A burst of creativity has hit the App Store this week, as we see a number of truly innovative games out. These include a mind-splitting action puzzler, a genre-busting biological wonderland and more!
We’re eager to show them to you, so jump in and have a look!
It’s difficult for a first-time development studio to make a splash, but Barrel of Donkeys has appeared on the scene with their proverbial guns blazing by producing a game that’s so unique and brave that it deserves to lead our roundup today — meet Toybox.
This chimaera of a title is almost like having two games in one: the left-hand side of the screen is a spaceship shooter where you must blast coloured enemies. Each defeated enemy turns into a coloured block on the right side of the screen, which you must guide into place with your other thumb to create colour combos that earn you power-ups and extra lives.
It sounds confusing, and it is (as the developers put it) the gaming equivalent of rubbing your tummy and patting your head, but it’s exceedingly fun and not as hard to keep track of as you might imagine. The game is ridiculously polished, features a new enemy pattern each week, and proudly eschews ads or IAP. If there was an Olympics for making an impact as a fresh developer, Barrel of Donkeys would go home with the gold.
Eufloria is a game with history; originally known as Dyson and released previously on Windows and the Playstation Network, this unique RTS has finally made its way to iOS in a beautiful Retina-ready universal version.
The procedurally generated levels all follow the same structure: you begin with a dyson tree, which is a sort of alien plant that grows on an asteroid. Your job is to grow and spread seeds, all the while protecting your structures from enemy seeds and spreading colonies to neighbouring asteroids. The game features a story mode, a relaxed mode for ambient enjoyment and the challenging dark matter mode. There are also skirmish levels to be played through, and with the basic controls, mastery comes quickly.
The game’s presentation is minimalistic but beautiful, and its ambient score reinforces the subdued mood of this spacey strategy title. It’s wonderful to be able to take Eufloria everywhere, and newcomers will find the iOS version to be an ideal version.
Supermagical is an extremely charming hybrid title from Gala Pocket, featuring gameplay that is best understood as a mash-up of a match-three game and an RPG adventure.
Playing as Nina the witch, you must try to eliminate the cute but bothersome Minix from the land using a variety of spells and abilities, along with help from friendly characters you’ll meet along the way. The game is structured as a quest-driven level-based affair, with each level presenting challenging hordes of Minix that you must defeat.
Supermagical features several worlds, a lot of unlockable content (via IAP if you want it quick) and even dialogue-based challenges reminiscent of console RPGs. All in all it makes for a very diverse blend of concepts, but the execution is streamlined and very polished, making this an easy game to recommend for fans of quick paced action games with some RPG influences.
Zuba is a dedicated casual title, appealing to novice or younger gamers who aren’t looking for a hugely challenging or complex experience.
As an odd candy loving creature called Zuba, your job is to navigate through the levels completing quests that tend to involve collecting certain items or performing specific tasks. There are several control schemes, though the most natural seems to be tilt controls. Earning stars will allow you to purchase items that can help you complete your goals.
With the understanding that it’s not meant to be very deep, Zuba is undeniably fun and gorgeous to look at. As a game for brief periods of distraction or for entertaining your kids, it’s an easy pick.
Last up is a retro platformer, one with a lot of content and some of the most appealing and responsive controls we’ve ever encountered in the genre, to the point of letting you individually place each button where you want it on the screen. Mikey Shorts is here!
Mikey is a rescuer of people. Why and how matters not — he must wander through the various environments in the game and rescue everyone as quickly as possible, while collecting coins and looking for the elusive golden shorts hidden in each of the 70+ levels. The quicker and more successfully you make it through each level, the better your score, and besides earning you achievements you’ll also be able to test yourself by replaying a level with a “ghost” of your previous playthroughs in a neat time trial fashion.
Mikey Shorts plays and looks like a terrific Mario-style platformer, and while it’s not terribly unique in style, it is a truly amazing genre piece.
What Have You Been Playing?
Go forth and enjoy these fine titles, but make sure you leave us a comment if you come across any others we should know about or if you want to let us know what you think of our selection!