Apps Gone Free Roundup: Gem Keeper, Gardenscapes HD (Premium) and more

If you enjoy Tower Defense games, here’s a freebie that will likely eat up most of your free time this weekend. NCSoft’s highly regarded Gem Keeper is now free for a limited time. Previously at $2.99, this gorgeous TD features 4 distinct themes, 40 levels, 14 unique towers and 20+ “gem-crazed” monsters. Also free today is the Hidden Object game Gardenscapes HD (Premium) by Playrix, the developer behind popular match 3 titles like Call of Atlantis and Fishdom HD. Fans of the genre will get to comb through 15 rooms in search for over 1000 items, as well as customize the garden to their liking with numerous garden accessories. Be sure to check out the complete Apps Gone Free roundup after the gap.

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10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan 23 - 29]

 

Gamers that like a nice mix of strategy and RPG have a couple of options from this week’s 10 New Games To Watch list.  Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land drops them in the midst of World War I to fight some nasty supernatural beings.  If you like your games a bit on the lighter side there’s Dungeon Crawlers, a more satirical look at the whole dungeon delving genre that still manages to provide some deep game play.  If you want to throw strategy to the wind there’s Zombie Bunnies, an over the top destruction fest featuring undead rabbits and 99 levels of randomly generated mayhem.

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10 New App Store Games To Watch [Jan. 16 - 22]

Fighting game fans can rejoice this week as they get another port of a classic one on one combat fest, Soulcalibur.  The game sports 4 game play modes and a whopping 19 character roster for all your pixel pounding needs.  If you like good old fashioned platform games with stylish art and cool music then you need to check out Jazz: Trump’s Journey.  Strategy junkies should enjoy Time of Heroes, a turn based strategy game that sounds like the iOS answer to the Fire Emblem series.  A universal binary and iCloud save game support mean you could play it wherever you want with whichever device you have close at hand.  Time management freaks have a unique offering in Order Up!! To Go, a game that takes the backdrop of a Diner Dash style game and puts you in the kitchen instead of on the serving floor.  Best of all the game is free, so you’ve got nothing to lose if you want to take a peek.

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Blocks Hurt! 1.0 for iOS – Drop, Explode, Aim, Match, and Stack Blocks

Pistoia, Italy – Indie developer Luca Giusti today is pleased to introduce Blocks Hurt! 1.0 for iOS, his new action/puzzle Game that defies normal expectations about using blocks in gameplay. Combining elements from falling block, tower defense, and color matching arcade games, Blocks Hurt! lets players use blocks in multiple ways, for building or destroying. There are 90 battles with four goals each: Collect Blocks, Build the Wall, Survive Time, and Kill the Boss. Played in landscape orientation, players must prevent monsters from crossing from the far right to the far left of the screen. Any monster successfully reaching the left edge of the screen defeats the player and the battle ends.

Blocks Hurt! is always aware of its roots, and can be seen as a satire of many popular games. Its monsters go over the top in their evilness, whether they are a fruit, vegetable, straw man, or malevolent dictator. Monsters morph during gameplay, turning red as they get angrier and translucent when they return as ghosts. Ghoulish cries are heard as they advance, and a narrator occasionally comments in a deep voice “Hurry up,” or “You lose.”

There are three different battle locales: Windy Plains (gently rolling hills populated by Dutch windmills), Empty Desert (sand-filled expanse in the Middle East hosting caravans of camels and some nasty scorpions), and Mushrooms Vale (a wonderland of multi-colored fungi). There are 30 battles in each of the three locations, and each is scored individually.

There are four goals to each battle, and besides accomplishing the goals of that level, the player must prevent any monsters from successfully exiting on the left side of the screen. In the Collect Blocks part of each level players are given a task, e.g., 4 red blocks and 4 blue blocks, and must color match and stack blocks. This is not easy. A conveyor belt of blocks at the top of the screen is constantly bringing in new blocks, and touching any block causes it to fall. However, a horizontal or vertical stack of four matching blocks can have no gaps. Since many blocks do not perfectly align after being dropped, they must be removed (they explode on being touched) and replaced. Of course, as the player is attempting to create an orderly stack of blue blocks, demonic jack-o-lanterns are hopping across the screen, creating havoc.

During the Build the Wall goal players are given an outline of a wall of blocks that they must fill, and well-placed blocks display a rotating star. Care must be taken not to create a four-block color match, because that causes the blocks to disappear. Again, monsters are attempting to crash through the wall and reach the other side of the screen, so players must play defense and offense simultaneously, aiming blocks to build the wall or kill a monster.

