With a number of titles already hitting the App Store earlier today including the worldwide release of Everplay’s Leaping Legend , G5’s Pilot Brothers adventure game sequel on both iPhone and iPad, and RAWR Media’s A Cautionary Tail, and that doesn’t even include the juggernaut of new releases headed to the App Store tonight. It is going to be a very busy 24 hours for iOS gamers.
Many developers were too busy focusing on WWDC and E3 to push out new content last Wednesday night and took the week off. This week they seem to be making up for lost time, kicking the release engines into high gear with some hugely anticipated sequels, hot iOS ports and even a few new IPs.
As always, we’ll tackle this endeavor in order of price, starting with some 99¢ titles, the first of which is the latest digital toy for kids from Toca Boca called Toca Builders. This construction / painting game puts your little one in charge of 6 different new Toca toys, each of which has special abilities and movement styles allowing you to roll, jump, lift and even spit (yeah I said spit) to color, place or destroy blocks on a floating platform. My daughters are having a lot of fun with this one, another stellar Toca Boca title for just 99¢. As an aside, this game features the most realistic on-screen trackball that I’ve had the pleasure of using.
Next up is Chillingo’s spooky dual-stick shooter, Gloomy Hollow. An undead trio of lost souls consisting of Mustache Jim, a former sheriff, Rosie, a former saloon singer and Smithy, whose half man half-machine (and the size of two men) must trek through the desolate wastelands of the Underworld on a quest to defeat all manner of beastie and “turn this troubled town back into the lively limbo it once was”.
On a cheerier note, Dioxis Mining launches their first iOS title, a fast-paced 2D side-scrolling racer and platformer called Whirl the Squirrel. The game, which was inspired by the SNES classic Uniracer looks cute, fast and fun as Whirl (a squirrel) races against the clock, up and down hills, around big loops, half-pipes and more trying to collect flowers and avoid hazards.
Build your shelter and do whatever you can to protect those oranges from the evil acid rain! FDG kicks things up a notch in Cover Orange 2, the sequel to their 2010 iOS classic, with 120 levels spanning multiple themed time periods and a several new puzzle elements to keep the game play fresh and interesting.
First there was Swampy, then Perry crashed Disney’s “Where’s My” franchise and now Disney’s most iconic character…Mickey Mouse…joins the party in Where’s My Mickey?. Designed in conjunction with Disney’s brand new, yet charmingly retro series of Mickey Mouse animated shorts, this newest entry in the “Where’s My” franchise also features other Disney favorites like Goofy as well as new game play mechanics like clouds, wind and rain. Check out the trailer on the second page of this post and you’ll quickly see why this looks like the best “Where’s My” title yet! It is available in separate iPhone and iPad (XL) releases.
Next up we have the sequel to Glitch Games’ point and click adventure game, Forever Lost. I have already played through this game in its 5 to 6 hour entirety, and it was absolutely brilliant. Episode 2 has nearly twice as much content as the first episode of the series and many of the puzzles are quite, quite clever, leading to those all important AHA moments which make point-and-click adventure games so much fun. It is being released in two flavors, an HD (Retina) release for $2.99 and a non-HD release for $1.99. Both of these are universal apps. This is a MUST HAVE game for any fans of the adventure game genre.
“Awakened by an oncoming storm, you open your eyes to discover yourself in a strange, dark room—tucked away in a house that’s not yours.” Thus begins Home – a Unique Horror Adventure, a title that garnered a good deal of critical acclaim last year when it was released for the PC. Now Benjamin Rivers’ rather unique pixel art adventure / murder mystery game makes its way to iOS. The thing that is so special about the game is that as you play, the game subtly changes “almost imperceptibly—to reflect your perspective”. It looks pretty neat, so I’m happy to see it get an iOS release.
If adventure games aren’t your thing, then maybe the fast-paced colorful action of Zorbie will fit the bill. The developer classifies this one as somewhere between a block breaker and shoot’em up…”a kind of modern powered-up Game&Watch freely inspired by 90s arcade games”. You play as Zorbie, who just finished a stint in prison and is hung-gry, so must help him hunt some birds by throwing his ax and letting it hit those feathery morsels, while also avoiding an accidental ax to the face when it returns. From the trailer, it looks like it’d be a fun, sorta retro arcade experience.
Digital board games seem to be making a huge splash on iOS in recent weeks, and this week is no different with The Rivals for Catan launching tonight. Rivals is not a Catan expansion, but a completely different game, based on the original card game by Catan creator, Klaus Teuber. First introduced in 2010 (in tabletop form) The Rivals for Catan challenges players to rule a realm on Catan, construct cities and settlements, build ships and roads, and more. This digital version by United Soft Media (USAM), the same developer who brought Catan to iOS, offers players a variety of game modes, AI opponents, online multiplayer and an easy-to-play introductory game to get you started. I’ve been told that because this game is completely separate, a knowledge of Settlers of Catan is not necessary to jumping right into this one, so I’m looking forward to giving Rivals a go.
Next we have a rather impressive looking action adventure game called Spiral Episode 1. Built on the Unreal engine, this debut title from Pixel Hero Games promises to deliver a full console gaming experience on iOS”and from what I’ve seen in the trailers on their blog, I’m certainly inclined to believe them. Players take on the role of Tempus, “an investigator suffering from strange dreams while trying to figure out the link between the deadly ‘Spiral’ disease afflicting the population, and the increasing violence and instability occurring around him, Tempus becomes the center of an underground plot that threatens the entire world around him.”
Aside from the captivating visuals, one of Spiral’s most enticing aspects is that the game is controlled via a unique ‘one touch’ gesture system designed specifically to take advantage of the strengths of the platform. Other features include open, explorable environments, “console quality visual effects”, it fully integrates Game Center Achievements, Leaderboards, and Challenges, Social Networking, and offers an iCloud save game system as well as HDMI output support.
Finally, we come to tonight’s big ticket attraction…
Firaxis Games and 2K Games who released the excellent Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol and fun free-to-play strategy game Haunted Hollow, now bring us what is easily the highest profile (and most expensive) title of the night…the iOS release of XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
It is a full port of the AAA PC game, devoid of any IAP and carries an above average price tag of $19.99. While some iOS game buyers might have a bit of sticker shock, the PC version of the game costs $40, so this is half as much for the SAME GAME.
I myself have never played this space-age turn-based, tactical RPG, but the PC and Console versions of XCOM: Enemy Unknown are hugely popular and you can bet that Apple will be promoting it heavily on the App Store this week. It is a universal app, but due to the graphical nature it will require a iPhone 4S, 5th gen iPod Touch, iPad 2 or better and may require you to close some other opening apps. Weighing in at a hefty 1.86 GB you also may need to clear off a little space, especially if you have a low-capacity iDevice. With the game’s pedigree, I have no doubt that this game will be topping the ‘highest grossing’ charts by days end tomorrow. If this is a genre (or franchise) that interests you then, this will certainly be THE TITLE to pick up this week.
And that’s a wrap…
Leave a comment below letting us know which of these games you’ll be picking up tonight when these (and more) new releases go live at 11pm EST.
Note: All of the links below will go live at 11pm (EST) on Wednesday, June 20th.