iPhone Game Friday: New Releases

In the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday, it’s good to remember that there’s a lot of fun to be had with the toys you already have—like your iPhone!

We’ve pulled together some of the most exciting new games this week, so jump in and get playing…

Steam Punks

Steam Punks

If you have a hankering for some old fashioned SNES-like gameplay, then the folks at Monster Robot Studios have you covered—Steam Punks, their latest title, is out and fits the bill perfectly.

Landing somewhere between MegaMan and Zelda, Steam Punks features a simple story that leads you through some wonderfully rendered 16-bit levels in search of a professor’s stolen machine. Masks, weapons, upgrades, disguises, and more constitute the game’s collectibles, and you can also hunt down 8 hidden coins in each of the levels for some extra challenge. An interesting inclusion is a bestiary for looking at all the enemy types you’ve managed to defeat: they’re very well designed, so this is a treat.

Steam Punks isn’t a particularly challenging game, nor a very progressive one, but it does the retro throwback thing admirably and looks good doing it, so if that’s your itch then this is the game to scratch it.

Price: $1.99
Developer: Monster Robot Studios
Download: App Store


Skulls of the Shogun

Skulls of the Shogun

Here’s something interesting: this week’s showcase game started life as a premiere Windows title! That’s right, Skuils of the Shogun has been a spectacular success on Windows Phone and Windows 8 long before it made its way to iOS. Whatever the lineage, we’re thrilled to see it in the App Store!

Skulls of the Shogun is a historical strategy game (“historical” is used very loosely here) featuring a zombie samurai warlord (see what I mean?) who must slowly amass an army and conquer foes. The story mode is very amusing, written with wit and enthusiasm, but the real fun comes when you flip into the multiplayer modes, which allow for up to 4 simultaneous players.

The turn-based gameplay remains incredibly fine tuned, and in combination with the graphical fidelity and diversity of content (without any IAP!), Skulls of the Shogun has no trouble standing above the competition on any platform.

Price: $4.99
Developer: 17-BIT, Inc.
Download: App Store


Icycle: On Thin Ice

Icycle: On Thin Ice

Icycle: On Thin Ice is a bizarre indie platformer of sorts that features a mostly-naked man named Dennis riding a small bike in search of love. Honestly, I could stop there and you’d have all the information you need about the game, but let’s look deeper.

The best description of Icycle is probably that it’s a surrealist love tale set in a strangely apocalyptic world. There are many sad notes in the game, and many funny ones that draw from a few clever references to elicit smiles from you as you progress. It’s all very bizarre, which makes it a great relief that the gameplay itself is very solid and straight-forward. Controls are perfectly responsive, and feel accurate despite the usual pitfalls of touch-based platforming.

What started life as a Flash game has evolved into a larger and far more compelling story, one that manages to be deeply endearing despite its strangeness. It’s odd, but you won’t want to put it down.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Damp Gnat
Download: App Store


Pocket Stables

Pocket Stables

It’s that time again: new Kairosoft game! Actually, we’ve been a bit overdue for a new entry into the fantastic and mind-bogglingly addictive micromanagement sim series. Let’s look at Pocket Stables…

This time around, it’s horses that we’re working with. Managing a ranch of race horses is made just as thrilling as all of the other activities that Kairosoft has turned their attention to in the past. The same quirky interface and style returns here, and while the setting is different the gameplay hasn’t made any advances. For some, it will feel too stale to be worthy of attention, but fans of the series will find more of the same goodness to love here.

Ultimately, I’d like to see Kairosoft be a bit more adventurous, as they were with Epic Astro Story and such, but even their most modest attempts are still wonderful experiences, so it’s hard to fault them for sticking to what works. If you’re into it, Pocket Stables is another excuse to get unduly concerned about pixelated people—and their horses.

Price: $3.99
Developer: Kairosoft Co., Ltd.
Download: App Store


What Have You Been Playing?

For our state-side friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Everyone else, enjoy the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale festivities and we’ll see you back again in December!