iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of gaming to help you unwind after the work week, and we’re always happy to help you out with the finest recent releases.

This week, you’ll meet some familiar faces in new settings, dive into a pair of super sequels and try out a fascinating spin on a familiar formula — click through and get started!

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Sonic Dash

Sonic’s back, and he’s doing what he does best: running!

It’s actually a bit surprising that we haven’t seen an endless runner with Sonic starring in it until now, but we’re happy that it’s finally here. The colourful setting of Sonic’s world makes for an incredibly attractive place to go for a dash, and the combination of collecting items, using power-ups, fighting enemies and unleashing the “Dash” move for insane speeds makes for one of the best titles we’ve seen in the genre.

While the game is mostly successful, the developers have left themselves some room for improvement, especially in terms of environment variety. IAP are plentiful, but not strictly necessary, and the promise of future updates makes this an attractive prospect, especially for fans of the Sonic franchise.

Price: $1.99
Developer: SEGA
Download: App Store

Temple Run: Oz

Hot on the heels of their superstar sequel, Temple Run 2, Imangi Studios have teamed up with Disney to bring you a themed entry in the series called Temple Run: Oz, which as you might imagine is set in the world of the recent film.

Besides sporting a pair of imaginative environments (this is Oz, after all!), the game features some notable differences from the main series and is far more than just a cosmetic change. For one thing, there are now hot air balloon sequences that are much slower in pace than the main running portions of the game: an unusual but welcome contrast.

The presence of challenges helps extend the replay value, and the presence of some “coming soon” environmental placeholders in the game’s menus hint at upcoming content updates that ought to help bring this film tie-in closer to the value of its big brother, Temple Run 2. Nevertheless, it remains a strong endless runner that benefits greatly from the art direction of its film counterpart.

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

Block Fortress

A beacon of creative hybrid design, Block Fortress is the spectacular love child of Minecraft, a tower defense game and guns. Yes, guns.

The combination is brilliant, and executed almost flawlessly, but it is not a simple game to pick up — the depth challenges you to learn and master its intricate mechanics. You’ll spend a lot of time building your tower, optimizing it for eliminating encroaching baddies, all the while equipping your avatar with a huge variety of weapons and tools. The various block types you can build onto your tower interact in ways that open up deep worlds of strategy; tele porters, mines, spotlights and more encourage you to plan your defences creatively.

Of course, once night hits, it’s time to hit the deck and defend your creation against the onslaught of “Goblocks.” Different environments sweeten the deal, and a few IAP help you speed things up if you choose, but at its heart, Block Fortress is a marvel of creative game design that rewards players willing to invest some time into earning its rewards themselves. And it’s so incredibly addictive that you’ll want to.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Foursaken Media
Download: App Store

Astro Shark HD

An unlikely romance between a space shark and a dog set the stage for this immersive physics game from the makers of Nano Panda.

Gameplay revolves — literally — around planetary bodies. You’ll be tapping to secure an orbit around various objects as you avoid a near constant assault of rockets that home in on your location. The game is deceptively simple at first, slowly introducing you to new mechanics and new situations as you progress in a way that makes it feel like you’re still learning throughout the game.

It becomes quite a challenge as you encounter more difficult stages where the various astral bodies exhibit unique properties that can help or hinder your ability to navigate. Different characters, a cute story and a complete absence of IAP makes Astro Shark HD a beautiful and fresh experience — yours in its entirety for just a dollar.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Unit9
Download: App Store

Infect Them All 2: Zombies

While mashing zombies up in various ways is fun, sometimes it’s nice to be on the other side of the fence and work on infecting people. Luckily, Infect Them All 2: Zombies has arrived!

This charming sequel offers 100 stages of zombie mayhem as you make use of eight different playable zombie types to spread the undead plague against more than 40 enemy types. There are bosses too, of course, and several different game modes to appeal to different play styles, including a wicked survival mode and a timed Blitz mode.

The zombie minions are upgradeable and the presence of achievements and leaderboards via Game Center will keep you coming back for more. It’s frantic, it’s fun and it’s easy to pick up and play: a perfect casual title!

Price: $0.99
Developer: Magic Cube
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

When you’re done exploring these fine games, don’t forget to drop us a comment and let us know what you think of them, or suggest other titles we may have missed!