spellstone_973182911_ipad_02.jpgWith iOS 9 launching this week, I expected a lot more developers to be launching titles, but perhaps they are holding back for next week’s new device launch instead.

It was a fairly light week, with a lot of those rapidly forgettable quick action games crowding the new releases. Today I’ll be highlighting some of the better/better looking new app releases of the week.

Kicking things off we have the latest free-to-play offering from Kongregate, a casual, cartoony deck-builder called Spellstone. Players collect, craft and upgrade a deck of up to 15 cards. On each turn they must choose to play a card from their current hand of three cards. This card is placed on the battlefield and attacks either the enemy card directly across from it or if there is no card across from it, it attacks the player’s hero. As cards are defeated, the rest of the played cards shift to the left to fill in gaps. Some cards will have delays before they can fight and others will have special abilities like poison and the possibility that they will attack a card other than the one directly in front of them. The goal in each round it to deplete your opponent’s hero’s life down to nothing. I’ve played a fair amount of Spellstone and this far it seems a little too easy and I’m hoping that the difficulty increases. That being said, the free-to-play mechanics are pretty generous (but still does offer a multitude of ways to separate you from your money, so parents beware) and it could be a nice introductory card battling deck-builder for a younger audience.

order-chaos-2-redemption_984394908_ipad_02.jpgNext up is Gameloft’s big mobile MMORPG sequel, Order & Chaos 2: Redemption. I must confess as to never having played the original as MMOs are just not my thing, I don’t have the amount of free time to invest in them to make them appealing to me at all. However, I know the original was quite popular and I’ve been hearing good things about the sequel since its launch just a few short days ago. If you’ve been looking for a mobile MMO to jump into, Order & Chaos 2: Redemption sounds like it doesn’t have much of a learning curve and may be a great place to start your adventuring, just make sure you have a ggod amount of free space as this beast takes up a whopping 2.5 GB.

raceline-cc_718845631_ipad_01If you are someone who enjoyed drag racing games like CSR Racing and Racing Rivals but wondered what it might be like to race with motorcycles, then Raceline CC is the prefect game for you. Using a lot of the same mechanics as its car-based predecessors, Raceline replaces gear-shifting with an element of lane switching to weave between traffic and/or position yourself to draft off vehicles that are in front of you. If you don’t care for this style of game, I’m not sure that this is enough of a change to win you over, but if you haven’t quite tired of the whole drag racing scene, then this may just be the shot of nitro you’ve been looking for to spice things up.

whack-magic_1024876557_ipad_02.jpgThe last of the free apps I’m going to mention this week is Whack Magic. It is a level-based quick action tapping and swiping, whack-a-mole style game where enemy creatures randomly appear on a 3×3 grid and you must destroy them before they can do harm to you. The different creatures require their own unique gestures for disposal. The most basic creatures require a simple tap to defeat, while others require multiple taps. Some must be swiped in a particular direction and others, if attacked too quickly after spawning, will do you some serious harm. So it becomes a matter of quickly accessing each newly spawned creature and disposing of them in the correct way. The starting levels can be a bit slow and repetitive, but once things ramp up with a greater variety of creature types the frenetic gameplay really picks up.

gravity-duck-islands_1023445623_ipad_01.jpgRavenous Games returns this week with a second helping of their gravity flipping puzzle platformer, Gravity Duck Islands. Our fowl friend must successfully avoid obstacles and navigate 80 levels spread across four different islands, each with their own unique mechanics including jumping, teleporting, floating and phasing. There are even collectible hats.

starseed-origin_1029307569_04Crescent Moon Games is back with Starseed: Origin, a retro-styled arcade space shooter complete with chip tunes soundtrack. Players pilot one of nine unlockable Starseeds, with new ships/weapons unlocked as you defeat each of the massive dreadnoughts. The game is on sale for 33% off for launch.

For the kids, we have another educational title from Tinybop called The Earth by Tinybop. The fifth title in Tinybop’s “Explorer’s Library series”, The Earth allows your child to explore our planet and the geological forces which helped transform it from pre-Pangea to present day. Kids can “trigger earthquakes, make volcanos erupt, investigate plate tectonics, weathering, erosion, and deposition”. Designed for little explorers ages 4 and up, this looks like another fun educational tool that both kids and parents can interact with and discuss together.

braveland-pirate_1018595970_ipad_02.jpgFinally, that brings us to Braveland Pirate, the third and final title in Tortuga’s Braveland turn-based strategy game trilogy. While the previous two adventures, Braveland and Braveland Wizard were set in the fantasy realm, as you probably surmised from the title, this final entry is set in the world of pirates. Hit the high seas with your pirate crew and hunt for treasure and rare artifacts. Battle other pirates and hoards of enemies both living and undead. I must admit that I somehow have still not played any of the titles in this series yet, but the theme in this one is particularly interesting to me.

And I think that will do it for this week.
Hopefully we’ll have a larger batch of titles to discuss next week with the launch of the new phones.

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