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 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 App Store Games To Watch [July 28 - Aug 3] Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:45:19 +0000 As usual I’ve tried to assemble as diverse a selection of games as I can, though I’ll admit that I leaned a bit heavily on the puzzle side of things this week.  Color Nudge is a match 3 game that actually makes you think a little bit about what you’re doing.  Limited moves, interesting board … Read more]]>


As usual I’ve tried to assemble as diverse a selection of games as I can, though I’ll admit that I leaned a bit heavily on the puzzle side of things this week.  Color Nudge is a match 3 game that actually makes you think a little bit about what you’re doing.  Limited moves, interesting board layouts and pieces that fall of the board when you slide a row are just some of the factors you have to take into account when playing.  Got Light? challenges your perception of color and ability to skillfully align objects.  Move stars and planets around so that each plant is lit by the appropriately colored star(s) without being bathed in another star’s light.  Galaxy Guardians is a cute shooter where you control a penguin saddled with heavy artillery.  The controls are a bit awkward, but at least it doesn’t feel just like every other shooter.


Snaky – Not only do I have a “Thank You For Not Being Flappy Bird” clone this week, but I liked it so much I put it first in the list!  Okay, the order doesn’t really matter but I wanted a snappy opening line.  Anyway, Snaky is everything Flappy Bird wasn’t.  The visuals are minimal, yet there’s something mesmerizing about the smooth black line sliding across a white background as simple colored lines scroll by.  The music is a great piano piece and the sound effects are just enough to let you know when you’ve succeeded or failed in passing a set of lines (in case you didn’t notice visually).  The controls are actually smooth instead of jerky, so if you fail in this one it’s all on you.  There is a leaderboard for high scores, and depending on your score you might receive something in the “reward” circle – this is probably the one thing I’d like to see fleshed out just a little bit.  If nothing else maybe the artist could incorporate the minimum score required to receive the reward within the reward itself.  The only IAP is for removing ads, so if you enjoy the game please do so and support the developer.  If you’re a fan of “floppy” games you should love this one, and if you despise the genre you might enjoy Snaky anyway.

Snaky Tung Hoang, Snaky – Free

DeadlyQuest – If you were to simply peruse a week’s worth of new releases on the App Store, you would find that probably 70-80% of them fall under a mere 5 or 6 different types of game.  One such popular game type is the concept of dragging your finger through a maze without touching the walls, and up until now I’ve basically avoided such games thinking they’d be more frustrating than fun.  The dungeon crawling motif of this one interested me, however, and so far I really like it… though it is definitely frustrating.  Each level challenges you to navigate corridors lined with spikes to try and reach a staircase to the next level.  There are 3 stars to collect if you’re brave enough, and if you’re insane there’s a hidden treasure chest to reveal on each level by running into it.  The trick is that you have to do all of this within a certain time limit.  Better yet, before long you get introduced to obstacles that actually move in addition to the static walls.  There are probably more diabolical traps as well, but I’m only on level 4 after several play sessions.  If I had one complaint (and I usually do) it’s that the character moves relative to your finger movements instead of directly underneath your finger, which when you’re in a hurry can cause lots of mis-judgement.

DeadlyQuest Moortz, DeadlyQuest – Free

Ice Castle – One of my favorite games growing up with my NES was Ice Climber, and Ice Castle reminds me of a modern version of that game.  Now before all you fans get frantic about it, I’ll admit the resemblance is fleeting, but since Ice Climber proper isn’t going to show up on my iPad any time soon, I’ll take what I can get.  You control an Eskimo that is trying to clear the polar lands of all sorts of nasty critters.  In order to do this you’ll have to take up your trusty hammer, as well as use the bombs, ropes and TNT you find along the way.  There are coins to collect that can be used to buy additional supplies and new costumes, and each level contains three snowflakes to gather for those up to the challenge.  The levels are actually fairly well designed, and the graphics look pretty good.  I particularly like the fact that a bat finally looks like a menacing creature instead of some cartoony criminal.  The problem right now is that the game is fairly buggy.  Sometimes the controls freak out, the rope interface is particularly flaky, and high scores don’t seem to stick between play sessions, just to name a few issues.  I think there’s a lot of potential here, though, so if we show the developer that we’re interested in the game maybe issue resolution will get fast-tracked to make this a much more solid product.

Ice Castle Click Labs, Ice Castle – Free

Colour Nudge – At first glance Colour Nudge might appear to be just another match 3 game but after a little while I began to appreciate that it was much more than that.  First of all it uses an interesting combination of “slide the row” and “swap tiles”.  By that I mean you slide a given row to try and make matches, but you can only slide one tile at time.  What’s more interesting is that you can slide a row without making a match, and whichever unlucky tile is at the end of the row you’re moving falls off the playing field to be replaced with the “on deck” tile piece.  In this match 3 variant you have tiles that cannot be moved even with power ups, which adds a whole other level to game play as well.  Toss in the fact that you have some fairly non-standard playing fields (one is comprised of 4 separate squares) and things start to get rather interesting.  Combine all this with multiple goals (reach a certain score, clear away grease tiles, match various amounts of particular types of slime) and the game actually has a nice strategy element to it.  There are currently 80 levels of color matching goodness, and as long as you’re patient about waiting for lives to recuperate you can probably play the whole game for free.

Colour Nudge Matthias Chan, Colour Nudge – Free
Colour Nudge HD Matthias Chan, Colour Nudge HD – Free

Monster Snack – The Addictive Puzzle Runner – After all this time it appears that developers can still make some unique decisions within the constraints of the infinite runner genre.  In this case you are an alligator like creature piloting a spaceship through a cavern, trying to stay away from a giant fish that apparently likes to eat space ships piloted by you.  It’s actually a bit Monty Python-ish, which is always cool in my book.  To keep your craft going you simply tap the screen, the caveat being that you must tap it when you are above or below a crystal that is the same color as the gauge on your space ship.  You get different points depending on how close to the center of the crystal you are, or at least I think that’s how it works, and the game also keeps track of the distance you’ve travelled.  As you successfully harvest the color from the crystals you fill a nitro meter, and when that is packed you get one free mistake before the fish can consume you.  There are power ups, though they seem to appear few and far between and the only one I’ve figured out so far is one that adds some extra fuel to your nitro gauge.  If you do run across a power up just swipe anywhere on the screen to pick it up.  There are two leaderboards, one for total distance and one for highest score.  There are also achievements, or at least there are achievements “coming soon”.  The graphics are colorful and the music is some cross between Goonies and Danny Elfman, so it’s all good.

