modern-command_723466734_ipad_01Finally, the first week of February and the App Store gets some serious traction, with a week jam-packed with new releases. And this week, I’ve actually had a chance to play a number of these games before my write up.

Tonight we kick things off with just a couple of freebies, the first of which is a 3D combat strategy game called Modern Command from publisher Chillingo in which players fight to control the world’s “Protonium” supply. The other free to play title, Naughty Kitties, is also a combat game, but with a much more outlandish theme. Using a ‘drag and drop’ mechanic to deploy their feline forces, players try to save the Cat’s Planet from invading aliens.

Moving onto the paid apps, we have the cartoony Battletoads inspired runner called Toad Rider (which has received some good pre-release press) and the eye, ear and reflex testing heart-thumping tunnel racer Avoid – Sensory Overload.

threes!_779157948_ipad_04Next up is a brilliantly simple, yet addictive little puzzle game called Threes! from the talented minds that brought us 2012’s wonderful word game/ Tetris /match 3 mashup Puzzlejuice. With just a few base rules, Threes! is a test of both luck, quick thinking and strategic planning as you try to combine numbered tiles and avoid filling up your 4×4 grid with non combineable tiles. The game is quite charming in its simplicity, easy to pick up and play, but hard to put down with its ‘one more try’ addictive nature, plus it is on sale for 33.333% off for launch.

USM, the studio that brought us the iOS releases of Catan, Catan HD, Rivals for Catan and Ingenious (iPhone | iPad) is back with a new tabletop game port. They’ve adapted 1998’s 2-player strategy board game Kahuna from designer Günter Cornett. In Kahuna players collect cards and use these to either build bridges between islands of the South Pacific or destroy their opponent’s bridges. The goal is to take control of the majority of the islands, to score more points. The game is easy to learn and is played in three consecutive rounds, each with increasing stakes and a nice constant reversals of fortune to keep things interesting. The game offers a single-player campaign with 12 different AI opponents, each with their own play style and an online turn-based multiplayer mode for two players. Kahuna a fun, fairly light casual strategy board game and is available for a launch price of just $1.99.

galcon-legends_803222895_ipad_01The next few titles are either sequels to (or reboots of) some iOS classics, starting with Galcon Legends, which I believe is the fourth title in Phil Hassey’s popular fast-paced space RTS series. While the core gameplay remains the same, in each of the game’s 23 missions, you must frantically deploy fleets from your planets to unconquered planets to take them over. Each mission presents a new challenge, with unique enemies with completely different battle tactics. Plus the user has complete control over the difficulty at any time by going up or down in ranks. Fun and challenging, fans of this series will definitely want to enlist for another Galcon tour of duty.

When it launched in 2009, the multi-touch abstract space puzzle game Eliss won a number of awards for its innovative gameplay, where players used their fingers to control planets, splitting them or fusing them together with the not so simple task of not letting planets of differing colors touch one another. Now nearly 5 years later, Steph Thirion has rebooted his game with an all new app that includes the original 25 level game with a whole lot of fresh polish and a new focus on endless, score-based gameplay. There are new modes, new features and improved visuals and sound, all while still staying true to the original.

Chillingo (yep, two games this week) have also published The Quest – Elemental Asteroids, another expansion for their dungeon crawling RPG series The Quest. I have no personal experience with the series, but these expansions seem to get favorable reviews, so I figured it was worth mentioning for fans of the series.

toast-time_722232991_ipad_02Are you ready for some good old fashion shoot’em up action, then the charming and original Toast Time from UK-based studio Force Of Habit will certainly satisfy. This level-based, pixelized breakfast arcade shooter / defense game features a flying toaster who fires bread and other glutenous baked goods at the inter-dimensional time-blob beasties trying to attack his toast timer. Levels last only 60 seconds or less as you try to fend off the baddies for the indicated amount of time. Using a Super Crate Box like mechanic you are constantly switching up your armaments and there is a nice blend of level types, some of which you are only granted limited ammo with which to survive. Fun single tap controls, and loads of cute unlockable costumes (HATS!!!) and weapons, Toast Time will have you coming back for seconds (Marmite is optional).

It’s adventure gaming time…first, after ending on a shocking cliffhanger, Telltale is back with episode 2 of their amazing adventure game The Wolf Among Us. Which can be downloaded directly from within the app for $4.99, or if you purchased the multi-pack of episodes 2-5 for $14.99, you’ll be able to download it for free. Episode 2 wasn’t available yet at the time of this post, but should be unlocking very soon is available now.

broken-sword-5-serpents-curse_720656825_ipad_01Sadly, I’ve fallen a little behind on Revolution’s fantastic Broken Sword adventure puzzle game series, but now there is a great reason for me to catch back up…a new adventure, Broken Sword 5 – The Serpent’s Curse. And it sounds like it has all the makings of another thrilling adventure with a stolen painting and a murderous conspiracy. The app contains part one of two, with the second part coming soon as an In-App Purchase. UPDATE: Good News, the developers have informed me that The Serpent’s Curse is a standalone spoiler-free adventure you can enjoy whether or not you’ve played the previous games in the series.

Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to lead your troops into battle during the Civil War? Well now you can see if you have what it takes. In The Bitstreamers new turn-based strategy board game, Battlefields Civil War, players take the side of either the Union Army or the Confederate Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865), leading campaigns through six historic battles across six huge maps. The developers say that the game is suitable for both new and experienced strategy/wargame players, so even the greenest of generals can take a shot at this one.

final-fantasy-vi_719401490_ipad_02Finally we come to FINAL FANTASY VI. Originally released in 1994, SQUARE ENIX ports the sixth installment in the popular FINAL FANTASY RPG series to iOS. A Universal app with iCloud saves, graphics recreated specifically for this release, touch controls, an overhauled battle interface and various other improvements. As expected, FINAL FANTASY VI comes at the usual premium price of $15.99.

Well, that was quite a big list, so please let us know which of these titles you are considering picking up this week.

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