TouchMyApps » Applications All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:44:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 App Store Games To Watch [June 16 - 22] Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:43:59 +0000 There were a lot of fun releases this week.  In addition to the games I detailed below I enjoyed Furballs, a new shooting gallery style game with an attitude.  Instead of ducks you’ll be targeting annoying woodland creatures, and the dog will be sure to let you know when your performance wasn’t up to snuff.  … Read more]]>


There were a lot of fun releases this week.  In addition to the games I detailed below I enjoyed Furballs, a new shooting gallery style game with an attitude.  Instead of ducks you’ll be targeting annoying woodland creatures, and the dog will be sure to let you know when your performance wasn’t up to snuff.  There have been a lot of “simulator” type games released lately, and I actually found one I liked in the form of Raptor Simulator : Dinosaur Extreme.  With coins to collect and hearts to extend your time limit it feels more like a true game than others of its kind, though I still don’t get why humans fail to run away from these ferocious creatures.  Tower defense fans should check out Overtime Rush – fantasy tower defense.  I think it’s the first TD game where you’re trying to fend off hockey stick wielding monsters.

Stop The Hero – This is an interesting take on the dual stick action / RPG.  Instead of controlling the hero, you get the job of placing the villains to try and stop him.  Your three creature types are a thief, warrior and archer, and you’re only going to go far in this game if you learn to use them all in conjunction with each other.  It costs you some coins to place each creature, but you’ll earn money back by beating up on the hero.  You also get a stash of bonus coins at the end of each level depending on how much time you have left.  Yes, each hero battle is timed, and the first one you fail to defeat in the allotted time frame signals the end of the game.  At the beginning of each battle a treasure chest pops up, and if you tap it you’ll be able to level up one of your creatures.  There is a leaderboard for score and maximum level reached, and there are 16 achievements to earn.  There have been a number of “you play the bad guy” games in the past, but I think this is the first one I’ve seen done in this particular format.  It would be nice to have a couple more monster types as well as a few different hero types to fight against, and it would also be cool if there were some types of permanent upgrades you could work towards.  Otherwise this is a fun time waster that doesn’t feel just like everything else.

Stop The Hero IF Global Limited, Stop The Hero – Free

Dragon Fighters – Epic Battle Heroes – Dragons are one of my favorite mythological creatures, yet it seems difficult for anyone to make a game that features them, whether you control them or fight against them, that is actually decent.  Dragon Hunters actually does a pretty good job of making the task of dragon hunting interesting.  You start out with an archer, and as you progress through the game you’ll be able to add additional members to your party for a total of 3.  Unless you’re willing to spend some money on IAP, though, you can expect this to be a slow process.  Money is also required in order to upgrade your party members, so you’re always having to choose between more powerful characters that you already own or new party members that might bring something different to the table.  Each level is a city which must be freed from the dragons’ tyranny, and when you do so that city will start earning money for you.  You can upgrade cities using gems so that the produce more money at a faster rate.  Combat is a fairly simple affair, but it does get interesting juggling more than one party member at the same time.  The combination of hero building and acquiring cities to earn money gives the game a sufficient amount of replay value as well.

Dragon Fighters - Epic Battle Heroes YayNinjas LLC, Dragon Fighters – Epic Battle Heroes – Free

Wings on Fire – This is another in a long line of infinite games, this time focusing on the concept of flying.  The first thing that sets it apart from other infinite games right off the bat is that instead of moving on “tracks”, you can move free-form around your environment, so long as you don’t run into anything.  The down side to this is that it makes it hard to line up with coins and power ups, but it makes the game feel fresh despite adhering to pretty much traditional infinite gaming standards.  You start with a basic plane that you can upgrade, or you can save your winnings to buy better planes, which you can also upgrade.  There are one time boosts that you can buy as well as abilities (aka power ups) that you can upgrade.  You also have the usual mission system to work through, but in this case as you “level up” or increase in rank you’ll unlock greater difficulty levels, which I’m going to assume account for the different locales shown in the screen shots on iTunes.  There’s not really much new ground here – some may say there’s no ground at all – but it handles the genre well, it looks good, and the fact that you’re not restricted to lanes adds a nice new dimension to game play.  Now if they would just give me the ability to shoot down enemy planes!

Wings on Fire Soner Kara, Wings on Fire – Free

Impossible geometry – I often don’t like to share games this basic because I feel like there’s not enough to write about them.  This is an infinite runner where you control one or more squares and have to jump over other squares.  Since I haven’t made it that far this may not be an accurate comment, but it appears that there is really no variety in the background at any point, and except for slight size differences, you won’t be jumping over anything but squares.  The main reason I’ve included this game is because there are four game play “modes” which range from controlling two to controlling five different squares.  I’ve played a couple of runners where you had to control two characters at once, and three doesn’t seem too much of a stretch other than possibly being a bit frantic, but by the time you get to four and five independent runners you’ll be truly taxing your ability to use all your fingers at once to do different things.  It’s almost like playing a chaotic piano piece with no rhyme or reason.  The game does offer a leaderboard for each game play mode, so you can see how dexterous others are.  If you’re a fan of the genre at all, you really need to take this one for a spin.

Impossible geometry Tian Lei, Impossible geometry – Free

Action Hackers Unleashed – Secret Civilization – While I love the various match 3 mash-ups that have appeared over the past few years, it’s always nice to see someone turn out a good old fashioned “nothing but matching” match 3 game.  In this case the playing field is a representation of a system that needs to be hacked, and each match you make theoretically draws you closer to the ultimate hack.  Hack The Code mode is your standard match 3 experience, while Against Time gives you 90 seconds to complete each level.  In Countless Hack mode there are no timers, and you can move pieces around without matching which means it’s conceivably an endless game if you want it to be.  No matter which game play mode you choose you’ll earn XP for successful matches which can be used to buy Key Perks such as the ability to clone a tile into whichever color lock you’d like or a defense that automatically eliminates 1 FBI token.  Speaking of which, as you get further along in the game you’ll start running into special locks that change color every time you make a move as well as FBI tiles that require special methods to remove because they don’t match with anything.  Just bear in mind that the current version seems to be a bit buggy, so you might want to stick with the free offering until they get some of the kinks worked out.

Action Hackers Unleashed - Secret Civilization Gooftroop LLC, Action Hackers Unleashed – Secret Civilization – Free

The Amazing Dash : New Season – It’s hard to resist a game where the main character is a cute alien that holds its one eye in its hand.  This is actually quite an entertaining game, or at least has much potential to be once I stop tearing my hair out.  At first only the Classic mode is unlocked, which according to the iTunes description is only four levels.  If each time you transition to a new location counts as a new level, they aren’t very long at all.  The problem is that if you die you start over from the beginning, and on what I suppose to be level 3 I have died A LOT.  You can resume your game from the last level you played if you have a diamond, but you only get those by completing certain missions or spending some IAP.  There are also 4 power ups that you can upgrade, but apparently those aren’t available unless you’re playing Endless mode, which doesn’t unlock until you complete classic mode.  On the plus side, you might just be fully upgraded with all the coins you earn trying to complete Classic mode!  The game supports Facebook for high scores and its own internal system for missions, so there is no Game Center to be found.  It’s not the most innovative runner, but I love the main character and the fact that in level 2 you get to ride a turtle that in turn is riding a tricycle.

The Amazing Dash : New Season 9Fury Games, The Amazing Dash : New Season – Free


Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest – I never got the chance to play Nun Attack and honestly didn’t care for Nun Attack: Run & Gun, but unlike X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I actually find Yuki’s Silent Quest rather satisfying.  In this installment of the franchise you find yourself helping Yuki defeat the evil that has destroyed her home village, recover all the kids that have been captured and fix the village up in the process.  You use a swiping motion to dart Yuki back and forth across the screen, and you have to hit your opponents when they aren’t looking – it’s especially fun when they’re asleep.  Each level is worth three shurikens: one for rescuing the kids, one for beating the level within a certain amount of time and one for using a limited number of swipes.  Thankfully you can earn each shuriken independently, so use that to your advantage so you don’t drive yourself crazy.  After every fourth level you unlock a bonus level that plays like fruit ninja but with loaves of bread, and if you slice enough on the level you earn an extra shuriken.  The shurikens you earn can be used in the village to repair the damaged structures, so you’ll want to maximize your intake of those.  There are no leaderboards or achievements or anything like that, but save the kids is its own reward, right?

Nun Attack Origins: Yuki's Silent Quest Frima, Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest – $1.99

Tasty Blue – I’ve played many of this style of game where your goal is to eat everything you can and continually grow bigger in the process.  I’m just not quite sure I’ve ever had this much fun doing it before.  In this variation on the game you start out as a goldfish that gets overfed by the owner and goes on a hunger frenzy.  Even from the beginning the things you can eat seem a bit silly, but you’re sure to chuckle the first few times you swallow a seagull.  And just wait until you start taking on the human element.  The game offers 70 levels that span between a goldfish, dolphin and a shark, though you’ll only get to sample some of the goldfish’s territory in the free version.  There are 21 achievements to earn and a whopping 72 leaderboards to make your mark on, but I think you’ll have to buy the full game to enjoy most of that.  There’s also a multiplayer mode on the same device that allows you to take on a friend, and while I simply sampled it on my own for a few seconds, I trust that in the end the victor will get to consume the vanquished.  The visuals are nice and the sound effects that go with the consumption of each adversary can be fairly amusing.  If you feel like making a pig out of yourself but don’t want to deal with the guilt of gaining weight, this is one of the best ways to do it.

Tasty Blue Dingo Games Inc., Tasty Blue – Free

PopRaiders – It’s about time someone gave some meaning to those virtual bubble popping experiences.  In this game your job is to recover a bunch of rubies, and as luck would have it they’re stuck in a series of caves that are full of bubbles.  It turns out, however, that rubies aren’t the only thing getting stuck in the bubbles.  Crates, boulders, spring pads and more all seem to have gotten trapped inside the soapy cells.  On each level you must clear path between your explorer and the exit, hopefully running into the ruby on that level along the way.  You get one ruby for completing the level, one for actually snagging the ruby that’s on the level and one if you pop all the empty bubbles that appear on the level.  If you pop bubbles that contain items like boulders and crates they will fall and crush everything in the column below them, including exits and rubies.  You get one “zap” on each level which allows you to clear all the empty bubbles with a single tap, and something called “charges” that I haven’t quite figured out yet.  There are currently 80 levels in the regular level sets with a bonus level section that is supposedly being added onto every few days, although so far there seems to be only one bonus level available.  A single leaderboard ranks you based on the total score of all levels you’ve completed, and there are currently no achievements.  PopRaiders doesn’t offer a lot of bells and whistles, but at least it’s a nice change from the majority of what’s available on the App Store right now.

PopRaiders Hassaan Raza, PopRaiders – Free

Pea Hero: Dragon Land – It’s time for another installment of “thank you for NOT being a simple Flappy Bird clone”.  This time around you take on the role of a knight trying to prove himself.  You must conquer 999 dragons by either dodging them or besting them in battle.  The best way to get through the game is to run under everything, but if you happen to collide with a dragon you’ll need to make a roll against your attack level and if you hit a fireball you have to roll against your defense.  You begin with a certain percentage chance to successfully attack or dodge, and you also start with one life.  Thankfully you can collect d-balls along the way, and when you get enough of them you can upgrade your character’s attack, defense and health attributes.  There is one leaderboard which sadly appears to have already been compromised, but the game is fun enough just trying to increase your stats to see how much farther you can get in the game next time.  The only thing I’m not too thrilled about is the positioning of the controls on the upper part of the screen.  I’d personally like to see them on the lower half, but that’s just me.

Pea Hero: Dragon Land Pham Anh, Pea Hero: Dragon Land – 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 [June 9 - 15] Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:31:37 +0000 So I’m still working my way up to not being behind, but it doesn’t seem like developers are slowing down at all in terms of turning out new games.  This week saw the release of rainblocks, a cool combination of matching and sliding puzzle genres.  The game can get pretty intense as you fight the … Read more]]>


So I’m still working my way up to not being behind, but it doesn’t seem like developers are slowing down at all in terms of turning out new games.  This week saw the release of rainblocks, a cool combination of matching and sliding puzzle genres.  The game can get pretty intense as you fight the timer in later levels, and it actually makes the concept of sliding puzzle games kind of fun.  Dragon June is an interesting take on the whole “flappy” craze (has it been going on too long to be a craze any more?)  This game is viewed from an over the shoulder perspective, it has bosses and it features a blue dragon that likes to eat carrots.  Pattap is a unique puzzle game that requires you to fold tiles until they are completely used up.  The controls are a bit sensitive, but the fact that I’ve never played anything like this before means I’m willing to put up with that inconvenience.

