Though the big news from the past two weeks has centered around the business side of iOS gaming, this week was all about actual games – you know, the important stuff.
There were no rumored sales of major gaming companies, only updates to the legendary Doodle Jump and the almost-as-legendary Plants vs. Zombies going on sale. There were also huge releases, including a special edition of the best selling iOS game of all time, the latest from EA Sports and much, much more. And with that, on to the Games of the Week.
Galaxy on Fire 2 ($6.99)
If nothing else, Galaxy on Fire 2 (on sale for $6.99, regularly $9.99) deserves credit for being one of the most ambitious games to come to the App Store. The Fishlabs release is set in a massive virtual universe with more than 20 star systems and 100 space stations. There is also a deep storyline, with your goal being to guide the series’ hero Keith T. Maxwell across the galaxy back to home – though as you might guess, this can be a lengthy process full of side missions. Additionally the high resolution graphics are fantastic, and this sequel is an all-around improvement to the series’ first release. This is a no-brainer download for fans of the first Galaxy on Fire (and quick, before the price jumps up), and a great option for anyone hoping to get lost in an iOS game.
Angry Birds Halloween ($0.99)
I toyed with leaving the latest edition of Angry Birds out of this week’s list, but the market has spoken: Since its release late last week, Angry Birds Halloween ($0.99) has occupied one of the top three spots in the App Store’s paid app list along with the original Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. It is, for the most part, the exact same game, but with pumpkins and a very orange background. There are 45 levels and all the same physics-based catapult gaming the iOS world has come to love. There are a number of reasons Angry Birds is the best selling iOS game of all time, from addictive game play to wonderful presentation. While this version does not exactly improve on those things, it doesn’t have to.
MMA by EA Sports ($4.99)
Fight fans can rejoice, MMA by EA Sports ($4.99) marks the first mixed martial arts iOS game. I can safely say the game does everything necessary to appease fans of the fastest-rising sport, with 24 real fighters (including Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture and Ken Shamrock), a career mode and a solid control scheme. Instead of adopting vanilla action button/d-pad controls, this title uses tilt controls and a number of touch screen options, such as swiping and tapping. That makes the game feel unique to the device, which is always a plus for a console port. The usual limitations apply; the graphics simply do not stand up to other versions (but are still okay) and many features are limited when compared to their Xbox and PlayStation counterparts. But still, for a first game of its type, MMA by EA Sports is a fantastic app and one gamers who have been waiting for a MMA game should not hesitate to check out.
The match-three game has almost been done to death, though occasionally a game like Linkoidz ($1.99) comes along with just enough of a twist to breathe life into the genre. In this app you pull orbs from a stack and rearrange them to get the largest combos possible. While it may not sound revolutionary, it can take a few turns to discover the strategy that works best and, more importantly, it is a pretty fun game. There are three game modes and 30 missions as well, so the game is not without replay value. The visuals are cartoon-based and all kinds of colorful. Again, nothing revolutionary but they are nice enough. It is hard to recommend Linkoidz over any number of other similar games, but if you’ve become bored with Bust-A-Move or Bejeweled, this game can be a nice change of pace.
Worms 2: Armageddon ($4.99)
The debut of the turn-based strategy game Worms on the iPhone received mostly positive feedback from users, though critics were less flattering. The good news is that Worms 2: Armageddon ($4.99) offers all the goodies fans of the series have grown to love, in a much more polished product, so this time both critics and gamers will be happy. There is plenty of content, with tons of weapons, a multiplayer mode that works via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and a 30-mission campaign mode. Additionally, there are five new locations and a number of game play modes, so there is enough here to keep you entertained. Graphic snobs will likely not be impressed by the game and navigating your way around levels still feels a little off, so while this is an improvement it is not quite perfect. But still, Worms fans are sure to be satisfied by this quality release, as long as you’re not expecting perfection.