There are two situations that make this article tough to write – a lack of interesting game releases or a plethora of them. Fortunately, this week fell into the latter category, so if a game you felt was noteworthy didn’t make the list, don’t feel too bad. I’m sure I considered it. First up is the late arrival of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions, a turn based tactical strategy / RPG game from SquareEnix that’s actually a port of a PSP game. Next comes my personal interest, Cut The Rope: Experiments. I didn’t even know this game was headed my way, but I was a huge fan of the first one and have high hopes for this sequel. Action / RPG nuts might want to check out Ragnarok Violet, the single player iOS version of a popular online RPG. Finally there’s Sly Vs Sly, a game for the folks that want to see what the lighter side of the spy business is like. If you think the game looks a LOT like Spy Vs. Spy you’re not alone, but I’d be willing to take a chance on this one even if it does eventually get pulled.
This week’s headliner is Silent Ops, Gameloft’s answer to all the James Bond wannabe’s out there. Take any one of their virtual stick action games, throw it in a high tech secret mission scenario, and run with it as you will. If you’re still looking for a good movie blockbuster tie-in (is there such a thing?), you might consider Cowboys & Aliens. Of course there’s probably debate at this point whether the movie will even reach blockbuster status, but the dual stick shooter / tower defense game might provide the fun the movie is lacking. For those that just can’t get enough food slashing fun there is Sushi Chop, the game that has you slicing raw fish and serving it up on a tray. Yum! Finally, old school console gamers might want to check out Roboto, a new platformer that looks like it might have managed to capture the glory days of the Sega Genesis / SNES era.
This week’s releases are all over the road map when it comes to style and developer. The leader of the pack is Deadlock: Online from Crescent Moon Games, a multi-player online dual stick shooter with great 3D visuals. Next up is the classic Sid Meier’s Pirates!, a strategy game for the iPad that will have you singing “Yo ho, Yo ho” in no time at all. If you’re curious what a nine year old can do when he teams up with the world leader in casual gaming, check out Allied Star Police from Popcap games.
I’m sure the top story this week is 9mm from Gameloft, but I’m going to mention Pocket RPG, the latest offering from Crescent Moon Games. This stylish RPG should be a treat for anyone that likes dual stick games or rougelike offerings. I just wish they would have released the iPhone version first. Racing seemed to be a prevalent theme this week. If you enjoy futuristic jaunts you should check out Protoxide: Death Race from HeroCraft. On the other hand, if you just want to cause havoc in the current era, Reckless Getaway might be more your style. Finally, those that are more interested in proving their skills than causing any damage at all should consider Xtreme Wheels, a trial bike game that offers some really intense graphics given the game’s style of game play.
This week saw a lot of high profile ports arrive on the scene. Mac addicts will be happy to sink their teeth into Marathon 1, an FPS that helped define the genre for the Macintosh. Those that enjoy bullet hell shooters can give Deathsmiles a spin, with all the goodness of the Xbox 360 version in addition to a mode specifically designed for the iOS complete with a new character and story. The King Of Fighters is the second iOS entry from SNK, and hopefully proof that someone besides Capcom knows a thing or two about colorful 2D fighters. If Deathsmiles is a little too intense for you then you might want to check out Battlesquadr1, a slick looking port of an old Amiga game that actually makes a decent transition to the “modern” gaming world.
This week’s new releases include pseudo-sequels, electronic versions of non-existent board games, and familiar games with new names. Street Fighter IV Volt sounds more like a repackaged update than a true sequel, but it does sport the one thing that most users were clamoring for – WiFi multiplayer fights. Cargo Runners is a game designed from the ground up for the iPad, yet it’s meant to look like a digital reproduction of an old fashioned physically printed board game. From what I hear, it does a pretty good job at that. Many of you might have noticed the game Mooniacs and looked at it with a quizzical eye, thinking you’d experienced déjà vu. Don’t fret – the game is actually a rebranding of the puzzle game Moonsters , this time under the publishing label of Namco. As long as it plays the game same, you’ll still be in for a treat.
This week saw some old friends make the leap to new devices, as well as a couple of interesting looking retro games and another outing from a certain furry blue mascot. Board game lovers and simple strategists might want to check out the official Battleship for iPad, which finally docked on the big iOS screen. For those still craving the racing antics of a certain Italian plumber there’s Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing, a wacky game that might just fill your void. Retro gamers can either get their 3D on with the unique platform style of 1-bit Ninja, or kick it real old school with P1XL Party, a set of mini games that look just like they jumped off of a pamphlet for the Commodore 64.
Last week was a bit mild in comparison to some of the others we’ve had recently. For Pokemon fans there’s GeoSociety, the closest thing we’ll probably get to “gotta catch ‘em all” on the iPhone. If you prefer a more traditional RPG you might want to give Avadon: The Black Fortress a try. The graphics are old school, but the content should be deep enough for even the hardcore role players. Sports fans can partake in the lighter side of their craft with Zombie Toss Basketball or Flick Golf Extreme. Both put a crazy spin on their respective sports, though I have a feeling Zombie Toss Basketball is a lot more lighthearted.
As if last week wasn’t good enough with X-Men, now we get Dragon’s Lair 2: Time Warp for the iPhone! If developers need to keep making ports, might as well make ports that I want to see. In other news, apparently both Evil Dead and Galaga are celebrating their 30th anniversaries, and as such they both have a game released this week (of course the Evil Dead series also had a game about a month ago, but that’s beside the point). The Galaga 30th Collection contains anniversary remakes of 4 venerable shooter classics, while Evil Dead looks to be a Minigore wannabe with the original wise cracking zombie slayer. Finally, if you’re in the mood for what might amount to more of a surreal experience than an actual game, you’ll probably want to check out Dream:scape. It looks sharp, but the real question is how engrossing it will be if there aren’t a lot of true game play elements.
As far as I’m concerned, the big news of the week was the release of X-Men (TMA Review), a port of the 1992 arcade game. Sure the game is almost 20 years old, but it’s still a blast to play, and really holds up fairly well as far as graphics and such. Those yearning for some creature combat without the burdens of RPG quests will want to check out Fatal League or Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting. The former is a turn based strategy game with more than 20 hours of game play, and the latter is a one on one fight between you and monster after monster.