Welcome to another Friday, friends. This week we’ll have you testing your vocabulary, your driving skills and even your sense of humour as we explore the latest standout games on the App Store.
Come on in and have a look …
I’m always thrilled whenever I see a clever new word game on the App Store because it reminds me of playing games like Scrabble and Bananagram with friends. The latest digital take on the genre comes in the form of Lumicon, a gorgeous timed challenge where you must create words, string together combos and be strategic in your arrangements to win.
It’s an incredibly exciting game, feeling like a smooth cross between Tetris and Scrabble. You’ll struggle against the clock to use all of the letters along the bottom of the screen to form words. Then, as you arrange them and make longer words, you can tap them to create combos and earn points, multipliers and even powerups.
Refined graphics and responsive controls ensure that the focus is always on the words, and you’ll need all the focus you can get to survive the game’s higher difficulty levels. Game Center and Twitter integration make it easy to go social on the score sharing front, and the lack of any IAP clutter keeps things lean and ensures that your skills speak louder than your wallet — as it should be.
While it has always been a contender for best racing series in the iOS space, with Asphalt 7: Heat, it seems that the folks at Gameloft are aiming to conquer the throne.
With numerous refinements and fresh features across the board, Asphalt 7 is a true pinnacle of mobile racing excitement, offering huge amounts of content in the form of cars and tracks, six different game modes and a robust multiplayer system. The most immediate thing you’ll notice is just how exquisite this latest entry into the series looks and feels — car models, animations and visual effects are superbly implemented and are finely tuned to perform smoothly on your hardware. Gameplay on a 4S is extremely impressive.
The low price point may rightly cause you to expect that there will be IAP on board, which is certainly the case. While it is far from the most intrusive we’ve encountered, Gameloft has gone a bit heavy handed with the social/IAP pressures, a move that will annoy many of their loyal fans despite the otherwise impeccable execution of this fine sequel. No matter how you feel about those things though, it’s hard to resist this showcase game for a dollar.
The fine folks at Craneballs Studios recently released a spectacular new physics puzzler with an aquatic twist. Fish Heroes is similar to games like Angry Birds in the sense that you’ll be exploiting weaknesses in the levels by throwing creatures at them, but it stands out because it brings the mechanic into a fully 3D world.
Rather than being stuck worrying about simple 2D structures, the 100 or so levels in Fish Heroes will test you as you aim to make use of your seven distinct fish types to best clear the obstacles while rotating to get a better view and uncover weak points. The light shark mafia story makes for cute motivation, and enforces the family-friendly tone of the game. But don’t be fooled: there’s nothing childish about the game’s level of challenge once you get past the starter levels.
Fish Heroes’ retina-ready 3D graphics require an iPhone 4 or newer, but the game is universal and features iCloud sync, achievements and Game Center highscore integration. There’s a lot of bang for your buck in this title, and the notable spin on a familiar formula is refreshing and very nicely brought to life.
Continuing the legacy of one of the finest vertical shooter series on the App Store, AstroWings 3 – ICARUS offers genre fans a satisfying and expertly crafted continuation of the classic gameplay formula.
Though it brings little to the table in terms of ground-breaking new features, the AstroWings series has always prided itself on bringing obsessively polished core gameplay to your iPhone, and this installment is no different. The usual variety of ship and weapon types are available, with upgrades and powerups at hand to help you survive the madness of bullets and enemies that will be thrown your way.
The developers pride themselves on having more than 2 million players for the series, which just goes to show that familiar, engaging gameplay is always in demand.
In what must be among the most atypical apps you’re likely to have encountered on the App Store, you will take on the role of window washer Edgar, and determine his fate as you play through an interactive animated comedy that plays like watching a Saturday morning cartoon. We’re speaking, of course, about The Act.
This innovative game is full of charm and surprises, and makes use of a clever, if unfamiliar, swipe-based control system to allow you to influence the game’s progression and progress through each scene. The swipes offer you control over both Edgar’s emotions and his actual actions, and they are sensitive to how far you swipe — go too far, or not far enough, and Edgar may find himself in trouble.
It is difficult to discuss too much about the game without revealing important plot points, so suffice it to say that the romantic, genuinely funny, and nostalgically animated story is one that is well worth playing through, if only to experience an innovative and promising gameplay system that we’ve never seen before.
What Have You Been Playing?
You’ll no doubt have been playing some other titles too, so if you want to let others in on the fun then make sure you mention them in the comments. We might even include them in next week’s roundup! We’ll see you then.