Starting this off this week, we see Mattel bringing their extremely popular Apples to Apples™ word association party board game to iOS with a free-to-play digital release. For the one or two of you out there who may have never played Apples to Apples before, players select a card from their hand which they feel best fits the current clue card (provided by the round’s judge) and anonymously gives this to the judge who then decides which pairing he or she likes best and the “owner” of the card gets a point. It’s all about doing the best you can with the cards you’ve been dealt and catering your answers to what you think the judge for that round might agree with or find funny. This is one of my family’s favorite games to bust out at dinner parties, so I’m curious to see how this iOS version plays in the somewhat solitary digital realm, where you don’t have the table talk jockeying and judge nudging that is really the heart and fun of this game.
Subway Surfers creators SYBO are back with an all-new 3D lane-based endless runner called Blades of Brim. It features a cool combat element where swipes to change lanes also act as attacks against an endless barrage of Goons. There are weapons and armor to unlock, as well as new playable heroes and mountable companion animals. Overall, I have found it to be a bit more of an engaging experience than its popular predecessor.
Set in a futuristic fantasy world, the new large-scale real-time strategy game, Ember Conflict “casts the player as a young squad commander, charged with recruiting troops and battling it out against formidable foes”. You issue orders to your units by dragging them and they attack when in range. You also can drag paths to move units around for better attack positioning or to get them out of harms way. Improve your squad by leveling up existing units and unlocking additional unit types as you play. The game is specifically designed for mobile consumption, the game is ideally suited for short two-minute gaming sessions or longer play sessions as well.
A sort of Peggle and pinball mashup, Riff the Robot is a fun and challenging new arcade style game in which you are literally trying to help the discombobulated Dr. MC get his lost marbles back. You launch Riff into the Peggle-like levels and use a combination of his left and right thrusters, sling shots and paddles to keep him airborne and collecting marbles. Once you’ve collected all of the green marbles, a time portal is opened to the next level. The game offers a nice mix of elements and offers a slightly new twist on a familiar mechanic.
Candy Crush Saga creators, King.com, have just launched a new social word game called AlphaBetty Saga. Set in a world populated by mice, AlphaBetty follows Professor Alpha, Betty and their friend Barney “as they embark on an epic quest to collect new words and complete the Encyclopedia of Everything”. To do this players link at least three Scrabble-like letter tiles (left to right, right to left, diagonally or some combination of the three) to create words, to reach a target objective within a certain number of turns. The game follows King’s usually model of changing objectives a bit as you progress through levels and introducing new gameplay elements and special tiles.
In the short burst endless category…we have a couple of new entries from popular indie publishers.
First, from Halfbrick Studios we get an endless vertical dropper called Radical Rappelling, where players must carefully hold and release the screen to guide a repelling person safely down the side of a cliff, avoiding various dangers, and not pausing too long otherwise they’ll get overrun by lava. The controls are spot on and you quickly develop a proper rhythm of taps and releases for specific segments of the game, knowing just how much rope to let out at a time. The game features the cool collectables and personalizations we’ve come to expect from Halfbrick like unlockable uniforms, headgear, ropes and more to customize your character. It’s a fun new entry in this very tired genre.
BeaverTap Games, the team behind Mikey Shorts and the rest of the Mikey series of speed run games have a new reflex challenging endless game called Move the Walls, where you must flick the screen in the correct direction to “move the walls” such that your ever-ascending ship can safely pass by the obstacle or collect coins. There are multiple game skins which can be unlocked using the coins collected. Challenge friends to see who can stay on top of the leaderboard.
Stunt Wheels is a sort of retro style racing game where you use either left and right arrow buttons to steer or tilt your device. there is a bevy of crazy, mystery power ups to pick up along the way which may either help or hurt you. You can either play against AI racers or if you purchase the Mac version of the game for $8.99, it can be used as a local server for a party mode where each player (up to 4) connects to the same race using their iOS device.
I admittedly never played the original Robbery Bob which
Chillingo released in 2012, but now they are back with a sequel, Robbery Bob 2: Double Trouble. So it must have been popular? You play as Bob, a hapless burglar who must “sneak around security guards, past patrolling pensioners and evade cunning traps as you try to get your sticky mitts on as much loot as possible”. Utilizing various gadgets and your cunning you must complete 60 puzzling levels.
Boats seem to be the in thing this week…
First, for the kids, Sago Sago is back with an adorable looking new game aimed at children aged 2 to 5 called Sago Mini Boats. Featuring their usual cast of cuddly critters, Sago Mini Boats invites kids to join Harvey the dog as he sails on one of 10 different vessels to visit his friends at five different locations. Along the way, kids can collect treasures, keep an eye out for pirates, enjoy some ice cream and explore the sea life. It looks like another fun and imaginative title that preschoolers will really enjoy.
10000000 creator EightyEight Games (a one-man studio), is back with its highly anticipated sophomore effort, You Must Build A Boat. Building off the gameplay mechanics from 10000000, players slide rows/columns of various symbols to create matches to unlock treasures, build up your shield, open crates for special items, or attack monsters to complete quests and capture/hire new monsters to be crew members on your ever-growing boat. However, you’ve got to work quickly, because if you don’t make matches fast enough, you’ll get pushed off the side of the screen and will have to try, try again. A charming title for sure, its randomly generated levels and a roguelike feel (without the whole starting from scratch nuisance) give You Must Build A Boat great replayability and is perfect for quick play sessions anytime you have a few minutes to spare.
Finally, Hitman: Sniper was a title that was stuck in soft launch for quite some time, during which it was free-to-play. Set in Montenegro and SQUARE ENIX’s Hitman universe, you take on the role of the professional hitman, Agent 47. The game is a fixed position shooter in which you must train in on your marks using the scope on your trusty, death-delivering rifle and quietly and subtlety deliver judgement to complete your contracts. The game features over 150 different missions and you can unlock additional rifles as you compete against friends for the top spot on the leaderboards. I played a little of this game while it was still in soft launch and found it to be pretty entertaining, but I haven’t tried the paid release yet, so I’m not sure what was changed when the game went paid. However, even as a paid game it does still appear to contain a few IAPs to unlock “3 unique rifles that can give you the edge on tougher missions, and a competitive boost on the leaderboards”.
That’s all I have for you this week, but I’m sure there will be loads more next week with Apple’s big WWDC announcements to sparking increased visibility in the App Store.