TouchMyApps » Eric Pankoke http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 You Got Your NFL In My Temple Run 2… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/you-got-your-nfl-in-my-temple-run-2/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/you-got-your-nfl-in-my-temple-run-2/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74150 Ever fancied yourself running the locales of Temple Run 2 with your favorite NFL player?  Well now you can, assuming of course that your favorite player is either Colin Kaepernick from the San Francisco 49ers or Russell Wilson of Seattle Seahawk’s fame.  Starting from October 10 until Thanksgiving rolls around, two new players will be … Read more]]>

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Ever fancied yourself running the locales of Temple Run 2 with your favorite NFL player?  Well now you can, assuming of course that your favorite player is either Colin Kaepernick from the San Francisco 49ers or Russell Wilson of Seattle Seahawk’s fame.  Starting from October 10 until Thanksgiving rolls around, two new players will be released each week.  If you purchase them while they’re available you’ll have access to them even after the week is up, but once the next set comes to the Temple Run 2 store you’ll be out of luck.  For more information on this special event go here:

Temple Run 2 and the NFL

And if for some reason you don’t already have Temple Run 2, check it out here:

Temple Run 2 Imangi Studios, LLC, Temple Run 2 – Free

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Dead Trigger 2: The Ithaca Tour – Not Exactly A Magical Mystery http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/dead-trigger-2-the-ithaca-tour-not-exactly-a-magical-mystery/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/dead-trigger-2-the-ithaca-tour-not-exactly-a-magical-mystery/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:27:25 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74147 Are you a fan of Dead Trigger 2?  If so it’s time to find out how you compare with all the other trigger-ites.  Madfinger Games is currently holding a competition called the Ithaca Tour that takes place in five cites across Europe (and since I’m a little bit late to the party two of them … Read more]]>

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Are you a fan of Dead Trigger 2?  If so it’s time to find out how you compare with all the other trigger-ites.  Madfinger Games is currently holding a competition called the Ithaca Tour that takes place in five cites across Europe (and since I’m a little bit late to the party two of them have already passed).  Each leg of the competition takes place over a weekend in October except the final destination which starts on Halloween and continues through the second of November.  Join the fray, wrack up some big scores and try to qualify for some cool prizes including an Nvidia Shield!  Note that you will have to have a Dead Trigger 2 account which requires either a new signup or a Facebook account.  For more details on the contest you can check out the official Berlin page, which is the next stop in the competition:

Dead Trigger 2: The Ithaca Tour – Berlin Stop

And, just in case you don’t already own the game:

DEAD TRIGGER 2 MADFINGER Games, a.s., DEAD TRIGGER 2 – Free

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Shadow Fight 2 – Definitely Not Hiding In The Shadows http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/14/shadow-fight-2-definitely-not-hiding-in-the-shadows/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/14/shadow-fight-2-definitely-not-hiding-in-the-shadows/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:36:35 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74141 In a virtual App Store that sees thousands of new game releases a month, how is a company supposed to get noticed?  Some feel they need to turn to publishers like Chillingo or BulkyPix, while others put their trust in PR firms.  Apparently Nekki believes in the power of its own fan base.  Shadow Fight … Read more]]>

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In a virtual App Store that sees thousands of new game releases a month, how is a company supposed to get noticed?  Some feel they need to turn to publishers like Chillingo or BulkyPix, while others put their trust in PR firms.  Apparently Nekki believes in the power of its own fan base.  Shadow Fight 2 is the mobile sequel to their hit Facebook martial arts game, and so far it has seen 35 million downloads between iOS and Android devices.  Nekki has amassed an amazing 160 million downloads amongst all of their games, which is quite impressive given that they has spent very little on advertising up to this point.  Still, as someone who has more than 20,000 titles in his collection can attest to, just because someone downloads a game doesn’t mean they are playing it.  However, Shadow Fight 2 average 1.5 million users per day, so I think they have the “actually playing” fan base nailed down pretty well.  For a more detailed look at this milestone you can take a look at Nekki’s complete press release here:

Shadow Fight 2 for iOS and Android Surpasses 35 Million Downloads

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In the mean time, I thought I’d add an itsy bitsy notch to their formidable digital belt and take the game for a spin myself.  I’m playing on an iPad 2 running iOS 8.0.1 (I know, my bad), and the game seems to handle itself pretty well.  I’ve never been big on fighting games, and my skill is even less credible when you take away a physical joystick, but I’m managing to do okay so far.  There seems to be plenty of options for attack with an 8 way virtual joypad as well as kick and punch buttons, assuming you can actually pull of the combos that you learn along the way.  Game modes include a comprehensive story option, tournament mode to help you level up and survival mode which gives you the chance to earn extra coins.  As you level up you’ll unlock new perks, weapons and armor, all of which make it easier for you to advance in the different areas of the game.  The shadowy renderings combined with some really fluid animation make this pretty incredible to watch, and the music and sound effects transport you to the days of fun Bruce Lee flicks.  From my admittedly limited fighting game experience on the iPad, I’d say Shadow Fight 2 is a pretty decent contender.

Shadow Fight 2 Nekki, Shadow Fight 2 – Free

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Gummy Drop! in Review – Match 3, Quests And IAP, Oh My! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/10/gummy-drop-in-review-match-3-quests-and-iap-oh-my/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/10/gummy-drop-in-review-match-3-quests-and-iap-oh-my/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 12:09:22 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74084 Most of my experience with Big Fish Games has been in relation to hidden object games, at least when it comes to my iDevices.  I was intrigued by the release of Gummy Drop!, though, because I was told that it wasn’t a cookie cutter match 3 game, and as a devout fan of the genre … Read more]]>

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Most of my experience with Big Fish Games has been in relation to hidden object games, at least when it comes to my iDevices.  I was intrigued by the release of Gummy Drop!, though, because I was told that it wasn’t a cookie cutter match 3 game, and as a devout fan of the genre I’m always looking for something that feels fresh.  The truth is that from a mechanics perspective there really isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, or at least that’s the case with as far as I’ve gotten.  What does stand out, however, are all the goals and extras that come with completing the levels.  Be warned that this is a free to play game, which means you’ll need a fair amount of patience or the willingness to spend some IAP to keep progressing after a while.

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Your job is to travel the world fixing all the destruction the gummies have caused.  To do that you’ll have to match gummies like you’ve never matched before, clearing them away to reach high scores so you can move on to subsequent levels.  Some levels have special tiles that need to be cleared away in order to win, and still others have bricks that need to be collected by matching them.  There are even some cases where you have to gather souvenirs by matching away the stuff beneath them so they fall to the bottom of the screen.  Each level has three difficulties with progressively harder goals to attain and greater rewards to earn.  Besides getting to keep the bricks you match you will earn coins and other items that will help you fulfill certain missions.

You see, in addition to simply beating the levels there are various quests around the board that you’ll need to complete.  The most basic one is rebuilding certain structures which you’ll use the bricks you collect to accomplish.  In the first 10 levels you’ll need to collect special coins that you’ll use to help rebuild a lighthouse, and so on.  I like this because it gives you incentive to replay the levels at a higher difficulty and provides you with more satisfaction than just beating other people’s high scores and climbing leaderboard charts.  Of course if you really do care about that sort of thing you are more than welcome to invite your Facebook friends and challenge them to beat your scores.

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Coins are used to buy power ups that can help turn the tide when you’re not meeting your goals as well as buy extra hearts when you’ve run out and want to keep playing before the timer refreshes.  The problem is that the rewards you earn from beating levels don’t go a long way towards purchasing power ups, and the further you progress in the game the more non-optional power ups become.  Thankfully some of the quests provide you with extra coins, and you also get to scratch off a lottery ticket each day where you can win some money.  Between having only three lives and the hefty cost of the more advanced power ups, however, the game is definitely geared towards making you shell out for IAP at some point.  At least it has the courtesy of not popping up something every couple of rounds asking you to buy, though, so kudos for that.

I really like the way the game looks.  In the matching scenes there is plenty of sparkle, and on the map it has a cool “made out of paper” appearance.  There’s plenty of animation and everything is well drawn.  The sound effects are okay, but they can be useful for things like knowing that you’ve crossed a milestone in the score or cleared away yet another tile.  Your tour guide pipes up with comments quite frequently, though I’m still not sure what she means when she says “weekend”.  The music is nice and subtle so it keeps you entertained while you’re thinking yet is not overly distracting.  It’s kind of like good elevator music, if that is even possible.

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Overall Gummy Drop provides a pleasant match 3 experience, and while the actual matching mechanics don’t offer anything new there’s plenty to do with quests and multiple difficulty settings to conquer at each level.  I just wish there were some way to get the full effect of the game without having to spend a ton of money on IAP.  I could see investing $5 or $10 in this game, but to truly make smart purchases is probably going to cost you a lot more than that.

