10 App Store Games To Watch [11/8/16 – Election Day Edition]

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In the United States it is election day today, so I’m too busy watching day old comedian commentaries to write a good intro.  Suffice it to say that unlike the election there should be no surprises here, especially if you’ve read any of my roundups in the past.  As always I’ve tried to compile a diverse selection of games that are primarily on the free(mium) side, so hopefully there should be something here that appeals to your sensibilities.  Again, completely unlike the current election.  Okay, that was my last dig on the election.  Now on to the games…

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Tap Tap Evil Mastermind [9/29/16] – Conceptually I don’t get the appeal of these games because you’re basically mindlessly smashing your screen repeatedly in an attempt to reach the goal.  I often find myself strangely addicted to them, however, and in this case I think it’s the theme that gets me more than anything.  You’re basically trying to run a worldwide criminal organization, and you have a cheap Jason Vorhees knock off for a boss.  Hire henchmen to “invest” your funds or travel about to complete missions for you.  Upgrade the office manager to making tapping more useful, and appease your boss to earn extra bonuses.  You’ll also have to deal with the occasional salesman or thug for hire.  When you get bored with your current digs you can upgrade certain aspects of it to make it more evil, though it will cost you a decent amount of virtual coins.  Besides simply achieving world domination there are milestones you’ll hit that will give you some bonus rewards too.  If you’ve ever wanted to rise to the top of an evil organization the easy way, now’s your chance.

Tap Tap Evil Mastermind PIXIO LIMITED, Tap Tap Evil Mastermind – Free

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Death Moto 4 [9/5/16] – Despite the fact that SEGA should have plenty of time now that they no longer make hardware, we have as yet to see Road Rash appear on iOS devices.  Still, as alternatives go Dead Moto 4 is actually pretty slick.  You’ll race through 15 levels, avoiding anything you can’t destroy and taking out everything else with extreme prejudice.  Use your trusty melee weapon to knock off the bikers, and for the more resilient vehicles you have a machine gun and an RPG at your disposal.  Remember that your weapons have limited ammo, and while there are lots of things you can pick up along the road, near as I can tell extra ammunition is not one of them.  Besides refills on things like nitro and health there are plenty of coins to be had, and you’ll certainly want to collect as many of those as you can.  Coins are used to upgrade 7 different stats for your rider, including amount of fuel, damage, health and nitro, as well as each of your three weapon types.  You don’t have to worry about running out of things to upgrade either, as each location appears to come with its own biker to master.  My biggest regret is that there are no billboards to drive through or cows to jump over.

Death Moto 4 YY.,LTD, Death Moto 4 – Free

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Slider Scouts [10/4/16] – I go through a lot of games before I come up with 10 to include in this list, and to be honest I thought this was going to be one that I just played a few times and tossed by the wayside.  It turns out, however, that Slider Scouts is actually a really fun variation of the “an object moves until it collides with something” type puzzle games.  Your job is to recruit scouts, collect coins and stars and avoid all the nasty traps each level has to offer.  The levels are randomly selected from within different worlds and include things like spikes, pits and walls that go up and down maybe not when you really want them to.  Most levels also have a couple of opponents in them, and if you can run into them before they get to you you’ll have victory over them.  Be careful, though, because some opponents can’t be defeated even if you attack them.  Collecting coins allows you to buy new scouts, while the stars serve a double duty.  They will help you rise up in the ranks, which earns you coins and prizes like new worlds to explore or furniture to put in your clubhouse, and they will help you level up your scouts, though I’m not sure what that does yet.  The game offers 24 achievements and 2 leaderboards through Game Center, and it definitely earns a thumbs up for being family friendly.

Slider Scouts Flipline Studios, Slider Scouts – Free

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Hocus. [9/30/15] – Hocus would easily fall under the category of “minimalist puzzle game”.  The graphics are comprised of “simple” grey pathways and your avatar is a red square.  Your goal is to get to the red exit somewhere on each maze, and you do so by swiping in an available direction.  The trick is that instead of a straightforward task getting from point A to point B, each level has an Escher-esque feel to it.  As you head down a particular path you’ll soon find that you’re not getting as close to the exit as you thought you were.  Sometimes you might catch the illusion right away, but other times there will be some trial and error until you find the right turn to make to reach your goal.  Occasionally it gets kind of frustrating, especially when the controls don’t completely cooperate or the angle of an intersection is hard to discern, but the game’s unique perspective makes it worth the additional hassle.  The background music is equally minimal and can be quite mesmerizing if you really listen to it.  There are 100 levels stock with the game, and you can get more through the level editor menu by importing from pictures, scanning QR codes or pasting in a long string of gobbledy-gook that the designer gets upon completing a level.  If you can find it, I have one out there under the nickname PointOfLight.  The game is cool, and it could be quite something if the user level experience could be cleaned up a bit.

