TouchMyApps » Games All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 App Store Games To Watch [March 31 - April 6] Mon, 14 Apr 2014 11:45:56 +0000 I’m not a huge fan of word games, but every once in a while one catches my eye and sometimes they even make it onto this list.  I’m not sure what happened this week but I found three different word games to add to my collection of 10.  SpellBounders manages to make the concept of … Read more]]>


I’m not a huge fan of word games, but every once in a while one catches my eye and sometimes they even make it onto this list.  I’m not sure what happened this week but I found three different word games to add to my collection of 10.  SpellBounders manages to make the concept of Scrabble like games fun.  Instead of trying to build up your score you use the points you earn from spelling words to demolish your opponent’s hit points, and besides having cool skills that you can execute you can even use your foe’s words against them.  Cross Wars, on the other hand, tests your skill in the world of crossword puzzles.  This time you do want to get the highest score, but beware because your opponent can steal points from you by using letters you placed in their answers.  Finally you have Wurgle, the only solo adventure in the bunch.  Your goal is to clear each board before the timer runs out, but as you spell words the disappear and the rest of the board shifts to fill in the gap.


Cross Wars – I still like to hold on to the fantasy that I don’t like multi-player games, but the truth is that what I really don’t like are games that are full of smack talk, that require you to be online constantly or that necessitate a quick trigger finger.  Thankfully none of that applies to Cross Wars, though a better grasp of vocabulary than what I have would serve you well.  You can start a game with random opponents or invite a friend that maybe is on par with your level of word mastery.  You can have several games going at once which might work to your advantage as you wait for your opponents to take their turn.  That is the one down side to this style of game: a player might respond in moments with a new move or it could be the next day.  You score a point for each letter in the word that you take over, and if you happen to take one that belonged to your opponent they lose a point.  Erasers let you undo a wrong answer and hints give you a letter in the word you’re trying to guess, and these can be replenished via purchases from the app store.  You can also pay to remove ads, though it seems like you can play for as long as you’d like without paying for any IAP.  Game Center offers a few achievements and a leaderboard, and of course when you win you’ll know that you’re either smarter than the person you played or better at looking things up on the internet.

Cross Wars Team Chaos LLC, Cross Wars – Free


Mobfish Hunter – You’ve played this game before… well, at least kind of.  You cast your “lure” as deep into the water as you can in an attempt to catch as many fish as possible.  In this case, though, your lure is a mine and your goal is to destroy the fish on the way up, since that’s what you do with mutant sea life.  Along the way you’ll be able to buy and upgrade new mine types as well as upgrade items that affect all mines.  You’ll also discover new types of fish and can engage in missions to hunt down a certain number of a given kind of fish for extra bonuses.  Before each hunt you’ll be able to select which mine you wish to use as well as one or more boosts, the only limit on the latter being how much money you have or wish to spend on boosts.  Of course if you’re saving up for upgrades then boosts might not be the wisest investment, though you’re always welcome to buy some coins via IAP.  In addition to all the goodies you can unlock there are four different locals to open up and master.  Game Center offers leaderboards and 30 different achievements to earn, and iCloud support makes sure you’re in sync on all of your devices.

Mobfish Hunter AppXplore Sdn Bhd, Mobfish Hunter – Free


Gun Strike 2 – There are plenty of shooting gallery style games available on the App Store, but I’m always up for a new one as long as it keeps me entertained.  Gun Strike 2 is just such a game.  Your basic goal is to take out all the bad guys before they wipe you out.  Each level has various sub-levels with different descriptions, though so far all the screens have felt the same in terms of what you need to do.  Regardless, it’s fun trying to hone your skills and take out as many folks as possible with head shots.  You just need to be careful to avoid the tourists, which so far consists of a guy running into the middle of the battle field and snapping pictures of the action.  As you progress through the game you’ll earn money which you can spend on new mercenaries, additional guns and grenades.  Guns have their own advantages in terms of bullets held, reload time and damage, while mercenaries offer differing amounts of hit points as well as special abilities once you get beyond the first couple of choices.  Game Center offers achievements and a leaderboard to determine who the best mercenary in the world is.  I suppose this is pretty standard stuff for this style of game, but it’s definitely kept my attention while playing.

Gun Strike 2 Paladin Entertainment Co., Ltd., Gun Strike 2 – Free


TIOL – This is a defense game, but there are no towers involved.  Instead you’ll have to tap, swipe and possibly do other things in order to keep the aliens from taking whatever it is you’re defending.  You start with one character and unlock two others pretty early on in the game, each of which has their own set of weapons to access and upgrades.  Upgrades include both making the base weapon more powerful and supplying add-ons to make your life easier.  There are 3 different difficulty settings for each level and you can play every level with each of the characters once you’ve unlocked them, so there is plenty of replay value.  There are even five profiles to play on, so several folks can have games going at one time.  The game actually has a story that is told with cool comic book style cut scenes between the levels, and the visuals are pretty detailed despite often being small.  Monsters seemingly come from anywhere and don’t follow a set pattern of movement, and in one level half the area is even engulfed in darkness which adds an additional challenge.  This is definitely not your typical tower defense game, and that makes it okay in my book.

TIOL Dosware LLC, TIOL – $4.99


Crazy Hungry Birds – This week’s Flappy clone of note is Crazy Hungry Birds.  You won’t find any pipes in this game.  Instead you’ll have to contend with trees, spiders, snakes, flowers and more.  Some obstacles will actually hurt you, though you get three lives before the game is officially over.  Other obstacles will just slow you up for a fraction of a second.  This isn’t a real big deal except that your hunger bar is always depleting, and when that gets empty then the game is over regardless of how many hearts you have left.  Thankfully this can be replenished by eating fruit that you find along the way.  There are levels, though I’m not really sure what they provide other than a sense of accomplishing something when you complete one.  There is also a leaderboard, though currently there are no achievements.  The main thing that bugs me is that the bird’s movements seem rather choppy when flying up and down, but at least it doesn’t impede game play like in the game that started it all.

Crazy Hungry Birds Mirazul Islam, Crazy Hungry Birds – Free


Rune Kingdom – I love match 3 games, but there are so many available on the App Store that they really have to work a bit at standing out any more.  I like this one because it’s more than a standard match 3 game but doesn’t quite go into the depths of some of the mash-ups where you have RPG like skills and inventory.  In this case you can have up to four slots filled with “heroes”, and when you match four or more tiles of the color of a certain hero you’ll create a special tile that corresponds to that hero’s ability.  Using that tile will then trigger the ability, including things like wiping out an entire row or column of tiles.  The main problem with the game is that in order to unlock anything beyond the two heroes you start with, whether it be additional heroes or better skills from the heroes you have, you need to collect runes.  Runes are only acquired if you match six or more tiles of one color or if you buy them via IAP.  The other issue is that you can only fail a particular board five times before you have to wait 20 minutes for energy to refill, which means I’ve been stuck on level 7 for the past three days now.  I’m glad I got the chance to try this game, but they either need to balance out the levels a bit more or make the IAP a bit more palatable in order for the game to have long term potential.

Rune Kingdom Shanghai Morphosoft Technology Co., Ltd., Rune Kingdom – Free


Dungeon 1on1 – Tired of dungeon crawling on your own but never really fancied yourself an MMO type of gamer?  Dungeon 1on1 is an interesting compromise.  Compete against another player to see who can squash the most dungeon dwellers in each of five rounds of game play.    In shooting gallery style game play you’ll take down skeletons, gargoyles, spirits and more as you attempt to outdo your opponent in the number of kills made.  Whoever wins best out of five gets to spin for a bonus prize as well as take something from the one he defeated.  As you win victories you’ll level up and get to buy and upgrade equipment.  Hook up with Facebook and you’ll be able to compete against your friends or use them to help defend you against the creatures that are attacking you.  Thanks to an interesting AI component players can even play against you when you’re not online as the game mimics how you play when you are actually in control of your character.

Dungeon 1on1 Moonfish Software Limited, Dungeon 1on1 – Free


Wurgle – This is a cool new word game that takes place on a board filled with hexagon shaped tiles.  Your job is to clear the board before the timer runs out by spelling words out of the letters provided.  All the letters in a word must be adjacent, and once you’ve submitted a word it will disappear.  All the remaining letters will crowd back together while gravitating towards the middle letter, or the Wurgle.  Your score for each word is the sum of the numbers on all of the tiles that you use, and a bit of time will be added back to the timer for a completed word.  Power up include shuffling the current letters around, swapping the entire set of tiles for a new set, and cycling the Wurgle tile between all the vowels.  Each of these power ups can be used as often as you’d like provided you have an adequate score because each one takes a certain amount away from your current score.  Wurgle is universal and the free version is unlimited play, though you’ll have to deal with ads that are fairly non-invasive and you can only play to level 3.  You can, however, play to level 3 as often as you’d like.

Wurgle, Wurgle – Free


SpellBounders – I’ve never been a particularly big fan of Scrabble or all of its copycats, but this game certainly takes an interesting approach to the concept.  You select a hero to play as and enter into combat with another real player.  Laying words down on the board is how you do damage, which can be augmented by placing one or more letters on fist tiles.  You can also activate the Backstab skill by using your opponent’s word as the base for yours (ie: they put down the word SIZE and you change it to RESIZE) which does additional damage on top of the value of the letters.  The goal is to run your opponent out of HP before they do the same to you.  Each hero has three unique abilities that can be activated by collecting essence (or buying it through the bazaar via IAP).  Like most of these one on one games any more you can have several games going on at once so that you’re not always waiting for a particular opponent to keep playing.  There are 3 heroes unlocked initially, and you can buy the additional 2 for 99 cents apiece or a “season pass” for all future heroes for 2.99 via IAP.  The game looks good and it makes the concept of Scrabble interesting, though I did have a couple of problems with it crashing on my iPad 2 if I didn’t play straight from a reboot.

SpellBounders InsaneRoot, SpellBounders – Free


Volcano Attack – This game puts an interesting spin on the whole “ball in a labyrinth” game.  Sure you still use the device’s tilt functionality to move the ball along the maze, but you also have to build your path by sliding the rows and columns to open up new areas and get the bad things out of the way.  Bombs, holes and other nasty elements will try to keep you from your destination, while bonus circles actually boost your score.  And let’s not forget about the timer.  You might not notice it at first, but take too long to complete a level and it will start to fill with lava which can definitely be detrimental to your health.  Unfortunately there are no leaderboards or achievements at this point, but the unique melding of genres alone makes it worth checking this one out.

Volcano Attack George Chokhonelidze, Volcano Attack – Free

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

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

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10 App Store Games To Watch [March 24 - 30] Sat, 05 Apr 2014 23:42:41 +0000 The Flappy clone craze is still in full swing, with what feels like 15% to 20% of new releases falling under this category.  That may be a bit of a stretch, but they’re definitely everywhere so I’ve decided to bring my own suggestion to the table this week.  Happy Matchy Bird is a nice variant … Read more]]>


The Flappy clone craze is still in full swing, with what feels like 15% to 20% of new releases falling under this category.  That may be a bit of a stretch, but they’re definitely everywhere so I’ve decided to bring my own suggestion to the table this week.  Happy Matchy Bird is a nice variant of the genre that’s actually addictive from my opinion.  Instead of controlling the bird you actually open up the pillars for it by matching 3 jewels together to make a gap for your feathered friend to fly through.  For those not at all interested in this style of game, maybe you’d prefer Shattered Planet (RPG).  This rouge like ditches the fantasy scene for a sci-fi background, it has plenty of randomly generated terrain for you to explore, and it actually makes your primary mission discovering new things, which is always cool.  If you like to shoot first and ask questions later then Exodite might be more up your alley.  This scrolling shooter pits you against plenty of bullets (and a few space ships too), and it’s definitely a challenge, so don’t expect to be finishing it too quickly.


