Finally, the iTunes App Store is getting back into full swing with a fresh crop of quality games hitting this week. Leading the charge is Star Marine: Infinite Ammo, an arcade-style 2-D shooter in the vein of the classic Contra. The game nails the old-school feel of its inspiration and is definitely worth a look. Read all about Star Marine and four other great offerings in our list below.
Star Marine: Infinite Ammo (iPhone, iPad) $1.99
Contra clone Star Marine is a high-quality arcade shooter reminiscent of titles from the 8-bit and 16-bit era of video gaming. As a Star Marine, you fight through hordes of robots with various weapons earned by scoring points and putting down enemies. The more points you earn, the higher you’ll climb on Star Marine’s Game Center leaderboards. The gems you gather can be spent on new weapons and items to make you a better fighter. Star Marine’s old-school feel is matched by its strong pacing and action-heavy shooter setup. It feels like a game from days gone by, and it stands up to its inspiration by being a fun, quality shooter experience.
Hero Academy (iPhone, iPad) Free
One of the cool things that Words With Friends and its ilk established was the idea of playing turn-based games at your own pace, whenever you have free time. Hero Academy riffs on that same idea, but with a turn-based strategy game at the heart instead of a Scrabble-like word game. You command forces that you use to destroy the enemy player’s pair of special crystals, while defending your own. Each turn allows you to deploy forces, move characters around the grid-covered game board, and generally wage war. You can take on your friends from Facebook and Twitter in Hero Academy, and you can battle in multiple games simultaneously.
Tongue-Tied! (iPhone, iPad) $1.99
Part running game, part platformer, Tongue-Tied! has a great cartoon aesthetic that will remind you of Saturday mornings in front of the TV, plus an easygoing, kid-friendly atmosphere that makes it a lot of fun. Your protagonists are a pair of dogs with their tongues tied together. This gives them the ability to whip each other through the air in order to collect coins and avoid obstacles. Touch controls make the game easy and intuitive and your only goal is to snag as many coins as you can through quick reactions and smart use of your weird tongue-whipping abilities. Tongue-Tied! is great for killing five or 10 minutes and has a lot of cuteness going for it.
Dragon Wrath (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Some of the best games in the iTunes App Store have players taking on the role of some kind of monster or alien and destroying cities, chasing and eating hapless humans and essentially getting up to mischief. That’s what goes on in Dragon Wrath, a 2-D arcade title where your primary goal is to get revenge on the evil humans who ravaged your home, stole your gold and killed your dragon mother. With lots of abilities and methods to dispatch your enemies, Dragon Wrath is a power fantasy with old-school graphics that’s a lot of fun.
Legion of the Damned (iPhone, iPad) $4.99
Tactical strategy title Legion of the Damned is based on the science fiction novels of William C. Dietz. If you’re a fan of those stories or of strong narratives finding their ways into your games, you’ll probably get a kick out of this one. In general, Legion of the Damned is a tight, turn-based strategy experience that will satisfy fans of the genre. It’s got a fairly lengthy campaign at 16 missions, plus pass-and-play multiplayer support for up to four players, as well as online multiplayer options. That’s a lot of strategy gaming to pack into one game, and with its sci-fi roots, Legion of the Damned stands above many of the other entries in the genre to be found in the App Store.