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App Summary
Title: Gummy Drop! Developer: Big Fish Games, Inc
Reviewed Ver:  1.0.3 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size:  72.3 MB
  • Plenty of levels to conquer
  • Each level has 3 layers of difficulty
  • Additional quests give you more to do
  • Good visuals and sound
  • Nothing new from the match 3 perspective
  • IAP basically becomes a must at some point

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Coming Soon… Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/09/coming-soon-tilt-to-live-gauntlets-revenge/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/09/coming-soon-tilt-to-live-gauntlets-revenge/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:27:18 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74108 Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge Tilt To Live redefined the “dodge everything” genre of casual games, and Tilt To Live 2 took things up about 100 notches from the original (take the exaggeration with as much salt as you want – the point is that the games are awesome!)  Never content with resting on their … Read more]]>

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Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge

Tilt To Live redefined the “dodge everything” genre of casual games, and Tilt To Live 2 took things up about 100 notches from the original (take the exaggeration with as much salt as you want – the point is that the games are awesome!)  Never content with resting on their laurels, however, the team at One Man Left has decided to expand one of their TTL 2 DLC expansions into a full blown sequel, and thus Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is born.  Rather than a simple arena affair this is an obstacle course style game, but there will still be plenty of stuff to dodge and ways to die.  I’ll bring you more details once I’ve actually had the chance to play the game, but in the mean time here’s a nifty little bullet point list from the developers:

•    Responsive tilt controls, calibrated your way.
•    Easy, Medium, & Hard modes: choose the length of your health bar
•    Challenging gameplay: experience the full spectrum of human emotion
•    Three gauntlets to conquer in whichever order you like!
•    Traps and enemies are shuffled for a fresh experience every retry.
•    Reach the finish line to take on an endless Bonus Round.
•    Show off your best pointonium haul on our Game Center leaderboards.
•    Challenging achievements dare you to master each gauntlet’s traps.
•    Unlock the final boss gauntlet to throw down with the Dot King himself.

You can expect this latest TTL twitch fest some time in October.  In the mean time, why not check out the rest of the series?

Tilt to Live One Man Left, Tilt to Live – $2.99
Tilt to Live HD One Man Left, Tilt to Live HD (TMA Review) – Free
Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous One Man Left, Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous (TMA Review) – $2.99

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10 App Store Games To Watch [August 25 - 31] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/07/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-25-31/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/07/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-25-31/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 11:07:03 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74112 The long haul of the holiday season has begun, and there’s still no shortage of new games on the App Store.  I’ve been juggling between two games for the last entry in this week’s list, so here’s a bit about the one I didn’t pick.  The game is called Appointment With F.E.A.R., and it’s the … Read more]]>

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The long haul of the holiday season has begun, and there’s still no shortage of new games on the App Store.  I’ve been juggling between two games for the last entry in this week’s list, so here’s a bit about the one I didn’t pick.  The game is called Appointment With F.E.A.R., and it’s the latest collaboration between Steve Jackson and Tin Man Games.  You get to take on the role of a superhero, and the whole game is told in a comic book format rather than a more traditional book like the rest of Tin Man Games’ offerings.  You get to choose a superpower which will affect how you handle different situations, and you’ll also have to choose at certain times who want to help when multiple crises rear their head simultaneously.  It’s a nice departure from the typical gamebook, and I’d venture to say it’s probably a different superhero experience then you’ve had in electronic games before.

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Angry Cloud Adventures – Free Casual Game – This is what I like to call an RTS lite; it’s one of those games where you try and take over a playing field which is comprised of friendly, neutral and enemy bases, and you just select a friendly base and then a non-friendly base in order to attack.  I have to say that I don’t often find myself describing this sort of game as cute, but even the bad guys in Angry Cloud Adventures have a certain amount of charm.  Don’t let that fool you, however, because the game is tough.  Currently I find myself stuck on level 8 without much hope of passing it to move on.  Still, there are some features of the game I really like, such as the fact that there are multiple types of bad guys that will actually attack each other instead of just you.  There are also allies that will not only help you by attacking others but send reinforcements your way to actually build up the strength of your clouds.  This is something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in a game of this style.  There are three types of power ups that you can select at the beginning of a level, assuming that you’ve already unlocked them at some point during game play.  It’s an interesting take on the genre, and its cute atmosphere should appeal to the younger crowd as well.

Angry Cloud Adventures - Free Casual Game ZHUZHU YAN, Angry Cloud Adventures – Free Casual Game – Free

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Tower Boxing – This is another one of those genres that I don’t really get the popularity of.  Usually the target of your frustrations is a tree, but basically your job is to keep demolishing the object in the center of the screen for as long as you can before you accidentally get clobbered in the head by something protruding from the aforementioned object.  I guess the thrill is supposed to come from honing your reaction abilities, but up until Tower Boxing I never cared much for the concept.  The funny thing is that Tower Boxing doesn’t even offer different modes like many of the games in this genre do.  What it does, however, is replace the tree with a tower and give you one of several giant creatures to demolish it with. You get the boxer to start with, and as you demolish enough and collect coins you can buy other monsters eager to take a crack at the tower.  At one point I was also awarded a Godzilla like creature, though I’m not sure if that’s free for everyone or if it was a special deal for some reason.  The game does offer a leaderboard and 19 achievements through Game Center, and you can Tweet your accomplishments as well as post them on Facebook.  I think the reason this game holds my attention is because it reminds me of a mini-game version of Rampage, which is probably one of my favorite monster-centric arcade games ever.

Tower Boxing FDG Entertainment, Tower Boxing – Free

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Epic Eric – Welcome to your typical tale of a damsel in distress and the valiant knight that must save her.  The problem is that with me in control of Eric, the damsel might be in more distress than if she just stayed with the evil nemesis.  Your job is simply to reach the fair maiden in each of the 45 levels, but to do that you’ll have to swing on gears, bounce on high jump platforms, get propelled by swinging gates and more.  While making your way across each level can be challenging enough on its own, the real test of skill comes in collecting the three stars that are available on each level.  Have no fear, because the game is designed in such a way that you’ll want to get that last star.  You know you can, even though you’ve just tried the same exact thing 20 times and it didn’t work.  You’re positive you’ll be successful on the 21st time.  There is Game Center integration, and the iTunes description even talks about achievements, but it appears that they haven’t actually been implemented yet.  The plus side is that will give you a reason to replay the game once you’ve mastered it!  The graphics are colorful, the music reminds me of something off of the Pee Wee’s Big Adventure soundtrack, and in a modern PC twist you can play the damsel in distress as well.  Epic might be a bit of a stretch, but the game is certainly good fun.

Epic Eric 232 Studios, Epic Eric – $0.99

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Skybound – Since Temple Run was released on the App Store one of my passions in mobile gaming has become the infinite runner.  The problem is that while just like any other genres there are definitely some standouts, for the most part they tend to all feel the same after a while.  Skybound does not fall into that category.  You’ll pilot a Gryth through lush backdrops, trying to keep your seed meter full and avoiding the nasty red seeds that take away from your energy.  If you fill your meter the red seeds will become golden and you’ll be able to pick them up, and this is what you’ll use to buy auras and new Gryths.  Of course the price tags on the Gryths are pretty hefty, so you better plan on getting really good or playing a lot, though doing both wouldn’t kill you.  Like most infinite runners this game has missions, but unlike the majority of its peers you won’t be flying through the missions in Skybound like they were nothing.  I still haven’t completed the third mission of the first set, which is to simply skim the surface of the water for 500 meters.  The nice thing about the game is that even if you aren’t very good at it, there’s plenty of entertainment value just flying around the landscape.  It kind of reminds me of Knights Into Dreams in that regards.  If you’re a fan of the genre or just like touring vivid, detailed locales, Skybound is certainly worth your time.

SkyBound HARTH LABS INC, SkyBound – Free

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Glue Knight – I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of one touch runners.  Glue Knight actually uses a two touch system, but I like it so much I’m going to give the game a bit of leeway.  Basically it’s a platformer where you have no control over the forward motion of your avatar, in this case the Glue Knight.  Whereas normally in this sort of game you’d simply tap any time you needed to execute a maneuver, however, in Glue Knight the mechanics have been expanded quite a bit.  Tapping the left side of the screen once jumps, and the longer you hold the higher he jumps.  If you tap again while in the air Glue Knight will do a slam attack with his sword.  If you tap the right side Glue Knight will slash his sword, and if you hold the right side as you approach a while Glue Knight will actually climb the wall.  These extra mechanics allow for some interesting level design and also give you more of a range when interacting with bad guys.  The game is comprised of six worlds, each containing between 9 and 13 levels.  The best part is that while you have to complete levels within a world in order, you can play any world at any time.

