There was a time where it seemed like developers weren’t interested in making platform games for iOS devices, or the ones that were available weren’t that great. Now we’re not only seeing a steady influx in this genre, but many of them are of a quality that’s on par with or even surpasses console games. Such is the case with JAZZ: Trump’s journey. Not only is it graphically in line with many console favorites, but the level design is quite intriguing and the difficulty makes me think the developers might have been Mega Man fans! Overall the game has been quite entertaining so far.
I really never thought I’d say this, but this week online games won the most slots in our New App Store Games Roundup. Before we get to that, though, I was extremely happy to see the release of Gamebook Adventures 8: Infinite Universe. Normally I’d tend to relegate sequels to the back burner, especially after this many [TMA reviews], but book 8 takes us in a whole new direction with a Sci-Fi theme and brand new combat mechanics. As for the online games, you can choose to join a gang with Big Gun. While that’s not a new premise, the first person shooting gallery style interface is. If you prefer fantasy with a bit of culture there’s Monster Arms, a card collecting RTS that takes place in ancient Japan. Finally, the closet geneticist of the group can now prove themselves with Survivium, a game that’s all about building viruses and taking over the world.
As always this week’s New App Store Games Roundup features a very diverse selection of games. If you’re into retro like I’m into retro, you’ll probably appreciate Midway Arcade. The game comes with arcade translations of several popular Midway games, including Rampage and Spy Hunter, and you can buy additional packs of games via IAP. If you like shooters like I like shooters, then you might find Audio Invaders worth your while. It’s a retro styled game in the vein of Space Invaders, but you can’t see the enemies until you actually shoot them at least once. And if you like strategy like I like strategy, Operation: Eradicate could tickle your fancy. It looks to be a turn based, risk inspired strategy game with zombies and multi-player cooperative gameplay.
Not too long ago when my mom was really into playing games on her computer she’d often tell me how she was finishing a game for the second or third time. I never really got that, because between beta testing and reviewing I’m lucky if I get through a game once, let alone multiple times. There are rare occasions where I get caught up in something I know I shouldn’t, though, and such is the case with Gardenscapes HD. I’ve already finished the game on my PC, yet I find myself almost to the end of it on my iPad now. It’s possible that I’ve even enjoyed it more this time around as well.
This week things seemed a bit quiet on the App Store front, but there were still a few games that caught my eye. The leader of the pack was League Of Evil 2, the sequel to one of the best platform games on iOS devices. It sounds like it does everything the first one did but better, and as much fun as the first one was that can only be a good thing. Rhythm game fans had a couple of interesting choices this week, but the more intriguing one was Beat Sneak Bandit. The game combines rhythm, puzzle and stealth elements with visuals that look like something out of a cartoon and what I presume will be some slick music. Finally, those that are tired of just buying Boardwalk can finally manage the hotel that sits on it with Monopoly Hotels. This business management sim takes you behind the scenes of the famous Monopoly board, it’s universal, and it won’t cost you a penny.
There’s something about the world of Tiny Planet that captured my attention from the very first game screen. The Tiny Bang Story HD is not your typical hidden object game; it’s a bit light on story, and it assumes that you don’t need any handholding. It can also get frustrating at times, even with something as simple as figuring out what to do next. Through it all, though, I found myself hardly able to put the game down. That’s even after playing the first chapter 3 times (once on my PC and twice on the iPad). There were only two significant letdowns to the game – it ended too quickly, and the end was actually a bit anti-climactic.
The tower defense genre is one that has always eluded me. Sure you have to construct towers (or some sort of defense) and possibly upgrade them during a level, but a bulk of each round is spent simply watching as hordes of monsters parade along a route and your equipment picks them off. Thankfully, though, over the course of time there have been a few that have bucked this trend, Kingdom Rush being one of them. Between constant interaction, interesting level design and a ranking system that allows you to buy permanent upgrades to your defenses, Kingdom Rush takes enough simple steps forward to push it ahead of the crowd.
This week should be paradise for scrolling shooter fans. Cave released another game in the DoDonPachi series called DoDonPachi Blissful Death, and I’m sure it will provide the same frustrating “bullet hell” satisfaction that most other shooters they release do. The graphics look a bit dated, but if there’s lots of destruction it probably won’t matter too much. Next up is DariusBurst SP, the latest in a line of horizontal shooters that dates back to 1986. This installment comes to us courtesy of a PSP port, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it provides a similar thrill to Taito’s earlier release, RayForce (TMA Review). Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit different there’s Beat Hazard Ultra. Sure it’s still a shooter, and if we’re lucky there will still be many things to blow up, but this one generates its level based off of the music in your on-device iTunes collection (or off of an internet radio station if you don’t have any music loaded). Oh, and a few other games came out as well!
In show business there’s an old saying that goes (if you haven’t guessed already) “The Show Must Go On”. That’s exactly what this game is all about. You’ll visit several different operas, each of which is having trouble in five different areas. Through a corresponding number of mini-games you’ll hopefully solve the opera’s problems so they can continue with the show. Of course how well each performance goes depends entirely upon your skill at each of the mini-games. Will the crowd give a standing ovation or will the actors fall flat on their faces?
This week racing fans can let out their impulsive urges with Reckless Racing 2, the third Reckless game to grace us with its presence on the iOS platform. If it’s half as entertaining as the original or Reckless Getaway, there’s no question that it’s a must have. If you prefer things a bit more supernatural Capcom has released an iOS port of their acclaimed Nintendo DS game Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective. Among other things you get to possess items and rewind time because you are, after all, dead. If you’re still craving that Pokemon fix there’s Terapets, a monster capture / combat game with 300 different creatures to trap. Good luck catching them all!