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.
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.
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.
Quiz Buddies is a new Facebook and mobile game from Playdemic. It’s available now on both platforms, and features cross-platform play between the Facebook and iOS versions. The iOS version does not require a Facebook login to play — the game also features a proprietary username system whereby friends can compete against one another without requiring a connection to the social network. This review is based on the Facebook version of the game.
Quiz Buddies is a simple asynchronous multiplayer quiz game that pits two friends against each other in an attempt to score as many points as possible over the course of five questions. The questions are initially all general knowledge, multiple-choice challenges, but as the player progresses through the game, they can unlock various themed question packs. These question packs may also be acquired by asking friends or paying real money.
Gameplay in Quiz Buddies is designed to be quick and easy to understand. Players must simply answer questions as quickly as possible, at which point they gain points if the question was correct, plus a bonus depending on how quickly they answered. This bonus can potentially double their winnings for a single question, and this score may be further increased by using a once-per-game powerup that doubles the score attained for a single correct answer. Two additional powerups are also available: one swaps the current question for a new one, and the other removes two incorrect answers, giving stumped players a 50/50 chance of guessing the correct one.
Take It Easy is an iOS game from Ravensburger Digital. It’s available now from the App Store — its regular price is $1.99, but at the time of writing it is available for free as Apple’s App of the Week. The game has no additional in-app purchases.
Take It Easy is an adaptation of a board game that has been around since 1983, and has subsequently been expanded on by two slightly more complex quasi-sequels known as Take It Higher and Take It To The Limit. At heart, it is a simple mathematical puzzle game that can be played quickly by any number of players including solitaire, making it ideal for adaptation to mobile gaming.
The basic gameplay of Take It Easy involves randomly drawing hexagonal tiles and placing them on a hexagonal grid made up of 19 smaller hexes. There are 27 different tiles available to the player, so not all of them will be used in a single game. Each tile features three colored lines, each of which is marked with a number. Vertical lines may have a value of 1, 5 or 9; diagonal lines running top-left to bottom-right may have a value of 3, 4 or 8; diagonal lines running bottom-left to top-right may have a value of 2, 6 or 7. The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible by laying tiles in such a manner as to create unbroken lines across the entire board. If a line is unbroken, it scores the number of points of all its constituent parts added together — for example, a five-tile vertical line made up of 9s will score a total of 45 points. The key to success is in placing tiles that will allow multiple lines in different directions to be completed simultaneously — there is a degree of luck in terms of the tiles that are drawn, but for the most part the game is a strategic, skilful one that rewards careful planning.
Cut the Rope: Time Travel is a new mobile game from Zeptolab, and the third in the popular physics-based puzzle series. It’s available for $0.99 on iPhone, $2.99 on iPad and for free on Android. This review is based on the iPhone version.
For those unfamiliar with the Cut the Rope series, they are simple physics puzzle games in which the player must drop a piece of candy into the mouth of a hungry green monster named Om Nom. The candy is typically suspended at an inconvenient place in the level by one or more ropes, so the player must determine which of the ropes must be cut by swiping through them in order to get the candy into Om Nom’s mouth. Further challenges are provided by gold stars scattered around each level, which the player must cause the candy to pass through on its way to Om Nom if they want to get the best scores.
Cut the Rope: Time Travel doesn’t deviate particularly far from this formula. The basic gameplay is the same, but the main difference is that in most levels, you’ll be feeding two Om Noms instead of one — one is the Om Nom from “our” time, while the other is supposedly one of his ancestors from the time period each of the sets of levels is based around. Both Om Noms must be successfully fed in order to pass the level.
iSniper World is an iOS game from Triniti Interactive. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases. It’s currently showing up in the New & Noteworthy section of the App Store.
iSniper World is a simplistic first-person shooter game with, as the name suggests, a focus on picking people off from a long distance away. The game places the player in the role of a skilled sniper sitting atop a building opposite a compound filled with generic “terrorists,” and must simply pick off as many as possible before a timer expires. Shooting targets in the head kills them instantly and rewards the player with a two-second time bonus; each successful successive kill without missing a shot — regardless of how many shots it took to actually take the target down — adds to a combo meter, which provides the player with a score bonus at the conclusion of the mission.
