10 App Store Games To Watch [6/1/17]

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Sorry I’ve been gone so long, but I assure you it’s not because of a lack of games worth playing.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with a more regular schedule for a while now, assuming that developers still turn out some games that work with my ancient iPad 2.  So without further ado, and because I don’t want to prolong this pointless intro any more, here come the games…

roundup-tappy-cat

Tappy Cat – Musical Kitty Arcade [2/1/17] – I don’t particularly like cats, and I’m not a huge fan of rhythm games.  It turns out that doesn’t really matter where Tappy Cat is concerned.  The truth is I don’t even recognize most of the songs I’ve heard so far, which typically makes it harder for me to get into and do well at a rhythm game.  There’s something about this one that just has me intrigued, though.  Instead of a typical guitar neck style layout, the notes come out from the center of the screen horizontally across two rows, so you have your standard four objects to contend with.  Some notes must be held, while others must be struck two at the same time.  If you get a good enough string of perfects you’ll earn fish, which are necessary to unlock later levels and feed to wayward cats so you can add the various felines to your collection.  Luckily you can earn fish every time you play, but unfortunately you don’t earn any stars for a level until you’ve fully completed the song.  There are definitely times where it’s as much about quick reflexes as rhythm, and I’m not sure I have too much of either.  Still, I like the fact that it doesn’t feel like your typical rhythm game, so I’m willing to embarrass myself in front of me to spend some time with the game.

Tappy Cat - Musical Kitty Arcade InspirLabs Inc, Tappy Cat – Musical Kitty Arcade – Free

roundup-star-viper

Star Viper: space invasion [3/29/17] – My biggest concern with this game was that the graphics looked a bit on the large side.  Between feeling crowded and a potential performance slowdown, I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy this game.  Turns out I was completely off base.  Star Viper does a great job of bringing epic side scrolling space nostalgia to the iOS screen.  The controls are responsive, the action intense yet not overwhelming, and there are six upgrades with multiple levels apiece that will keep you blasting and grinding to maximize your ship’s badness.  The levels do get a bit repetitive after a while, but the game makes up for it by throwing out new bad guys to tackle as well as other obstacles like friendly ships that you have to avoid blowing up.  Money is earned by destroying ships, and the bigger the ones you take out the more you’ll earn.  You get to keep any money you’ve collected regardless of whether you complete or fail a given level, and the shop pops up after every attempt, so you’ll always be going into battle with the latest and greatest that you can afford.  The main characters are your captain, the head villain, the shopkeeper and yourself, and they are all more than willing to throw some cheesy 80’s dialog your way.  If 2D arcade action is your thing, Star Viper should definitely tickle your fancy.

Star Viper: space invasion Vincent van Geel, Star Viper: space invasion – Free

roundup-blocky-baseball

Blocky Baseball – Endless Arcade Batting [3/29/17] – This is my kind of sports game: simple controls, only one player to keep track of and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  That being said, I’ve not been a big fan of the last couple of “blocky” games I’ve tried from Full Fat, so I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this one.  As a casual gaming experience to load up every once in a while for a few minutes of play I had nothing to worry about.  The basic premise, like some other classics before it, is to hit as many baseballs as you can before you get three strikes.  To strike the ball you have to tap when it is within a certain circle, and to get a home run you have to tap right when the ball intersects the star at the center of the circle.  In addition to the baseballs you’ll get coins and stars thrown at you, and while it’s okay to miss them you’ll want to collect them as rewards.  On the other hand you’ll desperately want to avoid the mines which temporarily obscure your view if you accidentally hit them.  When you collect a certain number of stars you’ll earn a reward, and after hitting enough baseballs you’ll advance a level.  Coins are used to buy various different baseballs and bats, but sadly it looks like the only ones that actually affect game play require IAP.  I like the visual details, especially when it comes to the scoreboard and your character’s animations.  There are 13 achievements to earn as well as a leaderboard based on highest level attained, and since you always start at the last level reached then climbing the leaderboard is actually still possible.  If you’re game for a simple homerun slugfest, Blocky Baseball is a very entertaining option.

