Touch My App Store Roundup [10/22/17]

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Welcome to the not really all new, once again renamed latest edition of my App Store roundup.  When I first started this was a weekly (mostly) publication, and the games I covered generally came out in the week prior to my post.  Then it finally got to the point where I was covering a mix of older and new games, so I dropped “New” from the title.  Finally I even chopped off the date range, simply putting the date of the post in the title instead of the range that supposedly encompassed the games I was covering.  Now I’ve decided to go with the simple moniker “Touch My App Store Roundup” because, quite frankly, I won’t always be talking about 10 different games.  I thought maybe if I cut down on the quantity I could get the article out more often.  However, there is no need to fret, because the quality won’t be compromised in any way.
Speaking of games – yeah, I was going to get to that eventually – this week once again seemed to focus on casual game play.  Link 2 Power provides an interesting mash up between the match 3 and 2048 genres, and while it could stand to have some variations like power ups or maybe even multiple game play modes, it’s nice to see a truly different take on the 2048 concept of game play.  Flippy Knife and Drop Files are “just one more time” games that will drive you slightly insane, while Na4 is fair but often quite tough.  Dead Ahead is another in the long line of 2D infinite runners that doesn’t stray from the norm but provides a solid outing, and Escape Machine City is an escape game that actually does rise above the crowd to make it worth covering.  Now that I’ve spoiled everything, read on for all the details!

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Drop Files – Tap.Drag.Beat.Score. [3/3/17] – I’m not a huge fan of “twitch” games.  You know, those games where you have to do everything in a split second and are likely to pull your hair out before it’s all through (or after if you don’t want to mess up your score).  In rare instances, like Drop Files for example, it can actually be kind of entertaining.  Drop Files is sort of a weird phone simulator, where you have to do things like file photos and documents, toss unwanted items in the trash and deal with viruses.  To do this you drag items from the top of the screen to their corresponding action at the bottom, using the background colors to match up item to activity.  When the anti-virus needs updating or the trash has to be emptied an exclamation will appear on the action, at which point you need to hold it for a few seconds to take care of it.  You won’t be able to use those actions until the exclamation goes away.  There are also two different activity buttons, one on the right side and one on the left side of the screen.  When these become active you’ll have to do things like answer the phone or enter your pass code (all simulations, of course).  If you put the wrong item in an action the game is over.  If all of your spots in the top get filled up the game is over.  If you fail to get to an activity in time the game is over.  Sometimes a coin will appear in an item slot which you can tap to collect.  You can also get coins by watching video or via IAP.  The best I can tell, all these are good for is continuing a game that you’ve lost.  There is a leaderboard through Game Center, and you can connect to Facebook and compete with your friends to earn more coins.

Drop Files - Tap.Drag.Beat.Score. Rapid Turtle Games, Drop Files – Tap.Drag.Beat.Score. – Free

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Dead Ahead [6/22/17] – Dead Ahead is another 2D, side scrolling infinite runner, and like so many others it doesn’t really break any new ground.  However, it handles itself really well, and I like the fact that it takes place in the same universe, and even uses the same visual style, as Mobirate’s game Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare.  You in affect play an 8-bit Daryl from The Walking Dead, riding your hog until you get overrun by the undead, taking as many of them as you can out along the way.  I like the fact that instead of defined lanes you just slide your finger up and down on the screen to move in the corresponding direction, and your character moves in a more natural motion than simply jumping to a different spot on the road.  It’s also nice that you can use obstacles to take out zombies, including other zombies.  Of course you can run them over or shoot them with your weapon of choice as well.  Occasionally you’ll run across power ups, and if you’re lucky you’ll even find the secret to setting a bunch of the zombies on fire (I did it once by accident, and it was pretty cool).  There are missions to complete, and for every three you conquer you’ll advance a level and earn some coins.  Along with the cash you collect for each run and via methods like watching videos or through IAP you can purchase or upgrade both your weapon and bike.  In addition to the missions there are 21 achievements and 10 leaderboards in Game Center.  And if you’re more into wall defense style games you can always check out Dead Ahead: Zombie Warfare.

Dead Ahead Mobirate Studio Ltd, Dead Ahead – Free

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Flippy Knife [8/3/17] – Flippy Knife is one of those games I tend to despise, not so much because of the content as the fact that I never seem to get any better at it no matter how hard I try.  If that sort of thing doesn’t bother you, or you happen to be one of those people that can actually master such a game anyway, there’s actually quite a bit to like here.  Instead of being just a single high score chaser, Flippy Knife is actually 4 mini-games that cover a variety of playing styles.  Combo just has you flipping the knife in the air and seeing how many spins you can get before it lands back in the stump where it started.  Of course it has to land with the point of the knife in the stump or the toss doesn’t count, your streak is over and it’s back to the drawing board.  Arcade turns Flippy Knife into a basic platformer where you flip the knife to the next platform and try to collect coins in the process.  Climb makes you flip the knife back and forth between two walls, with the key once again being to make sure the point of the knife sticks in the wall.  This one also has coins for you to collect if your blade passes over them before hitting the wall.  Finally there’s Target, where you have to throw the knife into a target.  For every so many successful tosses in a row you earn a chest, though I haven’t managed to get a single one yet.  As you collect coins by playing, winning badges (non Game Center achievements) or spending IAP you can buy new blades that will potentially earn you more money.  They also have different weights, which actually does affect the game play.  In addition to the badges there are 4 leaderboards on Game Center, one for each mini-game.  So far my favorite game is Target, even though I can’t seem to earn a single chest.  Hopefully over time they’ll add more mini-games, but for the price of admission there should be enough to keep you entertained.