Word Monsters – This little gem comes to us from Rovio Stars, which I’m assuming is an indie publishing arm of the studio that made Angry Birds a sensation.  Whatever the case, this is a pretty fun social word game.  A big part of the attraction for me with this game is you only have to be reasonably good with words and spelling.  All the answers are already on the board for you – you just have to select the words in the appropriate order so that the rest of the tiles will collapse and form the remaining words you need.  There’s no pressure, but you do only get 60 seconds to complete a level unless you use the slow down boost.  There are other boosts as well, but they each cost cookies to use, which aren’t easy to come by.  There are several themes to get your word lists from, and many items that you can use to customize your monster, all of which costs coins.  Again the coins don’t come very freely, unless of course you want to spend some IAP.  The game consists of a single player mode for honing your skills, two player mode which consists of 5 rounds against a random player or your Game Center friends, and league mode which I haven’t explored yet (I believe you can actually accumulate some in game currency through the leagues).  The game has achievements through Game Center and you can post about your achievements on Facebook if you’d like.

Word Monsters Rovio Stars Ltd., Word Monsters – Free


Shattered Planet (RPG) – Shattered Planet is a space rouge like on steroids.  You simply play a clone, which is cool because you never really die.  Sure you might get your head handed to you in battle and lose all your goods that you had on that run, but you’ll just come back all the stronger and wiser for it, and you don’t relinquish any levels you’ve gained or any increases you’ve made in wits or strength, the two primary stats in the game.  You also get to keep any scrap metal or crystals you find along the way, which is good because those are the in-game currencies you will grow to love.  You will visit your space ship base many times throughout the game, and this is where you raise your stats, change your DNA if you have enough money and also restock on equipment before your next trek (again if the resources permit).  There are 4 different missions to embark on as well as an explorer mode where your only goal is to get as far as you can.  The cool thing is that within the missions the playing fields are randomly generated, and you actually get rewarded for discovering things so find as much stuff as you can.  I love the sci-fi versus the typical fantasy theme, and there are just lots of little things that make Shattered Planet loads of fun.

Shattered Planet (RPG) Execution Labs, Shattered Planet (RPG) – Free


Voro Blitz – This is the follow up to the cool matching game Voro.  What’s cool about the concept in general is that instead of specifically being squares or circles or hexagons, the “tiles” are just random shapes that flow freely as you move them across the board.  Speaking of which, instead of just having to swap to tiles as is the norm for matching games, in the Voro series you can simply drag a “tile” all the way across the board to find a match if you want.  Of course Voro Blitz also lets you just tap groups of tiles that already have four or more in them.  The big difference between Blitz and its predecessor is that now you only have 60 seconds to clear as many boards as you can.  You have both classic and “liquid” modes to conquer, though the latter is only available via IAP.  You can also play in tournaments to earn real money, though you’ll want to check out the game itself for details on that.  The one other thing this game does that is really cool for a matching game is that it provides a colorblind mode.  Overall the game might not have as many options as some match 3 offerings, but the dynamic flow of the board alone makes it worth checking out for anyone that loves a good match 3 game.

Voro Blitz Abstratum, Voro Blitz – Free


Galaxy Games Planet Conquest – Planet Conquest is another classic game given the sci-fi treatment; this time the inspiration is the board game Othello.  For those that are unaware, the premise is to dominate the board by surrounding your opponent’s pieces and changing them to your color.  This version has a couple of interesting variations, starting with the fact that you and your opponent get to choose your starting positions.  There are 16 planets scattered across the board (not including the center one), and you each get to pick 8.  After that you take turns placing your spaceships which can go next to either a planet or another spaceship of your color.  If you surround an opponent’s planet on opposite sides it becomes yours, and if you surround your opponent’s spaceships on either side you’ll actually destroy them.  There’s a single player mode as well as two players on the same device or over the internet.  Planet Conquest provides a nice twist on Othello, is free with non-intrusive advertising, and doesn’t hound you with IAP purchases because there aren’t any.

Galaxy Games Planet Conquest NCook, Galaxy Games Planet Conquest – Free


Exodite – I love shmups, though I’ve always found the “bullet hell” strain a bit on the annoying side.  Still, every once in a while a game that classifies itself in this extreme category catches my attention, and Exodite is one such game.  While the game is extremely challenging and there are definitely bullets flying all over the place, it’s a bit more forgiving in that you have a life bar which not only keeps you from dying on the first hit but replenishes over time if you don’t get hit.  You also have a robot companion that travels with you, but I’m not sure the purpose of that at the moment since I can’t add weapons to it.  You do earn money if you can complete missions and there are better ships you can buy, just don’t expect to be jumping aboard a new cruiser very quickly as you don’t get much money per mission and best I can tell there is no way to replay missions short of starting a new game.  One thing I find interesting is that you supposedly have limited ammo, though that hasn’t really come into play yet that I’ve noticed.  Overall this is a solid scrolling shooter that is fun to play despite the fact that you might have to relive a given mission many times before successful completion.

Exodite David Fernandez Vara, Exodite – $0.99


Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story – There is a subset of adventure games known as the “room escape” game, which is somewhat erroneous given how many of this type of game involves multiple rooms or occasionally no rooms at all.  Anyway, Cabin Escape is what I like to call a “room escape game done right”.  It’s a prequel to the Forever Lost series of games, and it maintains the same high level of puzzle implementation and visual detail that helped make Forever Lost such memorable games.  Cabin Escape also utilizes one of Forever Lost’s greatest features, which is the ability to take screen shots of any area and then take notes on those screen shots.  Of course my fingers don’t work so well for trying to scribble little details on a touch screen, but it’s a cool concept none the less.  The game isn’t overly long, but it does a nice job of giving some insight into a couple of the characters that you’ll learn about in Forever Lost.  It’s really meant to be an interactive teaser for the main series of games, but it does a nice job of standing on its own.  Personally, I’d love to see the developers make a couple more of these prequels as it is always interesting learning more about the mythos behind Forever Lost.

Cabin Escape: Alice's Story Glitch Games, Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story – Free


Happy Matchy Bird – One of my mini-missions has become bringing you Flappy Bird style games that don’t stink.  Thankfully this will pass when the flappy fad does.  This week’s decent flappy clone is Happy Matchy Bird, and what makes it decent is that it doesn’t play like a typical flappy game.  Instead of controlling the bird you have to make matches of three of the same kind of block within the columns that the bird is trying to pass.  If you are successful the bird will fly through and you earn a point.  If you fail it’s game over and you simply start again.  They even try to trick you because sometimes there is more than one set of same colored bricks in a column, but you can only match one of them.  Occasionally a donkey will suddenly appear and help you by charging through 2 or 3 poles for you, and I’m pretty sure this is just a random event you have no control over.  Maybe it’s the match 3 fan in me, but this is one flappy game that could actually be addictive for me.

Happy Matchy Bird WildTangent, Inc., Happy Matchy Bird – Free


Kotoro – If you’ve ever felt like all that stuff you learned in art class wouldn’t pay off, now’s the time for that knowledge to redeem itself.  Kotoro is a game of colors; specifically, it’s a game about mixing and matching colors so that you get rid of all bubbles that aren’t of the target color.  You start with a white bubble which takes on the color of the first thing you run into.  Mix two primary colors to get different colors.  Run into a subtractive bubble to remove a primary color from the mix, or slide through a multi-color bubble to change the color of your main bubble.  There are currently 5 different level sets, each introducing a new concept into game play.  Thankfully there are no timers, though the last game play element to get introduced is the concept of bubbles fading away, so there is some timing issues you’ll have to deal with.  You have to play levels within a set in order, but you can skip between level sets at any time.  The interface is minimal and clean, the bubbles look pretty cool in their simple design, and the music makes for a very relaxing atmosphere.  This game manages to challenge, test and sooth all at the same time.

Kotoro Semidome Inc., Kotoro – $0.99


Chaos Fighters – At first I shied away from this game because I falsely assumed it was multiplayer online only, and I’m still just warming up to that concept.  As it turns out there’s rather extensive single player options in the game as well, and even the multiplayer might not be as bad as I feared.  Another incorrect thought on my part was that this would be a street fighter style combat game.  Instead it’s more like a trainer where you create a character, decide what equipment they’ll use and configure their skill sets, but the game handles the actual combat.  I wasn’t quite sure at first that I liked that feature, but it’s pretty cool to sit back and watch the fights given the slick visuals and well done animation, and most of them don’t last long enough for you to get bored.  As for what you actually do, most missions revolve around slaying a particular creature or building yourself up to a certain level or one of many other mundane tasks, but at least it gives you an excuse to pump up your warrior.  When you feel you’ve made significant progress you can head on over to the arena and challenge real players from around the world.  Victories in battle and the completion of quests earn you experience which eventually let you level up, at which point you learn new skills.  You only have six skill slots to work with and you can learn up to 40 skills, so play around to see what combinations work for you, or at least what you think looks cool!  So far I’m quite impressed with the potential level of customization, and since the arena is “jump in, jump out” with no intervening smack talk I can even enjoy that feature.

Chaos Fighters Coco Entertainment International, Chaos Fighters – Free


Gon – Before a certain infamous bird came along the infinite runner was the casual action game to copy.  Gon is a nice variant that doesn’t quite copy the mechanics of either game.  There is no flapping, jumping or sliding to be found here.  Instead you keep your gon in the game by drawing platforms for it to bounce on.  Hitting the top of the screen is okay, but if the gon falls of the sides or bottom of the screen the game is over and it’s time to start again.  In this game the obstacles don’t kill you, but they can knock you in a direction you don’t want to go.  You can draw the line wherever you want, and it won’t go away until either you draw another one or the gon bounces on it once.  You get at least one point for each obstacle you pass and there are coins you can collect which gives you more points, but these only turn into silver gonas.  You need gold gonas to buy new skins, power ups and multipliers, and those come rather slowly unless you visit the IAP section.  Still, the game is pretty entertaining even if you don’t make it very far, and the cheesy recordings when you die always put a smile on your face.

Gon Max Hudson, Gon, 80.3 MB – Free

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

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

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Disco Zoo in Review – Zoo Management To A Funky Beat Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:38:50 +0000 There have been a decent number of zoo simulation games on the App Store, but they usually feel like a city builder with animals.  Disco Zoo offers a completely different experience as your focus is on acquiring the animals and you don’t have to worry about building extraneous structures or training critters to do anything.  … Read more]]>


There have been a decent number of zoo simulation games on the App Store, but they usually feel like a city builder with animals.  Disco Zoo offers a completely different experience as your focus is on acquiring the animals and you don’t have to worry about building extraneous structures or training critters to do anything.  It’s a freemium game, and I could see how one could easily get caught up in it and sink a bunch of money into buying coins or disco bux, but so far I’ve managed to put quite a bit of time into it without emptying my wallet.  This well balanced game play is actually making me want to give them some of my cash.


You are the curator of a zoo and it’s your job to build up from the ground up by bringing animals to it.  There are seven different areas to collect animals from including a Jurassic zone, but only the Farm is available at the beginning.  The other areas can be unlocked by spending disco bux or acquiring a certain number of animals and spending coins.  Coins also allow you to go on rescues and are earned simply by owning animals and from generous zoo patrons.  You have to be sure your animals stay awake, though, because sleeping creatures don’t earn any money.  Disco Bux are sometimes awarded for doing things around the zoo, but if you want to earn these in any great number you’ll have to spend some real money.

