stan-lees-hero-command_941294589_ipad_02.jpgWelcome to another jam-packed week of new iOS releases

First up this week is Stan Lee’s Hero Command, a free-to-play superhero dual-stick shooter/RPG game aimed at kids which features Stan Lee himself as the leader of Hero Command. Select one of three unique heroes (Captain Steamhammer, Seer or the Twins) to battle villains and save the world.

Keeping with the hero theme, next up is ROAD TO DRAGONS, a unique, path-based RPG where you create paths by selecting panels to guide your heroes on quests to defeat the dragons.

four-letters_970892126_ipad_02.jpgFour Letters is a neat little frenetic word game developed by PikPok in which you are given four letters and you must quickly tap them in order to spell a valid word before time runs out. Answering correctly adds time to the clock, and you must try to get as many words correct as you can before time runs out.

Like defense games? If so, you have a couple to choose from this week.

In Defend The Dam, brainwashed animals are attacking the dam and like the title says, you must try to defend it against waves of attacks, by building out weapons like pellet guns, flamethrowers and more in designated areas, which can be rotated around to allow you to defend each of the columns on the play area. It is column based, so think Plants vs Zombies, except rotated 90 degrees and with specified points on which you can build your defenses. The rotating armaments mechanic makes for an interesting twist in gameplay.

Ambush! – Tower Offense is a bit more of a traditional tower defense game where you place, build and upgrade towers to defend against waves of enemies. It tries to set itself apart by having rounds be time based instead of wave based. As you successfully complete defensive missions, you capture land and level up, allowing you to expand and improve your own Citadel. The game also features an offensive gameplay mode where you are the one doing the attacking, ambushing neighborhood tribes.

patchmania-puzzle-about-bunny_807323207_ipad_02.jpgAre puzzles more your thing?

Patchmania is a cute puzzle game that borrows a bit from those games where you are trying to draw lines to connect two dots of like colors, except that you are drawing paths from animals, through a garden, to a burrowing hole, collecting all of that animal’s favorite food along the way. The order in which you move multiple animals is important as is the chosen path if you want to clear out all of the food and earn three stars. It is fun and challenging, and it will keep those synapses firing.

This week we have another take on the ever poplar Timberman mechanic, this time from
Cartoon Network and set in the Amazing World of Gumball universe. In Sky Streaker, you play as Richard Watterson, a boy determined to break the world record for not wearing pants. You must help Richard climb as high as possible without getting caught or accidentally grabbing a pair of pants. As you climb the pole, you must tap left and right arrows to switch sides of the pole, gathering coins and avoiding accidentally picking up a pair of pants. Go fast, otherwise Gumball and Darwin will catch up to you and your record-setting attempt will be over. There are cool accessory items which can be unlocked with the coins you gather during attempts. Rather than just being cosmetic, these accoutrements can be equipped to give Richard special power ups adding a little more depth than your typical Timberman-style game.

stormblades_961615948_ipad_02.jpgOur final featured freebie comes from Subway Surfers creator, Kiloo, and it is a third-person sword and tap-based sword fighting game called Stormblades. You’ll face off against a series of unbelievably large and grotesque foes in the Infinity Blade-inspired swipe-masher.

Bulkypix kicks off the paid app coverage with KromacelliK, available at a special launch price of 99¢ (50% off). It is an 8-bit arcade-style organism exploration game in which you are riding through the KromacelliK organism, transporting healthy cells and using them to fight off viruses.

Keeping with the retro theme, Magenta Arcade is a s a “finger-based” top-down shooter where players touch the screen to fire and attack, but must retract it to defend themselves against the evil Ivo Magenta and his minions.

adventures-poco-eco-lost-sounds_970021572_ipad_02.jpgAdventures of Poco Eco – Lost Sounds is an interesting new title in a similar vein as the rather popular Monument Valley. It is an exploratory adventure game where players are tasked with helping the hero (Poco Eco) find ‘the lost sounds’ across dreamlike animated 3D levels. I’ve only just dipped my toes into this one, but it seems like one of those titles that you’ll want to just put your headphones on and explore, soaking it in.

TouchTone™ has already been receiving a lot of buzz on my twitter circles as it is the latest effort from Solipskier and Gasketball™ developer Mikengreg. An interesting social commentary as well as a game, TouchTone™ casts players in the role of a NSA analyst tasked with assessing threats and suspicious individuals and uncovering potential nefarious plots. You do this by solving laser/mirror type puzzles to decrypt a personal email or document and then determining if the message you read poses “a threat to our National welfare”. It’s a pretty neat and unsettling experience, sort of akin to Papers, Please.

swapquest_931185583_ipad_01.jpgWell, I guess we weren’t quite done with the RPG coverage for the week, because a paid title, SwapQuest offers a fun new take on the genre with its neat-looking tile-swapping mechanic for building pathways and guiding your hero to loot and treasure. It adds a unique puzzle element to the genre.

Next up are a couple of digital board game titles which launched earlier this week, the first of which is Glück Auf or Coal Baron, as it is known as here in the US. The tabletop version of Coal Baron was originally published in 2013 and it is a Worker Placement / Pick-up and deliver game in which players are coal mine owners who must send their workers underground to mine as much coal as possible as well as “acquire and fulfill orders to gain victory points”. There is some strategy in that each orders requires very specific demands for certain types of coal, each of which is located in a different pit level. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information regarding the game on the App Store, but there is some good info the official site. On odd choice for a digital board game adaptation, Glück Auf has adopted a unique 3D visual style instead of a more traditional port. We’ll see how this pans out for them. The game appears to only offer single player vs AI and same-device local pass and play multiplayer gameplay modes for up to four people. Note that you will have to search for the German name if you want to find it on the App Store.

dice-town-mobile_824264747_ipad_03The other digital board game title is Dice Town Mobile, based on the 2009 dice rolling and set collection game designed by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc. You roll the poker dice and try to build a hand that gains you control of a certain location in Dice Town, which, in turn determines the action you can take. Players try to earn the most points in acquired gold and property. I haven’t tried this one yet, but apparently once you get through the rather terrible tutorial in this solo-only port from Matagot, it is a fairly easy to learn and fun game. It is worth noting that the game does not currently offer any sort of local or online multiplayer options, just single player vs one to four AI players. I’m looking forward to giving this one a go, though will probably watch this Dice v Daughter playthrough video first.

And finally that brings us to Tin Man Games’ absolutely hilarious new gamebook title, Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be. Built on the premise that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet has finally been restored to its original “second-person non-linear branching narrative format” you can already tell that this isn’t going to be your Father’s Shakespeare. “Take yourself back to History when ghosts walked the Earth and nobody knew velociraptors were ever even a thing and steel yourself to experience the magic of Shakespeare as it was meant to be experienced…in a non-deterministic narrative structure where you end up thinking maybe you made a wrong decision…”.

ryan-norths-to-be-or-not-to-be_962986396_ipad_01.jpgLike any true red blooded American that has survived college w/o an English or Arts major, the very thought of sitting down to read Shakespeare fills me with both anxiety and dread, however…you’ve never experienced Shakespeare quite like this. Based on author Ryan North’s book of the same name, this has to be one of my most entertaining experiences I’ve had with the bard. Tin Man has put together a stellar production with a whimsical UI and illustrations, loads of humor and even a thematic score. To give you an idea of the craziness that you are in for, according to Amazon, the author apparently once reviewed the novelization of Back to the Future, page-by-page.

That’s all I’ve got for thee…

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