Apple is certainly ending June with a strong week of new iOS game releases. I’m just going to jump right in and try to cover as many of the most notable ones I can, starting with SEGA’s latest, Sonic Runners. Unlike SEGA’s previous Sonic running game, Sonic Dash, which was a 3D game, Sonic Runners, with it’s 2D apporach, just feels more like a classic Sonic 2D side-scrolling platformer. You simply tap the screen to start Sonic running and then it is just a matter of keeping up with Sonic and tapping to make him jump to avoid fast approaching obstacles or tap again in the air to pull off a double jump. Collect rings, unlock additional characters and running buddies, and take on Doctor Eggman in a boss battle. Speedwise, and (to a certain degree) gameplay-wise, Sonic Runners feels like an homage to Sonic’s classic platformer style, but instead of specific levels its setup as an endless runner.
While not my type of game, I’m sure there will be plenty of iOS gamers excited to see Gameloft launching Siegefall. This appears to be Gameloft’s entry into the crowded Clash of Clans style tactical combat genre where players build up bases (in this case castles) and try to raid and loot enemy castles and defend their own kingdoms “with strategically placed defense towers, explosives, traps, barricades and walls to ward off greedy invaders.” Siegefall appears to make the attack portion of the game a lot more interactive and engaging for players, but will it be enough to lure players away from already established franchises like Clash of Clans and Game of War?
Your Story is an engaging new text-based adventure game and debut app from “attorney, legal tech blogger and former particle physicist”, Joshua Auriemma. A descendant of Robert Frost himself, Auriemma drew inspiration from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” to develop this tale shaped by the player’s choices and information from the player’s phone to “craft a story truly about the player and his or her loved ones”. Throughout the tale you venture down paths which lead to your demise (which will happen often), but you learn from these mistakes and your “character” retains any of the skill attributes (strength, perception, intelligence, constitution, charisma and luck) that you’ve improved thus far. The app intentionally takes a very minimalistic approach when compared to other text adventure offerings to make sure that the game remains 100% accessible to the sight-impaired (utilizing the iPhone’s native VoiceOver functionality) which is something that Auriemma is particularly passionate about.
Musician / teacher turned full-time developer, Whitaker Trebella (Polymer and Pivvot) is back with his third title, Piloteer. This super challenging game is set in a utopian world where players take on the role of a jetpack operator trying to pull off increasingly more difficult missions to spin some positive PR for herself and jetpacks. Piloteer’s intentionally difficult and uncooperative controls may cause some players QWOP-like levels of frustration, but the game is nicely chunked into small, short missions which allow for small victories as you learn the controls and pull off some crazy , yet awkward-looking and less than graceful looking aerial stunts. Frustrating, yet fun, if you are looking for a challenge, this one will deliver.
It’s time to entertain the kiddos…
This week, we’ve got several fun new titles for kids (and kids at heart), starting with Toca Life: City, Toca Boca’s urban sequel to my daughters’ favorite app of last year, Toca Life: Town. City features a brand new cast of 28 fun, customizable characters and an even bigger world for kids to create, explore and discover. There are four locations to explore: a loft apartment, shopping mall, hair salon and food park with 7 different stands to buy sushi, burgers, fish ‘n chips and more. The hair salon and clothing stores allow you to customize the look of every single character in the game (even the guy that looks like a hamburger!), adding a whole new way for your kids’ imagination to run wild. My younger daughter and I played together for an hour or so this morning, and my girls have been having a blast using their imagination with this one together as well. I cannot recommend this one enough, it’ll no doubt be another big hit for Toca Boca for sure.
Next, odenis studio, creators of the stunning and serene runner Fish & Shark is back with a new sandbox game called Fairystone in the same Minecraft visual style. Written like a love letter for his little girl, developer Olivier Denis has created a magical universe in which your child is free to let her imagination run wild as she crafts a home, invite fairies and “creates an incredible ecosystem full of life and magic. Truly, there is no limits for your imagination : you could compose music, create a castle, fly like a bird and so much more”. I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but my older daughter is into Minecraft so I think this would be right up her alley.
Looking for something a bit faster-paced?
Hit the tracks for some kart racing fun with tons of your favorite Cartoon Network characters in Formula Cartoon All-Stars. From Adventure Time to Regular Show, The Amazing World of Gumball to Ben 10 and many more all of your favorite characters are here. Customize and upgrade your vehicle from the normal to the absurd and put your kart racing skills to the test against AI opponents in the Adventure mode or try to put up the fastest time compared to your friends in the Tournament mode. Formula Cartoon All-Stars features a great variety of thematic tracks and a simple one-finger steering wheel control which will have you banking round corners and hopefully getting over that checkered line first. There is a neat collection of Mario-Kart style powerups including tomatoes which block your opponents’ screen, ice blocks which freeze your opponents and magnets which help you scoop in the coins which can be used to unlock additional playable characters, vehicles and more. Regular Cartoon Network watchers will love the fan service, but anyone can enjoy this game regardless of their familiarity with the included franchises.
