angry-birds-go!_642821482_ipad_02With the Apple’s App Store holiday lockdown looming in just a couple of weeks, developers and publishers are bringing their A game, releasing loads of high-profile titles again this week, starting with Rovio’s latest installment in the Angry Birds franchise, Angry Birds Go!.

FINALLY Rovio takes a real departure from the tired old slingshot puzzle game and does something completely different with their fowl friends. Angry Birds Go! is a free-to-play cart racing game complete with power-ups and all your favorite Angry Birds characters. This has been in soft launch in other countries for at least a few weeks now, so I’ve had some hands on time with it and it is a very welcome departure for the franchise (despite the usual free-to-play pan-handling). This one is definitely worth taking for a ride.

On the PC and consoles, LEGO® Star Wars™ was one of the earliest offerings in the franchise, but despite a number of other brilliant LEGO titles making their way to iOS Warner Bros. never seemed to port this one to iOS…until now. LEGO® Star Wars™: The Complete Saga collects the events of all 6 films (yeah…even the new ones) in the usual fun LEGO fashion we’ve grown accustomed to. However, this time around WB is giving you the entire Episode I free with the download of the app, with Episodes I-VI unlockable via IAP. Instant download…even if you only just play through the free content.

alice-in-wordland_707995948_ipad_01Ivanovich Games has made some really fun iOS puzzle and word games (I’m a big fan of their Time Geeks hidden object series). Their latest action/word game Alice in Wordland combines elements of match-3 and other genres along with their Letris word game series to create an all-new word game experience, set in the world of Wonderland and with more than 200 free levels!

Witches are trying to conquer Hazewich, and threatening secrets from the past keep surfacing! If that weren’t enough, demons walk right by you, and scary symbols keep appearing in the morgue following enigmatic murders.

G5 Entertainment is well-known for their (paid) hidden object adventure games, but this week they have released Letters From Nowhere: A Hidden Object Mystery, a universal and free-to-play HO game which has its roots in the studio’s beloved Letters from Nowhere franchise which first launched on iOS last year. If you’ve ever been curious about the hidden object genre, this might be the perfect (and free) opportunity to check one out from a studio with a wealth of experience in hidden object games.

Onto the paid apps…

I must admit that I have never seen a single episode of the animated series Adventure Time but it certainly looks entertaining and I know it has a pretty big following. I do however, have a lot of experience with the amazing endless (runner/skiing) game Ski Safari, so the mash-up of these two properties seems like it’s a match made in off-the-wall heaven Ski Safari: Adventure Time. This new game in the Ski Safari franchise keeps all the same fun gameplay of the original, but replaces the characters and power-ups with Finn and his friends, and adopts the Adventure Time animation style. Fans of the cartoon series should certainly pick this one up.

toca-lab_748057890_ipad_03Now onto a few kid-friendly apps (of which there have been a lot of great new ones in the last two weeks). The first of which is Toca Lab, the latest offering from those talented Swedes at Toca Boca. A virtual science lab for your kids, allowing them to
safely experiment with all 118 of the elements from the periodic table. Use a centrifuge, Bunsen burner, slow down atoms with a little ice, channel their inner mad scientist by mixing liquids from test tubes or play with magnets and electricity.

While perhaps not as grounded in reality as something like The Elements, “the periodic table in Toca Lab is accurate, the way new elements are created is not”. Toca Lab presents young kids with fun and entertaining way to get interested in the world of Science.

Also in the Toca Boca family is the latest toddler-centric app from Sago Sago, an underwater open-world exploration game called Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer. It is in a similar vein as Sago Mini Forest Flyer, where your child moves the character (Fins the fish) around the world interacting with certain marked points and laughing and giggling at what happens. If this is even half as charming as Sago Mini Forest Flyer, your kids will be delighted.

robotslayer-volume-1_720763564_ipad_03Finally we have the hand-drawn comic book app Robotslayer – Volume 1 from first time author Vince Kamp. The title is being release simultaneously as both a physical graphic novel and this interactive comic iOS app. Robotslayer began as a story Kamp told to his children, in which a boy must overcome his fears to defeat a robot army, controlled by an evil genius. It does a nice job of conveying a positive message about overcoming adversity and stepping up to do what is right, even when it may seem impossible. The comic has various hot spots throughout which, when tapped, trigger animations and sound effects and there is even a little Robotslayer mini arcade game as well.

Next up are a couple of titles from Bulkypix. First is AntiSquad, a cell-shaded turn-based strategy game that looks somewhat similar to last year’s RAD Soldiers. The second is Reiner Knizia’s Razzia – The Mafia Board Game, an auction and set-collection card game that is similar to Knizia’s own Ra game, swapping Ancient Egypt for the Mob in the 1930’s, with players bidding on the items from previous night’s take. This is the first digital release of the game since it was first published in 2004 and features both single player vs AI as well as online multiplayer match-ups. I’ll be picking this one up for sure.

the-room-two_667362389_ipad_02Fireproof Games is back with the next installment of their eye-catching 3D physics puzzle game series, The Room. Bigger than the original, The Room Two is a stand-alone game, so you need not worry if you never played the first one. This is only for the iPad, with an iPhone-friendly release coming early next year. Fireproof Games made excellent use of the platform with the first title in the series, crafting a uniquely engaging experience, so needless to say, I’m really looking forward to seeing what devilish puzzles they’ve cooked up this time around.

Finally that brings us to Rockstar Games’ latest GTA open-world port, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Originally released in 2004, this is the sequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which Rockstar ported to iOS at this same time last year. The game takes place in the early 90’s and is set in the fictional state of San Andreas. The protagonist, gang member Carl “CJ” Johnson’s mother has been murdered and his family and friends are in trouble, so he must return to his neighborhood to deal with the fallout. Unfortunately, “a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide and CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets”.

Rockstar has done an excellent job with its last two iOS GTA ports, so let’s hope the streak continues.

Is that enough new stuff for you to check out?
Did I miss anything?
Let us know what new apps you’ll be picking up this week.

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