animation-throwdown-quest_1080816579_ipad_02.jpgiPhone launch week was a bit slow for new game releases, but the App Store has certainly made up for it this week, with a load of notable new releases.

We’ve got a lot to get to so let’s dive right in with Kongregate’s latest free-to-play offering, Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards. It is a card battling game featuring characters from five of your favorite FOX Television animated series including Family Guy, Futurama, Bob’s Burgers, American Dad and King of the Hill. Build, upgrade and cull your deck, researching new card combinations that will help buff characters stats and help you win the battle. The game offers both an extensive single player campaign, as well as the ability to challenge other players online to throwdowns in the multiplayer arena.

letter-club_1145530978_ipad_01.jpg href=”” class=”devLink” target=_blank>Simple Machine, developer of King Solitaire, LEX and Circadia is back this week with Letter Club, a fast-paced head to head word game where players compete in real-time 60 second head-to-head match ups trying to quickly form words in a 3×3 grid of letters. You can use coins earned in matches to upgrade individual letters so that in future rounds words formed with these letters will be worth more points to help you crush your competition. This is a neat little twist on the find words as fast as you can genre, which encourages replayability. The app also contains stickers for iMessaging as well as the ability to LIVE broadcast with iOS10.

test-chamber-challenge_1154146268_ipad_01.jpgNext up is a quick, fun freebie called Test Chamber Challenge. It is sort of a mashup of those idiot.moron test apps and a puzzle platformer as you try to figure out how to escape a series of 36 different rooms with only a little hint from a little old man with a clipboard for guidance. The game features creative puzzles that will require a little outside the box thinking, I can’t wait to see more levels added to this charming and entertaining little release.

tons-of-bullets_1135304604_ipad_01Tons of Bullets! is a retro 2D action platformer adventure game in which players take on the role of Kenji, a Ninja on a quest to save his girlfriend who has been kidnapped by his nemesis, Dr. Mad. Jump, double jump, teleport, swing, jetpack, and of course shoot…all them pixel art bullets won’t fire themselves. Sprawling levels across multiple environments, hidden areas to explore and entertaining cutscenes. There are even rideable vehicles and a stealth mechanic, making Tons of Bullets! a fun throwback to classic console platformers with a little something extra.

vulture-island_1153694100_ipad_02.jpgSpeaking of retro platformers, Donut Games’ latest title, Vulture Island looks like another promising new release. A combination of 2D platformer and point-and-click adventure, the game follows a boy named Benjamin who is forced to abandon his homemade flying machine, (along with his friends Alex, Paul and Stella) and parachute into the ocean. and swim to a mysterious island. You control each of the characters, playing through their individual stories in whatever order you’d like, switching between them at any time (should you get stuck or just want a change of pace). It sounds like a neat mash-up and with the game being available at a special launch price of $2.99 (40% off) through the end of the month, if it sounds interesting to you as well, you probably want to grab it before the price goes up.

paul-pixel-the-awakening_947548754_ipad_02.jpgIn case you haven’t gotten enough pixel art yet, there are actually quite a few new releases I’m going to talk about which have adopted this art style, the next of which is Paul Pixel – The Awakening. This is a very well done, humorous, classic style point and click adventure game about average guy who is forced to defend the world from an alien invasion of infectious zombies. Featuring an excellent chiptune soundtrack, it’ll take you about two and a half hours to play through this entertaining little tail setup in that classic Sierra/Lucas Arts style. If you are a fan of these types of games this is definitely worth checking out and an impressive debut by Xoron GmbH.

twisted-lines-mind-twisting_1064910015_ipad_02.jpgIf puzzle games are more your thing, then perhaps Megagon Industries’ Twisted Lines will get your synapses firing. It is a unique puzzle game where you drag around multicolored lines trying to reach all of the colored blocks. Each time you cross over your previous line, you swap colors, so you need to plan out your moves to have the correct active color when you reach the like-colored block. Levels don’t have a time limit, which is a good thing since some of these can get really tricky as you twist, turn and criss-cross all over the place trying to line things up just right. The game’s 100+ levels are broken up into various chapters, each of which introduces a new gameplay element which shakes up the base mechanic and adds even more of a challenge. Engaging and a bit of a brain burner at times, if you like puzzle games, this is definitely one to check out.

60-seconds-atomic-adventure_1072395467_ipad_02.jpg60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure is an interesting concept as well. It is a darkly comedic survival game where players begin with 60 seconds to frantically race through their suburban home, searching for family members, food and supplies and then make it into the fallout shelter to survive a nuclear blast. You can only hold a certain weight/number of items at a time, so you’ll need to make multiple trips, periodically dropping things off at the shelter entrance (which is in your home) as you go . Just make sure you get everything back (including yourself) in time, before the the clock runs out. T Then the game shifts to a decision-based game where you must figure out how you (and the others in the shelter) are going to ration what little supplies you managed to grab. Each day you manage to live in the post-apocalyptic world, it’ll be up to you to make life and death decisions of who gets food and water. People can go w/o water for four days, but a lack of food will weaken them, increasing the chances they will get sick (requiring even more food to get better). There is a great visual representation of the toll the ordeal takes on your survivors as well as text passages to give you updates on what’s happening. If you just prefer the scavenging part of the game there is a mode to just do that as well, or you can just play the survival piece with a randomly selected set of supplies. The variable setup of the home allows for some good replayability

dog-sled-saga_1146552070_ipad_01.jpgDog Sled Saga is a game that I first saw a couple of years ago at PAX East 2015. Then it was just this simple pixel art dog sledding game, but it has evolved since then into a much bigger, wonderful experience where players take on the role of a rookie musher, trying to build and train a winning dog sledding team. Select your team of dogs, feed them, train them and as both your and their skills improve you can enter them in better and better races in hopes of winning money to get a better sled, hire more dogs and just pay for the upkeep. The game is well designed and engaging with a strong, multifaceted simulation element where you must manage expenses and all aspects of the team whether it’s firing an under-performing pooch, hiring additional staff or locking in a lucrative sponsorship deal. During races you’ll have to make sure the dogs don’t get too close to one another, make sure harnesses don’t get tangled and keep the dogs well-fed by tossing them treats while racing. Dog Sled Saga offers a delightful peek at a sport that most of us would otherwise never experience.

