slide-the-shakes_1063892879_ipad_01.jpgWHOA! This is certainly a jam-packed week of strong new releases!

Let’s start with a simple, yet addictive little game called Slide the Shakes. In this latest title from Prettygreat, the development team made up of a number of Halfbrick expats who made a splash last year with their studio’s debut title, Land Sliders. Slide the Shakes is kind of solo shuffleboard or curling game with mixed drinks. You basically tap and slide back your finger on the screen then release to send a mixed drink sliding down a bar/pathway, trying to get it to stop in the designated area. The bar may be short, long, uphill, downhill, have ice patches on it or perhaps some sticky gum to slow it down. Each level is made up of multiple rounds during which the bar layout changes slightly, causing the player to have to adjust slide strength (which is conveniently color coded). You can miss and retry all you want as long as you don’t send the glass careening off the edge of the bar. If that happens you have to restart the whole level over. The game has this great 20’s cocktail theme to it and is loads of fun with new glasses/drink recipes unlockable after every five levels. Super-addictive, this is a great one to pull out whenever you have a few minutes to kill.

Here are several arcade-style freebies that are sure to satisfy…

Crescent Moon Games gets the adrenaline pumping with Sparkwave, a fast-paced obstacle avoidance game which sees players trying to keep their speedy flying little spark on the hex-based winding pathway; attempting to survive the longest possible distance. Simply tap and hold on the left or right side of the screen to guide your spark in that direction, and release to fly straight. Sparkwave has a great, flat, vector art style and infectious soundtrack. If you like those one-more-try, unforgiving twitch style endurance games, then this will be right up your alley.

spiral-splatter_1072844973_ipad_01.jpgThumbspire’s latest freebie, Spiral Splatter, has a bit of a speed Operation feel to it, as you try to quickly navigate a dot through windy pathways with your finger, trying to avoid touching or brushing up against the walls or you’ll get sent back to the start (or your last checkpoint) to try again. Do it hastily and earn three stars, for the longer you take the fewer stars you’ll earn. Neat new gameplay elements get introduced as you go and there are some nice visual cues like the screen shading red if you creep a little to close to a wall. Spiral Splatter is a fun little test of speed and agility.

Now that’s a bit puzzling…

For those of you who like puzzle games, we have a number of them this week.

futurama-game-of-drones_1009200976_ipad_02Futurama: Game of Drones is a match three four game set in the Futurama universe. The story starts off in New New York in the year 3015 where Professor Farnsworth has created a deadly collection of delivery drones to try to improve the negative feedback that Planet Express has been getting from its customers. You must now deliver the delivery drones by making matches to meet certain criteria counts of each of the colored drone types. The game features all your typical power-ups and special pieces (earned by making larger count matches) that you’d expect in a free-to-play match three game. However there is a humorous story that plays out as your progress through the game and there are even things like head to head battles to keep things interesting. If you are a Futurama fan, then you’ve probably already picked this one up. The added story portion of this one might be enough to entice even match-three naysayers to come back to the genre.

retro-shot-80s-arcade-puzzle_1026926977_ipad_01.jpgThe neon and laser-infused Retro Shot – 80s Arcade Puzzle has players pulling back and releasing to blast balls around pinball table-like arenas (using a power glove to launch) and trying to collect coins, find secret areas and reach the exit within a certain number of moves. With easily approachable controls and an awesome soundtrack this has got great retro arcade appeal.

cinemoji_826627905_02.jpgMan Up Time returns to the App Store this week with Cinemoji, a clever little take on charades, where one player tries to get another to guess the name of a movie, TV show, or video game by providing them only with a string of emojis. You are given a choice of three items to choose from and can refresh for a new list if you don’t like your options. Type a string of emojis you hope will convey this item and send it off to your guesser. If you are having trouble guessing, you can get hints (the first one is free if you watch an ad) or share the emoji string you received out to your Facebook and twitter friends for help. Cinemoji ia an enjoyable little casual social puzzle game and a neat concept which forces you to think outside the usual box to try to find a new way to describe something which in most games you could do fairly easily using either words or by simply drawing a picture.