Monster Snack - The Addictive Puzzle Runner Total Eclipse P.C., Monster Snack – The Addictive Puzzle Runner – Free


Galaxy Guardians – If you’ve seen Batman Returns you have my deepest sympathies.  One thing we did learn from that film, however, is that penguins sure can rock heavy artillery.  Galaxy Guardians picked up on that concept so you can now control a penguin with a jet pack, a laser gun and a desire to rid the galaxy of nasty aliens.  This is basically a “how far can you go” game with no achievements or missions, but it still manages to be entertaining in small doses.  There are 3 difficulty settings so most gamers should find an adequate challenge.  Game Center does provide leaderboards for each of the three difficulties so you can see how you rank against other guardians across the world.  The control is pretty simple consisting of tilting to aim, tapping to shoot or recover crystals and swiping to dodge.  The main problem is that if you have a bigger device that you can’t hold with one hand the swiping gesture can become a challenging, as can tapping a crystal that’s in the middle of the screen.  Control issues aside this is an entertaining shooter that can appeal to both adults and kids, and it comes at the perfect price tag: free.

Galaxy Guardians Useless Creations Pty Ltd, Galaxy Guardians – Free


Caludo – When you look at the screen shots it might not seem like there is a whole lot to Caludo.  The truth is that there really isn’t, and that’s part of its charm.  Your task on each level is to get the smiley face without a smile to the set of circles with the yellow ring around it.  Sometimes it is locked, in which case you’ll need to grab one of the small green orbs first.  You get three moves per round, so you have to make some careful decisions about what is most important to you.  You only get points if you collect the green orbs, but if you don’t get to the exit of the level the orbs won’t matter.  Also, if you collect all three green orbs in a level that’s a triple, which brings me to the leaderboards.  There is one for the highest scores, one for the most triples and one for the highest round reached.  One thing that can get really frustrating is that if your character gets too close to the edge of the screen launching it can be rather difficult.  On the other hand, the fact that you can intercept the yellow circle and redirect it mid flight is cool.  The minimalist art and simple song actually provide a nice presentation to a game that is more about relaxation than anything else.

Caludo Bytebin, Caludo – Free


Got Light? – Since Flappy Bird was released there seems to be an obsession with making the “hardest game ever”.  Sadly, though, unless you’re sadistic or have A.D.D. it really isn’t all that fun having a game where you die every two seconds.  As such I’ve really enjoyed some of the relaxing puzzles games that have come out this week, including both the last entry and this one, Got Light?  This game challenges you to illuminate all of the planets on the screen by making sure that the only color striking them is the one that matches the color of their surface.  The light comes from stars, some of which can be moved and others which can’t, but all of which cast one of three primary colors: red, green or blue.  You’ll have to position the items that are movable so that any stars can reach all of the appropriately colored planets, and in the case of mixed colors that the two necessary stars’ radiance overlaps.  If worse comes to worse you can use the shadow that each planet casts to block out the wrong colored light from another planet.  It can often be tricky getting things lined up just right to illuminate all the planets, but in the end it’s always a satisfying feeling.  The music is soothing, the images look pretty cool once you’ve got all the planets in place, and there is no annoying timer or unattainable high score to top.  If you’re one of those folks that’s really just all about the game, then this is a good choice for you.

Got Light?, Got Light? – Free


Box It! – I guess this was just the week for me to latch on to quiet, unassuming puzzle games.  This particular one is a single player variant of the dots and lines game that you can still find on the back of many restaurants’ kids’ menus to keep the little ones happy while you’re waiting for food.  Besides being only single player, however, the rectangular playing field has been replaced with all manner of different layouts, and they are even kind enough to fill in some of the lines for you.  Your task is to fill in the entire level with squares using a limited number of extra lines.  Once you create a square you’ll set off a chain reaction that keeps going until it reaches a dead end or an intersection where there is more than one possible path to take.  It sounds pretty straightforward, and because you can undo as many moves as you want the first few levels are fairly simple.  It doesn’t take long before you really have to start thinking about where you’re going to plant those lines, though.  Thankfully you can jump to the puzzle of your choice at any time, so when you get stuck on one just try out a different one.  It may not help your situation any, but at least you can spread the failure across multiple puzzles.  Spot on controls and a slick interface make the game easy to get into, though a little background music would help fill the lulls when you’re thinking.  This was certainly a great week for puzzle gamers.

Box It! Wharf Games, Box It! – Free


Crazy Taxi City Rush – Just so you don’t think I’ve gone completely cerebral, I thought I’d end this collection with a fun action title.  This is my first Crazy Taxi experience and I am glad that I decided to go along for the ride.  I was a bit skeptical about the infinite runner feel to the controls at first, but it actually works out quite well as long as you remember that holding the screen allows you to drift into turns.  If you’re tired of those “safe” taxi games that expect you to get your fares to their destination without incident, Crazy Taxi’s laissez-faire attitude should be right up your alley.  Ram cars, take out various objects that shouldn’t be left in the park anyway and do a 180 to come to a complete stop.  As long as you get to your destination in a decent amount of time it’s all good.  Pimp out your ride to earn more cash per run, go on special assignments that include but don’t limit you to recklessly driving a tank over everything, and see how quickly you can become king of the paid transportation circuit.  There is just so much to do in this game that it’s easier for me to say “download it and give it a try” than to try to cram all the goodness into this one little paragraph.  So, download it and give it a try.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Crazy Taxi™ City Rush SEGA, Crazy Taxi™ City 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:

Read more]]> 0
Munin in Review – Puzzling Pleasure with a Twist Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:21:48 +0000 There seems to be this intense push for “console quality gaming” on mobile devices, but if I wanted that I’d just buy a console.  What I like about Munin is it takes advantage of the hardware to be the best mobile game it can be without trying to be anything else.  It can get frustrating … Read more]]>


There seems to be this intense push for “console quality gaming” on mobile devices, but if I wanted that I’d just buy a console.  What I like about Munin is it takes advantage of the hardware to be the best mobile game it can be without trying to be anything else.  It can get frustrating at times, but you’ll always feel like you’ve accomplished something when you’ve completed a level, and you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything should you not get back to the game right away after quitting to enjoy real life for a while.  If you’re a fan of puzzle games, Munin should be at the top of your list to try.


