mr.-crab-2_1075872386_ipad_01.jpgAlong with some brand new titles, this seemed to be the week of relaunches with several sequels or reboots of titles previously available, but subsequently removed from the App Store.

Illusion Labs revisits their popular crustacean-filled, dizziness-inducing one-touch autorun platformer, Mr. Crab, with an all-new sequel. Like the original, in Mr. Crab 2, players are trying to help adorable crabs climb and navigate twisty, contraption-laden levels to free baby crabs and collect stars. The game is fast and frenetic, requiring quick reflexes or multiple attempts to collect everything. With new, beautifully rendered graphics, this is one gorgeous looking game! Always a premium game company, I believe this is Illusion Labs’ first foray into the free-to-play model. By downloading the app, you can play through about 25% of the levels for free and then grind to unlock additional levels and costumes for your crab, or you can pay a single $6.99 IAP to unlock the entire game. There are other IAP’s for unlocking individual characters and their associated levels.

godfinger-2_982923857_ipad_01.jpgBack in the early days of the App Store (2010 to be exact), just as iOS pioneer ngmoco (Rolondo, Rolando 2) was shifting their business model from Paid games to a Free-to-Play model (thanks to Apple’s newly introduced IAP API), they released a game called GodFinger. It was one of those hurry up and wait, sim style of games where you performed a task and then you wait for the task to complete or pay in-game currency to speed things up. In this case, you played a god-like character performing “impressive feats of Wonder to convert your planet’s inhabitants into devoted followers”. Less than a year after the original was released, publisher ngmoco was acquired by Tokyo-based free-to-play juggernaut DeNA pretty much resulting in the final nail in the coffin for ngmoco, (a once promising studio) and the original GodFinger app was replaced with GodFinger All-Stars. Eventually that app was also removed from the App Store and now the game’s original developer Jiggery Pokery has decided to revive the series with the launch of a self-published ‘sequel’ called GodFinger 2. I personally have little patience for these types of games, but I know they have their fan base. So I wanted to include GF2 here this week for those that still hold some nostalgic feelings for this early App Store title.

mekorama_1079464948_ipad_01.jpgNext up, from Martin Magni, the developer of last year’s charming puzzle game Odd Bot Out, comes Mekorama. It is a delightful little game in a similar vein as Monument Valley, but without all of the optical illusions. Mekorama sees players rotating and manipulating beautifully illustrated and rendered dioramas to help guide a robot from a starting point to a specified destination. With over 125 levels included plus a complete level-building toolkit, the game offers iOS gamers loads of engaging content. Users can share their created levels via social channels for even more to play. The game is completely free, adopting a Humble Bundle (pay what you want) approach by offering a number of completely optional IAPs if you would like to thank the developer with a monetary donation to let him know that you appreciate his work. These range from as little as 99¢ up to $31.99. I highly recommend checking this one out!

ulterior_1061009889_ipad_01Pine Entertainment’s latest offering, Ulterior is a clever and unexpected treat for puzzle fans. Requiring some degree of outside of the box thinking, it is a really neat, fun and challenging game that’ll get the gray matter going. By downloading the app, players get to use their wits, and very limited clues to attempt to decipher the first 20 levels of the game. A single 99¢ IAP unlocks the full Ulterior experience of 50+ puzzles. The game kind of reminds me a little of Progress to 100, particularly in the way that it has players utilizing all aspects of their iOS devices to solve cryptic, cleverly worded puzzles. A nice little surprise release, you are definitely going to want to check this one out.

alice-in-wonderland-puzzle_1108048349_ipad_02.jpgOriginally released on iOS back in 2014 by Mobage a subsidiary of the aforementioned DeNA as a free-to-play title called Wonder Golf, Tapstar Interactive / Paladin Studios has thankfully just re-launched this fun puzzle game/mini putt hybrid as a paid title called Alice in Wonderland Puzzle Golf Adventures. Based on the characters and locations in the titular book by Lewis Carroll, players take on the role of Alice on a quest through Wonderland to catch the thieving white rabbit. In the game, Alice becomes your ball as you tap and pull back to set your power and aim your shots toward the rabbit hole in each level as you chase after the furry thief. You need to reach the hole within the designated number of shots, so aim carefully to collect gems, keys that unlock the hole and more. The game does a nice job of combining the fun of miniature golf with the challenge of a puzzle game.If you enjoy miniature golf, you are going to love this one.

warhammer-40000-regicide_1099703034_ipad_02.jpgReleased on Steam last year, Hammerfall Publishing now brings Warhammer 40000: Regicide, a turn-based strategy game (set in the bloody and brutal Warhammer 40,000 universe) to mobile gamers. The game’s Classic mode is really nothing more than the age-old strategy game of chess, played out with characters from the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It is the ‘Regicide‘ mode where things start to get really interesting. Much like chess, to win at Regicide, you must defeat the enemy king before your opponent kills yours. However, in this mode, there are two phases per turn: a Movement phase where you move one of your pieces and an Initiative phase where you can spend these initiative points to use special actions to do attacks or fortify your pieces or other things. Different actions have different costs and cool down periods and you can carry over unused points to your next turn, with a max of 5 total available per turn. The game offer both local and asynchronous (cross-platform) multiplayer options as well a single player play against five levels of AI or a full campaign mode which changes up win conditions, keeping this fresh and interesting. Players can select from two different races (Space Marines and Orks) and then further customize their armies with particular loadouts and special abilities. There is additional DLC for unlocking other Chapters and Clans, which can be done via IAPs or earned through gameplay. As a special launch promotion, there is some DLC that is free to unlock until May 30th. If you are a fan of the Warhammer 40000 universe, or just like turn-based strategy games, Warhammer 40000: Regicide has a lot to offer for just $3.99.

Last but certainly not least…

nancy-drew-codes-clues_1107704042_ipad_01.jpgMaking her debut in 1930, Nancy Drew was a teenage detective featured in the wildly popular mystery novel series. It spawned a number of series of books, TV shows, films and video games over the years since. Now Her Interactive’s has just rebooted the series for a younger generation, with their new interactive game, Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues, which sees Nancy Drew as an elementary school girl, solving mysteries with the help of her de-TECH-tive crew consisting of friends Bess and George and her robot puppy. In what is hopefully just the first of a series of apps, kids play through six chapters of content as they help the de-TECH-tive crew solve the mystery of a missing Tech Fair project. They’ll don disguises, search for clues and even program Nancy’s robot puppy. The app is targeted toward kids aged 5 to 8 and as a parent of two bright young girls myself I’m thrilled to see the app adopt the STEM curriculum promoting topics of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Nancy Drew: Codes & Clues features great animation and voice work, an engaging story and both of my daughters (ages 6.5 and 9) LOVED playing through the game as well as watching the animated shorts. This is a delightful game for kids that introduces them to some basic constructs of programming languages (sequences and loops) and tests skills like pattern recognition, problem solving and more. Nancy Drew and her inquisitive spirit is an excellent, positive role model for young girls (and boys) and there is no IAP that parents need to worry about. This one is definitely worth checking out if you have kids at home and I hope to see more Nancy Drew apps and/or an animated series get released in the future.

That’s all I have for you this week…enjoy!

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