sorcery-4_1126935885_ipad_01.jpgNext up is Sorcery! 4, the (unfortunately) final entry in inkle’s absolutely brilliant craft your own adventure game book series based on Steve Jackson’s award-winning book series. Whether you played the previous titles in the series or not, you can jump right into this thrilling open-world narrative adventure set in a cursed land full of creatures, traps and magic. Returning players can even continue their quest using their same character which they’ve established over the course of the first three novels. Featuring the same gorgeous 3D topological map, chunking text and massive number of decisions (with full undo capabilities), not to mention their fabulous risk/reward combat system and spell book, new and returning fans are going to love this final chapter in the sprawling Sorcery! adventure. Like they’ve done with the previous apps, Inkle has added a new gameplay element to this fourth book in the form of disguises, which will elicit varied responses from other characters and allow you to infiltrate the Citadel. While I’m sad to see the series end, I’m excited to see what Inkle tackles next. They did a bang up job with 80 Days, so I expect a lot more great things from the team in the future.

primordia_1119713595_ipad_01.jpgSpeaking of developers who have brought us a lot of great things…we’ve just gotten another classic-style point and click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games, the studio who brought us the Blackwell series and my personal favorite, Gemini Rue. Originally published on the PC in late 2012, Primordia makes its way to iOS this week. Having crash landed on a desolate and ruined world inhabited only by robots, an android named Horatio and his floating sidekick Crispin are trying to figure out what their purpose is and what happened to all of the humans. Their power core has been stolen and now the must try to find another or track down the beast that took it, even if that means travelling to Metropolis, City of Glass and Light. The game features a really-interesting storyline and excellent, humorous dialogue the is voice-acted well. Fans of classic Sierra and Lucas Arts style point and click adventures will no doubt really enjoy this one as well. Compared to Wadjet Eye’s previous titles, I found this one a little bit harder to distinguish some of the interactable hot spots without using the push and hold trick to reveal all the hotspots, but even with that the engaging narrative and interesting puzzles make for a a solid adventure gaming experience. If I had to choose between this and the previously mentioned Paul Pixel this week, Primordia would be my recommended pickup.

batman-the-telltale-series_1135127134_ipad_01.jpgAlso highly recommended this week is Batman – The Telltale Series. The latest in Telltale’s episodic narrative game series, this one puts players in the shoes (and tactical boots) of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Certainly not for kids this is a “gritty and violent new story” in which you’ll have to make some tough decisions for Bruce Wayne as he struggles with morality in his quest to not only protect Gotham and avenge hist parents as the vigilante Batman but also gets pressure to collaborate with Gothams’s organized crime boss Carmine Falcone. There is a great dichotomy of play as you make lots of decisions as Bruce and then have to tap, swipe and drag your way through rapid series of actions during fight sequences as Batman. Beautifully illustrated, it doesn’t take long to get fully engrossed in this fresh perspective on the Dark Night. Easily one of Telltale’s bests series yet. I can’t wait for more episodes! The $4.99 app download includes episode 1 and a season pass can be purchased for $14.99 which gives you access to episodes 2-5 as they are released (saving you 20% over purchasing each episode separately).

ember_906826053_ipad_01.jpg505 Games and indie dev studio, N-Fusion Interactive released Ember, a rich, classic style RPG adventure “set in the world of Domus on the brink of collapse after a primordial race of druids known as the Lightbringers take the world out of constant darkness using fallen stars known as Embers”. The player is a Lightbringer, deftly moving through Domus, fighting creatures, scavenging for supplies and expanding their skills and abilities through a deep skill tree. The game plays great on the iPad (not sure how it’d be on a smaller device). The game is an homage to classic role-playing games and is the result of 10 years of development. That passion and love of the genre translates nicely onto the screen with a sweeping, open environments, a detailed crafting system and a classic RPG feel. Ember will offer adventurers hours upon hours of gameplay (I believe the publisher lists 30+ hours) and the last of IAPs is certainly refreshing in this age of micro-transactions.

nba-2k17_1114921009_ipad_01.jpgAnd finally that brings up to NBA 2K17, 2K’s newest version of their fully licensed mobile basketball franchise. With all 30 officially licensed teams to choose from (each with updated rosters) as well as an expanded EuroLeague with new teams, revamped controls, an upgraded badge system, the ability to play with historic players. Whether you just want to play a single match or a full 82 game schedule, it’s up to you and you can even simulate the games you don’t feel like playing. If you are looking for a more casual game there is a Blacktop mode that allows you to play one on on through five on five street ball. There is also a MyCareer modem, which allows you to develop a new player, taking them through their entire career from college ball all the way (hopefully) through to the Hall of Fame. This looks like an impressive package, especially for only $7.99 compared to the $60 console release. If you want some mobile hoops NBA 2K17 looks like a slam dunk.

I hope you enjoy at least a few of these new releases before next week’s onslaught of new titles.

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