Collecting animals takes place on a 5 x 5 grid and is sort of like playing Battleship.  You get 10 attempts which consist of picking a tile to see what’s underneath it.  If you uncover all the tiles for a particular animal you get to keep that animal.  As it happens each animal has the same pattern every time, so as you start getting used to them it makes it easier to uncover the animals based on logic rather than guessing – assuming you find a starting point, of course.  Some tiles will contain nothing, but in addition to the animals you might find coins or on rare occasions Disco Bux.  If you use all your attempts and still have animals left to find you can expend Disco Bux to continue the search, but I wouldn’t advise that unless you have mythical or rare animals to search for.


In the zoo itself you can collect coins that visitors toss out and you can also search for escaped animals in other pens.  If too many animals fall asleep at the same time you can start a disco party to wake everyone up and get the whole place hopping instead of just the rabbits.  The main reward system is watching the critics give each of your sections a higher rating as you accumulate more animals.  There are only two leaderboards in Game Center, neither of which are all that exciting, and no achievements to earn.  However, that by no means detracts from the addictive quality of the game, which I have to confess I’m having trouble pinpointing.  All I know is that right now I’m hooked.

The graphics are cute, with a highly pixilated look that still manages to convey some cool details.  On the zoo screens you get to watch the animals walk around their habitats and see the patrons make a variety of different comments.  The sound effects are kind of Sims-ish but serve their purpose, while the music is well done and diverse – so far each group of animals has had its own theme during the rescue operations.


Sometimes a genre or sub-genre just needs a developer to think outside the box to make it interesting, and for zoo simulators that was Nimble Bit.  From actually collecting the animals to simply watching them play around in the zoo, this game is a lot more appealing than its peers.  I even broke down and bought 10 Disco Bux via IAP, even though I know I’ll go through them a lot more quickly than I’d like.  It’s definitely worth it for the entertainment I’ve received from Disco Zoo so far.


App Summary
Title: Disco Zoo Developer: NimbleBit LLC
Reviewed Ver: 1.1.1 Min OS Req: 6.0
Price: Free App Size: 57.3 MB
  • Unique method for capturing animals
  • Don’t feel pressured to buy IAP
  • Cool pixel visuals
  • Good music
  • Disco Bux are scarce
  • Strangely addictive


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10 App Store Games To Watch [March 17 - 23] Sun, 30 Mar 2014 01:52:43 +0000 After all this time giving Flappy Bird and its legion of clones a hard time I actually had some good things to say about one, but you’ll be able to check that out later on in the roundup.  Meanwhile, Mobage has partnered with Crytek to bring us The Collectables, a squad based tactical affair that … Read more]]>


After all this time giving Flappy Bird and its legion of clones a hard time I actually had some good things to say about one, but you’ll be able to check that out later on in the roundup.  Meanwhile, Mobage has partnered with Crytek to bring us The Collectables, a squad based tactical affair that uses collectable cards to provide you with new troops and weapons.  It’s an interesting mix that works well and looks good to boot.  Dark Guardians is another sharp looking game, this time combining the infinite runner with rhythm based mechanics.  The game is very engaging and always keeps you on your toes.  If you want something a bit more relaxing you might give Epic Paint Adventure a try.  It takes a fairly popular style of mobile game, adds in goals to achieve and limits the amount of turns you need to do it in – but at least there’s no timer.


Rolling Blitz – Treasures of Montezuma has become just about my favorite non-mashup match 3 game for mobile devices, and in some ways this feels like a second hand knock-off of that franchise.  Thankfully even if that’s the case, it’s a very entertaining clone.  It’s hard to imagine that this used to be all the rage, but all you have to do is match 3 or more of the same kind of idol.  There are no stats, no combat or anything that doesn’t resemble a match 3 game.  What Rolling Blitz does offer is lots of different power ups to unlock by increasing your level or shelling on some in-game money which will probably ultimately cost you real money.  The more points you earn in a single game the higher your experience rises and the quicker you level up.  You do earn coins from time to time, but not at a high enough rate to be overly useful, especially if you want to buy hearts when you run out instead of waiting the 30 minutes for them to replenish.  The game is teetering on the “freemium is annoying line”, but I’d be okay if they’d just offer an unlimited hearts option.

Rolling Blitz Melesta, Rolling Blitz – Free
Rolling Blitz HD Melesta, Rolling Blitz HD – Free


SuPeCa – This game is like Tiny Wings with a vehicle and opponents to race against… kind of.  You have a choice of three cars with varying stats and can buy two more when you raise the cash.  You can also buy wrenches that allow you to upgrade your chosen vehicle, though you can only apply five wrenches to any given vehicle. The nice thing is that you can rearrange your selections at any time, and you can use the same five wrenches for every vehicle if you remove them from one and apply them to another.  There are 4 different classes to race, though you must unlock each one by completing the last.  It also appears that you don’t earn any money unless you complete a class which makes it hard to buy upgrades.  The control scheme is interesting and takes a little getting used to, and I’ll admit I’m not quite there yet.  The only apparent IAP is the “unlock full” option, but the game doesn’t actually tell you what you get for that purchase.  SuPeCa is definitely a bit rough around the edges, but I think there’s a lot of potential and while I haven’t by any means mastered it yet I do like the unique control scheme.

SuPeCa n-Dot Game, SuPeCa – Free


Dark Guardians – Take one part infinite runner, throw in some rhythm game action and you have Dark Guardians.  In some ways the game is fairly simple – there’s no jumping, sliding or dashing, and the only power up is the legendary Dark Horse that temporarily allows you to plow through everything.  Still, the need to match weapons with attackers based on color (a little Guitar Hero-ish) makes for some exhilarating moments.  You also have a designated area where you have to slash the beasts in, and you get ranked all the way up to perfect depending on how centered they are in that area.  Of course if you miss them altogether they’ll do some damage and when your life meter runs out you die.  You will earn currency for defeating monsters, and this can be used to increase your maximum health amount, give yourself a longer striking distance or start the run farther along the path.  Each item can be upgraded five times.  In addition to the frantic game play the visuals are quite a site to behold.  Overall this is a solid entry in the infinite runner category that scores points for slick graphics and cool rhythm game style controls.

Dark Guardians Mathieu Akita, Dark Guardians – $1.99


reTales – The first discussion I saw concerning this game described it as a Puzzle Quest clone, which personally I don’t think is a bad compliment.  The truth is that the game is actually pretty fun, though not nearly as deep as its protégée.  You basically jump from battle to battle using match 3 mechanics to decide who the victor will be.  As you win and earn money you can buy more powerful equipment and spells and hopefully stay ahead of your opponents.  You also earn experience points and level up which allows you to increase your base skills.  It basically has all the trappings of your typical entertaining RPG, minus the hours wandering across sandbox style environments.  The problem is that besides money the game also uses gems as currency, specifically for the purpose of repairing equipment – yes, your stuff does wear out.  The issue is compounded by the fact that you apparently don’t actually earn gems anywhere, which means when you run out you have to hit the App Store to buy some via IAP.  I just hope this doesn’t deter players from checking out what could potentially be a very engrossing game.

reTales Alex Gievsky, reTales – Free


Epic Paint Adventure – My friends at Kuyi Mobile are back at it again which always makes me happy.  This time around we get one of those games where you have to move object around the board to make matches while more pieces are randomly popping up at different locations on the board.  In this case you’re gathering paint to help some of history’s most famous artists complete their masterpieces.  Each level requires you to collect a certain amount of several different colors of paint, and in addition to worrying about the board filling up before you can get things moved where you need them you also have a limited number of turns to make your matches.  If you fail you can buy 5 more moves for a sum of coins.  Ultimately when you are unable to complete a level you lose a heart, and once all your hearts are gone you have to wait for a period of time for them to replenish.  Of course you can buy coins and hearts via IAP, but if you’re talented and / or patient you can technically complete the game without spending any money, which is kind of a trademark of Kuyi Mobile’s games.  I’m not particularly a fan of this type of game, but as usual the Kuyi charm makes it quite playable.

Epic Paint Adventure Kuyi Mobile, Epic Paint Adventure – Free


Monster Rift HD – When Angry Birds meets a cave climber you might just end up with something like this.  You are Dood and your job is to explore more than 40 rifts, collecting eggs and defeating monsters.  You might find some treasure chests along the way, and that’s okay too.  Dood is a fairly springy guy, so feel free to launch him Angry Birds style up the rift (no slingshot required).  Just remember that what goes up can come down, so don’t try to be too much of a guy and launch Dood at full force every time.  If you do start to fall back down the rift you can launch a web to catch yourself.  Additionally, time is of the essence unless you use time discs to keep the clock running.  Both items are limited in supply, but you can spend the gems you collect to get more.  You also get to hatch any eggs you find, hopefully recovering the rift babies needed to unlock subsequent levels.  So far the game has been pretty relaxed so you can play at your own pace, and it seems that you can revisit levels as often as you want.  There are even 80 achievements to earn if you actually want to feel like you’re accomplishing something.

Monster Rift HD Veritas Design Group, Monster Rift HD – Free


Adventure Beaks – Welcome to the infinite runner that’s not an infinite.  The game plays like a runner because your character is always on the move and you just make him jump or slide, or in this case dive if you jump and then slide in quick succession.  Your primary goal is just to survive each level, but then you can go back and replay the levels to earn three stars by completing three different secondary missions.  It would be nice if you could work on these in any order, but just having them there adds decent replay value because it will force you to explore alternate paths in a level that might be more dangerous but yield better results.  At the end of a level you get rank on coins collected, number of penguins lost and enemies stomped, though this information is really just for your benefit since the details aren’t summed to create any sort of uber-score.  Along the way you’ll collect coins that can be used to be outfits.  They don’t affect the game any, but they do make your penguins look stylish.  Overall I’m quite impressed with what this game has to offer.

Adventure Beaks GameResort LLC, Adventure Beaks – Free


Flappy Swoop Down – Get ready for a shock, guys, because I’m actually going to promote a Flappy Bird clone!  This is an example of how to actually do such a game right.  You still have the same dead simple mechanic: tap to go up and release to fall.  The game is also still very challenging, though now because of the actual content of the game rather than a shoddy interface.  Instead of just navigating through sets of pillars you get a Jetpack Joyride type of obstacle course.  Your points come from actually collecting items instead of simply passing by obstacles, and there are also power ups to pick up like slowing down time.  You even have multiple lives in this one that you can actually replenish if you find more on the level.  In other words, this feels like an actual game.  Not to mention the fact that instead of “retro” graphics that looked like sloppy Photoshopped alterations of images from other games, Flappy Swoop Down actually looks pretty cool.  If you really need some sort of Flappy fix, I highly recommend this as an alternative to whatever you’re currently playing.

Flappy Swoop Down TVS Games, Flappy Swoop Down – Free


Red Wizard – I don’t know if there’s some sort of overriding goal to this particular rogue like game, but lack of a mission hasn’t made a difference so far.  This is really just a typical rogue like with randomly generated dungeons, plenty of monsters to fight and lots of loot to manage in your limited inventory space, but I just like the simplicity of it.  The interface is clean and well thought out.  When important events like running out of food or an item being cursed takes place, friendly reminders pop up at the bottom of the screen.  Your character will even automatically eat for you every four rounds as long as you have some rations on hand.  If you are low on health and out of food the game even makes it easy for you to purchase extra supplies (using in-game currency, not IAP).  I love the NES style graphics, and while the music is not constant and subtle even when it is playing it seems pretty good.  The game is free and the only IAP that I’ve run across is the ability to remove ads, which frankly aren’t that intrusive anyway.  Red Wizard might not bring anything new to the rogue like table, but it does the genre well and makes it accessible to those who might not be experienced with it.

Red Wizard Charles Baker, Red Wizard – Free


The Collectables – No, this is not the trading card version of Sylvester Stallone’s little ensemble.  This is actually an interesting combination of squad based real time strategy and collectable card games.  Build and enhance your squad by earning and buying card packs, then deploy the team to the field where you’ll guide them in groups or individually to take down the enemy and complete certain objectives.  While on the field you can use specialty cards like weapons and medical equipment by dragging the cards on the field to the desired target.  You can actually replay missions multiple times to earn better rewards, and while you might not always like the grinding it can come in handy when you try to tackle more difficult tasks.  Do keep in mind that like many freemium games these days playing missions does require energy, so weigh that into the mix before deciding to move on versus retrying a level.  The graphics are powered by Crytek’s engine so you know the visuals are going to be sharp.  I’m aware of at least one other game somewhat like this on the App Store, but I like this one because you actually get to participate in the combat instead of just watching your troops duke it out.

The Collectables Mobage, Inc., The Collectables – Free

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

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

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10 App Store Games To Watch [March 10 - 16] Sat, 22 Mar 2014 16:19:20 +0000   It took me a while this week to find some games I could really sink my teeth into, but there were some out there.  Braveland is probably one of the best turn based strategy games I’ve come across in quite some time.  The battles are fun, the little story snippets along the way are … Read more]]>



It took me a while this week to find some games I could really sink my teeth into, but there were some out there.  Braveland is probably one of the best turn based strategy games I’ve come across in quite some time.  The battles are fun, the little story snippets along the way are often amusing, and the visuals are well done and nicely animated.  Pocket Gunfighters is one of the latest offerings from Gameloft, and it should be a great example to future developers of shooting gallery style games.  With more than 50 gunmen to unlock there’s plenty to keep you busy, and it’s even worth it to die once to watch ninjas do a happy dance at your disgrace.  Tower defense fans should check out Mad Dan – Puzzle TD.  Among its features the game boasts 150 different levels, and you can play the whole thing for free.


Braveland – I’ve run across a few games this week that have been fairly entertaining, but this was the first one that I was really excited to write about.  Anyone familiar with the Heroes of Might & Magic series will instantly appreciate the rich strategic turn based combat.  While it does not appear that you get to have your own castle in this game, you do get to pick up party members along your travels as well as buying help in the local taverns.  You can also heal your existing troops at the end of a battle as long as you have enough money.  Your hero doesn’t fight directly, but as battles are won he gains XP which let him level up and choose skills that will help all party members fight better or protect themselves more efficiently.  You will meet many different characters, both friend and foe, and engage in lots of challenging battles.  The visuals are nicely drawn and well animated, and the music is easy to listen to.  This is definitely one of the best turn based strategy games I’ve played in a while.

Braveland Tortuga Team, Braveland – $2.99


Beware Of Horns – So you’re one of those people that would rather try your patience than tax your brain, huh?  I bet even you are getting sick of all the “I’m not Flappy Bird” releases, and that’s where Beware Of Horns comes in.  This simple game has you jumping along the outside of a moo-ving train, trying your hardest to land on the heads of the cows that apparently ride on top of the cars to get some air.  You tap to jump, and it appears that to an extent the longer you tap the farther you’ll jump.  You can tap a second time to glide for a bit, though the results might not turn out much better than your initial jump.  Since the train is moving at the same time you’ll have to take that into consideration, and then there are the bulls – hence the warning in the title.  The game is pretty basic, the music gets repetitive extremely fast and I still can’t manage to get more than four points.  All that aside, I often find one or two tries turning into several minutes of frustrated but fun playing.

Beware of Horns 2 Ton Studios, Beware of Horns – Free


Pirate Fist – This game is silly and kind of pointless, and it honestly won’t have a very long shelf life on your device.  Still, for the short time it’s there it’s worth spending a few minutes with every now and again.  Basically, just like the iTunes description says you must pound a treasure chest until it gives up its goods.  When it releases some contents you’ll be treated to three coins and two mystery bags.  The bags might contain more coins, a pair of metal gloves that help you pound more efficiently, a forgotten relic or an octopus.  If you get the octopus you’ll have to knock him off before you can continue to abuse the treasure chest, and your ultimate goal is to acquire all the relics.  Sadly once you’ve completed your collection you’ll have no reason to come back for more because there are no achievements to earn or leaderboards to rank on.  If nothing else I’d recommend it for some minor stress relief and to see the artwork and animation, which is actually pretty good.  Maybe the developers will put some time into making this a full fledged game some day.

Pirate Fist Mauricio Galaz, Pirate Fist – Free


Rise of Gladiators – This is a matching game of a very different sort.  You are Beefus Maximus and you are trying to claim victory in a Roman Colosseum.  Fortunately you have all the weapons you need to defeat any foe that comes at you.  The problem is that each warrior must be felled by the same color weapon as the outfit he wears.  You have a virtual joystick to run around the arena and a button to switch between each of the three weapons.  In order to slay a foe you simply have to run into him, but remember that when one weapon is drawn you are completely vulnerable to the other two types of soldiers.  Yellow soldiers will charge you when they are close, and blue soldiers will try to stun you from a distance and actually run away when you get too close.  Rise of Gladiators proves to be quite a challenge in timing as you quickly swap weapons when you’re swarmed by enemies.  Unfortunately like a lot of these games it lacks any sort of social network integration, but it does provide a challenging experience and a game mechanic that doesn’t feel like a simple derivative.

Rise of Gladiators Garry Law, Rise of Gladiators – Free


Pocket Gunfighters – I’ve always felt the touch screen was the perfect medium for shooting gallery style games, and Pocket Gunfighters is a great example of how cool one can be.  Your job is to take down a ring of time travelling villains, and you’ll assemble a team of more than 50 different characters to do so.  Each character has several stats that you can upgrade, and you can take 3 with you into combat at any time.  You can also buy abilities that will affect the entire team and power ups that give you a one time boost to make it through tough levels.  What I really like about the levels is that you don’t just have static “props” popping up for a bit and then going away again.  The bad guys will actually hop on and off the screen in a more dynamic fashion than a lot of these shooters employ.  The visuals are fun, and both sides are willing to do a happy dance when they’ve won.  The game is freemium, and the biggest way they get you is that when your gunfighters die in battle you either have to revive them, wait a period of time before they are usable again or pick different gunfighters to use.  Naturally IAP makes all of this less painful, but it’s certainly playable without dumping a ton of cash into it.

Pocket Gunfighters GAMEVIL USA, Inc., Pocket Gunfighters – Free


Finder’s Keep – These primarily menu driven RPG games seem to be pretty popular, and from what I’ve played so far Finder’s Keep has a lot to offer.  While you still don’t actually get to see your character, when you’re in dungeon you do get to explore it board game style with some neat fog effects.  In combat you get to pick 3 from an eventual pool of 6 actions, and finding the right combination for a given creature is paramount to continued success.  As you trudge through the dungeons you’ll gather money and equipment, and you also get keys that can be used to unlock treasure chests full of random goods after you complete the level you’re on.  Defeating monsters lets you level up and build up certain attributes, and hooking up with friends lets you earn rewards for their exploits.  Equipment can be reinforced and fused to make better weapons and armor, and you can even dismantle some items to get material for others.  While I still prefer a full fledged RPG where you see your character wandering around the world, this is a pretty decent alternative.

Finder's Keep Big Blue Bubble, Finder’s Keep – Free


Beach Hero – Normally I don’t really go for these simple defense games, but for some reason this one is drawing me in.  You control a gun at the bottom of the screen and your job is to destroy wave after wave of incoming soldiers before they reach and destroy your wall.  What’s nice is that each of the enemy units really has a distinct purpose, and assuming you get the choice you’ll have to decide what to take out first.  Of course this can be difficult when you get rows of soldiers with shields that not only make them harder to kill but protect other advancing troops as well.  In addition to your gun you have access to grenades that damage everything immediately in front of the wall as well as bombs that hurt anything on the screen.  Whether you win or lose you’ll earn some money – you just happen to get a lot more if you win – which can be used to upgrade several aspects of your combat prowess.  You can also use the money to buy grenades and bombs.  Sadly there are no leaderboards or achievements to work towards, but so far just trying to get the latest weapons upgrades to see how they affect game play have been enough to keep me going.

Beach Hero Sesame game, Beach Hero – Free


Mad Dan – Puzzle TD – I’m not much of a tower defense fan myself, but I would imagine for those that are this would be a nice little treat.  Instead of using the typical tower defense mechanics you use objects to help guide the enemies’ path, and then you zap them with your mental powers.  Yes, you are mental, which is probably why you’re in an institution in the first place.  The setting is another thing that helps the game stand out from its peers.  The game boasts 150 levels with 3 different difficulty settings, and 3 special “hardcore” levels that you can play in tournaments to win prizes.  There are 23 different types of workers in the game that you’ll have to contend with, 5 of which wield different kinds of weapons.  There’s even a story to tie everything together.  The best part of all, however, is that you can play through the whole game without ever paying a cent (at least according to the iTunes description).  Tower defense fans should be jumping all over this one.

Mad Dan - Puzzle TD Etorki Games SL, Mad Dan – Puzzle TD – Free


Case Files Vegville Mystery – This is a clever take on the hidden object genre.  Your ultimate goal is to solve a mystery, but in order to uncover the clues you’ll have to find shapes hidden in various locations.  For each level you’ll be presented with a variety of boards that contain a shape you must find, and while it may seem easy the catch is that you must not only match the form of the shape but the colors as well.  There are more than 200 levels to beat in single player mode, so while nothing has been overly difficult so far I can see where there will still be plenty of game to play.  There are also two multiplayer modes – pass and play and “with friends”.  Pass and play lets you engage up to 5 other players on a single device, and while they suggest you don’t show others what you are playing I tried it out on my own with two players and the boards appeared to be different for each player.  “With Friends” mode requires either a Facebook account or an account with Tornado Games and lets you play against other players around the world.  Multiplayer is all about who can score the most by being the quickest which will probably interest older players more than the single player mode.

Case Files Vegville Mystery Jetacer Interactive, Case Files Vegville Mystery – Free


Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad! – Minesweeper was certainly a novel concept when Microsoft popularized it on their early Windows platforms, but obviously games have matured a lot since then.  Thankfully some developers have successfully morphed the concept and as a result we get games like Astro Mined.  Here you are just trying to help an astronaut escape from a series of planets, and maybe collect a little bit of loot along the way.  Just like in Minesweeper you’ll be warned if you’re adjacent to a tile that has a mine, but in Astro Mined you don’t need to clear all the non-mined spots.  You just need to make it to the exit in one piece.  Collect coins and fruit to bolster your score, and find power ups to make your life a bit easier.  One cool addition to the game is the boulder which can be used to detonate several mines so you don’t get blown up.  This has the side effect of turning some levels into Sokoban type game play as well.  You get to try the moon set of levels for free, and I think you’ll see that it’s a pretty slick overhaul of a classic game.

Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad!, Astro Mined: Galactic Bombsquad! – Free

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

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

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Toast Time in Review – When Breakfast Fights Back Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:14:56 +0000 The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a … Read more]]>


The idea is simple: protect the clock from a swarm of aliens for a designated number of seconds.  The thing is you’re just a toaster, so you do what toasters do best.  Each tap of the screen has you ejecting a nicely cooked piece of bread with the intention of either flinging yourself to a more accessible spot or taking out a slimy critter before it gets too close to the clock.  You start with your basic slice of white bread, but you can change your weapon by shooting creates that appear from time to time on the screen.  Crates also help you unlock new weapons and outfits, so be sure to get as many as you can per level.


There are 5 different worlds, each with nine levels to conquer.  You can just save the clock to beat a level, but in order to earn three stars you have to work at getting a nice high score.  In addition to the campaign mode there is an ironman survival mode where you have to play through all the levels in succession until you fail to save the clock.  This mode can only be beaten when you play through all 45 levels in a row without losing.  There are seven leaderboards to compete on: one for each world, one for all worlds combined and one for beating the ironman mode.  There are also 9 achievements to earn, and while this doesn’t sound like much some of them should prove to be quite a challenge.


The graphics have an original Gameboy feel about them, though there is some color strewn throughout the levels.  The game does a decent job of making blocky look good.  The sound effects aren’t bad, but I do really like the music.  At first I thought there was a theme per level set, and there are definitely multiple themes, but I’m not sure if the music is chosen at random or there are just multiple themes per level set.  Either way the music is probably the best part of the aesthetics.

While I can’t say that I ever recall playing a game quite like this “back in the day”, Toast Time does an excellent job of capturing the feel of retro video games.  There are a decent number of levels to complete, plenty of weapons and outfits to unlock, and if you really get bored there’s the ironman survival mode to tackle.  All in all this is the perfect offering for those that enjoy the “simple to pick up, challenging to master” type of game.


App Summary
Title: Toast Time Developer: Force Of Habit
Reviewed Ver: 1.01 Min OS Req: 5.1
Price: $2.99 App Size: 20.3 MB
  • Simple, challenging game play
  • Plenty to unlock
  • Nice retro visuals
  • Great music
  • Outfits don’t affect game play


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Trailer Bears vs Art by Halfbrick Studios Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:03:33 +0000 Halfbrick Studios will soon bring us a new promising title: Bears vs art! The story looks entertaining (note that all the sentences in the trailer are rhyming): The gameplay funny: We are looking forward trying it!!!   … Read more]]>

Halfbrick Studios will soon bring us a new promising title: Bears vs art!

The story looks entertaining (note that all the sentences in the trailer are rhyming):

The gameplay funny:

We are looking forward trying it!!!


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10 App Store Games To Watch [March 3 - 9] Sat, 15 Mar 2014 00:49:13 +0000 There were a lot of interesting looking games last week which was good because with all of the snow still falling in my area it should feel like Christmas in the App Store.  Besides the games I’ve detailed below, last week saw the release of Jolly Grim Ep 1: The Hamster and The Ring.  This … Read more]]>


There were a lot of interesting looking games last week which was good because with all of the snow still falling in my area it should feel like Christmas in the App Store.  Besides the games I’ve detailed below, last week saw the release of Jolly Grim Ep 1: The Hamster and The Ring.  This card based RPG follows a boy tracking a hamster that has stolen an invisibility ring through a land full of fairy tale characters.  You know you’re in for a treat when the first recognizable character you meet is Little Red Riding Hood, who happens to be working in a Taco shop.  Bloo Kid 2 is the successor to the cool Bloo Kid.  The game has the same cool graphical look and 8-bit style soundtrack, but the gameplay is more Mario-esque this time.  Jungle Rumble is the latest offering from Gamerizon.  It has the same great graphics that make the Chop Chop games look so cool, you get to continually consume meat like in Chop Chop Caveman, and there are several nifty weapons for you to get your hands on.


Adventure Land – The Rogue Run of Random Heroes – Adventure Land is an infinite runner with cute graphics and wacky villains.  The controls are simple as well: tap the left side of the screen to jump / activate your special power and tap / hold the right side to shoot.  The “fate” cards make this game stand out from other infinite runners.  At the beginning of each run you get to turn over three and you can buy two more.  You can also redraw any of the ones that you’ve already flipped over.  These cards might turn you into a pirate or a ninja, or they might make you a vegetarian so meat hurts instead of heals you or a diabetic that has to avoid the slices of cake lying around the levels.  With the ability to have 5 different cards and the expanding number of available traits that you unlock over time most every game should feel at least slightly different.  You can even save a preferred combination using any spare gems you have, though so far I haven’t discovered any outside of buying them via IAP.  That’s okay, though, because having a unique set of traits every time is the game’s biggest charm.

Adventure Land - The Rogue Run of Random Heroes Tapps Tecnologia da Informação Ltda., Adventure Land – The Rogue Run of Random Heroes – Free


Smash Hit – Mediocre basically has 2 standalone games and a franchise under their belt so far, but as of yet they haven’t been a disappointment.  Smash Hit is their latest offering, and this game is addictive, beautiful and serene all at the same time.  The game is an infinite tunnel runner of sorts, but in this case much of the contents of said tunnel is made of glass, and you just happen to have a bunch of steel balls that can break that glass.  The problem is that your supply of ammunition is limited, so you have to destroy as many crystals as possible to refill your stock.  If you destroy 10 crystals in a row you’ll be rewarded with a multishot temporarily, and you can also pick up rapid fire shots and slow time power ups occasionally.  Things start out pretty basic but you’ll soon have to contend with lots of obstacles that might take multiple shots to clear out of your way, and at least one level has a nice rotating effect.  This is as much different from Granny Smith as that game was from their first release proving that these guys put a lot of thought and care into whatever genre they decide to tackle.

Smash Hit Mediocre AB, Smash Hit – Free


Tap the Planet – save the astronauts lost in space! – This is one of those “round the world” games, in this case quite literally as you pilot a shuttle to a docking station using the intermediate planets’ gravitational pull.  As you progress through the levels you’ll encounter asteroid belts that wreck your ship, space junk that slows you to a stop, wormholes that transport you to other parts of the level and more.  To complete a level you just need to make it to the docking station, but of course die hard perfectionists (or those that just want a better score) will try their hardest to rescue the three astronauts that can be found on each level.  All you have to do is tap a planet to travel to it, though I’m still not quite used to determining what the trajectory will be.  Just watch out for the planets that re-launch you on their own because they might not send you in the direction you want to go.  I’m not sure how many levels there are altogether, but the first sector has 21 levels, so assuming the math holds there should be 84 altogether.  Even if the other sectors are smaller, by the time you manage to save all the astronauts in some of these levels you’ll have plenty of game time on your hands.

Tap the Planet - save the astronauts lost in space! Werplay Priv. Ltd, Tap the Planet – save the astronauts lost in space! – Free


Pocket Starships – As much as I’m not a fan of multiplayer at all, I definitely don’t like MMOs.  I think there’s a good chance I could get into this one, however.  The game is basically a dual stick space shooter that happens to be played over the internet and where some of the NPCs are other players instead of computer controlled drones.  You’ll jump from sector to sector completing tasks and trying to rid the galaxy of the pirate menace, or at least that seemed to be my primary goal with the faction I chose.  Once you conquer pirate outposts you’ll have to defend them because of course the pirates are going to want them back.  Defeating opponents and completing quests earns you experience that will eventually allow you to level up.  You’ll also be able to collect goods from destroyed ships and mine asteroids for materials to upgrade stuff.  The biggest problem is that there’s a lot going on all at once, and since the game is real time it doesn’t allow so well for you to figure out what’s going on when you’re fresh meat.  Also, I had a lot of lag issues, though it’s possible that’s as much from connection I was using as the game.  I don’t know if I’m quite ready to make the investment in an MMO yet, but being able to fight alongside other pilots is a pretty cool feeling.

Pocket Starships Spectacle Games, Pocket Starships – Free


Air Hockey Mania – Disky – Air hockey is already a fairly energetic game if played correctly, but Disky certainly kicks it up a notch or two.  Instead of paddles you have a slingshot, and your job is to get all of the pucks over to your opponent’s side before the time runs out.  The trick is that there is a laser along the center line of the playing field, and a puck can only pass through the laser if it is the same color as the laser.  To add to the chaos, each person has a button that can change the color of the laser.  Play in single player mode to unlock power ups such as barrier which temporarily blocks the opponent from shooting pucks and wirecut which keeps the other player from switching the laser for a short time.  The game is pretty entertaining in single player mode, but while I haven’t had the chance to play two player mode yet I bet it’s a much more exciting experience.  Just remember that you both play on the same device, so don’t do anything that will make your opponent want to reach over and slug you.

Air Hockey Mania - Disky Crazy Labs, Air Hockey Mania – Disky – Free


Dance Swag – This game is like Just Dance for lazy folks, which is probably why I like it.  Instead of actually having to move around and potentially look like a fool doing so, Dance Swag’s “tap tap” style controls let you embarrass yourself in your own line if vision only, unless of course someone is looking over you shoulder.  You’ll dance in various venues to songs you may or may not have heard, trying to get better with every play and build your street cred so people like you and want to give you money.  Your stash can be used to buy new clothes so that you can become even more popular.  As you can tell this game isn’t shallow at all.  Daily missions and special events help you earn bonus rewards, and eventually you’ll be able to recruit backup dancers for an extra zing.  Hook up on Twitter and Facebook to challenge your friends and see how far up the leaderboard you can rise.  Generally I tend to go for the really wacky rhythm based games, but for what I would consider a more “typical” offering, this is actually quite fun.

Dance Swag KlimpStar, Dance Swag – Free


Overtaking – Overtaking is a simple action game with a simple goal: pass 500 cars and you win.  You can move left and right to dodge traffic and if you’re really in a bind there’s a jump button which is always silly but still lots of fun for vehicles.  There’s even a brake button if you feel so inclined, but I’ve never quite understood the need for that in a high speed game.  Bumping into cars from behind, hitting certain strips on the pavement and slipping on certain annoying truck drivers’ oil spills all slow you down.  On the other hand, other strips give you a permanent speed boost (until you collide into the things listed above), and nitro not only gives you a temporary speed boost but also lets you plow through everything while it’s active.  This is probably the best part of the game.  There are 3 cars to unlock and each car has 4 stats to upgrade, so there’s a lot to work towards.  There’s also a leaderboard for quickest time, but unless that gets reset every now and again it’s already at a pretty small time.  I think a few achievements would go a long way towards replay value in Overtaking.

Overtaking Yishan Gao, Overtaking – $1.99


Devious Dungeon – Ravenous Games is back at it with what I would call one of their best games yet.  Devious Dungeon is Rogue-like in content but presented in side scrolling format.  The levels are randomly generated and much bigger than those found in most of their other games.  There are 5 worlds to explore, each with many levels of looting and creature slaying with a boss battle thrown in the mix just for fun.  You can pretty much destroy everything that’s not part of the background to earn some coins, and there are no time constraints so you can explore the whole level even if you’ve found the key to the exit portal.  As you dispatch your foes and complete missions you’ll earn XP which let you level up and increase one of three stats.  In between certain levels and if you should happen to die and get sent back to the main hall you can purchase weapons, armor and assorted other goods with all your loot, and unlike most of these games you have to buy items in a certain order which adds an interesting wrinkle.  Thankfully one rogue-like trait that’s absent is insta-death: if you die you can restart at the last level checkpoint with everything you’ve earned up to that point.  There’s even iCloud save so you can continue your game across multiple devices.