Reckless Run – Finally, a “dodge everything” game that rewards you for running into things.  Confused?  The main objective of Reckless Run, just like any other “dodge ‘em” game, is to avoid all the nasty obstacles that get in your way.  One twist that the developers have thrown in, however, is that if you graze objects you can actually get bonus points instead of automatically dying.  The trick is to learn when and how to push the limits, because there’s no doubt that if you get too aggressive your runs on Reckless Run will definitely be short.  Each game is one long run, but there are stages which are conveniently marked with a dashed line across the screen and a label announcing the number of the next stage.  As you cross stage boundaries you’ll receive 25 bonus points and you’ll speed up just a bit, adding more challenge to the game.  You’ll also intermittently be thrust into a field of stars that you can collect for extra points.  It would be cool if there were some sort of store to make star collection more meaningful, but at least it changes up the game play a bit.  Currently there are no achievements, though the game does use Game Center for its single leaderboard.  And at the moment at least the top scores on the leaderboard actually seem reasonable that there were attained by human players.  Reckless Run has a simple yet slick presentation and a soundtrack that gets the adrenaline pumping.

Reckless Run Christian Ghelardoni, Reckless Run – Free

The Legend of Zapitar – If you like being the center of your game, then this is the game for you.  Your craft is anchored in the center of the screen while the bad guys are coming at you in waves.  You have to take them out before they have a chance to collide with you are shoot at you.  In some cases you can actually destroy incoming missiles, but generally if a ship gets a shot off you can expect to get hit.  Your shield will absorb a certain number of blows and then the game over, though occasionally a wave of enemies or a friendly ship will leave you a capsule to replenish some of your shield.  A beam emanating from your ship shows your attack range, and pressing the screen fires your weapon.  If you let go of the screen your weapon will charge and your attack range will grow, and paying the IAP to remove ads will also give you a larger attack range.  When you get in a pinch you can press the bomb button to destroy everything on the screen, assuming you have one at your disposal.  There are currently 7 levels, each with three difficulty settings.  It would be nice to see some power ups added to the game, and the spin wheel that controls your ship needs a bit of tweaking because at times you’ll be half way through a rotation and your ship will suddenly start spinning the other way.  Still, the concept is cool and the variety of ship types makes game play interesting and challenging.

The Legend of Zapitar yuichi ago, The Legend of Zapitar – Free

100m Stunt – Since folks seem to be into the frustratingly difficult these days, might as well at least have the game be interesting too, right?  In 100m Stunt your goal on each level is to make it to the 100m mark.  This won’t be easy, because each level is filled with all kinds of nifty obstacles that basically spell your death when you collide with them.  Much like in Flappy Bird, you tap the screen to go up and let go to fall.  Ultimately, though, you must keep going upward in 100m Stunt or you’ll eventually parish thanks to the floor of spikes that moves up with you as you get higher into the level.  One additional feature is that when you run into one of the outside walls you’ll change the direction you’re facing.  That’s assuming, of course, that you don’t collide with a part of the wall that contains spikes or some other such nonsense.  The game is comprised of 100 levels spread amongst four worlds, and while you can play each world separately you must complete the levels within a world in order.  There are 3 stars to collect on each level, and these act as the basis for both your achievements and your place on the leaderboard.  The visuals are cool and there is a different musical track for each world that all sound pretty good.  You’ll never be able to make the top of the leaderboard since several players have already collected the maximum number of stars, but it’s still rather entertaining trying to master each level.

100m Stunt Yu Ho Kim, 100m Stunt – Free

rainblocks – I’ve never been much for the whole sliding tiles puzzle genre, but when you combine it with tile matching it actually becomes a rather interesting concept.  In rainblocks you fight against the timer as you try to match the two tiles of the currently desired color.  At random moments boosters will appear on certain tiles, and you can activate the boosters by sliding the tile, regardless of whether you actually use it in a match or not.  Some are good, like adding precious seconds back to the timer or slowing things down a bit.  Others are bad, like reducing the timer or making all the blocks muddy so you can’t see what color they are.  To get rid of bad boosters you need to make a match with the tile containing the booster without actually sliding the tile.  Eventually you’ll level up which resets the timer and makes things a bit more difficult, but I’m not entirely sure what triggers the level up process.  Game Center integration provides 39 achievements and a leaderboard for each level as well as an overall ranking.  Even if you’re not a fan of sliding puzzle games, I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

rainblocks Eric Koziol, rainblocks – Free

ozstone – Let me warn you right off the bat: this game is not overly difficult to learn, but it appears that the only “help” available are the tips when a new level is loading.  Still, if you’re willing to take a few rounds to learn the ropes it’s actually a pretty neat little game.  The characters are rooted in Wizard of Oz mythology, though the designs are definitely different than the MGM classic of days gone by, taking a decidedly more Manga feel to everything.  Your main characters are Dorothy, the Tin Man and the lion, and they’ll attack on their own.  Your job is to play the match three game on the right side of the screen in order to earn gold and keep the characters’ health up.  Additionally, if you can match 4 or more of the color associated with a particular character you’ll earn a special tile that can unleash that character’s super ability.  If you match 4 or more green or purple tiles you can add either a spell caster or archer on the wall to help defend your wall.  The gold you earn can be used between battles to upgrade one of three facets of each of your main characters, and at the beginning of each level you can buy one time boosters if you’d like.  Earning gold is a slow but steady process, although you can certainly augment your coffers via IAP if you’d like.  Overall this is both a decent foray into the land of Oz and a pretty fun wall defense game.

ozstone GPAX Co., Ltd, ozstone – Free

Polygon Evolution – Along with “flappy this” and “2048 that”, another popular game mechanic that has spread like wildfire is the concept of combining three of a certain tile to produce one of a “larger” tile type.  While it sounds similar to 2048 you actually have control over where you place the tiles which makes the strategy a bit different.  This particular strain of the game seems to have been mashed with Othello because you can only put a piece next to a tile that you already own.  You also have an opponent that will try and take over your tiles, so you’ll want to do everything you can to contain the opposition or eradiate it if possible.  And of course the fact that the game is played on a hexagonal grid adds a nice twist to the proceedings.  The game offers classic and expert mode against computer AI, and you can also play multi-player on the same device or via the internet using Game Center.  There’s even a Zen mode, though I’m not quite sure what that offers apart from the two computer AI modes other than it might not ever contain any opponents.  There are 7 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each of the two modes that you play against the computer.  If you’re a fan of either the “merging tiles” or Othello styles of game play, you should find this hybrid intriguing.

Polygon Evolution Alex Dantis, Polygon Evolution – Free

Dragon June – This week’s entry in the “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” category goes to Dragon June.  In this game you control a blue dragon that apparently likes to eat carrots, because that’s what fills up your power meter.  You’ll need that power too, because in one of the three level types you must shoot gems to earn bonus points, and in another you’ll have to take down a big boss, which as you can surmise both require power.  In gem mode you’ll need to tap one of four buttons that corresponds to the color of the gem you wish to shoot, but the game takes over flying duties for you.  In boss mode you’ll have to juggle both tapping the screen to fly and tapping the shoot buttons to take down the boss.  Each shot takes up power, and while in boss mode you’ll find extra carrots along the way the gem section is tougher because you don’t get power refills, so if you use everything up you might miss a few gems.  The game is presented in a third person infinite runner style, so the real challenge in the game comes from trying to judge the objects you have to dodge in the two modes were you control the flying.  If you can’t get enough of the flappy bird mechanic but are tired of the typical presentation, this is a nice alternative that won’t make you rip your hair out.

Dragon June benny bird, Dragon June – Free

Puzzle & Dungeon – Yep, it’s another RPG lite / match 3 hybrid.  But I figure as long as they keep entertaining me enough I’ll keep reporting about them.  Unfortunately there are several features that are still in the “coming soon” stage.  What the game does offer is plenty of levels to conquer and many monsters to vanquish.  In this variant of the mash-up you select all the monsters you want to attack and all the weapons you want to use in the same chain, and any monsters whose HP is less than the total of the weapons selected will die.  You can also select shields to enhance your protection, potions to regain life points and coins to bolster your coffer.  Beware of bosses because they will do nasty things like reverse the effects of tiles or even change tiles into more monsters!  Defeating the boss completes the level and rewards you with XP and an item from one of four categories: sword, shield, armor or helmet.  All items can be upgraded using the cash you’ve collected, and some are enchanted as well.  When you get enough XP you’ll level up and increase some stats, and as you reach certain levels you’ll unlock new features to make your hero even more powerful.  There’s already a lot here to like, and I’m eager to see how much the “coming soon” features will enhance the game’s fun factor.

Puzzle & Dungeon Hero Mind, Puzzle & Dungeon – Free

Pattap – This is one of the most original and frustrating games I’ve played in quite a while.  There are no enemies save for the annoying timer that steadily counts down and never seems to get any time added back to it.  Your job is to build a staircase to the top of each of two different towers, and you do this by folding tiles together until you’ve made all of them disappear on each level.  The first tower is comprised of triangles while the second is all square, so the methodology is slightly different in each.  The one hint you get is that several of the shapes will have numbers inside of them, indicating how often that particular tile needs to be folded over.  There are no leaderboards, though the game does offer 17 achievements.  You just need to make sure you tap the joystick on the main menu to activate Game Center so your games actually work towards your achievements.  The main issue with this game is that it is very unforgiving.  If you accidentally fold one space too far there’s no undo except to either let go which completely resets the current fold or hit the reset which redoes the whole level.  And there have been many occasions where the folding seems to go further than I “instructed” it to.  Still, if you can deal with the finicky controls, Pattap is definitely worth the experience.


Cardboard Crooks – I’m already a bit biased here because I really love the whole shooting gallery style game play mechanic that Cardboard Crooks employs, especially since it is so well suited for touch screen devices.  Still, there are plenty of these to be found on the App Store, so such a game still has to feel a bit different to really catch my attention.  I like this one because it really makes good on the “cardboard” claim.  When you shoot a bad guy, unless you hit them in their sweet spot so they disappear completely you’ll blow a chunk out of them just like you had shot up a giant piece of cardboard.  Now it appears that if you shoot their weapon they can’t shoot back, which is really pretty cool, but I don’t think you get points unless you kill the bad guys.  Sometimes when you shoot an enemy you’ll get their weapon as a temporary upgrade.  You also need to watch out for lamps and pictures in the background, because shooting them could reveal a health kit to restore a heart when you’ve been shot.  So far there appears to be only one location, but right now that’s good enough for me.  The game offers 15 achievements and a leaderboard for highest score.  A new locale or two would be nice, and sometimes the balance of civilians seems a bit off, but overall this is a fun shooting gallery experience with plenty of replay value.

Cardboard Crooks Dodreams Ltd., Cardboard Crooks – 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 [June 2 - 8] Wed, 02 Jul 2014 01:22:23 +0000 It seems the more I try to catch up the further behind I get, but I will keep bringing you these roundups in as timely a fashion as I can.  As usual I’ve tried to diversify the game genres as much as possible, but of course there are just some styles of game play I … Read more]]>


It seems the more I try to catch up the further behind I get, but I will keep bringing you these roundups in as timely a fashion as I can.  As usual I’ve tried to diversify the game genres as much as possible, but of course there are just some styles of game play I just naturally gravitate towards.  My favorite game this week was Sky Force 2014, and if you haven’t already tried it but consider yourself a shmup fan just hang up your membership now and hang your head in shame.  Without further ado, here are the games…

Sky Force 2014 – I love shmup’s, so this next statement means a lot.  I think this is now my favorite iOS shmup.  My benchmark for judgment has always been the classic Capcom offering 1942, and this exhibits all the basic game play elements of that game: lots of enemy formations, fair but increasing difficulty levels, and missions that don’t get boring no matter how often you play them.  Unfortunately Sky Force does not offer the signature “roll to dodge” move that 1942 seems to have monopolized, but all its extras more than make up for it.  There are three difficulty levels for each mission and 4 goals to complete per difficulty level, which means you could play each mission at least 12 times.  Trust me when I say you’ll be visiting the missions at lot more than that.  Add on to that the upgrade system, which gives you eight items to upgrade with many levels of upgrade per item, and you could be playing this game for a long time before coming even close to having the ultimate fighter.  Personally, that’s just fine with me.  I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent on the game so far, but it still feels like a fresh experience every time I play through a mission.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

Sky Force 2014 Infinite Dreams Inc., Sky Force 2014 – Free

Space Heads – Infinite runners is another favorite genre of mine, and while it’s hard for me to get bored playing one they mostly tend to focus on you controlling a person or animal of some sort.  Space Heads takes the playing field to outer space (I know, who would have guessed), but instead of guiding a soldier through alien fields or anything like that you pilot a ship through massive lengths of heavily protected tunnels.  A few games with this motif have surfaced in the past, but few have been done as well as this one in my opinion.  I know the levels are randomly put together, but the combination of obstacles present is always quite exhilarating.  Instead of your normal “swipe left and right” you actually move on a 3 x 3 grid, which adds an interesting perspective when trying to dodge certain perils.  You can also tap the screen to temporarily fly sideways, though I feel like this technique is sorely underused.  You collect gems to upgrade each of four different power ups, and you can also unlock certain pilots with the gems.  Other pilots require special items to unlock, and I’m not entirely sure how you get those.  The game offers 23 achievements through Game Center, though surprisingly there are no leaderboards.  You can upload your run as a video to Everplay if you’d like.

