cthulhu-realms_1035256452_ipad_04Last week was a fairly light one for new releases, so this week I’m going to highlight titles from last two weeks.

Starting things off is White Wizard Games’ highly-anticipated digital adaptation of their deckbuilding game Cthulhu Realms. Designed by Darwin Kastle, the designer of WWG’s other super popular deckbuilding game Star Realms, in Cthulhu Realms, players are trying to drive their opponents insane and/or to be the most sane player at the end of the game. Players take turns playing cards from their hand to either boost their own sanity, reduce the sanity of others or collect conjuring power which can be used to purchase new cards from the center row. While this is not just some re-skinned version of Star Realms, both games do have a similar flow and feel. There are some neat new elements in Cthulhu Realms which add a bit more strategy and I’ve found its Cthulhu theme is quite appealing (especially in the campaign). The game looks and plays great and a detailed tutorial teaches you all of the basics. The free app download gives players access to 8 campaign missions as well as a ‘vs. AI’ option. For a one-time $4.99 IAP, you unlock two additional another AI difficult option, 8 additional single-player campaign missions, the ability to play against other players via either same device pas and play or online opponents. As an added bonus, buying the unlock on one platform give you access to unlocked content all platforms with the same account. If you are a fan of Star Realms or deckbuilders in general, this is definitely worth a look, if you don’t at least download this app…I question your sanity. 😉

get-em_961889853_ipad_02.jpgNext up is another of those unique indie titles. Get ‘Em is and open world sandbox game in a similar vein as Grand Theft Auto, except instead of corrupted thugs and mobsters you play as “superhero crimefighting dogs looking to save the city, while finding their dognapped friend, and ultimately making the police K9 unit”. Select one of the three main dogs and run around the streets finding people who need assistance and then complete short missions which involve tasks like chasing down a purse snatcher and returning the stolen item to its owner, or racing another dog to a location and more. The game features the same beautiful cell-shaded art style employed in the GTA games. It’s silly and fun.

stratego-battle-cards_1108027145_ipad_05Stratego® Battle Cards is a digital implementation of the 2012 two-player Stratego card game. Like its classic board game brother, the objective of the game is still to uncover your challenger’s flag, before they find yours. To start a match, players each draw eight cards from their private decks and lay out five of these as their battle line. On their turn, the attacking player fills in any empty slots in their battle line, then selects a card from their battle line and uses it to attack a card in their opponent’s line. Much like War, the card with the higher rank wins. However, to keep things interesting, a number of cards have special reveal abilities (like peaking at your opponent cards) which adds to the strategic elements of the game. I haven’t played the physical release, but it looks like an interesting twist on a classic board game with some light, strategic gameplay.

2-bit-cowboy-rides-again_1114130722_ipad_02.jpgReleased last week, 2-bit Cowboy Rides Again is an entertaining sequel to Crescent Moon Games’ popular 2014 Western action platformer game. It features the same classic Gameboy era graphical aesthetics, but it seems this go around the levels are even more expansive and feature a nice collection of per level goals to complete. You can also visit saloons to buy health and take your chances at the casino to try to increase your coin supply to buy outfits for your cowboy or cowgirl. While it feels like more of the same, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, fans of the original looking for even more of this classic-style platformer play will certainly want to mosey on over to the App Store and pick this one up.

rule-with-an-iron-fish_1102448232_01.jpgA quirky adventure and lots of fishing awaits players in Kestrel Games’ latest offering, Rule with an Iron Fish. Players attempt to become “the greatest pirate captain that ever fished”, by completing quests and growing their island town. And along the way you’ll do a lot of fishing, attempting to collect all 108 varieties. A great little time waster, the regular influx of new quests means there is always something to do or humorous dialog to read between trips to the fishin’ hole.

toca-life-vacation_1114886979_ipad_01.jpgNext up are a pair of imaginative play titles for the little ones.

Toca Boca has released a fourth title in their super-successful Toca Life series of apps called Toca Life: Vacation. Featuring a fun new cast of characters (including a giant pineapple), children get to explore and play in four brand new locations including an airport, hotel room, beach or go sightseeing on a desert island complete with buried treasure. Another really fun imaginative play app, my daughters are absolutely smitten with Toca Life: Vacation (and the whole series of apps), in fact as I type this my younger daughter is on the couch next to me playing out a whole elaborate scene involving characters trying to decide what bathing suit to wear before they leave their room in the hotel. There are so many fun things to discover in these apps that my daughters would play with this app for hours on end if I didn’t stop them. They even have the ability to record their own little animated films by moving around characters and supplying their voices, just like Toca Boca’s official funny animated ‘Toca Life’ YouTube series). This is a MUST HAVE app for any parent of younger kids (heck even the parents will have some fun with this one).

pepi-house_1102814563_ipad_01.jpgWith a catalog of successful kids titles like Pepi Bath and Pepi Ride the folks at Pepi Play have just launched what is probably their most ambitious app yet, a digital doll house called Pepi House. Your kids can join the Pepi family including their adorable pets and play in various rooms in their house like the backyard, kitchen, bedroom, pool and garage. There are hundreds of items to interact with and activities to do ranging from preparing food to repairing a car. This is a fun new addition to the increasingly popular digital dollhouse genre, and even if your kids already own another similar title, they will no doubt really enjoy Pepi House’s unique and charming cast of characters.

quest-to-aztlan_1117810821_ipad_01.jpgA bewitching looking new mobile RPG adventure, Quest to Aztlan sees players recruiting their international team of adventurers (one leader and three companions) and utilizing their combined abilities to, engage in real-time battles, defeat enemies and collect coins which can then be used to purchase weapons, clothing, supplies and magic items or to simply save their progress. There are 40 levels across four locations (jungle, caves, ancient ruins and the Great Temple of Aztlan). I haven’t had a chance to check this one out yet, but it’s on my short list of games to check out.

heroes-of-loot-2_1114594263_ipad_01.jpgOrangepixel returned to the App Store last week with Heroes of Loot 2, the sequel to their 2013 dungeon crawler. This time around players pick two heroes (one melee, one ranged) from the standard archetypes to take into the adventure. They control both heroes and using their special skills to navigate the dangerous castle hallways, rooms and floors and mow down hordes of attacking enemies. Players can switch between the two characters at will to take advantage of each’s unique abilities to solve quests and push further through the game. While it does have a tenancy to turn into a bit of a button masher, the game provides some chaotic, pixelart fun.

1979-revolution_1107015898_ipad_01.jpgFinally, we’ll end this round up with the debut release by NYC-based independent development studio iNK Stories. 1979 Revolution is a Telltale style, choice driven, adventure game set during the events of the historic Iranian revolution when the nation was on the verge of collapse. Players take on the role of Reza, an aspiring photojournalist, embedded in the front lines of the unrest, political demonstrations and violence in Tehran, Iran, forced to make life and death decisions to survive. While the story is an original work of fiction, the fact that it is set against a backdrop of real events, leads to an engaging, and educational experience. Well worth picking up, there are no additional episodes to buy, pay once and you get the entire game. With 1979 Revolution having such high production values (especially in a studio’s debut title) I suspect that iNK Stories is a studio we are going to continue to see great things from 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.