This past week, we got loads of great new games for iOS including fun and quirky titles, games nice graphics, new Toca Boca fun for the kids, a crowdfunded adventure game series and yet another digital port of a Uwe Rosenberg board game!
Kicking off this week’s list of notable new releases is the worldwide availability of Clash Royale, the latest free-to-play title from Clash of Clans creators, Supercell. Set in the same universe as is mega-blockbuster predecessor, this real-time multiplayer tower defense game also features the Royales characters. Players collect and upgrade troop, spell and defense cards, which can be deployed to defeat their opponents’ towers. You don’t need to be a fan of, or even have played Clash of Clans (I know I’m not) to enjoy this title, but obviously players who are familiar with the super-successful original will recognize a lot of these characters. It’s a pretty solid free-to-play defense title.
Developed by NoHuman Studio and published by Noodlecake, Road to be King is a high-score driven, go further style game where you drag your finger on the screen to guide your adventurer, helping him to “dodge hordes of foul creatures and dangerous traps” and make it as far as possible. To aid you on your never-ending quest, you can find powerups and collect crystals which can be used to buy and upgrade special items. While I think it’s probably work better with a level-based setup, or some way to skip ahead, it’s a fun little go-further title with some charming graphics and a great, lift your finger to pause the game mechanic.
Speaking of endless games…Bumper Jump is a bit of a throwback to that classic climb higher gameplay which was quite popular in the early days of the App Store, when developers were racing to match the success of Doodle Jump. You are an alien whose friends forgot to beam him back up to the spaceship and now you must try to help the alien get back into space. Keep tapping the screen to create bumpers underneath the alien to cause him to bounce higher and higher through space. There are obstacles (like other planets) to avoid and power-ups (ie. gravity flipping, mega bounces, planet repellent, and slow-motion) to help you reach new heights. If you miss creating a bumper in time, the poor little alien will fall back down to Earth. This is the App Store debut from developer Gnarcade and can be a fun little time waster if you enjoy these sorts of endless games.
Australian developer, The Voxel Agents, who had two previous very successful Train Conductor titles on iOS which had multiple millions of downloads, have just launched Train Conductor World: European Railway, the latest game in their Train Conductor series. A free-to-play title, Train Conductor World transports players to the European countryside. “Featuring a fully realized 3D European setting, trains will be barreling across the familiar canals of Amsterdam, zooming around the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and navigating the perilous peak of the Matterhorn.” The game features the same quick (often) reaction-based gameplay that players have come to love about the series as they frantically try to conduct trains to their correct tracks and stop and restart trains to avoid nasty collisions to keep the trains running smoothly. Now players have even more control over the world of Train Conductor as they earn and unlock track segments which can be used to connect to additional areas of the country and reveal new levels and challenges. There are some neat new level designs and even a dynamic weather system. The series has never looked and played better, certainly a recommended download for both fans of the series and newcomers alike.
Made by a team of 3rd year Character Animation & CG Art students at The Animation Workshop in Viborg, Denmark, Lost Tracks is a mysterious adventure game centered around a twenty-something young man named Lou, who is enamored with a young woman who he sees on his daily commute to work on the train. “Lou wishes to talk to her but his self-doubt holds him back. He is torn in two and gets lost in his inner world.” Lost Tracks sends you on a journey through Lou’s subconscious as he tries to find a way to talk to this beautiful stranger. It is an interesting, artistic and strange sort of adventure game that has an indie animated film feel to it. I’m curious to spend some more time with this one to see what it’s all about.
You can usually count on [adult swim] for something a little off-kilter, but this could very well be one of their strangest themes yet. Peter Panic is a Wario Ware-inspired collection of minigames contained within a wonderfully hilarious Broadway Musical. You play as a wide-eyed, spirited young man (and aspiring director) whi is trying to put together a musical production of Peter Pan to save his hometown’s local theater. To do so you must successfully perform series of silly mini games (which speed up and get harder as you go) to convince other talented people to work with you on your new show and to unlock additional buildings in the town. Your quest takes a dark turn when you accidentally unleash a demon, Hell-bent on keeping you from succeeding. Peter Panic is a free-to-play game with just a single $2.99 IAP which allows you to save your progress as you go. It is a brilliant choice for monetizing the game, because as soon as you start playing you will fall in love with the music, characters and charm of this title and will want to see it through to its conclusion. There are loads of great jokes, some breaking of the 4th wall and funny pop-culture references. I can’t stress enough how good the music is in this game, in fact, you can even buy the full 35 song soundtrack on iTunes (I’m REALLY tempted!). A must try game, though the game does take a bit of a dark turn and may not be suitable for younger players.
