You made it: welcome to the end of another week!
I’d also like to take a moment to welcome you to the 100th Game Friday post! This column has been running steadily since January of 2010, believe it or not, bringing you each week’s coolest new App Store games. It has been my great pleasure to helm the column since September of 2010, and I hope you’ll continue to follow along as I endeavour to keep your game folders filled for another 100 weeks. Here’s to fun games, fine technology, and fantastic readers!
Now then, rest assured that we have a sweet set of new games for you to unwind with this weekend, including some awesome retro follow-up titles, and the most fun you’ve ever had fighting off a cold.
Curious? Come on in and check them out …
While it’s increasingly common for developers to dip their toes into the retro revival zone of game design, the folks at OrangePixel have been consistent and steadfast in their adherence to the path, and the dedication shines through in the quality of each new title. Chrono & Cash, their newest, is a terrific example.
Playing as a thief and his nimble robotic sidekick, you will travel through time and traverse the compact one-screen levels in the pursuit of riches. Mixing in elements of a stealth game with platforming basics makes for a fresh and challenging spin on a familiar gameplay formula. The game accelerates into serious difficulty fairly quickly, and you’ll soon find yourself struggling to achieve a fine score.
It goes without saying that the retro aesthetic OrangePixel is known for is present in full force here, with both the visuals and the audio working together to seamlessly deliver a nostalgic atmosphere. Interestingly, you can actually play the game in landscape or portrait orientation, and if you’re dedicated you can unlock some fun extras to reward your skill. Chrono & Cash is a slick and stylish platformer that might just steal its way into your must-play list.
Of course, speaking of retro follow-ups, the title of the week is undoubtedly NimbleBit’s newest addiction tool: Pocket Planes. After taking the App Store by storm with Tiny Tower (and weathering the inevitable copy-cats as a result), their new title manages to be totally distinct while providing the same kind of satisfaction — in other words, it’s not a lazy sequel.
Rather than building up a tower, your new goal will be to run a successful airline, which is an altogether more complex task. The gameplay feels familiar thanks to the well developed interface and the similar sorts of tasks that you’ll need to perform to keep things moving, but the similarities end there. Not only must you set up routes, buy and upgrade planes, and handle both passenger and cargo deliveries, but you can also occupy your time customizing the look of your fleet and engaging in some neat social exchanges with fellow players like trading aircraft parts.
The mysterious omission of iCloud syncing of game saves is a head-scratcher and a serious annoyance for those playing on multiple devices, but the game is still fresh and it’s entirely possible that this will make its way into an update. In the meantime, Pocket Planes offers deeply engrossing gameplay for those who enjoy games like its predecessor or Game Dev Story.
One of the more interesting tower defense games to have shown up on the App Store came from Ubisoft, whose Babel Rising was among its original titles for the platform (alongside the myriad franchise spin-offs they’ve published). In Babel Rising 3D, the new dimension of visuals brings with it refined gameplay, more fun and just the kind of improvements that we always hope for with good sequels.
Playing as a Babylonian deity, the struggle against humanity has your attention focused on the construction of the Tower of Babel through time — an endeavour that you’ll be fighting to stop. Luckily, though you’re grossly outnumbered, you’re also very well equipped with a variety of godly powers. Not unlike a sort of focused Sim City, you’ll be able to unleash earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and lightning to sabotage the construction efforts. The humans, of course, have a number of special units with troublesome abilities that balance things out.
Babel Rising 3D remains a fine example of taking a typical gameplay mechanic and focusing it in a new direction, and the results are not only fun to play, they’re also awesome to look at, with Ubisoft’s vast talent pool showing its skills in the art and audio design. Playing god is a terrific way of letting off some steam, and if you miss the old black-and-white style games, you’ll enjoy this spiritual successor.
In a superb example of a clever debut title, Phoolish Games’ new Total Toadz laughs in the face of stereotypical complaints about games rotting your brain by forcing you to use yours in order to succeed.
In order to satisfy the hunger of your toads, you’ll have to keep them fed with plump flies descending from the top of the screen. The catch is that each bug has a positive or negative number on it, and each toad a plus or minus sign, so feeding the wrong fly to the wrong toad can actually lower your score! This simple twist gives the game its appeal, as you’ll have to sharpen up those basic math skills to ensure that you can keep up with the increasing pace.
On the bright side, this also makes Total Toadz a great game to give to kids practicing their arithmetic. It’s a wonderful example of using games to teach and polish a useful skill, and the colourful and charming presentation completes the circle on this irresistible package.
Even though fighting a cold is usually a pretty passive experience, it’s nice to pretend that you can take a more active role in defeating the little diseases that get us down. In Human Defense, a new tower defense title from Heliceum, you are given a chance to do just that.
Delving into your own body, a surprisingly complex game is revealed: you must manipulate blood flow to ensure that pathogens stay away from your vital organs, but you have to make sure not to starve those organs of vital nutrients in the process! Towers will help you defend against the invading diseases, but be aware that the diseases replicate and mutate just like the real thing, keeping you on your toes.
Perhaps the best part of Human Defense is that the developers have included some valuable real-world knowledge about the subjects that the game touches upon. You can explore the Lab in between play sessions to learn about cells, disease and the immune system. It may not actually cure your cold, but it does wonders for a case of boredom!
What Have You Been Playing?
Those are our favourite new App Store games of the week, but as usual, if you found finer titles then do us a favour and let us know in the comments. Happy 100th and see you next week!