Blocky Baseball - Endless Arcade Batting Full Fat, Blocky Baseball – Endless Arcade Batting – Free

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Galaxy Glider [4/25/17] – This is one of those games that on the surface seems a bit too basic.  You simply tap the screen to move your character from one side to the other.  If you land on the surface of a rocket you’ll slide down the rocket until it is gone.  You just need to make sure you jump again before the rocket has completely left your grip, otherwise you’ll fall to your doom.  Also, hitting the tip of the rocket is bad.  You keep going until one of those two situations arises.  As you slide along rockets you’ll collect points, and your score will also rise if you collect red diamonds, green stars or blue gems.  Sounds like a twisted bowl of Lucky Charms!  The diamonds are 5 points apiece, while the stars will earn you 25 points.  The gems not only give you points, but they slow the action down a little bit, allowing you to get more slide time on each rocket.  As you reach certain milestones in the points department you’ll unlock new types of rockets as well as bonuses like the stars and gems.  This game can easily be played with one hand, so it’s great for a “standing in line” type of game.  It would be nice to have some different characters to unlock or buy (assuming they actually impact game play somehow), and a few achievements might be cool since right now all you have is the leaderboard.  Still, Galaxy Glider makes for a nice game to play when you have a few minutes to kill here and there, and I have as yet to only play once or twice after launching the game.

Galaxy Glider App Happy Games LLC, Galaxy Glider – Free

roundup-zenge

Zenge [4/13/16] – Zenge is one of those unassuming games that I think sadly slipped under the appropriate radars.  The object of the game is to reveal scenes in a story by sliding pieces around the board until you get them into the appropriate spots.  Once you’ve moved everything that you can control and it’s all in the right location the rest of the scene will form around it.  It’s sort of like an adult version of a jigsaw puzzle.  Now I’ll admit that I’m not really following the gist of the story at this point, but it really doesn’t matter to me.  I just enjoy solving each puzzle and seeing the cool scene that unfolds before my eyes.  It’s nice occasionally playing a puzzle game that doesn’t stress you out with timers or scores or rankings and yet still manages to be fun.  I’m also impressed with the fact that they keep coming up with new play mechanics in what seems like should be a limited realm of options.  Some of the things you’ll run into include teleports, axis flippers, rotators and pieces that can be shrunk to fit into tight spots.  Start combining all these mechanics and you get some interesting puzzles.  I’m also really enjoying the soundtrack, which when combined with the visuals gives the game an artsy atmosphere.  Overall Zenge is a nice change of pace from the typical puzzle game found on the App Store.

Zenge Michal Pawlowski, Zenge – $0.99

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Last Berserker: Endless War [Unknown] – This game literally takes the concept of the wood cuter style game and flips it 90 degrees.  You still have two simple controls: tap one arrow to face left and the other to face right.  Instead of chopping down some tree or tower or whatever, though, in Last Berserker you’re wedged between two infinite lines of attacking foes.  Just make sure you turn in the appropriate direction to take on the next bad guy in either line.  One mistaken turn and the game will be over for you.  Fortunately you can just hit the play button and pick up right where you left off in your never ending quest.  Sometimes a fallen foe will leave you a coin, and you can also earn coins by watching ads or acquire them more quickly via IAP.  These coins allow you to buy additional characters, with a total of 10 fighters to unlock (though in all fairness, you can actually get one of them simply by liking the Facebook page).  I do like the fact that you can get different characters, but it would be really nice if they affected the game play somehow.  Or at least let me use some of my money to upgrade the characters after I’ve unlocked them.  Either way I love the fantasy setting of the game, and the look and music are very retro inspired.  The game does offer a leaderboard based on your single highest conquest, and there are 87 achievements to earn via Game Center.