I’m not really sure how important a story is in puzzle games, but in case you’re interested you play a servant of Odin who was once a magnificent crow.  Thanks to Loki you’ve been transformed into a human, and you must travel the realms to gather up all your feathers and return to your avian state.  If nothing else it gives you a reason for what you’re doing.  Naturally your task won’t be easy as the locations you visit have been well designed to keep you from the plumage you seek.  Fortunately you have the ability to rotate sections of the scene 90 degrees at a time, theoretically making the job of retrieving your feathers a bit easier.

Yes, this is a platform game with a quite literal twist.  It’s been done before in various ways, but this is by far one of the most intriguing.  The intro level set just gets you used to the rotating room mechanic (you can also move your character around and jump via on screen buttons just like a typical platform game).  Once you’ve completed the first leg of your journey you’ll get to pick between three different level sets, which is itself a nice feature.  Each level set introduces a new mechanic: filling areas with water so you can swim to and reach higher areas, rolling boulders to fill gaps and break walls while making sure you don’t crush yourself in the process, and animating various platforms by manipulating souls that are trapped within the walls of the levels.  I look forward to seeing what other novelties await as I unlock the rest of the level sets, as well as potentially seeing already established mechanics combined.


As mentioned previously, there are arrows for moving your character left, right, up and down, as well as a button to make her jump.  They work well for the most part, but trying to accomplish an angled jump (up / left or up / right at the same time) can be rather difficult.  To rotate a section you simply tap anywhere within that section, as long as your character isn’t standing in that section when you try to rotate it.  Occasionally I end up accidentally rotating a section when I’m trying to hit a movement control, but as long as you pay attention that can be avoided.  The game has no Game Center integration or 3 star rankings or anything like that, so you need to be able to handle simply beating a level as its own reward.

Sadly, the graphics are the weakest part of the game.  They aren’t bad, with plenty of details and some nice particle effects when it comes to the water.  The main character looks pretty stiff where animation is concerned, however, and she is very tiny.  Also, a lot of the background elements tend to lean on the dark side, which sometimes makes it difficult to determine where passages, walls or other important items are.  On the other hand, the audio elements are top notch.  The sound effects and ambient noise are very well done, and the different musical tracks provide a wonderful boost to the overall ambiance of the game.  There are definitely some movie soundtrack quality pieces to be found here.


Munin is a great concept wrapped up in a stellar execution.  The puzzles are challenging but as long as you preserve you should be able to conquer most of them before pulling any hair out.  The atmosphere of the game is great as well, despite less than wowing visuals.  This game definitely belongs in any puzzle lover’s iPad collection.


App Summary
Title: Munin Developer: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
Reviewed Ver: 1.2 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $2.99 App Size: 262 MB
  • Great mechanics
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Sticks to a single screen
  • Wonderful music and sound effects
  • Controls can be slightly finicky
  • Visuals sometimes hamper game play


Read more]]> 0
10 App Store Games To Watch [June 30 - July 6] Tue, 12 Aug 2014 21:44:47 +0000 One of the App Store’s best and worst points is that there is never any shortage of new games coming out.  This roundup saw the release of Disney Bola Soccer which threw me for a loop because it doesn’t take advantage of any of the myriad of high profile properties that Disney owns.  It turns … Read more]]>


One of the App Store’s best and worst points is that there is never any shortage of new games coming out.  This roundup saw the release of Disney Bola Soccer which threw me for a loop because it doesn’t take advantage of any of the myriad of high profile properties that Disney owns.  It turns out the game doesn’t need them because the developers provide a solid mobile soccer experience that even manages to get the controls right… almost.  I also found one of my favorite Flappy Bird clones in the form of Lava Bird.  Where else can you play a game where you get to dodge your own volcanic spit?  My latest infinite runner obsession also falls in this week’s list thanks to Zombie Z.  The game doesn’t really offer anything new, but there’s something about the atmosphere and the ability to shoot zombies both in front of and behind you that keeps drawing me back.

Zombie Z – The iTunes description likes to bill this as an endless runner like no other, but I think that’s a bit of an overstatement.  Still, I’ve become quite hooked on it over the last few days, so that makes it worth sharing in my opinion.  You can forget about The Walking Dead, because these undead know how to move.  Not only that, but they come at you from both the front and back, so depending on how close they get you might need to hurdle the ones coming from behind as well.  Luckily you can jump and double jump by tapping and also collect weapons that will fire automatically for you in whichever direction has the closest adversary.  There are 9 weapons to unlock and upgrade as well as 4 heroes to recruit in addition to the one you start with.  There are three goals at a time to work towards, and when you complete one you’ll earn some extra food, which is apparently the currency in the game.  Zombie Z is linked to Game Center, but oddly enough there are no achievements or leaderboards at this point.  This is kind of like Monster Dash with a darker attitude and a focus on zombies, and that works just fine for me.

Zombie Z Pine Entertainment, Zombie Z – Free

Dirt Inc – You know those annoying games you figure no one plays where you just keep tapping something in the middle of the screen for a million times?  Well, this is kind of like one of those games, except you have lots of dirt, thieving gnomes and electric fences.  Your goal is simply to collect as much dirt as possible, and you do that by tapping the screen.  It doesn’t matter where you tap, because your guy always moves in the same pattern, left to right and back again, from the top of the screen all the way to the bottom.  Normal blocks equal a certain amount of dirt, and special blocks earn you even more.  Use the dirt to buy upgrades such as faster digging and automatic digging even when you’re not tapping the screen.  Just beware of the gnome blocks – you can’t avoid them, and they’ll unleash nasty critters that try and steal your dirt.  This is the one instance where you have to specifically tap on them to get them to go away, or you can build up a nice electric fence to zap them out of existence.  This game is silly and ultimately pointless, yet I can’t help but get caught up in it every time I turn it on.

