lara-croft-relic-run_960251959_ipad_01.jpgPhew…It’s been another crazy busy week of new releases on the App Store!

Kicking things off this week is Lara Croft: Relic Run, a lane-based, 3D endless runner from SQUARE ENIX, which at first glance looks like a shameless Lara Croft-themed ripoff of Temple Run, but once you dig a bit deeper you realize there is good deal more going on. Sure, at its heart it is the familiar lane and swipe-based style we are all familiar with, but there is also wall running, clues to collect, upgrades, boss battles, and even curses you can inflict on your friends to hurt their ability to achieve high scores. Also due to the angle of the camera on this one, it creates a much more immersive experience as you cannot always see what’s coming ahead, making you be a bit more reactive than planning ahead.

BreachTD is a bit of a fresh take on the tower defense genre where you are actively fighting and defending in head to head battles. Players must defend their base, the Bastion, from the invading enemy force known as the Void. The publisher describes it as “an action-packed mix of real-time strategy and MOBA-like gameplay”. I haven’t had a chance to dive into this one yet, but it looks pretty fun.

toysburg-monumental-adventure_941804746_ipad_01.jpgToysburg: The Monumental Adventure is a clever new adventure game from Angry Mob Games, the creators of such iOS classics as Muffin Knight and Guerrilla Bob. It’s got a super crazy theme where you play as an adolescent toy maker whose sister (or brother if iyou play as the female character) has been kidnapped by the evil corporation. He/she has a special ability of making toys that turn the kids who receive them into the actual toys! Discover new toys, build them and transform kids into certain toys to complete puzzling quests. As you imagine this unlike any other game you’ve played on iOS, and you will quickly lose track of time as you strive to complete more and more quests. This is one you should certainly check out.

Next is the debut title from Spunge Games, and adventure runner called Cartoon Survivor. Nicely illustrated, this cute game offers a similar vibe to the Joe Danger series in that you are steering a dodo bird through an obstacle course running, jumping and gliding to avoid traps and collect coins.

jenny-leclue-playable-teaser_977381526_ipad_01.jpg“Demos” are not generally allowed by Apple, but somehow Mografi was able to get permission to offer Jenny LeClue – Playable Teaser on the App Store this week. A visually impressive 2D, exploration based, adventure game, Jenny LeClue is a brilliant (but bored) young detective, who “longs for adventure and a real case to crack” and choices you make will have a long-term permanent effect on the story. The game looks great, in fact I very nearly backed the Kickstarter Campaign for it, but there were no reward levels that got you an iOS copy of the game, and iOS was listed as a ‘future platform’. It’s good to see that an iOS release is not only a possibility, but pretty much guaranteed.

Lightwood Consultancy’s previous (paid) release digital of their chaotic, stick figure card game Sopio was a solo affair, pitting the player against various AI opponents. Their new, free release King Of Sopio, only offers up the missing ad-supported a head-to-head two-person multiplayer experience. The rules for this version are a little different from the original game. A more streamlined tug-o-war like experience for quicker matches, opponents play their cards to a single, central pile, trying to be the player to cause the pile to reach 1000 points first. However if you are the one to knock the pile down to -1000 or less, then you lose. This edition features a collection of cards from Sopio Decks 1-4 of the physical card game.

portal-pinball_989816395_ipad_01.jpgTwo of my all-time favorite game franchises come together brilliantly in ZEN Studios latest pinball table for Zen Pinball. Also offered as a standalone app, Portal ® Pinball brings the characters, humor and aesthetics of Portal to the pinball table. Players take on the role of a test subject named Chell who is trying to make it through all of GlaDOS’ test chambers with the assistance of the inept but lovable Wheatley. It’s a challenging and fun new offering that fans of either of these game series will no doubt enjoy.

In what looks like a mashup of endless faller, roguelike and platformer, with a Nintendo Gameboy visual aesthetic, The Deep has players swiping to navigate their deep-sea diver around obstacles and enemies as he explores the unknown depths of the ocean, and facing off against “epic boss monsters”.

For the more tactical gamers…

Battle of Gods: Ascension is a turn-based strategy game with a hex-based board and card-based system for casting spells. You play as Hercules, Achilles and Atalanta, taking on endless procedural levels of combat, calling on the gods via your cards, summoning spells to take down evil creatures and stop Hades’ armies.

geometry-wars-3-dimensions_917463360_ipad_03Sierra™ along with Activision Publishing bring us this week’s tent pole release, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Released on consoles late last year, GW3 makes its way to iOS this week in a stellar IAP-free Universal release. This latest evolution of the popular fast-pace dual-stick shooter franchise introduces three-dimensional grids for a whole new experience as well as a dedicated single-player Adventure mode complete with some pretty awesome boss battles. The game has no IAP, but the in-game currency that you earn through play can be used to unlock and upgrade cool companion drones and super abilities which will help you really ratchet up those scores. I highly, highly recommend this one, the physics are spot on and gameplay is fun, frenetic and challenging, especially in the Adventure mode, which offers ever-changing sets of goals and objectives that really change up the game play from level to level.

desktop-dungeons_979917622_ipad_02.jpgFinally that brings us to the two big-ticket titles of the week, Desktop Dungeons and Sproggiwood, both of which happen to offer their own unique spins on the classic roguelike.

Desktop Dungeons is an iPad port of the popular 2013 PC RPG/Roguelike of the same name. Players must fight their way through randomly generated dungeons, collecting loot, items and spells and defeating the dungeon boss to earn gold, allowing them to upgrade their Kingdom. Select from multiple character classes and discover all sorts of items, enemies and more, each time you play. The game tries to (quite successfully I’ve heard) “pack all the challenge and reward of a dungeon crawling roguelike game into bite sized chunks of puzzle goodness”. Brad Cummings of BoardGameGeek gave this iOS release a solid 4-star rating in his recent review.

sproggiwood_625411864_ipad_02.jpgLast but not least is Sproggiwood. Inspired by Finnish mythology, the game is a story-driven, turn-based roguelike “set in the humorous world of Sproggiwood”. Players select from six unique character classes and attempt to “grow their civilizations and plunder procedural dungeons”.

Sproggiwood distills the roguelike genre down to its core fun ingredients: inspired character classes, loads of interesting loot, and procedurally populated dungeons with monsters and traps that combine to produce totally unique tactical challenges. In Sproggiwood, adventure sessions are compact and chock-full of interesting choices for you to make. Each dungeon dive follows the heroic rise of one adventurer from your civilization. Journey through teeming forests, haunted swamps, teetering cliffs, and glacial mazes to uncover your civilization’s whole story.

And that’ll do it for this week….enjoy the new releases.

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