Not too long ago a game called Scurvy Scallywags came out that created a new breed of match 3 hybrids. It was a welcome evolution from everything we’d seen so far, and I was hoping that more games would take the concept and run. Well, not only did Cavemania run with it, the game created its own finish line. Now I’m not trying to say I love Scurvy Scallywags any less, and there are actually a couple of features in that game I like better, but Cavemania has me hooked. I’m really not quite sure what to classify this as yet, but if you had to give it a label I suppose “strategy / RPG / match 3” hybrid would work as well as anything.
Pik Pok already had one incredible infinite runner on their hands with Into The Dead, so when I saw that they were the creative force behind [adult swim]’s latest release Giant Boulder of Death I just had to check it out. That was a big mistake on my part. Not because the game is bad by any means, but because now I’m addicted to the idea of crushing everything in my path with a large rocky object. Even though you might think you’re sick of “infinite whatever” style games, if you have the slightest depraved sense of humor you owe it to yourself to check out this title. The rest of you just go back to your humdrum lives.
Guess what? A whole bunch of new games came out last week, and I was there to download and try out as many as I could. Crescent Moon Games released Fading Fairytales, a turn based strategy game set in a world where dark forces threaten to tear apart everyone’s favorite childhood stories (sounds awfully familiar). Surprisingly the game is free to play, and it looks to put an interesting spin on all the fables you remember from your youth. Mines Of Mishap is a new hack ‘n slash that doesn’t actually start you off fighting bats, rats or goblins. You can have multiple save slots for each of four character types, there are 40 different gems to discover and upgrade your character with, and you can play co-op with up to four players over WiFi. As usual there were plenty of infinite runners released over the week, but one that caught my eye was Buddy & Me. Visually it looks like an interesting interpretation of The Neverending Story, and unlike most runners that have two characters in this one they work cooperatively instead of having to control them both in separate circumstances.
Apparently I spoke too soon last week when I cried that the Christmas like flow of games had ended for now. I could probably write double my normal size article this week and still have games I’d want to cover to spare. Anyway, Tiny Death is a new platform game that’s sure to resonate well with former – or current – console gamers. Cute graphics, decent level design and a nice sense of humor may not make this game worth dying for, but it would certainly be prudent to check it out. Disney has upped the ante for cute physics puzzlers once again with the release of Where’s My Water? 2. You can expect more game play elements, additional quirky characters and I even hear rumors of gravity manipulation. If you can’t get enough of infinite runners you’ll definitely want to check out Infectonator : Hot Chase. This sequel to Infectonator takes the action to an infinite side scrolling format, but you still get to turn people into zombies.
The retro craze is in full swing, with many developers making games that look, sound and often play like games that came out 20 years ago or more. In some cases they have even made modern versions of those games that try to retain the “flair” of the originals. Game of Watchcraft: Spawn of Squishy takes an entirely different approach to the concept. It poses the question “What would Warcraft look like as an LCD game?” If you don’t know what that even means you can either count yourself fortunate or underprivileged depending on your perspective. Either way the developers have done a fine job of recreating a brand new “classic”, though a true fan of Warcraft would have to tell me if it captures the essence of that universe or not.
Mikey’s been a busy boy. He’s still looking for shorts and fighting bad guys, and now he’s added grapple hooking to his repertoire. This sequel to the game Mikey Shorts feels very similar to the first installment, but sometimes that’s okay, as is the case here. The levels are quick, the challenge builds up nicely over time, and you can decide whether you want to make it about the stars, the cash or simply getting to the finish line. Plus there are a whole lot of costumes to collect for those of you that like collecting things.
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.
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.
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.
One of the best mash-ups conceived so far (at least in my opinion) is the idea of an RPG that uses a match 3 board for combat. Of course like any good thing there is almost an overabundance of them now, and there are just as many ones that make you go “blah” as ones that captivate you like Puzzle Quest. Fortunately, Puzzle Blade is one of those that fall on the side of captivating the player. The developer has managed to put a fresh spin on the concept and made sure that anyone short of a person suffering from A.D.D. should enjoy it, assuming you’re into the genre in the first place.