First up, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from French development studio, Godzilab. Most recently,in 2013 they launched and found success with their very cute free-to-play town building game, Happy Street and now they’ve just set sail on a new free-to-play adventure with Pirate Power. Godzilab seems to have taken what they’ve learned and built on what they did with Happy Street, borrowing elements from their iBlast Moki puzzle game series and arguably even a little of their player vs player real-time futuristic basketball shooter StarDunk. The result is an equally as cute looking swashbuckling new simulation game in which players must craft their own pirate ship and then use it to explore new lands and battle other players and big bosses. This looks like a charming little time filler.
Next up is a zany, but fairly brief completely free point and click adventure game called Bad Viking and the Curse of the Mushroom King. Filled with unique characters and humorous dialog, the game follows the adventures of Bad Viking, a viking (duh) who, thanks to a curse from the Mushroom King, now finds it impossible to enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To lift the curse, he must find a series of seemingly random ingredients in order to brew the remedy. This entertaining little freebie comes from Bad Viking, a two brother English development studio and is definitely worth checking out.
As if the $8.7 million which the physical release of the crowdfunded card game, Exploding Kittens earned on Kickstarter a year ago wasn’t enough, now the feline-filled Russian roulette style game is set to pull in even more money with its new digital implementation as well. Featuring a few new cards from the paper release, but retaining much of the same gameplay, Exploding Kittens® – The Official Game only offers a same-room, local multiplayer experience for up to 6 players. So if you were hoping for solo play against an AI opponent or the ability to play with friends and family online, they you are out of luck…at least for now. The game has some pretty nice production values and can be purchased for $1.99. There is currently a launch promotion where you can download the four-card bonus party pack and two avatar IAP packs (normally in the range of $1.99 each) for FREE. So if you want to always have a copy of Exploding Kittens on you, this is a cheap way to do it, but note that each player will need to buy his or her own copy to play (unless of course, you have family sharing enabled).
TutuLab is back with Foodo World, the second title aimed at young kids in their Foodo universe, featuring a silly little purple monster. This time instead of feeding him cakes, children get to take him on an adventure “through the forest, the sea and the skies” to deliver a cupcake to a randomly selected critter customer. Much like a number of the Sago Sago titles, this game is a big open world kids can explore freely in whatever way and/or order they desire flying high with the help on an umbrella or staying firmly on the ground. As they lead the purple monster into little hotspots which get triggered and play funny short little animated sequences. Visually speaking, the game features some nice hand-illustrated art. I think toddler-aged kids would enjoy this one and parents will appreciate the lack of ads and IAPs.
Baum is an almost Zen looking physics-based puzzle game in which the player attempts to use the wind to guide a water droplet through winding patches of thorns and branches to reach a thirsty blossom. The game features hand-painted levels and simple controls where you need only to draw with your finger to create the wind. You can check out a trailer for the game on the second page of his post.
Rogue Agent is an excellent new stealth puzzle game and the iOS debut from Roguebox Studios. In each of the game’s 52 levels, you must use your patience and cunning as well as take advantage of shadows, objects and eventually spy gadgets (like the Scramble Suit and Quick Clone) to stealthy gather intelligence and avoid capture from the patrolling enemy agents as you make your way to the exit. There is a great minimalistic aesthetic to the game with all sorts of intuitive visual cues to let know when you are and are not possibly visible to the enemy as well as a nice, gradual increase in complexity and difficulty in levels. If you enjoy stealth games, then I highly recommend checking this one out.