Space Heads! Unity Studios, Space Heads! – Free

Balloon Kingdom – This week’s “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” award goes to Balloon Kingdom.  Sure you tap to move up and release to move down, but unlike its predecessor this game is rather entertaining, and while it starts out almost a bit too easy, the challenge soon ramps up.  In addition to this world’s equivalent of the standard pipe type object there are other environmental items you have to contend with, some that you can even collide with, though the results still may not work out in your favor.  There are also enemies that come at you from different directions, and in some levels you’ll have to fight bosses.  Speaking of which, Balloon Kingdom is actually level based instead of being one infinite level, and each level has 3 key tokens that you can collect.  These can be used to unlock additional worlds once you’ve beaten the initial one.  You even have the chance to select special items at the beginning of the level to help you on your quest, though it appears that the only way to replenish these items is through IAP (or launching the game every day).  The graphics are kind of a mix between Pac-land and Super Mario Bros, and the atmosphere as a whole should be quite pleasing to kids.  Thankfully adults can enjoy this offering as well.

Balloon Kingdom CROOZ, Inc., Balloon Kingdom – Free

Kindly Colors – There’s a good chance you’ve not played a match 3 game like this before, because with all the ones I’ve played over the years I don’t think I’ve played anything quite like it.  Match 5 would be more appropriate, because valid chains have to be at least 5 tiles long.  The cool thing is that your chain can be comprised of two different colors, and if you press down on a tile a handy wheel at the top will show you which other two colors you can include in your chain.  Matches earn you points which progress you to new levels and new levels mean more moves.  You get 15 per level, and once all your moves are gone the game is over.  Match 7 or more tiles and depending on the shape you’ll earn a power up tile that you can activate by including it in a match.  While your moves are limited your time is not, so you can relax and listen to the peaceful music while you try to figure out what your next move is going to be.  As long as you don’t take your finger off the screen you can even retrace your steps to include more tiles that might be in the opposite direction.  There are no achievements at this point, but there is a leaderboard and you can brag to your friends via Facebook if you’d like.

Kindly Colors Amusing Mind, Kindly Colors – Free

Blast Your Way – The iTunes description coins the phrase “travel defense” in describing this game, and frankly I can’t think of a better way to put it.  Your job is to protect a vehicle carrying money as it travels from point A to point B, but instead of directly controlling the car or anyone in it you’ll snipe out of existence anything that stands in the vehicle’s way or that tries to ram it to get the loot. Tapping the enemy is enough to dispose of it, though in most cases you’ll need to use multiple shots to take out a car.  If you start feeling overwhelmed you can drag special weapons onto the playing field such as landmines, bombs and even air strikes.  Occasionally once you’ve reached your goal you’ll have to fend off some crooks throwing various explosives at the vehicle by shooting the explosives before they make contact.  Each main location is broken up into several sublocations, and when you complete a sublocation you’ll earn XP that lets you rank up and unlock new power ups to use.  You also collect money to buy power ups and new vehicles.  There’s currently only one major location, New York, but London is “coming soon” and hopefully we’ll see more locales as well.  Game Center integration would be cool to, since right now your only link to the outside world is Facebook.

Blast Your Way C4 Gaming, Blast Your Way – Free

Puzzle Racers: 2048 Turbo – I always like to see developers try new mash-ups, and this is certainly a different one.  The game is a top down racer, but instead of directly controlling your vehicle you move it by playing a game of 2048.  If you’re not familiar with the concept, you shuffle squares around a playing field and when two with the same number collide they form one tile with the sum of those two numbers.  If one slide causes multiple combinations then you get an extra boost.  You can play in Race or Laps mode, the only difference that I can tell being Race mode has a definitive end whereas in Laps mode you just keep going until you can’t slide any more tiles.  Of course my playing field gets filled up no matter what, and I can’t seem to ever beat the computer player.  There are 4 leaderboards, though I’m not sure how they are hosted since the game doesn’t appear to use Game Center and you don’t need to sign into Facebook.  You can post to Twitter and Facebook through the game if you like.  I think this game is a great start, and with some additional features and true social connectivity it could be a neat, unique entry in the overhead racing market.

Puzzle Racers: 2048 Turbo eBattalion, Puzzle Racers: 2048 Turbo – Free

Save The Island – This is a pretty novel idea, and interestingly enough two games were released in the same week that capitalized on it.  More odd than that is the fact that the two games actually use the same visuals – I’m guessing they are one in the same, and for some reason have been published by two different “authors”, but I don’t care about that.  The basic premise behind the game is that you must keep an island afloat by manipulating weights to counter-balance the ever shifting population.  Should you fail, you are “treated” to an animation of the island sinking and all the poor inhabitants that trusted in you floating to the surface of the water, presumably having perished.  Of course, much like the “last resort” button in the old game Lemmings, some might find this end more entertaining than the game itself.  I picked this version of the game over the other one because it actually feels a bit more polished with difficulty settings, country selection and a leaderboard.  You probably won’t keep this one on your device for long, but since you most likely haven’t played anything like this before, it’s at least worth checking out.

Save The Island Norberto Bizzarri, Save The Island – Free

Dark Way Down – This is a simple puzzle game with a minimal interface, yet I find it very intriguing.  All you have to do is move your character on top of all the dark tiles to make them light, and you can pass the level.  Sometimes you might have to darken an already lit tile to get to another part of the board, and eventually you’ll start getting walls that force you to take the long way around to your objective.  You’ll also get teleports that help you cross the board without wasting moves.  You do have a limited number of moves with which to complete the board, though thankfully they were at least kind enough not to include a timer (an option for this would be nice for those who like that sort of challenge).  One thing I like about this particular variant on this style of game play is that you can actually move off the board on one side and reappear on the other.  This mechanic adds an interesting dimension to game play.  There are achievements and leaderboards, but it seems the developers forgot their intended target and left the interface for the Android version of the game, so it tries to connect with your Google Play account.  Hopefully they’ll fix this in the future so that iOS users can have Game Center achievements.

Dark Way Down Daniel Fairley, Dark Way Down – Free

Roller Coaster Mountain – This is a third person infinite runner, but the screen shots are a bit misleading in that they make it seem like you spend the majority of your time in a mine cart of sorts.  That’s actually just a small portion of the trip, but it doesn’t matter because the whole thing is so crazy you won’t care.  The level often feels Sonic-inspired, which is pretty cool in my opinion.  You’ll have all the usual obstacles to dodge, but when there’s just no way to avoid something you can either user your booster to plow through the obstacles or super concentration to slow the world around you and make that impossible leap.  Like usual you can collect coins to buy upgrades and new costumes (which in this case amounts to different hair styles), and there are also missions to complete which reward you with power up bonuses.  Game Center provides a leaderboard and you can post to Facebook if you wish, but there are no achievements at this point.  Roller Coaster Mountain really doesn’t break any new ground in the infinite runner genre, but there’s so much going on with the levels that it just feels different from the typical runner.

Roller Coaster Mountain SangWoon Yi, Roller Coaster Mountain – Free

Royal Defenders – Okay, I’m finally starting to see the appeal of tower defense games.  Of course, one might argue that this is not such a game since there aren’t any towers, but that’s just nit-picking.  The fact that your “towers” in this case are actual creatures is part of the game’s appeal, and I’ve grown particularly fond of the mace wielding cat despite the fact that I am not a feline lover of any sort.  You can have several different defenders in your arsenal at a time, and as you level up your game persona that amount will increase.  Each defender can be upgraded once after it has been placed on the field, but in between levels you can boost each of 4 stats on a given defender as long as you have the resources.  Certain levels reward you with a coin that you can spend in the arm-o-tron vending machine to get a new defender type.  There’s a deluxe version of this with more intriguing defenders to be had, but that requires gems which only appear attainable via IAP.  Social features allow you to share gifts and lives with your friends to aid them in their campaign, and there are also live events where you can compete either with or against players from around the world.  The silly story and wacky characters should help the game appeal to those who might not care so much for the genre, but hardcore tower defense junkies will find a lot to like as well.

Royal Defenders Mobage, Inc., Royal Defenders – 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 [May 26 - June 1] Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:34:17 +0000 It probably seems like this roundup has been a long time in coming, and that’s because it has.  Rather than give a long, boring explanation, let me just apologize and move on.  This collection actually included a fair share of platform games including cartoon series based Marcus Level.  Besides just being fun, I appreciated the … Read more]]>


It probably seems like this roundup has been a long time in coming, and that’s because it has.  Rather than give a long, boring explanation, let me just apologize and move on.  This collection actually included a fair share of platform games including cartoon series based Marcus Level.  Besides just being fun, I appreciated the fact that the game had built in replay value by making the five badges for each level unattainable in a single run through.  Western 1849 tasks you with protecting a small town from bandits during the gold rush.  There’s plenty of challenge involved and ample reward if you take out the bad guys before they get you.  Sunset Racing Multiplayer provides a decent overhead racing experience with several cars to unlock and level up.  The best part is that the game managed to entertain me even though I didn’t get to blow anything up.

Pixel Wizard Adventure – A lot of developers seem to like to take us back to the old days when it comes to platform games, and Richard Elms is no exception.  This game feels like something that I would have had no problems playing for hours on my NES.  The controls are simple: left and right arrows to move, and buttons to jump and shoot.  Your main objective is just to get to the exit on each level, though there are coins to collect along the way.  These coins can be used to purchase new wizards that have more health and do greater damage to the enemies.  The different wizards provide no tactical advantage when it comes to the tricky parts of the levels, however, so a skilled player could probably make it through with the basic wizard.  There are 40 levels spread across four worlds, and if there was one major down side to the game it would be that you can’t start each level independently of finishing the others.  There is no Game Center integration, but the game doesn’t really feel like it needs that.  Anyone that enjoys a solid platform adventure with a difficulty level that eventually hearkens back to the old Mega Man games should really enjoy Pixel Wizard Adventure.

Pixel Wizard Adventure Richard Elms, Pixel Wizard Adventure – Free


Sunset Racing Multiplayer – I have to admit that I’m a bit shocked – I actually managed to find an overhead racing game without weapons that I enjoy!  The game is pretty standard as far as overhead racers go.  There’s a Quick mode where you run a single race against 4 other computer drivers, a League mode where you try to climb the ranks on a particular track by racing one driver at a time, and a Duel mode which is presumably against other human players.  I actually like Quick mode a bit better than League mode because there are more racers and you can actually run into your competition to knock them off track.  League racing is where you’ll make the big bucks, however, and you’ll need some cash if you want to upgrade your current vehicle or buy a new one.  There are six vehicles in total and supposedly they all behave and feel a bit different, but so far I’ve been dumping all my winnings into upgrading my current ride.  The main issue for me is that there are only three tracks to race on, and while they are pretty fun I’d love some more options.  I believe that’s coming soon, however.  In the mean time this is a fun racer that won’t cost you a dime unless you want to supplement your in-game currency via IAP.

Sunset Racing Multiplayer Gennadij Tsodikov, Sunset Racing Multiplayer – $0.99

Beware Planet Earth! – Okay, I guess I have to start admitting that tower defense style games aren’t quite as bad as I’ve made them out to be.  I’m still not overly excited about the mechanics of the genre, but I’m really starting to realize that atmosphere goes a long way towards making this style of game play palatable.  In this case you need to help a farm that’s stuck in his outhouse defend his cows from an alien invasion.  Every now and again he’ll invent a new machine to help you out (how he does that from the outhouse I’m not sure), and you’ll also get introduced to different types of aliens along the way.  Borrowing a bit from the Plants vs Zombie variant of the tower defense genre you’ll have to put up cog factories in order to generate the precious materials you need to build your machines.  One thing that’s interesting about this particular TD game is that defeated foes leave nothing behind… well, except a cow if they managed to snag one before you killed them.  One neat feature is that captured cows will actually try and return to their field once you’ve destroyed their captors.  This game is well designed, there’s plenty of humor and the artwork is really neat.

Beware Planet Earth! BANDAI NAMCO Games Europe, Beware Planet Earth! – Free

Marcus Level – This is a platform game based off of a cartoon, which generally carries the same stigma as games based off of movies.  In the case of Marcus Level, however, they’ve managed to make a fun platformer despite its small screen roots.  You play a boy trapped inside a video game that must complete the game in order to return to his world, and the game is set up where you’re always running but can control the character’s attack and jump abilities.  This is not an infinite runner, though, as each level has a definite end.  There are also five goals to each level: complete the level, collect all the chokobongos in a level, finish the level under a certain amount of time, find all the secrets in a level and then beat the level without using checkpoints.  You will typically have to run through a level several times to complete all the goals, and you don’t even have access to the checkpoint goal (known as the Expert mode challenge) until you’ve completed all the other goals.  While it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re controlling a cartoon, there are definitely cartoon like influences throughout the game.  There are even 35 trophies to earn, each with somewhere between two to four levels of achievements.  If you like the type of game that has lots to earn and forces you to go back through the levels multiple times to do so, Marcus Level is definitely the game for you.