Dirt Inc Digital Panda Studios, Dirt Inc – Free

Infected City Drive HD – Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game – Yep, I really like zombie games.  What I like about this one in particular is that unlike most vehicular based undead affairs, your goal in this game is not to run over as many corpses as you can.  In fact, you actually can’t hit a zombie or it will end your current run.  Instead you are tasked with various chores like bringing a doctor to a sick patient or making sure an old lady gets safely home.  Sure the missions get repetitive quickly, but what makes the game interesting is how you cut corners and dodge nasties in order to make your destinations on time.  As you get further into the game the zombies get more aggressive and the complexity of the roadways increases, and because you’re in town there are lots of opportunities to run into things like buildings and lamp posts as well.  You start out with a little bit of money and so far I’ve earned 400 coins for each mission I’ve successfully completed.  You can use that money to upgrade your vehicle, buy a new one or unlock additional locations, though given the prices you’ll probably be stuck re-running the first location for a while unless you want to spend some real cash on IAP.  The game isn’t quite as flashy as certain other 3D zombie games but the visuals do have a certain rustic charm to them.  If you’re tired of the same old zombie game, Infected City Drive HD is ready to give you something different.

Infected City Drive HD - Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game Tapinator,LLC, Infected City Drive HD – Adventure 3D Zombie Escape Car Driving Simulator Game – Free

The Delivery Man – I’m sure some of you reading this article had a job as a paper delivery person when you were growing up.  Well let me assure you that this experience is nothing like what you remember.  You’ve managed to find probably the only infinitely scrolling block on the planet, and it’s your job to deliver a paper to every single doorstep that doesn’t already have a person standing on it reading the news.  All you have to do is flick the paper on or near the porch, but if you get it too far away you’ll get fired.  If you completely miss a house you’ll also lose your job, though this shouldn’t really be a problem unless your initial toss gets eaten by a pesky dog that jumps in front of you every once in a while.  The game uses Facebook to keep track of high scores, and that’s really about it.  As basic and frill-less as this is, however, I like it for some reason.  I do hope the developer adds some features over time, but it’s a fun and simple start to what could be a really interesting game.  The artwork is pretty awesome, too.

The Delivery Man AurelienCampistron, The Delivery Man – Free

Disney Bola Soccer – If you’re any sort of long timer you’ve probably noticed that I don’t cover sports games very often, mainly because I’m not a big fan of the whole e-sports super-genre.  I’ve been enjoying Disney Bola Soccer, though.  First off, kudos to Disney developers for turning out a solid game that doesn’t involve liberal use or abuse of any of their famous properties.  You get a team of generic soccer players with no special powers or weird traits that just want to play the game.  Give them a name, set the team colors and shirt design, and pick a sponsor.  Then head out to the playing field for quick, fulfilling matches that don’t sting too badly when you lose.  You can either try to work your way up the tournament ladder or engage in one on one matches against players from around the world.  I believe the “human” matches are still computer controlled, but you’re playing against other players’ teams so that they can earn XP should they win even when they aren’t actually playing.  Earn cash and gold to enhance your team and ultimately become the world Bola champions.  They even did a better job than most of getting the controls almost right.

Disney Bola Soccer Disney, Disney Bola Soccer – Free

Zombie Puzzle Panic – I think my subconscious goal for this roundup is to see how many zombie themed games I can throw in.  After the first couple of levels I wasn’t honestly too impressed with this game, but now as I approach the second “boss” I’m actually kind of addicted to it.  If you’re familiar with match three games you know the basic tenants – clear blocks away to earn points and get a certain number in a row or make particular patterns in order to get special bonus tiles.  There are even some tiles that you need to clear away, which in this case just happens to be slime instead of stone or whatever other materials different games might use.  Then there are the zombies which like to litter the board.  You can eliminate them by making matches adjacent to them, though you can’t actually move the zombies themselves.  At times you might have bodyguards to help which will shoot the zombies when they get close, and in other cases you’ll have to protect scientists from getting eaten by the zombies.  You might even have some cases where you have to collect a certain number of a particular type of tile.  This is all wrapped up in a nice little visual bow with Game Center and Facebook connectivity to boot.

Zombie Puzzle Panic Noodlecake Studios Inc, Zombie Puzzle Panic – Free


Lava Bird – I had to get my “Thank You For Not Being Flappy Bird” clone in this week, and for once it actually feels kind of like a Flappy Bird clone.  Luckily though, this one actually has some pretty decent controls.  Also, instead of having to fly through narrow gaps, all you have to worry about is a floor and ceiling… well, that and the birds that are pursuing you.  Oh, and did I mention that you spit out balls of lava every time you flap that can come back and hit you?  Other than that, this game is just like Flappy Bird!  Okay, I should probably point out the secondary game mode called Ice Cave, where you tilt the device vertically and have to dodge your own lava spit for 20 seconds while trying to avoid the spikes on the sides and bottom of the room you’re in.  The nice thing is that if you complete this mode successfully you start off the other mode with 20 bonus points.  If you really need a game that not only plays sort of like Flappy Bird but kind of looks like it as well, this is one of the best entries so far.  Just be sure to chuckle when you pass me in the leaderboard, assuming I ever even make it there.