Devious Dungeon Ravenous Games Inc., Devious Dungeon – $0.99


Cat the Fish – Over the last few weeks I’ve been giving the whole Flappy Bird phenomenon a hard time, which I don’t in the least regret.  For those that think I’m a bit harsh on the genre, though, I decided to include this one to show my “softer side”.  Now after playing the game for a moment or two you might be inclined to think I’m nuts for associating it with Flappy Bird, but deep down I think some inspiration for this game came from that title.  Fortunately this title deviates so much from the formula that it’s different and fun.  The pipes have been replaced with fish that are now moving up and down, and instead of just dodging them (which you could easily do by jumping over them when they are in the water) you actually have to jump between them to catch a smaller fish that you can eat.  Instead of constant scrolling you take things one screen at a time, and they even pretty much hand you one point because the first screen has no fish that can eat you.  Of course you can still miss the fish that you have to eat to get the point, but that’s on you.  This game is still real basic but it crushes any Flappy Bird clone that I’ve played so far and I still get a kick out of the cat screaming when the fish gets its tail.

Cat the Fish Chi Trung Tran, Cat the Fish – Free


Zombie Squeeze – Zombie Squeeze is a very basic game.  A horde of zombies is descending from the top of the screen, and you as a lone girl must avoid them for as long as you can.  Swipe left and right to move the girl out of the way of all manner of objects that can block her path.  At the same time you want to collect the coins scattered throughout the level because that’s how you get your points.  Every time you get 10 coins in a row you’ll dash for a fraction of a second, but it’s just enough to help you stay out of the clutches of the undead.  There are no power ups, no achievements and only one leaderboard that will be impossible to top because the high scorer has over 100,000 coins, which sounds fixed to me.  That aside, what makes the game cool to me is the fact that you immediately get paired with someone from Game Center so there’s always a quick sense of satisfaction for winning or drive to do better when losing.

Zombie Squeeze URARA-WORKS Co., Ltd., Zombie Squeeze – Free

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

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

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Galaxy Run in Review: Out Of This World Fun Mon, 10 Mar 2014 16:02:32 +0000 Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The … Read more]]>


Galaxy Run is a one screen, one button platform game from Spiel Studio, the folks that brought us the cool “launch an object” game Propel Man.  Generally I get into this style of game play pretty easily, and I like the progression of game mechanics Galaxy Run employs as well as the space motif.  The main problem I have with the game is that there seems to be a strong lack of difficulty, at least in the initial sets of levels that come with the game.  Thankfully the bonus worlds start to fix that problem, but I think the initial six worlds could use a bit of balancing.


Your job is to help Rez get home after he crash lands on an alien planet.  All you have to do on each level is make sure he gets from point A to point B without falling into a pit, impaling himself on spikes or electrocuting himself.  Of course your basic method for doing this is simply tapping the screen to jump.  Thankfully each new level set brings a new mechanic to the table like double jumping, moving fast and even swinging on ropes.  Some actions like double jumping require you to pick up the power up first, while others happen automatically like stepping on an accelerator that causes you to run.  Some of the mechanics work a bit differently than you might be used to from other games, like swinging which is activated automatically when you’re close enough to a swing point and stops as soon as you tap the screen.

The initial game is divided into 6 sets of 20 levels apiece.  You have to complete the first 15 levels to move on to the next set, and then you can work on the last five, known as the “extreme” levels, at your own pace.  Once you complete the initial 6 level sets you unlock the bonus levels, which currently provide another 12 sets of levels for your platforming pleasure.  As long as you complete a level you can move on to the next, and once you complete the basic levels of one set the next set is unlocked, but earning stars on a given level is based on the amount of time it takes to complete a level.  Sadly, aside from having to replay on occasional level a few times in order to score three stars, you generally won’t run into any issues until you start getting into the bonus levels.  I think I completed the initial 6 worlds (minus the extreme levels) in less than an hour.


As mentioned before, all you need to do is tap.  The trick is making sure you tap at just the right moment to do whatever actions you need in order to complete a level.  The game seems pretty responsive, though as I mentioned with the rope jumping some mechanics take a bit of getting used to because they work differently than you’d expect.  The game offers 65 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each level set as well as various totals leaderboards, so there is plenty to work towards in Galaxy Run.  The game also supports Facebook and Twitter, which I presume is for communicating high scores and achievements with your followers.

I like the visuals in Galaxy Run, though things do tend to be a bit small because the levels have to fit on one screen.  Still, there’s a decent amount of detail and some nice animation, which can especially be appreciated when poor Rez gets fried by a laser.  The sound effects aren’t great, but thankfully they don’t get too annoying.  The music has its moments although it’s hard to appreciate when you go through most of the levels as fast as you will.


As far as this style of platform gaming goes, Galaxy Run is a pretty decent little game.  Folks that aren’t so good with this type of game or prefer their platformers a bit easier will feel right at home.  If you like a bit more of a challenge and are willing to tough it out through the first few level sets the difficulty later on will be more to your liking.  With 360 levels and tons of achievements there’s certainly plenty to do, and a recent update is supposedly adding 3 new levels a day to each of the three worlds.  Add to that a level editor that the developers are working on releasing and Galaxy Run is definitely a worthwhile investment.


App Summary
Title: Galaxy Run Developer: Spiel Studios
Reviewed Ver: 1.65 Min OS Req: 4.3
Price: $0.99 App Size: 48.6 MB
  • Easy to learn
  • Lots of levels
  • New elements introduced in every level set
  • Nice visuals
  • Levels are rarely challenging


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10 App Store Games To Watch [February 24 - March 2] Fri, 07 Mar 2014 22:00:51 +0000 Is it over yet?  I hate to keep harping on this Flappy Bird fad, but all the annoying clones make it really hard for me to find new quality games.  Anyway, Chillingo’s release for the week was a Duck Hunt style game call Duck Destroyer, which at first begged the question “why?” in my mind.  … Read more]]>


Is it over yet?  I hate to keep harping on this Flappy Bird fad, but all the annoying clones make it really hard for me to find new quality games.  Anyway, Chillingo’s release for the week was a Duck Hunt style game call Duck Destroyer, which at first begged the question “why?” in my mind.  Once I played it, however, I realized it was one of the best of the genre that I’ve played on my iOS devices so far.  If you like simple card games but don’t want to admit to playing solitaire, 9-line is a great alternative.  It’s easy to learn, supports both single and multiplayer modes, and even throws a little strategy in to boot.  For the budding zoologists in the crowd Nimble Bit offers Disco Zoo.  Unlike most zoo simulators I actually enjoyed this one for more than 5 minutes, in large part due to the fact that you actually have to find the animals that you’ll place in your zoo.


Burnin’ Rubber Crash n’ Burn – This game is designed for those that are much more into the destruction of things than the actual skill of driving.  You select one of several cars that you unlock while playing, buy and upgrade gadgets to make your experience leave more of an impact, then hit the streets to wreak havoc on the other drivers.  Missions usually involve destroying certain targets, and completing them earns you stars that help you level up.  In addition to the missions there are 9 trophies to earn, and this game goes for the quality over quantity as some of them will take you a while to earn.  Of course you’ll also have to exert some effort if you want to buy all of the gadgets and upgrades, so be prepared to do some serious demolishing.  There are 6 cars to play with in the base game and you can buy 9 more via 3 IAP purchases.  The steering is the only thing that bugs me at this point, but the sheer wanton destruction you can cause pretty much makes up for that.

Burnin' Rubber Crash n' Burn Xform Games, Burnin’ Rubber Crash n’ Burn – Free


Segway Surf – Segway Surf is another one of those single control, tap at the right time to jump platform games… except that it actually has two controls.  Segway Surf introduces the concept of a stop button, and it actually adds an interesting dimension to the game.  Segway Surf also includes some elements that don’t find their way into most games like this.  Many of the objects that you have to jump over actually move.  Lasers are more than willing to chop off your head if you don’t time everything just right.  One feature that I don’t recall ever seeing in a game like this is the teleport, which on at least one level even moves up and down.  The down side is that the game is quite short, unless you want to keep playing to try and beat it with less deaths than previous attempts.  There aren’t even any Game Center achievements to prolong the lifespan of the game, but it’s a nice example of how the genre is evolving conceptually.

Segway Surf Tommy Skogen, Segway Surf – Free


Cave Spider – It seems like there were a lot of good choices for new releases last week yet I feel like I’m gravitating towards the more basic offerings this time around.  Cave Spider has graphics that look like it belongs on a Commodore 64 with music that I’m guessing you’d find in a classical collection.  The game currently has 30 levels where the goal is simply to get out alive, though if you want to you can try and collect all three coins on each of the levels.  Sometimes the exit can be a bit tricky to get to, but the main challenge comes from trying to collect the loot on each level.  There are plenty of obstacles to avoid like bad bugs, lasers and more.  On the water levels you also need to find a pair of goggles before you can get your 8 legs wet.  I like the fact that you can double tap to run and that you keep moving fast until you let your finger up, though sometimes when the spider catches up to your finger it can be hard to see the obstacles your hand is covering.  So far the levels haven’t been overly difficult as long as you have some patience, but it’s entertaining and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new level sets will bring.

Cave Spider Andrew Willeitner, Cave Spider – $0.99


Zomborama – Zomborama is a cool little strategy game about taking the land from the living.  You start out with a zomboy and a couple of corpsys (dogs) and as you take over cemeteries you’ll be able to recruit more powerful undead allies.  Winning battles also earns you mushrooms which are used to buy new recruits.  Not earning enough from your winnings?  Take over farms to harvest even more mushrooms.  Surprisingly there appears to be no way to supplement your mushroom intake via IAP.  Combat is more like playing pool than a typical strategy game as you demolish your foes by knocking them around the playing field.  The controls could use a bit of work, but for the most part they are manageable.  The game does offer Game Center integration for a leaderboard and 5 achievements, but unless I’m missing something it’s not readily available through the game itself.  Zomborama could definitely use some polish, but for what it is the game is strangely addictive.

Zomborama, Zomborama – Free


Frizzle Fraz – Before you get started on me, yes I did see that this game was made by GirlsGoGames.  But let’s face it, what man hasn’t watched at least one Lifetime movie because of his wife?  It turns out this is actually an amusing platform game, albeit way too simple for most older gamers.  You must rescue your kidnapped friends by collecting keys and freeing them from their cages.  They cannot be hurt but you can, and there are plenty of obstacles waiting to take you down.  Bridges crumble after a couple of bounces, flowers give you one bump before they try and eat you, and crystal masses are more than ready to puncture you (in a non-violent cartoon way, of course).  The game has 26 levels, but even a mediocre gamer won’t have too much trouble knocking them out.  Still, this is a nice example of the family friendly potential iOS games have, and it’s entertaining while it lasts.  Maybe the developer could throw in a few more levels and add a difficulty setting that makes it more challenging for adults, or you could just enjoy the fact that you can share this game and your time with younger children.

Frizzle Fraz, Frizzle Fraz – Free


9-line – I don’t get into electronic card games very much, but this one is pretty neat.  The object is to empty your hand by playing same suited cards in open spots of the appropriate stack.  For instance, if there’s an 8 of spades on the board and you have the 7 of spades you can play it.  The rules are simple yet there’s still a bit of strategy in determining what to play so that you can get rid of your cards and still prevent your opponents from playing.  If you’re on your own you can play a single game with 3, 4 or 6 players, or you can play several levels of tournaments with varying entry costs that translate to increased payouts.  If you’re on Game Center you can choose to auto-match or select your friends to play against.  In addition to winning games and working your way up the leaderboards there are several achievements to earn that can also net you some coins.  The one feature I’d love to see added is the ability to play multiplayer in either hot-seat mode or over local wifi, because I could certainly see this being a fun party game.