Glue Knight Balazs Buri, Glue Knight – Free

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Criminal Case – I’m really kind of getting tired of the whole “complete free to play” mantra.  Criminal Case is the perfect example; the game is actually pretty interesting, but unless you don’t mind playing for only 5 or 10 minutes at a time you’ll be spending money on it sooner rather than later.  As a budding homicide detective your job is to solve a series of murders.  You’ll explore crime scenes via a hidden object interface.  Collected evidence can be taken back to headquarters and analyzed, while body parts should be autopsied for clues.  The kicker here is that running autopsies takes time unless you want to pay for instant gratification, and checking out the evidence requires stars.  Stars are earned by exploring the crime scenes, but the scores necessary to get a single star are absurdly high and each visit to a crime scene expends energy.  Naturally you can replenish your energy via IAP as well.  I really like the look of this game and the different aspects involved in solving each crime, I just think they need to come up with a better way to handle the monetization aspects of the game.  If that’s something that doesn’t bother you and you’re looking for a decent foray into the world of detectives, Criminal Case is worth exploring.

Criminal Case Pretty Simple, Criminal Case – Free

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Alien Creeps TD – Once again I am forced to rethink my position on tower defense games.  While I’m not overly impressed with the level designs so far, there are enough plus sides to this game to make that not much of a concern.  There are four types of structures you can build, and each has at least 10 upgrades you can purchase over time.  You also have the ability to call in reinforcements and airstrikes (both of which have limited uses until you buy or earn more), and each of these actions can be upgraded several times as well.  You have a hero that you can move around the map who levels up and can be trained (okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying upgraded), and you even have access to a Tesla coil that gets three charges per attempt at a level and can do a decent amount of damage to a reasonable group of bad guys.  When you complete a level with three stars you’ll have access to higher difficulty settings on that level that provide tougher enemies and limited resources but also reap more rewards.  Connect with Facebook and you can sync your game across multiple devices and send and receive gifts from friends.  The best part of the game for me is that despite the relatively small size of many of the objects the graphics are nicely detailed and really well animated, making the world really come to life.

Alien Creeps TD Outplay Entertainment Ltd, Alien Creeps TD – Free

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The Iron Fists – Mini Fighter – For most people a fighting game doesn’t provide much of an experience if there aren’t 20 buttons to mash and hundreds of combos to master.  Thankfully that’s not really my style, and The Iron Fists is actually much more my speed.  There are two moves: tap left to attack left and tap right to attack right.  The game is all about timing, and different enemies with various attack styles will be sure to challenge your reflexes.  You’ll also be assaulted with knives, food and bags, though the latter two work to your benefit as food restores health and bags reward you with money.  In between bouts you can spend the money you’ve earned to upgrade your character or buy special attacks that you can trigger with the tap of an on screen button.  You start with Bruce and can unlock two other characters using rubies which are attained when you level up or via IAP.  This game has simple mechanics and honestly doesn’t offer a lot of variance in game play, yet it has still managed to keep me entertained.

The Iron Fists - Mini Fighter nameun lee, The Iron Fists – Mini Fighter – Free

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Gunspell – I was thinking the other day that there were two types of RPG / Match 3 hybrids: RPGs that just happened to use match 3 mechanics for combat, and match 3 games that throw in some RPG elements just to spruce things up a bit.  Gunspell definitely falls into the former category and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  I think I missed a key dialog towards the beginning of the game, but from what I gather you belong to some special order of folks that can cross between dimensions and you must rescue your sister and a party of adventurers that she is with.  You’ll explore a series of hexagonal maps, uncovering useful items and fighting bad guys to further your quests and level up your character.  There are lots of items to find along the way but you have limited storage space, so you’ll constantly have to make decisions about what to keep and discard.  The main market where you can buy goods refreshes every so many hours and you’ll also run into one time stops, so if you see something you really think you want you might have to pick it up and stash it away for later.  The match 3 mechanics are pretty standard for this type of game, but one cool feature is that you can get weapons that are filled up by the various rubies on the board, and when you fire the weapon it doesn’t actually take up your turn so it’s like getting a bonus shot.  One thing I like about the game as a whole is the grittier, more realistic presentation which is quite refreshing given the cartoony graphics that seem to permeate the majority of these hybrids.  If you like this combination of game play then Gunspell is a must for you to check out.

Gunspell AKPublish, Gunspell – Free

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Armies of Dragons – At first this looks like your typical row defense game, and in some ways it is.  There’s much more to it than just tossing your troops on the line and hoping they will succeed, however.  Unit types need to be unlocked, and then you’ll also want to be sure you actually upgrade them from time to time as well.  Before placing a troop on the battlefield they must be charged in a center of the same color, and these centers can be upgraded so they train your troops more quickly.  You can also buy and upgrade various one time boosts to give you a leg up on the competition.  You can even buy different types of towers to make your defense much stronger.  Each segment of a campaign has four objectives, and you can replay the segments until you complete all of the objectives.  Finishing a segment will earn you 2 gems while completing all the objectives will earn you six more.  There are also missions to complete which earn you honors, and honors give you bonuses in battle.  You can even hook up with your friends through Facebook to get allies in battle if you so desire.

Armies of Dragons Animoca, Armies of Dragons – Free

That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:

Well that wraps up another week of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played from the past week that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:

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10 App Store Games To Watch [August 18 - 24] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/23/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-18-24/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/23/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-18-24/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 21:31:04 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74086 I don’t know about the rest of you, but I certainly did not rush out over the past couple of days to try and get an iPhone 6 / Plus, nor did I bother to pre-order one.  And, even though I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, I didn’t hop a plane to the land … Read more]]>

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I don’t know about the rest of you, but I certainly did not rush out over the past couple of days to try and get an iPhone 6 / Plus, nor did I bother to pre-order one.  And, even though I’ve always wanted to go to Australia, I didn’t hop a plane to the land down under to get one either.  I did, however, upgrade to iOS 8, despite my usual rule of “wait a few weeks and let other sort out the kinks first”.  Anyway, regardless of whether you’re running the absolute latest hardware or iOS revision, like usual there are a slew of games out there waiting to be played.  So, without further ado, here are 10 more for you to check out…

monday-roundup-08252014-papee

Papee – Welcome to the ultimate causal game.  All you have to do is drag your avatar, which in this case is a giant dog head, around the screen avoiding all the nasties and collecting every star you see.  Stars are used to upgrade power ups such as invincibility and slow motion.  On rare occasions a gem will float by as well, but most gems are earned by completing challenges.  Gems are used to revive Papee when he gets killed, though at this point the only benefit I see to that is if you’re looking to get on the leaderboard for most points.  Challenges are internal to the game, but there are also Game Center achievements for the world to see, which I believe correlate one to one with the challenges.  What makes this game so fun are the different types of enemies – kamikaze chickens, flying sharks, flame spewing serpents and more will try to take you down.  The graphics have a nice retro console look to them, the sound effects are well done and the music is even pretty decent.  Papee isn’t necessarily the most innovative game around, but there’s something about it that’s just lots of fun.

Papee Andrey Torchinskiy, Papee – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-space-escape

Space Escape – If you like open world, infinite flying, shoot first and ask questions later type of games then Space Escape is just the game for you.  Outer space is your sandbox and the other children don’t play very nice.  Shoot down your adversaries, collect the scrap metal from their destroyed chasses and trade with the local space station to get upgrades and new ships.  There’s lots of real estate to explore, and you might even find yourself navigating through an asteroid field or two.  Just be mindful of your energy, because both shooting and moving takes up precious power.  When you get low it’s time to find a moon to mine for energy.  I do think the game could stand a bit of tweaking for new users as the path you need to take is often hard to determine, moons for mining aren’t easy to come by and the enemy just seems to show up out of nowhere.  Putting all that aside, the concept behind Space Escape is interesting and the game shows a lot of potential.  Just make sure you bring a bit of patience to the table.

Space Escape Sebastian Davies, Space Escape – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-ice-cream-nomsters

Ice Cream Nomsters – This game was clearly designed with the younger set in mind, at least when it comes to the aesthetics, but that hasn’t made it any less entertaining for me to play.  You are an ice cream delivery man, and it just happens that your customers are monster houses!  Deliver the goods, earn money and upgrade both your vehicle and the depots where you get your ice cream from.  You can pick up as many as three power ups at a time, and don’t use them too sparingly because you don’t get to keep them across levels.  You’ll earn XP every time you play a city, and when you earn enough you’ll unlock the next city.  Of course you’ll still have to pay via in-game currency in order to play that city.  One thing I think is cool is that instead of having different types of vehicles and depots, they simply increase the maximum level of each of the three upgradable stats when you move to a new landscape.  The cities are randomly generated each time you play, and each new location adds different nuances like multiple depots and multiple trucks to control!  The controls are quite simple, and they make it pretty easy to plan ahead or change your mind should you need or want to.  This is a great game to play with your kids and then sneak a few extra rounds in once they go to bed.

