iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

August may mean that summer is waning, but it doesn’t mean the wealth of iOS game releases are slowing down any!

This week, we check out some spectacular indie titles, a graphically stunning sequel, and the best portable pixelated archery game ever. Click through and let’s play!

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Sky Tourist

Sky Tourist

It’s rare that we see a game about tourism, but Sky Tourist is exactly that — and a fine one!

Playing as Petey Pendant, you’ll travel across the universe exploring interesting planets and avoiding the sometimes hostile conditions you find there. Petey’s method of travel is unique: he hangs by his helmet, suspended on a rope that’s held by two parallel rockets controlled by a finger each. By adjusting the relative heights of the rockets, you can slide, swing, raise and lower Petey to help him traverse the gorgeous planetary environments.

Not only is Sky Tourist genuinely unique in its premise and mechanics (a rare feat), but it also manages to wrap things up in a superb presentation style that combines fantastic cel-shaded artwork with cute animations and a quirky musical score. A surprising and wonderful debut, Sky Tourist is unmissable.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Three Legged Egg
Download: App Store

SkyTouristScreenies

Blitz Block Robo

Blitz Block Robo

Masters of the sleeper hits Gravonaut and Infinite, Nexus Game Studio has released their latest title — Blitz Block Robo.

Aiming for the casual puzzle crowd, Blitz Block Robo is a matching game with combos, several special block types, and of course the titular “blitz” mode where you can rack up some huge point scores and climb the leaderboards. Optimized for quick gameplay sessions, this is nevertheless a challenging game with a fast pace — don’t expect it to hold your hand (or offer you IAP cheats)!

With colourful and polished presentation values and finely tuned gameplay, Blitz Block Robo continues to demonstrate the versatility and skill of its passionate indie creators. If you’re after an excellent, addictive and beautiful puzzle challenge then this is the one. Don’t hesitate.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Nexus Game Studio
Download: App Store

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A Ride Into the Mountains

A Ride Into the Mountains

Archery is a beautiful and ancient combat art form, and one that is difficult to translate well to a gaming medium, especially on mobile devices. Lee-Kuo Chen was undeterred though, and the resulting game is a magnificent one from many perspectives: A Ride Into the Mountains.

For one thing, the pixel art and general aesthetic is reminiscent of the classic Sword & Sworcery, though the faster pace and combat focus is obviously a distinguishing factor. Like S&S though, there is a great story to follow here, and the game offers enough stillness to ensure that gameplay is never stale or predictable. Landscapes can be breathtaking whether they’re zipping by or whether you’re contemplating them in a moment of peace.

Regardless of your gaming preferences, A Ride Into the Mountains is one of those titles that stands out enough to be worth trying. And at only one dollar, it’s an easy investment to make.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Lee-Kuo Chen
Download: App Store

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Lums

Lums

Visually stunning seems like a bit of an understatement when it comes to describing Lums. It isn’t the blockbuster style cinematic look of Infinity Blade or Real Racing, but in some ways it’s much more attractive.

Lums is the story of a world where vampires have stolen the sun and your only hope is to destroy them in their lairs using one of five kinds of “Lums,” small round creatures with different abilities. Lums plays like a more sophisticated version of Angry Birds; the five different character types are wildly different and have fascinating effects on the environments, and the level of detail and polish in the game’s visuals and audio treatment make it feel uncommonly engrossing.

Featuring extremely precise controls and more than 40 achievements to work toward, there’s a lot to keep you busy until the promised level updates arrive. For now, there are 48, and you’ll be able to unlock the second and third episodes of the game via $1 IAP if you feel so inclined after completing the first episode. Combining style with substance in equal measure, Lums is a worthy showcase app for your iPhone’s game folder.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Hyperbolic Magnetism
Download: App Store

LumsScreenies

Riptide GP2

Riptide GP2

Surprisingly, it’s been a full two years since the first Riptide GP splashed onto the App Store. As the uncontested king of waterski racing sims, Riptide has had a lot of time to mature and expand for this all-star sequel.

In GP2, every aspect of the first game has been improved. New hydro jets, a new career mode, multiple control schemes, and an extraordinary new graphics engine come together to deliver an incredible racing experience. Keep an eye out for the new stunts too; they’re easier to master and rewarding to execute. What’s especially impressive about Riptide GP2 is the fact that, despite the engine’s higher fidelity visuals, the game fits within a lean 50MB so it won’t clog up your phone.

Alongside other modernizations like iCloud integration and Game Center support for achievements comes the more negative IAP trend … you can dump a lot of money into in-game currency for upgrading your craft, so be careful if you’re letting your kids play. Nevertheless, Riptide GP2 remains the king of water racing games, and it feels every bit worth the wait.

Price: $2.99
Developer: Vector Unit
Download: App Store

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What Have You Been Playing?

That’s all for this week — join us next Friday for a new batch of App Store game highlights!