Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is a new release from Adult Swim and its regular collaborator PikPok. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
The original Robot Unicorn Attack, which began life as a Web game and then saw numerous ports and quasi-sequels on both the Web and mobile, was one of the games that, alongside Canabalt, helped to popularize the “endless runner” genre. Marrying simple controls with challenging gameplay, the original Robot Unicorn Attack was an immensely addictive game that saw players challenging a series of randomly-generated levels in a constant attempt to better their score. The only controls were a jump button and a dash button, the latter of which could be used to break through certain obstacles.
Robot Unicorn Attack 2 hasn’t tampered with this existing formula all that much, but there are a few notable changes. Firstly, rather than randomly-generated levels, players tackle a different stage each day. There is no play-throttling mechanic, so players may challenge the level as many times as they please in a single day and, because it is the same each time, theoretically get better and better each time as they learn where the various obstacles are.
Bubble Loop is a new Facebook game from Royal Cactus. It’s available now for anyone to play, and is currently being advertised in the sidebar module in Facebook’s App Center.
It’s not difficult to work out what kind of game Bubble Loop is from its rather literal title — with a name like that it’s either going to be a bubble shooter or a Zuma/Puzz Loop clone, and in this case it’s the latter. This is somewhat better than contributing to the oversaturation of genres such as Bejeweled- and Diamond Dash-style “match-3″ puzzlers and traditional bubble shooters, but it’s still an unoriginal concept at its core. That said, Bubble Loop does provide a couple of interesting twists on the usual formula that make it mildly worthy of note — but ultimately it’s still an inferior knockoff of Zuma.
For those unfamiliar with the Zuma/Puzz Loop formula, it is similar to other match-3 genres in that players shoot out colored objects and must form groups of three or more of the same color. Here, though, rather than swapping gems around on a grid or shooting bubbles at a predefined arrangement, the colored orbs here roll slowly around a predefined track on their way to dropping down a hole. If the pearls drop down the hole before the level’s objective has been completed, the player fails. If the player runs out of time, the pearls immediately rush forward and drop down the hole, failing the level if they have not completed the objective by this point. The one interesting twist on the usual formula that Bubble Loop provides is the facility to end a level early — if the player completes all of the objectives for a level and does not wish to continue playing until time expires or the pearls fall down the hole, they can simply click an “End Game” button to prematurely end the level. This is obviously not the best way to get high scores, but for those primarily playing solo and attempting to “beat” the game, it is an efficient means of making rapid progress.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run (hereafter Rooftop Run) is a new iOS game from Nickelodeon. It’s available now as a $1.99 download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases. The game displays a prominent advisory message about in-app purchases upon being run for the first time.
Rooftop Run is, as its name suggests, another in the long line of endless runner games available on the App Store. Taking on the role of one of the four Turtles, the player must survive as long as possible against endless waves of Foot Clan ninjas while simultaneously ensuring they do not fall off the rooftops or run out of “speed” — a constantly-diminishing resource that causes the game to end if it depletes completely, but which can be replenished by collecting glowing green energy orbs scattered around the play area. Filling the speed bar completely causes the game to switch to “Turtle Time,” at which point the player can gain bonuses by fighting off incoming Foot Clan ninjas with taps on the screen in indicated positions. After Turtle Time ends, play continues, but the speed bar begins to deplete more quickly, making it more difficult to fill again.
Foxli Rush is a new Facebook game from NGames. It’s available now in open beta on Facebook, and is currently advertising heavily in the social network’s sidebar module.
Foxli Rush is a simple combination of citybuilder and role-playing game, in which players take on the role of either the male FoxLi or his female counterpart Peach, who is pretty much the same sprite but pink instead of red. Players must help train FoxLi or Peach by sending them on expeditions, equipping them with items, building an army for them and constructing buildings in their home town that help to power them up and provide them with income.
The flow of the game in its early stages is very heavily directed by quests, most of which hold the player’s hand a little too enthusiastically, initially pointing out every single button they need to click on and even where to place new buildings. As the player progresses, the game does start to relax a little, but the quest system is still a little stifling, railroading the player down a single path for far too long rather than allowing them to discover things for themselves — or even to present them with a choice of things to do at any one time.
