iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

It’s blockbuster week in the App Store games section, it seems, with several high-profile titles making their way to iOS in style.

Click through for a brand new Call of Duty game, a car lover’s dream, a giant boulder and even some Star Wars fun!

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Call of Duty: Strike Team

Call of Duty: Strike Team

It can be difficult, as a series fan, to witness your favourite franchise make its way to iOS and fall flat on its face because development didn’t take into account the unique challenges of the platform. Thankfully, Call of Duty: Strike Team is a terrific example of building a game from scratch for the strengths of touch.

Both a third-person and first-person perspective exist in Strike Team, and you’ll switch between them to strategize and coordinate your squad from above before taking the reigns and shooting your way through the area. The campaign wins no points for story, but it moves at a quick pace and is full of impressive cinematic moments that can make you forget you’re playing this on a small screen.

Needless to say, upgrades are a big part of Strike Team’s squad management, and IAP abound to help you equip things faster. Whether you choose to indulge or not, you’ll find yourself with plenty of options and a thrilling Survival Mode to keep you busy for hours after you finish the campaign. Call of Duty: Strike Team is an ambitious and successful entry in the series that shines on iOS. Combat game fans shouldn’t hesitate.

Price: $6.99
Developer: Activision Publishing, Inc.
Download: App Store

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Giant Boulder of Death

Giant Boulder of Death

Nothing makes us happier than a new [adult swim] game, so lo and behold we are smiling now to see Giant Boulder of Death smashing its way onto the App Store.

The zany attitude of every other game from these oddball developers is present in Giant Boulder of Death, albeit to a somewhat lesser degree as the game focuses on a streamlined and less unpredictable gameplay core. You control a giant boulder and must tumble down the mountain bowling over every structure, person, creature and piece of terrain that you encounter. You’ll gain points, unlock upgrades and power-ups (called “boosts”), and pursue more than 60 gameplay goals as you go.

I feel I ought to warn you that the soundtrack involves yodelling of, um, admirable authenticity. On the quiet side, you can fiddle with three different control schemes to find the one that suits you best as you master the fine art of rolling down a hill and breaking everything. It’s free, it’s amazing, just go get it already.

Price: Free
Developer: [adult swim]
Download: App Store

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2K Drive

2K Drive

2K is full of big ideas, their most recent one being that they can break into the iOS racing genre and show everyone else how it’s done. Now, clearly there’s no shortage of competition, but 2K Drive is such a spectacular simulator that it fully delivers on 2K’s ambitions and may well steal the crown of best iOS racer.

2K Drive does a lot of things right: for starters, you’ll be earning new cars to drive quickly and the pace doesn’t really slow down. You should never be starved for new wheels, and unlike RealRacing 3, the IAP to unlock cars is a one-time expense that unlocks everything. Daily challenges, real-world auto news feeds, social integration and the amusing ability to plaster a shot of your own face onto your driver make 2K Drive feel genuinely expansive — a playground for car lovers rather than just a game for them.

This depth also extends to personalization and variety of racing environments (including some awesome specialty courses), but it ultimately all boils down to how well the game plays. Controls are tight and accessible, and the game straddles the line between hardcore simulator and arcade responsiveness very well. Whether or not it manages to beat out your current favourite iOS racer, 2K Drive is a must-play game that easily hits the top three.

Price: $6.99
Developer: 2K Sports
Download: App Store

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Star Wars Force Collection

Star Wars Force Collection

Jedi or Sith? The first of many strategic choices you’ll make while playing the new trading card game set in the Star Wars universe. Force Collection is not Konami’s strongest work, but it brings some value to those who enjoy both Star Wars and card gaming.

The real problem is a lack of depth: many times, the strategy that’s typically inherent in the genre is simply absent; you’re just tapping to advance. It’s not a consistent issue, but it’s something that robs the game of some much needed sense of challenge and reward. Looking past its unsophisticated gameplay, you’ll actually find a compelling set of cards, each of which can be upgraded and made to offer significant advantages in the game’s battles.

Being online only, you can expect a variety of social angles to be explored, which is certainly the case. Multiplayer events, alliances, rewards and more await you and your friends if you choose to play together. Beware of pricey IAP and some lengthy loading times if you have a look. While it won’t satisfy hardcore genre fans, their kids might find the accessible gameplay a fun way to scratch their Star Wars itch.

Price: Free
Developer: KONAMI
Download: App Store

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This is Not a Test

This is Not a Test: A Post-Apocalyptic Prequel

Let’s end with something a little different: part game, part interactive comic. This is Not a Test: A Post-Apocalyptic Prequel is a cumbersome name for what is actually a spectacular game.

Imagine a graphic novel where you’re prompted to make choices, collect items in your inventory, use them, make character relationships, and develop skills. Choices you make will affect the course of the story, and needless to say you’ll be considered good or evil depending on how you choose to pursue survival. It’s a unique and engaging way to experience the story, and while it may be criticized for not being what many would consider an outright “game,” that’s a rather narrow view.

Willing adventurers will find themselves captivated by the pulpy but well-written story, and the interactivity is excellently tuned to keep you involved in a way that goes deeper than basic choose-your-own-adventure. A dollar well spent to try something fresh!

Price: $0.99
Developer: Jon Richardson
Download: App Store

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What Have You Been Playing?

Plenty to keep you occupied this week, so go forth and have some fun! See you back next Friday for a new set of games to try.