Ten to Watch: Wednesday, September 23

Last Friday set a new App Store record: 453 games approved in one day! At that time, they were all herded out like sheep. At first this may sound great, but for the hard-working developers who put countless days and months into their games, getting lost in the crowd is a tragedy. So, instead of focusing on some of this week’s major releases, we bring the power to the indies. Here are some noteworthy titles you may have missed.

Champion Archer

Price: $0.99

Apparently the humans were having a party and decided not to invite the orcs, so they decided to crash it instead. Ok, so maybe that’s not quite the backstory, but it doesn’t quite matter in this game. The point is to shoot some major headshots with your trusty bow and arrow. Playing the role of a champion archer, you must support your knights in the battle for survival against your foes by quickly shooting arrows. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, however. Look for our full review soon.

Aves

Price: $0.99

If there is a game as immersive as Aves, we haven’t played it. Beautifully detailed graphics, spot-on and in-depth physics, and precise controls are just the icing on top of this masterful game. What really makes it so amazing is its Binaural audio. This means that as long as you use headphones while playing (and we highly recommend you do) the audio will also be ’3D’, meaning you can decide where a bird is due to where you hear it. If you want a taste of this yourself, check out this video (with your headphones on). We highly recommend you pick this up, as it is unprecedented as far as immersive technology goes.

Whac-a-Mole

Price: $3.99

One of the fondest memories of our youth was going to Chuck-E-Cheese. We have come to associate Whac-A-Mole with that experience. This is no spinoff of the concept, however. Here we have the officially licensed iPhone game, equipped with mischievous rodents and hammers. We enjoyed the game, although it didn’t quite bring back that nostalgic feeling. The included minigames that determine if you can use an upgrade were a great diversion to a game that gets stale by nature.

Undead Attack! Pinball

Price: $2.99

Zombies are a popular subject. Pinball is a popular genre. Put the two together, and you get a pinball game that is unlike any you have played before. As undead creatures of different variety stumble down to your bumpers, you must hit them with your pinball. However, you have some tricks up your sleeves, such as a spiky ball that is controlled via the accelerometer, shaking the device to put all the zombies in a moment’s shock, and more. Better yet, there are three tables, a shop to upgrade your defenses, and suitable physics. We highly recommend this ‘pinball meets zombie assault’ mashup.

Bomb Factory

Price: $0.99

Bomb Factory has minimalist graphics and is primarily based off a tried-and-tested concept: color assortment. However, each of the game’s six levels brings in a unique twist to the game, whether it’s conveyor belts that take the right color bombs to their destination or smaller holes requiring greater accuracy. The controls aren’t perfect when it comes to precise dropping, though, so a few of these turn out to be a bit of a pain to play. However, $0.99 will buy casual gamers some cheap enjoyment.

Ancient War

Price: $0.99

Will the ‘tactical’ infantry attack genre ever get serious? First we had Merlin and his magic, then a cartoon war right out of a cartoonist’s sketchbook. Now, nose-picking, ritualistic tribal warriors and their dinos with punk rock hair have arrived on the scene. In Ancient War, warring tribes are trying to knock down each other’s totem pole. Your task is to deploy the right types of infantry for the job. We were drawn in by this title and will likely spend much more time with it when the promised multiplayer update comes out.

Headhunter

Price: $0.99

Headhunter is sickeningly humorous. Sure, decapitated and sewn-up heads may be somewhat gruesome, but when they are lost adventurers, pirates, and more, flinging them around is extremely satisfying. You score points by flinging the head onto a platform in each level (different platforms award different amounts of points. You must land a minimum number of heads before the timer runs out to move on. So, while some may consider it disturbing to see human heads being tossed around the screens like a golf ball, we just think it’s pure fun.

Salmon Rush

Price: $0.99

When salmon head upstream, they put their lives in great danger. If you want a somewhat realistic portrayal of their journey, then Salmon Rush is just for you. The controls are pretty clunky (although one would think going up a stream would make this just right) and you will almost always run into danger. However, Salmon Rush can be fun for the few minutes you’ll spend with it. Don’t plan to get too much out of this, though.

Scarecrow

Price: $0.99

Scarecrow is a pick-up-and-play game in its own genre. You start at the bottom of the screen and must tap the screen to make explosions, propelling your scarecrow into the air. As you bolt along, you face deadly obstacles that would like nothing more than to grid your straw up. Its fun, but unfortunately we found there was not enough to do. Our review is on the way soon, but we can at least recommend it to those looking for Plus+ points.

Unify

Price: $0.99

Tetris clones are consistent in that they are worthless. Unify decides to take a chance and change things up, and it turned this concept into something unique. Instead of dropping blocks from above, they now come in from both the left and right. You build off of the center of the screen, sliding in new blocks from both sides. If we had to recommend one Tetris clone, this would be it.