Ice Cream Nomsters Firedroid, Ice Cream Nomsters – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-wan-nyan-slash

Wan Nyan Slash – Overall I’m not really into this whole “Nyan cat” phenomenon, but then this doesn’t feel like your typical Nyan cat game.  You control two cat samurai in an infinite runner where your success depends on not letting the bad guys get all the way across the screen.  To defeat the villains you must slash them using the cats, so it’s not about pointing the cats where the bad guys are now but rather directing them to where the bad guys will be once the cats actually execute their slash attacks.  The other thing to keep in mind is that the attacks are all or nothing, so both cats must be directed before they will attack.  Slash two or more at a time to earn combos and build up a chain to keep your score high and work towards unlocking costumes.  You can also slash presents to earn power ups that will let you attack in something other than straight lines.  Besides altering your appearance, the costumes will give you bonuses like shorter slash times or an increase in the amount of time it takes before the chain modifier goes away.  There game offers three difficulty levels, and I would suggest that if you have any sort of skill at this type of game you don’t start with easy because you’ll probably find it a bit boring.  There are currently no achievements, but Game Center is used for a single leaderboard.  The interesting game mechanic, kooky enemies and cool retro look and sound make Wan Nyan Slash an entertaining infinite run ‘n slash game.

Wan Nyan Slash Alvin Phu, Wan Nyan Slash – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-hunger-crunch

Hunger Crunch – This game plays like an infinite runner although there is an end to each level.  You control a cute little creature riding atop a cute big creature that together are trying to stomp out hunger and collect some candy along the way.  Each level has a three star rating that I believe is based on the number of minions that you squash along the way.  There are also 4 goals on each level, though unless I’m missing something there’s no real indicator of what you’re trying to accomplish unless you already find it.  Still, there’s lots going on in these levels and for folks that like to explore it should provide lots of entertainment for free.  The main reason I’m bringing up this title, however, is because of its connection with Rice Bowls.  Rice Bowls is an organization that partners with orphanages to provide food for needy children.  Money that is made via the IAP in Hunger Crunch goes to this organization, and I always like it when games raise money for a cause.  Please understand, however, that I am currently not an advocate for this particular cause, so make sure you do your own research to determine if you think the effort is worthwhile or not.  In the mean time, at least you get a fun game out of it.

Hunger Crunch Rice Bowls, Inc., Hunger Crunch – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-rowing-drummer

Rowing Drummer – The music is repetitive and the drumming, which is sort of the main feature of the game, gets old real quick.  On the other hand, there’s something that I genuinely like about the simplicity of this game.  Your job is to row as far as you can before you collide into one of the many pillars rising from the water.  So far I have run into no other type of perils.  There are also no power ups to aid you, levels to reach or XP to earn.  Your only real prize is that there are a couple of new boats to unlock once you’ve rowed a certain number of meters in one haul or a certain number of meters overall.  There’s also one boat you can acquire by liking the developers on Facebook.  Again there is nothing special about the boats – they just change the look of the game a bit.  The game does have 5 achievements through Game Center, each one equating to unlocking a different boat.  There is also one leaderboard for distance in a single run and one for total distance.  I haven’t quite nailed down what makes this game a “one more try” type of scenario yet, but for the free price tag you might as well find out on your own.

Rowing Drummer bong koo SHIN, Rowing Drummer – Free
Rowing Drummer Golden Edition bong koo SHIN, Rowing Drummer Golden Edition – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-lantern-odessey

Lantern Odyssey – This is the kind of adventure that combines thinking puzzles with twitch game play and throws in a dose of physics just for good measure.  There are only 20 levels so far, but don’t let the simple nature of the first couple throw you off.  Not only do the rules change from level to level but sometimes they change from one part of the level to the next.  Wait until the first time you lose control of gravity and can only control left and right movement instead of being able to manipulate up and down navigation.  Every level is solvable, the real question becomes do you have the wherewithal to do so.  About the only constants in the game are that white walls are fine, blue walls are bouncy and red walls are bad.  There’s probably a lot more I should be telling you about the game, but to be perfectly honest I can’t even get past level 4.  The visuals are stunning in their simplicity and the music is so serene it almost wipes away the tense nature of some of the puzzles.  You’ve probably not played much of anything like this on the App Store before, and even if you get frustrated and delete it after a few levels it is an experience you won’t soon forget.

Lantern Odyssey Nemanja Komar, Lantern Odyssey – Free
Lantern Odyssey Premium Nemanja Komar, Lantern Odyssey Premium – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-pocketer-bbq

Pocketer BBQ – This is a quirky little time management game, but don’t expect to see Flo running around here.  Instead you have your grill, a bunch of ingredients and a constant flood of customers coming in.  Serve them well and you will be rewarded appropriately.  Make them wait too long and you can kiss your spotless record goodbye.  Story mode (as denoted by the “start” button has 60 levels, and there are also random and never end modes.  From what I can tell in random mode the game picks one of the 60 levels for you to play and gives you an extra random bonus for completing that level.  After finishing certain levels you’ll unlock upgrades that require a decent sum to be purchased, and these bonus modes are a nice way to collect the money to do that.  One interesting thing about the grill is that the food comes in different shapes and sizes and it can almost be like playing a mini game of Tetris to keep the grill organized and to capacity.  The characters appear to be “borrowed” from the Pokemon franchise, which is a bonus if you’re into that fad.  The music kind of reminds me of a 16 bit console RPG game, which I actually find pretty cool.  In some ways this game is kind of basic for a food based time management sim, yet I still find it entertaining and I like the overall presentation.

Pocketer BBQ Jun Lv, Pocketer BBQ – Free

monday-roundup-08252014-dodo-master

Dodo Master – Different genres have always translated to varying degrees on consoles, but one that has always reigned supreme is the 2D platformer.  Sadly that’s really not been the case on touch screen devices, but Dodo Master is one of the best exceptions I’ve seen to date.  You control a mother dodo bird trying to reclaim all of her stolen eggs, and clearly something does not want you to have them.  There are 80 levels overall in this game, and from what I’ve played so far each one is lovingly crafted to be both fun and challenging.  If you grew up in the 8 and 16 bit console era with games like Mega Man or Castlevania or even in the early days of shareware PC games you’ll certainly appreciate Dodo Master from a design perspective.  Of course you might want to pull your hair out sometimes, but that just comes with the territory when a platformer is well constructed.  There are 20 doors to explore, and each one holds a key to the next – though in a very nice twist you get to choose which door to open every time.  If you collect all of the eggs on a level you’ll unlock a new hat to wear, but if you don’t you can always go in again to get the ones you missed.  The graphics are incredible, the sound is well done and even the music isn’t too bad.  I can’t say that I’ve seen anything new mechanics-wise in what Dodo Master has to offer, but what’s there is executed to perfection.

Dodo Master semir Saleh, Dodo Master – $0.99
Dodo Master Pocket semir Saleh, Dodo Master Pocket – $0.99

monday-roundup-08252014-after-coma

After Coma – Taking a cue from Aladdin, this game is a real diamond in the rough.  It starts out like an adventure game, and then drifts into a sniping game.  The problem is that I don’t know what comes after that because the game keeps locking up during the sniper mission, which I’m going to assume is what is supposed to put me in the coma mentioned in the title.  After Coma uses the Unity 3D engine and the background objects for the most part seem pretty basic and lack textures.  Interestingly enough, though, the character models are actually decent, which is usually the worst part of a small indie 3D game.  The controls are not great, and the only way to really get around in the world is if you constantly use the run button.  The game appears to be divided into chapters, but while they are small you can’t save in the middle of one, so you have to make sure you allot enough time to complete a chapter before quitting the game.  There are even some coins to collect for some inexplicable reason, but the designers did a great job of hiding them – between the two sections I’ve played I’ve only come across 4 of a possible 13 so far.  Despite all of this I think the game has a lot of potential, but I would definitely suggest starting with the free version.  Hopefully they’ll get the kinks worked out soon or I’ll figure out why the game seems to keep freezing on me.

