Latest iOS games
Andrew Hayward looks at this month’s best new releases
If you’re out and about a lot this summer, then you might be in need of some new games to play on your iPhone. Luckily, we’ve a nice bounty of big and entertaining iPhone and iPad games, headlined by Gameloft’s glossy racing offering, Asphalt 9: Legends. Beyond that freemium gem, there’s also alluring indie game Holedown, location-based augmented reality blaster The Walking Dead: Our World, peculiar Japanese role-playing game Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2, and quite a bit more worth checking out.
1. Asphalt 9: Legends Price: Free from fave.co/2OUi651
After five years, Gameloft’s long-awaited sequel to Asphalt 8: Airborne (free from fave.co/2MyikNC) is finally here – and early on, Asphalt 9: Legends is every bit the fast, fun, and flashy sequel we’ve been looking for. Asphalt 9 doesn’t break at all from the series’ core approach of sending speedy cars barrelling across race tracks, all while grabbing huge air and smashing up rivals. What’s new here is an optional, superstreamlined TouchDrive control mode that handles the steering while you focus on drifting and boosting, plus there are 70 new tracks, fresh play modes, and plenty of unlockables. Asphalt 9 is also stunning: With fluid animation and loads of detail and effects, it’s easily one of the best-looking games on iPhone and iPad.
2. Holedown Price: £3.99 from fave.co/2vsv6XL
Holedown recalls brick-breaking classics like Breakout and Arkanoid, but instead of using a paddle to slap a ball at floating blocks, you’re launching balls deep below the surface of uncharted planets and watching them bounce freely. Each block requires a certain number of bounces to be cleared, so your goal is to fire the balls and hope they ping-pong around enough to keep the gradually-rising blocks from going over the line. A clever progression system keeps you inching ahead with improved skills and new planets to discover, making Holedown a tough game to put down.
3. The Walking Dead: our World Price: Free from fave.co/2OTNHE7
We’re finally seeing location-based Pokémon Go clones emerge on the App Store, and following the ho-hum Jurassic World Alive (free from fave.co/2vt13yX), now The Walking Dead: Our World is here to deliver augmented reality zombie-blasting. And as we found out during our hands-on testing earlier this month, it’s actually surprisingly compelling. You won’t be capturing the undead invaders, Pokémon-style. Instead, your real-world map is populated by missions, and when you run into zombies, they’re projected onto your surroundings via ARKit – and put in the line of sight of your favourite firearm. The effect is sometimes impressive and sometimes awkward – that’s AR for you – but even if you turn AR off, Our World is an amusing out-and-about diversion.
4. Motorsport Manager 3 Mobile Price: £3.99 from fave.co/2vsoWqA
Asphalt 9 is all about white-knuckle, wreck-inducing racing thrills, but as the title suggests, Motorsport Manager 3 Mobile puts you firmly on the sidelines. You’re not the driver behind the wheel, but rather the glue that keeps your racing team together – or perhaps the lubricant that ensures that the organization fires on all cylinders. As with past games, MM3M is a comprehensive simulation and a top-to-bottom experience: it’s everything but the actual racing, really. You’ll assemble the team, invest in new car technology and facility upgrades, tinker with race strategy, and even direct drivers on the track. It’s a meaty, detail-oriented game that’s well-primed for armchair motor sport gurus.
5. Shin Megami Tensei: Liberation Dx2 Price: Free from fave.co/2ORX0Eo
The Shin Megami Tensei role-playing game franchise enjoys a devoted following on consoles and handhelds, and now Liberation Dx2 brings the essence of the demon-battling experience to mobile. You play as a Devil Downloader, someone who is able to summon demons via a smartphone app – and the creatures themselves are incredibly varied. Better yet, they have unique personalities, and you’ll have to negotiate with them in conversation to add them to your party. Once done, however, Dx2 lets you take them into turnbased fights either within the story mode or online against other players. The game has familiar freemium annoyances along the way, but it’s packed with style.
6. Absolute Drift Price: £2.99 from fave.co/2MzlJvF
Here’s another driving game that’s not focused on racing at all. Absolute Drift is all about you, your car, and your ability to whip that ride around tight turns without bashing it into the nearest wall, or knocking over the stacks of tires that inevitably line the trickiest curves. It’s called the ‘Zen Edition’, but that prospective level of meditative bliss seems far out of reach at first. Drifting is an acquired skill in Absolute Drift, and you’ll inevitably practice time and again in the early stages, training missions, and free-roam playground to get a hang of the mechanics. But once you’re competent enough, Absolute Drift’s beautifully minimal stages really draw you in with their devious challenges.
Rhythm games are ideal for touch devices, given the ease of tapping to songs and the immediacy of doing so on the screen, and Nishan Shaman is another great example. Developed by university graduates from Chinese gaming giant Tencent, Nishan Shaman puts a folklore spin on the genre, telling the ancient tale of a reindeer shaman. As that shaman, you’ll roam the land warding off evil spirits by tapping your drum – and conveniently, the flying foes attack in time with the beat. Given that, each level takes on a musical edge as you defeat spirits and survive the gauntlet. Nishan Shaman is beautifully drawn, with rich illustrations and compelling cinematics, and while short it’s entirely free. You won’t find any surprise in-app purchases here.