9-Line axdmv, 9-Line – Free


Demonrock: War of Ages – This is a castle defense style game, though like many of the more modern ones you actually have a central character that you personally control.  You’ll guide the character through 40 levels of bad guy bashing goodness, upgrading him or her along the way to make sure that you are strong enough to defeat the enemy.  There are 8 different types of troops you’ll be able to unlock and you can take up to 4 types into battle at any time.  One thing I really like is that you don’t have to manage resource gathering – creating troops uses food which slowly replenishes over time.  As for upgrading your main character, you’ll do that by gathering coins and material that you find on your journey.  You can have up to five games going at one time, and since there are 4 different main character classes you can try them all out.  Of course you will need to be willing to buy two of them via IAP.  Even if you stick with the 2 that come stock with the game you’ll have plenty to do between conquering the 40 levels and experimenting with different equipment upgrade paths should you choose to play multiple times.

Demonrock: War of Ages Crescent Moon Games, Demonrock: War of Ages – $0.99


Trezzle – The number puzzle – Games like Sudoku proved that playing with numbers could be fun.  Here’s another creative example of how basic math skills can actually be entertaining and addictive.  The objective of Trezzle is to earn a certain number of points by selecting two tiles that solve a mathematical equation like x + y = 10.  You can also get points by matching 3 or more of the same number that happen to be on adjacent tiles.  You might have to earn the score in a certain amount of time, within a certain number of moves or using only a finite amount of tiles.  There are currently 400 levels to complete, but make sure you watch your life because if you fail too many times you’ll have to go back to your last checkpoint which could be quite a few levels if you haven’t purchased a certain IAP.  You have charms that can help you beat a particularly difficult level, and occasionally special tiles will pop up that help out as well.  You can even play multiplayer against Facebook friends and let your devious side out as you sabotage your opponents’ boards.  Even if you’re not a whiz at math I think you’ll find Trezzle rather intriguing.

Trezzle - The number puzzle Roopidy Creative, Trezzle – The number puzzle – Free


Duck Destroyer – So do we really need another Duck Hunt style game on the App Store?  Maybe not now, but I’m glad the developers of Duck Destroyer didn’t let that question stop them.  This game is like Duck Hunt on steroids, with multiple weapons to buy and upgrade, plenty of gadgets to unlock and use, and different helicopter like robots that help you out.  The game offers 50 levels of foul blasting goodness with 3 stars to earn per level by completing certain tasks.  There is also the granny bonus to earn, which usually seems to involve score a particular amount on the level.  There are also 41 achievements to earn and a leaderboard for each level as well as a cumulative leaderboard to compete on.  The game uses an interesting control scheme where you move with one hand and shoot your weapon with the other.  You can use the gyroscope to help fine tune your movement, though it can be frustrating to try and pick up bonuses with the free hand that you don’t have.  Overall this is one of the best duck shooting games I’ve played on the iPad to date.

Duck Destroyer Chillingo Ltd, Duck Destroyer – Free


Disco Zoo – Nimble Bit has had a lot of popular games, but I must confess that I haven’t taken to them as well as many iOS gamers.  Disco Zoo just might change all that.  There are several zoo building games available, but I like this one because it doesn’t feel like just a zoo wrapper around a city building game.  Instead you focus on collecting the animals, and the pens get built as you rescue the inhabitants to fill them.  In that regards you’ll collect a wide array of specimens but searching a grid battleship style to locate the hidden creatures.  Of course you only get so many attempts per rescue, so you might get lucky or you could come up empty handed.  The more animals you have the more coins you earn, but you can also get Disco Bux that fund Disco Parties and give you bonuses like extra search attempts.  This is a freemium game, and if you play it enough you’ll probably find you need to dump some money in to keep the pace flowing smoothly, but so far it seems to not abuse the whole freemium paradigm.  I just hope it doesn’t prove me wrong at some point.

Disco Zoo NimbleBit LLC, Disco Zoo – Free

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

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

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10 App Store Games To Watch [February 10 - 16] Mon, 03 Mar 2014 04:17:09 +0000 Despite the fact that about 30% of the new release entries seem to be Flappy Bird clones, I did manage to find what I think is a rather interesting collection of iOS games for your idle time.  In addition to the games I’ve detailed below, Chilibite Entertainment released Tower Tapper, a NinJump style game where … Read more]]>


Despite the fact that about 30% of the new release entries seem to be Flappy Bird clones, I did manage to find what I think is a rather interesting collection of iOS games for your idle time.  In addition to the games I’ve detailed below, Chilibite Entertainment released Tower Tapper, a NinJump style game where you try and help a snail reach his date.  The concept is cute, the graphics are well done and it’s actually pretty fun.  I also quite enjoyed Bridge Me, a simple game about trying to help a man build bridges to get across chasms.  There’s not much variation to game play, the graphics are simple and there are no achievements or power ups, yet it still held my attention a lot longer than Flappy Bird did.  And, for those that like to get back to the basics Chillingo released a silly matching game called Jelly Love.  The main gimmick is that you can move a block around anywhere instead of just swapping with its neighbor, and the jellies are just really cute.


Calc Dash – Honestly, Calc Dash is a fairly standard infinite runner.  You swipe to switch between three lanes, avoiding bombs and collecting coins.  The coins can be used to upgrade power ups or buy a mystery box.  There are also different outfits that you can unlock, but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.  What I like about this game is that every so often there is a wall with a math question, and you have to run through the door with the correct answer to the question or the game is over.  If you’re right you get the added bonus of picking up a power up.  The sad thing is that the only answers I’ve ever seen are 3, 5 and 7.  If they expanded this so that the answers could be any number between 1 to 10 – or maybe even 1 to 100 – and added subtraction and possibly even multiplication and division as advanced options, this could be a great tool for younger kids trying to learn math basics.  The music is catchy, and who doesn’t like an infinite runner or two?

Calc Dash hamon, Calc Dash – Free


My Fear And I – Take a journey through a world of killer socks as imagined by a frightened seven year old.  You’ll need to master your trusty plunger gun to get through some challenging platform designs, and your best bet for defeating the sock monsters is to let the light shine.  My Fear And I is an interesting combination of platform game and light beam manipulation puzzle.  It works on several levels, from the foreboding atmosphere and interesting mechanics to the wonderful creature design.  The main problem is that in the current state the controls are quite rough.  I often find myself releasing the plunger when I’m sure I tapped an appropriate platform to swing to, and the reeling and swinging controls when you’re on the plunger aren’t very conducive to making split second actions.  Still, if you can work around those issues the game is pretty interesting, and I look forward to seeing what challenges each new level brings.

My Fear and I DADIU, My Fear and I – Free


Montezuma Blitz – One of my absolute favorite match 3 series has been the Treasures Of Montezuma, and this latest edition is poised to be the best one yet.  There are 120 levels of tile matching goodness, and just like in previous installments you can unlock totems to help you in your quest.  Each totem has a unique ability that is unleashed when you make two matches in a row of that totem’s color.  In addition there are power ups that you can unlock and upgrade that do things like give you more time or strap some dynamite to a tile which explodes when you use that tile.  The gems embedded in tiles also returns in Blitz, and you can collect these gems as currency for booster upgrades and for bringing totems into battle.  Each level has required tasks and bonus tasks that you have to complete, and if you finish enough bonus tasks you’ll get extra rewards.  If you hook up with Facebook you can even challenge your friends and compete in weekly tournaments to find out who the real Blitz master is.  The game is free to play, but each turn cost a bolt of energy to play which takes its sweet time to recharge.  You can also buy gems via IAP, which might become necessary if you become really attached to having your totems with you on every level.

Montezuma Blitz Alawar Entertainment, Inc, Montezuma Blitz – Free


Blockman Jump – If you like one tap timing games, then you should at least find Blockman Jump interesting.  All you do is tap the screen to jump, so it’s really a matter of tapping the screen at just the right time to leap over all the impending obstacles of doom.  The big gimmick of the game is that the screen is divided into three sections, and you have to run each section in the opposite direction from the last.  What this means is that you not only have to pay attention to the section you’re running, but you have to be ready to make the first leap in the new section with no pause in between.  The other feature I’ve seen so far is that in some sections either you or the objects you’re trying to jump over fade in and out of visibility.  This can prove to be a rather interesting challenge.  The down side is that it took me all of about 5 minutes to beat the free version.  I’m not sure how long the full version is, but it could be a rather short game overall unless you want to try and beat your overall score to place on the one leaderboard that’s available.  For those that enjoy one tap platform games, it’s at least worth a download for the free version to check it out.

Blockman Jump xiaoze liu, Blockman Jump – $0.99


Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes – Developers have been experimenting with many ways to infuse different combat mechanics into RPG games over the past few years, and as far as casual gaming goes this is one of my favorite so far.  Basically imagine Temple Run, but instead of running from creatures you fight them, and as a reward you actually build up the characters that you’re using.  You even get to switch between three different heroes at any point throughout a level, as each hero works better against different types of monsters.  Collect gold and earn scrolls so that you can enhance your equipment, and give each hero a chance to participate in killing monsters so that they can level up and increase their skills.  Select a random player at the beginning of each round to “accompany” you and help each other out.  There are plenty of levels to explore, and Game Center integration provides leaderboards to climb and achievements to earn as well.

Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes Mobage, Inc., Battle Quest: Rise of Heroes – Free


Slam Dunk Basketball 2 – How many shots can you make in 60 seconds?  That’s what the second installment of this popular causal basketball game intends to find out.  Compete with other players around the world in head to head bouts or 8 player tournaments to find out who is the best.  The higher the level the more the entrance fee is, but naturally the sweeter the rewards are as well.  Keeping winning so that you can have the cash to continually enter matches, visit the free coins page to check out a variety of offers to gain more loot, or simply buy the coins via IAP if you desire.  There are more than 40 different ball designs you can buy, but don’t think they’ll help you any.  This game has no power ups or boosts of any kind, so your ability to win is tied solely to your skill in playing.  Turns out that works out even worse for me than getting clobbered by the guy that steals all the power ups in other multiplayer games.  There is Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements, and the fact that it’s multiplayer only guarantees that every game will be different.

Slam Dunk Basketball 2 VisualDreams, Slam Dunk Basketball 2 – Free


Moby Dick: The Game – Man, I wish I could have written games for English class when I was in school!  Anyway, this is of course based off of Herman Melville’s classic of the same name.  There’s not really much to the game: you eat fish to keep your hunger satiated, rise to the surface to refill your air and generally decimate every boat that comes along.  As you progress through the game you will earn points that you can use to upgrade things like power, speed and how hungry you get.  The game does use my favorite form of upgrade system which allows you to readjust your points any time you want.  The game offers 15 stages of ship sinking mayhem which includes 3 bosses.  There are Game Center leaderboards, but at this point there are no achievements to earn.  What I like about the game is that it actually shares the story of Moby Dick, albeit in a very abbreviated fashion, and it brings a literary classic to the game world without zombies or werewolves or whatever else most people think is necessary to make old masterpieces relevant.

Moby Dick: The Game Li Tan, Moby Dick: The Game – Free


A Darker Shade of Red – I’m happy to see that adventure games are apparently more than just a fad on iOS devices.  It’s also nice that developers understand adults play these games and want something more than just the next “stalwart guy saves beautiful damsel from vicious dragon” type plots.  That being said, some of the content I’ve experienced so far has been a bit odd, and this is definitely not a game you want to let your kids play.  I really like the whole private eye noir atmosphere, and the fact that the characters are animals instead of human provides an interesting twist.  The interface hearkens back to the good old days when Sierra made the transition between text command and a true graphical interface, though it does support modern niceties like the ability to drag inventory items where you want to use them.  The graphics are really well done, and the support characters are fully voice acted (some of your lines are voiced as well, but not all of them).  Overall this is a very nice production, especially for a free game.

A Darker Shade of Red DADIU, A Darker Shade of Red – Free


Wicked: The Game – It’s rather well known that medium such as books and movies don’t translate well into games, and I’m not even sure that there has been one based off of a play before (because all good plays get turned into movies first, right?)  Anyway, I appreciate the fact that rather than trying to somehow recreate the “magic” of the play, Wicked: The Game is simply a fun match 3 game with the story of the play as a backdrop.  There are two styles of game play in Wicked.  The first has you trying to unlock a wide assortment of objects by making matches to open up a pathway so that green energy can flow from the starting point to where the object is being kept.  The other style of play has you making matches to try and get cages to fall to the bottom of the playing field, at which point the animals trapped inside will be freed.  Occasionally you’ll unlock special items that can be used to help clear the levels.  After each level has been successfully completed you’ll be rewarded with a nicely drawn panel depicting a scene from the story, and for every 15 stars you earn from completing levels you’ll get a chance to visit the wizard and win some power ups.

WICKED: The Game 505 Games (US), Inc., WICKED: The Game – Free


Deception Force – This is an FPS game with a bit of a twist.  You are a member of an elite security team, and it is your job to cleanse the data center of all of its nasty infiltrations, which for you materialize in the form of vicious looking creatures.  The game looks cool and could certainly be enjoyed by anyone that likes to blast things first person style, but I think those that know what a DDoS or SQL Injection are will appreciate the characterizations much more.  Unfortunately, the controls need some work.  There is no way to strafe, which means creatures have this nasty tendency to surprise you, which thankfully hasn’t been too much of an issue so far.  There is no way to adjust your vision up or down which as a result has you relying on auto-targeting.  Sadly, the auto-targeting is sometimes a joke.  The game has that “lots of potential” feel to it, so if the developers could bring the controls up to modern standards Deception Force could be a lot of fun.  It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on, especially since it’s free.

Deception Force Juniper Networks Inc., Deception Force – Free

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

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

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10 App Store Games To Watch [February 3 - 9] Tue, 25 Feb 2014 22:32:45 +0000 You know the drill. A lot of games came out, I checked out as many as I could, and now I’m telling you about 10 that I think might be worth your while. Once I get back into the swing of things these intros might get more elaborate again, but until then let’s just get … Read more]]>


You know the drill. A lot of games came out, I checked out as many as I could, and now I’m telling you about 10 that I think might be worth your while. Once I get back into the swing of things these intros might get more elaborate again, but until then let’s just get on to the games…


Only One – If one were to write an arena style game for the Atari 2600, make the blocky graphics hi-res and give it a lot more functionality than the average Atari 2600 game, I imagine it would come out something like this.  Only One is a simple exercise in killing before you wind up dead as you take on 70 waves of bad guys with 7 different bosses thrown in for good measure.  Slay your opponent and retrieve some loot or push them over the edge and enjoy their screams as the plummet to their doom.  Every so often you’ll level up and get the opportunity to choose one of two skills (for a price, of course).  You can also upgrade existing skills and decide which ones you wish to use in the stats screen.  Timing your attacks or lack thereof correctly give you the ability to parry and block blows with your shield, and you can even destroy your opponent’s shield and watch it crumble.  The game is free to play and I believe with some effort you could definitely finish it without spending a dime, but consider shelling out a little IAP to bolster the developer’s spirits for this simple but entertaining gem.

Only One Ernest Szoka, Only One – Free


Spy Chaser – This is a fairly basic infinite driver game, and yet I find myself continually hitting the “retry” button when I get killed.  Your goal is simply to get as far as you can.  Along the way there are coins to collect, and you also get coins for destroying cars.  These coins can be used to buy a couple of new vehicles or enhance the length of your weapon upgrades or frequency with which gems appear.  Gems, on the other hand, can only be found sporadically along the road or purchased via IAP and allow you to continue when you die.  So why I’m I hooked on this one?  Maybe it’s the Charlie’s Angels disco style sound track or the car with the gratuitous flames painted all over it.  Or it could just be that I like the laser beam of doom that you can unleash on unsuspecting drivers after a certain point.  Whatever the case, this is one of the more entertaining titles that I’ve played for this roundup so far.

Spy Chaser Boiled Goose, Spy Chaser – Free


Kahuna – When I was a kid I used to play a game where you had to connect two dots to form the side of a square, and whoever made the last side of the square got to keep it.  I’m not sure what that game was called, but if it was something like Dots & Squares then this would be Dots & Squares 2.0.  The playing field is a group of 12 islands connected by bridges, and your job is to control as many islands as you can by capturing the bridges that connect to each island.  You’ll do this by picking and playing cards from a deck comprised of all the islands on the board.  When the going gets tough you can even blow up your opponent’s bridges instead of claiming your own.  There are 12 different AI opponents to take on in single player mode, each with their own strategies and tactics.  Or you can head over to Game Center and take on a live opponent in a turn based match that you can play at your leisure.  If you don’t like overly complex rules but are looking for something that is just as much strategy as luck, Kahuna is a good choice for you.

Kahuna USM, Kahuna – $2.99


Star Pilot / Jungle Rumble – Yes, these are actually two separate games.  They just happen to be by the same developer and the same style of game, so I thought I’d mention both of them in case some of you had a preference for piloting s space ship versus controlling big flying creatures and vice versa.  In terms of level construction these games are actually well designed.  They are challenging because you have to memorize patterns and timing, not because you have to try and hide in the corner of the screen and hope a barrage of bullets can’t hit you.  Each game has plenty of levels and several different craft / creatures to unlock, though I don’t know if they actually make any difference in game play since I haven’t been able to unlock any of them yet.  I also love the visuals, both because they are well drawn and nicely detailed and because they use the same depth perception gimmick that the developers’ Rescue Me games employ.  The main issue is that these games are also designed to be IAP sinkholes.  Between persistent ads and the amount of coins it takes to unlock anything it will only be a matter of time before you’re shelling out some cash or giving up on the game.  In the end though it doesn’t cost anything to check them out, so why not give at least one of them a shot?

Jungle Rumble – The Prehistoric 3D Fun Arcade Challenge Game with Angry Dinosaurs, Birds and Coins Pocket Scientists, Jungle Rumble – The Prehistoric 3D Fun Arcade Challenge Game with Angry Dinosaurs, Birds and Coins – Free
Star Pilot - Save the Sun from the Attack of the Alien Space Civilization Pocket Scientists, Star Pilot – Save the Sun from the Attack of the Alien Space Civilization – Free


Spell Quest: Grimm’s Journey – There a certainly plenty of word games to choose form on the App Store, so for me a game really has to feel different in order to stand out in the genre.  Welcome to Spell Quest, a game where you play a cute Grim Reaper that must defeat monsters by spelling words.  It sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually quite fun.  There are 30 levels, and you must play through each of them at least 3 times to earn all the stars.  One star is simply for beating the level, then you can try to beat it within a certain amount of time, and finally you’ll have criteria like only being able to use two words or limiting yourself to 18 letters.  As you slay monsters and complete quests you’ll earn gems that can be used to upgrade things like health and damage dealt, and you’ll also be able to buy specialty items from the shopkeeper when he randomly pops up on a level.  There are more than 20 types of monster to fight, 45 quests to complete and 42 different Game Center achievements to earn.  There are even leaderboards so you can compete with your friends.  In other words, Spell Quest has plenty to do.

Spell Quest: Grimm's Journey Mark Smith, Spell Quest: Grimm’s Journey – Free


Toast Time – The graphics and sound in Toast Time hearken back to a day when developers had to make due with equipment that couldn’t handle overly sophisticated output.  The game play, on the other hand, has a much more modern feel to it.  Toast Time is part Super Crate Box and part some twisted form of Ping Pong or Breakout or something else even.  In each of the game’s 45 levels you must protect a clock from hordes of advancing aliens by shooting them with various forms of toasted bread.  Shooting also has the sometimes unwanted side effect of propelling you in the opposite direction.  Destroying crates gives you access to your current array of weapons as well as allowing you to unlock new weapons and different outfits.  A three star ranking based solely on score will certainly keep you busy on some levels, and leaderboards and achievements will give you even more incentive to come back.  There’s even a survival mode that challenges you to complete every level one after the other without losing once.

Toast Time Force Of Habit, Toast Time – $0.99


Deprofundis: Requiem – Yeah, I don’t really know what the name means either, but it’s a pretty decent Diablo clone for iOS devices, so who cares?  You’ll choose one of four classes as you embark on your quest to rid the land of the aftereffects of opening Pandora’s Box.  Explore 13 randomly generated levels, slay many creatures and gather lots of loot.  There are 4 different skill trees to pursue, and while you can build on all of them you only get so many upgrades per level, so choose your paths wisely.  There are 3 different game play modes including an “instant death” option for those that enjoy the challenge of rouge-like games.  Choose between touch and joystick style controls and several other options to customize game play, including the ability to auto-loot items instead of having to pick them up by tapping on them.  You can even save your game to iCloud to play across multiple devices.  Not too shabby for what appears to be the work of a one man team.

Deprofundis: Requiem Alexandre Kovacs, Deprofundis: Requiem – Free


Robot Candidate – For those that really want the feel of a board game but still want to play on their iPads, Robot Candidate is a great choice.  Your goal is to get the launch pad at the end of the board, but just because you’re the first one there doesn’t mean you’ll win.  Along the way you’ll gather (or lose) energy points, and the robot with the most points after everyone finishes is the champion.  You’ll swipe the spinner to move, and depending on the square you might automatically gain or lose energy or be rewarded with a battery that will help boost your score at the end.  In other cases the tiles might be a bit more interactive, forcing you to choose between two options, spin a wheel to gain energy or even duel against another robot.  The game supports up to 8 players hot seat, and while you can play it against the computer I think you’ll find the experience much more enjoyable with a few live friends.  Just be prepared to set aside a bit of time, as just playing against one computer opponent took nearly 20 minutes.

Robot Candidate Dreamfreeze Software, Robot Candidate – Free


Angry Princess: 2014 Go! – Like the Angry Birds mechanics but sick of simply breaking blocks all day?  Angry Princess takes a slightly different approach to the whole thing.  Each level is a battle with various foes, and as you conquer your enemies you’ll acquire items and gain experience so that you can level up your characters.  Switch your main character’s class by giving them a different weapon, and evolve your weapons to make even stronger fighters.  Invite friends into combat to benefit both them and you and take part in time limited events to gain ultra-rare equipment.  Launch your fighters in whatever order you choose to make best use of their abilities, but keep in mind they do have life bars that will incapacitate the heroes when they fall to 0.  As for levels, I’m not sure what the total count is, but so far I’ve found six level sets each with 5 levels to master, and I haven’t even gotten to the second island yet.  There is plenty to explore and an amazing amount of depth to this game, and it’s certainly worth the download if you’re into physics based mechanics but one something more from the actual game itself.

Angry Princess: 2014 GO! SMGP CO. LTD, Angry Princess: 2014 GO! – Free

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

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

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