hocus. gamebra.in, hocus. – $1.99
My level code: V1I4V1EgVX0kXBQRXz4OOFN0M19XQD0KCxwVYQ8iDgYFEQ==

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Treple – Original Number Puzzle Game [9/29/16] – I’m not sure if you’d call this a unique match 3 game or simply a completely different type of puzzle game, but whatever the case is I’ve not played anything quite like Treple before.  The object of the game is to clear the numbers off of the board by making a sequence of at least three numbers in a row (ex: 3-4-5).  You don’t get to add new pieces to the board, though.  Instead, you change a number that already exists on the board by following the instructions at the bottom of the screen.  For example, if the game tells you to “subtract 2” then whatever number you touch will be reduced by two.  The numbers range between 1 and 5 and wrap around, so in this example if you were to touch the number 1 it would actually become a 4.  As long as you create at least one sequence of numbers you are okay.  If your change doesn’t accomplish anything then one of the numbers gets replace with an X, and once the board is filled with Xs the game is over.  You have a limited number of “pops” which can be used to get rid of a single number, but you can’t remove Xs from the board.  The game actually offers three leaderboards: one for highest score without using a pop, one for largest score multiplier and one for highest overall score.  There are also 14 achievements to earn.  While there is only one game play mode at this point, the game is free to play and there are no time limits are messy “refillable lives” to deal with.

Treple - Original Number Puzzle Game Fluid Pixel Limited, Treple – Original Number Puzzle Game – Free

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Crystal Rush! Color Shoot Arcade Game [9/29/16] – Crystal Rush is a simple enough game.  All you have to do is destroy the barriers that are converging on you in order to crush you.  You do this by tapping the screen to release an arrowhead at the oncoming walls.  The only caveat is that the color of the arrowhead must match the color of the wall that you are shooting at.  Oh, and the centerpiece that launches the arrowhead is constantly spinning, and every time you make a shot it switches directions.  And did I mention that the walls start moving faster and faster?  For a game with a basic mission and a single game play mode, Crystal Rush quickly becomes quite addicting.  Sometimes you’ll earn a gem for destroying a wall, and you can also get gems through the occasional bonus present as well as by watching videos.  Naturally, you can also get gems via IAP.  These games are used to purchase new backdrops, continue the game when you’re not ready to give up after dying, and to buy bomb and slow mo power ups at the beginning of a run.  There is a leaderboard through Game Center, and there are also 5 achievements to earn.  It doesn’t sound like much, but the last one might be a doozey for casual gamers that don’t have good twitch reflexes.  Whatever the case, if you’re looking for something that you can easily play with one hand and use to pass the time while waiting in a long checkout line, Crystal Rush is the game for you.

Crystal Rush! Color Shoot Arcade Game Niels Benjamins, Crystal Rush! Color Shoot Arcade Game – Free

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Diffission [8/15/16] – In order to make an educational game fun, it seems that the author often has to disguise its intent.  There aren’t many better ways to do that on the iOS platform than to make it look like a Fruit Ninja knock-off, and that’s what Diffission does… sort of.  Granted, I’m pretty sure not too many people will be fooled, but the ability to say “it’s kind of like Fruit Ninja” should draw plenty of kids in the door, and the game has enough style to hopefully keep them hooked.  The idea is that you are given an object that can be split into many pieces, and you have to split it and highlight a certain number of those pieces based on the fraction you are given (see, I told you it was educational).  There are two different modes: endless and challenge.  Each mode has three subgroups: standard, dissolve and swap.  Dissolve adds a tile that allows you to tap and destroy a section that you’ve created.  The swap tile will move from its location to the adjacent one where you slice, and if you tap a section with a swap tile in it you get bonus diamonds for that level.  Earning diamonds lets you unlock new levels and acts as your high score for each mode.  In endless mode you can just keep going until you’re tired of collecting diamonds, but in challenge mode you’re racing against the clock, and for each puzzle you solve correctly you can either collect some diamonds or add 5 seconds to the clock.  There are several medals you can earn, but oddly there are no leaderboards.  For endless mode it might not make sense, but I’m surprised there isn’t something for challenge mode.  Still, the game can actually be entertaining for adults in short spurts, and it’s a great way for your kids to learn something about fractions.