Lava Bird Unept, Lava Bird – Free


Mondos – It turns out that this is the developer’s second game to use this type of game mechanic, but I apparently missed it the first time around so here you go.  You play Koto Mondos, and your quest is to find and kill your father who has become evil.  In this crazy western themed game you’ll have to master your skills as a shooter, which despite the name is a skill related to how well you can toss your comrades at the enemy and not how versed you are with firearms.  You start out with your trusty horse sidekick, and as you visit various locations you’ll conquer and gain new allies.  Each has a different vibe about them, and you can decide for any given battle which ones you want to take with you.  Collect money along the way so that you can level up your characters and complete the goals of each location in order to unlock bonus powers and cool new items.  If you’re lucky you’ll even get the privilege to play the Gold Rush rounds to earn lots of extra coins.  The game uses Facebook and Twitter for social interaction, and at this point there are no achievements to earn.  However, there’s so much replay potential as you revisit locations to try and complete the special goals that you probably won’t miss achievements all that much.

MONDOS Monstars Inc., MONDOS – Free


Callys Caves 2 – Apparently Cally’s parents have a bad habit of getting kidnapped, and as usual it’s up to you to save them.  This game has all the sensibilities of a modern mobile platformer.  The levels are quick and while they span multiple screens you will very rarely find yourself getting lost even without a mini-map.  Despite potentially having to play some levels multiple times it never gets old, and so far it seems like it is possible to work your way back to the entrance of each level if you want to retrace your steps for some reason.  There are 20 different types of critters to dispose of and 6 unique bosses to smack around, but thankfully you’ll have 16 weapons at your disposal.  You always have your trusty sword at your disposal, and the second weapon slot can drift between whatever long range weapons you pick up along the way.  Each weapon levels up as you use it and every so many levels the gun will transform into a more powerful weapon.  Your character levels up along the way as well, and whatever you can’t gain by leveling up can be enhanced by spending the coins you collect at the in-game store.  The game does have one leaderboard, albeit for the weird stat of how much total time you’ve played, and there are 42 Game Center achievements to earn.

Callys Caves 2 Jordan Pearson, Callys Caves 2 – Free


Jelly Lab – Every once in a while it’s fun to play a completely mindless game, and I think Jelly Lab more than qualifies for that title.  There are three game play “modes” with one overriding goal: smash the jellies.  Okay, in one of the modes you actually slash the jellies by swiping, but you’re still eliminating them.  The other two modes consist of tapping out all the jellies before they get too big and collide with each other and tapping a single jelly as many times as you can while it grows bigger and bigger.  The cool thing is that the game just randomly switches between modes in a single run, so you never know quite what to expect from a given play through.  There are currently no achievements in this game, so your main drive is to see if you can beat your score from previous runs, thereby improving your place on the Game Center leaderboard.  There are Facebook and Twitter icons as well, so I’m assuming you can brag about your accomplishments on these two social networks.  Just remember that “mindless” does not mean “easy”, so be prepared to think you’re doing well and suddenly lose the game because two jellies you didn’t even see got together to ruin your run.

Jelly Lab MildMania, Jelly Lab – $1.99

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:

Read more]]> 0
Sky Force 2014 in Review – Everything Old Is Awesome Again Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:44:35 +0000 I’ve loved shmups ever since I started going to arcades, and since I’ve been reviewing mobile games I’ve always tended to compare them to the venerable classic 1942 from Capcom.  Sure that game didn’t have some of the niceties that modern shooters do, but it always provided solid game play and encouraged repeat performances by … Read more]]>


I’ve loved shmups ever since I started going to arcades, and since I’ve been reviewing mobile games I’ve always tended to compare them to the venerable classic 1942 from Capcom.  Sure that game didn’t have some of the niceties that modern shooters do, but it always provided solid game play and encouraged repeat performances by basically requiring you to memorize the enemy formations in order to master the game.  Welcome to 2014 and the tenth anniversary release of Sky Force from infinite dreams.  There was a reboot of 1942 launched in 2010, but as far as I’m concerned this is the true modern successor to that beloved game.  8 intense levels, plenty of upgrades and 3 difficulty levels make this a game you can play over and over again.  Now all they need is the trademark “flip” button and Sky Force 2014 would be about perfect.


I could try to over-complicate things, but if you’re a shmup fan you know the drill: shoot everything and try to survive.  You have 8 levels over which you can hone your skills, and the good thing is that if you can memorize patterns you’ll eventually be able to conquer each level basically blindfolded.  The bad thing is that won’t matter once you advance to the next difficulty setting on a given level, because while the patterns basically stay the same you’ll find the enemies harder to kill and the bullets a lot more frequent.  Each level has three difficulty settings, and each difficulty has four goals: kill 70% of the enemies, kill 100% of the enemies, rescue all the hostages and fly through the entire level without getting hit once.  As you can imagine, you probably won’t be completing all of the goals at the same time for any given combination of level / difficulty setting.

Along the way you’ll collect stars, and you’ll definitely want to make an effort to snag as many of these as possible.  In between missions you’ll be able to upgrade 5 standard components of your ship as well as three specialty items including a laser weapon, shield and everyone’s favorite: the screen clearing bomb.  Most upgrades start off reasonable, but as you get further into the game it will cost a lot of stars to make your ship as powerful as it can be.  The thing is, I don’t mind the challenge at all, because it gives me a reason to keep coming back to play the game.  Of course if for some reason everything I’ve mentioned to you just isn’t quite enough to keep you busy, there are also 25 achievements to earn and a leaderboard on Game Center that I believe is the sum of your highest score on each of the levels you’ve completed, though I wouldn’t quote me on that if I were you.


So here’s the down side to the game, if you can even call it that.  The game is free… no, that’s not it yet.  Because the game is free, you’re limited to 10 lives, and when those lives are gone you have to wait for them to replenish (thankfully you only “use up” a life if you die during a mission, and not just because you play a mission).  It also takes time for upgrades to take effect, unless you want to spend precious extra stars to speed up the process.  Of course you are perfectly welcome to buy stars via IAP if you’d like.  Personally I’ve found this to be one of the less intrusive freemium models I’ve run across, and quite frankly I’m cheap enough that I haven’t been bothered a bit by having to wait for things to replenish.  I run through my 10 ships at night and let hanger refill while I’m sleeping so my troops are fresh the next day.  It’s a flawless system in my book.

