star-warfare2-payback_888211509_ipad_05Last week was another super-busy week for the App Store, with loads of great new releases for iOS gamers.

There were digital board games, PC ports, matching games, adventure games, game books and plenty of fun new titles for kids. I apologize that this post is a bit later than I had planned due to quite a few family activities last week/weekend, so I’ll try to keep it fairly brief, but I definitely didn’t want these new titles to go unrecognized.

Let’s kick things off with five freebies starting with Star Warfare2: Payback, a nicely polished third-person mobile space-themed shooter from Freyr Games with a variety of both multiplayer co-op and PvP modes as well as a single player campaign.

adventure-xpress_734458789_ipad_02.jpgFrom [adult swim] comes a super addictive and silly match-three RPG adventure game called Adventure Xpress. It is your job to deliver the mail and you must battle an increasingly more difficult series of enemies through traditional match-three gameplay. Score combos to deliver devastating blows, recharge your health and level up your postal worker’s weapons and armor. A word of warning this game will suck in even the match-three haters with its charm and user-friendly free-to-play mechanics.

Now iOS gamers can partake in Pokémon TCG Online, with this recently released iPad portal into this very popular CCG. “Earn cards, open booster packs, trade with other players, and build the perfect deck around your favorite cards”. Play against the computer or see how your deck stacks up against other players online. If you (like me) have somehow never played Pokémon before, this is a nice way to finally check it out.

Next up we have a few new titles for the little ones…

Oceanhouse Media has launched a new iOS-exclusive, digital subscription library which gives you unlimited access to dozens of Mercer Mayer titles in the Little Critter Library. Unlike other children’s digital book subscription services, “the books included in this app are not just static ebooks, but fully interactive storybook apps” featuring all of the interactivity and features you’ve come to love from Oceanhouse’s series of apps. The service can be tried for free with the App download and subscriptions cost $2.99/month, $17.99/year or lifetime for a one-time charge of $34.99 .

marcopolo-weather_905425870_ipad_03Your children can have fun learning about, experimenting and playing with the weather in MarcoPolo’s latest kids app, MarcoPolo Weather. They will have hours of fun and giggles controlling 9 different weather conditions: sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, rain, thunderstorm, snow, blizzard, tornado, and hurricane and seeing how the cute little cast of characters react. MarcoPolo looks like they have another hit on their hands. Most of the content in the app is free with the download, but there is a single $1.99 IAP which unlocks the ‘Extreme Weather Conditions’.

The final kids title I wanted to mention is a paid one and it comes from the folks at StoryToys Entertainment Limited. Jelly Jumble! is matching game designed specifically for younger children and comes coupled with an animated, interactive story which “tells the tale of Oliver who has been sent to stay with his rather dreadful aunt Pru”. Oliver, he meets a big, blue, cuddly monster who lives in the forest and makes magical jams and jelly. There is no IAP, making the game perfectly friendly for its intended audience of young players.

card-dungeon_663601812_ipad_05Available for a limited time at a special $1.99 (50% off launch price), Card Dungeon is a visually appealing board/card-driven rogue-like game in which you navigate a board game-like dungeon and use your allotted three cards to attack, defend, regain health, use magic, summon spells and more. New cards are discovered as you go and you may elect to replace one of your cards with the uncovered loot. Like any rogue-like you are trying to make it as far as possible before perishing and must start over when you die. However, in this game, if you make it back to where you died, you get all your cards and money back. I really like the visual style of this one, which reminds me of a PC/browser game called Card Hunter which I rather enjoyed, so I’ll certainly be picking it up while it is on sale.

PRY is a creepy looking experience crafted exclusively for the iPad which combines text, interaction and video to bring “readers” into the world of James, a demolition consultant, six years after his return from the First Gulf War. “Instead of turning a page, the reader must force open a character’s eyes or grasp his buried memories to progress”. By purchasing the app now for $2.99 you get part one of the story which contains five chapters and runs 20 to 40 minutes for an initial read through, with multiple readings encouraged to reveal all the details. Part two will be available as a free update when it becomes available, but the app will go up in price once both parts have been released.

