TouchMyApps » Applications http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:04:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.5 Escape From LaVille1 in Review: Beware The Green Mist http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/15/escape-from-laville1-in-review-beware-the-green-mist/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 03:04:09 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74203 As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up … Read more]]>

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As I start to write this review the sequel to Escape From LaVille has been released for just a few days.  I never got the chance to play the first one, however, so I figured I should do that before diving into the sequel.  I’m glad I did.  Not only does it directly set up the second game, but it’s actually a very entertaining adventure game.  Best of all, while the ending is brief, it’s one of the best ones I’ve run across in a mobile adventure game in a while.  It certainly left me surprised and stunned.

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You are Forest Campbell, and you have been sent to LaVille to try and figure out what wiped out the entire town.  Your investigation leads you to an old mansion with a weird green light that seems to emanate from the porch, and once you enter your adventures are only beginning…

It amazes me how many old mansions are filled with traps and puzzles, but I guess if they weren’t we’d have nothing to adventure around in, right?  This is a “pure” adventure game in the sense that all you’ll find is object and logic based puzzles rather than a collection of hidden object screens.  The puzzles are pretty straightforward and well thought out, and while I did have to access the help a couple of times I think there was really only one instance where I wouldn’t have figured out the solution with a little more patience.  There was really only one mini game that consisted of rotating some tiles in a picture, and it was fairly easy to figure out.  The interface was fairly basic adventure fare that requires you to tap to move and pick up objects.  In this particular interface, however, you tap inventory items and then tap where you want to use them instead of dragging them onto the scene.  Everything was extremely responsive and I never had trouble executing what I wanted to do.  If anything I might say the game could have been just a smidge longer, but I don’t think you’ll feel disappointed in any way.

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The graphics were good, though I think I did myself a disservice by playing the iPhone version of the game on my iPad.  I cheated a bit and used shots from the iPad version for this review, and they certainly look much crisper than what I saw when I played.  Still, for being scaled up to fit my device the visuals were certainly detailed enough and everything was readily discernible.  The sound effects weren’t bad, though we didn’t get treated to any voice-overs since this was a solo outing with no NPC interaction.  Musically the audio delivered with a soundtrack that fit the ominous tone of your explorations.

Escape From LaVille 1 is another fine example of how to do an adventure game right on iOS devices.  The interface was solid, the story was intriguing (though they could have used a better translator), and the audio and visuals did a decent job of taking you into Forest Campbell’s world.  You can quibble about the length of the game, but equal parts of me say it was a bit short and it was just the right length.  If you like adventure games you should enjoy this one.  Now if you’ll excuse me I’m on to part two…

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App Summary
Title: Escape from LaVille 1 Developer: Gabriele Pellistri
Reviewed Ver:  1.2 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  87.8 MB
  • Good story with twist ending
  • Balanced game play with minimal mini games
  • Pleasant visuals
  • Good music
  • Might have been a bit short
  • Text could have been translated better
  • Needed some voice-overs

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The House on Usher in Review: Bosses That Go Bump In The Night http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/13/the-house-on-usher-in-review-bosses-that-go-bump-in-the-night/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/13/the-house-on-usher-in-review-bosses-that-go-bump-in-the-night/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 12:29:41 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74196 So here we are with another hidden object game that wasn’t released by one of the “big players”.  In fact, The House On Usher looks to be the first iOS outing for Red Aphid Games.  Turns out it’s actually a pretty fun game.  As sadly seems to be the case with most hidden object games … Read more]]>

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So here we are with another hidden object game that wasn’t released by one of the “big players”.  In fact, The House On Usher looks to be the first iOS outing for Red Aphid Games.  Turns out it’s actually a pretty fun game.  As sadly seems to be the case with most hidden object games there’s a bit of a response problem when clicking on the objects you’re trying to find, but otherwise the game has solid production values and plenty of locales to explore.  It also has a decent mystery vibe about it that makes you want to keep playing to find out what the strange force behind the house is.