Along with all of the intense action, Sky Force 2014 boasts some really slick visuals.  Everything is well designed and extremely detailed, and the animation is top notch.  It’s rather a joy watching your enemy spiral into the sea, smoke and flames following their descent.  I love how some of the taller structures actually feel like they’re coming towards you, though I do have to remind myself sometimes that you can’t actually run into them.  The sound effects are fairly standard for a shmup, but they do a nice job of complementing the action.  There are voiceovers for things like getting health restored and collecting a weapon upgrade during a mission, and a rescued hostage shouting “yea-hah” always makes me crack a smile.  I’m a bit disappointed in the music, mainly because I expected it to be as varied as the different locales in each mission, yet to me it doesn’t seem much different between each level.  I’ve also noticed that if you have one or two games that you didn’t completely shut down, the sound will often not work at all.


There will always be a special place in my heart for 1942, but I suppose at some point you have to move on.  Sky Force 2014 has finally given me the reason to do so.  Great level design, 3 difficulty settings per mission and a host of upgrades to claim make this one of the best shmup experiences I’ve had, mobile or otherwise.  The wait for upgrades to kick in and lives to replenish are minor annoyances, but in the end it actually works out because it forces me to go play something else for a while.  If you’re a fan of the genre I don’t know how you could lose with this selection.


App Summary
Title: Sky Force 2014 Developer: Infinite Dreams Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.20 Min OS Req: 7.0
Price: Free App Size: 137 MB
  • Great level design
  • 3 difficulty settings per mission
  • Tons of upgrades to work towards
  • Plenty of achievements to earn
  • Excellent visuals
  • Have to wait for upgrades to be applied and lives to refresh
  • Not enough variety in music


Read more]]> 0
10 App Store Games To Watch [June 23 - 29] Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:40:15 +0000 Some weeks the biggest problem with new releases is deciding what to play next.  In addition to the games detailed below I spent some time with the lemmings style game Hamsterlings.  Instead of assigning tasks to the hamsters you have to direct them to gadgets to pick up and use, and you also have to … Read more]]>


Some weeks the biggest problem with new releases is deciding what to play next.  In addition to the games detailed below I spent some time with the lemmings style game Hamsterlings.  Instead of assigning tasks to the hamsters you have to direct them to gadgets to pick up and use, and you also have to directly control each of them to an extent which adds a nice degree of challenge.  Number Twelve – Count from 1 to 12 sounds like a kid’s game, but don’t let that scare you away.  Never before has a basic numeric skill been so exciting.  On the heels of Sky Force 2014 BulkyPix released the helicopter based shooter Heli Hell.  While not quite as compelling as that other modern shooter classic, it still holds up really well compared to most of the recent offerings in that genre.

Shadow Defense – Tired of long, winding pathways that seem to come and go nowhere?  Shadow Defense is one of those games that take the tower defense genre to its basics – you get one tower in the middle of the screen and you have to defend it against everything swarming towards it.  You start out with one measly gun to support your cause, but luckily every creature you kill earns you some cash that you can apply towards better defense mechanisms.  Your main weapon always has unlimited ammo, but you can upgrade it to do more damage and take less time to recover between shots.  Buy some armor so that your tower takes longer to crumble.  Better yet, purchase and upgrade 4 different abilities that will help you make short work of the villains.  And, if you’re feeling like you weren’t quite ready to give up, use some of your hard earned cash to continue where you left off when you die.  There are several different types of enemies to fight, some of which will surprise you with their abilities.  The only thing this game is really missing is some sort of achievements system.

Shadow Defense Galaxy One Limited, Shadow Defense – Free

Cliff Hero – I’ve never understood the apparent in the type of game where you have to tap one color tile while avoiding others, but I decided to give Cliff Hero a try because of its theme.  I’m starting to see why these games could be addictive.  In this variant of the genre you have to keep your character from falling into the lava for a specified amount of time by tapping the tiles that appear on the screen.  To throw even more challenge into the mix, some tiles have creatures on them, and to defeat them you must tap the creatures a number of times indicated by the hearts above their heads.  Killing creatures earns you coins, which can be used to buy new characters that have added benefits.  It’s a simple concept and it certainly keeps me coming back again and again.  I’d love to see them expand on the whole purchase system, though.  Maybe make the individual characters upgradable somehow.  Still, given the rather basic play mechanic this game is centered around, the game’s theme and hint of “combat” help this particular entry to stand out from the crowd.

Cliff Hero SEOK PIL CHEON, Cliff Hero – Free

Knight Girl – As I mentioned in one of my last couple of articles, I still love a straightforward match 3 game these days, as long as it is entertaining and doesn’t feel exactly like all the other offerings out there.  Knight Girl does just that with its medieval setting and characters that pop up between each level to tell a basic story.  You have your typical blocks like stones that require one or more matches adjacent to them to be cleared and gold that must be matched on top of to be acquired.  You will also have various items along the way like wood and pumpkins that you have to match in order to collect.  Then there are the bonuses you get by matching 4 or more of a particular gem tile.  4 tiles gets you a rocket, 5 gets you a rocket bundle and T or L shaped matches get you a bomb.  The bundles are cool because they will clear all the tiles that are the same color as the bundle.  What’s fun about the rockets is that you can use them in conjunction with another perk called a mirror to clear off multiple tiles in rows or columns.  You will also unlock three specialty items over time that you can use, but they will cost you some gold every time you use them.  The game is free but uses the 5 hearts before you need a refill system to encourage you to buy some IAP.  If you’re patient I believe you can get through it all without paying, but if you do consider throwing the developers a buck or two for IAP anyway.

Knight Girl Mentals LLC, Knight Girl – Free

Monster Crush – Puzzle and Adventure – The 2048 genre mash-up is starting to gain momentum, and this is certainly a cool way to do it.  In this case you control one of four heroes and you must defeat as many monsters as you can.  Swipe monsters together to form bigger monsters and attack your foes.  Unlike a lot of these games, in Monster Crush everything only moves over one tile at a time, allowing you to be a bit more strategic with your actions.  You also have two special items you can use: a die that randomly chooses a new next piece to place on the board and a bomb that destroys one selected piece.  There are two of each of these available initially, but I’m not sure how or if you can replenish them once used.  As you continue to defeat monsters you’ll earn money that you can use to level up your heroes as well as upgrade their weapons, armor and shield.  If you’re not generating money as quickly as you’d like you can exchange gems for some in-game cash, and so far it looks like the main way to get gems is with real cash.  One leaderboard keeps track of your high score, but there are no achievements at this point.  If you like the 2048 puzzle concept, you might find the RPG elements an intriguing twist that breathes some fresh life into the genre.