Ivanovich Games, has just launched their latest puzzle game, Perfect Angle. It uses that familiar swipe to rotate until the object is in the correct position style game play we’ve seen in titles like Shadowmatic, Blueprint 3d, and even a little in Zenbound 2, but adds an interesting professionally voice-acted narrative story around the experience. Beautifully illustrated, you’ll want to take your time, slowly swiping up, down left and right to get the seemingly random collection of objects (in a 3D space) lined up in just the right perspective such that the optical illusion pops out at you, forming a recognizable object which will “bring to memory part of the mysterious life of the protagonist”. With over 100 puzzles to solve, 36 achievements and the professional voice acted story, this is a rather pleasurable puzzle experience.
Successfully crowdfunded on Indiegogo in 2013 and released on Steam last year for PC and Mac, the creepy adventure game series Fran Bow has just dropped onto iOS as well. Killmonday Games’ disturbing looking five-part psychological horror adventure series (released as individual $1.99 apps) follows the story of a young girl named Fran who discovers her parents’ horrifying dismembered bodies in their family home. After the mysterious and gruesome discovery she retreats into the woods with her black cat, Mr Midnight, goes into shock and blacks out from the trauma. When she recovers, she finds herself admitted to Oswald Asylum, “an oppressive mental institution for children” and her beloved Mr. Midnight is nowhere to be found. Fran decides that she must find her friend and escape the Asylum to move in with her only remaining relative, Aunt Grace. Fran Bow features some beautiful, yet haunting illustrations and soundtrack. I haven’t had a chance to try the game yet but it looks really dark and intriguing especially the mechanic by which you “self administer medication to open the terrible hidden world that will help solve puzzles and find objects”. This is a creepy, unique adventure game that I will certainly be diving into very soon. If you are interested, you can check out the somewhat terrifying trailer on page 2 of this post.
On a much cheerier note…let’s talk about Toca Dance, the latest fun, imaginative play app from those big kids at Toca Boca. Your child gets to put on their own dance show complete with a choreographed routine, costumes, stage effects and more. They start by choosing a trio of dancers from a crazy cast of new Toca characters, then select their costumes (which include silly options like a giant eyeball and pizza). Then it’s time to choose the music from one of the five records, each of which is a different style. Now it’s time to choreographing your squad’s sik dance moves before the show hits the stage. It’s showtime and your little ones get to safely fire off smoke machines and pyrotechnics, throw food at the performers, add sound effects and even increase and decrease the dancers head and body sizes at will. Once the performance is over they can save it to their camera roll for endless repeat viewings. My girls LOVE this new app, in fact, my younger daughter has already declared it to be her favorite Toca Boca app. Toca Dance another silly and fun app from Toca Boca that lets kids be kids and just have fun.
There’s no denying it, one of life’s greatest mysteries is “lost socks”. What happens to them, why do you always only lose just one and how does it keep happening? We may finally have an answer to this age old question in the new tongue-in-cheek arcade runner, Lost Socks: Naughty Brothers. A sock awakes on a clothesline, only to discover that his twin brother has gone missing. He’ll be darned if he doesn’t get his revenge on whomever kidnapped his twin and this gun-toting article of clothing will never admit de-feet as he fights until he finds his brother. Beautifully illustrated backdrops set the scene as you constantly race forward into the fray, jumping to avoid traps and pitfalls, attacking enemies and freeing the lost socks. The game is spread across 30 levels and all of the action is controlled via a series of on-screen buttons for jumping/floating, normal attack, heavy attack (which recharges over time) and one for a dash-attack, which also has a shorter cool down period. There are weapons upgrades to unlock and each level has three socks to free (each equates to a star) as well as a minimum score to reach to unlock the crown. Earning the stars will help push you toward unlocking additional weapons. A nice, challenging auto-runner/ action platformer with plenty of character and polish, not to mention its branching level structure which guarantees you will be replaying most levels multiple times.
Finally, that brings us to what seems to be an awesome new weekly trend…another digital board game port. And it’s not just any board game port…it’s another Uwe Rosenberg! Glass Road is Smart and Smarty’s iPad-only port of Rosenberg’s popular 2013 mid-weight role selection, resource management Euro game in which players compete to collect wood, clay and other resources, create brick and glass and build buildings. The app supports solo play as well as two through four players with both easy and hard AIs, pass and play mode on a single device as well a two player online mode. I have never played the physical version iof the game before, but had heard good things, so needless to say I was excited for this digital release. There is a detailed tutorial (though it is more of a written guide rather than an interactive experience) as well as access to the full rule book to help new players (such as myself) get into the game. Though, I must admit that I have found Glass Road to be much less instantaneously approachable than the previous couple of Rosenberg’s titles recently ported to digital form (ie. Patchwork and Le Havre Inland Port). That being said, I’m thrilled that we’ve gotten this good digital port of Glass Road and I look forward to spending a good deal more time with this app to play and learn the game.
And that’ll do it for this week.