Marcus Level MondoTV France, Marcus Level – Free

Shutter Creep – There are a surprising number of games on the App Store that strive to “scare the pants off” the players, and the reality is that most of them aren’t scary and are often actually annoying.  Shutter Creep is one of the rare exceptions that have the potential to be a true horror game.  The game offers 8 different locations that range from a graveyard to a playground, and it does a great job of presenting the locales in an eerie light thanks to a grayscale color scheme and dreary music.  Your task in each location is to photograph all the ghosts you can find so that the souls trapped within can be set free.  Of course if they catch wind of what you’re doing they’ll rush you and soon you’ll find yourself scared out of a job.  The main problem with the game is that it uses two “joysticks” to navigate the game’s 3D world, neither of which is very reactive to the touch.  In fact, that left joystick which controls the actual movement tends not to move you, or in some cases moves you forward when you think you’re pressing back.  If you’re willing to fight with the controls a bit, however, the game does provide some genuinely creepy moments, especially with the playground scene in general or more specifically when a photographed child dissipates.  And I was even playing the game without headphones in a well lighted room.

Shutter Creep Tomato Animation, Shutter Creep – Free

Truffle Saga – It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a good mascot-driven physics based puzzle game, and Truffle Saga certainly fits the bill.  Your job is to clear each level of all the menacing mushrooms using your trusty acorn.  Unfortunately you only get one shot per level, but luckily your “shot” isn’t over until the acorn falls off the screen or gets stuck somewhere that it can’t move.  Also working to your benefit is the fact that the acorn has a lot of bounce to it.  You’ll have to use every conveniently placed branch or leaf that’s curved to your advantage if you hope to clear all the levels.  As you progress through the game you’ll also start acquiring useful tools like a flower that catches the acorn and lets you re-launch at your will, bumblebees that act like breakout paddles and snakes that you can twist to guide the acorn in different directions.  Of course you’ll also face obstacles such as clumps of bugs that will block the acorn or Venus flytraps that will happily eat it.  Each level has three gems you can collect if you’re skillful enough, and there are plenty of trophies to earn as well.  Truffle Saga currently has 2 worlds with 30 levels apiece, and the menu promises that there is more to come.  I can’t promise much originality, but at least the game is well done and has a cute setting that might just put a smile on your face.

Truffle Saga Colossal Games, Truffle Saga – Free

Western 1849 – If you’re a fan of shooting gallery style games then you’ll definitely love Western 1849.  Set during the gold rush, you are the sheriff of a small town that’s been overrun by bandits once it was discovered that there really was gold in “them thar hills”.  You’ll travel between 4 different areas in the town, shooting first and not bothering to ask questions.  As you eliminate bandits you’ll earn experience and level up, getting the chance to increase your health, base damage or chance at a critical hit.  You’ll also increase your score multiplier.  Defeating levels and completing missions earns you coins which you can use to buy new weapons, replenish your ammo for your secondary gun or purchase health packs.  Your health doesn’t replenish between shootouts unless you level up, so you might need to visit the sheriff’s office to heal yourself as well… or just don’t get shot!  Each area has multiple vantage points that you’ll need to take advantage of in order to take out all the bad guys, and little indicators will show you which direction your opponents are in and whether they are firing or not.  Unfortunately you can’t look around unless you’re standing up which makes you vulnerable to enemy fire, but otherwise there’s a lot to like about this old west shooting game.

Western 1849 Slynq Interactive, LLC, Western 1849 – Free

Warfare Nations – Warfare Nations is another side scrolling castle defense style war game, except that it throws some traditional strategy game elements into the mix.  The locales that you visit are enemy buildings, and once you conquer them you actually get resources from them like gold and iron.  You also have three main buildings you can upgrade that provide you with soldiers, armored vehicles and support weapons like planes that drop bombs on a targeted enemy.  There are plenty of locations to visit and 7 different bosses to master.  The game offers two different factions to choose from, so I presume that once you complete the game with one faction you play again with the other to experience different types of troops and vehicles.  There are 36 different achievements to earn, and accomplishing these goals will reward you with XP and diamonds.  Gold and iron can get you pretty much everything you need to fight, but diamonds makes the world of production move a whole lot quicker.  There’s also a PvP mode, though I haven’t explored that option yet.  One aspect of this game that really stands out to me is that you have direct control of all your troops once you deploy them on the battlefield, and while the system could use a bit of tweaking it’s a nice change from just pressing a button and sitting back to watch.

Warfare Nations VOLV LLC, Warfare Nations – Free

Star Lander – I remember a time when Flight Control clones practically outnumbered match 3 games, or at least it sure seemed like it.  They’re not quite as prevalent any more, but an entertaining genre never dies and so we now have Star Lander.  This outer space themed variant contains 8 levels with as many as 4 different types of craft at one time.  Landing areas can either be strips with one entrance, strips with two entrances or in the case of the UFO a circular landing pad that can be approached from any direction.  Thankfully ships cannot crash with the space station itself, but other craft and on some levels asteroids are certainly fair game.  The asteroids present a particular challenge because you can’t control them at all, so you may find yourself juggling several paths to accommodate the inconvenient rocks.  Star Lander has 9 different leaderboards, so if you like to compete against other players for rankings this is a good game for you.  There are only 7 achievements at the moment, but it will take a bit of effort to collect all of them.  There’s not really any new ground to be tread here, but the outer space theme could provide for some interesting obstacles if the developer decides to expand on this project in the future.  Black holes, anyone?

Star Lander Souva SAS, Star Lander – Free

Super Blobs World (Platformer) – There were a couple of games in contention for this last spot, but in the end I decided to go with Super Blobs World.  The main reason for my choice is because I find myself continually coming back to this game to find out what the next level is going to offer.  There are a decent number of platform elements here like moving platforms, falling platforms and pits that you don’t really want to fall into.  Your interaction with the blob, however, is basically three-fold.  You can move and jump to get around the world, land on buttons to activate platforms, and collect keys to open doors.  It’s amazing how much flexibility so few options can afford you.  Many of the levels are challenging, and on at least a couple of levels you’ll sit back after you’re done and go “wow that was cool”.  The visuals are cartoony in a good way, and the music is nice both because there is a different track for each level set and it’s actually good music.  A better variety of villains would be welcome, but otherwise this is a sharp little platform game.

Super Blobs World (Platfomer) Lukas Feldkirchner, Super Blobs World (Platfomer) – 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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Blowfish Meets Meteor in Review: A Brick Breaker, And So Much More Thu, 05 Jun 2014 06:30:43 +0000 The brick breaker genre has never been a particular favorite of mine, but just like with most other styles of game play, if a certain offering is well designed I can definitely be entertained.  Such is the case with Blowfish Meets Meteor, which would have caught my attention with the name alone.  Smart level design, … Read more]]>


The brick breaker genre has never been a particular favorite of mine, but just like with most other styles of game play, if a certain offering is well designed I can definitely be entertained.  Such is the case with Blowfish Meets Meteor, which would have caught my attention with the name alone.  Smart level design, power ups that serve a purpose rather than just being bombarded at you and a wacky atmosphere make this one of the best brick breakers I’ve played.  The main down side is that some levels can be frustratingly challenging, even to the point where I couldn’t earn a single gem in the three gem rating scheme.


You play a loving father who must rescue his mermaid daughters after a catastrophic incident resulted in all of them getting captured.  Surely that won’t take long, you think.  Apparently this guy has a lot of kids.  Anyway, the kids have been imprisoned in cells made out of bricks, so you have to use your trusty meteor fragments along with a sizeable clam shell to bust them out from their captivity.  Oh, and did I mention the manatee and oversized piranha?  If I haven’t done a good enough job of making it evident yet, this game is not the norm when it comes to atmosphere for a brick breaker game.  And that’s just one of its charms.

The basic mechanics are that of a brick breaker: move the dad back and forth so that he can keep the meteor fragments bouncing up towards the top of the screen.  And yes, there are some bricks up there to break.  Sometimes, though, there might be just as many sticks of dynamite as there are bricks.  In other cases you might find giant piranha or schools of smaller fish providing obstacles to your ultimate goal, which is clearing a path so that each of the trapped mermaids can get free and swim to the dome at the bottom of the screen.  You also have to protect the dome from any falling objects because one hit is grace, but two hits means you start the level over.  On some levels you might get a power up such as a sticky paddle or a temporary shield, but this is more the exception than the rule and is determined by what you must accomplish in the level.  What really makes this game shine is that levels were extremely well thought out, and it never once feels like a traditional brick breaker in terms of boring rows of bricks.


The world appears to be divided into at least 5 areas, and so far each has been comprised of 9 subordinate levels and one boss level.  In most cases you just have to rescue the daughters (and occasionally beat a boss) in order to progress to the next level.  To earn gems, however, you are judged on several criteria like damage sustained and number of bricks broken.  This will get you the red and / or green gems, but you must complete a specific task to earn the blue gem.  Out of the 18 levels I’ve completed so far I’ve only managed to acquire all three gems on three of them, and in a couple of cases I didn’t even get one gem right off the bat.  This is my main gripe – I personally feel the goals are often too difficult to achieve, especially early on in the game.  Blowfish Meets Meteor is integrated with Game Center where you can find 60 different leaderboards, so those that like to climb ranks should be extremely happy.  There are also 11 achievements, many of which suffer the same difficulty curve as the gem based goals.

The graphics are great, with well designed and animated characters atop nicely detailed backgrounds.  A couple of the levels have a cool sunset silhouette type look as well.  I could easily picture this being a Cartoon Network offering from a visual perspective.  The sound effects are pretty decent, though the grating cry of the mermaids when the dome is shattered or they get eaten by a piranha almost makes you not feel sorry for them.  The music is quite nice and does a good job of setting a peaceful mood despite the “dire” circumstances.


While I’m no more of a brick breaker junkie than I was before playing Blowfish Meets Meteor, I definitely like this game.  The level design is far superior to most of its peers, and I love the fact that the main goal is to rescue the mermaids, not to remove every brick from the screen.  The visuals are colorful, the music is good and the overall atmosphere is fun.  Some of the goals are discouragingly tough, but fans of the genre and those that normally shy away should both find something to like here.


App Summary
Title: Blowfish Meets Meteor Developer: Sky Tyrannosaur, LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.06 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 93.1 MB
  • Unique level design
  • Not just about brick breaking
  • Cartoon like atmosphere
  • Goals can be frustrating
  • Mermaid cries are annoying


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10 App Store Games To Watch [May 19 - 25] Mon, 02 Jun 2014 05:47:49 +0000 This week’s games had a lot of interesting features, but one trait that surfaced in a lot of the entries was good old fashioned pixel style graphics.  Defend your Crypt brought this look to the “treasure defense” genre.  Despite only having seven different types of traps to work with this game offers quite a bit … Read more]]>


This week’s games had a lot of interesting features, but one trait that surfaced in a lot of the entries was good old fashioned pixel style graphics.  Defend your Crypt brought this look to the “treasure defense” genre.  Despite only having seven different types of traps to work with this game offers quite a bit of strategy and proves to be a frantic challenge even in the early levels.  PixelGolf is what I would have imagined had Sierra Online made a miniature golf game in the late 80s.  The level designs are lots of fun, and you can play up to 4 players on the same device or online.  Super Surf Bros brings you pixel waves and fun in the sun.  Play a gnarly campaign mode and work your way to number one in the big surfing contest or take on a real opponent for head to head wave action on the same device.

Super Surf Bros – This is not a complex surfing simulation.  In fact, other than spinning yourself into nausea with 360 degree turns the only other trick you can do is laying flat on the board while “surfing” in the air.  Instead, this is just a fun way to kill some time and enjoy the silliness of pixilated frat surfer dudes.  Story mode has you competing in a big surf camp match, which apparently lasts until you actually win (I haven’t yet).  There’s also a practice mode, but that’s kind of boring because there are no other surfers; maybe they should throw in a shark to sweeten the pot a bit.  Finally there’s head to head mode, where you can take on another player on the same device.  I haven’t experimented with this mode yet, but it could be kind of interesting.  Story mode was the main focus for me, and I liked the way that you could earn items from other surfers once you beat them in the competition… and in a healthy match of rock, paper, scissors.  The controls are simple and the graphics remind me of the good old days when Sierra Online used to reign supreme.  Game Center offers a leaderboard and six achievements, but my one fear with this game is that it will grow old once you’ve tackled story mode.