Surprise Attack Games, creators of Oscura Second Shadow, have returned this week with a new physics-based puzzle adventure game for the iPad called Fort Meow. A little girl ventures into her attic and upon discovering her grandfather’s journal, she is attacked by “a barrage of feline assailants”. It is up to you to build a fort out of common household items and furniture (pillows, grandfather clocks, toasters and more) to help defend poor Nia from her feline foes. As you progress through the game, the mysterious origins of all of these crazy cats will be revealed.
A few weeks back, we saw Cartoon Network give Adventure Time the Appisode treatment and now this week, Ubisoft brings their Rabbids franchise to the appisode format with Rabbids Appisodes: The Interactive TV Show. Now your kids can engage with those silly trouble-finding Rabbids in seven interactive appisodes based on the popular Nickelodeon animated TV series, Rabbids Invasion. They’ll giggle as they try to find hidden objects, throw eggs, help keep the Rabbids safe and more, while enjoying fully animated Rabbids shorts. If your kids are fans of this series (like mine are) then this is an entertaining new way to experience the show.
Who doesn’t love more LEGOs?!
Warner Bros. has just released LEGO® Batman: Beyond Gotham, a mobile-friendly version of their PC/console hit from last year, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. You are Batman and have teamed up with characters from the DC Comics universe (ie. The Justice League) to try to defeat a supervillain called Brainiac who is trying to destroy the Earth. This rather large game features over 100 unlockable and playable characters and the action unfolds over 45 missions which follow an “original story set in outer space, the Lantern worlds of Zamaron and Odym, as well as familiar DC realms in the Hall of Justice, the Batcave, and the Justice League Watchtower”. Another great title to add to your LEGO gaming collection, I think fans of this series will be quite pleased with this one.
We don’t tend to get a lot of them, so when a really unique and fresh gaming concept comes along, I love to highlight it here. Her Story is a crime solving mystery game that plays out in the first person. You are the detective sitting in front of your computer terminal, combing through a database of archived video interviews with the female suspect in a missing persons case from 1994. Using the search feature of the database, you are trying to find video interview clips which will help you piece together the clues as to what happened to this British woman’s missing husband, Simon. With each new search result, you’ll find yourself quickly getting drawn into this murder mystery, noticing a new keyword, a new name or a new location to search on in order to uncover more video evidence. All in all, it’s a pretty neat concept for a game and unlike anything you’ve played before.
The new iPad port of the 2014 award-winning PC top-down, tactical, real-time strategy game of the same name, Door Kickers feels ideally suited for tablet consumption. You are in command of a SWAT team and you must safely guide your squad as they breach buildings, quickly identify and eliminate threats, and hopefully keep all the members of the team alive. You draw out your plan of attack or respond in real-time on the fly, it’s your choice. Door Kickers puts you in the thick of the action and it’s up to you how you want to handle it, after all, even the best laid plans cannot account for everything, so you’ve got to be flexible. Because in Door Kickers there are no turns, hexes, or action points the game has a much more fluid and real-time nature than previous games in this genre and thus has a very different feel. There are plenty of missions, with user selectable breach points to keep you interested as well as a whole arsenal of weapons and other gear items to keep you coming back for more challenges. A great release and very pleased o see this make it’s way to iOS.
Tales From Deep Space is an excellent new puzzle adventure game from Amazon Game Studios. Previously released for Amazon’s Fire devices, it now makes its way to iOS. Set on a space station called Big Moon, players take on the roles of two characters (E and CASI) whose lives have been abruptly intertwined due to a case of mistaken identity. E is a traveling salesman and his new companion is a K-9 like luggage drone named CASI. Big Moon has been thrown into a state of lockdown and the hapless duo (who are now wanted fugitives) are simply trying to work together to avoid capture, clear their names and reveal “the nefarious plot behind the mysterious ‘Meek’ uprising”. In the single player mode you must manually switch between the characters utilizing their unique abilities to solve puzzles and get the pair where they need to be. In the two-player co-op (played over local WiFi), each player controls one of the two heroes individually on their own device and you can switch off at any time. My daughter and I have really been enjoying this mode, and it works really well, creating a fun father daughter bonding experience. Amazon Game Studios seems to really have this mobile gaming thing licked, with three great titles right out of the gate!
As many tries as I’ve given them, I’ve resolve myself with the fact that JRPGs are just not my thing. That being said, I suspect that this final notable title will excite some of our readers. SQUARE ENIX has launched an iOS port of their classic role-playing game, DRAGON QUEST VI: Realms of Revelation®. The final chapter of the Zenithian trilogy was originally released on the SNES in 1995. “Players will set out on an epic adventure spanning two parallel worlds, where they must join forces with a diverse group of characters in order to save the world from darkness”. The iOS release uses simple intuitive controls and a vertical layout allowing for both one and two-handed play and “players save at any time through the Quick Save function allowing them to rejoin the action right where they left off”.
And that’s all I have for you, but it certainly was a great week for new iOS game releases.