That being said, we still did get a fairly nice crop of new releases and narrative storytelling seems to be the popular genre for the week.
Just in time to join the hype train for the upcoming release of Episode 7, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is a fairly straightforward turn-based strategy game featuring all of your favorite Star Wars characters from this epic film franchise and the extended universe. Players collect, upgrade and battle with the likes of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader, and many more. As you unlock new characters you can build up either your light side or dark side teams with whatever heroes and villains you’ve collected thus far. It’s worth noting that so far I haven’t really run into any limiting issues with the free-to-play/energy aspects of the game.
Another free, turn-based strategy game that released this week is World of Tanks Generals. Wargaming.net has crafted a rather fun cross-platform and strategic, turn-based card game where players craft their decks from a a variety of tanks, artillery and more, each with their own characteristics. Players then go head to head trying to capture their opponent’s HQ, by playing cards to a gridded play area and then tactically re-positioning their cards and attacking enemy forces and/or their HQ. With over 200 cards to unlock there is a good deal of depth to the game and plenty of reasons to come back for more.
Code of Arms, a dungeon crawling card battling game in which players unlock and discover “epic loot” (new cards for their deck) by using their phones to scan the barcodes on items they just have laying around their house or at the local store. Explore dungeons and play cards to attack and/or heal in quick turn-based combat against the evil creatures you come across while dungeon delving. Code of Arms is a fun and addictive little game and a labor of love by it’s sole developer, Brian Wurster, over the past 3 years. Note there is currently a slight bug in the game whereby healing cards do not have the proper effect, but a fix for this
should be pushed out soon is available now.
Next up is an interesting new venture from Tin Man Games, those crazy Aussies behind the stellar Gamebook Adventures interactive fiction series of apps. Choices: And The Sun Went Out is an interactive-fiction app magazine which is updated on a weekly basis. The first part of the tale is free, and then users can subscribe to 99¢ monthly, $1.99 quarterly or $2.99 twice yearly subscriptions and receive a weekly update to the story. This allows readers to take their time going through the story and offers a fresh flow of content to look forward to each and every week, much like a favorite TV series. Time will tell if this subscription model will pay off, but either way, I applaud Tin Man Games, for trying something different and I’ll certainly be checking this one out.
Lyriko: Learn Languages with Music is an app that I got to try out at the Boston Festival of Indie Games earlier this year. It attempts to make the task of learning a new language fun and easy through the use of music and rhythm. Right now the app only offers the ability to learn Spanish, but other languages are in the works as well. You select a Spanish language song from the catalog and then choose one of four learning games including Picture It (matching pictures to words), Impostor (listening to the song and tapping on the incorrect words), Interlude (find the missing words) and Reference (a zen mode where you just listen, read and relax). There are several difficulties and speeds to choose from and combination of music and game modes felt like a pleasant way to supplement and reinforce more traditional methods of language learning. It is free to try with IAPs to unlock additional songs.
Brave & Little Adventure is a cute new puzzle game in a similar (but a bit simpler) vein as Tiny Thief, based on the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood. In each level players can earn three “stars” by solving puzzles and navigate locations to help Red retrieve a particular item as well as a treat (or two) for Grandma and find the hidden Big Bad Wolf.
From TheCodingMonkeys, the studio that brought us Rules! as well as digital adaptations of both Carcassonne and Lost Cities comes something completely different. One Button Travel is a (55,000 word) interactive fiction adventure in which the player decides the direction of the story takes depending on the choices they make. Set in the future, One Button travel is an engaging story which plays out in a text messaging format as you converse with a mysterious stranger who is trying to save your from a terrible fate. Your journey plays out in real time, so delays between messages from the stranger are variable, adding to the immersive nature of the story. You can either read or listen to the texts and you have the option of speeding things up by entering a secret code (Speed mode: F–E–D–E–F, Back to real-time mode: D–E–F–E–D), but I recommend experiencing it as it is meant to be.
Sago Sago is back this week with an adorable new app (their 17th!) called Sago Mini Superhero. Starring a superhero version of their character Jack the Rabbit, the app encourages free play, exploration and interaction, much like Sago Sago’s previous hit, Sago Mini Forest Flyer. Your little ones can tap to fly Jack around the city, performing heroic deeds for its residents (often with very silly results) using Jack’s laser vision, stretchy arms and other super abilities. It is a another super cute app that will have toddlers giggling and laughing for more plus it’s got a carrot-copter!
From Fox and Sheep GmbH, makers of popular kids app like Nighty Night Circus, Little Fox Music Box and Petting Zoo – Animal Animations, comes Little Fox Animal Doctor. In this beautifully illsutrated app, your child gets to attend Little Fox and four of his animal friends trying to heal and cure their various injuries, sicknesses, and diseases. From a bump on the head to a stomach ache (from too much candy), wounds and sunburns, your child gets to be the doctor who takes care of these ailing animals from their doctor’s office, located high up in a magical treehouse. It looks like a cute app that encourages imaginative play.
With an extensive catalog of digital board games including Catan, Ingenius and Kahuna, USM has just released a digital port of Kosmos’ 2003 puzzle game Ubongo. In this time-based puzzle game players quickly compete to be the first to properly fit all of the provided Tetris-shaped pieces into the oddly shaped outlined area such that they completely fill the shape and none of the pieces overlap or stick outside the border. There are multiple game modes and difficulty levels and you can play against other players in cross-platform multiplayer match-ups. The interface could use a little cleaning up, but my 8 year-old daughter and I have been having fun competing against one another in best of five match-ups. With over 6,000 randomized levels, there are plenty of challenges to be had.
Originally released by Bulkypix and developer Amazu Media in July 2014, Light Apprentice was the first in a four-part series of episodic “Comic GameBook” adventure game. However over a year passed and the next three volumes (which were likely going top be paid IAP’s, much like other episodic games) never materialized. This week Bulkypix released a new version of the app called Light Apprentice Volume 1, which replaces the original (requires a new purchase) and contains all four of the episodes right within the app, no IAPs. Players take on the role of Nate, a Light Apprentice who has just been awoken after 300 years in deep sleep, only to find that his world of Ethenia in shambles, “ravaged by war and pollution and populated by mutant monsters”. Now it is up to him to save the planet and his people. The decisions you make during your journey will help define Nate’s character as either a Warrior or a Pacifist. Fight or don’t fight, the choice is yours, but make sure to collect items and equipment to help improve Nate’s stats. If you haven’t checked this one out yet, I highly recommend doing so as it’s comic book style offers a really cool take on the gamebook genre.
And finally we come to another massive adventure game port from Daedalic Entertainment, The Whispered World Special Edition. Embark on an epic (and sometimes haunting) journey with Sadwick the clown as he sets off on a quest with his pet caterpillar Spot, in an attempt to save his world from the nightmarish visions he’s had showing its destruction at his very own hands. This classic-style point and click adventure features an interesting story line and a nice collection of puzzles plus the artwork is stunning, having an almost Don Bluth cinematic quality to it, no wonder it takes up nearly 3 GB of space! With their great port of Deponia a couple of months back and now this, Daedalic has really been giving iOS owners a reason to clear up some space on their iPads for these lengthy adventures. If you are a fan of playing point and click adventures on your iPad Daedalic is certainly becoming a studio to watch in this space.
That’s all I have for you this week, I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend.