iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

We’re counting down to Valentine’s Day here, and while it might be tempting to spend your gaming time with the various themed updates to existing titles, it’s always worth checking out what’s new on the App Store.

That’s why we’ve gathered up a handful of the week’s best new games for you to play through!

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Pixel People

Ah, the future. Where the world as we know it is over, genetic splicing is commonplace and everything is rendered in pixel art.

As the caretaker of the grand city of Utopia, you have a lot on your hands. Your work entails genetically splicing the inhabitants of the city so that you can re-create the various professions that a functioning society requires. You begin with a Mayor and a Mechanic, and from there you’ll be seeking out clever combinations to make 150 different citizens. As you unlock them, their respective buildings will be constructed in the city, and from those you will receive further challenges.

It’s a sim game at heart, so expect to have to check in on Utopia as it develops, but thankfully you won’t be bombarded with IAP as you play — they exist and are helpful, but you can do just fine without them if you like. With iCloud sync and the ability to share your pixel people on Facebook, this is a charming, beautiful and addictive new game that’s well worth playing.

Price: Free
Developer: LambdaMu Games
Download: App Store

Puzzle Retreat

It’s called Puzzle Retreat for a reason: this is a true zen-like experience where a superb puzzle mechanic is allowed to envelop you.

In each level, you will be presented with a number of blocks of different kinds and an interestingly shaped grid. All you need to do is place a block in each of the empty grid spaces, but the blocks can only go in a certain order, and as you progress you’ll encounter more and more interesting types of blocks that begin to seriously affect your strategy.

Patient, beautiful and well crafted, the only downside is that once you have completed the game’s main puzzles (there are nearly 100), you must pay to unlock more level packs. On the bright side, a new one is released each month and the game itself is iCloud synced and universal, so you only have to pay once to play it on all your iOS devices.

Price: $0.99
Developer: The Voxel Agents
Download: App Store


Since it’s so rare for a game to break out of a common genre mold these days, we take notice when something comes along that defies easy explanation. Kairo is such a title.

Kairo is a place that you experience. It is a gigantic complex of ancient ruins and mysterious artifacts, the origin of which is never really explained. It’s not about answers, it’s a game about asking questions, and that makes it tremendously appealing to those who prefer the magic of discovery over the hollow satisfaction of simple games that hand you everything on a silver platter if only you wait around long enough.

Paired with a haunting musical score, Kairo rewards curiosity and nudges you onward with subtle cues, open environments and the promise of a magnificent conclusion if you can re-activate Kairo’s machinery and piece together its strange world. It’s a wonderful game.

Price: $4.99
Developer: Perrin
Download: App Store

WordBox – Word Puzzle Game!

WordBox is an interesting language game that combines your usual word searching with some questing elements, a multiplayer mode, and various other game modes that extend the basic experience.

The basic gameplay in all modes involves you tapping or swiping to connect letters in any direction. You’ll earn additional time in the Classic mode for longer words, and surviving earns you a high score. The main Quest mode offers specific challenges, the completion of which will unlock bonuses for the rest of the game modes. These include a zen mode called Go-go that allows you to patiently seek out big words with no time pressure, and the polar opposite mode, Rush, where a new row drops down every ten seconds, forcing you to clear the board in a Tetris-like blitz.

If you’re a multiplayer kind of person, then you’ll enjoy the Game Center matching that allows you to play against friends or random foes. Brimming with content, WordBox is a terrific title for fans of the genre. As a bonus, their hint system makes learning new words a breeze — perfect for expanding your vocabulary!

Price: $1.99
Developer: AlphaWeb Plus LLP
Download: App Store

Jules Verne’s Mystery of the Nautilus HD

Microids is one of the most creative development studios in the business, not to mention one of the oldest. The French studio has been making games for years, and have taken advantage of the iOS platform to re-release their classic titles in a superior form. The latest of these is Jules Verne’s Mystery of the Nautilus (we reviewed the HD version, but there’s a standard one for $2 less).

Originally a point-and-click adventure game like Myst, the controls have obviously been revised to allow for touch and swipe input, allowing for natural navigation through the 360° environments. As you explore the mysterious submarine, you’ll uncover a number of fiendish puzzles, difficult riddles and imaginative interactions. As a young oceanographer, you stumble across the Nautilus by accident and discover that it has been abandoned by its famous captain and crew … but why?

Rendered in high definition, the story of the Nautilus comes to life in a vivid and captivating way. Fans of storytelling and the fiction of Jules Verne will find much to love in this game.

Price: $2.99
Developer: Microids
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

If you’re like us, that’s plenty to keep you busy, but in case you found some other great games we might not have seen or want to tell us what you think of these, don’t hesitate to leave some comments!