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The House On Usher is what one might expect if the legendary Steven King where to try his hand at horror comedy.  You’re a neophyte real estate woman trying to make her name by turning over this worn down, abandoned property… which just happens to be haunted.  The story unfolds through newspaper clippings and your general investigation of the house, and your only contact with the outside world is your boss who seems to know a lot more than he’s letting on.  There’s nothing earth shattering about the story, but the lighthearted nature is a nice change form many of the macabre offerings of Big Fish Games.

The interface is pretty standard for this style of game play.  Tap on the screen to move to a new location, tap on items within the screen to pick them up and drag items from your inventory to use them with other items on the screen.  There are just a couple of different types of mini games scattered throughout the main game and they just require simple tap and drag operations as well.  You can pinch to zoom in and out, but there’s also a handy magnifying glass that will zoom you completely in or out with a quick tap.  More importantly, I really appreciate the fact that you can actually tap on the locations in the map and move directly to them without any fuss.  This should be a standard feature of adventure games in my opinion.  The main issue with the interface is that you often have to click several times on an object before it registers that you clicked the object.  Sadly that’s pretty common with hidden object games on the iPad, but in this case it gets really frustrating when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in the first place.

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Game play is divided into three segments: object puzzles, hidden object scenes and mini games.  As a “bonus” you get to clean the house which consists of finding any stray cobwebs, bugs or mauve items (apparently your character doesn’t like mauve).  This is where it gets frustrating, because in a given scene you’re told how many items need to be cleaned up, but not what you’re looking for.  The bugs are especially difficult to find, and when clicking them doesn’t respond appropriately it may leave you baffled.  In hidden object scenes you’re always presented with a list so you don’t have to try to match shadows or place objects where they belong.  Most of the mini games are like a Wheel Of Fortune board where you’re given a clue and must spell out a phrase with supplied letters.  There are a couple of others, but thankfully unlike a lot of modern hidden object games you don’t have to complete a mini game to get behind every locked area.  Overall the game play felt pretty balanced.

The graphics fall in line nicely with higher end hidden object games.  Detailed backgrounds give you a real sense of the environment and also make it challenging to find the objects.  There are only two characters, you and your boss, but they are well designed and some of the boss’ expressions are pretty humorous.  The sound effects are decent enough, and they did a good job casting the boss, though I will say that the girl seems a bit whiny sometimes.  There’s a decent selection of music that all sounds really good, but don’t listen to closely to some of the tracks because you’ll realize that they are on a fairly short repeat loop.  Still, I enjoyed the tunes for the most part.

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While we’re seeing more “pure” adventure games show up on the App Store these days, they’re still few and far between compared to hidden object games.  As long as the latter is going to be prevalent for a while, I hope more of them turn out like this one.  Niggles about the interface and the sometimes repetitive music aside, I found myself practically unable to tear myself away from this adventure until it was complete, and that’s the way a good gaming journey should be.  I will leave you with one final warning: if you’re the type that finds the end more important than the journey you might want to stay away, because the conclusion to this tale leaves a lot to be desired.

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App Summary
Title: The House on Usher Developer: Red Aphid Games
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: Free App Size:  230 MB
  • Mystery that keeps you coming back
  • Decent balance of game play
  • Nice visuals
  • Entertaining music
  • Item tapping needs to be more responsive
  • Weak ending
  • Soundtrack does get repetitive

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Get A Chance To Try Out Earthcore: Shattered Elements Early! http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/05/get-a-chance-to-try-out-earthcore-shattered-elements-early/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/05/get-a-chance-to-try-out-earthcore-shattered-elements-early/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:17:49 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74191 Do you eat, sleep and breathe CCG… or at least really like that type of game play?  How would you like to get your hands on such a game before its general release on the iOS platform?  If you’re already starting to drool then you’re the right candidate for the job.  Head on over to http://earthcoregame.com/beta … Read more]]>