Monster Crush - Puzzle and Adventure JING XU, Monster Crush – Puzzle and Adventure – Free

Z-Infect – While the zombie slaying games far outweigh the zombie playing games, there are still a fair share of the latter.  Thankfully this one is different from any of the others I’ve played in the past.  Of course the overriding goal is still that you come in contact with the humans to turn them into zombies.  In this game, however, you’ll have to rotate the board until you can make your undead minion collide with the hapless fleshies.  Of course nothing can ever be straightforward, so expect to have to deal with a number of obstacles besides the simple fact that the humans move when you rotate the board as well.  Gaps in the walls are easy for both you and the humans to fall through.  Metal boxes won’t hurt anyone but they do a good job of keeping you apart.  So do wooden boxes, but fortunately they can be destroyed with bombs… as can you.  Spiked walls aren’t very healthy for anyone.  There are only 30 levels at the moment, but a three star ranking based on number of moves is sure to keep you busy on some of them.  If you’re a fan of zombie or puzzle games I suggest checking it out, and hopefully the developer will add more levels one of these days.

Z-Infect MyFreePlayYard ltd, Z-Infect – Free

Air Racing – This is a pretty basic overhead flying game.  You start out with a fairly weak plane and have to try and earn money to either upgrade your current plane or unlock a new one.  As you complete training races you’ll level up and earn new licenses.  Not really sure what they do for you, but at least you can “officially” not be a beginner any more.  You’ll have missions to complete that can earn you additional coins, and of course you can buy coins via IAP if you’d like.  What I think is neat about this game is the multiplayer mode.  Every week you can enter competitions based on your skill level, and the top three players for the week earn coin prizes.  The best part is there is no chit-chatty interaction.  You pay your fee, run the race as best you can, and then just wait to see if you take home the prize or not.  It’s a nifty concept that helps set this otherwise pretty frill-less entry above most others of its type.  Of course the cute, colorful visuals mean your kids will probably enjoy it too if that’s something important to you.

Air Racing Zero Plus Plus Software, Air Racing – Free

Digits – Puzzle games certainly don’t have to be complex to be fun and challenging, and Digits is proof of that.  Each board presents you with a bunch of squares containing numbers, and your goal is to clear all the squares.  When you tap a square the number on it and all adjacent squares is reduced by one, and when a square goes to 0 it disappears.  Seems simple enough, but the trick is that you can only clear away tiles that are adjacent to each other, so if you strand a tile by itself you’ll have to back up and try again.  The game is kind enough to let you simply undo your last move so you don’t have to start from the beginning, but you always can go back to the start if it helps you think more clearly.  Once you solve a puzzle you can play it again to earn a star, and this presents its own challenge as the tile with the star is the last one you have to tap.  The initial download comes with 100 puzzles for free, and you can buy up to 500 more via IAP.  The interface is simple and clean, and the music is actually pretty snazzy for this type of game.  There are even a few achievements if you really need them.  My one gripe is that the game needs a reset button in addition to the undo.

Digits Simple Machine, LLC, Digits – Free

Train Town: Build & Explore – Every now and again I like to throw in a title that’s really for the kids, and Train Town seemed like a great choice for this roundup.  As you might have guessed by the title, this game is about interacting with an environment focused on trains.  While you can certainly spend a lot of time riding around creations of your own and others, the real treat here is the editor.  Lay down some tracks, add buildings, inhabitants and many other varieties of decorations and then tweak to your heart’s content.  You can scale, rotate and move any object you wish as well as clone an object you’ve placed on the map.  I particularly like how easy it is to make a multi-sectioned track and the stretch the various sections to get a cool look stretch of railway.  Once you have something you want to test out you can put the game in drive mode and take a train for a spin around your bustling town.  If you’re not feeling overly creative there are many towns online that you can download and explore, and if you believe you’ve designed the next masterpiece you can upload your creation to share with others.  With the initial download you get a selection of objects that give you a good feel for what can be done, but there are many more items available that you need coins or real money to unlock.  This is the main feature that’s not so kid friendly.  Still, it’s a great tool to teach the kids about designing their own levels, and it might even keep some parents entertained for a while.

Train Town: Build & Explore N3V Games Pty Ltd, Train Town: Build & Explore – Free

Paperama – I’ve always been amazed with what Origami crafters can accomplish, but I never really cared for doing it myself.  I certainly didn’t expect that it would make for the basis of an interesting game, but FDG Entertainment certainly proved me wrong.  This game has no “obstacles”, no timers or for that matter nothing that is meant to stress you out.  Instead you just get more than 70 levels of paper folding fun… yes, I said fun.  You start playing the game and between the relaxed atmosphere and soothing music it is really easy to get lost in the art of Origami.  Don’t take that as a declaration that the game is easy, however.  Even in the early levels you’ll sometimes look at the shape and go “I have to make THAT from a square?”  Plus, while there is no time limit you only get a certain number of folds to complete your shape, and you have to be a certain percentage “right” before you can move on to the next level.  You do get infinite tries at each level and there are hints available, though once you’ve used up your hint point allotment you’ll have to dish out some IAP for more.  As far as I can tell the levels are all free, so you might be able to finish out the game without spending any money.  There are 5 achievements to earn which mostly revolve around completing the level sets, but the three star rating on each puzzle should keep you busy for a while.

