Historically, the first few weeks in December are when we see the year’s biggest (and often, best) new iOS games. Gameloft and Rockstar are kicking off the final month of 2012 with big new games, but there are a few others that we also wanted to let you know about. Follow the kiwi links below to visit the New Zealand App Store, then check back after 8pm PST to be redirected to the live game in the US App Store.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Last year, we were blown away by GTA 3′s transition to mobile devices. Not only did Rockstar manage to cram a full console game onto the iPhone and iPad (including radio stations, voice-acting, side-missions, rampages, and everything else that makes GTA great), but they also made the controls feel natural in your hands. With Jet Set Radio recently botching the controls, we’ll have to make sure that Vice City is just as playable as it was on consoles. We don’t want to miss out on any of Tommy Vercetti’s Miami-inspired misdeeds because of a clumsy touchscreen transition.
Price: $4.99 USD
Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour
Gameloft’s fourth first-person shooter with a modern military theme launches tonight, and from what we’ve played, it’s a fairly predictable step in the series. The background environments have become a lot more complex over the years, but it’s still a shooting gallery where masked mercenaries patiently wait for you to shoot them before letting you move on to the next battle. The extensive multiplayer mode will likely make up for any single-player shortcomings, so be sure to start leveling up right away to keep up with players worldwide.
Price: $6.99 USD
Hollywood Monsters is another PC adventure game port from Pendulo and Bulkypix, who recently released Yesterday on iOS. You control a pair of reporters for an LA newspaper who stake out a “monster’s ball”, starring all of Hollywood’s top talent (who happen to be real monsters). So far, all of the Pendulo adventure games on iOS have featured excellent animation, storytelling, and puzzles, so check it out if you like classic point-and-click narratives like Broken Sword.
Price: $4.99 US
Get ready by reading: Yesterday review
Uppercut Games’ last iOS release, Epoch, starred a laser-packing robot who could dance between cover while frying his targets. This year, their new game features kids playing in the snow. The gameplay is nearly identical, though– like Epoch’s agile robot, you can swipe to move between cover to avoid the snowballs flying your way. SnowJinks is a high-score survival game, so you’ll have to keep playing until your character gets frostbite.
Price: $0.99 USD
Get ready by reading: Epoch review
Minigore 2: Zombies
Minigore was a big deal when it first launched in 2009– a mobile, dual-stick shooter with 3D graphics and the promise of regular content updates. Unfortunately, Mountain Sheep never really followed through on the content updates (except for some amusing playable characters and cameos), so we’re skeptical about the sequel. If you liked the original, and played enough to unlock even the most expensive characters, you’ll probably want this zombie-themed sequel as well.
Price: $1.99 USD
Get ready by reading: Minigore review