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Do you eat, sleep and breathe CCG… or at least really like that type of game play?  How would you like to get your hands on such a game before its general release on the iOS platform?  If you’re already starting to drool then you’re the right candidate for the job.  Head on over to http://earthcoregame.com/beta and sign up for the Earthcore: Shattered Elements beta.  If you’re one of the first 10 people to sign up and put TouchMyApps in the favourite CCG field then you’ll be guaranteed a slot in the beta.  Please make sure you have an iPad 3 or above (including iPad Minis) before you sign up, however.  Hurry up, too – open beta registration closes on December 10th.  For more information:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/earthcoregame
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earthcoregame

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Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – brick breaker in Review: Played The Rest? Try One Of The Best http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/03/ackys-breakout-reloaded-brick-breaker-in-review-played-the-rest-try-one-of-the-best/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/12/03/ackys-breakout-reloaded-brick-breaker-in-review-played-the-rest-try-one-of-the-best/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 20:51:42 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74184 If you consider yourself anything more than a solitaire player when it comes to computer games then you’ve probably played a Breakout clone or two in your time.  Much like the tower defense genre there’s a pretty basic game play mechanic that most variants in this genre stick to, so just like in tower defense … Read more]]>

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If you consider yourself anything more than a solitaire player when it comes to computer games then you’ve probably played a Breakout clone or two in your time.  Much like the tower defense genre there’s a pretty basic game play mechanic that most variants in this genre stick to, so just like in tower defense games it tends to boil down to window dressing.  And boy is Acky’s window looking spiffy.  There are power ups, pilots and pets, oh my!  Create more than one ball at the same time, destroy random bricks to help you complete a level and try real hard to conquer the boards where you must hit all the bricks without touching the side and top walls.  This may be “just” a brick breaker at heart, but there’s plenty of fluff to keep gamers happy.

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So it’s just another Saturday night as you head out in your extremely oversized paddle to knock around a few bricks that seem to have formed odd but appealing patterns in the middle of space.  If most of this sounds familiar then you get the gist of your average Breakout clone.  Thankfully Acky’s Breakout Reloaded tosses in enough extras to make it stand out from the crowd.  Foremost is the idea of creating balls from a mystical material called ether.  As long as you have enough you can create another ball and keep playing, and the stuff does regenerate over time.  You can also collect it as it falls from certain bricks or buy it in the store with the pizza that you earn.  There are plenty of power ups to collect and use, and whenever possible the game tries to put a new twist on them – for example, the Prediction power up will not only draw a line to show where the incoming ball will bounce when you hit it, but the ball actually slows down so you can try to reposition the shot if you want.

When you complete a level you’ll earn 10, 20 or 30 slices of pizza depending on the rank you placed in the level.  You can also sometimes pick up slices of pizza floating in space if your reflexes are quick enough, and naturally you can buy additional pizza via IAP.  Pizza is used to buy power ups (if you want to actually start the level with one), specials which include things like filling ether and gem tanks, and pilots and pets.  You can collect ‘em all if you wish – in fact it’s encouraged thanks to two of the missions – but you can only use one pilot and one pet at a given time.  Each has their own bonus to bring to the game, so choose wisely based on how you like to play.  The game boasts 175 levels, and so far none of them have felt repetitious to me.  There are also 24 missions (AKA Game Center achievements) to complete as well as 6 different leaderboards to rank on.  The only additional thing I’d like to see is some sort of reward for completing each mission.

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The graphics are retro HD, with cool pixel graphics that are nicely detailed and just enough special effects to keep them from getting boring.  You do actually see your pilot and pet in the paddle as well, which is a sweet touch.  The sound effects are pretty much what you might expect from this type of game, and it’s kind of disappointing that there are no special noises for any of the pilots or pets that you pick.  On the other hand, I really like the music.  It’s not necessarily the kind of stuff I’d listen to on its own, but the style just seems to suit the overall atmosphere of the game.

There is certainly no shortage of breakout style games on the App Store.  The question is whether you want just another clone or are you more interested in playing the best?  If you choose the latter then you’ll definitely want to take Acky’s Breakout Reloaded for a spin.  I’m not a big fan of the genre, but after more than 40 levels the game still has me thoroughly entertained.  Between the sheer number of levels, the achievements and the vast amount of pilots and pets there are to collect there’s never a shortage of goals to reach for, and the game even does a decent job of combating the “can’t get that last brick” syndrome so many brick breaker games suffer from.  And who doesn’t love the thought of using pizza as currency?