Paperama FDG Entertainment, Paperama – Free

Supernauts – It seems like every day there’s a new social city building application arriving on the App Store.  While most of them tend to focus on protecting your city and crushing other players in war, this one takes a decidedly different approach to the genre.  Earth is in trouble, and it is up to you and all the other players to build new worlds for Earth’s inhabitants to reside in.  Special zappers allow you to remove building materials from various structures and then reuse them to construct fresh domiciles on your ever evolving landscape.  Rescue Earthlings to increase your population and complete tasks to earn coins and gems, which in turn help you to build a better land.  You can visit other players’ efforts and drop them a note to wish them well, and I think you might even be able to help them build up their dwellings and vice versa.  There are also multi-player missions you can embark on.  The whole superhero angle is a nice departure from most games of this type, and the overall atmosphere is fun and lighthearted.  If you like and have the patience for sandbox style games, you can definitely build something here to be proud of.  Oh, and did I mention the superheroes?

Supernauts Grand Cru, Supernauts – 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:

Read more]]> 0
Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest in Review: Silent, Deadly and Fun Tue, 29 Jul 2014 22:07:25 +0000 We were introduced to the nuns in 2012 with the RPG Nun Attack, which I sadly did not get the chance to play.  The following year brought us Nun Attack: Run & Gun, a runner with potential that ultimately fell flat for me.  Now we have Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest, and unlike some … Read more]]>


We were introduced to the nuns in 2012 with the RPG Nun Attack, which I sadly did not get the chance to play.  The following year brought us Nun Attack: Run & Gun, a runner with potential that ultimately fell flat for me.  Now we have Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest, and unlike some origin stories introduced into established franchises, this one actually works.  Silent Quest takes a puzzle like approach to the nun’s adventures, and it provides a decent amount of challenge with frustrating the player.  It is lacking a bit in variety, but otherwise provides for a solid puzzle game
In this tale of the nun known as Yuki you must help her rescue the children from her childhood village that have been captured and reconstruct the village after nefarious villains have destroyed it.  Your mission will take you through 60 hand crafted levels full of miscreants and scared kids, as well as 15 bonus levels overflowing with bread!  The bonus levels are like a mini version of Fruit Ninja, except instead of fruit you’ll be slicing through loaves of bread, and rather than solely using your finger you’ll need to guide Yuki to do the slicing.  There are still bombs that will prematurely end the level for you, though.

As for the main levels, each one has three tasks: rescue 3 children, complete the level using a certain number of moves or less and finish the level under a certain amount of time.  The tasks are all attainable (with the exception of level 29 for me), but good luck getting them all in one try.  Thankfully the game lets you earn each goal individually.  The first time you reach a goal on a given level you’ll earn a shuriken and when you have enough you’ll be able to rebuild part of one of the buildings in your village.  To finish the game you have to get through all 60 levels, but to truly complete the game you need to rebuild the village.  It seems like a pretty noble cause to me.

To control Yuki you simply draw a line from her to where you want her to go.  A “guiding light” will appear between your finger and Yuki which will turn either green or red for any bad guy it passes over – green means they are good to attack and red indicates they will defeat you.  Control seems pretty solid, though there have been a few times where the location I ended up wasn’t quite what I was pointing to, or at least that’s how it appeared to me.  That potential quirk aside, the biggest problem with the game is the lack of variety.  Sure the levels are all configured differently, but in the 30+ levels I’ve played so far the background theme has been the same, and there are basically two types of bad guys so far, the only difference being one seems to be a bit jumpy and the other doesn’t.  Earning three shurikens on each level and ultimately rebuilding the village are your only rewards as there is no Game Center integration, but that’s actually okay in this game.

The visuals in Yuki’s Silent Quest are pretty nice.  Everything is fairly detailed and well animated, if not just a bit small.  I like how some of the bad guys are jittery and the slow motion action for the final attack on a given board.  Sound effects, on the other hand, are kind of weak.  The bad guys don’t really make any noise, and surprisingly neither do the frightened kids.  Even the sound Yuki makes when getting hit is more like a man than a woman.  There is decent music, but only in the menu section.  Why can’t we have tunes during the game itself?

Overall I’m quite pleased with this installment of the Nun Attack franchise.  A cool game mechanic, challenging levels and the feel good desire of rebuilding the village make for a solid package.  I do hope that another level set will be added at some point to enhance the variety, and it would be nice to hear some better audio, but otherwise Yuki’s Silent Quest is certainly an enjoyable one.


App Summary
Title: Nun Attack Origins: Yuki’s Silent Quest Developer: Frima
Reviewed Ver: 1.3.3 Min OS Req: 7.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 65.6 MB
  • Fun Slash n Dash mechanic
  • Challenging but fair levels
  • Nice visuals
  • Lack of variety
  • Audio not so hot


Read more]]> 1
Overkill 3: Get Ready For 3rd Person Mayhem This Fall Sun, 27 Jul 2014 22:27:54 +0000 The Overkill series from Craneballs has always been among my favorites as far as gallery style shooters go. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw that they were taking the series to a truly 3D third person perspective. The more I watch the video, however, the more … Read more]]>


The Overkill series from Craneballs has always been among my favorites as far as gallery style shooters go. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first when I saw that they were taking the series to a truly 3D third person perspective. The more I watch the video, however, the more excited I get about seeing this game released. If you’re curious, and you should be, you can check out the video yourself here: Overkill 3 Teaser. I’ve also listed a few point of note about the game below.

  • Change to TPS to showcase the character and armor/gun upgrades directly in the game
  • Boss battles – against drones, robots, vehicles
  • Machine gun nest missions for pure “letting of steam”
  • Night missions – they look great thanks to Unity with its lighting possibilites
  • Plenty of guns and sophisticated gun upgrading (not entirely unexpected from an Overkill title)
  • Release date Fall 2014
  • iOS and Android
  • Free to play

In the mean time, you can check out previous installments of the franchise to get a small taste of what you’re in for.

Overkill Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill – Free
Overkill 2 Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill 2 – Free
Overkill Mafia Craneballs Studios LLC, Overkill Mafia – Free
appBlaster Overkill Craneballs Studios LLC, appBlaster Overkill – $1.99

Read more]]> 0
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:

Read more]]> 0
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:

Read more]]> 0
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:

Read more]]> 0
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:

Read more]]> 0
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


Read more]]> 0