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.
Racing fans got an interesting new option this week in the form of Sky Gnomes. This little gem lets you take on the role of a gnome and race through the sky on a craft powered by an engine that consumes snowflakes. If that’s not wacky enough for you then you might consider the new futuristic FPS Bounty Bots. It’s free to play and lets you engage in warfare using exploding cacti and sniper chimps. If you’re looking for something a bit more grounded in reality there’s Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort from G5 Entertainment. This SimCity style game throws in missions, goods to sell and trade, and 4 different locations to hang your virtual hat.
It took them a while, but Namco came up with yet another way to abuse the Pac-Man property, and Pac-Mangames is the most interesting attempt yet in my opinion. They took several of their popular classics and created quick play, “rack up the score” versions of them, and then wrapped them all up in an odd avatar system. If Pac-Mangames sounds like a bit of a stretch you can always try your hand at Pocket Law Firm, a new time management system that not only could be fun but might just teach you something about the constitution as well. Just don’t tell your friends you’re actually learning with your iPad. If you just can’t get enough of Hollywood retreads there’s Mirror Mirror: The Untold Adventures, the video game tie-in for one of two Snow White films coming out this year. To its credit the game looks pretty sharp, and there are even a couple of places where it looks to break the mold of most runner type games, so hopefully it won’t suffer the fate of most movie based games.
This week brought with it a nice variety of genres to indulge in as far as new games were concerned. Of course fowl tossing fans are in seventh heaven with the release of Angry Birds Space, the latest installment in the insanely popular physics puzzle franchise that made its debut on iOS devices. This time around you’ll conquer the pigs in a galaxy far, far away, and you’ll get new powers for that purpose as well. Top down racing fans that are looking for something a bit different should consider Road Wars HD. This is a two player affair, but not in the way you’d expect – one player controls the car and the other handles the road! I couldn’t forget the zombie slayers in the group either. Zombie Hunter Defense seems like your typical “defend the center of the board” type games until you realize that you must use strategically placed mirrors to ricochet your shots for the most effective damage.
This week’s 10 New Games to Watch article was somewhat challenging. Not because of a lack of cool looking games, mind you, but because of a lack of detail in iTunes descriptions. Still, I managed to piece together what I think is a diverse and interesting lot for you to choose from, though I will admit that several of the games have RPG elements coursing through their veins. First up is the third installment of a popular Square Enix title, though the title Chaos Rings II would lead you to believe it’s the original game’s sequel. Among other features, this outing has a revamped combat scheme, so if you weren’t a fan the first time around it might be worth checking out again. If you love FPS games there’s Mission Sirius, an interesting looking Unreal 3 engine game from a relatively unknown developer. Match 3 fanatics should check out Azkend 2 HD – The World Underneath (TMA Review). I’d go on about this one, but I already have on several occasions.
The big surprise for me this week was Mass Effect Infiltrator, especially since it didn’t come out on the heavy release day of Thursday. I’ve never really followed the Mass Effect series, but with a pedigree like Dead Space (TMA Review) iOS under their belts, this offering has me really intrigued. If you’re into the lighter side of role playing games there are a couple of choices this week. Kids vs Goblins takes a nod from the classic Henson film Labyrinth where you must save your baby brother from the goblin king. Instead of one girl you have a team of three rescuers, and don’t expect a famous rock star to be playing the main villain. On the other hand, if you’ve ever wanted to be one of the personnel in an RPG you now have the chance with Adventure Bar Story. You own one of the precious taverns strewn across the typical RPG landscape, and among other things you’ll get the chance to prepare over 400 dishes made of select monster parts.
I really never thought I’d say this, but this week online games won the most slots in our New App Store Games Roundup. Before we get to that, though, I was extremely happy to see the release of Gamebook Adventures 8: Infinite Universe. Normally I’d tend to relegate sequels to the back burner, especially after this many [TMA reviews], but book 8 takes us in a whole new direction with a Sci-Fi theme and brand new combat mechanics. As for the online games, you can choose to join a gang with Big Gun. While that’s not a new premise, the first person shooting gallery style interface is. If you prefer fantasy with a bit of culture there’s Monster Arms, a card collecting RTS that takes place in ancient Japan. Finally, the closet geneticist of the group can now prove themselves with Survivium, a game that’s all about building viruses and taking over the world.
As always this week’s New App Store Games Roundup features a very diverse selection of games. If you’re into retro like I’m into retro, you’ll probably appreciate Midway Arcade. The game comes with arcade translations of several popular Midway games, including Rampage and Spy Hunter, and you can buy additional packs of games via IAP. If you like shooters like I like shooters, then you might find Audio Invaders worth your while. It’s a retro styled game in the vein of Space Invaders, but you can’t see the enemies until you actually shoot them at least once. And if you like strategy like I like strategy, Operation: Eradicate could tickle your fancy. It looks to be a turn based, risk inspired strategy game with zombies and multi-player cooperative gameplay.
This week things seemed a bit quiet on the App Store front, but there were still a few games that caught my eye. The leader of the pack was League Of Evil 2, the sequel to one of the best platform games on iOS devices. It sounds like it does everything the first one did but better, and as much fun as the first one was that can only be a good thing. Rhythm game fans had a couple of interesting choices this week, but the more intriguing one was Beat Sneak Bandit. The game combines rhythm, puzzle and stealth elements with visuals that look like something out of a cartoon and what I presume will be some slick music. Finally, those that are tired of just buying Boardwalk can finally manage the hotel that sits on it with Monopoly Hotels. This business management sim takes you behind the scenes of the famous Monopoly board, it’s universal, and it won’t cost you a penny.
This week should be paradise for scrolling shooter fans. Cave released another game in the DoDonPachi series called DoDonPachi Blissful Death, and I’m sure it will provide the same frustrating “bullet hell” satisfaction that most other shooters they release do. The graphics look a bit dated, but if there’s lots of destruction it probably won’t matter too much. Next up is DariusBurst SP, the latest in a line of horizontal shooters that dates back to 1986. This installment comes to us courtesy of a PSP port, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that it provides a similar thrill to Taito’s earlier release, RayForce (TMA Review). Finally, if you’re looking for something a bit different there’s Beat Hazard Ultra. Sure it’s still a shooter, and if we’re lucky there will still be many things to blow up, but this one generates its level based off of the music in your on-device iTunes collection (or off of an internet radio station if you don’t have any music loaded). Oh, and a few other games came out as well!