10 App Store Games To Watch [2/20/17]

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So we’re over half way through February, and I’m still waiting for winter to hit.  Nah, I’m just kidding; I’m perfectly content with the less than frigid weather we’ve been having in the Midwest this year.  Luckily the weather has no bearing on playing iOS games, and once again I have what I hope is a diverse collection of products for you.  A lot of these even came out in the last month or two, so maybe you’ll actually believe that I play recent games on occasion.  There were several entries in this list that pleasantly surprised me, but I think the one that rises to the top is Evil Factory.  Not only is the game both a blast (pun not intended) and a challenge, but I could easily see this one showing up on one of the consoles that used to be popular when I was a kid, which at least for the moment makes it even cooler.

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Hidden my game by mom 2 – escape room [1/6/17] – This is one quirky little game.  I’m not really sure how to classify it, though I suppose the closest concept might be an escape game.  Instead of trying to get out of a room, however, you’re attempting to find your video game system that your mom has hidden on you.  Each level takes place across two different rooms, with a variety of different puzzles to challenge your brain.  Some of them will be easy while others won’t make a lot of sense, but they are all solvable without having to pull out too much hair.  While the obstacles can get repetitive at times, the solution to each puzzle is unique, and there are some interesting themes like a Tetris style puzzle and a mini-matching game.  The visuals feel like they were ripped from a PBS cartoon and the sound effects are kooky, simply adding to the charm of the game.  The oddness and style of the game certainly won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re in the mood for something a bit different you can’t beat the price.

Hidden my game by mom 2 - escape room hap Inc., Hidden my game by mom 2 – escape room – Free

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Icarus – A Star’s Journey [11/24/16] – As the name implies, you control a star, and you must help it along its journey, specifically to get back to its place in the night sky.  This is one of those games that is as much about art as substance, with a not quite minimalist presentation and a simple game mechanic.  To move forward in the game you just drag on the star in the direction you want to travel and release to make it go.  You can actually change direction in the middle of the flight as well if you’re coordinated enough.  As you make your way through the sky you’ll collect smaller stars that help you level up.  Higher levels give you more time before you’re required to rest in a landing spot in order to recharge your energy.  There are plenty of obstacles to block your path.  Luckily you won’t die if you hit one of them, but you could end up bouncing off the screen which is definitely not good for you.  Overall Icarus provides a laid back, soothing experience that’s fun for short bursts of play.  The one thing that’s a bit surprising is that there are no leaderboards, because this seems like the perfect type of game to want to compare your high score or longest distance against another player.

Icarus - A Star's Journey PlaySide, Icarus – A Star’s Journey – Free

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Pixel Craft – Space Shooter [2/2/17] – The iTunes description almost gives off an air of “epic adventure unlike anything you’ve played before”.  While I’d say that’s a bit of a stretch, there’s no question that Pixel Craft is fun.  In typical scrolling shooter fashion there are plenty of enemies to blow away and lots of coins to collect.  Everything is random in this game, though you will occasionally get some formations and other surprises (like a creature reminiscent of Centipede).  Power ups are plentiful and simply make the game more entertaining rather than too easy.  In fact, as a pleasant change of pace the game actually periodically provides you with power ups during the boss fight since the power ups wear off after a certain amount of time.  The loot you collect can be used to upgrade several aspects of your ship as well as buy new ships, each of which have their own unique ability.  Thankfully the ship upgrades carry over to whichever new ships you purchase.  You can also use the money to unlock waypoints you can jump to so that you don’t have to battle every boss every time you play through.  Unfortunately you either have to pay or watch a video to use the jump points, but so far I’ve enjoyed blasting through from the beginning every time.  The game offers 23 achievements to earn as well as 10 leaderboards to rank on, and you can save your game to the cloud so you can play across different devices.  This won’t necessarily top my list of scrolling shooters any time soon, but it’s a solid effort that deserves some attention.