Super Surf Bros Wonpwn, Super Surf Bros – Free

Bear Simulator 3D Madness – Maybe I’m being unfair to the game, but I’m going to assume this is a response to all those weird goat games that seem to be popping up lately.  Whatever the case, this could actually be a rather interesting game, and it is entertaining at least for a little while.  The gist of the game is that you’re a bear on the loose causing havoc to everything you run into.  You do that almost too well, as you can easily take down tanks, helicopters or whatever else gets in your way.  It would be nice to see something in this game besides the bear traps try and stop you.  Even better, when you run into another bear you should be able to duke it out with that bear.  The metro level needs to be more than the wilderness level with some pavement as well; some actual buildings would be nice.  As it stands Bear Madness Simulator has a lot of potential, but it feels like a tech demo more than anything else.  Download it, play it for a bit, then send the developer some nice comments and suggestions so that maybe this will get fleshed out into a more full-fledged game.

Bear Simulator 3D Madness Ksenia Tsarkova, Bear Simulator 3D Madness – Free

The Outbreak – This is not a very long game at all.  In fact, it might be quicker for you to download it and play it then to read this synopsis.  Still, if you’re a fan of zombie games I think this is worth your time.  Much like Super Surf Bros, this game sports some pretty slick Sierra style graphics, though you’d be hard pressed to find anything from their VGA catalog that was nearly as gory (well, as gory as pixilated blood spurts can be, anyway).  The mechanics are quite basic: left and right to move and a jump button to get over obstacles and squish zombies by jumping on their heads.  The game is divided into several small sections, and you get 4 lives to complete each section.  Unless you’re really bad at this type of game or just decide to goof off there should be no reason for you not to complete the whole thing on your first play through.  Despite the somewhat clunky graphics there does manage to be a couple of instances that border on creepy, but more importantly the game is entertaining for the couple of minutes it lasts.  It’s also hopefully a sign of good things to come.

The Outbreak lauren drinkwater, The Outbreak – Free

Defend your Crypt – Forget Dungeon Keeper, it’s time to protect your gold even more old school style with Defend your Crypt.  This is kind of like a sadistic version of Lemmings.  The creatures – in this case humans – still fall from the top of the screen and walk in predetermined paths to a goal, but in this case instead of trying to help them you want to obliterate them.  There are seven types of traps you can use to lure the thieves to their deaths, and with all the fun I’m having after being given two of them I can’t imagine the chaos when I have them all at my disposal.  I’m only on level 4 of the 21 levels that are currently offered and I already wish I had a few more fingers and eyes to keep track of everything.  I also like the twist that instead of buying and placing traps you simply pay to unlock the traps that are already scattered around the board.  It’s more a matter of deciding which ones to open up and then how to use them most effectively.  For those that like a little more interactivity in their defense games this is definitely for you, and you won’t be disappointed with the level of challenge either.

Defend your Crypt Adrian Vega Carpintero, Defend your Crypt – Free

Chrono Express – I have to confess that there was a slight tingle in my spine when I saw this title and accidentally considered that it might have to do with a certain critically acclaimed NES RPG series.  Anyway, this is actually an infinite runner style game with a Steampunk setting where you deliver packages via a new express delivery route.  The concept is amusing (think Google drones but with actual drivers) and the game is actually pretty fun.  You’ll start out with a basic bike and no accessories, and as you make runs and complete missions you’ll earn cash to buy new equipment.  You’ll also unlock new obstacle types, which over time can make for some rather interesting levels.  So far the most interesting obstacle is the “no place to land” enhancement which gives your vehicle wings and temporarily turns the game into an over the shoulder Flappy Bird experience.  There are 22 badges (achievements) to earn and a “highest revenue for a single run” leaderboard to place on.  It will definitely take some work to earn most of the cool stuff, but the missions are fair and it never seems like real grinding to keep pressing forward.

Chrono Express Ming Gao, Chrono Express – Free

PixelGolf – As I’ve mentioned many a time I’m not a big fan of electronic sports games, unless of course they tend to be a bit on the silly or unrealistic side.  Of course one might argue that mini golf isn’t really a sport anyway but it is close enough for me, and this is one of those exceptions to my “no sports games” rule.  First of all, this has some of the best course designs I’ve seen in a mini golf game in a while.  And naturally, the course layouts are a big part of what make a mini golf game a success.  Second, I love every pixilated inch of the visuals.  The control scheme is interesting, consisting of a spin wheel to determine the direction and a slider bar to gauge the power of the shot.  In concept it’s pretty cool but in practice it makes those precision shots at the end a bit of a pain.  Needless to say I was a bit above par my first time around.  Enjoy the game on your own or really dig into the fun by playing 4 player pass-and-play or online.  There’s only 1 eighteen hole course currently, but you can play as much as you’d like without any IAP or ads to hamper your fun.  I will say that I would happily pay an additional buck or two IAP if they created a new course down the road.

PixelGolf Kristian Keane, PixelGolf – $1.99


Ruzzle Adventure – This is my kind of word game.  Instead of being just a “how long can you go” type game or requiring you to play against another person, Ruzzle Adventure is a solo adventure divided into plenty of bite sized levels.  Sure you can hook up with your friends via Facebook to compare high scores, but you don’t have to.  Each level has a main goal that you have to complete in a certain number of moves in order to win.  While you’re working towards that goal (or once you’ve completed it if you have extra lives) you can keep finding words to build up your score and earn up to three stars per level.  You can even replay levels to earn missed stars, but once you’ve collected all three on a level you’re basically just trying to beat whoever holds the high score for that level.  As you play through a level unused tiles will start to accumulate bonus multipliers to boost your score even more.  Using 5 or more letters at once earns you a bomb to help clear out entire rows or columns, and other boosters will become available over time, for a price no doubt.  Overall Ruzzle Adventure is nicely presented, it feels fresh and you can cris-cross your lines and make diagonals which is always a bonus in my book!

Ruzzle Adventure MAG Interactive, Ruzzle Adventure – Free

Bill Killem – This is one of the latest offerings from Chillingo and is a collaboration with Everplay, which in my opinion happens to be one of the better retro pixel action game developers on the App Store.  Bill Killem certainly doesn’t disappoint, either.  It plays kind of like a side scrolling infinite runner except that you can actually move backwards as well as forward, as long as you keep ahead of the wall coming from the left that will crush you.  It also has a bit of Super Crate Box thrown in because you’ll get crates that supply you with random weapons when you blast them.  In this case, however, it appears that all of the weapon types are unlocked from the beginning of the game.  Completing missions earns you money to upgrade your upgrades and buy new disguises, but to initially unlock most of the upgrades you must spend some real money via IAP.  You also level up as you keep playing, though I’m not really sure what that does.  Game Center offers a leaderboard and 13 achievements to earn.  Finally, you need to make sure you collect the clocks, because in addition to all of the fun death scenarios, you could simply run out of time.

Bill Killem Chillingo Ltd, Bill Killem – Free


No Food For You – So I’m sure you were just sitting there thinking you needed another tower defense game, right?  I’ll admit that mechanically it plays like a pretty standard TD game, but in this case I like the presentation.  Instead of the typical scenario where you’re trying to keep some sort of creatures from invading your territory, in this case you’re trying to destroy food before the creature at the end of the path can eat it.  Your weapons of choice are conveniently destructive plants, and while the waypoints are established for you on each level you can choose which plant to grow at each station.  Obliterating the food rewards you with calories that you can use to grow more plants or to activate one of three different special abilities that you can launch at any point along the path.  Once you complete a level you’ll earn some gems and up to three stars.  Any level you obtain 3 stars on will offer a bonus star that you can earn by beating tougher waves of monsters.  The waves are randomly generated each time you select a level, and unlike most TD games where you are gradually introduced to different creature types, here you will usually get several types in a single wave.  Gems are used to upgrade three different aspects of each plant to make your weapons more useful.  If you’re a TD fan you should feel right at home, but this might offer just enough of a fresh feel to intrigue those that don’t normally indulge in this genre.

No Food For You Christopher Jude Sanchez, No Food For You – Free

Obtuz Rush – I suppose it’s the parent in me, but I feel like whenever I can I need to thrown in what I’d consider a “child friendly” game, assuming of course I think adults might get at least some enjoyment out of it as well.  Obtuz Rush is a side view infinite racing game where you have to collect coins, knock turtles out of the way and avoid all sorts of silly looking creatures.  Each race starts with a owl call, and even though I know it is coming I chuckle every time.  At the beginning of a run you’re presented with up to three goals, though this is one of those games where you have to complete all three before you get any new ones.  Completing a set of missions increases your level which gives you a better score multiplier and gets you closer to unlocking more useful cars.  There are 10 medals to earn which I’m guessing are based on score, because I have multiples of the more basic ones and none of the higher level ones.  The colorful characters and upbeat music will no doubt keep the kids entertained, but there’s enough of a challenge that parents can enjoy playing it as well.

OBtuz RUSH iNEXT creator inc., OBtuz RUSH – 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 [May 12 - 18] Tue, 27 May 2014 20:27:58 +0000 The flood of new games on the App Store is still going strong, and as usual I’ve tried to provide you with a decent list of options so you don’t have to wade through them all yourself.  While I attempt to keep the genres pretty diverse I found myself including three match 3 style games … Read more]]>


The flood of new games on the App Store is still going strong, and as usual I’ve tried to provide you with a decent list of options so you don’t have to wade through them all yourself.  While I attempt to keep the genres pretty diverse I found myself including three match 3 style games this time around, including the movie tie-in Godzilla – Smash3.  There’s no direct city trashing, but by making matches you’ll still get to unleash plenty of stomping, smashing and atomic breath style destruction.  Speaking of movie tie-ins, Warner Bros released an interesting little FPS based off of Edge of Tomorrow: Live.Die.Repeat, which is actually kind of fun to play if you don’t mind dying even more than you might in a typical FPS.  Speaking of movie tie-ins, Warner Bros… sorry, bad joke (at least if you know what the movie is about).  A company I wasn’t familiar with released a PvZ clone called Humans vs Zombies, and I honestly expected it to be a cheap knock-off that I’d delete after a level or two.  As it turns out, I think I actually like it better than PvZ, so if you can’t get enough of that style of game play, don’t let HvZ pass you by.

Sally Sizzle – This is one of the “other” type of match 3 games where you draw a line through 3 or more of the same object to match them.  In this case your goal is to fill your customers with sweet toppings until they are satisfied.  As you play round after round you’ll build up experience and level up, earning cupcakes and refilling your life meter.  Yeah, this is one of those games where you only get to play for so many times before you either have to turn it off for a while and wait for your meter to refill or shell out for some IAP.  Anyway, as you continue to play you’ll earn candies that can be used to upgrade your toppings which make them fill up the guests faster.  You will also earn power ups if you match 5 or more of an object, and the power ups will help you clear the board more rapidly.  There is plenty to upgrade in this game, but it’s not very generous with its rewards so prepare to spend some decent time at the beginning earning your initial upgrades.  There is no Game Center integration, but you can connect to Facebook to compete with other players there as well as invite your friends to earn candies.  The silly, upbeat atmosphere rounds out this enjoyable and relatively challenging match 3 game.

Sally Sizzle Major Glasses Studio, Sally Sizzle – Free

Humans vs Zombies – I’m sure by the name alone you can guess what this is a clone of.  Personally I was expecting it to be nothing more than a low production value clone, but the truth is that it’s actually pretty fun.  There are no exotic board layouts that I’ve run across so far, but the standard rectangular fighting grounds work well enough.  For quite a while you’re introduced to either a new troop for your side or a new opponent, each with their own strengths or weaknesses.  You’ll have to figure out which type of solider is best to use in each situation, accounting of course for the fact that the bad guys don’t stop just because your resources aren’t adequate for producing the troops you need.  You’ll acquire a variety of power ups along the way, some that affect the bad guys directly and others that enhance the troops you have on the field.  You even get a couple of different heroes that you can upgrade and directly control in battle, at least in the sense that you can freely move them around the board.  The graphics and sound are even pretty decent.  The only thing missing here is some sort of social network integration.

Humans vs Zombies Mindray Technologies, Humans vs Zombies – Free

Runic – “Hey, you got your 2048 in my match 3!”  Yes, Runic is an interesting meld of traditional and faddish game play.  The object, as with any match 3 game, is to match 3 or more of the same object to clear them from the board.  Instead of just sliding two pieces or drawing a line through all the pieces you want, however, in Runic you move the board around just like if you were playing a game of 2048… or 1024, or whatever other multiple you prefer.  When three or more runes are lined up horizontally or vertically they will disappear, and in the mean time with each move you make one or more new runes will randomly materialize.  Eventually you’ll start seeing blocks that don’t match with anything and take one or more hits from a rune to destroy.  The plus side is that if you hit the rock with a rune containing a score bonus the score bonus will go up.  Runic offers one leaderboard and no achievements at this point, but it’s such a nice distraction from the rest of the match 3 / 2048 games that it’s worth playing just for that.  Besides, the match 3 mechanic is usually used to enhance another genre, so it’s nice to see it be on the receiving end this time around.

