The new year has begun and developers have already started to release some exciting new iOS gaming content. This post is going to be a little different than usual. Instead of just focusing on new games in the past week, I’m going to include a few titles which came out right at the tail end of last year. Games which may have gotten missed in the rest of the holiday shuffle.

To start things off, we have Remedy Rush, the first free-to-play game to come out of Whitaker Trebella’s Fixpoint Productions (Pivvot, Polymer). It is a quick-action survival game where you are a remedy, battling dynamically generated germs while attempting to safely navigate an endless maze of cells in your host body. You’ll have to destroy toxins and fight germs. Danger is always looming, so you must be quick. As you play through the game, you’ll unlock additional types of remedies such as a remote control, sushi, teddy bear and more. Each of these has a unique side-effect, which makes a slight tweak to the gameplay, changing the way the body looks, feels, and responds. Each day that you are able to fend off illness, the game will intensify, making it that much more difficult to a continue to survive. With a jazzy soundtrack and art-style, Remedy Rush is a fun little leaderboard-driven time filler. I’ve been enjoying seeing what new twists each new remedy I unlock will bring. Check it out…stat.

Next up is Avignon: A Clash of Popes, a digital adaptation of Button Shy Games’ (and designer John du Bois ) successfully Kickstarted micro-card game of the same name. Set in the 14th century, Avignon is a quick-playing game where two players are competing to gain the influence of members of the medieval Church, such as Cardinals, Nobles, and Knights, in order to get their candidate elected as the new Pope. The goal is to get three characters to join your congregation to give you enough influence to win the election. Players manipulate five randomly chosen character cards on a central board by taking (up to) two of three possible actions: pull a character one step toward your congregation, push a character toward your opponent’s congregation, or invoke the special ability of one of the characters. These special abilities are the key, as they could change the win condition, force your opponent to move characters in your direction, or even allow you to move characters more than the standard single step. The app allows for both solo play against an AI opponent or local, same device multiplayer. There is an optional, single 99¢ IAP which adds three new character cards and allows you to setup custom matches (deciding which cards to include) and fiddle with the AI difficulty. Avignon is a fun little strategy game, though I do wish the app included online asynchronous multiplayer as the AI is disappointingly easy (even with the settings jacked all the way up) and could use a little more tinkering. Button Shy just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new standalone expansion to the physical version of the game called Avignon: Pilgrimage, hopefully we’ll see this arrive as IAP for the app, and/or hopefully more Button Shy Game titles will get the digital treatment as well in the future.

Shards of Memories: an Art Puzzle Adventure is an emotional narrative jigsaw puzzle game in which you are literally trying to put the pieces of the protagonist’s life back together as he reconnects and rebuilds a broken relationship. The story unfolds over the course of three chapters and over 90 levels. In each level you are presented with a couple of the lines of the narrative and then must take the broken pieces of glass and rotate and order them to properly fit them all into the shape provided. The text gives you some clue as to the object you are trying to create and once successful, a photo is revealed which helps drive the story forward. While the puzzles aren’t terribly difficult the casual pacing of the game (there are no time limits) coupled that with the soothing soundtrack and poignant storyline work very well together to craft a nice cathartic and pleasant puzzle experience.

Retro Winter Sports 1986 is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Growing up my brothers and I loved competing with each other in the old Summer/Winter games titles from Epyx on our Apple ][e and Apple //c. This game aims to recreate that experience with six pixel-art winter sport events: Ski Jump, Biathlon, Bobsled, Speed Skating, Curling and Slalom. Replacing the keyboard with tap gestures, you can compete with up to eight friends or family members in a hot seat multiplayer mode (unfortunately no real-time head-to-head) or an AI opponent. While I’m not sure this game will be everyone, if you have a fair amount of nostalgia for the classic PC Olympic games I think you’ll enjoy this blast from the past.

An impressive end of the year release published by Noodlecake Studios, Island Delta is a neat, polished adventure puzzle game set in a futuristic, almost comic-book world. Zoe is an inventor who just successfully created an intelligent robot. Unfortunately the nefarious Doctor Gunderson has broken into Zoe’s lab and stolen her invention. She and her friend Baxter track it to the mad scientist’s evil island hideout and with the help of a pair of Grav-i-Rays they must break into Gunderson’s stronghold, solve puzzles, overcome dangerous traps and battle mechanical minions in order to complete their rescue mission. Island Delta is rather entertaining puzzle game as you explore levels trying to figure out how best to use your anti-gravity ray move/toss around crates to find hidden treasures, block enemy fire or trigger switches. There are over 30 levels plus there are hidden ares and items which, when found unlock additional bonus levels. The game has a great 3D art style and I highly recommend checking it out.