Feature Highlights:
* 3 Fanciful scenarios
* 90 Challenging battles
* 4 Different kind of battle
* 5 Huge bosses to defeat
* Many destructive powers & special blocks
* Amusing high quality soundtrack
* 36 Game Center Achievements
* Optimized for older devices

Survive Time is pure defense as a timer counts down the seconds during a protracted and massive monster attack. Finally, the Kill the Boss goal requires skill and ingenuity to plan attacks that will be successful against giant-size monsters. During gameplay, the player does have access to special abilities and weapons, requiring Monster Juice, which is accumulated on his Juice Bar at the bottom of the screen. Powers include: electrocute, freeze, disintegrate, and slow down the enemy. A post-modern, action-puzzle, arcade-iDevice, matching-destroying, game filled with humor and the sounds of fruits and vegetables dropped from great heights, Blocks Hurt! is challenging, entertaining, and filled with surprises.

“Blocks Hurt! includes some very innovative game mechanics,” stated Game Artisan Luca Giusti. “You must stack and match blocks while annoying creatures struggle to thwart your efforts. Blocks Hurt! gameplay requires the player to balance their efforts between puzzle solving and fast-paced smashing action.”

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
* Requires iOS 4.2 or later
* 78.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Blocks Hurt! 1.0 is $0.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

Blocks Hurt! 1.0
Purchase and Download
YouTube Videos
Screenshot
App Icon
Press Kit (zip)

Based in Pistoia, Italy, indie developer and Computer Science teacher Luca Giusti is the creator of the Windows games Tony Tough and the night of roasted moths. Luca is best defined as a Game Artisan! Copyright (C) 2012 Luca Giusti. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.

Cat Nigiri Studio releases Dino Palooza LITE

Florianopolis, Brazil – Cat Nigiri today is proud to announce the launch of Dino Palooza LITE – a free, content-limited version of the innovative dinosaur-themed tower defense game for the iPhone. Now users can take a sneak peek at Dino Palooza’s gameplay before acquiring the full version app – featuring twenty four levels and tens of enemies and weapons.

Dino Palooza puts another spin in the popular tower defense genre. Set in the late Cretaceous Period, the game tells the story of a small team of scientists (from the future), imprisoned in a prehistoric jungle, struggling to both fix the timeline they broke and surviving the wrath of Professor Nigel Racik, to whom dinosaurs should have ruled the earth forever.

In Dino Palooza, the player does more than watch the guns take care of the bad guys. Players actively fire the cannons, place the barricades, and slow the enemies down. Dinosaur types differ from each other in many ways beyond the regular speed and strength progression normally seen in Tower Defense games. Also, players are able to interact with the enemies’ path by placing towers and traps.

In its LITE version, the content of Dino Palooza is limited to four levels from the episode one, five weapons and four dinosaur species. LITE version supports Game Center leaderboards.

Feature highlights:
* Gather resources, build mazes and place traps through 4 levels
* Fight 4 dinosaur species
* Game Center leaderboard support
* Full Retina Display support
* Amazing soundtrack

Device requirements:
* iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch 3rd gen or later
* iOS 3.2 or later
* 20 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Dino Palooza LITE 1.1 is a free application, available worldwide on the App Store in the Games Category.

Cat Nigiri
Dino Palooza LITE 1.1
Download from iTunes
YouTube Video
Screenshot
App Icon

Cat Nigiri is a startup indie games development studio focused on quality mobile apps. Copyright (C) 2012 Cat Nigiri. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Cat Nigiri Studio releases Dino Palooza LITE

Florianopolis, Brazil – Cat Nigiri today is proud to announce the launch of Dino Palooza LITE – a free, content-limited version of the innovative dinosaur-themed tower defense game for the iPhone. Now users can take a sneak peek at Dino Palooza’s gameplay before acquiring the full version app – featuring twenty four levels and tens of enemies and weapons.

Dino Palooza puts another spin in the popular tower defense genre. Set in the late Cretaceous Period, the game tells the story of a small team of scientists (from the future), imprisoned in a prehistoric jungle, struggling to both fix the timeline they broke and surviving the wrath of Professor Nigel Racik, to whom dinosaurs should have ruled the earth forever.

In Dino Palooza, the player does more than watch the guns take care of the bad guys. Players actively fire the cannons, place the barricades, and slow the enemies down. Dinosaur types differ from each other in many ways beyond the regular speed and strength progression normally seen in Tower Defense games. Also, players are able to interact with the enemies’ path by placing towers and traps.

