then all of the zombies that are awake will move.  The advantage that you have is that if you move out of their range of site they’ll go back to sleep.  The down side is that when they are awake, some of them will move more spaces per turn than you do.  Luckily you can kill them if you land on them, and you’ll also have things like crates and recycle bins that you can use to your advantage if you can work it out.  The graphics are cute, the game play is challenging and the price of entry is free, though if you don’t want to pay for infinite lives and you’re not very good at the game you’ll spend a lot of time waiting for hearts to restore or watching videos.

Zombie Maze: Puppy Rescue Bulkypix, Zombie Maze: Puppy Rescue – Free

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I Love My Circle [2/29/16] – Let’s get this out in the open right away – I do not love this game.  My relationship with it is more like deep admiration with a bit of frustration thrown in for good measure.  This is a dodge ‘em game, but unlike most such critters on the App Store, in this case not only do you want to try and dodge everything, but you need to stay within the circle in the center of the screen as well.  Sometimes you do that by finding the sweet spot where you can slide by all the stuff being tossed at you, and other times will require you to simply persevere and push back harder than the objects are pushing you in the first place.  The nice thing is that you do have a bit of leeway to get back to your safety zone before the game is completely over.  When you think about it in hindsight it doesn’t seem like much time, but on a good day a fraction of a second is all it takes.  To control your dot you just drag it around the screen, and there is a “power dash” you can use against lighter objects.  Sadly for me I can’t seem to get that move to work all that well.  There are 3 game play modes as well as an advanced level for each mode, but unlocking all but the standard mode requires some sort of mastery of the other modes, which doesn’t seem to be a skill that’s in my wheelhouse at the moment.  There are 30 achievements to earn as well as a leaderboard for each game play mode.  If you’re a fan of dodge ‘em style games or you’ve been looking for one that has a certain style that seems to be lacking in the genre as a whole, I Love My Circle is definitely worth checking out.

I Love My Circle Joshua Burr, I Love My Circle – $1.99

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CarsBattle [4/7/16] – I don’t normally wish for games to multiplayer, as I tend to be fairly anti-social when it comes to my electronic pastimes.  However, CarsBattle would be the perfect example of a game where I’d love to see a multiplayer mode.  This is what I call a great example of a simple arena based game.  You have 100 cars including yourself, and you keep going until they’ve all been eliminated or you run out of health.  Most likely the latter will happen first.  I believe the computer controlled cars can kill each other, but that’s not to your advantage because you earn a dollar for every one you dispatch yourself.  Of course unless you want to spend some IAP you’ll earn most of your in-game currency with the increasingly sparse bonus gifts or by watching videos.  The cash can be used to buy new vehicles which have more health, a better hit rate and when they get expensive enough some sort of special ability as well.  On the playing field you’ll be able to pick up better weapons and grenades, though those are only temporary.  You’ll also score some health packs if you’re quick and agile enough, and thankfully the game is kind enough to direct you towards all the bonuses.  Oh, and lest I forget, the whole time there’s a thick purple fog encroaching on the battlefield and making it smaller.

CarsBattle Dreamy, CarsBattle – Free

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Versus Run [4/13/16] – This is one of the latest causal games from Ketchapp, and also one of their most addictive offerings in a while.  All you have to do is take as many steps as you can without jumping on any enemy tile… or getting caught by the character that’s chasing you… or accidentally jumping off the edge of the screen.  See, it’s a piece of cake, right?  The thing is, if you take too much time to carefully consider your “left side of the screen jumps left and right side of the screen jumps right” moves you’ll get caught by your adversary, and if you try to put the simple controls on autopilot you’ll tap once too many times on the wrong side and end up touching the wrong tile.  Along the way you’ll find turbo boosts that launch you ahead several steps without fear of reprisal as well as gems that you can spend later on.  If you’re lucky you’ll even find a magical tunnel that takes you to a bonus room full of 3 point gems to help puff up your in-game bank account some.  You start out with the angel / devil pair (don’t worry, you get to control the angel), and as you get enough gems you can buy more pairs including such famous partnerships as Obama / Clinton and the ever mischievous Apple / Android insignias.  You can even choose which character in the pair that you’ll control.  The game only offers one leaderboard at this point, but personally I just like playing the game over and over again to see how the board is going to be configured every time.  For this type of game it’s one of the most dynamic board layouts I’ve ever seen.

Versus Run Ketchapp, Versus Run – Free

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Goblin Sword [9/10/14] – I’ve been trying to stay a bit more current with my entries as of late, but I have to call them as I see them, and this is a cool game.  Not so much in the “wow, those are some slick new features” way, mind you, but more like the “so that’s how you approach that genre correctly” vein.  If you’ve spent much time in the 8 or 16 bit eras of console gaming you might almost start to believe you’re sitting in front of your TV playing this game.  You play the altruistic soldier, trying to defeat the evil wizard and save your town.  You’ll fight your way through 80 different levels filled with a variety of monsters and 10 different bosses to defeat.  There will be keys to find and crates to manipulate in order to unlock doors so you can progress in some levels.  You’ll collect gems that are lying around as well as left behind when you slay monsters, and there are also 3 crystals and two special treasures to find on each non-boss level.  If you don’t find everything the first time around it’s no problem.  Revisit any levels you’ve already played and just get the stuff you missed the first time around.  Use them gems you collect to buy better weapons, stronger armor and artifacts that will give you special bonuses.  The controls are spot on, the level design is tremendous, and the game looks and sounds like the best from the golden age of console gaming.  Basically, everything a scrolling platform game should be.

