This week we bring you some new games for your iOS devices. First up we have a puzzle game for pen and paper enthusiasts. Then we have a strategy word game for iPhone. After that we have a resource management game based on a classic Sci-Fi series. We also have a new game from the makers of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. Finally we have the sequel to a game about a candy addicted dinosaur.
Next – Numbers – iOS(Universal)
There are a lot of casual games on the iOS platform. However, few of them have the simplicity of a pen and paper game. Next – Numbers may be the first game that appeals to people who spend a lot of time with newsprint and pencils. You get a grid of numbers and you need to tap all of them in order as fast as you can. You can either do this with or without a time limit. Each version is scored separately. The game starts with an easy and medium difficulty, which has 15 and 35 numbers respectively.
There are statistics tracked for each game that make it finishing something just a second faster feel like an accomplishment. That simplicity oddly enough creates a replay value encouraged by the fact each game only takes around a minute or so to play. The game has its own leaderboards so you always know where you stack up, with some people solving the easy mode in less than a second.
What’s Good: Minimal design, lots of challenge modes, and good replay value.
What Sucks: It’s not clear on how to unlock hard difficulty mode, missing instructions on using and unlocking powerups.
Buy it?: If you are looking for a unique puzzle game with a focus on replayability, grab Next – Numbers on the App Store for $1.99.
Wordbase – iPhone
Wordbase may not have the kind of buzz that Letterpress did, but it is a better game. It isn’t as well designed, and it doesn’t have a famous pedigree of developers. What it does have is a simple game that is easy to learn. You take on an opponent, each of you gets a single row of letters on a 13 X 11 grid of letters. You then snake out from your row spelling out words. Your goal is to snake your letters across the board making words until you’re able to make a word that includes a letter from your opponent’s home row.
You’ll find that the middle of the board becomes a contentious place quickly, where one good word can put you on your heels. The game ends up being particularly strategic at this stage, keeping it interesting. The game makes it difficult for someone to easily run away with the game. You can play the game against your friends via Facebook Connect, or you can play against random opponents. It would be nice if they offered some Game Center integration here for people who aren’t comfortable with Facebook. The premium mode allows you to play against more than two opponents simultaneously, which you unlock for a $2.99 IAP.
What’s Good: Fun game, in depth strategy, good length.
What Sucks: No Game Center.
Buy it?: If you’re looking for an interesting word and strategy game, check out Wordbase on the App Store for free.
Star Trek: Trexels – iOS(Universal)
Considering the overlap between gamers and Star Trek fans, it is a shame that so few games have managed to capture what makes the series great. It’s odd but what breaks down to a resource farmer does the best job of capturing the various facets of Trek and making it a game. The problem is that it’s caught up in a resource grind that pushes you toward IAP. However, this is a three dollar game, it shouldn’t keep trying to put its hand back in my pocket.
You are given an array of Starfleet crew members and the mission to explore a new sector of space where earlier ships have disappeared. You have to generate resources, send out missions to explore the surrounding sectors, and add new rooms to your ship. The resources can be generated by rooms staffed by crew, or you can play a debris shooting mini-game. The missions to explore and research are all played out via RPG, but they do offer a variety than constant phaser battles.
What’s Good: Variety of missions offer more than just phasers for a Star Trek game.
What Sucks: Variety of missions offer more than just phasers for a Star Trek game.
Buy it?: If you are a big Trek fan and can put up with the exponential markup for missions, you can grab Start Trek: Trexels on the App Store for $2.99.
Colossatron – iOS(Universal)
Half-Brick may be one of the more unsung heroes in mobile gaming. They have created a couple of instant classics: Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. Colossatron picks up that thread to create another great game. This time instead of a grizzled action hero or a produce Samurai, you control a robotic space monster destroying a planet city by city. Your destruction of the city is opposed by the villinous, or heroic depending on your persepctive, General Mustache. He send waves of tanks, planes, helicopters, and other units at you in waves. The action is narrated by a series of newscasters who all seem a bit too cheery about reporting the apocalypse.
Your control of the beast is mostly passive, instead you combine weapons that add to the beast. Each weapon is a different color, and some colors combine together. If you combine three weapons of the same color they become a larger weapon. Three of those combine into an even larger weapon. The game is really fun as the combinations you can make create a slightly different experience each time. There’s some IAP cruft here, and you need to use in game currency to keep the weapons from switching up everyday. You do unlock some of this currency by playing, but it doesn’t accumulate very quickly. Thankfully, the random weaponry actually gives the game better replay value. This scrambles your strategy at random.
What’s Good: Fun game with a unique premise and gameplay style.
What Sucks: In game purchases mar an otherwise enjoyable game.
Buy it?: Grab this game if you like Halfbrick’s madcap game designs, or enjoy monster movies. You can grab Colossatron on the App Store for $.99.
Cut the Rope 2 – iOS(Universal)
Cut the Rope was among a handful of iOS franchises that exploded in the last few years. After some franchise settings tweaks, Cut the Rope 2 is a proper sequel to the game about a candy addicted monster in a box which doesn’t quite apply this time around, as Om Nom has escaped the box. This allows for the puzzles to take on a slightly different dimension. This includes some puzzles where the solution is to move Om Nom instead of the Candy.
Just as before each level has three stars to collect. A new addition are medal challenges that require you to solve the level while fulfilling specific conditions. Some of these require you to forgo some of the level’s items, while others want you to only get one star. These add another level of difficulty to completing each level. There’s a lot of new elements that do more than simply just create a level pack.
What’s Good: Lots of variety to puzzles
What Sucks: Some puzzles rely more on luck than skill.
Buy it?: Fans of the original, or people looking for a new puzzle game should grab Cut the Rope 2 form the App Store for $.99