Instead of just going solely in cost order, this week I’m gonna switch things up a bit and cover the new titles in groupings of themes.
Fans of strategy games (myself included) will certainly be pleased with at least four new titles to choose from including a couple of neat twists on the classic game of chess and a cute looking app called MiniChess by Kasparov, which teaches kids how to play chess with the help of Cheddar the Mouse.
The first chess variant app is a free game called Tempire. Played on a 10×10 board with traditional chess pieces, each player starts only with a King and you use that King to purchase additional pieces, with a unique ‘time as currency’ game mechanic. Time is used to both move and buy pieces. The more pieces you have on the board, the more time you have on the clock each turn (and thus greater buying power). When you lose your King, you lose your ability to create new pieces; capture all of your opponent’s pieces to win. The game has a rather nice, crisp, clean aesthetic and design to it, a commendable job by what appears to be a first time developer.
Chesslike: Adventures in Chess is a chess-based dungeon crawler/puzzle game where you move your pawns to explore oddly shaped dungeons, killing enemy pieces (diagonally), unlocking doors, discovering special warp tiles and picking up swords and shields to upgrade your piece along the way. It looks like a pretty cool mashup, with a retro art style.
Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure. It is a procedurally generated strategy game from Dinofarm Games Keith Burgun (100 Rogues) and (EMPIRE: The Deck Building Strategy Game) in which players must use a combination of tactical movement, spells and bumping of enemies to knock them off the board and reach the designated transports on the other side of the play area. There are loads of different enemy types, each with their own movement patterns and characteristics requiring thoughtful decisions of how best to defeat them. The game also features an extensive tutorial that gets you up and running quickly. If you like tactical strategy games, this is a nice little pixel art treat.
Those of you with the need…the need for speed, have a plethora of new racing games to check out this week, starting with Daytona Rush. This a nicely rendered lane-based endless runner staged on a busy stock car raceway. Quickly tap the left and right side of your screen to switch lanes and weave your way through the other race cars, drafting if you can and avoiding getting too much damage. However, keep an eye on that fuel gauge, because you’ll have to pull off to the left, into the pit to refuel and get back on the track in time before you get disqualified. You earn money along the way which can be used to purchase newer/better cars and/or upgrade your existing ride’s speed, fuel economy, handling and resistance to damage.
Jujubee is back with FLASHOUT 2S, a third (and this time free-to-play) helping of their popular FLASHOUT anti-gravity racing game series. In the little bit I’ve played of this thus far, 2S definitely seems to be the most polished and responsive entry in the series yet, but only time will tell how generous the IAP and in-game economy is in this one as it appears that you must (optionally) buy weapons/ammo, and boosts before each and every race.
Cava Racing is an interestingly styled little space-themed racing game where you have no brakes and you rotate your device to steer around the track and the halves of the touchscreen trigger your throttle and boost. The controls do take a little getting used to, but once it clicks you’ll be drifting around corners, avoiding obstacles and going for better times. There are multiple unlockable course as well as difficulty levels.
To tempt the Clash of Clans crowd, there have a few new ‘PvP build and raiders’ this week in the form of Fort Raiders SMAAASH!, where players try to build tall, well-protected forts and then “SMAAASH” and loot their opponents forts in raids. Then there is Gang Nations which trades the usual fantasy/medieval theme for something a bit more urban. Players build their own urban cities, trying to make them impenetrable to raids from rival gang members. I don’t play ANY of these types of games, I just don’t get the appeal, so honestly these don’t really interest me in the least bit, but I know this genre is quite popular right now.
On the bright side, Cut the Rope creators, ZeptoLab, have come up with a much more arcadey and puzzley take on this genre that is far more appealing to me as it feels like a puzzle platformer rather than a build/raid PvP game. In their latest release, King of Thieves, players build 2D dungeons to protect their gold and gems. And you, as King of the Thieves must pick the locks, enter their dungeons and dodge the myriad of traps (platformer-style) to reach the gems. As you earn more gold, you can upgrade your own traps as well as craft more expensive gems. If you are a fan of platformers or PvP games, this should be an instant pickup this week. King of Thieves has the charming graphical style of Cut the Rope, fun gameplay and loads of free content. There are 80 single-mode levels as well as a seemingly endless supply of user-generated levels (in the form of personal dungeons).
Those of you looking to challenge your reflexes and dexterity should check out Radical, the latest game from Mikey Shorts, Mikey Hooks and Mikey Boots creators,
BeaverTap Games. In this fast-paced test of endurance you simply tap/hold the sides of the screen to quickly move your triangular rocket left or right to pass through randomly placed openings in an endless series of gates rapidly descending upon you. Make it through a gate, get a point, miss and it’s game over. The game is simple, yet challenging, with two difficulty modes and a leaderboard that will have you coming back for more, especially if you have friends playing the game as well. And the icing on the cake…the game is adorned with Atari-era graphics and sound effects and an excellent soundtrack by composer/developer Whitaker Trebella.
If you thought controlling one character in a platformer was difficult, then what about two…simultaneously?! Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the platformer Staying Together, sees players simultaneously controlling both the male and female members of a lovestruck couple with mirrored movements to one another. You must help them safely collect all three pieces of a broken heart and then reunite the couple at the specified meeting point in the level. This one will really mess with your brain as both characters might have different, non-symmetric obstacles to avoid and you must plan accordingly. Fresh and challenging, this is a fun freebie, though if you are prone to motion sickness this one may do a number on you.
Metamorphabet brings the alphabet to life…quite literally. Tap on a letter and it will transform into a physical representation of a word starting with that letter. The resulting object can then be touched and played with and transformed into additional words and representations. While this looks like a super fun way for kids to practice and learn their letters, I suspect that even adults or older kids would particularly enjoy this one for the animations as well. After watching the trailer…I want to see more myself.
Finally from Splash Damage and WARCHEST LIMITED, the team behind RAD Soldiers, we have Tempo™. This is a game that has already been met with a little bit of controversy due to seemingly censored screenshots and Apple’s new policy about “no guns or violence” in screenshots, which doesn’t seem to be universally enforced. Controversy aside, Tempo™ is a ‘cinematic action game’ set in London. The city is under siege by a wealthy psychopath and his private army, who have rigged the city with explosives. It is up to you and your team to stop him and bring him to justice.
Employing the skills of Andy Serkis’ fx and motion capturing studio The Imaginarium, the cinematic visuals of this game look top-notch. Tempo™ is divided into five different acts, with “cinematic videos driving the narrative between them”, and also features the voice talents of several Game of Thrones cast members. New audio sound effects as well as a cinematic score were recorded especially for this app . The game is presented in “short compelling bursts of action” triggered by increasingly complex, but intuitive actions performed on the touch screen by the player. In order to be successful, the player must complete actions quickly and accurately and your characters can be upgraded as you progress through the game. It looks great.
And that’ll do it for this week…enjoy!