Draw Something 2 is a new release from Zynga, currently available as both free and paid downloads for iOS and coming soon to Android. The game is featured in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store front page, but is not an Editor’s Choice app.
OMGPOP’s Draw Something became something of a phenomenon when it was originally released, capturing the public’s imagination with its simple asynchronous gameplay and wide variety of words to guess. The game’s immense success, of course, led Zynga to acquire OMGPOP for an astonishing $180 million, after which the game gradually started to decline in popularity. A number of reasons were cited for this — firstly, people were simply getting bored with it; secondly, Zynga’s involvement had led the game to become very obviously “sponsored,” with a variety of brand names starting to show their faces in the word lists; thirdly, there were players out there who simply disliked Zynga and no longer wanted to support the game now it wasn’t the work of a plucky independent developer.
The original Draw Something’s gameplay had one big flaw in terms of gameplay: it didn’t really have a “point.” It wasn’t competitive at all, unlike many other asynchronous mobile games; there was no way to “win” or “lose” — all you could do was try and get as long a streak of correct guesses as possible when playing with a friend. There was no real reward for getting a long streak, however, just as there was no punishment for breaking one. This lack of tension and competition doubtless also played a role in the game’s gradual decline.
Bookworm Heroes is a new iOS release from PopCap. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Bookworm Heroes is an adaptation of one of PopCap’s older games, Bookworm, which has been around in one form or another since 2003. In practice, however, it’s not all that similar to the original Bookworm at all, save for the fact that it involves building words, and that it features the titular Bookworm named Lex as a mascot character.
Laboratz is a Facebook game from French developer Adictiz. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and showed up as the No. 2 emerging Facebook game last week.
Laboratz is a virtual card game based heavily on the “Triple Triad” minigame from Square Enix’s 1999 PlayStation role-playing game Final Fantasy VIII, though no acknowledgement is given to its obvious inspiration. The game sees players collecting a variety of cards that depict cartoonish mutated rats and then using these cards to battle against other players. As the player progresses through the game, they will be able to obtain new cards and upgrade their existing ones.
Ugly Animals is a new iOS game from Cerasus Media. It’s available now as a free download for iPhone and iPad, and is currently featured as a New & Noteworthy app on the App Store’s front page. The game carries a single in-app purchase to unlock its full content and remove advertising.
Ugly Animals is a physics-based puzzle game in which the titular ugly animals (actually more monsters in most cases) must woo the ladies of their dreams by putting gift boxes in specific locations. Gift boxes, like most other objects in the game, are affected by the laws of gravity and physics, and thus must be sitting on something stable when placed on the marker in order to register as a success for the level.
Jelly Glutton is a Facebook game from Royal Cactus. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and is currently showing up in the Trending section of the Games category on App Center.
Jelly Glutton is a match-3 puzzle game that takes very strong cues from King’s immensely popular Candy Crush Saga. In other words, it takes a linear level-based structure with a variety of different objectives to complete, ranging from attaining a specific score in a set number of moves to clearing all of the “jelly” from a stage by making matches atop it. As the player progresses through the levels, they proceed through a number of different visual themes, all of which are food-based. This gives a degree of variety to the game’s aesthetic, if not the gameplay.
Fish Out Of Water is a new iOS game from Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride developer Halfbrick. It’s available now as a $0.99 download from the App Store, carries additional in-app purchases and is, at the time of writing, the Editor’s Choice game of the week.
Like most of Halfbrick’s other titles, Fish Out Of Water is a very simple game designed to be friendly to quick play sessions, but also not to limit the amount a player can enjoy in one go. The basic mechanics are perhaps the simplest out of all of the developer’s games: players have a selection of fish, and must “skim” them across the water in order to attain the highest possible combination of skips and distance with three throws. Each of the available fish have their own particular abilities — some skip a lot, others bounce high and are easier to make travel further — so it’s important for the player to learn how each fish handles and use them appropriately. Fish may be “boosted” by tapping on the screen while they are airborne, but the amount this can be done is limited by an on-screen meter. The boost meter may be replenished if the fish collects “boosties” — glowing orbs that are scattered randomly at various altitudes along the course. Once three fish have been thrown, a selection of crab judges, each of whom supposedly has their own “personality” and criteria for marking, scores the player’s performance out of ten. After this, the game begins again.