Goblin Sword Eleftherios Christodoulatos, Goblin Sword – $1.99

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Gun Done: Road to West [4/7/16] – If you’ve ever had the desire to engage in an honest to goodness Old West duel, this game will not satiate that feeling in any way.  This is, however, what I might envision such a mini-game being like in one of the old Sierra adventure games from the late 80’s.  You start off with your standard gunslinger, but you can unlock new characters as you win duels and tournaments.  There are three different locations to play at, though I’m not sure they make any difference to game play.  You’ll also be able to unlock various guns as you progress through the game.  Duels range from your typical “fire at noon” to things like reverse tug of war with a giant bullet and fighting it out in the dark.  Before each match you’ll have the opportunity to use a power up that specifically helps with that match, assuming you have any of that type of power up available.  Occasionally you’ll win a power up from a match, and you get one gold for each duel you win.  Beside random duel there’s tournament mode, which requires 50 gold to enter, and 1 on 1 which requires two players on the same device.  There are 34 achievements to earn and 3 leaderboards to place on: score, number of wins, and how well you do in the tournament.

Gun Done: Road to West Azamat Bayzulaev, Gun Done: Road to West – Free

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Super Tribes [2/25/16] – First of all, I want to commend the developer for making a strategy game that doesn’t walk, talk or look like Clash Of Clans.  I grew up on turn based, single player campaigns, and I really don’t have time to manage an online empire to see it grow to its full potential.  This game boasts an easy to use interface, simple but deep strategy elements and enough challenge to keep most strategy enthusiasts entertained.  You start out by picking one of four tribes, each with their own specialties.  You can also buy three additional tribes via IAP.  You then select a difficulty level and you’re off to the races, so to speak.  Initially you’ll want to build up some troops so you can explore, but then you’ll need to start researching skills so you can build better troops, use the terrain to your advantage and building monuments that give you even more benefits.  Over time you’ll level up the city that you start with and the ones that you capture, and each time you do you’ll get to choose a bonus to help you expand your kingdom.  In short it has everything one would expect from a causal turn based strategy experience, and it seems like it was actually designed with mobile devices in mind.  One note of caution, however: if you’re doomed to still owning an iPad 2 like me, the game does tend to crash every few turns.  Even with that I feel the game is worth checking out.

Super Tribes Midjiwan AB, Super Tribes – Free

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Exodus [4/20/16] – I was going to save this for the next roundup, because I didn’t want you to get a Ketchapp overload.  However, I find that when I’m hooked on a game it’s best for me just to write about it and move on.  Such is the case with Exodus, to the point where several times I’ve started to play it, said to myself “I really should write this blurb”, and then just kept on playing.  Your task is to save various humans and other critters from rising waters, but instead of using a boat you get a rocket ship.  To keep the ship flying you tap when a certain part of the ship is over a green dot.  If there are a string of dots linked together you can tap repeatedly to get more points.  Tap on a couple of red dots and you’re grounded, and just completely missing results in immediate termination of the current flight.  There are also coins that you can occasionally collect by tapping on them, but as with most of these games you’ll acquire a majority of your loot through watching videos, get the somewhat sporadic bonus gift, or simply spending some dough on IAP.  The coins are used to buy different ships as well as to unlock a couple of different critter types and to buy mass quantities of said critters.  There’s a leaderboard for score, 15 achievements to earn from Game Center, and several in-game missions that will net you a few extra coins.

Exodus Ketchapp, Exodus – Free

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On The Run [8/27/15] – This is one of the best casual racers I’ve played in quite some time.  You don’t have to worry about being an expert virtual driver, because all you have to do is tap left and right arrows to switch lanes.  The ultimate goal is to log as many miles as you can on a single run, but every run has a bonus “mission” that will earn you some extra XP if you complete it.  XP lets you level up which in turn gets you a free refill on fuel (you need one can for each race) as well as making new cars, specials and stages available for purchase.  Buying things is done with gold coins and gems, the first of which can be easily gathered on the streets while the second is only awarded for certain milestones.  Of course IAP can boost your coffers as well.  The specials are cool, allowing you to turn into things like a Bigfoot truck, a tank or even a UFO.  I also like the neat little touches like being able to build up your speed by catching the tailwind of other cars and earning money by staying in the spotlight of the news chopper that flies overhead occasionally.  And speaking of little touches, On The Run does something that is highly undervalued in these casual types of games: it actually displays the progress for your current goal while you’re playing.  Thank you, developer.

On The Run™ Miniclip.com, On The Run™ – Free

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Giant Boulder Of Death [9/4/13] – Okay, I know you’re going to mumble something under your breath about how I said I was going to try to stick with more recent releases.  However, I’ve decided that when the mood strikes me I’m going to throw in an extra entry for a game that I’ve previously discussed in some form or other.  You know, sort of a “how is it now” type of thing.  In this case, Giant Boulder Of Death is just as good as when I first wrote about it, which you can read here: Giant Boulder of Death in Revew.  As an “infinite” game (in this case, roller) it plays better than many of the modern releases.  There is a ton of stuff to unlock and many missions to complete.  The graphics still hold up extremely well, and the Game Over yodel is just as endearing as it was in 2013.  I still think this is my favorite [adult swim] game.  If you still haven’t tried this game more than 3 years after its release, the adage “better late than never” actually applies.

Giant Boulder of Death [adult swim], Giant Boulder of Death (TMA Review) – 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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