marvel-avengers-academy_1061768547_ipad_01A couple of stellar digital board games, arcade, strategy, puzzle and licensed games…it was another great and varied week for iOS gamers, with plenty of fun new offerings to choose from.

Kicking things off this week we have a new mission-based casual adventure game from TinyCo, Inc., the creators of 2014’s Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff. Their new game, MARVEL Avengers Academy lets you play as young versions of favorite Avengers characters while they are students, still developing their superpowers at the Super Hero Academy. The game features an all-star voice cast including, among others, Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) as Ms. Marvel, Colton Haynes (Arrow) as Thor, Dave Franco as Tony Star, Alison Brie (Community) as Black Widow and WWE superstar John Cena as Hulk. I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but it looks really cute, with some nice production values. The big question will be is if its free-to-play mechanics get in the way of the fun.

ok-k.o.-lakewood-plaza-turbo_965000875_ipad_01.jpgThen from Cartoon Network Studios comes their first original mobile game, an animated arcade brawler called OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo.”Set in Lakewood Plaza, a mall for superheroes, OK K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo follows hopeful young champion K.O. and his superhero convenience store buddies as they battle evil Lord Boxman, who is set on destroying the plaza with his army of inventive robots.” With this title Cartoon Network is trying a new development strategy “which brings a diverse array of creative and digital talent collaborations to the storytelling process.” As such they will be launching a series of Lakewood Plaza animated shorts, each of which will be from a different animation studios offering their own unique perspectives on OK K.O.! They are also hosting a three Day Game Jam in Portland, Oregon starting on Feb 12th in which 200 independent game developers will have 48 hours to create their own games based on the extensive cast of heroes in the Lakewood Plaza universe. So it sounds like we can expect more entertaining mobile games in this fun universe in the future.

all-is-lost_1061999170_ipad_01.jpgAll is Lost, the latest title from Foursaken Media, is a runner with some platformer / rhythm elements set in the distant future. Players must time their swipes as they attempt to safely navigate spacecraft by jumping, rolling and ducking to traverse obstacle laden corridors. Success relies heavily on good, quick reflexes.

AfterLoop is a cute, casual puzzle game where you control a WALL-E/Johnny Five-ish robot named PR8, pushing blocks around to reveal (and collect) hidden stars and create clear pathways to the exit. The various types of blocks have differing properties which restricts movement to certain directions or in certain groupings, meaning that sometimes you’ll have to plan ahead so as to not completely cut off access to certain stars. The nice thing is that the game is pretty forgiving, with an easy to access undo/rewind feature and levels can be replayed to capture any previously missed stars. AfterLoop can also be played on your 4th Gen Apple TV as well.

splash-cars_1042273323_ipad_02.jpgIn Splash Cars, the latest free-to-play offering from Craneballs, you are an artistic maniac behind the wheel as you swerve, crash, and drive your way all around town, avoiding the police and bringing color to an otherwise drab, gray world. You try to paint as much of the town as possible before you run out of gas, or the police catch up with you. There are some gas pickups to help you extend runs, as well as coins which can be used to purchase better vehicles with larger gas tanks and speedier engines which will enable you to cover more ground (with paint) in future runs. It’s a fun little chaotic game that lets you just drive like a wild person.

Next we have another Noodlecake Studio puzzle publishing effort. Evoking a strong Cut the Rope sort of feel, Pull My Tongue has players stretching a poor chameleon’s tongue practically to the breaking point as you weave it around objects to avoid dangers, collect stars and eventually a delicious kernel of popcorn. While it can’t help but feel a little derivative, it is still a fun and charming little puzzle game that you’ll undoubtedly play multiple levels of in each sitting.

the-greedy-cave_1028950091_ipad_02.jpgThe Greedy Cave is a nicely illustrated roguelike where you play as a common young man, turned adventurer who must do battle with monsters as he delves deeper and deeper into a mysterious cave filled with all sorts of treasures, equipment and danger. Collect this equipment and upgrade your stats and level up in order to hopefully make it further and further, each time you set out into this randomly generated cave on a new quest.