In its LITE version, the content of Dino Palooza is limited to four levels from the episode one, five weapons and four dinosaur species. LITE version supports Game Center leaderboards.

Feature highlights:
* Gather resources, build mazes and place traps through 4 levels
* Fight 4 dinosaur species
* Game Center leaderboard support
* Full Retina Display support
* Amazing soundtrack

Device requirements:
* iPhone 3GS or later, iPod touch 3rd gen or later
* iOS 3.2 or later
* 20 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Dino Palooza LITE 1.1 is a free application, available worldwide on the App Store in the Games Category.

Cat Nigiri
Dino Palooza LITE 1.1
Download from iTunes
YouTube Video
Screenshot
App Icon

Cat Nigiri is a startup indie games development studio focused on quality mobile apps. Copyright (C) 2012 Cat Nigiri. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Get UFOlocaust 1.2 for iOS – On Sale Now

Grion, Madrid, Spain – Independent videogame company Priware Entertainment today announced that after reaching more than 30,000 downloads in three days, (Top 25 Strategy games in twenty countries) UFOlocaust lower its price to $0.99 in the App Store to celebrate their huge success. Don’t loose the chance to get this mash-up game.

Earth is being invaded and you’re our last hope! An alien race threatens to conquer the only inhabited planet in our solar system. You will be at the helm of our last line of defense, an arsenal created many years ago in order to contain an invisible threat that most thought would never come to pass.

Keep the alien spacecraft from abducting the last surviving citizens of Earth, destroy the aliens, and save the planet. This arcade game blends the gameplay of Tower Defense with the classic Space Invaders and will provide you with hours of endless fun.

Feature Highlights
* High-definition graphics for iPhone 4 / iPad 2
* 25 incredible levels that will take you all around the world
* More than 20 different weapons
* Over 40 different weapon upgrades
* More than 20 different enemy types
* Excellent soundtrack and sound effects
* Set of achievements all compatible with Game Center

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* 177 MB

Pricing and Availability:
For a limited time, UFOlocaust 1.2 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

UFOlocaust 1.2
Purchase and Download
YouTube Video
Screenshot
App Icon

Priware Entertainment is an independent videogame company based in Grinon, Madrid, Spain that develops for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Founded in 2011, our main goal is to produce fun titles that show off the wide selection of games available across different digital markets. To this end we’ve assembled a young multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in the field. Our games all show off the quality and entertainment value that are the hallmarks of our company. We aim to compete with international companies in this sector and increase the Spanish presence in the world of videogames. Copyright (C) 2012 Priware Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Get UFOlocaust For Free This Weekend Only

Grinon, Madrid, Spain – Priware Entertainment has announced they will slash the price of UFOlocaust. 1.2 from $2.99 to Free this weekend (from 6th to 8th January) on Apple’s App Store. Don’t miss the chance to get this incredible game! After the free weekend the price will be dropped to $0.99.

Earth is being invaded and you’re our last hope! An alien race threatens to conquer the only inhabited planet in our solar system. You will be at the helm of our last line of defense, an arsenal created many years ago in order to contain an invisible threat that most thought would never come to pass. Keep the alien spacecraft from abducting the last surviving citizens of Earth, destroy the aliens, and save the planet. This arcade game blends the gameplay of Tower Defense with the classic Space Invaders and will provide you with hours of endless fun.

Features:
* High-definition graphics for iPhone 4 / iPad 2
* 25 incredible levels that will take you all around the world
* More than 20 different weapons
* Over 40 different weapon upgrades
* More than 20 different enemy types
* Excellent soundtrack and sound effects
* Set of achievements all compatible with Game Center

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 4.3 or later
* 177 MB

Pricing and Availability:
From 6th to 8th January, UFOlocaust 1.2 will be free (currently $2.99 USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

UFOlocaust. 1.2
Purchase and Download
YouTube Video
Screenshot
App Icon

Priware Entertainment is an independent videogame company based in Grinon, Madrid, Spain that develops for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Founded in 2011, our main goal is to produce fun titles that show off the wide selection of games available across different digital markets. To this end we’ve assembled a young multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in the field. Our games all show off the quality and entertainment value that are the hallmarks of our company. We aim to compete with international companies in this sector and increase the Spanish presence in the world of videogames. Copyright (C) 2012 Priware Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

4Fukushima, iPhone game supporting Japan

Budapest, Hungary – Wandarin Interactive announces 4Fukushima 2.1, for iOS devices. Wandarin Interactive is quick to defend its first born from being slapped around with the tower defense label, and rightly so. Tower defense games are generally associated with slow-paced action and micro-management cliches that involve long thought processes and careful execution. 4Fukushima, however, couldn’t be further from such tropes. No comparison!

