Welcome back for another round-up of new games that have been hitting the App Store. As usual, we’ve sifted through the app store daily so you don’t have to, and this batch of new releases is much better than the past couple of round-ups, including titles from small to big gaming companies: Vivid games, Kairosoft, Imangi studios, EA, and Chillingo.
Race illegal: High Speed 3D: ($0.99)
By Chillingo Ltd
Chillingo has always satisfied gamers with stunning titles, and they have not disappointed this time. Race Illegal: High Speed 3D offers “high-octane, adrenaline-pumping” street racing as you speed, drift, dodge, ram, and race your way to supremacy. Your goal is to make it to the finish line at record speeds while destroying the other vehicles. You can spend your winnings on new upgrades, optimisations, and custom paint jobs before slamming down the accelerator and jumping into five different race modes.
From crashing to drifting to simply being the fastest racer on the street, Race illegal: High Speed 3D provides everything a speed freak needs. The graphics in this game are amazing, the slow motion effects are a nice touch, and gameplay is very smooth. Plus, each race you enter focuses on one aspect of your racing and helps you learn it and master the different abilities.
If you’re a big arcade racer fan, definitely snag this for the cheap sale price.
DMBX – Mountain Biking: ($1.99)
By randerline gmbh
DMBX – Mountain Biking, the latest in a series of extreme sports games from Randerline, features 10 levels, 30 challenges and a slew of unlockable bikes and characters from which to choose. Each level offers a different course and increases in difficulty along the way. There are eight different characters, and also eight bikes. You must unlock all but the first two by collecting enough coins to buy them. When you collect coins you gain access to faster bikes and discover new characters with great potential. Each character has his/her own style and unique, special tricks.
The game has two modes, Quick Play and Career. In Quick Play, you are in a timed trial and must beat the clock to unlock new levels. In Career mode, you must collect coins, perform tricks and make it to the end of the course within a specified period of time.
Where actual gameplay is concerned, DMBX gets fun even if there are times where you wish you were playing against an opponent instead of just going for a high score or better time. And the Game Center feature is yet to be functional, so however well you’re doing, the world will never know of your high scores or achievements until the next version update.
Sometimes the game runs a little slow and choppy. While needing a bit of polish, it has enough extra features to make it easy to overlook the shortcomings. Being able to play a time trial race, collect coins for bonuses and perform fancy tricks all in one game makes it worth $1.99.
Harbor Master: ($0.99)
By Imangi Studios, LLC
Harbor Master places the player in control of a harbor’s shipping traffic. Each level consists of an island or coast with one or more docks. Cargo boats enter the screen from random directions, and it’s up to the player to direct them to port while preventing collisions. As the game progresses, you move on to new maps and new challenges. The challenge comes from the fact that your harbour generally doesn’t have enough docks to accommodate the number of ships ploughing toward the coastline, while directing multiple boats both coming and going on screen at once. So, guiding these ships is a matter of drawing a path from the ship to the port at which you’d like it to dock and unload its cargo; if a valid port is selected, the path is locked in and the ships will move along that path. Like Flight Control, Harbor Master features a very simple game style that fits the game’s easy-to-learn nature.
There are three types of ships: small with one piece of cargo, medium with two, and large with four. This adds just enough complexity and challenge to the game to prevent it being too simple and boring.
You get a handy indicator at the side which shows you a new ship is coming from that direction so you can plan accordingly.
Harbor Master is a fun and exciting iPhone/iPod Touch game that is compatible with Apple’s Game Center. This application has a free and a paid version that includes more maps to play on. Yes, it’s a blatant clone of Flight Control, but Harbor Master still has a strong identity all of its own and can provide a very welcome break from its inspirational game when you’re fed up of crashing planes and feel like driving ships into each other instead.
Muffin Knight: ($0.99)
By Angry Mob Games
Muffin Knight is an action-packed platformer with stunning visuals and myriad fairytale characters with their own unique abilities that gain strength as you advance. This is the story of a little boy on his journey to return the old fairy’s magical muffins. A strange curse was set on him—with each muffin he touches, he turns into a different creature. The old fairy promises to turn him back into a boy when he gets all the muffins back. Killing enemies and snagging muffins earns XP, which translates into level points to upgrade creatures or purchase perks, as well as to unlock additional environments (a half dozen increasing-complex locations). New environments can also be accessed by snagging a specific number of muffins in one go. The gaming controls are simple enough to use, but they remain the biggest sticking point of the game.
While playing with the game, some taps of the on-screen buttons sometimes did not registered properly. Hopefully, the devs will work more on this, as the game will become more polished once the controls are ironed out. There are six levels to play through, all of which can be attacked multiple times, and 15 characters to unlock and upgrade. There’s a multiplayer mode, as well, which lets you connect with other iPhones over a local wi-fi network; you and a buddy duke it out over in a matchup to see who can score the most muffins in a series of rounds.