i-keep-having-this-dream_1021462578_ipad_01.jpgFireflame Games, the studio behind 2010’s excellent RPG/match-three mashup, Dungeon Raid, triumphantly returns to the App Store this week with another really cool and addiction worthy new RPG puzzle game called I Keep Having This Dream. In this game you are laying down tiles to build a path to “escape each successive cycle of your dreamscape”. The longer you take to make it through a level, the more difficult it will get as there is more of a likelihood that the enemy that is chasing you might catch up. Therefore planning, forethought, the ability to adapt and a little luck all play a part in your success. Do you take the shorter direct path, or do you try an alternate route in hopes that you could pick up some valuable items? Choose wisely. As I previously mentioned, you will be laying down tiles to build the dungeon and pathway to your escape. These tiles have special abilities which could help you by buffering your stats, or could increase the threat level by adding additional monsters. This game has a huge amount of replayability with 25+ upgradeable perks 150+ items to collect, 100+ special enemies and 80+ one-off events. Certainly worth a pickup!

fire-fu_1074222293_ipad_01.jpgFire Fu is a frenetic touch-based arcade game developed by UK-based indie studio RetroFist and published by Channel 4. Against the backdrop of beautifully hand-painted environments it is a swiping frenzy as you try to set hordes monstrous critters ablaze using your fiery fingers of fury. The game has a bit of a Fruit Ninja feel to it as you swipe like a crazy person, trying to avoid accidentally making contact with bombs in all of the chaos on screen. There are five special potions with names like Fists of Fury and Dragon Flame, which can be unlocked to perform special devastating attacks on your unrelenting foes.

weather-by-tinybop_1076985045_ipad_01.jpgTinybop is back this week with Weather by Tinybop, another fun and educational app and the sixth title in their Explorer’s Library series which also includes: The Human Body, The Earth, Simple Machines, Homes and Plants. This one is all about experimenting with everyday & extreme weather conditions. From thunderous rainstorms to tornadoes, your child can have a fun yeat educational time playing with and learning about a variety of weather related topics including temperature, wind, rain and more. My almost 9 year-old has been enjoying this one. She especially likes playing with the temperature, seeing how things react to both the extreme cold and heat. She thinks it’s really silly to see the panting dog turn into one wearing a sweater as she drops down the temperature. There is a lot to explore with Weather by Tinybop and I can see both my daughter spending a lot more time with this one.

patchwork-the-game_1075851197_ipad_02.jpgLike they did with last year’s Le Havre Inland Port, DIGIDICED has done another amazing job porting over a two-player Uwe Rosenberg board game to digital platforms with their latest effort, Patchwork: The Game. A super fun easy to learn, yet strategic game, in Patchwork, two players are competing to build the best quilt in their 9×9 play area. To do so they must purchase oddly shaped pieces of fabric and fit them into their quilt, trying not to leave any gaps (which will be worth negative points at the end). The victory points (buttons) are also the currency, sometimes leading to tough choices. Plus the game features a unique turn order system where the player who is behind on the board, gets to keep playing until they pass the other player. The app is very well, done and the development team has been super responsive to a few minor hiccups in the UI, with one hotfix out within a couple of days of release and more fixes and enhancements on the horizon. There is support for solo play against three levels of AI (each of which uses a unique strategy), local pass and play, and cross-platform online play. At $2.99 this is an absolute steal and a must-have for anyone who enjoys digital board games.

should-shoot_1037601932_ipad_02.jpgPlayed simultaneously on the same device, Should Shoot (from Dutch indie developer Emiel Kampen) is a minimalistic, two-player top-down shooter where opponents are trying to take each other out before they get shot themselves. To start the match, each player taps anywhere on their half of the screen and they appear at that position. Then it’s just a matter of dragging backward and releasing to fire a shot. When you lift your finger and tap elsewhere on the screen, your avatar will teleport to the new location. You have a limited amount of ammo and after too many shots, you will need to wait for it to recharge before you can fire again. Should Shoot is a fast, frenetic game of cat and mouse as you try to be the first to land a shot on your opponent. Try to predict where they might jump to next and lay down so pre-cognative fire or hope you can catch them off guard for a second. The game also has a couple of single player modes, but really this one is most fun as a two player, single device experience kind of like a classic tablesports game like Air Hockey or the like. I can see this being a great icebreaker for parties or gatherings.