After Coma is currently not available on the U.S. App Store

That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:

Well that wraps up another week of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played from the past week that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:

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10 App Store Games To Watch [Aug 11 - 17] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/12/10-app-store-games-to-watch-aug-11-17/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/12/10-app-store-games-to-watch-aug-11-17/#comments Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:31:12 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74069 They can try to turn iOS devices into console quality machines as hard as they want, but at the end of the day they still do portable games best.  This week some of the most entertaining games were also the simplest, such as Freaking Shapes.  All you have to do is say whether one shape … Read more]]>

monday-roundup-08182014-intro

They can try to turn iOS devices into console quality machines as hard as they want, but at the end of the day they still do portable games best.  This week some of the most entertaining games were also the simplest, such as Freaking Shapes.  All you have to do is say whether one shape fits into another or not, but see how long it takes before you’re saying “it’s not as easy as it seems”.  Maybe you’d rather try your luck at FingerOut… and no, it’s not a game of obscene gestures.  Here you just have to lift your finger from the screen when the circle underneath it changes to yellow, but you do have to remember to leave all your other fingers right where they are at.  Then again, it could be that the traditional side scrolling infinite runner with basic jump and duck motions suits your fancy.  Airblower Kid fits the bill, with the small exception that you have to keep tapping the screen to make sure your paper airplane stays afloat.

monday-roundup-08182014-spellfall

Spellfall – Puzzle RPG – This is one of those weird cases where I’m doing things kind of backwards.  I’ve already written a review for this game, but I’ve played it every day since I first launched it so I figured it was worth noting in the roundup as well.  If you’ve played any match 3 / RPG hybrids before you’ll be quite at home with this game, though instead of your typical physical attack, magical attack and defense matches everything you match in this game will go towards magic attacks except for coins.  Most monsters have a weakness and some have a preferred element as well, so it sort of plays out like a magical rock-paper-scissors.  You do level up as you gain experience which raises your health, attack and defense traits.  You’ll also earn money which can be used to buy weapons and armor, and more importantly to buy runes and unlock slots on your equipment to use them.  Runes give you additional abilities like heal, poison, stun and more, and these will level up as well when you use them.  Despite the simple match 3 mechanics there is quite a bit of depth to the combat system, and a large variety of runes lets you tailor the experience even more.  It’s also one of the best looking match 3 / RPG hybrids I’ve seen.

Spellfall™ - Puzzle RPG Backflip Studios, Spellfall™ – Puzzle RPG (TMA Review) – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-shot-break

Shot & Break – Shot & Break is your typical “defend something from a bunch of critters” type game, but I have to say I’ve found it quite enjoyable so far.  You start with a simple shotgun and can unlock several different weapons including an AK-47 and a flamegun.  Each gun can then be upgraded to last longer before you have to reload.  You’ll also be able to unlock and upgrade props, which are items like grenades and arrows that can be dragged onto the enemy to do additional damage.  Finally you have defense items like rubble and iron planks that you can put in front of your jeep to provide additional protection.  The game offers 15 levels in “campaign” mode, as well as an endless mode that you can play up to five times a day.  I think what I really like about this game though is the variety of creatures.  You have your typical creatures like werewolves, spiders and deadly bees, but then you also have things like ents and scarecrows with bombs for heads.  Everything is well drawn and somewhat resembles a Saturday morning cartoon.  This might not be overly original stuff, but it’s fun and well put together.

Shot & Break kaiyu li, Shot & Break – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-flickknights

Flick Knights – Flick Knights is an interesting concept that feels like it came from the show American Gladiators.  Two teams compete to see who can be the first to take out the opponent’s bullseye.  Unlike most of these games, however, you move around the playing field by flicking your team members from one spot to the next.  If you prefer, you can use a teammate’s special attack to do anything from teleport to a special location to mimic another team member’s actions.  Each player starts with one special attack and you can acquire two more for that player over time.  You can also buy additional team members and purchase up to two extra slots to fill out your active roster.  While you’re trying to get to your opponent’s home base make sure you work on knocking out their team which has both the benefit of removing players from the field temporarily and damaging their home base as well.  The game can be played hot seat on one device or over the internet both asynchronously and real time.  So far I haven’t had much luck connecting with players over the net, but once this game gets a community built up it could be quite intriguing.

Flick Knights Ballpit Monster Studios, Flick Knights – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-chops

C.H.O.P.S. – Combat Helicopter Offensive Pacification Squad – Here’s my “thank you for not being Flappy” game of the week.  C.H.O.P.S. has the “tap to fly up” mechanic and some columns to dodge, but beyond that it offers so much more game play than its inspiration.  You start off with a basic helicopter, some rudimentary firepower and no orbiters, and your sole mission is to destroy as many enemies as you can before they take you down.  As you earn coins you’ll be able to upgrade your helicopter or buy a new one.  You’ll also be able to upgrade or change your main weapon, which thankfully carries through to whatever new craft you purchase.  Orbiters are small craft that hover around you and provide additional firepower, but these require gems to unlock and naturally gems are much more scarce (unless you want to open up your wallet to IAP, that is).  As you continually play you’ll earn XP and level up which provides bonus revenue and higher score multipliers.  You also get a daily bonus, and on the fifth day you’ll unlock a special helicopter.  The graphics are neat, there are several locales to fight in, and the music is decent as well.  I suppose the one thing I can be thankful for about Flappy Bird is that it has produced some decent “clones”.

C.H.O.P.S. - Combat Helicopter Offensive Pacification Squad Tapps Tecnologia da Informação Ltda., C.H.O.P.S. – Combat Helicopter Offensive Pacification Squad – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-swipe-n-slash

Swipe & Slash – The 2048 (or 1024, or whatever number started it) craze has already gotten out of control, but at least this developer found a good use for it.  Much like Match 3 for Puzzle Quest, the 2048 mechanic provides the combat mechanism for Swipe & Slash, or at least it does partially.  You swipe cards together to form more powerful versions of those cards, but you actually have to tap them to queue them up.  Once your turns have been used for a given round all of your queued cards will be used and then you’ll get to execute your base attack if necessary assuming your opponent isn’t already dead.  Sword cards bolster your attack, potion cards build your health back up (there is no defense, per se) and coin cards give you money to spend on better equipment.  There are some subtle differences between this game and many of its peers, like when you swipe in a direction everything only shifts one block in that direction instead of moving as far as it can the way you swiped.  Also, unlike most RPG style games Swipe & Slash doesn’t seem to have a traditional leveling up system.  There’s Game Center integration, but that appears to be “coming soon” as opening up Game Center reveals no leaderboard or achievements.  Some may find the lack of story or quests a bit frustrating, but if you’re looking for something quick to play in little spurts at a time, Swipe & Slash delivers in a pretty unique way.

Swipe & Slash Daniel Fairley, Swipe & Slash – $0.99

monday-roundup-08182014-accidental-spelunking

Accidental Spelunking – This poor guy just can’t cut a break: first he falls off the rope, and then it’s downhill… or rather down-hole from there.  Accidental Spelunking is basically freefall cave exploration with ragdoll physics.  Of course the myriad of jutting rock ledges and inappropriately placed wooden shelves (!?!) do a great job of slowing your decent.  Unfortunately, if you get stuck at the top of the screen it’s game over.  While you’re falling your light source will be in a state of flux, so use it the best you can to navigate towards useful items like coins, jewels, chests and power ups.  If you’re lucky you’ll even find a drill, though I’m not exactly sure what that gets you when you use it.  Coins can be used to upgrade your light and drill options, and jewels can buy you special charms.  There are also several characters you can purchase that come from the game Don’t Fall in the whole (also from the same developer), and those all appear to require a combination of coins and jewels to purchase.  Game Center does provide a leaderboard, but there are currently no achievements to earn.  Guess you’ll just have to settle for trying to unlock all the characters.  The game is free to play, but you can always head to the store to purchase some jewels via IAP if you’d like.

Accidental Spelunking Oooweeooo Inc., Accidental Spelunking – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-bizarre-aquarium

Bizarre Aquarium – This game is a bit rough around the edges.  The interface has some issues, the “one tap to do everything” paradigm doesn’t always work, and there’s not a whole lot of variety at the moment.  Still, much like Insaniquarium which I presume to be Bizarre Aquarium’s inspiration, the concept is actually amusing and has lots of potential.  As I said in my review of Insaniquarium so long ago, who knew maintaining an aquarium could actually be fun?  You start by feeding the fish you have so they grow bigger and produce coins – don’t ask.  Then you buy more fish, upgrade the type of food you give them and increase the amount of pellets you can serve at once.  If you’d like to earn gems, which basically translate to more money, you can purchase piranhas that will eat the small fish you buy.  Everything cost money, including passing out food pellets, so the trick is to simply start earning more money than you spend.  Eventually you’ll need to buy stars so you can complete a level if you’re playing story mode.  In survival mode you earn stars based on the amount of time you can survive.  Stars are used to buy pets, which in turn directly or indirectly help you earn more money.  Oh, and don’t forget to buy a laser gun so you can arm yourself against the fish eating aliens!

