This week provided a nice mix of genres for the diverse iOS gamer. Fans of crazy sports games could sink their time into Wonderputt, a new mini-golf game with some interesting course design. You actually get to see some of the holes being created, and it can be almost as fun to watch as to play. If you’re looking for a different type of adventure try Escape The House: A 3D Sound Experience. This happens to be a promotional tool for an upcoming horror movie, and given the game play genre it actually makes interesting use of the features your iOS device has to offer. Pokemon and Final Fantasy fans can converge on Guardian Cross, the latest offering from Square Enix. This “collect and fight” style game has an incredible development pedigree, and apparently is completely playable without spending a penny.
Not willing to rest on the laurels of having one of the biggest hits of the year in the theater, Marvel is taking the iOS world by storm as well. This week saw two releases from the master storytellers, the first of which looks to be an Infinity Blade style game called Avengers Initiative. The initial release lets you stomp around as the Hulk smashing things, but future episodes (read IAP) will give you the chance to test your mettle as other heroes from the legendary super-team. If you want something a little more casual but still within the realm of super-heroism then HeroClix TabApp might work better for you. This free iPad app interacts with specially made HeroClix characters to provide you with comic book story driven mini-games custom to each figure you own. On the flip side, those seeking a bit of medieval butchery with a dash of otherworldly demons thrown in should check out Wild Blood from Gameloft. This remix of the Arthurian legends pits you as Sir Lancelot against a warped Arthur and his nasty sister Morgan Le Fey… and a bunch of overzealous hellspawn as well.
There were certainly enough new arrivals to keep even the most discerning gamer busy on their iOS devices this week. The biggest surprise to me was Final Fantasy Dimensions, the newest offering from Square Enix. I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I had no idea this game was coming to iOS devices, and you can even try the prologue for free. If you’re more into puzzle games Illusion Labs has resurfaced with their latest concept called Blast-A-Way. This 3D brain teaser has plenty of explosions, cute robots and even more adorable mischief makers. If you just want something that proves you’re never too old to have fun, check out Granny Smith from No Can Win. This quirky racer has you trying to recover apples before a rascally thief, and oh the places you’ll go.
My most eagerly anticipated game this week was One Tap Hero. I got to play this one a while back, and since then have been reall anxious to see it officially released on the App Store. The title that has really captured my time from this group, however, is The Lord Of The Roads. This RPG / scrolling shooter hybrid is unique and addictive as anything I’ve played in a while. And the game in this list that I haven’t had the chance to try yet but am most looking forward to is Olly Low Poly And The Zombie Tower. Besides the odd yet amusing name, it looks fashionably different and of course I love me some zombie slaying or dodging or whatever it is you ultimately do with them in this game.
This week saw the release of Horn, Phosphor Games’ follow-up to their interesting title Dark Meadow. Horror has been replaced with fantasy, on-rails movement with full 3D roaming, and the graphics have been kicked up a couple of notches as well. Tread of the Dead is a slightly different take on the whole zombie hunting theme. Instead of relying on brute force and lots of ammunition you’ll have to skillfully cut down the undead hordes with a chainsaw that you toss at them and then control by tilting the screen. Platform gamers will enjoy Random Heroes, the latest offering from Ravenous Games. It looks to combine the level design goodness of League Of Evil with the hero and gun swapping craziness of Super Crate Box.
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.
Gamers that remember the “good old days” have a lot to check out this week. Blazing Star blasts onto the iOS from SNK Playmore, and faithfully recreates some side scrolling shooter memories from the Neo Geo era. If you’re more into stealth and sabotage you might like Spy vs Spy, the reboot of the old Commodore 64 / Atari computer game that pits two bumbling agents against each other to see who can recover the top secret briefcase first. Play the updated version, or switch to the pixel perfect retro mode for lots of nostalgia. And, while it’s not really a remake or reboot or anything, Giant Monsters Ate My City might just remind you why you used to love the wanton destruction you could cause in the old favorite Rampage.
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?