iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

Autumn brings more than orange leaves and pumpkin spice lattés—it brings games!

We’ve collected this week’s best for you, so come on in and equip yourself for a weekend of fun…

Snailboy

Snailboy

If Pixar had gotten into the gaming business, you might expect them to create something like Snailboy. Without undue hyperbole, this is one of the most amazing looking games iOS has ever seen.

Snailboy is a platformer, offering you the ability to jump, smack into things, and slide face-first down obstacles as you make your way through the 45 levels. While the gameplay isn’t particularly innovative or deep, the sheer attention to detail and unity of controls and aesthetic make it a joy to play through.

I hate to keep belabouring this point, but the visuals and audio are off the charts: we’re talking Rayman Legends level stuff here. While Snailboy will no doubt continue to be expanded, setting the bar this high for a debut title makes me very eager to see what the folks at Thoopid will cook up next. Don’t miss the opportunity to journey into this garden of wonder.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Thoopid
Download: App Store

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Pocket Trains

Pocket Trains

I think we all know that NimbleBit has reached the point where their games are an inevitable success; like Kairosoft and Rovio before them, they’ve discovered a magical formula for creating addictive and enjoyable experiences that fit the mobile world perfectly. Their newest release feels like the company has gone on rails though, in more ways than one…

Pocket Trains is a continuation of the formula that you’re used to from Pocket Planes and Tiny Tower before it. You choose trains, haul cargo, upgrade this, refuel that…and hours magically disappear. The problem is that the usually perfect balance feels just a bit off this time around. The refuelling is tedious and leans too far toward the IAP encouragement. There’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait happening here.

Worse, the ongoing daily challenges get stale faster than they should, and unlike Tiny Tower’s charming ability to customize floors, you won’t actually be doing any of that with your train cars. It’s less individualized, so it feels more like completing chores for someone else than building a rail empire of your own.

All that said, this remains an impeccably crafted game. Fans of the developers and their previous catalogue of games will feel right at home, though they—like me—may feel that Pocket Trains isn’t the pinnacle of NimbleBit’s achievements, and that they could stand to be more ambitious with their future releases.

Price: Free
Developer: NimbleBit LLC
Download: App Store

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Iesabel

Iesabel

Iesabel is a wonderful action RPG that eschews IAP and brings a tremendous energy to the table, releasing as a cross-platform game on iOS and the Mac App Store.

The campaign is fun whether you play it solo or in a well-executed cross-platform multiplayer with other iOS or Mac friends. The story itself is being added to on an ongoing basis, which means you can look forward to more hours of enjoyment. The game’s Diablo-like gameplay is served by a control scheme that does its best to stay out of your way, and while this genre has sometimes struggled to feel at home on a mobile device, Iesabel plays well.

Broad, engaging, and honest, Iesabel is an action RPG for fans of the genre’s traditional roots. Just make sure you’re playing on a newer device, because the game’s impressive visuals don’t cooperate with anything older than an iPhone 4S.

Price: $5.99
Developer: Forever Entertainment S.A.
Download: App Store

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Tower of Fortune 2

Tower of Fortune 2

A new tower, a new chance to save your daughter, and three times the possible outcomes…welcome to Tower of Fortune 2.

Sporting the same amusingly monochromatic art style that looks like you’re playing everything on an old digital clock, Tower of Fortune 2 isn’t flashy about how much it has improved. The slot-based gameplay is unusual but effective, and exploring the tower’s levels reveals a wealth of conversations, and items. You can also re-do a spin this time around, albeit for an increasing cost in the game’s currency.

Being a rogue-like, Tower of Fortune 2 is unwaveringly punishing, and the random nature of your encounters makes every play different—which is awesome. The fact that the camp is also functional this time around (you can now improve healing, prepare food, and upgrade a certain companion you’ll encounter…) makes every aspect of the game feel just a bit more filled-out.

All in all, Tower of Fortune 2 builds upon its predecessor in logical and compelling ways, offering largely the same experience peppered with improvements and added replay value. If it weren’t for the IAP (if you’re going to go rogue-like, go all in), it would be completely perfect.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Game Stew
Download: App Store

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Trouserheart

Trouserheart

Someone has stolen your king’s pants, and it’s up to you to retrieve them—you didn’t think this was going to be a serious game, did you?

Trouserheart is many things: simple, pretty, accessible, and fun. It’s a mobile game through and through, designed to ensure that you always have a good way to kill a few minutes. Its linear structure is uncomplicated and the art style more Torchlight than Diablo, which goes hand in hand with the lighter tone of the story.

Right now the game’s biggest weakness is scarcity of content: it needs more enemies, more levels, more stuff to do. The funny genre references are appreciated, and the harder difficulties raise the stakes—there’s even a permadeath mode—but you’ll still want more if you decide to shell out the $3 for this game.

Price: $2.99
Developer: 10tons Ltd.
Download: App Store

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What Have You Been Playing?

Drop into the comments if you have any other recommendations to share—we love hearing from you!