iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

What do mysteries, math, scientists and oranges have in common? They’re all stars of a game we’ve included in this week’s Game Friday!

Click through to uncover a wealth of new and entertaining titles to fill up your iPhone’s game folder …

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Layton Brothers Mystery Room

Layton Brothers Mystery Room

Taking a well-established franchise into parallel and well-designed territory is almost always a recipe for success, and Level-5 has decided to give it a try with Layton Brothers Mystery Room.

Starring the son of the famous professor, Inspector Alfendi Layton, their latest game is something like a mystery book wrapped up into an episodic game. Each of the game’s episodes presents a mystery for you to solve, and you’ll need to sift through clues, examine case files and confront suspects on your way to solving the case. The process is engaging in an armchair detective sort of way, and the wonderful dialogue and presentation keep you engaged with little effort.

The more interesting aspect of Mystery Room is the bigger picture: while each of the 9 cases are individual stories, together they begin to reveal a larger plot involving the inspector himself — a clever and well-executed bit of storytelling magic that may encourage you to spend some dollars on the two IAP: one for cases 3-6 and the other for 7-9 (the first two are free to play through). Thoughtful, interesting and brain twisting, Layton Brothers Mystery Room is a superb pivot for the franchise and one that I hope to see developed further.

Price: Free
Developer: Level-5 Inc.
Download: App Store

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League of Evil 3

League of Evil 3

Like clockwork, the next League of Evil title from the masterminds at Ravenous Games has landed.

If you haven’t encountered the series before, it can be summed up easily: you are an Agent who performs crazy acrobatics through booby trapped levels in an effort to punch scientists in the face. Story sophistication notwithstanding, League of Evil redefined the negative perspective many had toward on-screen touch controls, proving that they could be done properly and made into something satisfying and easy to use. Further, the game remains one of the most incredibly polished platforming brawlers in existence, and the new content throughout the 80 levels is wonderful.

The pace is intense, and the introduction of replay ghosts and video replays is a terrific way to share your struggles. In the end, League of Evil 3 is less about making it through the levels and more about doing so insanely fast, making clever use of the mechanics and environment, and pulling off spectacular moves in your pursuit of scientists to punch. It’s difficult, it’s violent and it’s beautiful. Don’t miss it.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Download: App Store

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Inclusion

Inclusion

Just to make sure our brains don’t rot, it’s nice to keep an eye out for titles that challenge us to do more than just shoot or punch things. Inclusion is a game about numbers and squares and math and frustration. It’s clever, it’s stupidly addictive and this math hater can’t stop playing it.

When the game begins, you’re presented with two numbers at the top (a random target number and a zero) and a grid of other digits. Your goal is to add or subtract numbers from the zero figure using digits from the grid below in an effort to make it equal the target number. If the target number is on the left of the screen, you’ll be adding the digits below; if it’s on the right they’ll be subtracted. The game’s challenge lies in the increasing speed at which you must make your decisions, and of course, the escalating levels of difficulty where the AI starts to become frustratingly challenging — once you pass medium difficulty, you can no longer change your choices once you’ve selected a digit to add/subtract.

As you play, you’re awarded a score for each session that’s based on how far you got and how quickly you solved the levels. Game Center integration allows your mathematically gifted friends to laugh at you, but you won’t care because you’ll be too busy trying again and again to beat that high score. Inclusion will make you a master of kung fu arithmetic, and — finer still — it will make you enjoy the process!

Price: $0.99
Developer: Purple Pig LLC
Download: App Store

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Cover Orange 2

Cover Orange 2

It seems like ages ago, but way back when the Angry Birds craze was in full swing, I praised a colourful game that took the same level-based physics setup and flipped it on its head, making it about defense instead of offense. That game was IGN Editor’s Choice Cover Orange, and its sequel is now out on the App Store.

As the title suggests, your goal in this adorable puzzler is to protect oranges by covering them up against storm clouds and other dangers. A wealth of new objects are available for you to drop into the levels, and a bit of time travel humour is introduced through the 120 stunning levels. Unlockables include comics, helmets, and other goodies in the new “Dressing Room.”

While it doesn’t stray very far from the original, Cover Orange 2 refreshes the formula and re-establishes the game as a standout in the genre. Fans of the original have more than a hundred brand new gorgeous levels to work through, and newcomers have the perfect introduction to one of the iPhone’s best games.

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

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Attack of the Spooklings

Attack of the Spooklings

We’re going to finish off on a strong note here: have a look at Attack of the Spooklings.

What would happen if you combined the frantic schmup action of Space Invaders with the slashing fun of Fruit Ninja? Amazing things. This gothic flavoured title is a simple but perfectly tuned exploration of this gameplay idea, and while your only goal is to defend your town against the Spooklings, the pacing and satisfying combo layers make it impossible to peel yourself away.

While the game is initially very basic, it stands complete and clearly shows that when you have a strong foundation, you don’t need layers of fluff. Nevertheless, the developers are extremely open to feedback and welcome suggestions for how they can expand and improve the game in future updates — a terrific attitude that makes it well worth paying the dollar to support them. If you want to try it out first, there’s also an ad-supported free version, so there’s nothing to lose: play Attack of the Spooklings!

Price: $0.99
Developer: Carles Salas
Download: App Store

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What Have You Been Playing?

Let us know in the comments what you thought of this week’s choices, and come back next Friday for a brand new set!