Happy December, everyone. Now that you’ve made it through the first week, let’s unwind with some fresh games from the App Store.
This week, we welcome a new Telltale series, a new blockbuster from Halfbrick, and all sorts of other goodies—come have a look!
Following in the footsteps of their tremendously successful cross-platform adaptation of The Walking Dead, Telltale games has applied their mastery of episodic narrative to a new franchise: the Fables comics.
Among the most famous and popular graphic novel series ever published, Fables is a dark vision of the fairy tale world, and The Wolf Among Us is a suitably dark thriller set in the same universe. 5 episodes will make up this experience, the first of which—Faith—is available now. Gameplay is a familiar point & click sort of thing, with a deep love of situations where you must make difficult decisions. As in The Walking Dead, these decisions will follow you around for the rest of the episodes, making every action feel important.
The game is engrossing, beautiful, and features the same compelling narrative depth that we’ve come to expect. You get what you pay for, and while it may seem steep—$14.99 to unlock all the episodes in advance—I for one was happy to support the creation of such high-brow iOS gaming experiences.
Halfbrick and its games need no introduction, having taken the world by storm and kept them enthralled over the years despite not having put out a major new title since the fairly mediocre Fish Out of Water. Back to re-assert their mobile dominance, Halfbrick presents us with Band Stars.
If you imagine a bubbly version of Kairosoft doing a game about managing a band, you’ll have a good grasp of what’s going on here. After assembling your band, you’ll be making your first song in no time, choosing the right combination of lyrics and style before assigning tasks to your band mates. Don’t get the drummer to write the lyrics, har har. Since each member has their own unique stats, you can have a lot of fun trying different combinations.
Your goal is to maximize the number of song points earned, so matching members with tasks that they’re suited to will ensure better performance. The game is fun, but it’s so similar to Kairosoft’s offerings that it feels out of place among Halfbrick’s more creative outings. Nevertheless, it’s free to play and features the superb level of presentation polish that the Aussie outfit is known for, so it’s worth trying your hand at being an all-star band manager.
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the best entry in the series since the second game. I’ve been playing it non-stop on consoles, so I was particularly excited to see how Ubisoft would spin off an iOS companion. They did not disappoint.
Assassin’s Creed Pirates is a wonderful accompaniment to its bigger sibling, pursuing an interesting subplot and bringing forth a surprisingly great version of the ship combat mechanics. You’ll sail through a vast virtual Caribbean over the course of more than 50 missions. Sailing is tap-and-drag-the-wheel simple, and combat involves a dance of firing cannons and dodging enemy fire. Several different weapons become available, and you will collect ever larger ships as you progress.
Each vessel can be upgraded, as can its captain & crew, and the presence of dynamic weather and a day-night cycle helps breathe tremendous amounts of life and replay value into the already large game. While gameplay is far from challenging, it is fun and worth pursuing if you’re a fan of the series or of the age of piracy in general. Take to the high seas!
Best known for the Minigore games, Mountain Sheep is tackling a new gameplay style with KingHunt – The Next Generation Slicing Game. The title may be unwieldy, but it tells you everything you need to know about what KingHunt’s ambitions are.
Heart Island has been invaded by Kingmaker and his puppet kings. It’s up to you to make it through the twelve worlds and defeat the kings one by one. 200 different kinds of enemies will stand in your way, and the sleek slicing system feels very gratifying thanks to the stunning 3D graphics. The game runs at 60fps and just feels great in a way that only Fruit Ninja before it did.
Collectibles, achievements, and challenges spice up your path to glory, and some pretty cool powers (similar to the bananas in Fruit Ninja) ensure that every match feels awesome. It’s been a while since someone has tackled this genre, and Mountain Sheep has managed an exceptional contribution.
Let’s end with a puzzle game! Division Cell is a mind bender, and one of the finest new mechanics we’ve seen.
Broadly speaking, you’re presented with a series of tangram-like polygons and asked to make them all equal. Each shape has white or black dots that cause the shape to expand or contract, respectively, when touched. As with all good puzzle games, the concept is simple but the levels are designed to frustrate and delight. 140 different levels await you in the Puzzle Mode, and a Time Attack and Endless Mode await you with procedurally generated puzzles once you’ve gotten through the 4 level packs.
Division Cell is presented minimally, but beautifully, with cheerful animations and a nice sense of depth. If you’re still unsure about it, visit the website to try out a number of puzzles right in your browser!
What Have You Been Playing?
Fun collection, no? Have some fun and make sure you leave a comment if you’ve been playing something else cool!