here-offline-navigation-maps_955837609_01.jpgI’m going to start this week’s new app release coverage with something a little different…a non-game app!

HERE is an offline map program by the folks at Nokia. Originally released exclusively for Windows-based phones, this much-loved (and free) GPS app finally makes its way to iPhone. With voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic and incident information, public transit maps, route planner and the ability to download offline maps for more than a 100 countries this looks like a strong competitor in the GPS space, and one I’ll definitely be taking for a spin to see how it compares to my current fave…Waze.

Gameloft returns this week with Dungeon Hunter 5, the fifth entry in its popular hack ‘n’ slash series. The game features multiple play options including a single-player campaign, co-operative where you can hire friends to assist you in your quest and an asynchronous multiplayer aspect where players can “customize their Strongholds with a large variety of creatures, manage and defend it, and raid opponents’ Strongholds to ravage their loot.” I haven’t played any of the games in this series as it is not one I tend to gravitate towars, but visually this one looks like the best one yet.

songarc_949196235_ipad_01.jpgIf hack ‘n’ slash is not your thing, then perhaps a rhythm game would hit the right note with you. SongArc is a neon-infused free-to-play rhythm game which uses your own music library and with have your fingers tapping and device shaking to the beat. Or you could hit the pavement with Ivanovich Games’sMiniDrivers. Race mini F1 race cars around tracks, collecting Mario-style power ups and weapons, earning money to purchase new or upgrade existing vehicles.

Love’em or hate’em, the Angry Birds are back. Rovio has just released a new marble popping game called Angry Birds Stella POP! which features Stella and the rest of her female fowl friends from the franchise. Players much shoot bubbles to make matches of three or more (Bust-a-Move style) to pop bubbles and reach those pesky pigs.

cheesy-munch_972290790_ipad_01.jpgCheesy Munch is the latest in Retro Dreamer’s quick, light and free games. It is a Timberman style game, but instead of a tree, there is a giant one-eyed string cheese monster named Cheesy in the center and stacks of bombs and hams on either side of him. Players must quickly tap the left or right side of the screen to put the item on the top of that side’s stack into Cheesy’s mouth and both stacks move up one item each time you tap. The goal is get as may hams in his mouth as you can before time runs out, or you accidentally feed him a bomb. It’s a silly take on this popular style of game that is sure to elicit some giggles from any little ones in your home.

Alpha Omega is a bit of a fresh take on crossword-style games. Instead of solving traditional clues, players are trying to unscramble all of the words in the crossword structure by shifting around lettered blocks. Sounds easy enough, but certain movement restrictions make this a bit of a thinker. Intersecting blocks which are a part of multiple words can move in both directions. And blocks can only be moved once, so if you work yourself into a corner, you’ll have to start over…you’re doing it in pen!

card-crawl_950955524_ipad_01.jpgCard Crawl is a brilliant mashup of solitaire and dungeon crawler, played with a modified deck of 52 cards. Four cards are dealt into the main play area and players have two slots in which they can play these cards and a third backpack slot to hold cards for later use. The goal is to make it through all 54 cards without dying. There are treasure cards, weapon cards, shield cards, healing potion cards enemy cards and a series of 5 special ability cards (one of the best parts of the game) which are randomly selected from all unlocked special cards. Use swords to attack enemy cards w/o taking personal damage to your 13 health points, or use a shield of offset some of the damage. Gear can be sold to bank more cash, but it’s a risk as you might which you had equipped that gear later on. Card Crawl is a quick, satisfying solo experience with a wealth of replay value…this one is easily my top pick for this week and I highly recommend nabbing a copy.

An apparent tie-in to a UK animated movie of the same name, Ooops! Noah is gone… is a colorful looking endless cannon jumping game, where players must attempt to avoid obstacles while firing characters from one cannon to the next.

proto-raider_970565441_ipad_01.jpgIt probably doesn’t get more retro than ASCII. Proto Raider is a auto-running puzzle platformer all in a minimal ASCII style. In each single screen level you must “run and jump, scuba dive, surf the waterfalls, fight monsters, fly in tornadoes” and most importantly, avoid various obstacles while you try to collect loot and complete your quest. It looks like a neat little retro-inspired game which at least visually, is drumming up memories of Load Runner as a kid.