With Game Center integration, it offers a handful of global leaderboards and four dozen achievements, most of which are endurance-based and should take a good deal of time to complete. This game is so enjoyable for such a tiny price of $0.99, that anyone who likes gaming or would like to waste some time should give it a try.
Crimson: Steam Pirates: Free
By Bungie Aerospace Corporation
This high seas strategy romp is the first game to come out of Bungie’s indie publishing arm Aerospace. It all happens through a touchscreen-savvy interface as you literally drag out the proposed pathways of your fleet. The first thing you notice is the excellent design quality pouring out of every pixel. You begin with an actual storyline behind the gameplay, and then get to dive into your first sea battle with great ship design, combat, and explosions.
Gameplay here is turn-based, allowing players to set a course for each of their ships and give each a specific command before clicking “play” and watching the action unfold. Different ships have different speeds and hull strengths, as well as different crews with different abilities, meaning no two ships will play exactly alike. As the game progresses, you’ll sometimes be joined by some neat vehicles asides from just boats, such as zeppelins and submarines. Each level will give you a specific set of vehicles to work with, and losing any one of them will cost you the mission, so you’ll need to really think out your moves in advance to make the best possible use of your fleet.
Missions will range from goals such as “capture this ship,” to “destroy these forts” and “rescue this ally.” The gameplay remains pretty much unchanged for each, but sharp level design means no two levels ever feel too much the same. The game offers the first eight missions free, then you need to purchase the next eight levels as an in-app purchase.
Gameplay is slick and simple, and the music and sound effects are right on the mark too. Crimson: Steam Pirates (Free, iPad) is an outstanding iPad gaming experience that allows you to dive deeply into the steampunk pirate and sea battle theme. The game just may be the best strategy game in the App Store, and it’s designed to fit the iPad, as well.
Just one tiny complaint, there is no iPhone version for this game. I’m hoping that developers brings this to the smaller screen-sized iphone and ipod touch.
Speedway GP 2011: ($2.99)
By Vivid Games
Speedway GP is all about professional motorcycle racing. Set on a muddy oval track, each race pushes you to beat the other three competitors to the finish line. Sixteen real-life speedway stars are included in the game, along with 11 high-detailed stadiums and a full roster of statistics, results, and a real-time Speedway Grand Prix (SGP) calendar. The game offers a single player mode consisting of a quick race or a championship. As you progress through the game you will unlock tracks. The championship has only difficulty levels (easy and hard). Controls can be set to tilt or touch, and swiping adds additional control (or mud wiping from your camera). Giving users ability to control your turns to gain an advantage over your competitors. The controls are customizable allowing you to change the difficulty settings to fit your style, too.
The game has a very nice look, with 3D visuals, large racers, detailed tracks, spraying mud, and the like. The uniforms and bikes use a lot of color and the graphics are crisp and smooth. Fans of the sport are likely to be more impressed and happy to race as their favorite riders. Replay value is good if you happen to enjoy the gameplay, and GameCenter integration does allow for a leaderboard and achievements to earn. While there’s no multiplayer within the game, it does dampen the gameplay a little but nothing that an update can’t fix.
Grand Prix Story: ($2.99)
By Kairosoft Co.,Ltd
Grand Prix Story shares the pixel-art graphics of its predecessors, and also many of the game mechanics. The game sees you become the manager of an up-and-coming race team, meaning it’s your job to hire and fire drivers, find profitable sponsorship deals, and research the latest high-tech racing equipment. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have to develop new high-tech vehicles and parts, and customise your high-speed beauties.
Let’s hope that this game becomes as addictive as previously older titles from Kairosoft.
Madden NFL 12 by EA Sports: ($6.99)
By Electronic Arts
This is good timing with the NFL season just getting started. EA has released Madden NFL 12 for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Madden NFL 12 is a very solid rendition of the popular console version of the NFL football simulation game. This year, EA has bolstered the number of actual NFL players available in the game to 2,500, and features accurate rosters for all 32 NFL teams. The gameplay of Madden NFL 12 for the iPhone is definitely improved from last year’s version; it feels like you have more control over your players and are able to more accurately get them to perform the moves you want. Moves can be controlled by the virtual buttons in the bottom right corner, or by swiping the player in a certain direction.
You can allow the computer to pick plays for you, or you can get into the nitty gritty, picking positions and even using the touch-screen to draw out the paths you want your receivers to take can. And for those who love the sport but aren’t all that into a more hardcore version of the game, Madden NFL 12 does include an Arcade mode. This will distill all player choices down to three big buttons like “Run, Shortpass, Longpass” for offense, which in theory will allow more casual players to still enjoy a Madden experience.
Add the graphics and sound, which are high quality, while combining the season and play-off modes, plus using the Origin system for multiplayer matches with your friends, and you can see how this game could eat up a lot of your time. Sure, it can’t look to compete with its console brethren, but for a mobile version you could carry it with you, it’s definitely a great way to get that quick Madden fix at the office or between classes.