It certainly has been another great week of new iOS releases, with some stellar offerings in both the digital board game and adventure game space (two of my favorite genres) not to mention some other nice titles of varying genres as well.
Starting things off this week we have Magic Duels. I already went into this game in some detail here, but essentially this app marks Wizards of the Coast’s all-new platform for releasing mobile Magic: The Gathering content going forward. The new app is universal, meaning that Magic has finally come to the iPhone. Completely free-to-play, all cards in the game are earnable simply through play. Newcomers can quickly learn to play Magic thanks to a thorough and detailed series of interactive tutorials. There’s never been an easier time or way to try Magic.
Down The Mountain is a game that’s a little bit Q*bert, and a little bit Crossy Road. In this endless hopper from the creator of Boom Dots, Sven Magnus, you attempt to traverse down a slowly disappearing Q*bert-esque mountain with that same charming, blocky isometric view, gamers have come to love. Along the way, you will have to deal with all sorts of unique block types, like ones which poison you, ones that heal you, or even spiked ones (those kill you). There 200 missions to complete and 60 fun characters to collect. A great little, quick-playing time filler.
Available exclusively on iOS, Nono Islands is a sort of arcade puzzle game from Mr. Crab creators, Illusion Labs. You are a fearless explorer in search of lost treasure on an expedition to the mysterious Nono Islands. A test of reflexes await as you tap and swipe to guide your adventurer along forking pathways and across bridges, avoiding traps and dangerous creatures to collect missing map pieces, keys and treasures.
Popping Sports is a unique (and slightly morbid) looking one-finger physics-based high-score game that puts you at the buzzer, scoring the last goal/basket/point in the final seconds of the match. Except that in this game, you are literally trying to use your head to score. You sequentially pop off the limbs of your stickman’s body hoping to get the momentum required to propel your head to bounce into the basket, net or goal of the randomly selected sports-themed level and try to score as many points as possible.
After last week’s release of Tiny Warriors, Noodlecake is back this week with another publishing effort. Colorful and crazy, Shooting Stars! is a classic arcade shoot’em up, made for the YouTube/meme generation…like Space Invaders on an acid trip. You simply hold and drag your finger on the screen to move around and lay down a spray of bullets from a massive array of rather unique weapons including awesome special cooldown-required (and creatively named) super weapons like Clone Warriors, Freedom Sheeps, a Ro-Cat launcher, the Disco of Doom. There are stackable, collectible superfoods which give you neat, powerful close-range attacks as well. Survive long enough and you’ll get to face off against “evil aliens disguised as parody celebrity bosses (like Justin Belieber, PewDerPie, Kanye East). The game features two different play modes, a daily high score challenge to allow you to compete with friends on a fresh layout and leaderdboard or a solo rogue like Card Hunt mode. Frenetic and fantastical, Shooting Stars! is a fun take on a classic arcade genre.
Draw a Stickman: EPIC 2 is the sequel to Hitcents.com’s innovative 2012 game in which players use their imagination to actually draw their own Stickman who comes to life as their character in the game. As you embark on your adventure through time you’ll face a myriad of pencil-draw enemies, unlock new drawing tools and solve puzzles with the help of your self-drawn items and adventuring companion. The sequel features a new story as well as loads of new drawing tools and there is even a free companion Sketchbook app which acts a sandbox to allow you to experiment with the main game’s enhanced drawing tools.
It is with both excitement and sadness that I greet this next title. Picking up right where they left off, Glitch Games returns with the final episode of their fantasic point and click adventure game series, Forever Lost. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll simply say that the plot follows a creepy mystery around a closed down asylum founded in the 1800s. You’ll explore various locations and find and use items to solve clever puzzles. This concluding episode utilizes Glitch’s excellent new game engine which performs beautifully and adds some great new enhancements to the in-game camera (a staple in this series). If you love point and click adventures I highly HIGHLY recommend this series, I’m sad to see it end, but thrilled to experience the conclusion of the story and the new game engine. You can grab the HD version of the game for a special intro price of $3.99 or if you have a non-retina device, the SD version is only $2.99.
I usually like to feature at least one specifically kid-oriented app, so this week I’ve chosen Crayola DJ. The app allows kids to play, experiment and create with music by combining tracks in different genres, including dance, pop, and hip hop. Once they feel like they’ve got a good rhythm going they can try performing for a “live” audience (colorful light show included), earning points for mixing, scratching, varying tempo and incorporating sound effects. Everything is color-coded (well it is Crayola) to help keep things straight. There is also a two player mode where kids can put their music mixing skills to the test in a head to head battle to see who can win over the audience. All of the music you create can be saved and shared. This could be a fun one if you have musically inclined little ones.
With its rich, dark hand drawn art style, Klei Entertainment’s survival adventure/crafting game Don’t Starve, has gotten tremendous buzz ever since it was first released for the PC in 2013 and PS4 the following year. Not owning a PS4 and not really being a PC gamer, I had never actually gotten to try it, but it has always been a game I was curious about. Finally this week, the game was released for the iPad as Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition. An odd name for sure (unless it plans to go universal in the future), but I’ll happily take it. You are a (quite possibly mad) scientist named Wilson who has been abandoned in a sprawling, dark and dreary land and you must collect food and other items to craft tools, a source of fire and survive…especially the the pitch black nights when the monsters arrive. You’ll die often and be lucky even to survive that first night. You are given no instructions and you must forge your own path figuring things out as you go, learning from your past mistakes. You keep going through these day/night cycles trying to collect as much as you can during the day (8 minutes of real-time) to have light and food to last the night. The app includes the Reign of Giants DLC expansion which can be enabled for an even more difficult experience with deeper strategy. With its random setups, it is the type of game that will keep drawing you back to discover new elements, to see if you can push yourself further and last a little longer. A welcome addition to the iOS landscape, Don’t Starve feels like a perfect fit for iPad gaming.
Finally, that brings us to Days Of Wonder’s latest digital board game release, Splendor™. Splendor is an engaging, light-to-medium weight resource management game that is easy to learn and which can be played against a variety of AI opponents or locally against up to three humans in real-life. Players compete to collect gems to purchase developments and curry favor with the nobles in order to earn the most prestige points. The app is nicely put together with all the polish and detail you’ve come to expect from a DoW digital board game app. You can read my full review here.
And that’s all I’ve got for you this week, have fun gaming.