Runic Tangerine POP, LLC, Runic – Free

Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat. – I don’t know much about the movie, but I think it would be fair to describe it as Groundhog Day in a futuristic war zone.  Normally I’m not very enthusiastic about movie tie-ins, and for an FPS this seems a bit basic and slightly cumbersome.  At the same time, once I start playing I get sucked in and want to keep going, even though I seem to die over and over again, often in the same spot.  I like the fact that you’re not the only soldier on the battlefield, even though your comrades seem a bit useless.  I also appreciate that you not only have to worry about the mimics, which despite the auto-fire feature can be hard to take down, but you will need to dodge falling aircraft and exploding land vehicles as well.  The game does a great job of providing a tense atmosphere, and the rewind at death feature along with the ghostly images of previous mimic encounters are both nice touches.  Edge of Tomorrow has its share of issues, but for the free price tag (in other words, the prize at the bottom of the digital cereal box) I’m pretty pleased.

Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat. Warner Bros., Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat. – Free

Attack The Ark (Raft Runner) – Okay, before you send me tons of “you’re lame” email, I know this used to be called Catch The Ark and that it was published by Chillingo.  All I can say is that I really should have played it the first time around, because as an infinite runner addict I really missed out.  The three characters that are riding the raft are great, and really should have their own cartoon.  Not to mention the fact that each one affords you a life which is a nice touch.  Like most games you can buy one time power ups as well as upgrade the power ups that you can pick up along the trip.  You can also buy and equip up to two pets that ride along on the raft and give you bonuses in certain areas.  There are a nice variety of obstacles to avoid and plenty of missions to accomplish.  In other words, it is everything you’d want in an infinite runner, all wrapped up in a great presentation layer.

Attack the Ark (Raft Runner) Mobage, Inc., Attack the Ark (Raft Runner) – Free

We Are Soldier – In We Are Soldier you pilot a funky looking aircraft, blowing up tall buildings in an already war ravaged city while trying to dodge missiles that look like they are being guided by drunk gremlins.  The controls are actually responsive, but the missiles seem to come out of nowhere and collision detection is absolutely horrid.  Plus, until you get used to the landscape, it’s often hard to tell whether or not a building is tall enough for you to hit until you waste ammo shooting at it or just run into it for testing purposes.  This game is very frustrating and much like Flappy Bird difficult for many of the wrong reasons.  Yet for some reason I find myself continually tapping the “one more time” button on this one.  There is a leaderboard, though by now you probably know I don’t care much about those, and there are 11 achievements to earn.  The iTunes description also talks about missions, though I believe in this case they are the same as the achievements.  Despite the washed out, “remember the DOS days” palette I really like the visuals, and the music isn’t bad either.  I doubt We Are Soldiers will ever make anyone’s “greatest hits” list, but given the deluge of “we can’t even make good clones” offerings on the App Store, this one isn’t bad at all.

We Are Soldier M Adam, We Are Soldier – Free

Last Hope – Zombie Sniper 3D – I know there’s plenty of this style of game on the App Store, but I like this one and it strikes me as being fairly polished.  In typical survivalist fashion it’s your job to take down anything undead with your trusty rifle (or whatever weapon you end up with in the long run).  The game features a 14 level campaign mode that is certain to challenge, especially if you want to earn all three stars.  There are Challenge and Survival modes as well, and both in-game missions for earning goods and Game Center achievements just to make you feel good.  As you play and replay scenarios you’ll level up your character and start unlocking skills and attributes.  Skills are at their max potential from the get go but you can only use 2 at a time, whereas attributes are all usable at the same time but require stars to upgrade and make useful.  There’s also a wide variety of weapons to unlock and take advantage of.  The game looks good and has decent background music as well, rounding out this nice zombie sharpshooting package.

Last Hope - Zombie Sniper 3D JE Software, Last Hope – Zombie Sniper 3D – Free

Haunted House – Apparently this is a retread of an old Atari game, and I have to say that I am rather enjoying it.  Your character is constantly running, but instead of directing him to jump or slide to avoid obstacles, you handle the obstacles for him.  To dispatch obstacles you swipe in the direction of the arrows surrounding the obstacles.  If a platform is missing draw it in with a swipe.  Press on falling platforms to hold them in place, and tap on skull coins and power up scrolls to collect them.  Complete missions and collect coins in order to level up and earn one time power ups or bonuses to three different skills.  Some Game Center integration for leaderboards and achievements would be nice, but overall this is a cute little infinite running game with neat graphics, decent game play mechanics and a charming atmosphere.

Haunted House® Atari, Haunted House® – Free

The Lord of the Tower – The king sits majestically on his throne, and all he wants is to survive the day.  That’s where you come in, because apparently his former builders couldn’t construct their way out of a paper bag.  Over the course of 30 missions (at least in the free version) you’ll need to defend the king from all manner of miscreants using a variety of blocks that are at your disposal.  Some fire projectiles at the enemy, while one explodes bombs that take out anyone nearby.  You only have a certain number of blocks to use on a given level, but you can constantly rearrange what you have to suit your needs against the next incoming wave of creatures.  You can even use the blocks themselves as weapons by dropping them on the heads of land bases creatures.  Victorious missions earn you coins that you can use to upgrade the health and availability of different blocks, and eventually you’ll unlock bonus abilities such as the fireball and repair skills.  You can earn up to three stars per level, though unfortunately there is no good explanation as to how you earn those stars, and you can also earn 16 achievements and compete on a leaderboard in Game Center.

The Lord of the Tower Right Fusion Inc., The Lord of the Tower – $0.99

Godzilla – Smash3 – A little bit of me is sad that this didn’t turn out to be more of a Rampage style arcade game, but it actually works pretty well as a glorified match 3 outing.  There are three different types of attacks you can unleash which do differing levels of damage.  You can also match hearts to regain health and collect atomic symbols to fill up a meter so that you can blast the enemies with your radioactive breath.  Use boosts to gain the upper hand in a battle, and level up by earning stars so that you can enhance Godzilla’s skills to your liking.  There are 80 levels to conquer, including boss fights with the giant monsters from the movie.  There is no Game Center integration, but you can hook up to Facebook and apparently get help from your friends or aid them if necessary.  Just make sure you do this first as it will restart your game.  The visuals are quite impressive, and while you may not technically have direct control over Godzilla, it’s always fun to manipulate the atomic beast and cause lots of destruction.

Godzilla - Smash3 Rogue Play, Inc., Godzilla – Smash3 – 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 [May 5 - 11] Mon, 19 May 2014 23:56:34 +0000 This week presented some challenges in terms of finding games that I wanted to talk about, but in the end I think I managed to pull out a decent, well rounded list.  My favorite from a pure silliness standpoint was WreckMan: Rise Of A Hero.  You control a wannabe stunt biker riding an alien artifact … Read more]]>


This week presented some challenges in terms of finding games that I wanted to talk about, but in the end I think I managed to pull out a decent, well rounded list.  My favorite from a pure silliness standpoint was WreckMan: Rise Of A Hero.  You control a wannabe stunt biker riding an alien artifact that has been attached to the end of a chain protruding from a helicopter, in effect making it a highly mobile wrecking ball… and you have a talking rabbit for a companion.  If you’re one of those folks that just wants to pull your hair out but would like to do it playing something that’s actually fun you should give Lumena a try.  It’s one part rhythm game, one part reverse breakout and very easy to die on.  On the other hand, maybe you just want to have fun storming the castle.  CastleStorm – Free to Siege is 150 levels of high quality castle defense with 3D cut scenes, a hero you can directly control and lots of projectiles to toss at your opponents.


Mubik Musical Puzzle – When it comes to music do you like to test your knowledge or accuracy?  As luck would have it, in this game you can do both.  In Quiz mode you’ll have to try and guess what song you’re attempting to play in as few notes as possible.  In Talent mode, on the other hand, you’ll have to try to match the beat of the song as closely as possible.  Fortunately you don’t even have to be acquainted with how to play an instrument because you simply swipe your fingers across a series of tiles which conveniently plays the songs for you.  The game allows for multiple profiles so you can compare your skills against others that play on your device, and you can post your “performance” on the Talent side to Facebook or send it to friends through email if you like.  The free download includes three packs with songs that you will most likely recognize, though you might realize that you don’t always know the titles of familiar tunes.  On the quiz side they help you out by giving you four choices to pick from, but the talent side can be challenging because they may not always play the song the same way you’re used to.  There are currently 15 bonus packs to choose from, but at 99 cents a pop this could quickly become a premium game price wise.  It’s definitely a good and entertaining way to introduce kids to some classics, though, and parents should enjoy it as well.

Mubik Musical Puzzle Mubik Entertainment Oy, Mubik Musical Puzzle – Free


Jurassic Quest – Dinosaurs are one of those subjects we should have more games about simply because they are so cool.  Sadly, most of the games that focus around dinosaurs aren’t even that good.  Jurassic Quest, on the other hand, is a no nonsense platform game that while it unfortunately doesn’t take advantage of its topic does a good job of making a game around it.  You control a Dilophosaurus that just wants some eggs.  There are three to recover on each level, and while there is no time limit your extraction mission won’t be easy.  Plenty of other dinosaurs will try and stop you, as will the lava that often resides along the ground floor of the levels.  Sometimes the eggs are just plain tricky to reach.  The game isn’t all heartless, however, as you do get three hearts on a level before you die, and you can even reclaim extra hearts from some fallen dinos.  You also don’t immediately die when you fall into the lava which is cool, and if you can coax the other dinosaurs into the lava you can use it to your advantage.  Other than retrieving all the eggs there are no rewards for finishing the levels and there are no achievements to earn, but for some reason it all seems to work in this game.  It’s free to download, and the only IAP is a buck if you want to remove the ads.

Jurassic Quest Homeworld Arts LLC, Jurassic Quest – Free


WreckMan: Rise Of A Hero – Now stay with me on this one: you’re a hack stunt rider that gets chosen by a talking rabbit who is really a being from another plant to guard a precious artifact which gets attached to a chain and becomes a deadly wrecking ball… which you control.  Sound like a trippy Michael Bay outing yet?  The game is comprised of 5 different acts, each with multiple scenes to complete.  All you have to do is survive to complete a scene, but completing each of the three missions will earn you coins, and if you complete all the missions in a given act your talking rabbit friend will give you an extra bonus.  Replay scenes to earn more money and complete any missions you didn’t get the first time around, and buy and upgrade lots of nifty stuff to make your government flunky bashing skills even more awesome.  As if all that wasn’t enough you’ll be able to unlock challenges from your rabbit friend along the way that provide even more fun and also allow you to earn coins.  Game Center provides a leaderboard and 17 achievements just in case you need more.  The visuals are outstanding and the cut scenes are well done and often humorous.  And this is one of those rare cases where I actually prefer the tilt controls to swiping.

WreckMan: Rise of a hero Playground Publishing B.V., WreckMan: Rise of a hero – Free


Back to the Moon – Space Adventure – This week’s “thanks for not being a TRUE flappy clone” award goes to Back to the Moon.  Sure the game got its inspiration from that whole mess, but it adds enough twists to rise above the pack.  Instead of simply tapping up to “fly” or whatever the equivalent action might be, here you control both up and down movement by tapping the upper and lower parts of the screen respectively.  In this case your major obstacles are planets that you have to dodge, and they have the additional nuisance of having a gravitational pull in effect, though this can actually work to your advantage when used correctly.  You can also pass through the top and bottom edges of the screen which can be both useful and detrimental.  The game does offer a leaderboard since that’s the typical draw for this type of game, and there are a few achievements for those interested in something more.  The other thing this game offers that most flappy clones don’t is nice visuals and some snappy music.

Back to the Moon - Space Adventure Lucas SOUCHET, Back to the Moon – Space Adventure – Free


Dragon Coins – If you’re into mobile RPGs at all you’ve probably tried one or two of this type of game.  It’s one of those deals where you collect various types of monsters which you can level up both by fighting with them and by fusing them with other monsters you collect.  You can also evolve them Pokemon style at some point during the game.  Though there are plenty of graphics I tend to refer to these as menu driven games because it feels like you spend a lot of time in options screens rather than actually playing anything.  For me this style of game tends to get old fairly quickly, but I think as a whole they’re fairly popular in the mobile world.  What makes this one in particular stick out is the combat mechanic.  Most games like this use match 3 mechanics for fighting, but Dragon Coins uses the coin dozer concept for you to fight.  Each team member requires a certain number of coins in order to attack, so what that number of coins falls into their lane they fight.  Once you’ve dropped a certain number of coins overall the enemy will attack, and if your health reaches 0 before you can replenish it with green life coins then the battle is over for you.  I’m still not particularly excited about this type of game, but if you are into it then this should give you a nice break from all the others that still employ match 3 mechanics.