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App Summary
Title: Acky’s Breakout Reloaded – Brick Breaker Developer: Isotope 244
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $2.99 App Size:  38.2 MB
  • Plenty of levels
  • Numerous achievements and 6 leaderboards
  • Lots of pets and pilots to collect
  • Great pixel art and rockin’ music
  • Pizza takes a lot of time to earn
  • Sound effects are a bit weak

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Bundle Up Your Software This Winter http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/29/bundle-up-your-software-this-winter/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/29/bundle-up-your-software-this-winter/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 03:06:40 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74179 One of the latest features of the App Store is the ability for developers to bundle up their software titles and offer that bundle at a reduced price.  What’s really nice for the consumer is that if you own some of the games in the bundle already you can purchase the rest for a pro-rated … Read more]]>

One of the latest features of the App Store is the ability for developers to bundle up their software titles and offer that bundle at a reduced price.  What’s really nice for the consumer is that if you own some of the games in the bundle already you can purchase the rest for a pro-rated lower cost so you still save some money.  Many game developers are already jumping on this bandwagon, so I thought I’d point out a couple of recent one that I thought were interesting.

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Tilt To Live Tilty-Tilt Boom Boom Bundle

Besides being one of the best names for a bundle so far, this bundle contains some of the best twitch action, dodge everything games you’ll find on the App Store.  Start with the original Tilt To Live, my favorite game in the genre at the time.  You can read all about my adventures with this gem here: Tilt To Live review.  Once you think you’ve mastered all there is to tilting and destroying you’ll want to check out Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous, the game that managed to kick the insanity of the original up a notch or two.  I just happen to have a review of that one as well, just in case you’re inclined: Tilt To Live 2: Redonkulous review.  Finally, you can see what the first official spin-off feels like in Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge.  This game turns the crazy, arena based action into an obstacle course instead, proving that the Tilt To Live franchise isn’t a one trick pony.  This is one action bundle you can’t go wrong with.

Tilt to Live Tilty-Tilt Boom Boom Bundle One Man Left, Tilt to Live Tilty-Tilt Boom Boom Bundle – $4.99

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Cubus Games Adventures

There’s actually a bit more to the title on this one, but I think you’ll get the drift once I start laying out the games contained within.  First up is The Sinister Fairground, an interactive horror gamebook that’s sure to make you think twice before visiting your local carnival next time.  An intricate, detailed storyline is laced with combat and mind bending puzzles to keep you on your toes.  If you’re more of a sci-fi nut you’ll want to try Heavy Metal Thunder.  A deep science fiction plot will suck you in and a slick combat system will keep you entertained.  It’ll also prepare you for the sequel which is due out some time in the near future.  Finally you have Necklace of Skulls, a story steeped in Mayan culture.  Besides the unique background for the tale, an innovative combat system is sure to intrigue even the most seasoned gamebook player.

Cubus Games Adventures: get into the darkest, dangerous stories – Gamebook Bundle Cubus Games, Cubus Games Adventures: get into the darkest, dangerous stories – Gamebook Bundle – $7.99

I believe both of these bundles have a limited shelf life, so grab them while you can.

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10 App Store Games To Watch [11/19/2014] http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/20/10-app-store-games-to-watch-11192014/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/20/10-app-store-games-to-watch-11192014/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:19:56 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74161 While I might not have been reporting on them so much in the past few weeks, that doesn’t mean there have been any less new game offerings in the iOS world.  I’ve decided to change things up a bit, however, and instead of tying each installment to a specific week, I’m just going to bring … Read more]]>

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While I might not have been reporting on them so much in the past few weeks, that doesn’t mean there have been any less new game offerings in the iOS world.  I’ve decided to change things up a bit, however, and instead of tying each installment to a specific week, I’m just going to bring you the games that I’ve currently been playing.  So, without further ado, here are 10 App Store games to watch…

