Lat­est iOS games

An­drew Hayward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

iPad&iPhone user - - ROUND-UP -

There’s al­ways some­thing new to play on your iPhone or iPad, but with loads and loads of games pouring into the App Store every week, it can be tough to find the real gems in the pile. Luck­ily, our monthly iOS games round-up is de­signed to al­le­vi­ate that has­sle. The largest re­lease was surely the new Harry Pot­ter game, which lets you cre­ate your own witch or wizard and be­gin train­ing at Hog­warts, although we weren’t thrilled with the freemium ap­proach. Luck­ily, there’s plenty more worth con­sid­er­ing from the month.

1. Harry Pot­ter: Hog­warts Mys­tery Price: Free from

No, it’s not Niantic’s lo­ca­tion-based Harry Pot­ter game – that’s still com­ing in the fu­ture. Still, fans of the mas­sively pop­u­lar movie and book fran­chise might want to try Harry Pot­ter: Hog­warts Mys­tery, a new game that lets you cre­ate your own char­ac­ter and at­tend Hog­warts to train as a wizard or witch.

Hog­warts Mys­tery strongly looks and feels like a Harry Pot­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, as you lets you ex­plore Di­agon Al­ley and roam the halls of Hog­warts. That said, it’s a lim­ited af­fair: You’ll com­plete classes sim­ply by tap­ping but­tons that ap­pear, oc­ca­sion­ally draw a spell com­mand, or choose di­a­logue op­tions. And un­for­tu­nately, the freemium el­e­ments re­ally drain the fun even with the alluring at­mos­phere.

2. Od­dmar Price: £4.99 from

Here’s a stun­ning 2D plat­form-ac­tion af­fair that looks and plays like a full-blooded con­sole game. Od­dmar hails from the team be­hind the ex­cel­lent Leo’s For­tune, and it’s sim­i­larly lush and invit­ing. This time around, you’ll com­mand the tit­u­lar Vik­ing, an out­cast who stum­bles upon an op­por­tu­nity to redeem him­self by em­bark­ing on a grand quest.

Od­dmar’s hand-drawn, car­toon-like look is sim­ply stun­ning, and the blend of plat­form-hop­ping move­ment and puzzle-solv­ing sce­nar­ios is rich and en­ter­tain­ing. The touch con­trols seem up to the task of get­ting you through the 24 lev­els with­out un­needed frus­tra­tion, but you can use a gamepad if you re­ally want the full con­sole-like ex­pe­ri­ence.

3. Trick Shot 2 Price: £2.99 from

The orig­i­nal Trick Shot was a de­light­fully low-key, ob­ses­sion-wor­thy gem from a cou­ple years back, and now Trick Shot 2 has drib­bled onto the court with some ball-bounc­ing chal­lenges of its own. The core ob­jec­tive re­mains the same: you’ll need to fling a ball into a box, with bonus points for a swish. Sounds easy enough, right? Of course, it rarely ever is.

Trick Shot 2 ups the ante with tougher ob­sta­cles and stages, along with a level edi­tor for de­sign­ing and shar­ing your own in­sane chal­lenges. We rec­om­mend start­ing off with the orig­i­nal if you haven’t al­ready, but if you’ve done that and you find your­self crav­ing more, Trick Shot 2 is cer­tainly up to the task.

4. Brew Town Price: Free from

If you love the idea of brew­ing your own spe­cial beer and build­ing a craft em­pire, then you might get a kick out of Brew Town. This light­weight sim­u­la­tor and man­age­ment game lets you start small with an up-and-com­ing brew­ery and grad­u­ally grow it into an em­pire, all while get­ting hands-on in var­i­ous ways. You’ll choose from dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of beer and se­lect the spe­cial in­gre­di­ents that make each dis­tinct, even go­ing as far as de­sign­ing your bot­tles and cans. All the while, you’ll bot­tle fresh batches, ful­fil orders, up­grade build­ings, and try to trans­form your lit­tle op­er­a­tion into a last­ing busi­ness. Brew Town is a freemium game, but thank­fully it never feels pushy.

5. Ovivo Price: £1.99 from

Ovivo is an in­ven­tive lit­tle plat­form game that has drawn rave re­views since hit­ting iOS. What makes it so dis­tinc­tive? Aside from the min­i­mal, monochro­matic aes­thetic, Ovivo’s big­gest hook is the abil­ity to shift a lit­tle orb be­tween the white and black ar­eas of each level while grav­ity flows down­wards in white and up­wards in black.

