In addition to our regular news, reviews, and previews, once a week we gather up the App Store’s best new indie games for our Under The Radar feature. Even though you probably haven’t heard of these games before, they’ve each got something special (like a great art style, or unique twist on a familiar genre) that make them worth trying. Here are our picks for this week’s standouts.
“Snake? Snake!!” That’s what you’ll be shouting as you stealthily creep past heavily armed guards in this riff on the Metal Gear Solid training missions. In addition to guards, you’ll have to avoid trap doors, security cameras, and laser tripwires. Your main character looks like a whole lot like MGS’s Solid Snake, right down to the bandana and mullet, but it’s no clone: VR Mission adds multiple bonus objectives and an in-game store where you can buy more spy gear.
In this turn-based strategy game, you play as a band of sword-and-axe wielding Nords who discover a new continent. The first locals you meet are giant, pig-headed trolls, and that’s when the battle begins. When you move your units into attack position, you’ll trigger a 3D cutscene that shows the melee. In an added tactical twist, you’ll get more experience points and level up faster if you target your enemy’s weakest minions, but it makes combat more difficult than focusing on the leader.
Cell phone gaming’s original hero, a line that has to avoid its own tail, is blasted into the future with Hyper Snake. With grid-based neon graphics reminiscent of Geometry Wars, Hyper Snake is one trippy Snake game. You can pick from six different game-modes, like the Pac-Man-esque Eat mode, where power pellets turn your aggressors into snacks. For an even bigger challenge, the entire game is controlled only through tilt.
In this clever game, you play as a Beatles-esque band called The Four Hats. Like in A Hard Day’s Night, you’ll have to run from screaming crowds of fans before they smother you with their adoration. You can switch between band members, each of whom has a different special ability. One has a beanie that helps her float across gaps, another has a hard hat for smashing obstacles, and one dapper gent even has a top hat he can hide in.
If you’re looking for an auto-running game with a splashy RPG style, FantasyXRunners fits the bill. You start off with a regular fighter, but as you race through levels, timing your jumps and attacks, you’ll earn gems that can be used to unlock more characters with special abilities. Each round also gives you a bonus objective, like killing ten enemies in a row, which will give you more gems. The environments and characters will be familiar to anyone who’s ever played a Final Fantasy game, and this is the most fun we’ve had with an auto-runner since Jetpack Joyride.