When it comes to certain genres like marble poppers, there’s not a lot of variation to be expected in actual game mechanics, unless you create some sort of mash up like what has become popular with match 3 games. What does set one entry apart from another is the presentation, and in that regards Sparkle 2 excels even more than its predecessor did. There are a couple of other things that make it rise to the top, though, so don’t think I’ve been unduly distracted by glittery things. In the end, the Sparkle franchise continues to be my favorite marble popping addiction.
So many new games, so little time to play them all. This was an big week for tower defense fans as there were at least 4 sizeable releases in the genre. One of my all time favorite TD games was Kingdom Rush, and now we have the sequel in Kingdom Rush Frontiers. With more than 18 tower abilities, 40+ monster types and 9 heroes to select and cultivate, this game promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor in every way. Speaking of sequels, the cubes are back in Cubemen2. In addition to everything else this installment might bring to the table, the game already offers a mind blowing 1500 user designed levels to play. Com2Us has stepped into the fray with Defense Technica. One standout feature of this offering is the use of tower cards which can be combined to create some unique defense structures.
Well, I broke my “report on the little guys” mantra this week by bringing you the low down on what was probably the two biggest releases of the week, but it couldn’t be helped. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic has been around for a while, and from what I gather it’s not only a top notch RPG, but it’s one of the best outings the Star Wars IP has to offer in terms of video games. You start as an agent of the republic, but where you end up is full dependent on what you want to get out of the game. If you prefer fantasy to sci-fi I hear that Warhammer Quest is a pretty cool option. It looks like a beefed up board game, has the advantages of an electronic game system, and you’ll never loose any pieces. Finally, one I didn’t mention elsewhere in this article was World War Z. Sure it could be just another zombie shooter, but given Phosphor Games’ track record I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I’m eager to see how the handle their first free roaming first person game.
My first thought in regards to CandyMeleon was “oh great, another one of those games”. You know, the ones where you have to feed a cute character candy all day long? Sure enough it is, but at least there is no rope cutting or fan blowing or gadget positioning of any kind. In fact, this really isn’t any sort of physics game at all. Instead it’s a good old fashioned arcade game where you have to grab the good stuff, avoid the bad stuff and last as long as you can. It’s also quite addictive once you get into it. There’s no brain power required here, and it’s a nice change of pace when it comes to games about consuming sweets.
I’m surprised at how many weeks in a row the App Store has had a strong release list, especially since most of the games aren’t coming from the “big” publishers. One of my favorite games this week was Something Has Changed, a minimalist game in terms of aesthetics and instructions. What it does really well is challenge you to quickly adapt to ever-changing rules, no matter how slight those changes might be. Dead Ahead is a fun new infinite runner zombie game from Chillingo. It has some stylish visuals and lets you run over zombies with a motorcycle. Strategy fans might want to check out Pirates vs Corsairs: Davey Jones’ Gold. This game provides the goals of Risk in a slightly more lighthearted atmosphere, and you get to dodge sharks and Krakens to boot.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to invest in The Room or not, but I was really tempted to grab it when the game went on sale for 99 cents. A raving review in a TouchArcade forum I frequent pushed me over the edge and I made the purchase, but then I began to play it and started having second thoughts. Once I went back to it after a day or two, however, something clicked and I realized how brilliant the game was. I’ve always been more interested in Sierra and LucasArts style adventure games with lots of convoluted object puzzles and silly dialog than pure puzzle based games like Myst, but something about The Room captured my attention and wouldn’t let go.
This was another week where there were a lot more options than I had slots available to talk about. I didn’t want to upset the delicate balance of the list by including two infinite runners, but another one that caught my attention was Blade Journey. Combat, some interesting terrain design and a health and mana system make this much more than a simple Temple Run clone. On the surface Evilot looks much like a Plants vs. Zombies spin-off. Be careful, though, because some Triple Town style mechanics could mean you suddenly don’t have defenses where you thought you did, providing for an interesting layer of strategy. Turbo Racing League is a joint effort between PikPok and Dreamworks Interactive to promote the new animated film Turbo. More importantly, playing between now and the middle of June will give you a chance to enter a contest with a million dollars worth of prizes!
One of the things I really admire about Chillingo is that they have a knack for digging up games that take tried and true mechanics and give them enough twists and flair to make them feel like fresh games. Such is the case with Rolling Hero. Anyone that has played games on their iOS device for a reasonable length of time has probably played one or more titles where you rotate the board to get your hero to the proper location, yet this one feels different somehow. It definitely has a cute factor that seems to permeate a majority of Chillingo’s best titles, but there’s a certain spin this game takes that keeps me wanting to come back for more. Even if I never completely put my finger on it, I guess that’s a good thing since I’m spending my time with the game.
Wow, what a crazy week! There were a lot of interesting looking releases, and it was hard choosing just 10. Honey Tribe Studios released a new puzzle game called Yam Yam: Puzzle Guardians. Whereas their last release was quite cerebral and somewhat dark in tone, Yam Yam is action oriented and good for the whole family. Crescent Moon Games released their latest offering in the form of Dig!, a Qix clone involving a washed up archeologist and a mummy named Nigel. Cool graphics, a good sense of humor and magical hats makes this a variant worth digging into. If you’re not completely sick of infinite running games yet, you’ll definitely want to give Running with Friends a try. No bull about it, this competitive runner could breathe new life into the genre for those that have given up on such games.
Heavy Sword reminds me of a cross between Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda. Now some of you might be thinking “isn’t that basically Zelda 2 for the NES?” That’s probably fair enough, but since I never played that title I’m sticking with the correlation. The problem is that this really isn’t as interesting as either of those games separately, let alone what a good combination of them could be. That alone I could live with, since either of those franchises is hard to live up to. What is troubling me, however, is the fact that the game keeps freezing up on me.