Dragon Coins SEGA, Dragon Coins – Free


Lumena – Forget Flappy Bird and it’s long line of dopplegangers, if you want a game that is truly fun and will drive you nuts at the same time, Lumena is it.  This game is like a combination of reverse breakout and rhythm games.  You have a ball in the center of the screen and you have to fling it towards the outer circle without it escaping.  Freedom for the ball occurs when either it flies through a gap in the circle or strikes a tile that is not the same color as the circle (you’re welcome for the tip, since this game makes you learn its secrets on your own).  Better yet, the circle changes on the beat, both in position and possibly colors of the tiles.  There are six tracks available at this point, and you have to last 30 seconds in one to unlock the next.  While it may not sound like much, this should keep the less skilled gamers busy for quite some time at any rate.  The game offers 6 achievements, one for unlocking each track and one for lasting 60 seconds on the final track.  There is also a leaderboard for each track so you can see how poorly you rank against your competitors, or at least that’s how it is in my case.  This game is simple in premise, extremely difficult to master and could cause massive amounts of pulled hair to suddenly appear on the floor near where you usually play your iOS device.

Lumena Elevate Entertainment, Lumena – $1.99


Soulcalibur Unbreakable Soul – One of the biggest complaints about fighting games on mobile devices is that they are usually hard to control.  Unbreakable Soul takes an entirely new approach to the genre, and while it might not appease the stingiest fighting fans, it works for people like me who can’t punch their way out of a paper bag.  Battles are executed by playing movement cards, and if you can get like cards next to each other they’ll merge to form deluxe versions of those cards.  Combining multiple groups of certain types of cards can create deadly combos.  Play lots of cards in a row to fill up a special meter which will allow you to inflict intense damage, or take a break from attacking so that you can block your opponent’s blows.  Just make sure you don’t let your HP or the round timer get to 0.  Collect and enhance more than 150 avatar cards and 200 types of weapons.  Play through a complex, story driven campaign mode or compete online against other players to rise in the global ranks.  Just remember that you can play as a guest, but if you want to keep your data between devices or should you have to uninstall the game you’ll have to create an account.

SOULCALIBUR Unbreakable Soul NamcoBandai Games Inc., SOULCALIBUR Unbreakable Soul – Free


Feeding Zoo HD – This is a match 3 game that’s designed with kids in mind, with the realization that by and large kids have parents as well.  Your job is to progress through more than 200 levels of hungry animals, making matches of three or more tiles of food of the type each animal wants to satiate their appetite.  After the first couple of levels you’ll get the option at the beginning of each level to choose a power up to take in with you.  Unfortunately you can’t choose just any power up, but I’m assuming the power ups have been tailored to the levels on which you can select them.  You earn money for each level that play regardless of whether you complete it or not, though you do earn a lot more money if you actually finish the level.  Just like with infinite runner style games you can upgrade your power ups to make them more useful.  Besides needing to collect a certain amount of food for each animal on a given level you will be restricted to either the amount of time you get on the level or the number of moves you can make, both of which have corresponding power ups to offset.  The music and visuals should definitely appeal to kids, but there’s enough of a challenge that adults can enjoy the game as well.

Feeding Zoo Captive Games, Feeding Zoo – Free
Feeding Zoo HD Captive Games, Feeding Zoo HD – Free


CastleStorm – Free to Siege – At its heart CastleStorm is one of those castle defense games, but this particular variant has so much more to offer.  In addition to continuously tossing troops towards your enemy’s castle you can actually send out a hero that you directly control.  If that isn’t enough your castle also has battlements that you can manually fire at your opponent’s castle, complete with several types of ammunition that do damage in different and cool ways.  Better yet, you can build your own castle to defend.  The campaign is comprised of 150 levels across four different nations, and there are 8 different heroes to upgrade and master.  What impresses me the most is the high production values of the game.  The visuals are top notch, complete with 3D rendered cut scenes that are fully voiced, and the music is really nice as well.  This is easily one of the best looking and most interactive versions of this style of game that you’ll find on the App Store.

CastleStorm - Free to Siege ZEN Studios Ltd., CastleStorm – Free to Siege – Free


BUSH’S Bean Dash – If you’ve followed my roundups for any length of time you know I love a good product tie-in, and this is one of the best of seen to date.  Unlike Jurassic Quest which is meant to test your platforming skills, Bean Dash is designed for some light hearted, bean collecting fun.  You’ll run through three different environments collecting lots of beans and also the other ingredients needed to make 9 different flavors of Bush’s famous beans.  Lots of obstacles will try to slow your progress, but there are also different power ups to counter them.  My favorite is the one that lets you fly with a pig.  Earn an achievement for discovering each new recipe, and share your accomplishments on Facebook (as long as you consent, of course).  The visuals have a great pixel art quality about them, and you’ll get lots of encouragement vocally from both Jay and Duke along the way.  Despite the claims in the iTunes description I would not say this game is difficult to master, but it sure is fun to waste a few minutes on.  Oh, and not only is it free but it doesn’t have any IAP either.

BUSH’S® Bean Dash BUSH’S® Beans, BUSH’S® Bean Dash – 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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Pahelika: Secret Legends in Review: Questing For A Mystical Book Fri, 16 May 2014 06:21:25 +0000 I’ve already written may reviews on adventure games, yet in spite of, or maybe because of that I’ve been struggling with how to start this one.  Something I’ve noticed with most adventure games these days is that they struggle to provide a decent balance between story telling, puzzle solving and any of the various extras … Read more]]>


I’ve already written may reviews on adventure games, yet in spite of, or maybe because of that I’ve been struggling with how to start this one.  Something I’ve noticed with most adventure games these days is that they struggle to provide a decent balance between story telling, puzzle solving and any of the various extras like hidden object scenes or mini games that they choose to throw in.  Pahelika: Secret Legends seems to do a pretty decent job in terms of game play because it’s mostly puzzle solving with just a few mini games thrown in, which is the way I like it to be balanced.  It even does a decent job of trying to present a story, though most of the communication outside of cut scenes between levels is just your character describing where he’s at.  Still, Pahelika is overall a decent adventure game that just suffers from a few niggling

Pahelika begins with a brief narrated comic book style intro that discusses leadership, tyranny and redemption, and before long you inadvertently find yourself on a quest to find a mystical book.  There’s something just slightly Jumanji-ish about the whole thing, but it makes for a nice adventure game background.  Unfortunately, once you stray from the cut scenes there’s little to advance the stories short of the main character’s narration when he enters most rooms, though all that does is really give you his point of view on the room you’re entering.  I’m not a big proponent of things like notes or diary pages strewn throughout the locations, but fleshing out the story at a consistent pace is something more of these games need to strive for.  If you don’t know what I mean, check out the old Lucas Arts or Sierra games, or more recently the folks at TellTale Games to get a good feel for the way it should be.

Game play is pretty typical – discover a new location, explore it for items to solve puzzles then solve said puzzles.  Usually the answers to the puzzles are somewhere fairly intuitive or even spelled out in the level somehow, though occasionally the answers to situations felt a bit arbitrary and forced.  There were no hidden object scenes, but it did feel like sometimes you had to hunt and peck for the items you needed because they didn’t stand out from anything else in the scene you were exploring.  Mini-games basically came in three flavors – putting a jigsaw puzzle together, sliding blocks around so that you could move one of them to a specific location and arranging runes based on a pattern that was established by three that were preset for you.  Generally the mini games were easy to complete, but you always have the option to skip them after a set amount of time.  Overall the game play felt pretty balanced though there were a couple of instances where I had no clue what to do and one time the hint button told me it had no hints for me no matter which room I walked into.


The interface is also pretty standard.  Tap an item to pick it up, and then either drag it from your inventory to where you want to use it in your current scene or tap the item and tap the destination location.  You can also drag items onto each other to combine them if appropriate.  Most of the time this wasn’t a problem, but a couple of puzzles are a bit too small and can get a bit frustrating trying to place objects in the appropriate spots.  If you’re one of those folks that like achievements no matter what the genre there are 18 of them for you to earn.  You can also create multiple profiles so several people can play at the same time, which is a feature every adventure game should employ.

Visually Pahelika is quite pleasant.  As I mentioned before some objects can blend in a bit too well or be a tad small, but as a whole the graphics are very well rendered with a nice level of detail.  The sound effects aren’t bad, and there is typically quite a bit of ambient noise throughout the levels.  The music is extremely well written.  I honestly didn’t notice it much the first time I played through the game (maybe I had the sound down too low), but as I replayed the first three worlds while writing this review I realized that the songs can be quite beautiful at times.


As a freshman effort from IronCode Gaming, Pahelika: Secret Legends is an extremely solid starting point.  The engine interface is polished and fairly solid, the aesthetics are professional and the game play is pretty well balanced.  I’d like to see a bit more story throughout the game instead of just between worlds, and if you’re only going to have a couple of different styles of mini-game strewn throughout please don’t make any of them be sliding block style games.  Otherwise I can say that everything I’ve experienced on this journey has me excited to check out part 2, which is already available on the App Store.


App Summary
Title: Pahelika: Secret Legends – A Search and Find Hidden Object Adventure Developer: IronCode Gaming
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 90.2 MB
  • Solid, polished interface
  • Balanced game play
  • Sharp visuals
  • Excellent music
  • Objects sometimes blend into the background too well
  • Occasionally difficult to determine how to proceed
  • Story could be unveiled at a better pace


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10 App Store Games To Watch [April 28 - May 4] Sun, 11 May 2014 05:51:10 +0000 Bet you can’t guess what I’m going to talk about this week!  Drat, you probably said games, didn’t you?  The long list of games that I didn’t get to talk more in-depth about this week included Dwarven Den – The Mining Puzzle Game from Backflip Studios.  This cute underground puzzler tasks you with rescuing your … Read more]]>


Bet you can’t guess what I’m going to talk about this week!  Drat, you probably said games, didn’t you?  The long list of games that I didn’t get to talk more in-depth about this week included Dwarven Den – The Mining Puzzle Game from Backflip Studios.  This cute underground puzzler tasks you with rescuing your friends, finding a bunch of loot and avoiding dangerous monsters, all in a limited number of moves.  Lethal Lance from BulkyPix is an homage to the good old days of shareware PC games.  You know, back when Duke Nukem was fun without being in 3D.  If you’re looking for something just plain weird you will want to check out Sheepidoo.  I’m not really even sure how to explain this one, but if you’re willing to throw caution to the wind it should put a smile on your face.


Galaxy Defense Force HD – This is one of those games where you’re stuck in the middle of the screen and you have to blast everything that comes your way before it reaches you.  You can rotate your defenses 360 degrees to fire at all your attackers, and you also have bombs that will destroy or damage everything currently on the screen at once.  You start with three ships, and each time you get hit you lose one.  Once they’re all gone you have to start over, or at least at the base level of the most advanced ship you’ve unlocked (ex: when you unlock the second ship you’ll start at level 6).  As you destroy ships you’ll earn gems which can either be used to unlock new ships or upgrade your current one.  Something that’s kind of neat is that upgrading your current ship to its max will also unlock the next ship, so you can work on it slowly while making your current ship more powerful or save up to unlock the new ship all at once.  Game Center gives you a leaderboard to compete on, and missions within the game help you increase your score multiplier.  The main issue I’ve run into is that it’s easy to get ambushed because a ship sneaks in under your hand, but it doesn’t really diminish the fun any.

Galaxy Defense Force HD Game Chefs, Galaxy Defense Force HD – Free


Red Herring – Red Herring is a game of categories.  Specifically, you have 16 words, 3 categories and 4 red herrings.  Your job is to sort the words into the three categories and toss the useless ones aside.  The game has three levels which basically determine how much the game gives you to start with.  Easy mode puts some of the words in place and tells you the categories, Normal mode positions some words but keeps the categories a secret, and hard mode doesn’t give you anything.  Hard mode is the only one that offers a real amount of challenge because you don’t have any idea how the words are related to begin with.  The problem in general is that there are no repercussions for wrong answers.  I love the concept, and what’s there is polished and well executed.  I just think the game needs a bit more to keep you on your toes.  Leave the basic mode for those who truly just want to relax, but add scored and / or timed modes for those that want to feel an extra sense of accomplishment.  You can download the game for free and play through the imagination pack, and then there are 7 additional packs you can buy for 99 cents apiece.  Hopefully the game will become a bit more fleshed out in future updates, but it’s still worth checking out simply because it’s not one of the umpteen clones that keeps popping up every week.

