There have been a number of big splashes in the iOS game pool recently, including a brand new (sort of) game from Rovio and a hugely anticipated update to one of the iPhone’s most beloved games.
Those, along with more of our favourite games for the week, are waiting for you after the jump …
Although Angry Birds kicked off the bird-flinging craze on the App Store, it was Tiny Wings that truly showed us how adorable and charismatic virtual birds could be. Andreas Illiger, the developer, has been a model of careful updates, good communication with players and dedication to creating a polished product.
The long awaited 2.0 update is not technically a full sequel as was expected, but it brings much new content to the game so it’s worth revisiting. Among the more cosmetic changes such a new menu and full Retina display support, the update brings an entirely new game mode named “Flight School” with its own 15 beautiful levels, new birds, evening flying and the always-welcome addition of iCloud save syncing so you can keep your progress between your devices — handy since there’s now a brand new iPad native version too!
The core gameplay remains as engaging and effortlessly charming as ever, and the new features help add replay value and content diversity to this easy to recommend App Store star. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy it yet, this is a perfect opportunity to dive in — it’s one of the best dollars you can spend on the App Store. (Check out Scott Danielson’s review from Wednesday for a more in-depth look. -Ed)
A new Rovio game is, of course, cause for excitement, but you may have noticed that the support for their new title, Amazing Alex, has been somewhat marred by the fact that it isn’t really “new” in any meaningful sense of the word. Sure, after Rovio bought the rights to Casey’s Contraptions — a game we thoroughly enjoyed — it was expected that they would make use of it, but the results were not ideal.
The problem is that Amazing Alex does very little to differentiate itself from its predecessor. The core gameplay of creating cool Rube Goldberg style devices to solve puzzles is very much the same, the art and environments are familiar, and of course, the level builder is back too so you can create your own stages and share them with friends. All of this is terrific stuff, but it feels uncomfortably as though Rovio has “pulled a Zynga” and simply re-released an existing title, using their clout to draw extra profit from the game.
How you feel about this will inevitably influence your stance toward the game, but what cannot be denied is that the actual gameplay itself is tremendously fun, varied and engaging, forcing you to think creatively and make use of your tools strategically. If you’ve never played Casey’s Contraptions before, then you’re in for a real treat. And if you have, you know what to expect and you can enjoy the same basic formula pushed through Rovio’s high quality levels of polish.
The Jurassic Park franchise used to be pretty huge for Universal, and it seems that there’s still life in the brand (at least in mobile form) as the new Jurassic Park Builder game tries to prove.
What you may not expect is that it actually succeeds — really well, at that. In the vein of similar tycoon-style games, Jurassic Park Builder has you organizing and managing the ongoing expansion of your very own version of the Isla Nublar facility from the films. Dinosaur species can be uncovered and grown, diets must be managed, imports secured, and of course, you’ll also need to keep visitors coming by to experience your magnificent park.
As you’d hope, you’ll have to worry about dinosaurs escaping and wreaking havoc, and some familiar characters from the films will turn up to help you out and give you missions as well. All in all it’s an extremely finely tuned game that evokes a strong sense of nostalgia for the films while also giving you a rewarding and deep management game experience. Highly recommended, especially since it’s free to download!
With its roots way back in the NEOGEO era, Metal Slug 3 is an iconic 2D shooter with a strong cult following and a fantastic arcade feel.
Perhaps the coolest part of the Metal Slug experience is the co-op play, something that SNK Playmore has made sure to bring over to the iOS version — Bluetooth connectivity is solid and allows for consistently seamless co-op play. A variety of fun vehicles enter the fray, and there is also a Mission mode wherein you can select individual stages to practise so that you can nail them in the standard Arcade mode.
Metal Slug 3 is fully Game Center compatible, with plenty of achievements, and it also supports the iCade controller for those who don’t want to worry about the on-screen controls (which are well implemented). All in all, Metal Slug 3 has made a very smooth transition to the iOS world, and any 2D shooter fan will enjoy fighting through this piece of gaming history.
Today’s last pick is a ridiculous medieval swinging game that emphasizes quick reflexes and courage in the pursuit of gems and treasure: Knights of the Round Cable.
Using your trusty grappling hook, you (as one of 11 unique knights) will traverse each level by swinging between anchor points to collect treasure while dodging the attacks of dragons and other hideous monsters. There are princesses to rescue and powerups to collect, and all of this loot can be spent on upgrades that will make it easier to succeed.
Between the slick presentation and the basic but addictive gameplay, it’s easy to recommend Knights of the Round Cable.
What Have You Been Playing?
How do you feel about this week’s games? Let us know what you’ve been playing on the go down in the comments and we’ll see you next week for another exciting roundup!