The much-anticipated Unreal Engine 3 survival-horror title, Dark Meadow, hit the App Store today and leads off this week’s crop of best iPhone games. It’s spooky and packs gameplay that Infinity Blade fans will recognize (and love). Get the details below, then pick up four other great selections to take you through the weekend.
Dark Meadow (iPhone, iPad) $5.99
If you like ChAIR and Epic Games’ landmark title Infinity Blade, get ready for its horror equivalent. The Dark Meadow is built on the same graphics engine as Infinity Blade – Unreal Engine 3 – and packs great production values and gorgeous visuals. It also plays a lot like Infinity Blade, with similar combat. Rather than fighting monsters with swords, though, you’ll be battling demons and collecting clues to figure out what’s going on in a hellish, ruined hospital, where you’re trapped and surrounded by evil creatures. An interesting story and solid gameplay make up the core of Dark Meadow, and it brings a lot of spooky atmosphere along with it.
Commander Pixman (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Super-difficult old-school side-scrolling platformers should be a sub-genre in the iTunes App Store, because there are so many great ones. Commander Pixman is completely minimalist and ancient-looking in its graphical presentation, and it does a phenomenal job of invoking the kind of gameplay that’s hard to come by these days. It’s also extremely difficult: you’ll kill your Commander Pixman over and over and over again as you try to speedily complete each less-than-10-second level. But there’s a great deal of challenge in the game’s 80 levels, and it’s extremely easy to pick up and play.
Related: Five great games for the iPhone 4S
Gyro13 – Steam Copter Arcade HD (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Like Dark Meadow, Gyro13 makes use of Unreal Engine 3 to create some great-looking 3-D graphics. You play a gyrocopter pilot charged with rescuing miners from a huge underground cave. Gyro13 is all about precision. You need to carefully pilot your copter past rocks or it will explode from too many impacts, but speed is equally important. The result is a tense game in which you’ll fight to dodge obstacles with the game’s simple controls, racing to save miners before poison gas kills you all. It’s cheap and looks great, showing off the technology of the iPhone while keeping the gameplay straightforward and accessible.
Rocket Claw (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
If addictive casual games are your thing, Rocket Claw is a perfect pick. The game is as simple as it gets, with only one control. Tap the screen, and the robot you control (named C.L.A.W.D.) fires his claw and grabs whatever it is you tapped. C.L.A.W.D. is floating through space, and you score points by rescuing astronauts by snagging them with the claw, while defending yourself from asteroids and space junk by hitting them with the claw to destroy them or send them floating away. It’s just tapping, but a great graphical aesthetic and interesting power-ups makes Rocket Claw pretty enticing. It’s the kind of game that will have you chasing high scores and high rankings on its Game Center leaderboards.
FlipShip (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
In the vein of games such as Tilt to Live comes FlipShip, with a simple twist. The game places your spacecraft on a grid fighting off enemies that spawn endlessly and attempt to kill you. Mostly, your job is to dodge them by tilting your iOS device, but your ship will also automatically shoot back at enemies it can destroy. The trouble is, enemies come in two varieties, so you’ll need to tap the screen to switch between the two colors and destroy the enemies that match you. But when you flip, you lose the bonus points you’ve gained by killing lots of enemies in a row. It adds a bit of strategy to a familiar genre, and FlipShip is more than competent with its tilt controls and fast-paced twitch action.