iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

Welcome back to Game Friday, friends! This week’s line-up includes a lot of punching, some driving, a bit of block shuffling and some nice toilet cleaning.

Yes, you heard me. And I bet you’re going to have a lot of fun with it too, so come on in and see what we’ve collected for you!

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Dead Ahead

Dead Ahead is probably the best endless style game I’ve played in months. While you go to your iPhone’s App Store and start downloading (it’s free), I’ll tell you why I think so.

Let’s start with the easy bits: it looks gorgeous and plays with a fluidity and sense of style that clearly indicates the amount of time that’s been spent polishing. The 16-bit era pixel graphics are superbly drawn and lively. It’s a game though, so what it all comes down to is how it plays, and I’m thrilled with the gameplay; like an undead hybrid of Monster Dash and Jetpack Joyride’s vehicle segments, Dead Ahead is a survival game about outrunning and mowing down hordes of zombies. The execution is perfect, with spot-on controls (they’re adjustable too!) and an excellent sense of speed and mayhem.

Some of the pricing on the IAP upgrades is questionable, but for me it was forgivable in light of how strong the rest of the package is. Ultimately, as a universal title with lots of appeal, it’s definitely worth trying. Your download ought to be done by now, so give it a shot!

Price: Free
Developer: Mobirate
Download: App Store

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Zombie Fish Tank

It’s no secret that Aidem Media is one of my favourite App Store developers out there — they brought us the City of Secrets games, after all. Exploring some new territory, their latest title introduces us to the world of zombie … fish. But there’s nothing stinky about this game.

After escaping from your unscrupulous scientist overlords, you (the undead fish) are out for vengeance. Tilt controls propel you through the game’s 40 levels wherein you’ll have to snap up 80 different species of lesser creature, each of which will help you grow just a bit bigger. It’s a bit like Fl0w in that respect, though much more cartoony. The scientists will be present too, trying to cover their tracks and stop you, and you can look forward to some exiting boss battles.

Outside the main game, there’s a charming aquarium you can cultivate and populate with collected fishes that will boost your abilities in the game. IAP is present but not particularly pushy, and I didn’t have much trouble earning my way through the game — Zombie Fish Tank may make you want to jump up the food chain, but you’ll want to spend as much time as possible playing and earning your way through the levels legitimately. Running universally and featuring the same level of polish and quality that I’ve come to expect from Aidem, Zombie Fish Tank earns an effortless recommendation.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Aidem Media
Download: App Store

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Men’s Room Mayhem

You thought I was kidding about the toilet thing, eh?

Men’s Room Mayhem is incredibly fun. It’s way more fun than it has any right to be. You play as a janitor, and your job is to keep a variety of washrooms clean by directing patrons to stalls and urinals. There are slower, older patrons and quicker youngsters. There are rowdy drunk ones and picky ones. And, needless to say, you’ll want to observe proper washroom etiquette to earn some bonus points. As you are forced to contend with more and more people, the pace gets frantic and you’ll need to be very precise.

With no IAP to stand in your way, you’ll be free to explore the game by playing, and you’ll face challenges to unlock different levels. You’ll work hard to keep your washroom from being condemned, and you’ll have a blast doing it. This is a rare and unmissable game, and you will never look at public washrooms quite the same after you’ve played it.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Ripstone, Ltd.
Download: App Store

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Combo Crew

Speaking of developers I admire a lot, The Game Bakers are definitely high on the list. Their Squids series was unbelievably good, and the same craftsmanship is on display with their newest game — a brawler — Combo Crew!

While they’re not the first to explore this genre on iOS, I feel like the good bakers may have been the first to crack the nut of how to get it to feel native rather than like a port design for a different console. The gesture-based controls are brilliant and responsive, allowing you to focus on strategically lining up combos and KOs. Asynchronous multiplayer plays a big role as you can save your friends or have them save you, and of course compete against them as you move through the hundreds of missions.

While the story mode offers a good sense of progression, you’ll likely spend a lot of time practising in the endless scoring mode. The lack of IAP means you’ll need to really work on your skills to be able to unlock the game’s many collectible items. Thanks to robust cloud sync and a universal build, you’ll be able to enjoy no matter where you are, and once you start playing, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to put this game down without a fight.

Price: $1.99
Developer: The Game Bakers
Download: App Store

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Tetris Blitz

Wrapping up with an old favourite, we take a look at Tetris viewed through the lens of EA.

Despite the company’s bad reputation, they’ve done good things with the franchise here. The core Tetris gameplay we all know and love remains very much intact, but it’s been augmented with some arcade-y goodness designed to up the pace. A heavy focus on power-ups and combos changes the gameplay priorities just enough to make it feel fresh, and you can pick between a precise new control scheme or revert to the classic one if you prefer it.

However you play, you’ll find yourself poked to buy things at every turn. Whether it’s upgrades or something else, you’ll find that the IAP is frustrating. The fact that it’ll cost you no less than $5 to remove ads is pretty awful, but if they don’t bother you then you’ll have a free and very exciting new spin on the Tetris formula to play with, so try it out and see what you think!

Price: Free
Developer: Electronic Arts
Download: App Store

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What Have You Been Playing?

Now go out there and have some fun this weekend! Next week we’ll be waiting for you with a brand new collection of excellent games, so come back and I’ll see you then.