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Adventure Xpress [10/1/14] – Much like Spellfall or some of the other more popular match 3 / RPG hybrids of late, there really isn’t much of a quest or narrative portion to the game.  You basically select a location, conquer all the creatures at that location and then move on to the next location.  Locations are divided into realms, and the one thing that ties each realm together is that at the beginning of the realm you get a letter and at the end you deliver it to someone.  If you’ve played Giant Boulder Of Death you’ll understand that what makes this game rise above its peers is the sheer silliness of it.  My character currently dons an outfit that looks like an ice cream sundae and wields an ugly face mace, which is literally a mace with an ugly face on the end of it.  I like how each color on the board has a corresponding spell that you can unlock, and using spells doesn’t even count as a move.  You can also move tiles on the board without making a match, which means if you have the patience you can set things up for the ultimate combo attack (or you can simply get the right piece to where you need it to help match a trapped piece).  The visuals and audio definitely feel like they came from a cartoon, which says to me that PikPok has developed quite the knack for translating Adult Swim’s properties to the mobile screen.  If I had one gripe – which I do – it’s that even into the third realm the game is a bit too easy.  Otherwise it has definitely been quite enjoyable.

Adventure Xpress [adult swim], Adventure Xpress – Free

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El. [10/9/14] – The Flappy Bird clone craze hasn’t died yet, so here’s this round’s “thank you for not being Flappy Bird” entry.  For me this would be one of those games that would qualify for the “are games art” discussions that some folks like to have.  The landscapes and adversaries as well as the avatar herself are beautiful in their silhouetted simplicity.  The feathers you collect stand out with their vibrant white tone and yellow highlights, and the backgrounds are comprised of subtle hues that vary based on the scene you’re in.  There are plenty of items to dodge, and not everything moves in a straight up and down pattern.  To compensate for that, and to help you in your quest to collect as many feathers as possible, you can swipe to move your avatar left and right using gusts of winds instead of just tapping to raise her and releasing to lower her.  The game has 12 levels, three different difficulty settings to master and is connected to Game Center, though at the moment there are no achievements.  If you like this style of game play, this is definitely worth your time to check out.

el. GREE, Inc., el. – Free

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Daddy Long Legs [10/7/14] – So I still don’t get Flappy Bird, but I’m starting to appreciate the idea of extremely difficult games that suck you in even though you know you’re not going to do well.  Daddy Long Legs is the tale of a furry little creature with extremely long legs that just wants to walk.  In order to help him out, all you have to do is tap the screen to move its legs.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Basically all I’ve managed to do so far is recreate the tumbling first moments of Bambi’s failed walk from the seminal Disney film over and over again, yet I still feel compelled to keep trying.  I can’t get the rhythm down right and I’m not even sure if it makes a difference where you tap on the screen, but I’ll tap again and again just to get it wrong one more time.  You do have the option to share your trials and tribulations with Everyplay if you want, but I have just enough dignity not to do that.  The graphics are pretty simple and there are just some basic background noises, but while a musical number would be nice you won’t notice the absence of one very often.  There are 21 achievements to earn and a leaderboard to conquer, and I’m positive you won’t have to worry about me taking your top spot should you happen to actually acquire one.

Daddy Long Legs Set Snail, Daddy Long Legs – Free

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Yes Chef! [10/9/14] – It seems that everyone wants to be in the match 3 business these days, and Halfbrick is no exception.  From a general game play perspective there’s not much new here.  Match 3 to clear tiles away and match more than 3 in certain patterns to create bonus tiles.  Goals include all the typical things like earning a certain score, making a certain number of tiles fall to the bottom of the screen, or appeasing so many customers by matching the various foods that they want.  Limitations are typically a particular number of moves or a certain amount of time, and many levels have additional requirements like collecting a certain number of ingredients or clearing a set amount of special tiles.  One thing this game does have is an inordinately diverse “economy”.  Energy is what allows you to keep playing, virtual bills let you buy boosts before a level starts and gold coins give you the chance to purchase power ups once you’ve started playing a level.  For each level you complete with three stars you’ll earn a medal, and these medals can be used to upgrade permanent boosts like increased score multipliers.  Finally you’ll be able to earn bonuses for Fruit Ninja should you happen to have that installed as well.  I’m not about to declare this my next favorite Halfbrick game, but from the standpoint of a more “traditional” match 3 experience it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Yes Chef! Halfbrick Studios, Yes Chef! – Free