Bizarre Aquarium charles luo, Bizarre Aquarium – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-kittentaxi

KittenTaxi – Move over Crazy Taxi, the cats are taking over the road!  Actually, the two games are quite different so feel free to have them both as guilty taxi pleasures.  In this case you control two cats trying to escape after robbing a bank.  Each chase gets more challenging as the pursuers grow more plentiful and harder to take down.  Thankfully you have an array of weaponry at your disposal that you can upgrade as you earn money from your heists.  As a matter of fact, you can also upgrade the car, the passenger and the driver, along with a few other things that are currently locked for me.  What I find interesting is that once you pay your upgrade fee you still have to spin a wheel to see if you successfully earn the upgrade or not.  Each time you upgrade a particular feature one spot for that feature gets replaced with a 100 coin “booby prize”, so you could potentially spend lots of money on upgrades to do nothing more than earn a percentage of your money back.  Control is a simple matter of sliding your finger back and forth on the screen, as the cats will automatically attack when you’re in front of a hostile vehicle.  The graphics are great and the music kind of reminds me of something off of the soundtrack from Monk.  KittenTaxi is definitely worth taking for a spin.

KittenTaxi Wonder People Co. Ltd, KittenTaxi – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-qube-kingdom

Qube Kingdom – If developers keep this up I might actually start to like the tower defense genre.  From the level design perspective I’m not that impressed so far, but what the game lacks in path layout it more than makes up for in everything else.  You’re guided through your journey by a wizard that’s much more eager to help than the fowl Jafar of Aladdin fame.  You start with an archer and a couple of swordsmen to command, but as your skills and conquests grow so will your forces.  One interesting feature is that you are not only limited to the types of troops you can have defending you but to the actual number as well.  Initially your party can contain only 5 troops, so just because you have the money to put 20 on the battlefield doesn’t mean you can.  While on the battlefield you’ll have access to quobelisks that are fueled by the qubes of fallen foes and provide traps and obstacles to deter them, but beware the red quobelisks that actually aid the enemy.  As you win battles you’ll earn qubes which can be used to enhance your heroes.  You’ll also eventually restore your main compound which will give you access to additional game features.  You can even recruit a hero from a fellow player to earn “social” qubes and mutually benefit each other.  Welcome to the qubed generation of tower defense.

Qube Kingdom DeNA Corp., Qube Kingdom – Free

monday-roundup-08182014-rome-total-war

Rome: Total War – Take one part Magic: The Gathering, sprinkle in some Plants vs. Zombies and toss it all in an ancient Roman setting and you have Rome: Total War.  You start out with a deck of just a few cards, but as you win battles you’ll earn new cards and also money to buy more specific cards that you want.  You can take as many cards into battle as your ruling power allows, but you’ll only be able to fight with up to six at a time.  The trick is to learn the special tricks of each character type, like the fact that an archer will ambush each opponent that is placed on the board or a Warrior Gaul will get enraged and earn an extra attack point each time a comrade falls.  The hero that controls your army will grow in power as well, but always expect the enemy hero to be a bit more powerful.  That just means you have to use your cunning in place of brute force (though sometimes a really strong troop just does wonders against your foes).  You can sell cards you don’t want to help fund the army you’d like to build, and apparently you can actually upgrade your army as well, though I’m not sure how you go about doing that.  I also gather from the iTunes description that you can fight other players, but I can’t seem to find that feature either.  Still, what’s already there is pretty entertaining, and if these other features exist or suddenly show up it will only enhance the value of the game.

Rome: Total War Emu Interactive, Rome: Total War – Free

That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:

Well that wraps up another week of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played from the past week that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:

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Secret Files Tunguska in Review: An Adventure Game Like They Used To Make http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/09/secret-files-tunguska-in-review-an-adventure-game-like-they-used-to-make/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/09/secret-files-tunguska-in-review-an-adventure-game-like-they-used-to-make/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 20:59:36 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74061 While I’ll happily take any sort of adventure game for my iPad that’s half way decent, there’s something about the 80’s King’s Quest style adventure that can’t be matched by a first person point of view or lots of hidden object scenes and mini-games.  Apparently the developers behind Secret Files Tunguska get that, and as … Read more]]>

review-secret-files-1

While I’ll happily take any sort of adventure game for my iPad that’s half way decent, there’s something about the 80’s King’s Quest style adventure that can’t be matched by a first person point of view or lots of hidden object scenes and mini-games.  Apparently the developers behind Secret Files Tunguska get that, and as a result this is one of the best adventure games I’ve played on the iOS platform to date.  The story keeps you wanting to know more, the NPC interaction is plentiful but not overburdening, and the puzzles are intelligent and fun.  Add to that a polished interface and beautiful graphics and you can’t really ask for much more.  Well, a bit of background music would be kind of nice…review-secret-files-2

You start out playing Nina, who simply wants to visit her father at the museum where he works.  Instead you end up on a quest to find him as well as figure out the mystery behind the explosion that rocked Tunguska a century before.  Nina is joined by her father’s assistant Max, whom you’ll also get to control at various points in the game.  The detailed and intriguing story is told via dialog trees between the character you control and various NPCs as well as the occasional cut scene.  The actual “game” portion is your old fashioned mix of item collecting and object puzzle solving.  There are no hidden object scenes, and so far I haven’t run into any mini games.  Personally I hope it stays that way, though as long as the mini games are minimal I’ll be content.

The interface is simple yet effective.  Tapping on an item of interest brings up one or two options: a magnifying glass for viewing and a hand for interacting.  Depending on the situation “interacting” might mean taking an object, talking to someone or literally manipulating something without adding it to your inventory.  To use an inventory item you can drag it onto an item in the scene or onto another item in your inventory.  The inventory interface is a bit sluggish, and it can be frustrating because two objects must be combined in the right order (ex: dragging a matchbook to a cigarette lights the cigarette, but dragging the cigarette to the matchbook does nothing).  You can tap to move around your current area as well, but that’s rarely needed since your character automatically walks towards objects you interact with.  I did finally run into one mini game so far, and that was handled simply by dragging objects around the screen.

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The game auto saves at certain points and will keep your last position when you exit out of the game, but you can (and should) also explicitly save occasionally in the options menu.  You can also save and load your game to the iCloud if you’d like, which is a feature games of any decent length should have.  From a game play perspective this is just about the perfect adventure game, except for the dialog.  Now don’t get me wrong, because dialog between characters is one thing that sets a true adventure game above a simple room escape experience, but there are times when the dialog just devolves into nonsense that does nothing but make the game longer.  Plus, it makes you work a little harder to determine what’s actually necessary to move the plot along.  Not a major hurdle, but it can get annoying at times.

This is a pretty amazing looking game.  The backgrounds are extremely well drawn and finely detailed, and the characters look good enough in the normal course of the game.  The models don’t always look the best in the cut scenes, but then there are very few games centered around humans where they really do.  Overall the visuals are stunning.  The sound is another story.  There are some sound effects, but the game seems to be more focused on ambient noises, which actually do have the effect of making the world feel a bit more vibrant and alive.  However, there is very little music which is rather disappointing.  Also, while the voiceovers are nice, they seem to be a bit out of place in most cases.  For example, only one person that I’ve encountered in Russia so far even speaks with any sort of accent!

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Adventure games used to be one of the staples of my gaming diet, but as time moves on and the popularity of the genre seemingly diminishes there just aren’t as many quality options as there used to be.  Thankfully Secret Files Tunguska is one of the exceptions.  An interesting story, plenty of game play and overall pleasing aesthetics definitely make this a worthwhile experience for any avid adventure gamer.  Just remember that because you think you’ve moved on doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done with something.

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App Summary
Title: Secret Files Tunguska Developer: Deep Silver
Reviewed Ver: Min OS Req:
Price: $4.99 App Size:
  • Intriguing story
  • Lots of NPC interaction
  • Plenty of puzzles
  • Excellent visuals
  • Nice ambient sound
  • Navigating inventory can be sluggish
  • Overabundance of silly dialog
  • Little background music

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Earn to Die 2: More Motorized Zombie Hijinx Coming Soon http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/03/earn-to-die-2-more-motorized-zombie-hijinx-coming-soon/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/09/03/earn-to-die-2-more-motorized-zombie-hijinx-coming-soon/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 21:43:06 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74055 At the end of 2012 I reviewed a game called Earn To Die, a post apocalyptic, get from point A to point B while running over zombies style game.  There were actually several games of this type released around the same time, yet while I managed to dismiss most of the others as derivative and … Read more]]>

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At the end of 2012 I reviewed a game called Earn To Die, a post apocalyptic, get from point A to point B while running over zombies style game.  There were actually several games of this type released around the same time, yet while I managed to dismiss most of the others as derivative and uninteresting, there was something about Earn To Die that kept me coming back for more.  Nearly two years later Not Doppler has announced the sequel, and I for one am pretty excited.

