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.
I suppose you’re all expecting me to gush about Plants vs. Zombies 2, the sequel to a cultural phenomenon. Well I’m not going to do it, though I suppose if you’re a devotee of the original you’ll find a lot more zombie busting to do this time around. Speaking of sequels, the anime inspired RPG tale continues in Sage Fusion 2. More game play, an engrossing story and thoughtfully planned encounters should make for an appealing adventure. To finish out this thought, Erica Reed is back in Cognition Episode 2. If this title even simply maintains the quality of its predecessor then any true adventure game aficionado will want to check it out.
Much like the protagonist in the first game I wrote about, this week’s games were out for revenge, not wanting last week’s fine collection to get the better of them. The only thing worse than a post-apocalyptic nightmare is being cast into the midst of the demons for something you didn’t do. That’s the premise behind Trial by Survival, where you must fight off the hordes for 14 days to prove your innocence. While we’ll most likely never see Zelda on the iOS platform, Kingdoms Fall makes a valiant attempt at bringing us a similar experience. The graphics have an RPG Maker feel to them and the controls could use a bit of work, but there’s a lot of potential to be had with the game. Line drawing games seem to have simmered down a bit in the last few months but they’re still coming, and one of the latest is Animal Line Crossing – Draw to Control the Farm. It’s a cute variant of the theme that will appeal to kids and could still prove somewhat challenging to adults as you get into the later levels.
Last week was another really solid week for good iOS game releases. Spacetower is a new entry in the tower stacking genre, but its space oriented theme is the least of its different features. The big innovation is that you can directly control each section of the tower, landing it like if you were playing a lunar lander style game. If the idea of a platformer where the levels are generated based off of your music library seems cool but SongRush just didn’t quite do it for you, maybe you should try Pitch Jumper instead. The main character looks like it came out of the cast of creatures from Disney’s Lilo & Stitch and unlike SongRush, you can’t die in Pitch Jumper. So you like cute aliens but prefer a bit more action? The creature with the cat is back in Monster Shooter 2: Back to Earth, a sequel that so far in my opinion surpasses the first.
I had a lot of fun with the new games that were released last week. My need for wacky golf games was placated this week with Boom Boom Hamster Golf. Wild course layouts, a huge cannon and a “ball” that dances when you score below par on a given hole are just part of what makes this title so amusing. The strategy fan in me was torn between TurtleStrike and Toy Monsters. The former shows lots of promise with squad based aquatic combat played in a turn based real time format, but the server seemed a bit sluggish to me. The latter is an interesting offering where you get to take back your toy room from invading aliens or play against other humans in quick, intense strategy matches.
If you’ve been around the adventure game circuit as long as I have you’re undoubtedly familiar with the “land of the lounge lizards” and its star inhabitant, Larry. The boy is back in Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, a prime example of crowd funding done right. Spearheaded by Al Lowe himself, the game takes the plot of the original and brings everything else up to modern standards in a big way. Maybe you prefer a little bit of naval warfare that doesn’t take place on a grid. Pirate Hero 3D might suit your needs with a more arcade like approach to boat on boat combat with some cool scenery to boot. Those that enjoy strategy but like a more hands-off approach to the combat portion of the game should check out Rivals At War: 2084. It takes the thrill of card game deck building and lets you watch the battles play out in real time 3D glory.
I don’t know how the weather out by you is, but thankfully the iOS game “drought” only lasted a week. This time around Sqaure Enix released Deus Ex: The Fall, a new chapter in the lengthy first person action / strategy series. Expect a level of immersion not dissimilar to what you might expect from its “big boy” cousins, all nestled snuggly on your iOS screen. If you prefer your action with a bit more puzzle thrown in then you should check out Sprinkle Islands. This clever sequel to the 2011 release Sprinkle is tougher despite its cute appearance, and this time you actually get to move around the locations. If you really just want some brain teasing puzzle play – okay, there might be just a bit of timing involved – then Rescue Aliens is a good choice. There are several different aliens each with their own abilities, and while rescuing your fellow beings isn’t so difficult, collecting the three stars on each level can prove challenging.
I knew it had to happen eventually, but every week I was hoping it wouldn’t be THIS week. The seemly endless “Christmas in summer” we’ve been having on the App Store has temporarily come to an end. There were still some decent games to find, though, and the star of the show this time around is LIMBO Game. In all fairness this is a port of an already wildly popular Xbox et al game, but it was my first time playing it and it’s certainly a must have for fans of the platform puzzle hybrid genre. Vertical scrolling shooter fans might enjoy BeeCluster. While it lacks many of the amenities of modern SHMUPs it has a distinct atmosphere that actually works well for the genre. If you love the thrill of hitting homeruns but don’t care for the rest of the sport of Baseball electronically, PowerStrike might just be for you. It’s not quite as comprehensive as the Homerun Battle series, but I’m pretty sure you won’t find another batting game where you get to select a dragon as one of your hitters.
These last few weeks there have been so many interesting looking new releases that the only way I could really do this article justice would be to spend a week playing them all before even beginning to write the piece. Since that’s not going to happen, I will as always do my best to bring you an interesting cross-section of the latest offerings. PlayFirst returned to their most lauded franchise this week with the release of Diner Dash Rush. Basically it’s Flo meets Facebook as you still have to happily serve as many customers as possible, but now you have a short time limit and can compete against your friends. Ravenous Games is back with the third installment of their popular retro side scroller series, League Of Evil 3. It’s just like you know and love, but this time with spinning wall blades and level replays thanks to the Everyplay video service. Sugar Rush is a crazy new “Facebook to iOS” game from Full Fat. A 60 second time limit, the board closing in from both top and bottom and some insane multipliers make for one wild ride.
I’m really impressed with how many weeks in a row there has been a strong selection of games to choose from. Strategy buffs should check out Rivals for Catan, a port of a card game that is based off of a board game that has also been ported to the iOS platform. You construct cities, build transports and in true strategy fashion try and take over the world. If you prefer a little Pokemon style action then Monsters Invade: Oz might suit your needs. This game has colorful hand drawn visuals, plenty of quests to complete and 100 monsters to collect and train.