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Game Town [9/1/14] – I don’t remember if it was because of the PR or what, but originally I assumed this was supposed to be a kids’ game.  I can even kind of see that selling point given the cute graphics and upbeat music.  If you’ve ever played Tap The Frog, however, you’ll soon realize that looks can be deceiving.  In fact, I get the feeling Game Town was inspired by that game given the general layout.  There are several mini games for you to play, attempt to conquer and eventually get frustrated with (not in a bad way, mind you).  You can earn up to give stars for each game, and those stars will allow you to unlock more mini games to torture yourself with.  Each game also has 4 achievements to earn, many of which are just as if not more challenging than earning those 5 stars.  A quick sampling of the games includes Rabbit Hats, where you must get all the rabbits’ hats to be the same color in the shortest amount of time, Beat The Moles which is basically whack-a-mole, and Chick Jump where you must help a poor chick to clear as many platforms as possible by single or double jumping when appropriate.  As the widely overused phrase goes, they are all “simple to learn yet difficult to master”.  And, just like Tap The Frog they’ll keep you and your kids busy for quite some time.

Game Town Tufan ALIN, Game Town – Free
Game Town HD Tufan ALIN, Game Town HD – Free

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Angry Birds Transformers [10/15/14] – After Star Wars, which basically felt like a reskinned Angry Birds with a few new powers and Angry Birds Epic, which for me was mostly an epic fail, I was a bit hesitant about Angry Birds Transformers.  Just like the IP it is based off of, this game is more than meets the eye.  It manages to combine the action of a shooting gallery game where the opponents shoot back with the physics fun you’ve come to know and love from an Angry Birds game, and it does it in such a way that it’s actually fun.  You start with Optimus Prime bird and along the way you’ll unlock other favorites like Bumblebee, Shockwave and more, each with their own abilities.  Plus you’ll have the ability to transform into vehicles to dodge nasty traps.  Earn coins and crystals to upgrade your army and defeat the evil EggBots (yeah, the Decepticons – I mean Deceptihogs – aren’t actually your enemies in this game).  Hook up with friends and take their troops into battle for a 1 – 2 punch.  The game also supports Telepods if you like that concept, though I must admit I found it to be a bit frustrating with the Star Wars games.  Angry Birds is free to play, though certain game modes and various other frills require IAP.  Still, if you like the Angry Birds franchise but are kind of tired of the same old offerings from their standard line, this is one off-shoot that’s actually worth the time to play.

Angry Birds Transformers Rovio Entertainment Ltd, Angry Birds Transformers – Free

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Marble Mountain [10/1/14] – If your first thought when you check out this game is “Marble Madness”, you appreciate fine retro games as much as I do.  While there still aren’t really any games in my opinion that truly capture the magic of that classic, Marble Mountain makes a really good attempt.  The controls aren’t the greatest, and the auto camera that supposedly helps you keep things in perspective sometimes seems to do more harm than good.  The game has no “safety points” in a level, which the developers are unapologetic about but kind of bugs me – when a level is of any decent size I don’t want to play the whole thing 500 times just to finish the small section at the end that I can’t conquer.  So what keeps me intrigued?  So far this game has some of the best level design I’ve seen in a marble rolling experience in quite some time.  The expansive outdoor levels sure beat rolling around in yet another set of labyrinths, and even though some traps can be fairly sticky everything seems pretty well balanced and manageable.  I also like the challenge of trying to find all of the aurums on each level, as it forces you to explore the surroundings a bit more than you might in this type of game.  Best of all, if you don’t believe me it doesn’t cost you anything to try it.

