overkill-3_874866593_ipad_01.jpgIt’s another crazy week of new releases, so let’s get right into it.

For their third outing, Craneballs chose to completely reboot their Overkill franchise. Overkill 3 is a cover based third-person shooter that expands from the more static shooting gallery style of its predecessors and aims for a console-inspired, mobile gaming experience, with more freedom of movement within levels and a big graphical upgrade. I like where the series is going and with two difficulty levels this should appeal to both new and experienced players. I recommend giving this one a go, even if you were not a fan of the previous Overkill titles.

From Damn Little Town developer. Lumarama, we get a neat little puzzle game called Deeply Absurd Chain, which is sort of a match-3 meets Threes!. Players keep combining groups of like items to evolve the collection into a new items, and you then need to combine three or more of those new items into the next item in the evolutionary chain and so on, discovering new items as you go deeper and evolve more items. Once you can no longer make any matches the game is over.

Gameloft takes Clash of Clans back to the time of Ancient Greece with Age of Sparta, their strategy/raiding game featuring men, gods, and the mythical creatures.

heavenstrike-rivals-monster_929464758_ipad_01.jpgSQUARE ENIX is back this week with Heavenstrike Rivals, a free-to-play Tactical Card Game (TCG). It is a turn-based tactical strategy game set in a war-torn world on the brink of extinction, the once-prosperous aerial kingdom of Lunnain. The game offers Real Time Global PVP matchups as well ranked league play and new events and Heroes being added on a weekly basis. I don’t play a lot of SQUARE ENIX titles, but I’m digging what I’ve played of this one thus far.

Magic Touch: Wizard for Hire is a cool little arcade find this week from the folks at Nitrome. Players must try survive as long as possible against endless waves of enemies, by spells to pop the balloons of their attackers. Spells are cast by drawing the (sometimes complex) shapes printed on the balloons. Some attackers have more than one balloon, which means multiple shapes to draw and as you progress, enemies start coming quicker and quicker and in greater numbers.

Under the Sun is a clever multidimensional puzzle game in which you must play with time to help a caveman reach fire in a limited number of moves or he’ll grow old, perish and die. Rotate your environment to see it from multiple angles, and spin the time wheel to see how it changes over time, and discern how best to utilize it and its inhabitants to accomplish your singular goal.

zen-pinball_465694275_ipad_02.jpgThe excellent mobile Pinball game Zen Pinball, has just gotten some new content, Iron & Steel. More specifically there are two new theme-filled tables, Wild West Rampage and CastleStorm. The first is a rootin tootin table staring a bounty hunter named Cindy, a gang of crooked men, saloon and even a rolling 3D steam engine. The second (and equally as good) is based on Zen’s CastleStorm IP. Set within a Viking stronghold, this table features a fire-breathing dragon, a troll, a super-fast mini table and even a kicking donkey ball launcher. these are fun new additions and easily worth a look at just 99¢ each (via IAP). In fact, I tried these same tables out on the Xbox One as well, and I preferred the iPad experience…it just felt more responsive and cheaper to boot!

Flop Rocket is the better of two new releases by Butterscotch Shenanigans this week. It is a go further style game where you control a rocket using an almost Flappy Bird like tapping for gas and a unique dial mechanic for direction. You try to make it as far as possible through an underground cave, avoiding stalagmites, stalactites and other obstacles and (hopefully) landing on refueling pads if you can. There is a bit of an initial learning curve to this one, but once you get the hang of it, it is a fun leaderboard driven game, with earn-able upgrades and rolling missions that’ll keep you coming back for more. For a single $2.99 IAP, you can unlock additional content and extras.

agent-alice_938120844_ipad_02Agent Alice is a thematic, free-to-play hidden object adventure game in which you must help Special Agent Alice Wallace solve a mystery. According to the App Store description, there will be new episodes every week, but the current episode revolves around a mysterious apparition of man who is going around kidnapping and murdering people. There are also strange vines that seem to grow to deadly proportions in no time and out of nowhere. In my initial time with it, I’ve found it to be fairly engaging (though perhaps a bit on the easy side) and allowed playtime in a single sitting can be limited by the f2p mechanics.