Pixel Craft - Space Shooter Appsolute Games LLC, Pixel Craft – Space Shooter – Free

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Gentleman Ninja [2/8/17] – Guess what?  Gentleman Ninja is another infinite running game that stars a stealthy assassin, at least according to the character’s title.  Thankfully the developer realized we have enough of those already, and this one is just a little bit different.  Instead of swiping to move left or right or jump or slide, all you have to do is press one of two buttons.  The blue one kills blue ninjas and the red one… well, you can probably figure out what that does.  Occasionally the game throws you a twist by putting a door in your way, at which point you have to press both buttons in order to pass.  Getting hit does not guarantee death, but to make sure you don’t retreat the floor behind you is falling away.  If you should happen to not be able to get up before the ground crumbles away your run will be over.  You can unlock different characters by completing certain milestones, but right now they are purely cosmetic.  The game currently provides a leaderboard and 5 achievements through Game Center.  Currently that’s basically all there is to the game.  There’s definitely some potential here, though, so download the game, check it out and then send the developer some encouraging words.  Hopefully we’ll be graced with some of the things he’ like to add in such as power ups, different environments and actual abilities for each of the characters.

Gentleman Ninja Scott Moakes, Gentleman Ninja – Free

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Flirt: A Game Of Attraction [2/9/17] – Not to sound to chauvinistic here, but I was really afraid this was going to be a bit on the girly side.  It turns out that I was right.  On the other hand, it’s probably the most creative “dodge ‘em” game I’ve come across in quite some time.  You control a circle and you must keep the squares at bay.  The thing is, you have to keep them corralled close enough in order for them to exude their love by popping out hearts that you can collect.  You know they’re hooked when you see the beam of affection between you and them, and as long as that beam stays bright you’ll literally feel the love.  Plus, the more flirts you have going at once, the more each heart is worth.  Of course just like a real relationship, it’s hard to keep too many going at the same time, so you’ll have to balance high scoring hearts with the will to actually survive longer.  The hearts you collect can be used to continue the game when you’ve ventured to close to a square or to upgrade your circle.  Be warned, though, that upgrades jump from 500 hearts for the first level to 5000 hearts for level 2 and a whopping 100,000 hearts for level 3, so plan on doing a lot of flirtin’ if you want to maximize your circle’s possibilities.  The game does offer a leaderboard and achievements which appear to be hooked up with Facebook.  If you’re looking for a little friendly romance that shouldn’t get you in trouble, look no further than Flirt.

Flirt: A Game of Attraction Kevin Loughran, Flirt: A Game of Attraction – Free

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White Trip [1/12/17] – I’ve always believed that there was room for one more infinite runner as long as it was fun and hopefully brought something new to the table.  To be quite frank, when I first played this one I was afraid that it wouldn’t fit the bill on either count.  To make matters worse, the one thing you have to do to stay alive can be rather frustrating to do.  As I continued to play the game, however, I realized that it can actually be rather fun and relaxing, despite the fact that it can also be infuriating.  You control a bird that is flying through a valley landscape.  All you have to do is avoid the buildings, trees and black birds when they come along, at the same time making sure to snatch up any golden birds that you can.  The reason it gets so frustrating at times is because there is no good way to line up your bird with the oncoming golden birds, though it certainly seems easy enough to accidentally collide with the black birds.  Still, the backdrop is beautiful, and the concept of almost gliding rather than flat out flying through the air is always relaxing.  To add just a bit to the game play, you can use the birds you collect to increase how fast you fly and how long you can last before you need another golden bird.  Also, as you reach certain milestones in terms of amount of meters flown you’ll unlock a new landscape.  Other than that, the game takes a surprising twist from most infinite runners in that there’s no focus on power ups or unlocking new characters or anything like that.  And amazingly enough, I’m okay with that.  As a bit of warning, though, if you’re still running an iPad 2 you will experience some crashing issues.

White Trip Appliss Inc., White Trip – Free

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Tentacles – Enter the Mind [11/9/16] – This is one of those crazy games where you get to take on an oddly realized persona inside someone’s mind to help them clean out the chaos of their thoughts.  Meta concepts aside, this is just a great 3D game where you get to traverse cool landscapes, collect coins and suck the eyeballs out of all the “bad hombres” you can find.  What I like about this one is it takes the popular 2D trope of a multi-tentacle being that slinks around by alternating tentacles across different surfaces and translates it into a 3D realm that actually makes sense.  Sure there are times that it’s not 100% clear where to go, but for the most part navigation is pretty straightforward.  You also don’t have to worry about collecting all the coins or taking out every adversary, although the more thorough you are the easier it is to progress through the game.  Coins can be used to enhance various aspects of your ego, while eyeballs help you to advance to the next level in story mode and unlock various special abilities.  There’s also a survival mode, but unfortunately you can’t have that going at the same time as you’re progressing through the levels.  Game Center offers 19 achievements and a leaderboard, and there are challenges to complete to earn you extra coins.  And did I mention that you get to confiscate the eyes of your enemies?

