There’s a bit of irony in the game’s title, because I’m pretty sure going down in a hailstorm of bullets is anything but blissful. The slightly odd name aside, however, once you start playing DoDonPachi Blissful Death you’ll feel right at home if you’re a fan of Cave. If you peruse their titles on the App Store you’ll note they primarily do one thing, but they do that well – scrolling shooters. To be even more specific, their area of expertise seems to be the “bullet hell” shooter, though from that perspective Blissful Death is a bit milder than most of its type. That’s good news for me, because I’m terrible at bullet hell games.
Along with everything else this week, there were a nice variety of games featuring one form or another of the undead. The Tossing Dead combines two of my favorite things on the iPhone: Fruit Ninja style mechanics and zombies. Explosive weapons, a comic book style storyline and a chimpanzee sidekick don’t hurt the equation, either. If strategy is more you might try Brainsss, the premier effort from Lonely Few. This squad based game gives you the chance to do something you don’t get to do very often – control the zombies instead of the humans. Finally, if you’re more into the macabre there’s Dark Legends, the third offering in the Legends series of 3D MMOs from Spacetime Studios. You still get to play on the same servers as anyone else on any device that supports a compatible client, but this time around your avatar of choice is of the vampire persuasion.
The last couple of weeks have been pretty prosperous for those that like freemium offerings. RPG fans can indulge in Inotia 4: Assassin Of Berkel, the fourth installment of the action / RPG series from international developer Com2us. You do, of course, have the option of outright buying the game which will automatically eliminate the ads and give you some in-game currency, but IAP can take care of that as well. If you like a little strategy with your action there’s Castle Master 3D, a combination of Action / RPG and castle defense. This game boasts battles of 300 soldiers on each side, but you can expect to run it on nothing less than the latest generation of devices. If you prefer something a bit more lighthearted and focusing on twitchy timing you’ll get a kick out of Cannon Cat (TMA Review). A daredevil feline, a mess of fish trapped in bubbles out in space, and some vicious penguins with helicopter “wings” make this whimsical offering a lot of fun.
Apparently the need to add “cuteness” to puzzle games isn’t going away any time soon, but that’s okay with me as long as the game is fun to play. Thankfully that is the case with Cannon Cat, the premiere offering from new iOS developer Loqheart. It would probably be more accurate to label the game action than puzzle, though there are definitely situations that will require a bit of thought if you want to score all the fish in a level. However you want to classify the game it’s enjoyable and quite habit forming.
Fancy yourself a game developer but don’t have any programming skills? Sketch Nation Studio could change your life, as it will allow you to design games right on your iOS device without even having to write a line of code. If you’d rather just stick to playing games there’s Saving Private Sheep 2. The mechanics are way different than the original, but if the same goofy humor is there is should still be a winner. Real time strategy fans would do well to check out Total War Battles from SEGA. This medieval Japan conquest game has an interesting game play mechanic: you can’t retreat! You better be really sure that every move is one you want to make.
Haunted Houdini is the first title in the Midnight Mysteries series that I’ve had the chance to play, but it certainly won’t be the last. While in general hidden object games are becoming more like “true” adventure games every day, Haunted Houdini takes storytelling within a hidden object game to a new level. Combine that with many diverse locations to explore and a fine balance between hidden object scenes, object based puzzles and mini-games, this has become one of the most enjoyable from this genre that I’ve played in quite some time.
This week saw the release of a couple of iOS episodes of popular console games, but more exciting to me was the number of potentially high quality free(mium) games that were made available. Last Day Of Work released the latest installment of their Virtual Villagers series entitled Virtual Villagers: Origins. The claim is that this takes the series back to its roots and is based of the formula that made the original Virtual Villagers a success. If you’re interested in flying the friendly skies but don’t want another Flight Control clone you might consider Aero Vacation from Chillingo. This time management game tasks you with building the ultimate airborne vacation spot with everything from a roller coaster to a full blown golf course. On the other hand, those looking for something completely different should take a look at O2Jam Hero. This RPG / rhythm hybrid pits a girls’ rock band against the ultimate evil, and I’m thinking you should get bonus points if you can interpret the game’s iTunes description.
When games set the bar so high in a particular genre, much like The Treasures of Montezuma 3 did for match 3 games, I often wonder if new variants are even going to be worth trying. I was especially nervous about this one because I had played its canine sibling, Puppy Sanctuary, on the PC and didn’t really care for it. I’m happy to report that not only is Kitten Sanctuary a much more interesting game than its puppy partner (or I didn’t give the other enough of a chance), but it can actually be quite addicting. The whole Tamagatchi style interludes aren’t even that bad.
Racing fans got an interesting new option this week in the form of Sky Gnomes. This little gem lets you take on the role of a gnome and race through the sky on a craft powered by an engine that consumes snowflakes. If that’s not wacky enough for you then you might consider the new futuristic FPS Bounty Bots. It’s free to play and lets you engage in warfare using exploding cacti and sniper chimps. If you’re looking for something a bit more grounded in reality there’s Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort from G5 Entertainment. This SimCity style game throws in missions, goods to sell and trade, and 4 different locations to hang your virtual hat.
I’m beginning to think developers are purposely making the tough puzzle games cute. They do it to lull us into a false sense of security because of course a cute looking puzzle game is going to be easy. It has to be for the kids that will invariably be drawn to it, right? I can’t think of a more charming premise than a disgruntled sheepdog that dons a motorcycle helmet and goes all Evil Knievel to get the sheep he’s supposed to be rounding up to respect him. Yet some of these levels can be quite maddening.