iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

April is one of my favourite months of the year, so let’s welcome it with some new game releases!

Alongside an incredible new title from the makers of Pocket Planes and Tiny Tower, you’ll find some Russian monster problems, a military super sequel and a fantasy blast from the past — jump in and have a look!

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Little Inferno HD

Coming to you from the minds of people who brought you both World of Goo and the Henry Hatsworth Puzzling Adventure, you’ll find that Little Inferno captures much of the same indie spirit and superb production values, while remaining the home-grown effort of three extraordinary gentlemen and a lot of love.

While the game is presented light-heartedly, it has the same dark undertones players might recognize from World of Goo. The cynicism at its heart is aimed at the current gameplay market — rather directly, too. Little Inferno is all about buying items using in-game currency and burning them in an “Entertainment Fireplace,” where you can stay warm and protected from the cold harsh world outside. It plays like a mockery of Zynga titles and throws in many sly jabs at such games along the way, before abruptly throwing a positive spin on proceedings as you approach the end.

Without wishing to spoil anything, suffice it to say that this is a fascinating and deliberately evasive title that can be appreciated on several levels: either as another mindless tap & wait title with a fire theme, or as a commentary on the influence of such games on our industry and on our lives. However you take it, it’s worth exploring — the ride is enjoyable regardless of your interpretation!

Price: $4.99
Developer: Experimental Gameplay Group
Download: App Store

Nimble Quest

Destined for glory, Nimble Quest brings together the addiction brilliance of NimbleBit’s previous titles and combines it with the huge appeal of fantasy games with a retro presentation. The result, Nimble Quest, is a triumph.

Gameplay itself is an homage to previous generations of addictive cellphone titles — the ubiquitous Snake game from many Motorola phones of yore is essentially reborn as a conga line of fantasy heroes navigating RPG-style stages and battling monsters. Heroes can be levelled up, offered power-ups and strengthened as they rampage through each level together. Progress quickly becomes very challenging, and this leads me to the negative part of this equation …

As you may have expected, IAP make a prominent appearance in this game, and their implementation feels more heavy handed than I would have liked. Opting to play the game for free will mean very difficult progression and a lot of resets to square one if you slip up. While it’s not a tragedy given the quick nature of this mobile title, you can be certain that the leaderboards and other competitive features are reserved for paying customers only. An unfortunate choice from an otherwise savvy developer with another hit on their hands.

Price: Free
Developer: NimbleBit LLC
Download: App Store

Monster Meltdown

Yuri is going to become your favourite janitor. In Monster Meltdown, poor Yuri is left to clean up a rather troublesome mess of hapless monsters who won’t survive for long in the laboratory without his help.

Yuri’s platforming is augmented by a teleportation tool that introduces a very different set of movement patterns than you might be used to, and you’ll be using it extensively to zip around levels and do everything you can to lead the escaped monsters to safety. The game’s artwork is similar to Mutant Blobs Attack, and so too is its general playful spirit — a very positive comparison to be sure.

With wonderful retina graphics and universal support, Monster Meltdown is a charming puzzler with 80 levels of goodness. Those monsters need your help, Comrade: go save them!

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

Tiny Troopers 2: Special Ops

A year after the original swept through the App Store, Tiny Troopers is back with an action-packed sequel: Special Ops.

As the title suggests, you’ll be engaging in a variety of exciting Spec Ops missions in this installment, and that means using the simple touch controls to unleash bullet hell on your opponents from a variety of vehicles and special trooper specialists. Of course, you’ll need to train and equip your squad to help them survive more difficult encounters, and thankfully you are able to do this with nothing but skill and patience if you’re not a fan of IAP.

It’s also worth mentioning the presence of a robust zombie game mode in Tiny Troopers 2, which allows for three maps worth of endless-wave-style zombie mashing. This alone is worth the price of entry, as it’s among the most frantic and responsive zombie combat experiences on the App Store. Taken together with the main core of the game, Tiny Troopers 2 earns an effortless recommendation.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Kukouri Entertainment
Download: App Store

Final Fantasy V

Just the name conjures up visions of classic RPG action, and with good reason — Final Fantasy is the defining series of role-playing adventure, and its fifth instalment has now made its way onto the iOS App Store for all to enjoy.

It’s wonderful of Square Enix to make these old classics available for those who haven’t played the originals, and the transitions to the iOS world continue to improve and offer a faithful experience. While the price may be off-putting, it’s important to remember that there are many many hours of gameplay on offer here — far more than almost any other App Store games. These are games to truly dig into and spend time with, and the refreshed graphics and touch friendly controls make it easier than ever to do so.

For those in the know, this is a port of the GameBoy Advance version of the game, meaning you can look forward to the bonus dungeon and job class compared to the original — a good choice on Square Enix’s part. With Game Center support, achievements and the same breadth and depth of the original game, Final Fantasy V is an underrated gem that is well worth exploring.

Price: $15.99
Developer: SQUARE ENIX
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

Those are our picks for the App Store’s finest games this week — come back next week for another batch and make sure to leave us your thoughts and game recommendations in the comments!