black-jack-a-moving-novel_734453929_ipad_01With Apple’s 8-day App Store lockdown looming (December 21st through December 27th), we are hitting our final batch of new Wednesday night / Thursday releases before the new year….and as you can imagine…it’s packed!

Black Jack: A Moving Novel is Sonar Studios’ debut title, a sci-fi fantasy novel written by Emmy®-winning writer A.R. Witham, which tells the story of Jack Swift, a lost teenage boy forced to find his way back home.

What makes the app so unique is its engaging and immersive presentation of an original story with animated illustrations and visual and audio effects that take over what feels like a standard leather-bound novel, with turnable pages. The result is something rather special. Chapters 1-4 of the book are available when you download the free app, with single in-app purchase of $14.99 to unlock the entire 20 chapter / 600+ page book. It is worth noting that the remaining chapters being released serially.

Touch Press’ latest educational app, Journeys of Invention lets iPad owners get hands-on with some of the most priceless objects in the history of science and technology. Travel to the Science Museum in London for 14 interactive stories written by museum’s curators where you get to “study, rotate and even operate some of the most revolutionary scientific inventions of all time” act like a scientist, an astronaut, code breaker and more exploring some of the most fascinating and influential scientific discoveries.

Of the 14 journeys contained within Journeys of Invention, only the ‘Connected’ journey which discusses early forms of wireless communication (radios and cell-phones) is free and the ‘New Science’ journey can be unlocked by connecting the app with your email or Facebook account. Otherwise, the remaining 12 journeys can be purchased via a one-time $9.99 in-app purchase.

Okay, enough with the learning, it is time to kick some butt and get revenge on the criminals that kidnapped your sister. Chillingo’s new free-to-play, gesture-based fighter, Fightback™, is a title that we’ve been looking forward to getting our fingers on since it was announced at E3 last year. Designed specifically for the platform I’m hoping it offers a more engaging experience than the typical virtual stick and buttons fighter never quite seems to accomplish for me.

cut-the-rope-2_681814050_ipad_01Let’s kick off the paid apps with everyone’s favorite sweet-toothed little green creature Om Nom, who is back in an amazing and fun new adventure in Cut the Rope 2. ZeptoLab has done a really nice job expanding the CtR universe with the same familiar gameplay, supplemented by some all-new mechanics in the form of new creatures which have their own unique properties and abilities that really add variety to the game. Add the fact that it’s a universal app and that there is an additional per-level challenge (besides the usual 3 stars) for each of the game’s included 120 launch levels and you’ve got quite a bargain for only 99¢!

Halfbrick Studios, is back again this week with Colossatron: Massive World Threat. The game’s undeniable character, hilarious premise and entertaining trailer are just screaming insta-buy. Players take control of a ginormous space snake hellbent on destroying Metro City. You have only one goal…DESTROY EVERYTHING! Build up your arsenal of weaponry and take on General Mustache and his armed forces as they try to fruitlessly defend their puny little city from the reptilian reaper.

On the flip side, Shoggoth Rising casts players as, an unlucky (but fortunately, adequately armed) fellow who’s been shipwrecked near a lighthouse just off a mysterious coast. Now he must fight for survival against the onslaught of attackers trying to scale his lighthouse in this somewhat intense looking 3D action defense game. Shoggoth Rising is available at a special launch price of 99¢ (50% off).

gro-garden_773896387_ipad_02Enough destruction and mayhem (for now) how about one for the kids? Grow your own garden, harvest the crops and feed the animals. Gro Play’s latest eco-educational kids app Gro Garden, offers your little ones a fun way to learn about organic gardening and sustainable farming by interacting with Connie the Compost and her friends the Micro organisms. Gro Garden looks pretty cute and conveys a positive message, it is available at a special introductory price of 99¢ (66% off) until Dec 26th.

Last week we got Ski Safari: Adventure Time and this week Cartoon Network is back with even more Adventure Time fun, with Finn and Jake To The RescOoo, a 50-stage puzzle platformer that takes gamers through the 5 kingdoms of Ooo. “From the Grass Lands to the far reaches of Lumpy Space, from the sweltering Fire Kingdom to the chilling peaks of the Ice Kingdom”, you are on a quest to rescue the Princesses from the Ice King.

NAMCO BANDAI Games burns rubber with the latest entry in its popular arcade racing franchise, Ridge Racer Slipstream. Ride your competitor’s slipstream and drift to earn nitro boosts as you try out-maneuver and outrun your opponents using one of 12 customizable vehicles across 10 venues and 108 racing competitions.

From the same studio that brought us the haunting and visually compelling game Crow, comes a new episodic adventure horror game, Abducted. “Abducted by aliens and taken thousands of light years from home, you have one ultimate goal: Escape.” Once again it appears that Sunside has crafted a rather nice immersive experience for your senses. Creepers.

violett_771609401_ipad_02Inspired by Alice In Wonderland, Violett is point-and-click adventure puzzle game “set in a quirky parallel reality”. A young teenage girl named Violett has been uprooted by her parents and forced to move into to an old spooky house in the middle of nowhere. One day she is mysteriously cast into an alternate reality and adorned with the (seemingly commonplace) power of telekinesis. Using her new-found abilities she must try to stay out of trouble, fight an evil spider queen and find a way back home. Previously released on Steam, Violett makes its way to iOS with some gorgeous looking retina graphics.

Digital board game fans will probably want to check out Quarriors!, a dice-building monster battling game which game out earlier this week. It offers both single-player as well as online and local multiplayer gameplay. However just a word of warning, players unfamiliar with the physical table-top game on which this is base, may struggle a little as they try to fully comprehend the game’s rules and strategy.

After a brilliant showing with the first episode of their fantastic new series The Wolf Among Us, Telltale returns this week with the second season of its amazing Walking Dead: The Game, which continues the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned by the undead apocalypse. And for the first time, the iOS version is being release at the same time as the PC and console versions. No having to wait a month (or more) and avoid spoilers. Hopefully the subsequent four episodes will also get platform-wide simultaneous releases. This is most-certainly a must-have title.

republique_687888390_ipad_02Speaking of (likely) must-have titles…

“You receive a desperate phone call from Hope, a young woman trapped within a shadowy totalitarian state. Using a stolen phone, she calls and begs you to hack into the nation’s surveillance system, assume control, and help her escape from the clutches of the omnipresent Overseer.” After a rather successful Kickstarter Campaign which raised over $550,000 dollars (10% over their goal), Camouflaj has just debuted their episodic stealth action game Republique on iOS FIRST! I can’t wait to check this one out.

Tin Man Games has just released their fourth Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King. The young men of Oyster Bay have been kidnapped by a vicious race of Lizard Men from Fire Island. “Facing a grim future of slavery, starvation and a lingering death”, you are their only hope of rescue. Perhaps with a little black magic of their own…or just a really great game engine, Tin Man Games has re-imagined Ian Livingstone’s Island of the Lizard King for digital audiences.

Finally that brings us to the most expensive featured new game of the night, The Shadow Sun. This Western RPG packs a pedigree and a punch with the creative team including the developer of Neverwinter Nights 2: Mysteries of Westgate and the former BioWare producer of Baldur’s Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal, The Shadow Sun promises a 10-15 hour adventure, with over 70 unique area to explore and 200+ items to uncover. Ossian Studios seems to have put a lot of work and detail into this make it worth its $9.99 price tag (sale priced at $7.99 until December 28th).

Phew…and that’s all I have for you tonight…at least we get a break from new releases next week, so plenty of time to play all of these new titles.

If you have a moment, we’d love to know which of these games (or others) that you’ll be picking up this week, just let us know in the comment section below.

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