It’s Friday, everyone, and you know what that means … game time!
This week, we’ve seen a brand new Angry Birds release, some Skylanders fun and more great ways to keep your fingers exercised. Come on in and have a look …
Somewhere between Monster Dash and Borderlands, Storm the Train is a frantic, weapon-heavy side scrolling runner with gorgeous graphics and seriously addictive gameplay.
Besides the usual variety of guns, you’ll also find vehicles and various gadgets to help you, and the combination makes for a tremendously diverse gameplay feel despite the familiar mechanics. Likewise, the upgrades system — facilitated by IAP but, thankfully, not dependent on them — lends an extra layer of replay value.
If you like games that are focused on destruction and simplicity, then Storm the Train is one of the finest we’ve seen — and it’s universal, so you can play it on any iOS device you like!
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away … birds were angry. Yep, it’s the same old Angry Birds you know and love, but the Star Wars version makes two important changes: one extremely positive and one extremely negative.
The positive change is that Rovio has consolidated the play styles of Angry Birds Space and the original ones into a single game, offering a more diverse set of levels that makes the title feel fresh. Of course, the lightsaber birds and all those tweaks are fun too, but fundamentally this is a game that plays like a “best of” for the franchise.
On the negative side of things, Angry Birds Star Wars pushes the formerly uncomfortable IAP presence to simply unpleasant lengths. Paying for levels? Paying for limited quantities of helper birds? It is appalling and disrespectful for such a successful firm to resort to these kinds of monetization tactics when we’re already paying for the game. Next time, raise the asking price and include everything.
Put together, this is a title well worth having for fans of the series, though folks who are concerned about discouraging developers from continuing the IAP onslaught may be saddened to hear that Rovio no longer seem to be among the good guys.
Zookeeper is a popular match-three title that’s recently been updated; it remains one of the absolute most charming games in its genre on iOS — previously on DS — and the update makes it worth mentioning to potential new fans who can now appreciate it on their larger iPhone 5 screens.
Each stage requires you to match up rows of three or more animal glyphs to “catch” a certain number per stage. High scores are important, but there’s also an endless mode of sorts wherein your goal becomes the capture of as many animals as possible; every time you catch 100 of an animal, you’ll level up. Together, the game offers a perfect match-three experience distilled to its core and presented in an attractive Japanese-influenced art style.
If you own an iPhone and like the genre, then Zookeeper DX is a must-have title.
Skylanders continues to blossom into one of the most diverse and successful gaming franchises across any platform. Though it has already made an appearance on iOS in the form of Cloud Patrol, Skylanders Lost Island brings the beloved figures into a “ville”-style game.
As you build and develop your island village, you’ll work toward unlocking Skylanders, going on adventures with them and unlocking rewards as a result. There are many islands to be explored in the game, and as you progress you will earn items with which to customize and personalize them to your liking.
Of course, like with any Skylanders game, you can import your physical figurines in to the game for an unmatched sense of individuality. As you would expect from Activision, the presentation is uniformly excellent, with superb graphics and an appropriately pastoral soundtrack. Don’t miss it!
Remember Aralon: Sword and Shadow? It was one of the more visually stunning and technologically impressive RPGs to hit the App Store, and its creators at Crescent Moon Games have just released their next masterpiece: Wraithborne.
Powered by the Unreal 3 engine, Wraithborne continues to push the envelope of graphical fidelity on a mobile device (iPhone 4 and up), but instead of displaying it from a third person view, the action unfolds in a top-down perspective reminiscent of Diablo and other dungeon crawlers. Given the nature of touchscreen controls, this feels like an improvement, and the end result is a deep and engaging fantasy action game.
More focused than its predecessor, Wraithborne is improved by the streamlining and represents a step in the right direction. The rune system offers enough depth to keep you coming back for more, but the game doesn’t overreach just for the sake of seeming “bigger.” An excellent decision.
What Have You Been Playing?
That’s it for this week, friends! Come back next week for a fresh round of challenges to tackle as we wind our way into winter here in the northern hemisphere.