iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

It’s that time of year around here where everyone is heading up to their cottage to air the place out after winter, and while there’s no shortage of activities once you’re there, the car ride up can get pretty boring …

Needless to say, we can help you out with a new dose of wonderful App Store entertainment. Click through and get ready for some gaming!

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Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 1

If you hadn’t noticed, I’m a big fan of episodic adventure games — not only because they seem to be the modern incarnation of the adventure games I loved growing up, but also because I feel like they’re a terrific way for developers to provide value and story over a longer play time. So let’s have a look at Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery.

A new series from Lucid Games, Jacob Jones introduces the story of a small boy called Jacob whose summer vacation at camp takes a turn for the strange when he discovers that there are talking animals, creepy counsellors, and a friendly bigfoot too! An adorable paper craft aesthetic presents the game’s environment of Camp Eagle Feather in a charming fashion, and it’s difficult not to take an interest in its inhabitants’ stories.

Both a puzzle game and an adventure game, Jacob Jones’ first episode is a perfect introduction to this new plot, and it seems to hint at plenty of goodness yet to come as more episodes are made available. I for one will be happy to receive them, and I think you might be too.

Price: $2.99
Developer: Lucid Games
Download: App Store

Manuganu

Not your average runner, Manuganu is not only visually distinctive, but also mechanically so. It is a rare and wonderful gem of a game with a lot to offer beyond the usual genre addition.

There’s something remarkable about how many times this game can surprise you. From the moment you open it, Manuganu’s visuals and audio captivate, then you start playing and realize that the familiar runner setup is augmented by a terrific array of motions, including the ability to jump, hover, slide, roll, break things, and — uniquely — the ability to stop running. Just when you think you’ve figured it out, you realize there’s an entirely separate climbing mechanic, and that each level offers multiple paths that you’ll need to take to unlock all three stars.

The levels are both thematically interesting and visually distinctive, and rather than having each serve as an endless “stage”, each of the game’s 30 levels is a carefully crafted experience with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It makes the gameplay a lot more satisfying, and the fact that the presentations values are so incredibly high throughout make it a true joy to explore every corner of this game. Do not miss Manuganu — can’t wait for more levels!

Price: $0.99
Developer: Alper Sarikaya
Download: App Store

Bombcats

Exploding cats, guys. More specifically, Bombcats is a game about seven different kinds of them that you fling around to blow open cages and free your imprisoned friends.

The arsenal is upgradeable not only cosmetically, with hats and colourful trails, but also in terms of power; more potent explosive yields, longer fuses, and even augmented jumping skills are among the unlocks that you can earn or purchase. There are 190 levels (currently) in the game, which means that you’ll have plenty of time to practise and develop your strategy with these little furry fellows. While the strategic angle isn’t deep, the Angry Birds-like setup makes things more interesting than just worrying about the physics of your target.

A casual title through and through, Bombcats is straight-forward and focused, offering excellent entertainment value in those brief moments of boredom that crop up throughout your day.

Price: Free (Limited Time)
Developer: Radian Games
Download: App Store

Circulets

Circulets revisits the notion of multiplayer gaming on an iOS device by taking things literally and forcing you to actually play with someone else — on the same device!

While not a unique idea, Circulets makes it work well by focusing on giving you a customizable and simple gameplay mechanic that’s easy to pick up and play with a friend without wasting time introducing complicated concepts. Your screen is split in half and each of you is responsible for a colour. For the duration of the game, you must watch the small circles (circulets) that emerge from the centre of the screen and pull the ones corresponding to your colour toward your edge to earn a point. There are also special circles that are worth two points each, and if you accidentally pull one of your opponent’s circles in, you’ll lose a point.

You can pick a time limit and colour scheme for each game, and that’s about it. Circulets is free of any fluff, and that extends to the bare visuals too. When you remove all unnecessary elements, what you’re left with is an extremely engaging core that leads to frantic and hilarious play sessions with friends and family and which will make you appreciate the iPhone’s social gaming potential in a new way.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Hashtash Studios
Download: App Store

CastleMine

Already a hit on Windows Phones, CastleMine has made its way over to iOS. The easiest way to describe it is as a marriage of Minecraft and a tower defense game.

Instead of defending against baddies from without, your goal is to protect your castle from underground horrors that emerge as you dig. The game can be approached in a few different ways — you can choose to dig winding tunnels to slow down and destroy opponents, or dig quickly toward rewards and power-ups that help you upgrade your defences faster. Either works, but your choice of strategy seriously impacts the difficulty of the 50 levels. Besides replay value, this setup gives you ample opportunity to collect the165 different upgrades that are available to you across 33 skill types.

The tower defense formula works very well vertically, and the presence of support towers and other deeper strategic elements makes it easy to see why CastleMine has sold more than a million copies to date before even hitting our iPhones. Fresh, engaging, and deeper than it seems on the surface, there’s a lot to dig into with CastleMine.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Mugshot Games
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

Have a great weekend, folks, and come back next Friday for some more games to keep you happy during the week!


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