As the holiday season begins to kick off, we have seen several major games launched on the App Store, like Avatar and Pac-Man Championship Edition. As expected, these tend to overshadow some of the less prominent efforts by developers. Here are ten games that you may not have heard of yet.
EA has been releasing nifty remakes of classic board games like there is no tomorrow, so it was inevitable that we would eventually see the strategic guessing game Battleship come along sooner or later. The game has multiple modes: classic, salvo (you get as many shots per turn as you have ships remaining), and super weapons. The last is a campaign of sorts where you take three ‘powerups’ (special artillery, force fields, etc.) into battle. More can be unlocked by meeting certain requirements. Multiplayer via Bluetooth and local wi-fi is also available. Possibly the coolest part of the game, though, are the 3D action scenes that take place when you make a move. It’s a rewarding feeling when you hit a ship and witness a massive explosion.
RTS games are less represented than many other genres on the iPhone, but many of the ones you’ll find are quite impressive. In the time we have spent with it so far, it seems Red Conquest by John Kooistra of Blue Attack fame does the genre justice for a more hardcore crowd. The game is definitely much more complicated than other efforts, but if you have some troop-deployment experience under your belt this could appeal to you. Our full review is coming soon.
GraalOnline Classic is a remake of the popular whimsical PvP-based MMO on the PC. At an unbeatable price (free), there is a lot of fun to be had picking on other players with bombs, arrows, and swords. For those who want to customize their look further than what is initially provided, a $0.99 outfit pack is available. The online connection is also great over wi-fi, something which Eurocenter is best known for.
If car racing bores you but you still want that intense sense of speed, Low Grav Racer 2 is a good choice. Eighteen crazy space courses each adapt well to the physics of your raceship, and there are plenty of each to choose from. You won’t find any multiplayer, which is disappointing, but if that isn’t a deal-breaker for you, the races, time trials, and Plus+ integration will likely be enough to please you.
3D platformers tend to rely on their graphical appeal, and Kim’s Adventure has plenty of it, plus fluorescent colors. However, some drawbacks such as annoyingly powerful enemies and repetitive level design make it a bit of a burden to play. We will report back with a full review soon.
Instead of keeping to its strictly Match-3 roots, the popular mobile series Jewel Quest has became more of a hidden object game. Set in Egypt, you and your partner go looking for the Emerald Tear, an ancient stone with special powers. Interesting hidden object levels, a customizable upgrade system, and the occasional Match-3 round back up the well-written story. There is even a multiplayer element to it, although we haven’t had a chance to explore this yet.
The price of entry may seem low for this action RPG, but they also nickel and dime you with in-app purchases for more inventory space, reviving medicine, use of the warp gate, better armor, and much more. The dialogue isn’t very well written and the controls are the weakest of the recent top-down RPGs we have played. We recommend either Chronicles of Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone or Zenonia before taking a leap at this. For a limited time, though, you can download this one for free.
In the wake of many major releases, Gameloft slipped in a title we hadn’t heard of: Bridge Odyssey. The bridge-building gameplay is similar to that of World of Goo, Moonlights, and Tiki Towers. You must use the environment to your advantage to help animals reach their destination. A full review is on its way to help you decide if this is just more of the same or a breakthrough.
Starball plays like a noteworthy tweak of the Snake formula. You tilt the phone to move a blue ball around a board, collecting stars and avoiding the moving red dots. Hitting one of them means game over. An array of powerups, such as becoming a smaller ball, stopping the red dots in their tracks, and ‘Invinciball’ so you can smash away your enemies, keeps the game interesting. OpenFeint high scores are a big plus as well.
The second game in the casual ‘Mr.’ series (as the developer calls it) is just as addicting as its predecessor, Mr.AahH! The idea is to move the stick man to a space on the ground where he won’t be crushed when the wall crashes down. The catch is that you need to be quick on your feet. The comical animations and personality drawn out of a simple stick figure are charming, and for the budget price of $0.99 this game is worth considering, especially if you liked Mr. AahH.