The third (and best yet) entry in Red Winter’s Dungelot roguelike dungeon-crawling series, Dungelot: Shattered Lands expands the franchise into a more sprawling adventure with “dozens of hours of content, with three worlds to explore, hundreds of items, spells and enemies, and epic boss battles that will burn your face off.” Fans of the series will love the game’s gorgeous new graphics, and the fact that the gameplay keeps true to the same winning formula as the first two tiles in the series. Players tap to explore dungeons, revealing treasures, weapons, and evil creatures that they must then battle as they try to find the key to the exit. Dungeons consist of multiple levels/rooms and each dungeon varies in difficulty. It’ll likely take you multiple attempts to make it successfully through a complete dungeon, but there are some nice intermediary stopping points, including a shop where you can buy provisions as well as choose your own adventure mini quests which can either earn rewards or penalties. As you go, you’ll keep upgrading your character, allowing you to make it further and further each time, until you successfully complete the full dungeon. Dungelot: Shattered Lands is another strong recommendation for the week and a great publishing pickup by tinyBuild.
Generally rhythm games tend to follow the same exact formula, however, for their first iOS release, Digixart Entertainment (a studio founded by Valiant Hearts’ creative director Yoan Fanise) has bucked the status quo and crafted a beautiful and original musical story game called Lost in Harmony. Players guide Kaito and Aya through a musical adventure featuring spectacular painted environments and an impressive, mesmerizing soundtrack including music by Wyclef Jean. The game employs a neat mix of your standard rhythm game mechanics like synchronized/timed taps and holds, combined with segments where you tap on the left or right side of the screen to move to dodge things much like you are in a 3D endless runner. Outside of the game’s story mode, you can also play the using your own music library thanks to an included built-in level editor. There is a beautiful world waiting for your eyes and ears to discover, so check out the trailer for a sneak peek of what you can expect.
I absolutely love checking out games with REALLY unique themes and more often than not, these titles tend to come from small PC devs in the form of either iOS ports or multi-platform releases (always including the PC). This week Swedish development studio Coffee Stain Studios (the guys behind Goat Simulator) and fellow Swedish indie devs Double Zero One Zero have released The Westport Independent, an experience game about “Censorship, Corruption and Newspapers”. Your first reaction is probably WHAAAT?…I know mine was. Set in a nondescript post-war country in which the Loyalist Party has taken control of the government. A “Public Culture Bill” is set to be put into law in 12 weeks time. You are the editor of the only remaining independent newspaper in the country, and as such, you must walk a fine line between being a rebel and a Loyalist Party propaganda spewing mouthpiece. It is up to you to change, edit and censor your writers’ pieces of work such that you keep both your rebel readers happy as well as the Government. While you don’t want to outright lie to readers, you can safely omit certain details to keep Government loyalists from shutting you down or even imprisoning your writers. You also get to pick and choose which articles appear in each week’s paper as well as their layout, as you try to cater to the four distinct segments of town. It’s a delicate balance and the deeper you go, the more challenges and possible suspicion you’ll face. The game has a nice utilitarian grayscale aesthetic, like previous PC/iOS gem Papers, Please. Overall, I’ve found it to be quite a compelling and thought-provoking experience.
Finally that brings us to Crashlands, a story-driven action RPG in which you take on the role of a galactic trucker name Flux Dabes and his robotic companion, Juicebox. The story begins with you attempting to deliver your final shipment of goods when your spaceship is blown out of the sky by a giant purple alien named Hewgodooko who needs a part from your ship. You manage to escape and safely land on a planet, but have little to no resources and now you must find a way to contact the Bureau of Shipping so that they can send a Space Rescue Truck. As you progress through the game there is always something new to do with a seemingly infinite array of quests to keep you busy, plenty of items to collect and craft and loads of humorous dialog to keep you entertained. The game has a very user-friendly interface and lots of design choices were obviously made with users in mind. For instance, there is a quick teleporting system for jumping to locations on the map, an infinite inventory system, so you never have to worry that you cannot carry an item you’ve picked up, and if you die, you can instantly pick up right where you left off. This is easily Butterscotch Shenanigans’ (Towelfight 2 and Quadropus Rampage) most ambitious title yet, and boy did they knock this one out of the park. You can easily lose yourself in this game for hours at a time.
And that’ll do it for this rather excellent week of new iOS game releases, I hope you picked up a few of this new releases as well.