There were some pretty interesting releases this week, and I think this list presents a decent cross-section of the lot. After bringing us a quirky puzzle game in the form of Tiny Story!, On5 takes us in a totally different direction with Indie Pixel. In this online only game you are a pixel, and you must work together with other players to form certain shapes before time runs out. If you prefer a more serene approach to things you might want to give Cloud Spin a try. This high flying adventure will test your skills if you want, but you can just as easily enjoy it by indulging in Free Flight mode and just enjoying your surroundings. Then there’s American Greetings, who didn’t so much provide the community with a solid set of games as they offered gamers a new way to pay. Buy an App Coin to unlock the game, and even folks without an iTunes account can “gift” specific games to their friends.
Macphun’s Snapheal, an extremely easy to use photo editing software for Mac and highlighted by Apple as “Best of 2012″ in the photography section, is now Free until September 3rd. Normally priced at $14.99, Snapheal lets users remove objects, blemishes, text and other unwanted distractions from photos - as well as perform general image enhancements - with just a few clicks. It’s certainly not as feature laden or powerful as Photoshop, but for what it does, it does it well and fast. To score your free copy, head over to Snapheal’s giveaway page and enter your name and email. Then share it either on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and the download link and activation code will be sent to your inbox. Check out more info and the app in action after the break.
Gamers are always clamouring for that next big thing that they’ve never played before. I would hope that at least once in a while something new would come along, but I don’t hold my breath for it. Instead, my main concern is that developers focus on ways to take the styles of game play that we have grown to love and make them even more interesting. Personally I feel Rejected Games has done just that with An Alien with a Magnet. I find myself loading it up even when I had the intention of playing something completely different, simply because I want to take it for another spin. You might almost say it has a magnetic quality about it. But we don’t go for those bad puns around here.
I suppose you’re all expecting me to gush about Plants vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to a cultural phenomenon. Well I’m not going to do it, though I suppose if you’re a devotee of the original you’ll find a lot more zombie busting to do this time around. Speaking of sequels, the anime inspired RPG tale continues in Sage Fusion 2. More game play, an engrossing story and thoughtfully planned encounters should make for an appealing adventure. To finish out this thought, Erica Reed is back in Cognition Episode 2. If this title even simply maintains the quality of its predecessor then any true adventure game aficionado will want to check it out.
Much like the protagonist in the first game I wrote about, this week’s games were out for revenge, not wanting last week’s fine collection to get the better of them. The only thing worse than a post-apocalyptic nightmare is being cast into the midst of the demons for something you didn’t do. That’s the premise behind Trial by Survival, where you must fight off the hordes for 14 days to prove your innocence. While we’ll most likely never see Zelda on the iOS platform, Kingdoms Fall makes a valiant attempt at bringing us a similar experience. The graphics have an RPG Maker feel to them and the controls could use a bit of work, but there’s a lot of potential to be had with the game. Line drawing games seem to have simmered down a bit in the last few months but they’re still coming, and one of the latest is Animal Line Crossing – Draw to Control the Farm. It’s a cute variant of the theme that will appeal to kids and could still prove somewhat challenging to adults as you get into the later levels.
Last week was another really solid week for good iOS game releases. Spacetower is a new entry in the tower stacking genre, but its space oriented theme is the least of its different features. The big innovation is that you can directly control each section of the tower, landing it like if you were playing a lunar lander style game. If the idea of a platformer where the levels are generated based off of your music library seems cool but SongRush just didn’t quite do it for you, maybe you should try Pitch Jumper instead. The main character looks like it came out of the cast of creatures from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch and unlike SongRush, you can’t die in Pitch Jumper. So you like cute aliens but prefer a bit more action? The creature with the cat is back in Monster Shooter 2: Back to Earth, a sequel that so far in my opinion surpasses the first.
Infuse , my favorite video player on iOS, has been updated with some highly anticipated features, including AirPlay, TV out (with HDMI/VGA adapter), WiFi file transfers and more. Besides being able to play most popular video formats – thus saving you the time of first converting into MP4 format – and its beautiful interface, Infuse lets users easily download subtitles right from within the app and also integrates trakt.tv (keep track of all the movies and shows you’ve watched with a free account). Personally I’ve been waiting for AirPlay support since the app released and thankfully, streaming to an Apple TV works flawlessly from what I’ve seen so far. There have been no lags or video/audio quality issues with the dozen or so files I’ve tested. The only downer is that subtitles are disabled once AirPlay is enabled. Fear not though, as FireCore has just mentioned to me that this is something they’re working on and hoping to implement in the next update in 2-3 weeks.
Infuse is a free update for existing users and costs $4.99 on the App Store. More info after the gap.
Hero of Many is an intriguing game. I have as yet to encounter most of what is talked about in the iTunes description for the game, or at least in mass amounts, yet I find myself mesmerized every time I load it up and start playing. This game is about exploration as much as anything else, and if you’re the kind of player that needs to blast something every five seconds you might have a hard time latching on to Hero Of Many. On the other hand, if you prefer a relaxing experience that has a little bit of gameplay thrown into the mix as well, Hero Of Many will be both satisfying and unlike much of anything else you’ll play from the App Store.
I had a lot of fun with the new games that were released last week. My need for wacky golf games was placated this week with Boom Boom Hamster Golf. Wild course layouts, a huge cannon and a “ball” that dances when you score below par on a given hole are just part of what makes this title so amusing. The strategy fan in me was torn between TurtleStrike and Toy Monsters. The former shows lots of promise with squad based aquatic combat played in a turn based real time format, but the server seemed a bit sluggish to me. The latter is an interesting offering where you get to take back your toy room from invading aliens or play against other humans in quick, intense strategy matches.
If you’ve been around the adventure game circuit as long as I have you’re undoubtedly familiar with the “land of the lounge lizards” and its star inhabitant, Larry. The boy is back in Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, a prime example of crowd funding done right. Spearheaded by Al Lowe himself, the game takes the plot of the original and brings everything else up to modern standards in a big way. Maybe you prefer a little bit of naval warfare that doesn’t take place on a grid. Pirate Hero 3D might suit your needs with a more arcade like approach to boat on boat combat with some cool scenery to boot. Those that enjoy strategy but like a more hands-off approach to the combat portion of the game should check out Rivals At War: 2084. It takes the thrill of card game deck building and lets you watch the battles play out in real time 3D glory.