The App Store never sleeps, meaning there were plenty of new games mobile games released this week. We got Tiltagon TV early in the week and then (as usual) a big batch of more new apps near the middle/end of the week.
Since we are right at the tail end of football season with the Super Bowl scheduled for next week, we of course have a new football themed game from Full Fat, but this one is a bit of a departure from their usually flick-based fare. Blocky Football is a quick playing retro endless runner style game where you are running down the field tapping the left and right sides of the screen to switch lanes to avoid opponents and your own teammates, hopefully carrying the ball into the end zone. Completing a level causes the difficulty to ratchet up for the next run, until finally you get sacked. At the end of each level you attempt to kick a field goal and collect keys which allow you to unlock additional playable characters (ala Crossy Road).
Ludia, the Montreal-based studio that has brought us a number of mobile apps based on popular TV game shows, is now taking a stab at the card battling genre. They’ve teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to essentially offer a Kung Fu Panda-themed version of Hearthstone called Kung Fu Panda: Battle of Destiny. Kids (or adults) can play as their favorite characters from Dreamwork’s popular franchise including as Master Po, Tigress, Viper and more and build their decks from a catalog of almost 400 cards, characters, weapons, and attacks. Then go head to head in a card battle against an opponent to become the Card Fu Champion. While not an exact clone of Hearthstone, it is pretty darn close (I’m kind of surprised Blizzard hasn’t shut this one down). Thanks to its beloved and recognizable characters and a few tweaks to slightly simplify the gameplay, it’s probably a bit more inviting to younger or casual audiences than the titles which obviously inspired it.
Next up is Path of War, a MMO strategy game from an experienced design team who formerly worked on the Settlers franchise, BattleForge and Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances at EA Phenomic (a German real-time strategy development firm acquired by EA in 2006). In other words, this one has a nice pedigree. Combining the base-building of titles like Clash of Clans with more tactical PvP gameplay with increased strategy and the deeper gameplay of a civ title, Nexon’s Path of War looks like it offers fans of these types of games a more engaging experience than the glut of CoC clones that have overtaken the App Store.
While Infinite Skater doesn’t really break new ground when it comes to lane-based endless autorunners, this latest title from Make It Rain developer, Space Inch is a fairly solidy entry which does feature some nice visuals as you embark on your “psychedelic adventure of spiritual awakening and magical skateboarding”. It also looks great on the Apple TV.
Atomi is a new casual physics/logic puzzle game from Studio Baikin (Climax Movies) where, players are trying to use the supplied blocks to build a path for an alien named Atomi to be able to reach the atoms he needs to repair his spaceship. The game offers two levels of difficulty and over 200 levels to play through.
Super Phantom Cat – Be a jumpin bro. is a great, classic, Mario style platformer complete with an excellent chiptune soundtrack. It sports some nice responsive touch controls and well thought out levels, with plenty of hidden areas to discover and fun power ups. The game is easy to pick up and play a level whenever you have a bit of time to spare. A perfect little retro treat.
Properly tying knots can sometimes be difficult, but often it’s the untying that presents the tougher challenge. In the new 3D physics puzzle game, Knotmania, players are trying to untangle string like alien creatures which move about as you try to get them apart. Imagine your shoelaces were wiggly worms which squirmed about a you tried to untie them. With a great physics engine, the response feels pretty realistic as you spin, pull and tug to try to get the Strings unknotted before time runs out. There is certainly a bit of a learning curve to this one, but with 76 different knots and rich 3D graphics, this is an entertaining little puzzle game that will take you a while to get through. It is worth noting that I found this one far easier to manipulate and control on the iPad than on my iPhone, if you are solely using a smaller screen iPhone, I suspect you may find this one a bit on the frustrating side.
The debut title from PinStudios, Pocket Sheep is a cute sheep herding game in which you are trying to guide your flock of sheep to the safe grassy area in each of the game’s 30 hand drawn levels. To guide your flock, you simply tap and drag your finger behind the sheep, being careful not to get too close and spook them. The game supports multitouch gestures, meaning that sometimes you’ll need to use multiple fingers to keep a forking flock inline. There are multiple difficulty levels and an easier mode for children which “allows adjusting difficulty to match skills of your kid” as well as 90 funny cartoon cards to collect. Pocket Sheep is a charming little game suitable for just about any age level.
Already previously available on the Apple TV, this week saw iPhone/iPad support get added to Crescent Moon Games‘ retro arcade mini game collection, NeoArcade. The game offers four distinct games, reminiscent of the Atari 2600 classics you loved as a kid, complete with a retro soundtrack and a bright neon color pallet. The mini-games include: NeoFire: an air hockey game where players use a bulletstorm to move the puck instead of paddles, NeoSmash a classic brick breaker where you are trying to be the quickest player to clear your board, NeoTanks the classic Atari game of Combat with some modern flares and NeoCycles is a Surround/Snake/Tron light cycling style game where you are trying to outlast your opponent and trying not to run into a wall.
From the makers of 2013’s mesmerizing minimalistic meditative strategy game, rymdkapsel, comes an all new puzzle game called twofold inc.. At first it may like it may just be another match-3, but it is far from it. In fact, it is a surprisingly deep strategy game where you need to think multiple moves ahead. Players are presented with a grid of various colored blocks and a series of orders with groupings of certain amounts of these same colored blocks. You must then draw paths through contiguous blocks of the same color to partially or completely fulfill the orders. You can adjust single rows or columns of the grid to help better align colors for swiping, however doing so will cause orders to creep one step closer to not being fulfilled in time, which could result in you losing the game. It’s got great pacing since (due to a limited number of moves) you are in a time crunch to stay alive, you can still spend as much time thinking about your next move…and you will. A delightful surpise worthy of its Apple’s Editor’s Choice designation.
And finally, that brings us to Baseball Highlights 2045. This is the digital implementation of the card game designed by Mike Fitzgerald (Diamonds, Mystery Rummy series). It’s a neat, strategic and tactical take on baseball where you start with an initial team of 15 player cards with varying abilities and over time draft new players to replace existing ones who are then sent off to the minor leagues. This means you will be gradually improving and specializing your team’s skills to build the best roster possible for future games. Players draw a random hand of 6 players (cards) from their line up to build a team and each game is played over 6 innings in a best of 7 game series. Players fall into three categories, Human, Robot or Cyborg and many have special bonus abilities/actions which can be triggered when they enter the game (if certain conditions are met) as well as indicators how they will hit. Even though there is some luck involved w/ regards to drawing cards, there is a lot of strategy too, especially when picking what player to field and when, based on what you think your opponent will do. Unlike the physical board game, which supports up to four players, the app only supports solo or two player (local on same device) options, but these player counts are really the sweet spot for this game anyways. I’ve found even at easy difficulty, the AI, puts up a nice challenge and Baseball Highlights 2045 offers a lot of replayability due to the wide selection of available cards. A series of nice detailed tutorials and a full included rulebook will teach you the basics and have you on the field in no time. Certainly a recommended pickup for any digital board game fan.
And that’ll do it for this week, I hope you picked up a few of these new releases as well.