dead-effect-2_931273204_ipad_01.jpgDevelopers are certainly pulling out all the stops this week, with a really strong slate of new iOS releases to entertain mobile gamers. We’ve got rich, stylized visuals, a shooter sequel, interesting and puzzly adventures and even an indie PC port or two. It was really difficult to narrow things down this week.

Without further teasing, let’s fight our way through this week’s list, starting with the first-person sci-fi zombie shooter sequel, Dead Effect 2. Published by Bulkypix in 2013, its predecessor, came out of nowhere, from a relatively unknown developer and immediately blew us away. Now BadFly Interactive is back with their self-published sequel to this high-quality shooter complete with improved graphics and physics, as well as 20+ hours of campaign gameplay and 10+ hours of special missions, not to mention a whole host of upgradable weapons and character equipment. With silky smooth controls and optional auto-firing, you definitely want to check this one out.

zombie-hero-revenge-of-kiki_904184868_ipad_02.jpgSpeaking of zombies and Bulkypix, just in time for Halloween, they’ve just launched another new game (following up last week’s Please, Don’t Touch Anything) called Zombie Hero: Revenge of Kiki. It is an arcade-style, zombie-themed, button-mashing beat’em up where players take on the role of an unlikely masked hero as he punches, kicks and combos the snot (and other bodily fluids) out of wave after wave of zombies and other villainous individuals.

The first (and arguably the weirdest) of THREE point and click adventure puzzle games I’m going to mention this week is Mr. Pumpkin Adventure. Set in the ‘vegetable world’ the game follows the exploits of Mr. Pumpkin as he attempts to figure out who he is. It is pretty much your standard PnC game enhanced by its fun and wacky cartoony art style. You can play the first chapter for free, which contains about 6 to 8 screens you must navigate (back and forth through) picking up items, using items to find clues or other items to then solve the puzzles. You can unlock the remaining 7 chapters for a single $2.99 IAP and there is a bonus chapter which can be also unlocked by completing all three endings of the game.

fold-the-world_988310547_ipad_01Fold the World is a new puzzle game with a really neat 3D paper aesthetic and a twist (or perhaps more appropriately…a fold). Players guide this spring-like creature around winding paths collecting puzzle pieces until they come to a dead-end, at which point, they’ll have to fold over one or more sections of the paper board to reveal new paths on the back which, when aligned properly, allow Yolo to continue on his path to reach the end of the level. Some levels you will need to fold and unfold sections multiple times to discover the right path. It is a neat concept and quite an ingenious engaging idea for a puzzle game.

nous._1046235715_ipad_01.jpgnous. is a race against the clock barrage of mini games. The clock is constantly counting down as you try to last as long as possible by correctly performing memorization, math and even dexterity mini-games. Correct answers will put a little more time on the clock, while answering incorrectly will penalize you. It’s fast and frenetic and the difficulty level increases as you go. Other than just the solo mode where it’s you against the clock, nous. offers a number of other game types including: Online team mode with 1 to 3 friends, Online 1v1 versus mode with your choice of either public or private matchups and you can have up to 8 people play locally on the same device. It’s worth noting, that there is a separate 99¢ paid version as well called nous+ (plus), which “contains no ads as well as all present AND future In-App purchases of the standard version for free”.

Headup Games returns this week with In Between Mobile, the iOS port of the award-winning story driven puzzle platformer which launched on Steam earlier this year. The game starts of by saying “this is the happy ending of a man who’s dying” and takes place inside the protagonists’ head, which doesn’t necessarily obey the laws of physics and you must alter gravity to successfully and safely navigate levels. You have a virtual stick for left and right movement and can flick the screen in any direction to have gravity pull you in that direction. You have to successfully navigate twisting, maze-like levels avoiding spiked walls and drifting your falling body into safe places. There have been some similar puzzle games on iOS before, however as you play this game, the thoughts of the main character are professionally narrated weaving an inner monologue as you play. In Between is on sale for 33% off at launch.

toca-life-school_1043579926_ipad_01.jpgSchool is in session with Toca Boca’s third entry in their Toca Life line of imaginative play apps. Toca Life: School adds a number of new locations (home, lockers, cafeteria, playground, classroom with a science lab and a youth center) as well as 32 fun and kooky new characters. My girls have been having a blast conducting classes, serving, eating and throwing food, jamming with their band at the youth center and playing with their hat who turns into a dog. What I love about this (and all the apps in the ‘Life’ line) is how my girls can play with each other on the same iPad and use their imaginations to create fun, shared stories, laughing and giggling. Toca Life: School has become their go to app when then load up the iPad. This is another absolute MUST HAVE title for any parent with young kids! You may also want to check out Toca Boca’s YouTube channel for a cute short film series called “Toca Life Weekly” which they create using the characters from their ‘Life’ series of apps.

agent-a-a-puzzle-in-disguise_940006911_ipad_02.jpgOur second puzzle adventure game of the week, Agent A: A puzzle in disguise, comes from the creator of the 2013 hit Tasty Tadpoles (a game which I loved and devoured on a plane trip). A nicely polished point and click game with a groovy 60s-era spy sensibility. Enemy spy and femme fatale, Ruby La Rouge has been targeting MIA (Majesty’s Intelligence Agency) agents and you, Agent A, are one of the few left who can stop her. You must follow Ruby, locate and infiltrate her secret lair and figure out what devious things she is planning. This is a classic style point and click adventure game with a great theme and some creative puzzle. While I think the game is ideally suited for more casual fans of the genre. That being said, as a more experience player I still found it to be really entertaining and had a difficult time putting it down until I completed the quest. Highly recommended.