This time around the story mode promises to be five times the size of the original, which to me seemed a decent length as is.  Levels will employ multiple paths so if one way doesn’t work for you, try another and see what you get.  There are 10 new vehicles to unlock, upgrade and abuse, and fully destructible machines means if you’re not careful your prized wheels might just become part of the rubble you’re driving through.  If all that isn’t enough, however, once you’ve completed story mode there’s a brand new missions mode to challenge your skill.  No firm release date has been set yet, but if we’re lucky we’ll once more be plowing over the undead before Christmas rolls around.

My review of Earn To Die
Earn to Die Not Doppler, Earn to Die – $0.99

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10 App Store Games To Watch [August 4 - 10] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/30/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-4-10/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/30/10-app-store-games-to-watch-august-4-10/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:47:58 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74038 I’m pretty sure someone has made the weeks shorter, because I just don’t seem to have nearly enough time to dive into these new games any more. This week one of my favorites was not only a Flappy Bird style game, but the protagonist was a feline and I’m about as opposite of a cat … Read more]]>

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I’m pretty sure someone has made the weeks shorter, because I just don’t seem to have nearly enough time to dive into these new games any more. This week one of my favorites was not only a Flappy Bird style game, but the protagonist was a feline and I’m about as opposite of a cat fan as you can get. Still, Kitty Hates Water was cute, the controls actually worked (sorry, bad controls are not a “challenge” in the positive sense) and goals were actually attainable. For those of you that like the character building of an RPG but the pace of an infinite runner you can find PixelHero on the App Store. You have to level up with randomly generated perks every time you play, but in between runs you can permanently upgrade certain stats. Finally, one of the masters of creating true video game worlds is back with Godus. This is Peter Molyneux’s second foray into the iOS platform, and it’s much more to his gaming roots than his first product. If you like games like Populous you should feel right at home with Godus.

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Crash and Burn Racing – Get behind the wheel, take to the streets and cause as much havoc as possible.  I’m not really sure what more you could ask for in a vehicular game.  Oh wait, did I mention that the streets are paved with bombs, rockets and boosts that make you temporarily invincible?  Crash into other vehicles from the side (or from behind while in boost mode) and generally just stay alive for as long as you can.  This will earn you points and ultimately experience which translates to leveling up.  For the first few levels you go up you’ll gain access to a new vehicle, though I’m not sure how you’ll be rewarded once the last vehicle is unlocked.  Sometimes you can collect money on the road as well, and this can be used to buy things like new rims, a different paint job and increases to your selected vehicle’s three base attributes.  I think this system might be a bit broken right now because the first time I bought a new set of rims it didn’t seem to take, but even without that it is loads of fun just racing through the streets and trying to take everyone else out.  You even have the option to record your crash and post it to social media.  It would be nice if money were a bit easier to come by, but I guess that’s what IAP is for if you really want it.

Array Lunagames Fun & Games, Crash and Burn Racing – Free

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Poison Ive – This is a puzzle game for those that like challenges and want something that doesn’t feel just like 90 percent of everything else they’ve played in the last few months.  You control Ive, and as luck would have it you leave a trail of thorny bushes behind you.  If the various creatures of the land run into the bushes it spells certain doom for them, but it also prevents you from retracing your steps.  Each level has 1 of 3 goals: reach the exit, kill all the baddies or clear away the slime.  Once you’ve completed your goal the level is over, so if you reach the exit and there are still bad guys left on the board you’re okay.  There are three flowers to be found on almost every level, and while you don’t need them to complete the level they come in useful later on in the game.  You’ll also collect money on each level, though the amount is not that great unless you get to spin the bonus wheel because you collected the three flowers on the level you just completed.  Of course there’s no guarantee that you’ll get anything from your spin, but you could win coins or an inventory item like a bomb or thunder cloud.  One other cool feature in the game is that you can rewind the game for as many steps as you’d like instead of just restarting a level.  If you’re looking for a brain teaser with a bit of a different flair, Poison Ive might be a good choice.

Array Capoot, Poison Ive – Free

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PixelHero – This game is like an endless runner combined with a rogue-like.  In normal mode you simply have to make it to the end of each level, though the critters that inhabit this world are going to try their hardest to make sure you don’t succeed.  As you defeat monsters you earn XP and eventually level up, and sometimes when you level up you’ll be able to increase one of two different stats.  The thing is that you really have to pay attention, because the game won’t stop just because you can level up.  For that matter you really have to keep an eye on your health, because it’s easy to not realize you’re running low until the game is suddenly asking if you want to revive your character.  While the game is simple to play conceptually, it definitely requires some concentration.  Luckily along the way you can pick up health potions and potions that remove things like poison, so just make sure you use them.  The two currencies in the game are coins and gems.  The former allows you to buy items at the beginning of a run or enhance one of your main attributes.  Gems are used to buy pets, though I’m not really sure how you earn those.  Overall this is an interesting blend of runner and rouge-like, but be warned that you have to be connected to the internet to play even though it’s a single player game.

Array BaiXiang Yu, PixelHero – Free

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Ice Age Adventures – The boys are back, and this time they’re taking your iOS device by ice storm.  Thanks to Scrat’s insatiable appetite for acorns the herd has once again been broken up, and it’s up to you and the unlikely hero Sid to get them back together again.  If you’ve played a decent selection of free-to-play games you know the drill: get quests, complete quests, earn rewards and repeat ad infinitum.  In this game your basic resources include berries for energy, shells for building things and acorns for speeding things up so progress takes a reasonable amount of time.  Naturally acorns are the most elusive to find, and of course you can get them via IAP if you like.  When you run across herd members that need to be saved you’ll either have to play an infinite running style sledding game or match 3 game in order to rescue the animals.  As you retrieve herd members you’ll start earning more berries and making your shattered island feel more like home again.  While this style of game play wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice for the popular dysfunctional ice age family, Gameloft has actually done a pretty decent job with the whole thing, and they’ve even brought back the cast members for some authentic voice-overs.

Array Gameloft, Ice Age Adventures – Free

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The Outcast – The developers of this game have set out to create something truly different in the realm of adventure games, and I think they are on their way to succeeding.  The game starts out with you launching it and then being instructed to close it.  As events unfold in the game you’ll get notifications, and when you open up the game again you’ll get a brief scenario that may or may not let you interact with it.  At the end of the scenario you’ll close the game again and wait for the next event.  When you do get to make choices it feels like a “choose your own adventure” game.  Whether or not you get to direct the action there is up to four different facets that could change: your food and water supply, your health and your monetary position.  If your health runs out the game is over, but I don’t know what happens yet if the other items go to zero – I’d imagine they provide a similar fate.  What I find interesting about the game so far is that it actually manages to engage you without consuming your focus, so you still get the sensation of an adventure game without feeling like you have to play it all the way through before you forget what’s going on.  It could be the world’s first “infinite adventure game”.  And if it’s not, it’s still something different that the developers are definitely passionate about and eager to hear your suggestions on.

The Outcast Seller: Simple Machine, LLC, The Outcast – $1.99

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Kitty Hates Water – Welcome to this week’s “Thank You For Not Being Flappy Bird” clone.  I’m not a fan of cats, and I personally expected this to be nothing more than a cheap knock-off (which is sad given the source) with some decent looking graphics.  Instead this turned out to be a really cool game.  You control a cat on an umbrella, and your job is to stay out of the water and dodge dogs while collecting birds, fish and sponges.  Birds and fish earn you points while the sponges help lower the water level which is slowly but constantly rising.  When you begin a round you’re given a mission, and for every three missions you complete you’ll earn a bonus like an extra umbrella or a net to help you catch fish from a further distance.  You can compete against your friends in Game Center and Facebook and just try to keep besting your own high score.  Best of all, you tap the screen once to go up and again to go down – no jerky, purposely bad controls unless you choose to make them that way.

