magic-2015_672924134_ipad_02.jpgThis must not be a very popular vacation week for mobile developers as there are once again, loads of new releases.

Let’s start with the biggest of the new free games, Magic 2015. A week earlier than expected, and a week before any other digital platform, this is Wizards of the Coast’s annual release. Aside from the usual tweaks and polish Magic 2015 features some nice new updates for this year’s set including the seven specially designed cards from gaming world celebrities and a full-featured deck building tool. Magic has a large and rabid fan base so despite this year’s increased competition for attention from Hearthstone’s growing popularity, there is no doubt this will be one very popular title. I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at this at PAX East earlier this year and I’m looking forward to finally diving into the series thanks to the game’s extended tutorials and single-player campaign. The base game can be downloaded for free, you can unlock the entire campaign for $9.99 or buy a bundle of ALL launch content (except the boosters of course) for $29.99 within the app.

sonic-jump-fever_794528112_ipad_02.jpgNext up, is the worldwide release of Sonic Jump Fever. This is the free-to-play sequel to SEGA’s original 2012 release, Sonic Jump, but with a more prominent social aspect than its predecessor. And of course, new ways to get you to part with your money. This was ‘currently unavailable for download’ at time of posting, but should be ready to go sometime within the next few hours I’d guess.

I enjoyed the originality and challenge of the RPG Match three combat puzzler Dungeon Hearts, but I recall it getting quite hard, fairly quickly. So I am excited to see that Devolver Digital is back with a sequel of sorts called Dungeon Hearts Blitz, which they say offers a more casual experience, but still brings strategic gameplay as you try to form matches and maximize your characters special skills to win battles.

Urban Trial Freestyle is just what it sounds like, a Trials-style bike game where “the city is your playground”. Navigate crazy outdoor tracks, pulling off tricks and try to earn a fast time. You can customize your bike and rider and there are multiple game modes, a complete track editor and you can compete against your friends’ ghost riders as well. Both a free, ad-supported lite and full paid $1.99 version (with additional content) are available. So check it out for free and pick up the paid release if you like it.

twisty-fingers_886179226_ipad_01.jpgTwisty Fingers is a dexterity / arcade game where you must maneuver your four fingers on the screen all at the same time to avoid approaching walls, aligning them with holes. Like the title suggests will often get them all twisted up. It’s like a mix up of Hole In The Wall and Twister for your fingers.

Lets take to the sky and beyond for these next few titles…

Miniverse is a curious puzzle game about getting astronauts off of planets and into ships. Each time you solve a level, you receive a puzzle piece to a larger jigsaw puzzle. And I can see there is some fort of “Boss Level” that comes up after you complete 20 levels, so I am not sure what to expect with that. A pretty unique game, Miniverse is free to play, but you can purchase a 30 level pack for 99¢ via IAP. I’ll be digging into this one a bit deeper myself.

Three Legged Egg is back with new “quicker” sequel to their fun two-fingered rope dragging Sky Tourist puzzle game called Sky Tourist Blitz Trip. This mouthful follows the same fun gameplay of original, but aims to address one of its biggest criticisms as well by making the included 60 levels much smaller “to better accommodate the mobile platform and shorter sessions”. So if you enjoyed the original game, odds are your going to really like this one as well, especially if you prefer your mobile gaming in bite sized chunks.

beyond-gravity_714612428_ipad_01.jpgBeyond Gravity is the latest title from Bike Baron developers, Qwiboo. It is a procedurally generated platformer where you attempt to jump in-between planets to collect as many screws, bolts, and various missing pieces of your spaceship that you can. The game keeps getting progressively harder and you can upgrade your character and ship along the way to aid your mission. The gameplay reminds me quite a bit of Crescent Moon Game’s Space Chicks, except that in this one you can only progress forward and it seems much less forgiving and playful when in the grips of gravitational pull. It is on sale for 50% off at launch.

Beekyr : Eco Shoot’em up is a 16-bit style shmup set in the world of bugs and insects as you try to lead your bee through fields, forests, waterfalls and more, laying down sprays of bug-fire (some sort of projectiles) on wasp queens and their soldiers in an effort to avenge your lost queen and hive. If you like your shmups a bit less spacey…then maybe this one’s for you.

blackwell-2-unbound_888936471_ipad_02.jpgThis week Wadjet Eye Games releases a trio of apps: Blackwell 1: Legacy, Blackwell 2: Unbound and Blackwell 3: Convergence. These are iOS ports of the first three games in their acclaimed Blackwell Legacy PC point and click adventure game series starring spirit medium Rosa Blackwell and her 1930s-era wisecracking, spectral sidekick Joey Mallone. This unlikely duo (forced together by a family curse) must find a way to work together to help confused spirits make peace with their situation so they can pass on to the afterlife. I’ve played through the first game in the series, Blackwell 1: Legacy and found it entertaining. I’m looking forward to seeing where Wadjet Eye Games takes these characters in the prequel, Blackwell 2: Unbound and first sequel Blackwell 3: Convergence. If you loved all of those 80’s Sierra style point-and-click adventure games like I did, then you’ll want to pick up at least Blackwell 1: Legacy and give it a try.

hellraid-the-escape_834894919_ipad_02.jpgSo the story goes…”A sorcerer obsessed with dark arts has trapped your soul in a magic prison guarded by demonic creatures. Why are you there? Who are you and why can’t you remember your name? To find the answers, you must first escape from this dimension of agony hung somewhere beyond time.” Thus begins Hellraid: The Escape. Set in the dark fantasy world of Hellraid from PCs and Consoles, at first glance it is easy to assume this game is a FPS, but it’s not. Instead Shortbreak Studios has developed a first-person 3D action-adventure puzzle game where you fight demons “with your brains instead of weapons”. Players can freely roam around the richly rendered and dreary world of the game (thanks to the Unreal Engine) and explore and solve puzzles as they attempt to escape. The developers have promised “free updates, no in-app purchases or pay-to-win elements”.

If you enjoy tower defense games, then newly launched, Gnumz: Masters of Defense HD TD, looks pretty appealing. Set in the depths of a Dwarven cavern this fantasy defense game has players using traps magic and the power of the elements to defend their precious resources from the Wicked King and his invading army.

munin_882496159_ipad_02.jpgMunin is a beautiful looking 2D side-scrolling adventure game set in Norse Mythology. Manipulate your environment to solve puzzles and create new pathways as you try to assist Munin, a raven that has been transformed into a mortal girl, journey through the nine worlds of Yggdrasil to reclaim her lost feathers so she can return to Asgard. The game features 81 levels and, according to the developer, “roughly 7 hours of playtime”. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me for only $2.99.

And last, but certainly not least, it is time for another great season of Telltale adventure game content to come to a close with The Wolf Among Us Episode 5: Cry Wolf. Here’s hoping that this creative and engaging series gets picked up for a second season. Once again, if you already bought the season pass, then just go download the new episode from within the app, otherwise you can purchase it for $4.99…also within the app.

Go to the second and third pages of this post to watch the trailers for these games.