kawaii-killer-plushy-edition_911787686_ipad_02.jpgUnfortunately for Tabemasu Games, last July, shortly after they released their game Kawaii Killer in which you relentlessly kill cute forest animals using gesture-based controls, Apple deemed it ‘too violent’, and abruptly removed it from the App Store. It was an unjust, biased call given that there are PLENTY of equally as violent games which remain on App Store today. I enjoyed the game and was bummed that people weren’t able to download it after I had recommended it. However, in Snuggle Truck fashion, the game has been reborn on the App Store as Kawaii Killer Plushy Edition, with the fun gesture-based gameplay in tact and a couple of additional modes added, but with the blood replaced with stuffing. Now when you attack the animals, copious amounts of stuffing(instead of blood) goes flying everywhere. It is a rather fun (and challenging) stress reliever, that is now a little more socially acceptable to play in public. You should definitely consider picking this one up.

If you are looking for a little arcade action, Radiangames is back with more of their signature energetic, neon-infused twin-stick gameplay with Inferno 2.

perils-of-man-adventure-game_919457017_ipad_02.jpgPerils of Man is an entertaining new 3D point and click adventure game designed by veterans of LucasArts. In a story that spans 150 years, teenager Ana must solve the mystery of her father, “a rogue scientist who vanished when she was just a little girl”. 

With an interesting story and puzzles and intuitive controls, this is a fun start to the adventure. The app includes the first three chapters of the game, but owners will receive a free upgrade to all 7 chapters (the full game) upon the official launch of Episode 2, aimed for this December.

Beatbuddy HD is an iOS port of the hand-painted PC atmospheric, musical adventure game in which players journey through six worlds as Beatbuddy, “an ethereal creature who travels to unite with his sisters Melody and Harmony and stop the evil Prince Maestro with the aid of Clef who provides comic relief throughout their journey”. Each world has its own unique soundtrack and you must interact with the environment and solve puzzles to unlock new paths.

galaxy-trucker_904013027_ipad_01.jpgEasily one of the stand out titles of the past week and one of the best digital board games…period. Czech Games Edition digital adaptation of their popular space-themed board game Galaxy Trucker is an amazing addition to the App Store’s board game library. In short, players race to build their own unique space craft from a common pool of parts and then try to survive a series of randomly selected missions and earn the most money among the survivors. It offers iOS board gamers a great mix of strategy, randomness and luck.

I had the pleasure of playing the physical version of this game for the very first time at PAX East earlier this year and this iPad release no only perfectly captures the essence of the tabletop version but expands upon it with a stellar single-player campaign. It also offers a veritable smorgasbord of multiplayer options including both asynchronous and real-time play with human and multiple levels of AI. Galaxy Trucker is a MUST HAVE digital board game for all iPad owners and if you grab it this week you can still get it at the special launch price of $4.99 before it goes up to its regular price of $7.99. If you only buy one game this week…this should be it.

Speaking of digital board games, Stalag 17 Game was an interesting looking title that I mentioned a few weeks back when it surfaced out of the blue on the App Store without any fanfare. Now the folks at Silver Apps have gotten in touch with us to let us know that the game had snuck out early, but has now officially launched, so I’m looking forward to finally checking this one out now that I know that it is legit. They did let us know that there is currently a small compatibility issue with iOS 8, but that they should be releasing a fix for this very soon.

the-sagas-of-firewolf_913082076_ipad_02.jpgTin Man Games is back with a massive new gamebook, The Sagas of Fire*Wolf, which is actually a collection of four complete gamebooks from Herbie Brennan, the author of the GrailQuest series (which Tin Man also plans to turn into digital gamebooks next year). “Exiled from his Barbarian village, Fire*Wolf sets out into the Wilderness. On the way he will encounter many dangers and learn the truth behind his heritage. Growing from a simple barbarian to a skilled sorcerer, Fire*Wolf will not only have to survive personal danger but thwart the greatest threat Harn has ever had to face… The Demonspawn.” If you like gamebooks, you really can’t go wrong with a Tin Man title, they product some of the best apps of this type…in fact, I’m still really enjoying Appointment With F.E.A.R..

Finally that brings us to Stoic’s iOS port of their Viking legend-inspired and gorgeously animated role-playing game, Banner Saga. Very well received on the PC, this tactical RPG features over 25 playable characters, a narrative driven by player’s decisions and strategic combat.

And that will do it for the past week or so…just in time for the new batch of titles arriving in just a few days.

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