iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve got everything you need to quench your gaming thirst for the weekend, including some dungeon crawling fun, a sushi feast, an acrobatic crab and noir mystery to solve. Also, there is a kitten involved. Time to click through and see our favourite games for this week …

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Disney have been fairly conservative with their iOS offerings thus far, but it seems they might be gearing up to change that with their latest title: Mittens, which not only departs from any franchise tie-in, but also succeeds as a deeply satisfying cartoon puzzle game.

Playing as the titular cat, you’ll make your way around the world collecting gifts, milk and other items along the way to woo the feline of his dreams, Mia. The 75 levels are incredibly dynamic, with new mechanics introduced frequently and to excellent effect. More than 30 different physics-based movement mechanics exist, making the later levels particularly enjoyable in the diversity of skills you’ll need to master to triumph.

Unsurprisingly, the animation and general presentation quality is superb and certainly lives up to the Disney name, managing a familiar level of charm and cuteness while not looking like a stylistic rip-off of any of their franchises. The result is a game that’s engaging for all ages and without a doubt among the most addictive and wonderful recent additions to the App Store.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Disney
Download: App Store

Mr. Crab

Climbing games tend to follow a pretty conventional formula made popular by Doodle Jump and the like, but Illusion Labs aren’t satisfied with another idle clone, which is why their latest title’s interesting spin on the genre makes for a great time. Meet Mr. Crab!

Mr. Crab is a crustacean on a mission: climb to the top of the many interesting towers he encounters. Rather than a straightforward jumping situation, Mr. Crab must contend with constantly spinning structures filled with obstacles, falls and enemies. The focus of the game is definitely on speed and precision, with combat mostly sidelined — to the point where you can even avoid most enemies entirely without penalty, except for the eight bosses, of course.

Eventually, you’ll find yourself with some followers and the lack of any sort of IAP pressure makes it a refreshing and sticky title for fans of arcade action. The lack of Game Center integration is an unfortunate downside for leaderboard nuts or achievement fans, but it’s likely that the developer will address the lapse in future updates. Mr. Crab is an easy recommendation and one that holds a lot of replay value.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Illusion Labs
Download: App Store

Gemini Rue

Originally an award-winning PC game, Gemini Rue is the iOS version of one of the most compelling stories in recent gaming history, fusing sci-fi and noir elements to create an engrossing tale with far-reaching consequences.

Gemini Rue follows the intertwining narratives of two characters, Azriel the assassin and Delta-Six the amnesiac, and explores their circumstances in a patient, mature and fascinating manner. The game’s gloomy settings and basic point & click mechanics keep the focus on the plot and its deft evolution, one that is delivered through strong voice acting and an excellent musical score.

Fans of the PC release will enjoy the inclusion of a director’s commentary in the iOS version, and anyone who missed the original iteration will find themselves unable to put down this incredible game.

Price: $3.99
Developer: Wadjet Eye Games LLC
Download: App Store

The Sushi Spinnery

It’s that time again … new Kairosoft game! Masters of addictive micromanaging, their new game turns the world of sushi restaurants into an amazing experience that you won’t be able to put down.

Your restaurant will become famous as you constantly augment your menu with new ingredients, new meals and even entertainment options that your customers can enjoy. As always, you’ll be managing several aspects of this ecosystem, but you’ll also have taste tests and competitions to look forward to.

While the gameplay is as impressively well developed as always, The Sushi Spinnery lacks some of the creative diversions of previous titles like Beastie Bay, Astro Story or Dungeon Village. Nevertheless, one can never go wrong with a Kairosoft game, and The Sushi Spinnery provides every bit of fun and longevity that you’ve come to expect from the brand.

Price: $3.99
Developer: Kairosoft Co., Ltd
Download: App Store

Dungeon Hunter 4

Gameloft is nothing if not consistent. While their Dungeon Hunter series began its life as one of the most beloved franchises on the App Store, it quickly devolved into a series of sequels that were more notable for their interesting methods of disappointing players than for their quality. So why do I mention it?

Well … Dungeon Hunter 4 is really good. It’s an incredible mobile dungeon crawler with extraordinary presentation values, solid controls and very satisfying gameplay. It is blessed with reasonable length and depth, and it departs from the awful arena-based setup of its previous incarnation to offer a true story-based plot again (though there are still some arena elements left in, in case you enjoyed those). But Gameloft giveth and Gameloft taketh away, and in this instance what’s been taken away is any semblance of respect for the players. Dungeon Hunter 4 sets a new standard for how not to monetize your game.

You might have imagined that the “free” price doesn’t account for IAP, and this is certainly the case: Dungeon Hunter 4 is unbelievably pushy with IAP elements, and goes so far as to make you pay for health potions (if you exhaust your measly allotment of 3 per day). Ultimately, this is a conflicting title. If you don’t mind IAP or are an optimist, then Dungeon Hunter 4 is a fantastic dungeon crawler with a well-lubricated fast track via cash. Otherwise, it’s a reminder of how badly good games can be corrupted by ignorant and disrespectful management policies.

Price: Free
Developer: Gameloft
Download: App Store

What Have You Been Playing?

Hope you enjoy playing these as much as we have — don’t forget to leave us your comments and stop by next week for another batch of gaming goodness!