manuganu-2_881621279_ipad_02.jpgLast night I covered the mass of new FREE releases, so now I’ll dive into the paid ones, starting with Manuganu 2, the sequel to the 3D platform runner, Manuganu. The sequel features 40 new levels with forking paths and those same beautifully rendered environments. There are also 4 boss battles and Manuganu now has an improved climbing mechanic also with new flight and swimming abilities.

Love Connection., a game which actually came out earlier this week, is a dots like puzzler set in a cubic 3D world complete with an interesting Thomas Was Alone-style narrative. It is a familiar and fun puzzle game with its own unique style.

If you didn’t get enough of the free runners I mentioned in my last post, then maybe these paid ones will appeal to you. First up is Battery Run!, a maze-like runner where you simply swipe the screen to change the running battery’s direction (yeah it stars a battery), avoiding monsters, collecting tools, coins and charges as you attempt to run as far as you can. If we can bring back Forrest Gump for a running game this week, they why not John Cleese as well in Monty Python’s The Ministry of Silly Walks. Travel the streets of London avoiding pigeons and “showcase your increasingly frantic promenading as far as you possibly can”.

As you may have surmised from the title, THE RHYTHM OF FIGHTERS is tap-based mobile rhythm fighting game featuring many fan-favorite tracks from a number of SNK PLAYMORE’s game series including “THE KING OF FIGHTERS”, “FATAL FURY”, “SAMURAI SHODOWN”, “ART OF FIGHTING”, and ”METAL SLUG”. Maintain the rhythm to level up characters, unlock abilities and “make your character unleash fan-favorite moves and combos on the opponent”. It is worth noting that there is a plethora of IAP for this one, so I’m not sure what exactly comes in the 99¢ base app.

swipe-quest_882739136_ipad_02.jpgNext up is another genre masher, Swipe Quest. It is a combination of RPG and sliding puzzle game where you swipe tiles to move your hero, fight monsters and collect treasure. When two tiles of the same type touch, they merge, forming into a higher valued one. Looks interesting.

Arcane Ghosts is a retro-style 2D platformer that looks a bit reminiscent of the NES classic Ghosts n Goblins. “Explore the levels, find keys, secret items, level up your character, acquire new abilities”. As a kid I played A LOT of Ghosts n Goblins, so I am quite tempted to pick this one up myself and hopefully recapture a little of my youth.

JELLIES! is one of those titles where the cute screenshots grab you, even before you know what the game is about. However…don’t let those cute little jellyfish fool you, the plot of the game is that fisherman Bob is on a quest to “find his fingers” which the wicked jellies have bitten off. Whoa…this just got real! Try to catch as many Jellies as you can in 60 seconds by connecting Jellies of the same color.

Inspired by games like Super Hexagon and Wave Wave, the aesthetically retro twitch game Oh will no doubt appeal to those of you with quick reflexes and those who are just plain sadistic.

storm-casters_833486946_ipad_02.jpgTaking a departure from their Mega Jump and Mega Run series of games, Get Set Games is trying their hand at a pretty cool sounding dungeon crawling / collectible card game called Storm Casters. Lost and alone you enter a mysterious, forgotten dungeon and you must “find and collect rare Battle Cards to discover new spells, blast enemies with explosive elemental powers, and evolve your character to become a mighty Storm Caster.” It appears to have a fairly decent amount of content with random layouts across the 50 dungeon floors, 60 different Battle Card spells to “collect, fuse, and power up” as well as 30 different enemy types and even boss battles. My interest is piqued…so many good looking games this week.

That brings us to Oscura Second Shadow, an atmospheric platformer built and optimized for touch controls by Surprise Attack Games. It is a dark fairy tale set in and eerie looking place called the Driftlands. A mysterious lighthouse keeper (named Oscura) with an eternally glowing hand named sets off on a dangerous quest to be the unlikely hero who reclaims the stolen Aurora stone.

Farting Felix is an arcade game starring a running, jumping and (of course) farting creature named Felix. The game’s mechanics vary with each of the four in-game worlds. In the Hills you’ll be chased by a hungry monster, you must fight off hordes of angry farmers in the Desert, conquer ancient mysteries in the Temple and solve laser puzzles in the Factory.

On sale for 99¢ at launch, Release is a sparkly geometric arcade shooter that promises that “one more try” feel as you attempt to earn that top score on the leaderboard. How can you go wrong when one of their screenshots touts ‘Not very many bugs!”.

dinosaur-mix_743631886_ipad_01.jpgHow about a couple on new apps for the kids?

First, English development studio Cowly Owl made an impressive debut in 2012 with their award-winning iPad counting app Little Digits – Finger Counting, which made innovative use of the touchscreen. Now they are back with an all-new app to entertain your little ones called Dinosaur Mix. It is a free-play sandbox app where you get to create your own dinosaur, mixing up the parts from different species to form your own colorful and imaginative dino. Feed it, and play with it and other wild life in several different scenes. I bet younger children would especially have a blast with this one.

Next is Hurray for Today! (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat), the latest offering from Oceanhouse Media. It is an interactive book which teaches kids all about the origins and traditions of common holidays all over the world including Christmas, Hanukkah, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day- even the 4th of July. It available at an introductory price of $3.99 (regular price $5.99).

Not specifically for kids, but rather an experience suited for people of all ages, Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure takes iPad owners on a unique and magical rock fairy tale experience through a text-free mixture of interactivity, narrative, and music. The app was developed by a two-man team out of Austin and has already been nominated for a number of awards.

monsters-ate-my-birthday-cake_879675363_ipad_02.jpgAnd that brings us to one of my favorite new titles of the week Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake. This cute and creative environmental level-based puzzle game designed and Kickstarted by Justin Baldwin has found a perfect publishing partner with Cartoon Network. You start out the game as Niko, a little boy on a quest to reclaim his pilfered birthday cake from the (literal) monster(s) that stole it. Along the way he meets various friendly monsters, each of whom have special abilities that can aid Niko on his quest. The game is charming and challenging as you figure out how to best use the characters at your disposal to collect each of the missing pieces of cake and satisfy other per-level goals. I first saw this game at PAX East earlier this year and am delighted to see it released today, I highly recommended picking this one up!

Lets round out the week with a few strategy games…

Hunted Cow Studios continues its exploration of the Civil War, following up previously released titles Civil War: 1862 and Civil War: 1863 with their newest Civil War strategy game, Civil War: 1864, which as you probably guessed, covers the battles which took place in the year 1864 when the Union army made substantial gains against the Confederates. I’ve never played any of these games before so I can’t speak to the actual gameplay, but it looks like a nice strategy game series. If you are a fan of this series or a Civil War history buff, odds are you’ve already picked this one up.

Digital Tribe is porting their popular Stronghold PC castle building game series to the iPad with Stronghold 3: The Campaigns. A cross between a city builder and real-time strategy game, you are a feudal lord, tasked with designing, managing and defending your own “Mighty Castle”. Find out if you have what it takes to be a great leader. As a launch special, the game (ie Economic Campaign) is 28% off and the Military Campaign is available via IAP at a special price of $2.99 (40% off).

Finally, ending on high note we have Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein. Set in an important WWII battle for North Africa, I’d have to say that this is Shenandoah Studio’s finest entry in their Crisis in Command historical strategy game series yet. New mechanics like minefields and a redesigned way that supply is handled make for even deeper strategy. Plus a great series of tutorial scenarios make the game very approachable for new players just discovering the series. If you haven’t checked out any of Shenandoah’s wonderful Crisis in Command games yet, Desert Fox is a great place to start.

And that will do it for this week…

Go to the subsequent pages of this post to watch the trailers for these games.