Speaking of roguelikes, Orange Pixel’s iOS release of Space Grunts, which launched a few weeks back on Steam, is a fast-paced and interesting mix of roguelike and turn-based gameplay. It is the year 2476 and you play as a member of the Space Grunts, “a team of intergalactic ‘problem’ solvers, sent to investigate a distress signal sent from a moon-base”. You quickly find yourself embroiled in hoards of hostile aliens, robots and more, who have overtaken the base. There are plenty of weapons, powerups, armor and explosives to pick up as you make your way deeper into the base, trying to discover the root of all this evil. Space Grunts is a solid new entry in Orange Pixel’s, fun retro arcade catalog.

ninja-boy-adventures_1050402885_ipad_01.jpgInspired by the classic 1983 Husdon Soft strategic maze arcade game, Bomberman, Ninja Boy Adventures follows that same winning formula of clearing maze-like levels by carefully placing bombs to blow up obstructions and killing all of the enemies. In The Clash Soft take on the game, there is a Story Mode which features 30 levels of gameplay with increasing difficulty and the option for 4 player co-operative play. Plus there is a multiplayer mode where up to 4 players can compete simultaneously online, on the Apple TV or all together on the same device. Though at times I found myself fighting a little bit with the controls on this one, I have no doubt that Bomberman, fans will find a lot to love about Ninja Boy Adventures.

kill-the-plumber-world_1077954869_ipad_02.jpgImagine if instead of playing Suer Mario Bros. as one of the title characters, trying to save Princess Peach, you are actually the Koopa Troopa trying to knock those Italian plumbers off their high horses and keeping the princess safe from a plunger carrying stalker. That’s the idea behind Kill the Plumber World. In each of the game’s 140+ levels you play as a common evil minion archetype (like a stomper, axe tossing creature ore even a Boss) and you must find a way to defeat the plumber and his seemingly endless supply of powerups and abilities. It is a fun little twist on the classic platformer which gives it a fresh new feel, at times almost puzzly. It’s one of those games that when you play it, you can’t help but wonder why no one has thought of this before.

How about a little something for the kids..

sago-mini-trucks-and-diggers_1014565551_ipad_01.jpgSago Sago is back this week with a super-duper adorable looking new title for toddlers called Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers. Your little ones get join Rosie the hamster and hop into one of six big construction vehicles including a dump truck, digger, crane and bulldozer. They’ll help Rosie do all sorts of fun construction-related tasks like digging holes, piling up dirt to build and decorate a new home (barn, castle or even a cupcake-house) for one of her friends. If you have any 2-4 year olds in your house, Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers is sure to be a big hit.

It was a great week for digital board games..

puzzle-strike_996491151_ipad_01.jpgFirst up is Sirlin Games’ excellent digital adaptation of their 2012 deckbuilding game, Puzzle Strike. Instead of cards, this deckbuilder is played with a bag of cardboard chips. Inspired by puzzle games like Puzzle Fighter, players are trying to avoid ending their turn with ten gems. You are constantly trying to improve your “deck” by buying new chips at the end of each turn. You play these chips to combine and crash gems in your pile to send them over to your opponent’s pile. I am a fan of deckbuilders, but had never experienced Puzzle Strike until this app. There is a slight learning curve as you understand the various chips, but overall, it is an entertaining game with lots of interesting decisions and tactics. This digital adaptation includes all 48 Puzzle chips from both Puzzle Strike Third Edition and Puzzle Strike: Shadows, as well as the promo chips, Combinatorics, Dashing Strike and Custom Combo. It supports cross-platform play, daily quests and AI Puzzlebots for offline practice/play. If you like deckbuilders, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

tsuro_957124541_ipad_02.jpgA gorgeous debut by developer Thunderbox Entertainment, their digital adaptation of Calliope Games’ hit tile laying game Tsuro is utterly fantastic. For those unfamiliar with the game, each player places a stone at the edge of the 6×6 gridded board and then they take turns placing tiles on the board. The tiles depict various path segments, and once placed, any stones touching this tile follow the path in front of them until it comes to the edge of the board or to an empty square. The goal is to be the last player standing. There are also two additional game modes which completely change up the base strategy. With a comprehensive tutorial, options for up to 8 players, 3 levels of AI, online play and local pass and play, this game has so much replayability. I cannot recommend Tsuro enough. An absolute must buy for sure and a staple for any iOS gamer’s digital board game collection.

And finally, an Apple TV exclusive..

GoRallyTV-Screen1Chillingo and Czech-based developer, Inputwish just released a new rally racing game called Go Rally, exclusively for the Apple TV. Use either the Siri remote or external Bluetooth game controller to get behind the wheel of your off-road rally car and take on some rough, winding courses in this beautifully rendered top-down racer. From snow-covered mountains, to wooded forests and even nighttime races lit only by your vehicle’s website, graphically this game is quite a stunner, especially on a large screen TV. Unlock upgrades, new vehicles and new paint jobs to help you improve your vehicles and race times. While only one player races at a time, the game supports pass-and-play gameplay to allow family and friends to see if they can beat each other’s times. If you have a 4th gen Apple TV, then definitely check out the trailer on page 2 of this post and consider picking this one up.

And that’ll do it for yet another great week of new iOS game releases, I hope you are enjoying a few of these titles as well.

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