July has crept up on us, bringing some serious heat with it (here in the northern hemisphere at least). If you’re hiding out from the scorching sun, you may need to replenish your stock of portable games — and as usual, we’re here to help!
Come on in and read about our favourite new titles for this week, including a wicked sci-fi racer, an all-star sequel, and what may just be the most visually impressive iOS game we’ve ever seen…
Tower defense fans are overjoyed this week because the all-star, genre-defining iPad title Kingdom Rush has finally made its way to the iPhone.
Even in its smaller form, Kingdom Rush packs in the same great content and ridiculous level of visual polish that you’re used to from its larger brother. This strategic gem combines the best of the tower defense genre’s tropes into a diverse and challenging game. 18 different tower powers and a host of upgrades ensure that you’re never standing still while the game is going.
No fewer than 50 achievements can be unlocked, and the sheer breadth of environments and enemy types ensure that you’ll have no trouble finding replay value in this wonderful game. Highly recommended for all fans of solid strategy titles on their phones.
The first Squids game was widely hailed as a triumphant blend of action RPG and strategy elements, playing — in the words of one reviewer — like “the adorable spawn of Angry Birds and FF: Tactics.” This is a wholly accurate comparison, and the new sequel brings the tenacious heroes back for a continuation of their journey.
The ongoing story sets the stage for battles and exploration in a brand new underwater wild west environment, complete with amusing new characters and the same spectacular level of art and sound refinement that you remember from the first game. Though strategy based, the active flinging of squids around the environment keeps the pace quick and light, and the absence of any frightening tangles of charts ensures that you’re never feeling like you’re just toying with spreadsheets.
The game is also universal and features iCloud saves, so you can reliably keep your game in sync between all your iOS devices. Squids: Wild West is a beautiful extension of the original game, bringing you nearly twice as much content in the same compelling form.
Tanglers, from Green Studio, is an interesting match-three game that plays like a sort of connect the dots with aliens.
Your job is to connect as many like alien creatures as possible using plasma lines that are drawn when you tap between the selected critters. The plasma lines can only have two angles in them though, and they can only pass over empty spaces, so the game forces you to be strategic about how you eliminate pairs or groups of aliens and in what order.
You’ll rack up bonus points for achieving distant connections, and the timer helps you train quick reflexes. While Tanglers isn’t especially deep, its structure is very accessible and very rewarding, and the fact that it’s universal and full of cute aliens makes it worthwhile for a dollar.
Back in the N64 days, I still recall the exhilarating fun of playing a game called F-Zero. That series has since evolved, and been followed by other arguably superior efforts including the WipeOut series, but what’s remained consistent is the incredible sense of speed and thrill that we can experience when we craft racing games that aren’t beholden to the physics of real cars.
AXL: Full Boost borrows a great deal from these predecessors, especially from the WipeOut series, but it does so respectfully and with an eye to bringing the experience to the mobile space in a convincing manner. The vehicles you’ll be racing in are called “Shifters” and they are able to adapt their shape and perform extreme speed boosts after gathering energy orbs while racing. One interesting element is that there’s a persistent, finite supply of orbs on the track, so each one you collect is one less that your opponents can find — but when you release them to perform a boost, you also replenish the supply of orbs on the track.
Combined with a sleek and futuristic art style and smooth animations, AXL: Full Boost brings much of the excitement of sci-fi racing to your phone, with all the unlockable upgrades, game modes, and ships you expect.
You’ve probably played (or at least heard of) Shadowgun, from MADFINGER Games. The acclaimed shooter was recognized as bringing to the iPhone some of the most amazingly console-like graphics ever seen. Now, with Dead Trigger, MADFINGER is back with a mind-blowing new game.
A post-apocalyptic shooter at heart, Dead Trigger is a zombie-ridden funhouse packed with evolving content and presented using the most advanced iOS visuals we’ve ever seen, bar none. The motion-captured animations and fully realized 3D environments are bursting with detail and the subtle lighting and physics effects deliver a spectacularly immersive gameplay experience, though you’ll usually be too busy blasting enemies frantically to notice the finer points of the design — which is a good thing.
Not only is the zombie AI quite sophisticated, but just like in a console shooter you can choose to destroy them in several ways, including via dismemberment, which affects them the way you would expect. All of this is a double-edged sword however, because sadly, Dead Trigger features one of the most abhorrent implementations of IAP on the App Store, with upgrades priced unfairly high, forcing you to pay more just to be able to accomplish basic progress — a serious detriment to an otherwise exemplary title.
What Have You Been Playing?
Enjoy the weekend and well see you back here next Friday for another roundup of fresh iOS games — leave us your thoughts in the comments!