It has been another good week of new iOS releases, with some console ports, new pinball tables featuring animated favorites and a number of interesting and original new IPs with fresh gameplay mechanics.
Activision just released Guitar Hero® Live, the latest iteration of the classic rhythm game series launched across a multitude of platforms. While this is not the first time we’ve seen Guitar Hero on mobile platforms, this release signifies Activision’s attempt to bring console-quality titles to iOS AT CONSOLE PRICES. The game comes with two free songs, but instead of making additional, individual or bundles of songs available as inexpensive IAP, the game only offers a single $49.99 full game unlock which gives you unlimited access to a catalog of over 40 songs. After purchasing the full game unlock then you also have the option to play from a rotating catalog of current hits in their playable music video network by purchasing time-limited IAPs of 99¢ for 30 minutes or $5.99 for 24 hours of ‘Party Pass’ access. If you’d rather play with a real guitar over tapping on your device, then you can also purchase the $99 Guitar Controller Bundle which includes the 40+ digital songs. For television play, players can export the title to their TV via AirPlay, HDMI and AppleTV (coming soon),. However the real question is are people going to be willing to shell out $99 for an iOS release of something they may or may not already be buying on a “real” console. That’s the gamble and I’ll be curious to see if this model will be successful as we see the launch of the new “gaming-centric” version of the Apple TV next week.
The 80’s classic trivia board game, Trivial Pursuit returns to mobile, this time at the hands of Gameloft. Ditching the board and dice rolls, TRIVIAL PURSUIT & Friends is more of your standard asynchronous multi-player mobile trivia showdown game, played out over 6 rounds, with randomly selected categories for each round (drawn from the standard 6 categories of the board game). There are multiple game modes like a two-player Duel, a Blitz mode where four players compete simultaneously and special themed events. Of course as it is free-to-play, so there is the obligatory life meter which will limit your enjoyment of the game, but if you like quiz games, they you should definitely give the one that really started the phenomenon a try.
Most certainly owing some of its inspiration to Super Meat Boy, Impossible Super Ninja is a tough level-based 2D platformer where you attempt to run and jump your ninja through a series of trap-laden towers to collect all of the diamonds. buzzsaws, blood and one-button controls, this is one challenging little game. It’s all about trial and error, and remembering what your learned to pull off a clean run and move on to the next level. At times, it may seem like success is impossible, but then again, that’s the name of the game.
And the last freebie I’ll mention this week is Afterpulse, an attractive looking third-person free-to-play shooter. GAMEVIL aims to provide mobile gamers with a console-quality experience by implementing richly rendered environments, realistic skeletal animations and physics with ragdolls and 35 primary and secondary weapons to be evolved and upgraded. There is a training mode to get you started and then you can test your grit in online match-making, free-for-all battles and 8-player Team Deathmatch multiplayer options.
ZEN Studios has teamed up with FOX Television, to create four new deluxe pinball tables based on FOX’s popular animated series. All of the tables feature authentic voiceovers and sound effects from their various shows as well as full table guides to help you understand just what the various missions and unique progression paths are. Each table has a unique feel and play style, Archer Pinball features some special mini tables, Bob’s Burgers Pinball has a cool “day and night cycle with over 15 game modes based on episodes from the show”, Family Guy Pinball is pretty ‘freakin sweet’ and does a great job recreating the fun irreverence of the series, complete with a fight with a giant chicken and American Dad! Pinball features a unique left-side entry of the ball onto the table and a number of neat mini games. My favorite of the bunch is probably Family Guy Pinball, since it is the series I am most familiar with. You can download each table as a stand-alone app, or if you like to keep all of your tables in one place, as individual $1.99 IAPs from within Zen Pinball.
The latest offering from Origin8, Future Sense is an episodic, stealth puzzle game with a time-twisting component. You’ve just awoken in a strange house. Outside there is a pool of blood. Then the phone rings and a mysterious woman asks you to meet her outside, where she explains that you are/were part of an experiment which has granted you Future Sense, a special ability which allows you to see glimpses of the future as well as a special WarpTech time travel device which has turned you into the ultimate time-hopping, unkillable weapon. For each time you die, you warp back in time, unscathed and still holding onto whatever items you collected during your “previous life”. You must navigate levels, pulling off multi-targeted missions that will require you to use your time warping abilities to plan, safely approach and destroy targets. Both the cryptic narrative and your mysterious past are slowly revealed as you play through the game.
Making match-3 fun again, zombie match defense is a rather cool mix of match-3, lane-based defense game and turn-based strategy. Players try to remove target numbers of zombies by making matches of 3 or more brain-shaped tiles either horizontally or vertically, one or more of which contain a zombie. To do so you swap individual brains, but as you progress through the game, new types of zombies appear, which either cannot be moved, require multiple matches to destroy, or simple move somewhat unpredictably. After each swap you make, the zombies shuffle one step forward, closer toward your scientists at the end of the row. Matches behind the zombies will cause them to shift back as brains are removed, giving them a longer distance to travel and buying you a little more time. You can also unlock special abilities triggered by forming certain types of matches like 5 in a row, etc. These allow you to freeze a zombie’s movement for a turn, blow up a zombie, arm a scientist and more. The game seems really straightforward and simple at first, but the more you progress, you uncover some depth to the game with some nice emergent strategies. Even if you are sick to (un)death of match-3, this one may reanimate that match-3 fire under you.
From Mucho Party and Lamp and Vamp creators, GlobZ comes a new, yet familiar feeling puzzle game called Pokaboo, about combining colored blobs. You play as a ghost, nudging the various colored balls around the screen trying to combine all of the like colored balls into one contiguous shape in the fewest number of moves possible (this is easier said than done). Once all the blobs of single color have been merged, that particular color will disappear, allowing for more room to complete the level. While not exactly a new concept, Pokaboo is a nicely presented game, with 100 levels and a fair progression of difficulty.
The Beggar’s Ride is a nicely illustrated new puzzle platformer from Italian indie development studio Bad Seed. You play as an old beggar man who discovers a mysterious mask which allows him to instantly transport to another world where he has power over rain and can make it rain just by dragging two clouds together. The masks (four in total) are the hook of the game, as they add to the puzzle component of The Beggar’s Ride. You have to figure out when to transport to the other world and use your special power to manipulate the environment and form a safe pathway which will allow you to continue making progress in the regular world. It is a fun little twist, that makes this puzzle platformer stand out.
Bulkypix’s latest, Please, Don’t Touch Anything is a bit of a cryptic new puzzle game. You are an employee, covering for your colleague who is taking a bathroom break. Seated in front of a mysterious control panel with a singular red button, your only instruction was to not touch ANYTHING. As is the case with human nature…you now more than anything want to press that button. You must figure out what to do. Pressing the button causes new switches, buttons and interfaces to appear on the console, further complicating things and adding to the confusion of just what you are supposed to do, or perhaps more appropriately…not do.
Finally, that brings us to 505 Games’ iOS release of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. A hit when it launched on consoles in 2013, this is a story-driven single-player, co-op adventure game (yeah ponder on that for a sec) where you play as two brothers (simultaneously) on a quest to find a remote cure for their ailing father. A combination of an engaging and beautiful narrative and a rather unique game mechanic where you must control two characters at once, interacting and harmonizing with each other to complete puzzle and boss battle sections to advance the tale. Your controls consist of dual virtual sticks, each of which controls one of the two brothers. Requiring a different train of thought and a unique approach, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a must have compelling and entertaining puzzle game. While I haven’t yet tried the iOS release, this game was fantastic on the Xbox 360.
And that’ll do it for this week…enjoy.