iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

The weekend is here again, and that means a new batch of App Store games for you to enjoy!

Come play some poker, control gravity, shoot aliens and live out your pixel dreams with us after the jump …

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PokerTower

Most of the time, when a developer decides to recreate a classic board or card game, they just fashion a digital version of the original. Raphael Blanchet of 3Arts Studio had different ideas in mind when he created PokerTower …

Instead of reproducing the familiar game of poker as you know it, PokerTower combines poker hands and the addictive quality of a match-three game to create something new and very engaging. The four game modes each offer a different spin on the basic premise, and a helpful tutorial brings you up to speed on the basics if you’re not familiar with poker hands.

Game Center integration allows for leaderboards and achievements, and a very detailed stats page keeps you aware of your playing skills. Atypical in the best possible sense of the word, PokerTower is a unique and engrossing hybrid title with a lot of potential and zero IAP silliness to worry about. One dollar well spent.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Raphael Blanchet
Download: App Store

Gravity.Duck

The all-star development house, Ravenous Games, has released their latest little diversion, featuring a duck.

Somewhat shallower than their usual fare, Gravity.Duck is nevertheless every bit as polished and beautiful as anything else in their catalogue, and the fact that you get to play as a fairly pudgy duck with the ability to control gravity makes it all worthwhile. A platformer at heart, you’ll notice many familiar environmental design ideas from the League of Evil series and Random Heroes, but Gravity.Duck takes the creativity to the next level, offering challenging and frustrating environments that will test your gravity-bending powers.

With a focused design, distinctive visuals and all the cross-platform/iCloud/Game Center integration you could ever desire, Gravity.Duck is a simple and successful entry into the Ravenous Games catalogue. If you have a sense of humour, like ducks and dislike gravity, then this is the game for you.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Download: App Store

Trenches II

If this title seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before — the highly acclaimed Trenches franchise was acquired by EA after it exploded in popularity, and the EA released sequel was not as well received as the developers would have hoped. Accordingly, they dropped the monolithic publisher and re-released the sequel with their intended improvements and characteristic updates and support. So we welcome Trenches II back to the App Store.

For those who missed it, Trenches 2 is a deep sequel to the original trench warfare simulator. Something like an active tower defense sim with upgradeable squads, Trenches 2 is features a non-linear campaign and brand new units from new nations. Online death match is the star game mode, but you can also play solo in a few different Skirmish modes if you’re the solitary type.

Regardless of your preferences, Trenches II offers a brilliant return to the franchise, and one that you can look forward to frequent updates for thanks to the original developers being at the helm once more.

Price: Free
Developer: Thunder Game Works
Download: App Store

Danmaku Unlimited 2

One of the App Store’s finest bullet hell shooters, or “shmup” games, emerged in 2011. It was called Danmaku Unlimited and its sequel, Danmaku Unlimited 2, is lightyears ahead.

Almost every aspect of Danmaku Unlimited 2 has been radically overhauled — from the superb graphics, to the new game mode, to the terrific Japanese indie music by Blankfield, this is a formidable sequel. The Senko fighter is a very capable vehicle, and one that you’ll be struggling to protect against the wildly exhilarating bullet storms from enemy vessels and bosses alike. The patterns are ingenious and will delight experts and newer players alike thanks to the four selectable difficulty levels.

Customization and upgrades help extend the basic gameplay, and the Game Center integration means you have lots of achievements to unlock on your way up the leaderboards. If you like bullet hell games, then there’s no finer title on the App Store right now than Danmaku Unlimited 2.

Price: $4.99
Developer: Sunny Tam
Download: App Store

Nightmerica (USN)

Wrapping up with something out of left field, it’s time to take a look at Nightmerica (USN).

The USN in the title stands for United States of Nightmerica, and that’s where this strange blend of Super Crate Box and Borderlands takes place. The basic premise is that you’re being assaulted by wave after wave of monsters in three distinct arenas, and you’re equipped with an infinite variety of randomly generated weaponry. Basic sidearms, powerful guns and bizarre special weapons are all spawned algorithmically, with an insane variety of powers and abilities — some of which result in ridiculous power.

Combined with the different monster types and the non-linear gameplay, Nightmerica feels like a gleeful sandbox of crazy gameplay, presented in an appealing 8-bit retrovision aesthetic. The only thing more difficult than describing it is trying to put it down once you’ve tried it.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Voltic
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

Those ought to keep you busy until we meet again, same time same place next Friday with brand new games!