Last Berserker™ : Endless War Hakan Tatar, Last Berserker™ : Endless War – Free

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Hot Wheels: Race Off [12/21/16] – Enjoy racing Hot Wheels cars but sick of them getting lost or prematurely torn apart thanks to an annoying sibling?  Or maybe you just want to relive your youth without anyone else being the wiser.  This is the game for you then, though I wouldn’t count on the tracks being like anything you remember racing on when you were younger.  Start with a basic vehicle, and upgrade one of four different stats as you collect money from racing.  Once you’ve fully upgraded a vehicle you can unlock the next one, though you are welcome to speed up the process by using gems that you acquire from the occasional free gift or purchase via IAP.  As you complete courses you’ll unlock new ones, and you can always go back to earn additional stars after you’ve finished a track.  Upon conquering track 5 you’ll open up multiplayer mode so that you can actually race against other players, though until then you at least get to challenge ghost versions of yourself on repeated plays through.  The game uses a simple gas pedal / break mechanic, and while I more often than not find myself getting in trouble using the break pedal, it does come in handy once in a while.  You also have to be cognizant of your gas meter and the antenna on the top of your vehicle that will cause you to explode if it gets hit.  There’s definitely some grinding involved in Race Off, but the tracks are short enough that it never really gets boring, and it’s always fun to see the next new challenge that awaits.

Hot Wheels: Race Off Hutch Games Ltd, Hot Wheels: Race Off – Free

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Lines the Game [6/18/15] – If you like your games both challenging and relaxing, you might want to give Lines the Game a shot.  The premise is ultra simple: place one or more points on the board as instructed.  Then you just sit back and watch as your points spread across the playing field, trying to fill in more space on the drawing than the other colors on the board.  If you consume the most space you win, but if any color does better than you it is considered a loss.  At least that’s how “Point” mode goes.  Complete enough levels in that mode and you’ll unlock “Eraser” mode, where you have to remove points from the board that aren’t the same color as yours.  All together there are 5 game play modes, with a combined total of 250 levels to conquer.  Combine that with the fact that in order to get a gold medal on a given board you have to complete it ten times in a row and you’ll find that there is plenty of game play to be had here.  The opponents’ points are in different locations each time you play a board as well, so it always provides a fresh experience.  As if that weren’t enough there are 26 achievements to earn through Game Center.  All this needs is some sort of multiplayer mode to round out the package.  Still, you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck just trying to earn gold medals on all the provided levels.

Lines the Game Gamious B.V., Lines the Game – $2.99

roundup-faraway

Faraway: Puzzle Escape [5/11/17] – I’m not sure if you’d classify this as an adventure game, escape game or “Myst Lite”, but however you attempt to pigeonhole it, the game is fun.  You must explore 18 different temples, solving puzzles to collect the tile that will unlock the portal at the heart of the temple.  Objects like bolts and lasers will grant you access to new portions of the temple by opening doors, removing barriers and manipulating platforms.  Each temple has several puzzles to beat, and in most cases you’ll visit many of the sections more than once in order to complete everything.  There are also 3 notes to find in each temple, and while the first two are at best “hidden in plain site”, the third one will take some investigative work to locate.  Thankfully you can leave a temple and come back later to find any notes you might have missed the first time around, though you’ll have to solve most of the puzzles again to get through the level a second time.  You get 9 levels for free, as long as you are willing to put up with some ads, and you can buy the other 9 in sets of three or as a complete package.  Any purchase gets rid of the ads as well.  The graphics are top notch, some of the puzzles are pretty innovative, and from what I understand if you’re savvy enough you might even uncover a bonus temple to explore.

Faraway: Puzzle Escape Mousecity, Faraway: Puzzle Escape – Free

roundup-the-goddess-robbery

The Goddess Robbery [11/24/16] – This is a really short game.  In fact, if you’re a slow reader it might take you longer to get through this blurb than to play the game.  Okay, not really, but it is fairly short.  At the end it claimed I had played through in about 13 minutes.  Despite the short playing time, I think it’s worth the effort if you like old school adventure games.  The artwork is pretty neat, and in the two rooms you have to explore you cover every major aspect of adventure gaming – item collection and combining, puzzle solving and NPC interaction.  While I certainly enjoy first person style games that have some mix of object puzzles, mini-games and hidden object scenes, I love it when someone makes an adventure that reminds me of the good old days from Sierra Online and LucasArts, among others.  The nice thing about The Goddess Robbery is it gives you a chance to see what the developer is capable of before you invest in their other offering.  Based on what I experienced, I’m looking forward to giving their paid game a try.

The Goddess Robbery Rafael Garcia Moreno, The Goddess Robbery – 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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