Tentacles - Enter the Mind Flashbulb ApS, Tentacles – Enter the Mind – Free

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Symmetria: Path to Perfection [12/4/16] – Symmetria is a game of matching patterns.  On one side of the screen you have a grid with some of the squares filled in, and on the other side of the screen you have to fill in the same squares.  Keep in mind that your playing field is a mirror image of the completed pattern.  Also, the game is timed so if you want to earn any stars you’ll have to be quick.  And if you’re playing a board with multiple colors, you have to tap multiple times to scroll through them all.  Oh, and then there are the troll bombs that randomly zap a tile, either filling it if it’s empty or clearing it if it’s full.  These are just some of the mechanics you are introduced to in the first two level sets, and there are three more to explore with the premium version of the application.  If you prefer there’s an endless mode where you have to complete as many randomly designed boards as you can and the timer gets reset after each board.  There’s even a battle mode where you can compete against another player on the same device, and the first person to get three wins is the ultimate victor.  Look for the troll bombs to factor heavily into this game play mode.  There are 14 achievements to earn, and endless mode has a leaderboard as well.  The nice thing about this game is that endless mode lets you test your mettle against the clock, campaign mode lets you relax and work through the game at your leisure, only worrying about the time when you care about the stars, and battle mode gives you the chance to challenge another player in bite size session lengths.  There’s something for every kind of puzzle gamer in one package.

Symmetria: Path to Perfection Platonic Games, Symmetria: Path to Perfection – Free

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War Tanks Multi Player [12/11/16] – If you like your online games of the “no muss, no fuss” variety then War Tanks might be a good one for you.  It’s sort of like an arcade version of Battleship with tanks instead of boats.  You control a tank and you’re trying to shoot your opponent on the opposing field, but dark squares prohibit you from seeing where they are at.  Destroy the dark tiles to remove your opponent’s cover, but make sure you keep moving yourself so that your adversary is always guessing.  Regardless of whether you win or lose you’ll earn gems, but your cache piles up a lot more quickly if you win.  Plus, winning battles earn you trophies, while getting defeated means you lose some.  Gems can be used to buy new tanks or upgrade the one you already have, and then can also be used to purchase a booster at the beginning of a match.  There is a global leaderboard that looks to be hosted on the developer’s own server, as well as a few achievements to earn that can net you some gems.  You can play online against a random player, make friends that you can explicitly challenge or eventually take part in “endless mode” once that becomes available.  Unlike most games that use a “tap left side to move and right side to shoot” mechanism in War Tanks where you tap is as important as what side of the screen, so that takes a bit of getting used to.  In the end, though, War Tanks provides quick, exciting matches against real players while eliminating the one thing I don’t like about online games: random chatter.

War Tanks Multi Player Hypernova Interactive, War Tanks Multi Player – Free

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Evil Factory [2/2/17] – It’s time once again to save the world from the forces of evil.  This time around the organization is Kraken, and you take on the role of Leo, mild mannered demolitions expert.  You must infiltrate Kraken’s main lair and take out the mad scientist responsible for it all.  You’ll have your trusty explosives as your primary weapon, and a selection of ranged but limited use secondary weapons to get you out of a pinch.  Plant your explosives and run away, because you can get caught in your own crossfire.  You also need to make sure you dodge the enemies’ attacks, because at least initially you only have one life to live.  Thankfully if you let go of the screen you’ll enter a temporary slowdown that lets you see where your enemies will attack, but the effect is limited and also wears off when you touch the screen again.  Defeating foes rewards you with scrap that you can sell to earn coins, but more importantly provides you with blueprints necessary to upgrade your current equipment or develop new weapons.  Each level has 4 goals, and when you’ve completed them all you’ll earn a helmet that gives you some sort of bonus when you wear it.  The game offers 5 achievements and a leaderboard through Game Center, and there are also missions to complete which will earn you either regular or blue coins.  The game also sports some cool pixel graphics and a pretty decent soundtrack.  Welcome to the Evil Factory.

Evil Factory NEXON M Inc., Evil Factory – 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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