Marble Mountain Lightning Rock Pty Ltd, Marble Mountain – Free

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Kitchen Scramble [7/31/14] – Look out Flo, there’s a new cook in town!  While I’ve yet to see a cooking based time management game usurp Diner Dash’s throne, Kitchen Scramble does a pretty good job trying to lead the revolt.  In typical time management fashion you’ll need to serve a variety of meals to a continually growing and diverse population of hungry patrons.  Treat them well and in a timely fashion and you’ll earn stars, coins and extra rewards like star medallions and premium ingredients.  Take too long to get to someone and they’ll be happy to leave you with lost business and extra food that you’ll have to throw away.  Coins can be used to buy and upgrade necessary equipment, while bills let you buy special items to make you really efficient.  I’m not sure if you can earn bills, however, or if these are an IAP only luxury.  Star medallions are needed to get past certain points in each neighborhood, so go back and play levels where you didn’t earn 3 stars the first time once you have better equipment.  The dishes start getting more complicated and taking multiple steps to complete, and sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of who was next in line, especially when you have three customers that look the same and ordered the same meals.  Still, it’s the kind of controlled chaos that any time management fan will love.

Kitchen Scramble RockYou, Inc., Kitchen Scramble – Free

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Duke Dashington [9/3/14] – You are intrepid explorer Duke Dashington, and you seem to have a knack for getting to structures that hold magnificent treasures right before they are ready to collapse.  Thankfully there’s still time to navigate the deadly traps in each location and recover the treasure before the surroundings turn into a pile of rubble.  There are 4 areas altogether, each one containing 30 levels.  Many of the levels are fairly easy, but some will require multiple attempts due to some tricky timing elements.  Thankfully you only get 10 seconds to complete each level, so even if you have to play one many times over in order to complete it you should beat most of the levels before any sort of frustration sets in.  Once you’ve completed an area you can attempt to play the whole thing in one sitting to see how quickly you can do it and with how few lives.  There is a leaderboard for each of the 4 areas and 12 achievements to earn.  The game has a high def old school look and a soundtrack to match making it feel like a modern SNES game.  There’s something about games that manage to make a wide variety of interesting puzzles out of single screen environments, which is a big part of the appeal for Duke Dashington.  If anything I’d say the controls seem a bit finicky, but for all I know any more they might have done that on purpose.

Duke Dashington Jussi Simpanen, Duke Dashington – $0.99

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Jet Run: City Defender [10/29/14] – This is an “infinite” game, and one of a small but growing number that has you piloting a flying vehicle of some sort.  There are power ups that you can collect as you’re flying that take effect immediately, and you also have three slots that you can populate with weapons and gadgets, many of which you can upgrade.  Some of these items get used automatically when needed and others require you to tap a button to activate them.  Of course most of them are consumable and can be resupplied with medals that you collect along the way (or buy via IAP if you so desire).  There are also missions to complete which earn you medals and XP, the latter which allows you to level up and unlock more gadgets to buy – in other words, the typical vicious circle that makes infinite games so much fun.  What sets this game apart from the others, however, is that in addition to flying without crashing you’ll have to engage in combat with aliens.  Better yet, that segment of the game feels like an homage to Space Invaders or Galaga, albeit with much flashier, 3D visuals.  And, while most of these infinite flying games take place in somewhat contained areas for the sake of making things tense and deadly, there’s something about flying through cities full of tall buildings that gives Jet Run a fresh feel atmospherically.

Jet Run: City Defender Wicked Witch, Jet Run: City Defender – Free

Well that wraps up another edition of games to watch on the App Store. As always, if there’s something you’ve played recently 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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Zup! in Review – What Goes Zup… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/12/zup-in-review-what-goes-zup/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/11/12/zup-in-review-what-goes-zup/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 17:09:31 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74156 These days the “infinite” mold takes on many different shapes and sizes.  You have your traditional runners, vehicular based romps, games where you’re constantly falling or in cases like this a flight to the ends of the universe (or at least to Mars).  Cool graphics, jazzy music and a number of achievements give you reason … Read more]]>

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These days the “infinite” mold takes on many different shapes and sizes.  You have your traditional runners, vehicular based romps, games where you’re constantly falling or in cases like this a flight to the ends of the universe (or at least to Mars).  Cool graphics, jazzy music and a number of achievements give you reason to keep coming back, but the lack of upgradable anything seems to be curbing my enthusiasm just a bit.