Lets look at a couple of recent releases for the kids…

I can’t believe it has already been four years since Toca Hair Salon 2 launched! Now Toca Boca returns to the app store with a fifth (including the special Christmas Gift and Toca Hair Salon Me) hair cutting imaginative play app. Toca Hair Salon 3, is the third iteration of the flagship title in their very popular series. It continues to refine the hair styling experience, making it even more inclusive to children of all ethnicities. For this newwest salon, TB has improved upon all aspects of the experience, adding a new options for super curly hair and “kinky” hair as well as adding highlights. There are new accessories, more hair colors, you can braid hair and at the new Beard Station, you have the ability to grow beards on any character. In fact all of the characters in this new set are completely androgynous, meaning you can easily transform them into whichever gender you’d like. In fact, one of the things my daughters love doing is to take one of the randomly generated starting characters and then transform them into a member of the opposite sex (usually with impressive results). My daughters love this app! I would say that even if you own one or both of the previous “Toca Hair Salon” titles, it is well worth the additional $2.99 for this app to get the new features.

Another prolific kids series of apps also released a new title. My Town : Beauty Contest. is the SIXTEENTH app in the My Tow series of digital dollhouse apps. It lets your child experience the thrill of running a Beauty Contest by preparing the contestants’ hair, makeup and clothing. When it’s time for the show, kids can decorate the stage, pick and award flowers to the contestants and take photos of the winner. My 7-year old daughter gives this one two thumbs up, and has been having a blast making up skits and putting on virtual pageants.

A delightful 90’s style point and click adventure game, Milkmaid of the Milky Way features cows, fjords, dairy products, an alien race and plenty of poetry. Set in the 1920s, the game follows the mysterious adventure of a
lonely young woman who lives and works alone on a dairy farm, making and selling butter, cream and other goods. One evening she sees mysterious lights in the sky, followed by a giant space ship. When her cows go missing, she sets her off on an extraordinary adventure to get them back. This beautifully hand-crafted game feels perfectly retro and the intriguing storyline is made all that much more charming by the fact that each and every line of dialog in the game is written in rhyme. It is an impressive feat by just a single developer; adventure game fans will certainly want to set aside a few hours to check out Milkmaid of the Milky Way .

In 2015, Klei Entertainment ported their award-winning, wilderness survival game Don’t Starve to iOS. The game was dark, unforgiving and great as you frantically scavenged for resources during the daylight hours to craft tools, traps and other goods to catch food, build fires and shelter to protect you from the (demonic) things that go bump in the night. Klei Entertainment partnered with CAPY, creators of Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery to craft an (arguably) even better single-player expansion called Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked. It launched for PC players last March and the day after Christmas on iOS. In this new stand-alone sequel, Wilson now finds himself stranded in a tropical archipelago. While it is a cheerier setting, danger is still very much lurking and a lack of preparation during the day will most definitely lead to a brief, deadly night. I love the new setting of this version of the game. There are loads of new items to craft and there are some tough new weather patterns that will test your resolve. If you don’t already own either of the Don’t Starve titles, I’d recommend going directly to this one, otherwise if you already own the original, then the new challenges presented in Shipwrecked should test even your honed skills.

Finally that brings us to RollerCoaster Tycoon® Classic. While I somehow completely missed out on Atari’s award-winning RollerCoaster sim series when they first launched in the late 90’s and early 2000s, I’ve certainly heard a lot about them, usually in happy and excited tones. This release combines the best features from RollerCoaster Tycoon® and RollerCoaster Tycoon® 2. (“two of the most successful and beloved RCT games in the series”) and allows you to let your imagination run wild as you create and run your own amusement parks. You manage all aspects of your park including designing and building roller coasters and rides, landscaping parks, staffing and finances as you try to keep guests happy. I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet myself, but it has been getting a number of rave reviews from fans on the classic game series.

Thanks all I have for you this week, enjoy!

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