The next couple of titles are both designed to be played by multiple people on the same iOS device.

First, Rocket Joust pits up to 4 players (and/or AI) in head to head aerial jousts. It looks a bit like it may play a bit likethe classic arcade game Joust, except you play as people on rockets instead of ostriches. The other multiplayer game is Striker Arena, a 3D tactical-action fantasy soccer game with Vikings, Gladiators and Samurai battling it out in no rules matches. It looks pretty entertaining and it says it has a chiptunes soundtrack, which is always a plus in my book. There is also a story mode with 48 challenges and 3 AI difficulty levels for solo play.

sopio_908322538_ipad_02.jpgSopio is the digital release of the 2011 hand management card game of the same name. Players draw their hand up to 5 cards and then play a card on either themselves or another player. If a card is played on you, then any points cards (positive or negative) go in your personal points pile, otherwise if the card has other instructions you must follow them. These could have you swapping point cards, stealing point cards and more. Play continues until one player reaches 1000 points or until the deck runs out of cards and all hands are empty. Then the player with the most points wins. Sounds easy enough, but your point total will keep fluctuating wildly depending on the cards played by the other players. The app includes the same stick figure artwork of the original game as well as all the cards from Sopio Deck 1, and the Chameleon Circuit / Nerdfighter booster packs (which can be unlocked via achievements) There are also 18 different computer opponents top keep things interesting.

BlastBall MAX is a ‘five in a row’ matching game with a twist. You drag various colored balls into openings in 4×4 slotted squares which are spread about on a 4 square by 4 square play area (the whole play area is not full of tiles). After dragging a ball to a square, you must also slide any square to another position. The can cause a chain reaction as the balls on one tile may match up with the tiles on another (newly) adjacent tile. So the player has to think on multiple planes as just dragging a ball on a square to make a match, but the combination of ball dragging and square dragging. Blasting a row of balls removes the outer balls of that row, but the balls in the center will turn into special balls of the opposite color, which allow you to either rotate a square or swap the color of another ball. It is a much more thinky game than may initially appear.

joe-devers-lone-wolf-complete_959557046_ipad_05Bulkypix has launched a new ‘pay once’ version of their four-part Lone Wolf episodic gamebook / action RPG series. Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf Complete includes all the 4 Acts of the story in a single app, at a special launch price of $9.99. The original app is currently available for 99¢ with an $11.99 IAP to unlock Acts 2-4, so even if you got the original app when it was free, it is still a better deal to get the new, ‘Complete’ one while it is $9.99 at launch.

Finally. I’ll round out this week’s coverage with a couple of tactical and strategy heavy hitters from HeroCraft Ltd. and Slitherine.

In Medieval Wars: Strategy & Tactics Deluxe “you are to lead the armies of England and France as well as the armies of crusaders in three campaigns and try to win the biggest wars and battles of European medieval history”. There are both Campaign and Scenario modes, no IAPs, 4 historical campaigns, with 25 missions in total, as well as 11 independent historical scenarios and 21 types of units.

hell-fight-for-gilrand_946081728_ipad_01.jpgAnd from Hunted Cow and Slitherine we get Hell: Fight for Gilrand, a turn-based tactical skirmish strategy game set in the mythical fantasy land of Gilrand. You “take control of either the ‘Order of Radiance’ or the ‘Demons of Hell’ and battle for supremacy across many different battlefields and environments”. The game cross platform multiplayer functionality w/ the PC release and an ‘epic single player campaign traversing 20 unique levels’. I’m not much of a wargamer, but this one looks pretty damned good (ha…get it) to me. Both Hunted Cow and Slitherine put out some high quality games worthy of their price point, so this partnership looks like a winner for both the studios and gamers alike.

And that’ll once again do it for this week, time to play some more of these games.

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