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Top Hat Joe just wants to reach for the stars, and it’s your job to help him fulfill his dreams.  The problem is that things like skull balloons, laser barriers and UFOs that shoot fireballs all do their part in trying to stop Joe from having a good time.  Luckily you can acquire temporary power ups like a gun or helmet that takes out the opposition or a magnet to attract stars to you so that you can stay out of harm’s way.  You’ll also occasionally run into hot air balloons that both give you an inflated sense of ego and add an extra life to your roster.  Don’t allow this to let you take your guard down, however, because no matter how many lives you have hitting enough of the wrong things will eventually end your trip and force you to start again.

Navigating Top Hat Joe is a simple matter of tilting your device left and right.  You do need to keep in mind that Joe will wrap around the screen, so make sure that when you’re trying to escape one obstacle by drifting “out of bounds” that you don’t end up colliding with something on the other side.  The game offers 2 leaderboards via Game Center.  One is for longest distance travelled and the other is for highest score.  I’m not sure what all gives you score, though I know collecting stars is one of the possibilities.  There are also 27 different achievements to earn, and while not all of them are overly difficult I think you’ll find that trying to get them all will keep you busy for a while.  The one thing I really missed was the fact that there were no power ups to upgrade or anything like characters or outfits to unlock.

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Visually the game is a cross between good sixties cartoons and the animated sequences in a Monty Python movie.  Object designs are well done and everything is nicely animated.  I like some of the little touches like your head growing bigger as you gain lives.  The sound effects are kind of a mixed bag, but the music further solidifies the whole Saturday morning cartoon feel the game exudes.  It’s definitely an atmosphere that both kids and adults can appreciate.

Zup is a fun infinite floater in a kooky Saturday morning setting.  It’s easy to get into and even if you’re not the kind of person to compete with others in leaderboards the achievements will keep you coming back for some time.  I just wish there were elements to upgrade or unlock to make you feel like the stars were really worth collecting.  I know the stars embellish the score, but to me the real joy in this style of game is getting a higher score because I’ve upgraded something to the next level.

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App Summary
Title: ZUP! Developer: e4 software
Reviewed Ver:  1.0 Min OS Req:  iOS 6.0
Price: $0.99 App Size:  69.5 MB
  • Easy to grasp
  • Decent assortment of achievements
  • Cool visuals
  • Fun atmosphere
  • No unlocks or upgrades
  • Screen can get cluttered

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You Got Your NFL In My Temple Run 2… http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/you-got-your-nfl-in-my-temple-run-2/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2014/10/17/you-got-your-nfl-in-my-temple-run-2/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=74150 Ever fancied yourself running the locales of Temple Run 2 with your favorite NFL player?  Well now you can, assuming of course that your favorite player is either Colin Kaepernick from the San Francisco 49ers or Russell Wilson of Seattle Seahawk’s fame.  Starting from October 10 until Thanksgiving rolls around, two new players will be … Read more]]>

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

Temple Run 2 and the NFL

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

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

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

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

Shadow Fight 2 for iOS and Android Surpasses 35 Million Downloads

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

Shadow Fight 2 Nekki, Shadow Fight 2 – Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tilt To Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tower Boxing FDG Entertainment, Tower Boxing – Free

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

Epic Eric 232 Studios, Epic Eric – $0.99

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

SkyBound HARTH LABS INC, SkyBound – Free

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

Glue Knight Balazs Buri, Glue Knight – Free

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

Criminal Case Pretty Simple, Criminal Case – Free

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

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

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

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

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

Gunspell AKPublish, Gunspell – Free

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

Armies of Dragons Animoca, Armies of Dragons – Free

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

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

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