I’m digging this emerging trend of developers revisiting the match-3 genre, but instead of just pumping out a re-themed Candy Crush or the next Puzzle Quest clone, they are trying different things with the mechanic.

forgotten-forest-afterlife_1038300559_ipad_02.jpgFor instance, Forgotten Forest: Afterlife, the latest game from Australian developer Six Foot Kid (who worked with Halfbrick on both Band Stars and revamping Monster Dash) uses match-3 to create more of an adventure than your typical teeth rotting-matcher. Players are trying to help the (recently deceased) Aster, find his way to the afterlife by travelling through levels and collecting his lost memories and a flame offering along the way. Drawing lines vertically, horizontally and diagonally through 3 or more matching pieces allows Aster to traverse his drawn paths, navigating the levels to collect what he needs, before making his way to the shrine where he will place his flame and move on, one step closer to the afterlife. It makes for a different and frankly much more interesting match-3 experience.

Stay, Mum is a new, minimalist puzzle game centered around trying to recreate certain shapes using a mix of gravity, physics and toy blocks. A lonely, but imaginative little boy wishes his mom could spend more time with him, but being a single working parent she struggles to find enough time. To cheer him up, she gives her son some very special blocks each type of which has their own look and characteristics. In each level you are given a mix of one or more block types and briefly shown the silhouette of a shape. You must then position the blocks on or above the center platform, such that when gravity is activated, the blocks fall down to the bottom of the screen to (hopefully) form the same shape. The different characteristics and physics of the falling blocks coupled with how they interact/collide with one another both need to be considered when placing the blocks if you want to successfully complete all 70 levels.

five-card-quest-tactical-rpg_1045164931_ipad_02It’s been a while since we’ve had the pleasure of a new Rocketcat title, but now the wait is over. A bit of a departure from the studio’s usual fare, Five Card Quest is a turn-based card/role-playing combat game. Players select their team of heroes from the standard five RPG character classes and then try to successfully conquer randomly generated dungeons, battling 16 different types of enemies. Make the best of the hand you’ve been dealt and play to not only win, but to survive. Utilize cards to attack, defend and/or position your adventurers in the best lanes for combat. With variability in both team makeup, dungeons and cards, this one should offer a good deal of replayability. Did I mention that it also has a nice, unique flat art style? Looks like another winner for Rocketcat.

sanitarium_1008783470_ipad_02.jpgAnything but flat, the rich 3D, paper and cardboard textured world of State of Play Games’ iOS port of Lumino City will jump right off your iOS device’s screen. This immediately captivating puzzle adventure game immerses players into the imaginative world that is Lumino City. You play as a little girl named Lumi whose eccentric grandfather (and the city’s caretaker) has been kidnapped. You must travel both high and low to figure out what happened to him, interacting with a varied array of townspeople and many of your beloved grandfather’s crazy mechanical inventions. The amount of time and attention to detail which obviously went into making the stunning visuals for this game is impressive. “Everything you see on screen was made using paper, cardboard and glue, miniature lights and motors.” In addition to the clever puzzles, the designers even got super creative with their hint system for the game, crafting it into a completely readable book of inventions (written by your grandfather) within the game. This is an excellent puzzle adventure game and I am thrilled to see it get such a top-notch iOS release which feels perfectly made for touch.

Next up is one of the most unusual game themes you’ll ever come across and of course that means it is an indie PC port…

octodad-dadliest-catch_1017367213_ipad_01.jpgWhat if you were a handsome octopus who fell in love…with a human. Hiding the fact that you are an octopus from the woman who you love, you pass yourself off as a human, wearing human clothes and walking around on just two of your many legs. Soon you get married, have kids (probably best not to think about this too much) and do all the typical things that a dad does like making coffee, mowing the lawn, grilling burgers, etc.. That, in a nutshell, is the quirky delight that is Octodad: Dadliest Catch. This is one of those games that I’ve been super interested in for years, but as I do most of my gaming on my iOS device, there was just no way for me to play it. For the past several years its booth at PAX East has been overflowing with crowds of laughing spectators and thankfully, now with this week’s iOS release I’m thrilled that I finally get to experience the guilty pleasure that is Octodad. Much like Bossa Studios did with I Am Bread, Young Horses was able to take awkward (and sometimes infuriating) QWOP-like controls and implement them into a fresh, charming and entertaining, gaming experience unlike anything you’ve played before. If you’re looking for something hilarious and different, you’ll certainly want to pick this one up.

templar-battleforce-rpg-full_991176888_ipad_01.jpgFinally, that brings us to Templar Battleforce RPG. Set in the future and entrenched in the Galactic War, you must lead the Templar Knights in their battle against an alien race called the Xenos. Templar Battleforce RPG is a top-down, scenario-driven, turn-based combat and strategy game with RPG elements. On your turn, your Templars have a limited number of Move Points (MP) as well as a limited number of Action Points (AP) which they may use to attack or perform other actions. However, as Templars engage their Leviathan battle armor in combat actions, their mobility is hampered for the remainder of their turn, forcing the player to make a choice of when it is best to attack or run for cover. Whenever AP is spent, an equal number of MP is consumed, so there is a constant trade-off between movement and attack strength each turn. Aside from standard melee attacks, different classes of Templars have different talents at their disposal which can really help sway a battle in your favor. For instance, your Templar could have the ability to Buff himself and nearby teammates or perhaps use Overwatch, which allows the Templar to fire on any enemies which fall within a 3×3 grid centered around the target area. As you play through the story you’ll “create your own unique Battleforce by recruiting an array of Templar specialists” allowing for even more creativity and strategy in battle. I’ve just started playing this one, but so far I’m finding it pretty enjoyable, I particularly like how you don’t always immediately know what’s ahead, so even with a little planning, you always still have to be on your toes and ready to react to whatever the game throws at you.

That’s all I have for you this week…have a spooky weekend!

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