Array Justin Leingang, Kitty Hates Water – Free

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Dot Hang-Man – Looking for some deep, thoughtful game play?  You’ve come to the wrong place, my friend.  In Dot Hang-Man you simply help a deluded super hero leap from one building to the next.  He handles throwing the rope on his own, and you simply have to tap when you think he should let go.  Your goal is to reach the increasingly smaller red stripe in the middle of your target building, which is a hard enough goal as it continues to shrink.  Once the wind kicks in, however, expect to miss a lot.  And of course when you miss it is game over and you have to start from the beginning.  The game does have one leaderboard via Game Center, and while it would be nice to have things like achievements and power ups, there’s something to be said for the simplistic nature of this game.  I know I certainly have trouble resisting the “yes” option when the game asks me if I want to play again.  Of course, just in case the developer actually wants suggestions I’d love to see a few actual obstacles like low flying birds and such, and maybe even an occasional extra popping out a window to wave “hi” ala Batman 1966.

Array Kwon HuckJune, Dot Hang-Man – Free

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Godus – At first I was planning on making some sort of comment about how I would imagine that this game was somewhat like the old classic Populous.  I suppose I should have read the iTunes description a bit better, because Godus is in fact the brainchild of Peter Molyneux, who just happens to be the creator of the other game I mentioned.  Basically, this is what you play when life doesn’t have to be all about death and destruction.  A pretty slick and powerful interface lets you terraform the land and get it ready for human habitation.  Build structures to increase the population which in turn advances your culture, and so on and so forth.  As you explore the land and grow your civilization you’ll earn cards that let you do more powerful actions.  You’ll also find stickers that you can use to unlock certain cards that you find.  Treat your followers well and you’ll soon have a fun, thriving community.  Connect with Mobage or Facebook (in theory, though so far my Facebook login attempts have failed) to see how other players are handling their world cultivating skills.  Eventually you’ll even be able to send your clan on voyages oversees.  This isn’t necessarily designed for those who crave immediate gratification, but if you like constantly working towards better goals, this is a rather interesting little offering.

Array DeNA Corp., Godus – Free

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Primitives Puzzle In Time – The irony of this game’s name is that there is no timer, at least not in the traditional sense of an LED display counting down.  Instead the timer is cleverly hidden in the calculation of the length of your path from the starting point to your goal.  Along the way you’ll want to try and pick up the three stars that exist in each level, though it’s not a requirement unless you wish to earn all the achievements or place on the leaderboard.  Control is simple: drag the shape to form the path you wish to take, and tap anywhere along the already created line to rewind to that place in line.  When you’ve run out of path the game doesn’t end your turn and make you start over, which is a welcome feature for someone like me.  The levels start out with fairly simple designs and mazes, but soon you get moving parts, gates that require you to be a certain color to pass and multiple objects that must reach the finish circle on each level.  The best part is that not only are the first two level sets completely free, but you get to sample the first five levels of each of the remaining sets.  The game is well designed, it looks good and the music is nice and soothing.  I’m glad that developers realize there’s more to “puzzle” games than flinging and cutting stuff.

Array Crazy Labs, Primitives Puzzle In Time – Free

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Music Run : Hall Of The Mountain King – I thought I’d end this roundup on a high note (see what I did there?)  This might not be the best rhythm game ever, but it’s one of the most entertaining I’ve played in a while.  You are an adventurer running through a cave filled with lava pits, spiders and ogres – there might be more, but I keep dying at the exact same spot for some silly reason.  You tap up to jump over the pits, down to slide beneath the spiders and attack to slay the ogres.  Of course you have to do this all to the beat as well.  Don’t worry, though, because a little circle beneath you will line up with a diagram of which button to press when it’s time to press that button.  That way if you happen to be rhythmically challenged you should still be able to play the game reasonably well.  I’m not sure if there’s only the one song to play against, but even if there is it was time well spent.  Besides, the game has great pixel art and the artist even went through the trouble of creating animations for the adventurer getting eaten by both the spider and the ogre.

Array KEGames, Music Run: Hall of the Mountain King – Free

That was just 10 of the many new releases this past week. Here are several more notable titles you may find of interest:

Well that wraps up another week of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played from the past week that you feel should be part of this list, please leave a reply to this post. Previous weekly installments of our New App Store Games Roundup:

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Spellfall – Puzzle RPG in Review – You Better Watch Out, Puzzle Quest http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/27/spellfall-puzzle-rpg-in-review-you-better-watch-out-puzzle-quest/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/08/27/spellfall-puzzle-rpg-in-review-you-better-watch-out-puzzle-quest/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:51:05 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74029 Since the dawn of the match 3 / RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest has always been king of the throne.  In fact, I think it was the game that introduced me to this wonderful mash up of genres.  Now Backflip Studios has released Spellfall – Puzzle RPG, and while I’m hesitant to say that this contender … Read more]]>

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Since the dawn of the match 3 / RPG hybrid Puzzle Quest has always been king of the throne.  In fact, I think it was the game that introduced me to this wonderful mash up of genres.  Now Backflip Studios has released Spellfall – Puzzle RPG, and while I’m hesitant to say that this contender has usurped the crown, it’s pretty amazing in its own right.  The battles are fast and furious, the rewards are plenty and the rune system is a really nice bonus.  The combat effects are among the best I’ve seen in this style of game, and the overall polish is quite impressive.  Chalk up another win for Backflip.

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There is actually a story going on here, though to be perfectly frank I don’t remember what the whole point of the mission is.  It’s not like a “one and done” intro thing either because there is text at the beginning of each combat filling you in just a bit more on everything that’s going on.  In the end it won’t matter for most people because one of the pluses of Spellfall is that you can play for as little at a time as you want and you never feel like you’re missing anything the next time you load up the game to play again.  The basics are that you’re trying to conquer evil and in order to do so you must explore a series of different locations.  You’ll meet some interesting creatures along the way, and while it seems like they only introduce 2 or 3 new ones per area, given the number of areas that kind of pacing should still result in a nice range of foes to fight.

As you might have gathered, combat takes place in a match 3 scenario.  Instead of the usual breakdown of physical and magical attacks, defense and coins, however, Spellfall is all about the magic (though there are still coins to be matched).  You have four elements to work with, and most monsters will have a particular weakness to one of the elements.  Matching 4 of a kind will create a special tile that can wipe out a row or column, and matching 5 or more in a line will create a bonus attack tile.  If you match one of these tiles then when that turn is done your character will launch a special attack based on that particular element type.  There are also runes that match each element type, and if you have one of those runes and it is active it will get slightly charged each time you match the corresponding element.  When runes are fully charged they can heal, poison, shuffle tiles and more.  I do wish runes would charge as long as you had the equipped, but that’s a minor quibble and could actually make things a bit too easy.

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Monsters only get to attack once every so many rounds, but they make up for it by unleashing some deadly attacks.  If you’re victorious you can earn Exp Points which help you level up, Rune Points which enable your runes to level up, Collected Coins (those you match up during play) and Victory Coins for winning the match.  Should you fail you’ll still earn Exp Points and Collected Coins, but obviously winning is preferable.  Money can be used to buy weapons, armor and runes as well as to heal your character between battles and unlock rune slots on weapons or armor.  Thankfully runes don’t become permanent attachments to your other equipment, but sometimes to get the more powerful duds you might have to give up using some runes for a while.  That’s the single biggest point of frustration in this game – it takes a while to earn money unless you want to supplement your coffer via IAP, so you have to be real careful what you spend your loot on.  Add to that the fact that the items store is randomly supplied and items don’t stay in the store very long and you might miss out on something you really wanted.  Of course this is how they drive you to spending your cash, but since it doesn’t really hamper you from playing the game that’s okay with me.

The visuals in Spellfall are great.  The characters are very well designed so that even the creatures you’re used to feel fresh.  The animation is fluid, the creatures’ attacks are varied and interesting, and the bonus attacks your mage makes can certainly impress.  The sound effects are all pretty good, though your character does sound a bit wimpy when he gets hit.  The music has a nice fantasy tone to it, and while it’s nothing earth shattering it’s just nice to have there for the few seconds when you breathe between battles.  Otherwise you probably won’t even notice it.

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The match 3 / RPG hybrid continues to thrive, and while the basic tenets of each game is the same developers are still trying hard to add features that make their entry rise above the crowd.  Spellfall does an admirable job with that.  Quick, intense combat along with a constantly rotating inventory keep you on your toes while the deep runes system lets you customize your character to your style of play.  The whole thing is wrapped up in a slick graphical bow and topped with a wonderful incentive to keep you coming back: play for 20 days to get a special prize.  I’m working hard to see what mine is!

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App Summary
Title: Spellfall – Puzzle RPG Developer: Backflip Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.2.0 Min OS Req: 5.0
Price: Free App Size: 78.9 MB
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Deep, diverse rune system
  • Excellent visuals
  • Nice sound effects
  • Doesn’t hammer you about IAP
  • Runes have to be active to be charged
  • Often one fight forces you to wait or dump a bunch of money into recovering health

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