Controlling iSniper World is very simple. The target area is initially viewed from far out so the player is able to survey the entire battlefield. Upon spotting a target, a simple tap on the screen zooms in and looks through the sniper scope. The player may fine-tune their aim by either dragging on the screen or tilting the device depending on their preferences, and a shot fired by tapping the fire button in the corner of the screen. The scope may also be zoomed in and out with an on-screen control, but in practice this is largely unnecessary.
Fruit Blast Mania (known as Fruit Mania in the U.K.) is a new iOS game from TeamLava and Storm8. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Fruit Blast Mania is a color-matching puzzler in the Diamond Dash mold — that is, its basic mechanic requires the player to spot groups of two or more like-colored objects that are orthogonally adjacent to each other, then click on them to make them disappear. Making larger groups disappear at once scores more points, and leaving gaps in the arrangement will cause objects to “fall” down from above to fill the gap — or, in the case of gaps of a column or more in width, to “fall” sideways to ensure the remaining objects continue to be arranged in a single group.
Rather than taking the “blitz” approach as in Diamond Dash and many of its ilk, however, Fruit Blast Mania is based around a linear series of objective-based levels. In some levels, you’ll have to drop baby animals down to the bottom of the screen by clearing objects out from underneath them. In others you’ll have to fill a meter by clearing specific colors in groups as large as possible. In some you’ll have a move limit; in others the level will be taller than the screen. Later levels include optional “challenges” that can earn players additional rewards if they are completed in addition to the level’s usual objectives. If you run out of moves or get yourself into a situation where the objective has not been completed and there are no more available matches, the level is failed, though this being a free-to-play game there is, of course, a means of attempting to buy your way out of failure either with additional moves or dropping new objects into the arrangement. This is not a guarantee of success, however.
Just Sing It is a new iOS game from AnyoneGame. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
Just Sing It takes the popular asynchronous multiplayer format of games such as Draw Something and transplants it to the world of popular music rather than crudely-drawn depictions of various things. The game is a non-competitive social experience, much like Draw Something, in which pairs of players take it in turns to sing at each other while the other attempts to guess what the song they are singing is.
The game requires logging in using either Facebook or a proprietary account before it can be played. Once logged in, the player will almost certainly have at least one game with a random opponent waiting for them. Games unfold in two main phases: singing and guessing. In the singing phase, the player picks a genre of music then one of three different available songs to sing, then sings it. In the guessing phase, the player listens to their partner and must guess the name of the song they are singing. The guessing player is given a few clues, however — they are shown how many words the song has in its title, and are given a selection of words to choose from to construct the title.
GolfStar is a new iOS game from Com2uS. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
GolfStar, as the name suggests, is a golf game, and like most of Com2uS’ other titles, it is a free-to-play game designed primarily to be enjoyed socially. The game begins with players creating their golfer avatar, which may be male or female and customized to a limited degree, and then moves straight into a tutorial that introduces the control scheme. The basic gameplay is very similar to how golf games have always been — players tap to start a swing meter moving, tap again to set power, then tap a third time as the meter returns towards the zero mark to set the accuracy of the shot. The player may aim their shot by tapping on the screen and then dragging a marker around, and an indicator on the power meter shows the suggested amount of power the player will need to reach the pin if they are within range.
As the player plays matches and levels up, they gain access to various items and skills which can be used to improve their game. Consumable items include a “putting guide” that shows the trajectory of the ball when putting and various “drinks” that make it easier to score perfect shots or set an appropriate power level. The player also earns currency through play, which allows them to purchase new equipment items that change the appearance of their character and improve their stats. Players’ stats also improve every time they level up.