Red Herring Blue Ox Technologies Ltd., Red Herring – Free


Hats For Alice – This is one of those games I should have stopped playing after the first try… or maybe the second since I always like to give a game the benefit of the doubt.  However, I just can’t seem to get enough of the pointless pickaxe wielding action this game provides.  You control a character that looks like the stick figure equivalent of R2-D2, and you must destroy all these creatures that are basically black rectangles with white mouths.  At least I’m assuming the white line is their mouth, anyway.  All you have to do is tap the screen to lower the pickaxe and move forward and hope that you get the right rhythm to keep progressing through the pack.  You get a point for each rectangle you kill and at certain point designations that are eloquently displayed at the beginning of the run you’ll earn a hat to wear.  Unfortunately you only get to wear that hat for that run and will need to reclaim it every time.  A story is displayed at the bottom of the screen as you progress through the theoretically infinite level, and a leaderboard lets you compete against fellow hat fans.  Much like many of the current iOS fads it sounds too simple to be addictive, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hats For Alice mark honer, Hats For Alice – Free


Tiny Tennis – Now this is my kind of sports game, mainly because it’s not really a sports game.  It’s more like a selective dodge ‘em game with a sports theme.  You’re not trying to get any sort of volley going, but instead you simply want to return each tennis ball that is served to you.  On the other hand, be sure to dodge all the red water bottles that the server so rudely chucks at you.  Your score multiplier will go up after every 10 serves assuming you actually make your to grabbing the multiplier upgrade.  There are 4 medals to earn, but so far my best hasn’t even earned me the first medal.  There are also 23 achievements to work towards and one leaderboard to compete on.  This is actually the third or forth game in the Tiny series, and based on my experience so far I might just be hunting the other ones down to check them out.

Tiny Tennis Fat Fish Games Ltd, Tiny Tennis – Free


Shady Dealings – Take one part Assassin’s Creed, mix in some Thief, and set it all in a 2.5 D world and you’ve got Shady Dealings.  That is, of course, assuming you want to take the word of someone that has played neither Assassin’s Creed nor Thief.  What this game does offer is the ability to take on the roles of both a thief and an assassin.  The assassin can take out enemies with her dash attack while the thief uses her nimbleness and passive nature to get to higher ground and work around the enemy.  You must use their skills creatively to move both of them through each level and ultimately get them to their designated spot at the end of the level, which isn’t always the same location for both parties.  Along the way there are jewels to collect, and each level has a bonus that can be earned based on some criteria like beating the level under a certain amount of time or collecting X number of gems.  The scoring system seems like it could use a bit of tweaking, and I ran into a couple of bugs that forced me to restart levels, but overall the game is interesting and a nice change of pace from the standard App Store offerings.

Shady Dealings Avinash Krishnan Raghu, Shady Dealings – Free


Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas – If you’ve ever wanted to march to the beat of a different drummer, now’s your chance.  The “mash up” seems to be the wave of the future in terms of inventing new game play, but I never really expected someone to combine real time strategy and rhythm based mechanics.  While it greatly simplifies the RTS portion of things, which is just fine with me, it actually manages to work.  You control a tribe of monkeys, and your job is to defend your land from an opposing tribe of red monkeys that wants to steal all of your bananas.  You must move among the treetops, grabbing coconuts to knock your foes from their perch.  Even a simple move from branch to branch requires a sequence of taps, and if you lose the beat you have to start over again.  Medals are based on killing all the opponents, doing it without losing any of your own troops and winning within in a set number of moves, the last one being the hardest to achieve.  I’m not sure if RTS purists will latch on to this one, but if you’re into rhythm based games and tired of the norm or just a gamer looking for something completely different than what usually makes its way into the App Store, Jungle Rumble is definitely for you.

Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas Disco Pixel, Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas – $3.99


Tip Tap Monsters – Family Mahjong Game – With a game like mahjong you can’t really alter the rules much and still call it mahjong, so what makes one version rise above another usually boils down to presentation.  Tip Tap Monsters has great presentation value, especially if you have kids.  Colorful monsters and bouncy music make the game a pleasure aesthetically.  Mechanically it’s just what you’d expect from mahjong, but the nice thing about that is mahjong is a fun game that really doesn’t need to be tweaked.  There are currently 40 levels, each containing a unique layout, and you get the first ten plus 1 of each of the bonus packs for free.  There are 13 achievements to earn 10 leaderboards to rank on: two for each level set and two for overall performance.  My only concern at this point is that 99 cents for 9 extra levels seems a bit steep, and if additional packs cost the same this could end up being a rather expensive mahjong game if enough packs are released.

Tip Tap Monsters - Family Mahjong Game Crazy Labs, Tip Tap Monsters – Family Mahjong Game – Free


Redshift – When I first read about this game I immediately thought of one I remembered playing on my Commodore 64 called Countdown to Shutdown.  After reviewing a video of that game I realize they’re really nothing alike, but I still wonder if this one took a bit of inspiration from that oldie.  In any case, your job is to stabilize the power plant you work in before it blows up and takes the neighboring city with it.  In order to accomplish this you’ll have to flip five switches throughout the plant, all the while dodging or putting out fires.  You have a limited amount of time to do this and you never even have an inkling of how much time you have left until you see the LED displays above the consoles that contain the switches you need to flip.  To add to the confusion, as time draws closer to the end the visuals start getting shaky and sirens go off, adding to the tense nature of the situation.  Don’t think you’ll get rewarded for missing the deadline, though, because you don’t get to see a deadly explosion should you fail.  There are 11 achievements to earn and 4 leaderboards to rank on, and with a different plant layout each time there’s lots of potential replay value.

RedShift Belief Engine, RedShift – $1.99


Dwarf Tower – This is a very interesting take on the tower defense game.  You actually construct your tower room by room, placing libraries to house spells, crystals to generate mana and dwarf dwellings to give you the manpower to build and repair everything else.  It’s better to build up because the higher a room is in your tower the more powerful it becomes.  However, if you leave a tower unprotected it’s more susceptible to lightning strikes which can cause fires and ultimately burn your precious tower to the ground.  The most important thing is that you guard the Archmage’s Chamber; once that room is destroyed the game is over.  The game is played in several phases each phase consisting of you planning what you want to do and then hitting a button to execute.  The attack phase is then real-time as you and your opponent’s spells are cast simultaneously.  You can play against the computer or challenge a real opponent online.  The game isn’t much to look at, though there is some charm to the simpler visuals, but there’s an intriguing depth to it that you won’t want to overlook if you’re a strategy game fan.

Dwarf Tower iosoftware, Dwarf Tower – Free


Dungeon Madness – This is described as an adventure/RPG, and while it has the general feel of a rogue-like I hate to classify it as that because I’m not sure if the levels are randomly generated or not.  Still, I like the game for its easy of playability and its sense of humor.  I also find it hard to go wrong when you can walk around and literally destroy just about everything you come across.  In typical adventure/RPG/rogue-like style you’ll fight lots of monsters, gather a bunch of loot and level up, at which time you can use earned skill points to increase attack, defense and vitality traits.  You can even take points that you’ve already allocated and switch them to different traits at any point throughout the game.  You can buy and upgrade up to 7 different spells, though you can only take a max of 5 with you at any given time.  Spells cost gold which you can either find lying around or acquire by transmuting any goods you pick up that you don’t want to keep.  This may not be the top tier of rogue-likes, but it certainly has a lot of potential.  Oh, and did I mention you get to wear a bucket on your head?

Dungeon Madness Juraj Pancik, Dungeon Madness – 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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Splash Dash in Review – Infinite Isn’t Just For Running Any More Sat, 10 May 2014 18:32:03 +0000 These days it’s not uncommon for several infinite runners to come out in a single week.  The problem is trying to figure out which ones are worth playing.  Lucky for you I’m a huge infinite runner fan, so I try to do a lot of the leg work for you.  Unfortunately even a lot of … Read more]]>


These days it’s not uncommon for several infinite runners to come out in a single week.  The problem is trying to figure out which ones are worth playing.  Lucky for you I’m a huge infinite runner fan, so I try to do a lot of the leg work for you.  Unfortunately even a lot of the better entries in the genre any more are starting to feel the same, but there are still some that are worth playing.  I happen to think one of those is Splash Dash.  The game feels kind of like a third person 3D Frogger, and it’s hard to go wrong with that.

In Splash Dash you have one primary goal: don’t become frog legs for the alligators.  Of course you’ll also want to travel as far as you can and collect as much loot as possible to both rank on leaderboards and be able to buy cool accessories and useful power ups.  In other words, Splash Dash has all the markings of a typical infinite runner.  The fact that you’re constantly jumping changes the dynamic a bit because it is possible to suddenly find yourself leaping to a spot where there is no place to land.  You are afforded a few mistakes, but if you’re not careful eventually the alligator that’s chasing you will catch up and make a nice meal out of you.  There are also alligators along the trail that will be more than happy to sample your slender green appendages if you don’t land in the right spot.

On the other hand ducks, dragonflies and grasshoppers can help you progress more quickly through the level.  There are also flowers that spring up occasionally and give you a super jump should you land on them.  And of course there is the generic magnet that lets you attract coins without actually touching them.  This is the one power up or boost that doesn’t really seem very creative or really even in context with the rest of the game.  But, it works so why complain?  If you really get into trouble and your meter is full you can swipe up to launch yourself forward a few meters, though this action bypasses any coins you might come across.  And, as luck would have it, coins are what fill the meter in the first place.


Your frog constantly moves forward on its own, and you can choose to either tilt the device or swipe your finger across the device to move left and right.  The tilt functionality actually works pretty well, but I just naturally prefer to use touch screen options for this type of game when possible.  To execute a super jump you swipe up which always executes flawlessly for me.  There are three leaderboards, one each for distance, most coins collected and total score.  There are also 38 achievements to earn, though you don’t actually seem to accrue any points for ones that you’ve completed.  If you’re a “collector” there is plenty of gear to work towards as well as several different frogs to buy, and of course being an infinite runner you can always try to better your best run.

The visuals are pretty high quality, and the swamp theme sets the game apart from most similar romps.  The character designs are decent and as you buy new apparel your amphibians are more than happy to model it for you.  The sound effects have a nice arcade-y ring to them and the game is kind enough to play a specific tone when your “super jump” meter is full.  The music is quick and lively, but it can get a bit repetitive if you pay too much attention to it.


I’ve begun to accept the fact that we’re currently at a point where new runners by and large won’t bring anything unique to the table.  As such I’m perfectly happy with offerings that do the job well and at least look like they are trying to be different, and Splash Dash certainly fits the bill in that regards.  Colorful characters, upbeat music and a swampy motif give the game a fun atmosphere.  Plenty of items to unlock and achievements to earn give you something to do besides just jump, and solid controls make the trip enjoyable.  Splash Dash doesn’t tread much new ground, but it’s towards ahead of the pack in making old ground feel fresh.


App Summary
Title: Splash Dash Developer: Capedy LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.3.2 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: Free App Size: 50.6 MB
  • Cool swamp motif
  • Plenty of stuff to unlock
  • Lots of achievements to earn
  • Nice visuals
  • Doesn’t offer up much new
  • Music can get repetitive quickly


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Bridge Me in Review – Creative But Needs More Subtance Mon, 05 May 2014 15:35:40 +0000 Quite often I only play certain games because of the weekly roundup that I write, and such is the case with Bridge Me.  It’s not that I necessarily didn’t want to play it, but I download so many games in a given week that I only ever get around to trying a small fraction of … Read more]]>


Quite often I only play certain games because of the weekly roundup that I write, and such is the case with Bridge Me.  It’s not that I necessarily didn’t want to play it, but I download so many games in a given week that I only ever get around to trying a small fraction of them.  In this case I’m glad that I did take Bridge Me for a spin.  The game is pretty basic and can get repetitive after a while, but the concept is cool and it definitely has a lot of potential.


The premise is simple: you want to get from one platform to the next, and in order to do so you have to build a bridge.  Construction is a simple matter of holding the hammer button down until the bridge is as long as you’d like.  The problem is that the bridge is built straight up, so you have to use your best judgment to determine if the bridge is long enough but not too long.  As you play the game more you’ll start to get the hang of it and build the bridges right fairly consistently.  That’s where the bonus levels come in, though, as they throw in things like disappearing target platforms, moving target platforms, target platforms that split up into multiple segments and bridges built of invisible wood.  It’s a nice way to break up what can become monotonous, and I’d personally love to see a mode that’s comprised of just random bonus levels.

The main problem is that what I described above is basically all there is to Bridge Me.  There is only one game play mode, and there are no power ups or obstacles besides simply building the bridge the wrong length.  You can connect to Facebook to compare scores or post what you earned on your latest run, and thankfully as of the last update there are now 58 achievements for you to earn.  The concept is actually pretty creative, but while it’s fun for a while the game really needs to be fleshed out in order to have sustainable replay value.


The graphics are decent in a Minecraft sort of way.  The backgrounds are interesting because for the most part they are faded and blocky, but you’ll often see a nicely detailed imagine of some sort of famous building passing by.  The sound effects are okay, and unfortunately there is no music playing in the background.

Bridge Me’s biggest selling point is that it’s not like anything else you’ll find on the App Store.  The problem is that while a unique concept is enough to grab your attention for a while, the concept needs to have enough substance to keep you hooked, and I’m not sure that’s the case here.  I think Bridge Me is worth checking out, but I wouldn’t expect much more from it than quick bursts of game play every now and again.


App Summary
Title: Bridge Me Developer: Snagon Studio
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.0 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: Free App Size: 16.5 MB
  • Interesting game concept
  • Easy to learn
  • Decent Minecraft like visuals
  • Not much variety
  • Only one game mode
  • No music


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