Let’s do some adventuring…

love-you-to-bits_941057494_ipad_02.jpgIn Love You To Bits, you follow the epic love story of clumsy astronaut named Kosmo as he tries to recover pieces of his robot girlfriend Nova which have been scattered across the universe when she was blown to bits. This is the debut game from Alike Studio, a company formed by a pair of twin brothers (yay twins!) who previously worked on the animation for the stellar 5ants puzzle game Tiny Thief. This point and click puzzle game uses a very similar style to that of Tiny Thief, however the brothers have really come into their own, crafting an even better experience, which feels like its been taken up a notch in every way possible. The world feels much more expansive, with loads of multi-screen levels and hours of enticing gameplay. In each level you must collect items and use them in the correct order to eventually retrieve the missing piece of Nova. There are time loops, disappearing platforms, rotating platforms and all sorts of interesting gameplay elements that will keep you on your toes. Several bonus ‘memory items’ are also hidden in each level and are usually trickier to find. Discovering these will unlock short animations which show you why these items mean so much to Nova and/or Kosmo and how they tie into this unusual couple’s love story. My almost 9 year-old daughter and I absolutely LOVE this game to bits, we have been playing this side by side, each on our own devices and we are having an amazing time with it. Between the engrossing and often touching, wordless narrative, charming animations, lovable characters, and great pop-culture references Love You To Bits is an absolute delight and easily a MUST-HAVE puzzle game for anyone’s iOS collection.

angels-of-deception-part-i_1080285239_ipad_01ANGELS OF DECEPTION: PART I is a new 2D point-and-click adventure game and the iOS debut of UK-based developer Henry Watson. Players take on the role of a British journalist by the name of Blake Turner. While investigating a break-in at a small London museum, Turner finds himself entangled in a much deeper, darker conspiracy. Inspired by 90’s era point-and-click adventure games, the game is presented in an interactive Graphic Novel format with puzzle portions interspersed throughout. As a fan of the genre, I’m looking forward to trying this one out, but haven’t had a chance to dig into it quite yet.

It’s franchise time…

assassins-creed-identity_880971164_ipad_01.jpgWith the launch of Assassin’s Creed Identity, Ubisoft has really redeemed themselves after last week’s falter with Rayman Classic. Easily the most deluxe mobile Assassin’s Creed experience we’ve gotten on iOS, Assassin’s Creed Identity feels like a console quality game, just at a smaller scale to fit better with mobile play. Players get transported to Italian Renaissance-era Firenze where they create and customize their own Assassins and “embark on a mission to solve The Mystery of The Crows”. Climb walls, hide in hay carts and use your stealth abilities to deliver swift, lethal justice and hopefully avoid the attention of the patrolling guards. A detailed mission system means that you have a seemingly endless supply of goals to complete as you take on new, deadly contracts and evolve into a master Assassin.

walking-dead-michonne-telltale_1079253434_ipad_01.jpgAnd finally, Telltale has just launched another spectacular new Walking Dead adventure, The Walking Dead: Michonne. Instead of inhabiting Telltale’s usual, separate Walking Dead universe, this new three-part miniseries stars fan-favorite character from Robert Kirkman’s best-selling comic books, the blade-wielding Michonne. This miniseries “explores Michonne’s absence between issues #126 and #139 of the comic book”. The story grabs you right from the start and takes all sorts of twists and turns that keep you invested and on the edge of your seat as you make all sorts of decisions. With its top-notch writing, animation and voice acting, Telltale continues to knock these cinematic, interactive gaming experiences out of the park. You don’t need to have read the comics nor watch the TV series or even have played any of Telltale’s prior Walking Dead releases to dive right in and enjoy this one. The first episode is included with the base $4.99 app and you can pr-order the remaining two episodes of the series at a single discounted price of $7.99 via IAP (reg price id $4.99 each). Another insta-buy for sure.

And that’ll do it for this week, I hope you are enjoying some of these excellent new offerings as well.

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