First up is ENYO a new, stylized tactical roguelike published by Tiny Touch Tales, the studio behind Card Crawl (my game of the year last year) and the upcoming game Card Thief. Originally conceived during a weeklong roguelike challenge, the game was inspired by popular turn-based strategy games like Hoplite and Auro. Set in the word of Greek mythology, players take on the role of Enyo, the greek goddess of war, battling a variety of enemies while trying to recover 3 legendary artifacts. Using a limited set of actions, you must dispatch with enemies while avoiding lava, bombs and direct combat with enemies. Instead you try to push your foes into spikes with your shield, drag them into lava pits with your hook or stun them next to bombs by leaping. The variable setup and limited “instruction” set make for some really interesting (and tough) gameplay as you take turns with your enemies trying to position yourself for a safe, stealthy take down. The game is absolutely free to play and download, with a single $1.99 IAP to remove advertisements and unlock daily challenges.
Line Defense is a game that I very nearly passed right over, writing it off as just another of the droves of Missile Command clones on the App Store. That would have been a real shame, because this is one frenetic and fun touch-based game. Sure it is inspired by Missile Command, but the touch-based line drawing mechanic for laying down a defense when the various projectiles come flying at your city gives it a modern, more tactile feel that adds to the nervous energy of the game. One particularly neat aspect of the game are the per-level boss-battles where the player has to ricochet the boss’ own projectiles back at them to deal damage. Each boss has different projectile patterns and attacks, making each one a new and interesting to fight. There are purchasable upgrades and powerups via the game’s in-game currency (crystals), but I never felt obligated or coerced into spending real money on anything. Line Defense is a great arcade-style freebie that is worth checking out.
Next up are a couple of freebies to entertain the little ones in your house, the first of which is Frombie Run. It is a triple-decker endless runner featuring a friendly zombie (aka Frombie) girl named Zora who, along with her flying squirrel sidekick are trying to escape the evil Meanatoad and his army of menacing Bullfrog’s to restore peace to her home planet of Ssorc. Zora automatically runs forward and your child can simply tap to jump between levels or over obstacles. Swipe down to jump down a level or swipe forward to charge over obstacles. There is a rolling set of missions to complete, coins to collect as well as wisps which can be used to jump through portals to different worlds and levels. Collected coins can be used to purchase upgrades and power ups or unlock new playable characters, each with different playing styles. The game is colorfully illustrated, almost like you are playing inside a comic book world, it has a nice soundtrack and is paced well for younger players.
Free for a limited time, Sago Sago’s latest app, Sago Mini Babies Dress Up lets your preschoolers play dress up with all of their favorite Sago Sago characters including Jack, Jinja, Harvey and Robin. They get to try on different outfits, glasses, hats, moustaches and more and see the characters’ cute and funny reactions! My own daughters are unfortunately too old or these apps now, but it looks like another charming, imaginative play app from the talented team at Sago Sago.
A really neat concept, the new game, A New Life is a life simulation app, where you can choose the life you’ve always wanted to live, or maybe just see where a different path would have led you. Starting off as a newborn, you are presented with a series of scenarios, each with two choices. Using a special algorithm, the app takes the decisions you make and uses these to help define how the rest of your character’s life plays out. A choice may close the door on some opportunities, while opening the door to others. Will you be rich or poor? Shy or outgoing? Married or single? Life is unpredictable and your path can change when unexpected events come up. Developer Milan Babuskov describes the app as follows: “A New Life uses a custom algorithm to generate more than 17 billion potential lifetime scenarios. Live the life you’ve always dreamed of — or make bold, experimental choices. Go for power and money — or push luxuries aside for a happy family. We hope A New Life will give some players a different perspective on their own choices so far, helping them envision and work toward a better life.” Use your imagination and become anything you want to be and “relive” your past lives through biographies and in-game achievements. Are you ready for a new life?
The new action platformer Super Powerboy is an impressive debut title from the indie UK-based studio, Pixel-Blast. Aliens have invaded the planet and it is up to Super Powerboy to stop them. Jump over lasers, punch evil robots, knock down large stone columns, slide down railings and more as you try to “defend our valuable natural resources from these planetary pirates”. Aside from eye-catching animated film quality visuals, one of the greatest things about this game is the way that they progress the story regularly upgrading Super Powerboy’s super suit, adorning him with cool new abilities and increasing the complexity of the levels in a smooth fashion that never feels overwhelming. All with just minor adjustments to the existing swipe controls. As a result, the game is perfect for any age player and you are given just the right amount of time to master your current skills before something new is added to the mix. Should you fail a mission an often humorous and always encouraging narrator cheers on Super Powerboy for another attempt. A real pleasant surprise I think this is going to be a big hit, especially with families.
Developed in collaboration with series founder Tetsuya Mizuguch, Japanese publisher Mobcast has just rebooted the Lumines puzzle game franchise for a new generation with the release of LUMINES PUZZLE & MUSIC. Integrating music into the puzzle genre, LUMINES is a puzzle game similar to Tetris in that you are trying to drop shapes down a cylindrical column and trying to keep them from overflowing over the top. However, in this game all of the pieces are 2×2 squares composed of four smaller colored pieces in one or two colors. The goal is to move, rotate and drop the multicolored blocks to the bottom of the board to match them up with other blocks, forming 2×2 squares (or larger) to erase them. Overlapping squares can share sides or even single blocks. You can rotate blocks before dropping them, simply by tapping on them, drag them left and right to position them and finally swipe down to drop them. Dropped blocks will split apart and fill in any open spaces as they tumble downward. However, matched blocks do not immediately disappear. The current musical track dictates the rhythm at which matched blocks disappear, creating a rather unique feel for a puzzle game. For more details and my thought on the game you can read my full review of LUMINES.
Finally that brings us to the most gorgeous new iOS release of the week (if not the year thus far), Samorost 3. Like all of Amanita Design’s previous titles (Machinarium, Botanicula and Kooky) the visuals are absolutely striking, but I’d say they’ve taken it to a whole new level with Samorost 3. This is a point and click adventure puzzle game which follows a curious little space gnome as he travels across the universe trying to learn of its mysterious origins. At his side is a magical flute which he uses to listen and then repeat musical compositions to speak with the spirits of inhabitants long-ago trapped or killed by an evil wizard. You must travel in your garlic-shaped spaceship to explore nine very unique worlds, meeting strange new creatures and solving some rather tough puzzles. The entire story plays out completely wordlessly, yet is so expertly animated that there is absolutely no need for any discernible dialog. I found myself instantly engaged in the story which effortlessly draws out an emotional response from the player, making you feel for this gnome and the strange and bizarre worlds and creatures he meets along the way (even the grotesque ones). As for the difficulty of the puzzles, well this should be of no surprise to anyone who has played Machinarium. The game encourages exploration, trial and error and some of the solutions will not come easy. Fortunately if you do get stuck, there is a free in-game cheat sheet system that will guide you through that screen’s puzzle. I wish it only revealed it one step at a time rather than presenting the whole solution, but still it can be an invaluable resource once you taxed your brain enough and you’ll be glad to have it. A beautiful and moving story coupled with delightful music and top-notch visuals, Samorost 3 has been one of my most favorite experiences on iOS this year. As soon as I completed the game, I immediately tried to hunt down the first two games in the series, (though apparently this game only loosely continues the tale from those) only to discover they were never actually released on iOS. In fact Samorost 3 is the first full-length game in the series. This gorgeously illustrated game is one experience that is not to be missed!
That’s all I have for you this week.