Diffission Filament Games, Diffission – $2.99
Diffission EDU Filament Games, Diffission EDU – Free

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Twisty Board [10/12/16] – Welcome to another infinite runner, but with a bit of a twist (see what I did there?)  I like this one because instead of using a somewhat linear path as most runners do, you have more of an arena style playing field.  Pressing left or right turns you in the appropriate direction, and if you chose to you could technically spin around in circles, though that wouldn’t really help your cause any.  Besides plenty of things you don’t want to run into, your main opponent is a plethora of missile launchers, or more precisely the missiles that they launch.  Thankfully you can guide them into the various obstacles so they’ll explode your surroundings instead of you, though they don’t really do any damage to said objects.  Personally, I think it would be a great feature if when you ran them into the launchers they would actually disable the launchers temporarily.  Like any great infinite runner there are coins for you to collect, and if you can guide the missiles into treasure chests you find along the way you’ll not only get some coins but also be able to pick up a heart if you’ve been wounded.  Coins are used to buy new characters, and they also double as the means of filling a bar that unleashes a super power when completely full.  In addition to collecting characters there is a leaderboard to place on, but at this point there are no achievements to earn.  My main frustration with this game is that due to the non-linear nature of movement it can be quite difficult to pick up coins, and while you can always watch videos to earn money towards new characters for me it means that I’ve only been able to use my super power once out of every time I’ve played.  Still, if you’re an infinite runner fan looking for something a bit different, you should give Twisty Board a try.

Twisty Board GalacticThumb, Twisty Board – Free

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Bumpy Road [5/18/11] – This is a retro review of sorts in the fact that I did cover the game when it first came out.  However, at that point these articles were more about what had actually been released rather than what I had played, and I never actually got around to trying this one.  Here we are five years later, and now that I’ve finally had the opportunity to play the game, I’d say I got some of my analysis correct.  Bumpy Road is all about taking a leisurely drive with your sweetheart.  Instead of controlling your main character or the car he drives, however, you control the road beneath the vehicle.  Grab a piece of the road and raise it up, and it will affect how the car moves.  Just be careful that you don’t inadvertently drive the protagonist into the occasional pits full of water that crop up.  If you quickly tap right below the car you’ll cause the car to jump, which is quite useful in a lot of cases.  Along the way you’ll trigger bridges with switches, either causing them to appear or forcing them to do a vanishing act depending on what you run over.  Since this is an infinite runner style game you’ll have plenty of items to collect, in this case what are referred to as gizmos.  You’ll actually need those to fuel your car, or you could find yourself coming to a standstill.  Evergreen Ride is broken down into Spring and Autumn, both of which are endless modes.  Sunday trip contains three modes, each of which have definitive ends but take different lengths of time to complete.  I have to admit that I’m not particularly keen on the control scheme, which I’m sure was all the rave when the game came out, but it certainly provides for a unique playing experience.  The game is challenging but not insane like some others I could mention, and it holds up really well after all this time.  Plus, the game plays extremely smoothly on my iPad 2!

Bumpy Road Simogo AB, Bumpy Road – $2.99

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Sequence Nine [9/3/16] – It’s time once again to try and get from point A to point B.  The twist this time around is that in order to move between the start and destination you must trace a pattern in a 3×3 grid.  That pattern will be repeated over and over again on the playing field until you reach your target location.  Of course if you accidentally direct yourself off the board, you die.  If you run into a wall, it won’t be good for you.  When you get to the second world you’ll have to manipulate gates and passageways by moving through similarly colored circles, which adds another level of challenge to the game.  It will be interesting to see what worlds three and four introduce, but I’m a bit away from that reveal at this point.  The game is divided into 4 worlds with a total of 240 levels, though the way the overhead map is set up you don’t have to complete every level to get to the end of a world.  And, once you’ve unlocked a new world you can still complete the remaining levels on the previous world if you like.  Occasionally there will be a level on the map that has a glowing circle on it, and when you beat those levels you’ll be rewarded with either a hint or super hint power up.  The hint will tell you which square on the movement grid to start with, and the super hint actually shows you how each square you select will affect the overall path of your avatar.  There are no achievements or leaderboards to be found, but this is one of those games where solving each level is reward enough (or at least it should be).

Sequence Nine Ahoot Media, Sequence Nine – 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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