Flippy Knife Oleg Beresnev, Flippy Knife – Free

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Na4 [7/21/17] – Your task is simple: collect the three vials and escape through the portal on each level.  Of course accomplishing this goal is a bit more difficult.  For starters, you only have a certain number of moves on a given level.  Thankfully this number is different for each level, and it usually seems apropos for the level you’re trying to beat.  Then there are levels like the one I’m currently stuck on, where there seems to be no way to beat it in the prescribed number of moves.  Then again, it doesn’t help when the game starts introducing obstacles like spinning platforms, lasers or vanishing walls that like to reappear at just the wrong moment.  Luckily you do have a couple of things going for you.  For better or worse you can play a level as many times as you need to, and sometimes you’ll be just on the brink of giving up before you finally get just the right combination of shots to complete the level.  Also, if you’re skilled enough you can actually aim and launch your avatar while it’s still moving, which can help you avoid an errant laser or getting stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.  And you always have a path finder to show you roughly where your ball is going to travel.  The game offers 100 hand crafted levels, and there are apparently several artifacts to find as well.  Sadly after 30+ levels I have as yet to find a single one, so if you like a challenge and believe in the 100% completion creed Na4 should keep you busy for a while.

Na4 Jonathan Low, Na4 – $1.99

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Link 2 Power [8/17/17] – Link 2 Power unites the combining tactics of 2048 with the line drawing mechanics of a match 3 game.  Just like in 2048, the object is to keep combining objects of like value to generate bigger objects.  Since this adheres to the traditional 2048 standards the objects are chips with numbers on them, and the numbers increase by multiples of 2 (2, 4, 8, 16, etc.).  Instead of sliding tiles back and forth, however, you slide your finger across two or more chips of the same value to combine them.  One neat feature is that the more you select, the higher the value of the resulting coin.  Combine 3 chips with the number 4 on them and you’ll get 8.  Add a fourth chip and the newly created chip will be 16.  Every 3 chips added to the mix doubles the value of the resulting chip.  You simply keep going until you can’t make any more matches.  Every time you make a match your score is increased by the sum of all the chips that you cleared.  There are two leaderboards you can place on, one for playing the 4×4 board and the other for the 5×5 board.  There are also 14 achievements to earn, each of which so far has corresponded to creating a more valuable chip.  You can also earn diamonds as gifts or by watching videos, and these diamonds can be used to purchase different shapes for your chips as well as themes for the colors.  I will admit that I wish there were a bit more variety to the game, but for a unique take on the 2048 genre it’s worth a play or two (or several).

Link 2 Power ANDREY NOVIKOV, Link 2 Power – Free

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Escape Machine City [9/7/17] – Welcome to the second game from the developers that brought us Faraway: Puzzle Escape.  If you haven’t played that one, you really should give it a try.  As for Escape Machine City, it’s worth the time as well.  Whereas Faraway felt more like an Egyptian themed Myst, this one has the trappings of an escape game, albeit one that’s actually decent.  The town you are in is about to be destroyed, and you have to figure out how to get out before you become part of the rubble.  Each level is filled with object puzzles and at least one mini-game, and for those of you holding your breath you can sigh with relief that there are no hidden object sequences.  For the most part everything is pretty logical and the mini-games certainly aren’t very difficult, but I did find myself effectively tapping the entire area occasionally to find something to do, and once I even had to use a walkthrough.  Still, even if you’re an average level in your puzzle solving skills you should find the progress pretty smooth and relaxing throughout the game.  It’s certainly easier that Faraway was.  You get to play the first 8 levels for free, and then you can purchase the final 7 in packs or for one group price.  The game is polished, the graphics are well above average for an escape game, and you get more than enough to whet your appetite.  Best of all, the developers promise that the paid levels are actually longer than the free ones.

Escape Machine City Snapbreak Games, Escape Machine City – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games I’ve played on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently that you think I should cover, please leave a reply to this post. Previous installments of our App Store Games Roundup:

  • Loving Dead Ahead, 2-D games have that extra effect on me.
    SolvedApp.com

  • RustySabre

    I hear you. I will admit that there are some 3D games that look spectacular, but I’d almost always take a 2D pixel art game over them.