As always there were some fairly interesting games this week, but in particular a couple brought a twisted sense of nostalgia to my heart. Activision released a re-imagining of their classic hit Pitfall to coincide with its 30th anniversary, and instead of going a more traditional platform route they chose to emulate the Temple Run formula. The thing is, from the few moments I’ve had a chance to play so far, they might have actually done it better. On the flip side of things is Organ Trail: Director’s Cut. Rather than a simple retooling of the original Oregon Trail, this version takes the same basic game play and swaps out the pioneers setting for a station wagon and some undead adversaries. Not to be left out of the “what’s old is new” jumble, Elevate Entertainment has published their take on the much abused brick breaking genre. For Draw Breaker, however, instead of moving a paddle around you just draw one in where you want it, which adds a whole other dimension to the game.
For me the big news this week was the release of Gamebook Adventure 8, the first tale of Judge Dredd. You can read about that below, however, so instead let me mention a couple games that didn’t quite make the main list. Full Fat released its first freemium game in the form of Agent Dash. Yeah, it’s another Temple Run-esque game in a genre that’s starting to get overdone, but you have to love secret agents, and based on the game play trailer this looks like lots of fun. The latest offering from FDG is the physics puzzle game Chicken Raid. Instead of launching things to break other things, however, this game has you tapping breakable objects to cause chain reactions. The less interaction on your part, the higher your score. Megatroid looks like a Metroid / Mega Man style platform game. In this instance, though, you have a robotic cat for a sidekick and the levels are procedurally generated for a whole lot of replayability.
The App Store had a lot of good new games to offer this week, but casual arcade games seemed to be in particularly good supply. Chillingo unleashed Jelly Jumpers on us, and while it feels like a standard “climb from object to object as high as you can” style game, I still found myself becoming addicted to it. Daily challenges, plenty of achievements and a continually growing score multiplier are enough to keep me coming back. Follow The Rabbit is a cute, blocky puzzle game where you must collect coins, dodge enemies and ultimately keep sight of the elusive white rabbit. It also has the distinction of being the first Armor Games iOS release that is not a port from their existing library. Great Big War Game is the sequel to Great Little War Game, and it looks to continue the “lack of Advance Wars” fix that many of us mobile gamers need. With 50 single player missions and online capabilities, you should be fighting the good fight for quite some time.
The Rovio masses can rejoice, because the developer that created an empire apparently can do something besides disgruntled fowl. Their latest offering is a game called Amazing Alex, and it takes the concept of The Incredible Machine to the next level. Besides offering many prebuilt levels with the promise of more to come, it offers players a level editor to create and share their own masterpieces. If you’re itching to stretch your trigger finger you might try Metal Slug 3, the pixel perfect iOS port of a Neo Geo legend. Save some disheveled hostages, drive lots of cool vehicles, and join a friend for some Bluetooth co-op play. If you’re more of the adventurous type Avenue Flo could be right up your alley. This latest Diner Town offering from Play First ditches the time management pretense and lets you see familiar characters in a whole new way as you help Flo make sure a big wedding doesn’t turn into an even bigger disaster. Are you listening, Larry King?
This week felt like the proverbial Christmas in July when it came to new games for iOS devices. In addition to the fine list I’ve compiled below, gamers were treated to a quirky tower defense game called Vampire Season. You are Dracula’s right hand man, and you must use a crazy assortment of ghouls and what-not to keep those pesky humans from finding Dracula’s coffin. If you’re more into RPGs, Squids Wild West might float your boat. This sequel to last year’s acclaimed aquatic tactics game (TMA Review) takes a whole new look at the concept of cowboys. For those that want something completely different in tone there’s Frisbee Forever 2, the game that lets you show off your virtual disc throwing skillz. It’s free and looks to be sporting some pretty sharp graphics for a game about tossing a plastic object through the air.
Once again there was a nice variety of games to report on this week, and the highlight of the week for me was the adventure game Yesterday from BulkyPix. After spending just a few minutes with this game I felt like I was playing an old masterpiece from Sierra Online or LucasArts, but one that had been given an interface boost that makes it perfect for touch screen devices. The causal RPG fan should check out Elphis Adventure, a new free offering from Com2us. You take on the role of Red Riding Hood in an attempt to rescue your grandma by traveling through different fairy tales and historical time periods. For those that are interested in learning Magic The Gathering, or those that are just looking for another avenue with which to play the game, Wizards of the Coast offers up Magic 2013. You can sample the card based strategy game for free, but if you want to test your mettle against other humans you’ll need to buy the premium edition.
Every once in a while there is a week with so many solid new games released that it’s hard for me to decide which ones to write about. This was one of those weeks. So, instead of recapping some of my entries in the intro, I’m going to mention a few that didn’t quite make my list. Tennis fans should check out Virtua Tennis Challenge, the first installment of SEGA’s hit franchise to make its way onto iOS devices. You’ll compete against 50 different computer players on 18 courts across the globe, or you can challenge your friends via WiFi and Bluetooth. Chillingo fans were treated to 3 new games this week, but the one I’m most excited about is Air Mail. You’d never suspect that delivering packages would be so adventurous, but the brief teaser video shows you travelling to exotic locations and getting shot at repeatedly. Gamers that love side scrollers might be interested in Dragon Evolution. If the simple fact that you get to play a dragon isn’t enough, how about 80+ missions, 36 skills and the ability to customize said dragon?
FPS fans can enjoy another installment of Gameloft’s popular sci-fi series this week with the release of N.O.V.A. 3. Everything you’ve come to expect from the franchise is still present, and new to this release is the ability for multiple players to share a vehicle. If boxing is more your thing you might consider Punch Hero from Gamevil. It’s free, you can duke it out with players around the world, and equipping your player consists of buying things like beards and sunglasses. Maybe you like puzzle / platform games instead? If that’s the case check out LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias, a game where you get to control the power of the wind and change the seasons at will.
Fancy yourself a game developer but don’t have any programming skills? Sketch Nation Studio could change your life, as it will allow you to design games right on your iOS device without even having to write a line of code. If you’d rather just stick to playing games there’s Saving Private Sheep 2. The mechanics are way different than the original, but if the same goofy humor is there is should still be a winner. Real time strategy fans would do well to check out Total War Battles from SEGA. This medieval Japan conquest game has an interesting game play mechanic: you can’t retreat! You better be really sure that every move is one you want to make.
This week saw the release of a couple of iOS episodes of popular console games, but more exciting to me was the number of potentially high quality free(mium) games that were made available. Last Day Of Work released the latest installment of their Virtual Villagers series entitled Virtual Villagers: Origins. The claim is that this takes the series back to its roots and is based of the formula that made the original Virtual Villagers a success. If you’re interested in flying the friendly skies but don’t want another Flight Control clone you might consider Aero Vacation from Chillingo. This time management game tasks you with building the ultimate airborne vacation spot with everything from a roller coaster to a full blown golf course. On the other hand, those looking for something completely different should take a look at O2Jam Hero. This RPG / rhythm hybrid pits a girls’ rock band against the ultimate evil, and I’m thinking you should get bonus points if you can interpret the game’s iTunes description.