Paper Dungeons is an original fantasy board game with a mix of tactical and roguelike elements. “The game is visualized as a classic tabletop board-game with dice and tokens. You can destroy walls and auto-heal as you uncover new dungeon tiles, which widens your choice of moves.” There are multiple game modes including Board game (every new dungeon, your character resets to level 1, but inventory is persistent. Unexplored parts of the dungeons are hidden by a fog of war and monsters and items are placed at random, combats are based on your statistics and dice rolls), Campaign (full adventure with up to 10 dungeons linked together by a narrative and your character doesn’t reset, keeping inventory between dungeons), paper-dungeons_965628784_ipad_02.jpgRogue (character doesn’t reset at each new dungeon, but instead keeps leveling up until you meet your demise. After you die, more powerful sets of dice will be available to use in your next Rogue run) and finally Puzzle mode where the dungeon’s layout (mobs and items) is shown to the player and you must carefully plan your path through the dungeons and monsters. And if all that wasn’t enough, the game features a complete map editor which allows you to create your own dungeons and publish them online.

If you aren’t all quested out yet, then there is also QuestRun, a new, faster-paced RPG from Phoenix Online Studios which eliminates all of that boring dialog you just tap through anyways and focuses on the fighting. With semi randomized gameplay, 15 different characters and more than 60 different monsters this one looks like it could be a fun little fight, level up, die, repeat style game.

five-nights-at-freddys-3_973482987_ipad_01Currently one of the most popular franchises on the platform, I still have not tried any of these Five Nights at Freddy’s games, but if you are a fan, you now have a third one to play. “Thirty years after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza closed it’s doors, the events that took place there have become nothing more than a rumor and a childhood memory, but the owners of ‘Fazbear’s Fright: The Horror Attraction’ are determined to revive the legend and make the experience as authentic as possible for patrons, going to great lengths to find anything that might have survived decades of neglect and ruin”. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 continues this light horror franchise about murderous animatronic characters within a pizza restaurant. If you enjoyed the previous two, there’s no doubt, you’ve already downloaded this one as well.

paper-monsters-recut_942473930_ipad_02.jpgIn January 2012, Crescent Moon Games released a great Mario and Little Big Planet-inspired platformer called Paper Monsters. Which I quite enjoyed. Combining 2D platforming gameplay with 3D graphics, in October of last year, Crescent Moon took that game and redesigned it to create a Wii U version, called Paper Monsters Recut. Now the game has come full circle with a brand new ‘Recut’ version of the game for iOS. This new iOS version looks stunning with gorgeous graphics, both recut and new levels which play smoother. If possible..I’d say the game is even more charming. Playing Paper Monsters Recut was like revisiting an old friend who has adopted a healthier since you last saw them…better looking and full of zip. If you still haven’t played this game yet, THIS is the version to get, well worth the extra money over the original release.

And I’ll round out this (long) post with a couple of pricier, space-themed iPad titles from Slitherine and 2K.

buzz-aldrins-space-program_935248198_ipad_01Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager is a new realistic turn based strategy game from the team at Slitherine. Set in the mod 1950’s you’ll be managing all aspects of launching a space mission in a race to be the first the Moon. “Take charge of the US or Soviet space agencies – your duty is be the first to the moon. Carefully manage your budget by opening programs, spending R&D funds on improving the hardware, recruiting personnel and launching space missions.” As is expected from Slitherine, this looks like a pretty deep game with lots of depth and interesting decisions. If you think you are ready to dive into the world of space exploration, this looks like it’ll put your squarely in your place.

sid-meiers-starships_880424461_ipad_01.jpgSid Meier has taken us on pirate ships, battlefields and the skies above but now he’s blasts off to outer space in 2K’s new tactical space combat game, Sid Meier’s Starships. In this adventure-driven strategy game, players take command of a fleet of starships, exploring new worlds and attempting to complete missions as they build and strengthen their fleet. The game appears to be on a fairly big scale, offering players multiple paths to victory no matter if they choose a more ruthless or diplomatic plan of attack. I suspect this will be a fairly popular title this week, despite it’s larger price tag.

That’s all I have for you this week….enjoy.

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