The point of all this is to make your way across un­even and often oddly-shaped ter­rain, and you can only do so by swap­ping the ball be­tween the black and white ar­eas. And there’s more to it than that: you may also need to use these shifts to build mo­men­tum for over­com­ing larger gaps or ob­sta­cles, and some lev­els even find you es­cap­ing large pur­suers. It’s pretty mes­mer­iz­ing stuff.

6. Project High­rise Price: £3.99 from

If you have fond mem­o­ries of SimTower from the early 1990s or like the idea of a much meatier take on Tiny Tower, then Project High­rise might be right up your al­ley – at least if you have an iPad. It’s a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to SimTower, and it puts you in charge of nearly every as­pect of a sky­scraper and its in­hab­i­tants.

What’s your dream build­ing? Do you want to pack it with rental units and pent­houses, or build the world’s tallest stack of of­fices? You’ll han­dle con­struc­tion, rentals, and try to keep ten­ants happy, and you’ll delve into the nitty-gritty man­age­ment of elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, and more. It’s a deep, com­puter-style sim­u­la­tion that still works well on a tablet screen.

7. Touch­grind BMX 2 Price: Free from

It’s been seven years since the orig­i­nal iOS game, but Il­lu­sion Labs is fi­nally back with Touch­grind BMX 2, an up­dated ver­sion of the han­dle­bars-spin­ning, big air-grab­bing bike game. Can’t stom­ach the idea of bar­relling down­hill, vault­ing up a ramp, and pulling off stunts on your real bike? Well, here’s the next best thing. You’ll see only the bike on the screen, but you can ma­noeu­vre it over var­i­ous tracks with two fin­gers and then swipe when you want to spin and flip when air­borne. It looks great, feels re­spon­sive, and even lets you cus­tom­ize your own bike in var­i­ous ways. It’s like an amped-up ver­sion of those fin­ger-driven Tech Deck BMX toys, but thank­fully a lot eas­ier to com­mand.

8. The Pil­lars of Earth Price: £4.99 from

Based on the mas­sively pop­u­lar novel by Ken Fol­lett, The Pil­lars of the Earth is a nar­ra­tive ad­ven­ture game with a beau­ti­ful hand-drawn look and an en­gross­ing nar­ra­tive. It takes place in 12th-cen­tury Eng­land, where you’ll fol­low the vil­lage of Kings­bridge for 30 years af­ter its in­hab­i­tants start build­ing a cathe­dral.

It’s a tale of war, strug­gle, and ro­mance, and you’ll see it through the eyes of three dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters whose sto­ries in­ter­twine through­out the years. Only the first of three ‘books’ of chap­ters is in­cluded so far, with more to come, and re­views sug­gest that the quest thus far is slow-paced but ul­ti­mately com­pelling.

9. Van­dals Price: £3.99 from

If you en­joyed games such as Square Enix’s Lara Croft Go and Hit­man Go, then you’ll al­most cer­tainly dig Van­dals as well. In both vi­su­als and game­play, it’s a pretty clear homage to the whole Go fran­chise in that it in­volves stealth­ily nav­i­gat­ing fixed path­ways while com­plet­ing ob­jec­tives and evad­ing cap­ture.

The theme, though, is much dif­fer­ent. Van­dals is all about street art and self-ex­pres­sion, with your hooded artist at­tempt­ing to tag the world with his/her mes­sages and de­signs with­out be­ing scooped up by the po­lice. From what we’ve played, Van­dals doesn’t make any huge tweaks to the Go for­mula, but it’s a well-ex­e­cuted trib­ute none­the­less.

10. Pal­adins Strike Price: Free from

Hi-Rez Stu­dios’ Pal­adins: Cham­pi­ons of the Realm is one of the most pop­u­lar free-to-play Mac and PC shoot­ers right now, with an Over­watch-like pair­ing of ob­jec­tive­based game­play and bold, highly di­verse heroes to chose from. And now it’s on iOS de­vices with Pal­adins Strike, but this is a very dif­fer­ent take on the fran­chise.

The game keeps the colour­ful look and hero ros­ter, but in­stead of a first-per­son shooter, it’s more of a Vain­glory-es­que MOBA (mul­ti­player on­line bat­tle arena) game with a big­ger fo­cus on ac­tion. You’ll join up in five-player teams to com­plete ob­jec­tives – such as es­cort­ing a pay­load across the map – and as with the com­puter ver­sion, Hi-Rez ap­par­ently plans to build an e-sports scene around this ver­sion as well.

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