“There is no game similar to this,” Marton Szabo, CTO and lead developer at Wandarin Interactive, tells us. “I could compare it to the tower defense games, but the philosophy is quite different.”

4Fukushima is devoid of the complex management system that could deter newcomers, instead delivering something catered to the short bursts of gaming action the developer expects from iPhone gamers. You’re charged with protecting earth’s power plants from invading alien robots by managing the pylons that surround these generation stations.

Tapping these pylons creates lasers that form an alien-destroying wall around the perimeter, which in turn uses up the plant’s remaining power. Kepp your defenses up too long, therefore, and you’ll run out of energy, leaving yourself vulnerable to the invader onslaught.

Virgin territory – It’s this unique twist on an oversubscribed genre that Szabo strived for in the studio’s maiden project.

“It is our first baby. So, we had to learn everything from scratch,” Szabo says. “I don’t mean software development but the platform, the limitations, the submission, and release process.” Szabo includes “We also had to redesign the game many times because we were looking for the most perfect setting and challenge.”

Tighter defenses:
In this pursuit of perfection, Wandarin Interactive has sought to continually fine-tune the 4Fukushima experience. The game’s recent 2.0 update doesn’t just tweak the game’s mechanics, but it also adds a treasure-trove of new features.

“We reorganised the campaign, we added more gameplay options. Survival modes and high scores were also introduced,” Szabo notes. Every level the player meets something new, it is always changing a bit. Worlds are coming in rotations while the difficulty is increasing, more and more smarter enemies are coming, and on each campaign world (we have three at the moment) a new weapon is added. “During the Campaign mode, the standalone Survival levels are unlocked. Thanks to the ranking system and to the high scores, it can be a challenge forever.”

Reaching millions:
After witnessing the fallout from the devastating earthquake in Japan earlier this year, Wandarin Interactive looked at the potential of its project and decided to give something back. That’s why a percentage of the game’s profits will go towards supporting those unfortunate people whose homes were razed by the tsunami.

“We started to develop the game not long before the Fukushima disaster,” Szabo explains. “I read an article that people are donating a lot and thought, ‘why can’t we do something like this?’” “An iPhone game can reach millions, so it could be an easy way to gather money, and it doesn’t cost a lot, and you still get something for your money. So, after that, we created the game with this in mind. That’s why we named it 4Fukushima.”

The next level:
Following the recently issued 2.0 upgrade, Szabo has his sights set on improving 4Fukushima even further. “I am proud of the whole game as it is, and it will become much better. Version 2.0 is just out. After that, we will work on Game Center integration, and the next step will be the iPad version for multiplayer gaming,” stated Szabo.

“You will be able to play on one single iPad against your friends. We will introduce more Campaign worlds, more enemies later. We have so many ideas that it gives us work for another year or two. It’s a never-ending story.” And as for other mobile platforms, Szabo tells us it’s just a matter of time before 4Fukushima invades them as well. “For sure, Android will be the next platform, and hopefully Windows [Phone] will be the third,” he says.

Device Requirements:
* Requires iOS 4.2 or later
* iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
* 78.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
4Fukushima 2.1 is only $0.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Games category.

Wandarin Interactive
4Fukushima 2.1
Download from iTunes (Lite)
YouTube Video 1
YouTube Video 2
Screenshot

Located in Budapest, Hungary, Wandarin Interactive is owned by two Hungarian game fanatics who are planning to save the world with their great ideas. The company was founded in the year 2010, and the first game was finally released in 2011, and it is called 4Fukushima. Copyright (C) 2010 Wandarin Interactive. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

10 New App Store Games To Watch [Dec. 19 - 25]

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and also for iTunes Connect to shut down for a few days (this is the method developers use to submit games to the App Store).  Amazingly enough, though, a lot of developers were on the ball and got their games submitted so they could be reviewed and out in the first couple of days of the Christmas week.  Among those releases were Dungeon Hunter 3 and Zenonia 4, the next installments of 2 of the most popular hack ‘n slash RPG series for iOS systems.  While it sounds like Zenonia 4 might be the best yet in the series, Dungeon Hunter 3 took a step away from its predecessors to provide a completely different type of game play experience.  If you’re more into platform games you might give the retro inspired Terra Noctis a try, while strategy fans with attention issues should cling to Strange Adventures In Infinite Space.

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