sword-dragon_967718634_ipad_01.jpgWhat initially looked like it might be a fairly slow week for new iOS games, has certainly turned out to be a good one as we head into the holiday weekend.

Up first we have Sword & Dragon, a strategic puzzle game which primarily uses a Threes-like sliding tile mechanic. One tile (a heart) represents your health and you try to avoid that tile colliding with dragons while swiping the screen to shift the tiles around. Potion tiles increase your life when they collide with your heart tile, sword tiles can used to vanquish enemies as well as collect gold and gems. As you progress through the levels, new elements and tile types are introduced. This is a neat little game which takes a somewhat over-used mechanic (due to all the Threes! clones) and creates a fun, fresh experience. Definitely worth a look.

Noodlecake Studios has just published Tiny Warriors: Power Up, a Candy Crush style match-3 game featuring five unlockable characters, each of which has their own unique pair of special powers which can be charged and utilized to help you knock out three star ratings on each level. The back story is that the Tiny Warriors are trapped inside the digital world and need your help to escape. The theme, and its nicely illustrated characters, as well as the cool powerups make this one perfect for match-3 fans of any age.

CUCKOOBIC’s debut game, Spinology has a cleaver and humorous back story. The gargoyles and other magical creatures used to be able to live freely during the night when the humans were asleep and what few were awake, couldn’t see them. Then Edison had to go and invent the lightbulb, lighting up the night sky, keep humans up late and destroying the creatures’ nighttime freedom. Now they want destroy all the light bulbs to “bring back the good old peaceful night”. It is a physics puzzle game where you must tap to pass a stone between gargoyles, launching it at just the right time, angle and trajectory to break a series of light bulbs. Timing is key so that you don’t lose momentum or toss the stone wildly in the wrong direction; miss a bulb and you have to start the level over. The game is on sale for 99¢ (50% off) for launch.

divide-by-sheep_953946902_ipad_01.jpgNext up is Divide By Sheep, my game of show at PAX East earlier this year. A challenging and cute mix of math and logic, tinyBuild’s latest offering sees players trying to successfully load groupings of sheep onto rafts. Try to put too many on a raft and it’ll sink, so you’ll need to carefully shift the groupings of sheep around the various sized platforms to regroup them into the correct numberings for the boats. As you progress through the levels, cool new gameplay elements are introduced which require a change in your thought process and keep things interesting and challenging throughout. I highly recommend this charming little puzzle game.

Keeping with the puzzle games, we have Blockadillo, a fun new mix of brickbreaker, platfformer and arcade game starring a color-changing Armadillo! Players are in control only of the Armadillo’s horizontal movements, tapping on the left and right sides of the screen to shift direction. Up and down motion is automatic and constant. The goal is to smash all of the blocks in the level while avoiding traps and finding all of the lost idols. The catch is that you can only smash those blocks which match the current color of the armadillo, so at least once (probably several times), you’ll have to hit the special color changing blocks to change the armadillo’s color to be able to take out all of the various colored blocks. It’s a rather fun mix of genres which does a nice job of scratching that itch for them all. The level format is perfect for pickup and play whenever you have a few moments to spare.

These next couple of fighting titles will let you get some of that aggression out, or just have fun beating up monsters.

the-executive_552227993_ipad_02.jpgFirst, from Pizza vs. Skeletons creators, Riverman Media, comes The Executive, a stylized “cinematic, martial arts action game” perfectly suited for mobile consumption. Players take on the role of a CEO whose company has been “infiltrated by werewolves” and now you must save your employees as well as the world at large from these hairy beasts. Part fighting game, part rhythm game, The Executive features an intuitive tap based control scheme for punching, kicking and blocking as well as timed segments where you swipe at precisely the right moment (and direction) to dodge a danger or pull off some stunt. As you progress through the game, you’ll earn money which you can use to upgrade and improve your characters skills, or invest into employees which will earn you more money over time. The game looks beautiful and if it wasn’t already clear from its premise, doesn’t take itself too seriously, making for a rather silly, challenging and fun gaming experience. Available for $2.99 (40% off at launch), the game makes great use of a simple touch centric control scheme to give the game some nice punch, making it a rather satisfying mobile fighter.

Unlike the last title, I have not yet had a chance to play Su Mon Smash: Star Coliseum, but it looks pretty neat. Set in a futuristic fighting arena, the player controls a genetically engineered creatures, duking it out in 3D head to head battles with other creatures. The game features eight upgradable Aniform types, six different areas and four fight types (Pit Fight, Tournament, Champions, Exhibition) as well as MFi game controller support for that console/arcade feel.

lego-minifigures-online_904929604_ipad_03Another big title which launched earlier this week was LEGO® Minifigures Online. A family-friendly action RPG MMO, players quest through Lego brick levels with their team of minifigures, smashing enemies (into bricks) to earn XP and level up their own figures. You also have to rebuild structures to navigate past certain points. The initial app purchase includes the game and the first world (Pirate World), but additional worlds can/must be purchased in-game. “There are over one hundred Minifigures to collect and play with in LEGO Minifigures Online! You can even use codes found in real Minifigures bags to unlock and play with them in-game!” The different figures have different specialties and special abilities. This is one I think my daughters (big Lego fans) will likely enjoy.

adventures-of-pip_785803965_ipad_01Finally, we’ll end this week with a couple of premium platformers, the first of which is Adventures of Pip, which comes from Tic Toc Games. In this retro-inspired side-scrolling platfomrer, you take on the role of Pip, “a lowly single pixel in a 32-bit world” trying to save his village from the evil Queen DeRezzia. You’ll quickly discover that Pip has the unique ability to “evolve and grow by absorbing pixels from his fallen foes”. However, when Pip uses these pixels he devolves back into a single-pixel organism, so the player needs to figure out when best to do so, to solve environmental puzzles. Adventures of Pip features five worlds to explore, up to 10 hours of gameplay and is currently sale priced at $4.99 for launch (66% off).

heroki_1013818720_ipad_01Last, but not least, that brings us to Heroki, a classic-style platformer, 5 years in the making from developer Picomy and published by SEGA. Players take on the role of the title character, Heroki, a propeller-headed hero who is trying to save his world of Levantia. Discover hidden areas, hidden objects, collect coins and either battle or avoid any enemies which get in his way. To accomplish this, the game offers three control methods: dragging, pushing and a virtual d-pad. You can also send Heroki into a free-fall, simply by tapping the screen just below him and stopping him by tapping above him. This skill is useful for breaking clouds to release coins and access other parts of levels. Heroki can also pick up crates which he can launch at enemies by dragging backward on the screen (like drawing and aiming a bow) and releasing. With gorgeous visuals and 10+ hours of gameplay, Heroki offers up a new mobile platformer experience, albeit one which harkens back to the Dreamcast era.

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, I hope all of my US readers have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday.

Go to the second page of this post to watch the trailers for these games.