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?
Christmas in July is over, but there were still some interesting games that made their way to the App Store this week. As a fan of the undead I’m willing to give most zombie games a try, and while I’m not a huge word game fan I quite enjoyed the time I spent with ZombieWords so far. It will definitely test your ability to spell words quickly, and proves that games don’t have to be action oriented to provide tense situations. If you’re in the mood for something a bit zanier, why not give Chillingo’s Jar On A Bar a try? The ability to flick pieces adds a whole new dimension to the game play, and the fish is really cute. Finally, strategy buffs might appreciate the turn based mayhem of Outwitters. If it’s got the same humor and ease of playability of its predecessor Tilt To Live then it should be an instant classic.
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.
There were some rather interesting titles this week, but in the end cuteness prevailed. If you like matching games (and who doesn’t), Piston Games released Gemibears. Instead of simply matching objects of the same type you have to match halves of bears to form a whole of the same color. And when you want to take a break from playing the game you can visit their Youtube channel for some Gemibears cartoons. For those that prefer some good old fashioned platform gaming there’s Mike & Milkbox, the story of a detective chicken that must save the world. The mechanics are a lot like Super Mario, but the physics elements give it a fresh feel. Finally, I actually found an online game I might spend some time with. It’s called Throw It, and the basic premise is simple: you chuck objects at your opponent. The concept and graphics are cute, and I can play against other humans without having to actually be social.
Are you ready for another week of iOS gaming? It seems the mid-year Christmas is over for now, but there were still a few titles worth taking a look at. While I’m not typically a fan of rhythm games, I checked out the demo version of Mad Acorn and instantly got hooked. This platform game with a wicked beat is sure to keep you tapping your screen all the way to the end. Another fun diversion is Frisbee Rush. The game itself is actually browser based, but thanks to WiFi you control the Frisbees via your iPhone. If you’re looking for something to get the whole family playing, WePad Party 1 just might fit the bill. The mini-games aren’t overly exciting, but the fact that you can play with eight people on the same device at the same time could prove for some amusing situations.