Lat­est iOS games

An­drew Hay­ward looks at this month’s best new re­leases

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

It’s been a big month for meaty iOS game re­leases. Games like Pro­fes­sor Lay­ton and the Cu­ri­ous Vil­lage, Life is Strange: Be­fore the Storm, and Mon­ster Hunter Sto­ries (pic­tured) all made the move over from ded­i­cated gam­ing plat­forms, but there are some mo­bile-only gems in the mix here too, such as Al­phabear 2 and Wall Kick­ers.

1. Al­phabear 2 Price: Free from fave.co/2O3Osh7

The orig­i­nal Al­phabear was a de­light, so it should come as no sur­prise that se­quel Al­phabear 2 is sim­i­larly charm­ing and en­thralling. As be­fore, you’ll build words out of the Scrab­ble-like let­ter tiles in view, but there’s quite a bit more go­ing on than that. Each tile is only vi­able for a few turns, and if you don’t use it, the tile turns to stone – and that’s a prob­lem, be­cause the tiles you do use turn into cute, car­toon bears, and you want to grow the largest bears you can. Sound… strange? Sure, that’s fair. But it’s an odd con­coc­tion that works won­der­fully, and Al­phabear 2 adds in new gamem­o­d­i­fy­ing bear types, bonus modes, and even a bit of story around the fan­tas­tic puz­zle play.

2. Pro­fes­sor Lay­ton and the Cu­ri­ous Vil­lage Price: £9.99 from fave.co/2yjH6v0

Pro­fes­sor Lay­ton and the Cu­ri­ous Vil­lage is a Nin­tendo DS clas­sic from a decade back, and now it’s been re­mas­tered and slightly re­jigged to work on your iPhone or iPad in­stead. And all these years later, this puz­zler re­mains plenty com­pelling. As Lay­ton and his as­sis­tant Luke, you’ll ex­plore the vil­lage of St. Mys­tere to solve its many rid­dles, in­clud­ing brain teasers and logic puz­zles. All the while, you’ll ad­vance the story and learn more about what drew the char­ac­ters there. It’s a shame that the old cut-scenes are stuck in por­trait ori­en­ta­tion with lots of wasted space above and be­low, but oth­er­wise this old gem makes a fine tran­si­tion and is a great pick for ob­ses­sive puz­zle fans.

3. Life is Strange: Be­fore the Storm Price: Free from fave.co/2yh­wugs

The orig­i­nal Life is Strange was one of our top picks of 2017, with the multi-part nar­ra­tive game de­liv­er­ing a tale of in­trigue as you con­trolled a teenage girl sud­denly im­bued with time-al­ter­ing pow­ers. Pre­quel story Life is Strange: Be­fore the Storm chucks the su­per­nat­u­ral com­po­nent, but still serves a pur­pose for fans of the orig­i­nal game. Be­fore the Storm shifts the fo­cus from orig­i­nal pro­tag­o­nist Max to her mem­o­rable friend Chloe, and it’s still all about mak­ing choices in some­times tense sit­u­a­tions. The new ‘Back­talk’ fea­ture is an in­ter­est­ing twist, let­ting you try to strate­gi­cally (or ag­gres­sively) talk your way out of con­flicts, but the real draw here is how Be­fore the Storm ex­pands the orig­i­nal’s world a bit. The free down­load in­cludes a brief demo, and then you can buy the in­di­vid­ual episodes or bun­dles if you wish to pro­ceed.

4. NBA 2K19 Price: £7.99 from fave.co/2ygTmwp

2K Sports’ NBA 2K fran­chise has ruled the con­sole scene for ages now, and it’s like­wise the peren­nial favourite on the App Store. NBA 2K19 proves that once again. At a glance, it’s pretty im­pres­sive. Cer­tainly, it doesn’t have any­where near the same level of pol­ish or vis­ual fidelity of the £45 con­sole game, but the play­ers look good and move well – for a mo­bile game, it shines. By and large, NBA 2K19 looks and plays sim­i­larly to last year’s en­try, but along­side up­dated ros­ters, this edi­tion adds a story mode that lets you play through past real-life NBA dy­nas­ties and re­live their glory days. To­gether with the ca­reer and on­line mul­ti­player modes, this is a richer sim­u­la­tion than you’d ex­pect for £8 on an iPhone or iPad.

5. Mon­ster Hunter Sto­ries Price: £19.99 from fave.co/2O8SK6I

If you like the looks of Dra­galia Lost but would rather just pay up­front and en­joy an epic role-play­ing quest with­out nag­ging mi­cro­trans­ac­tions, then con­sider Cap­com’s Mon­ster Hunter Sto­ries. Yes, that £20 price tag is daunt­ing for a mo­bile re­lease, but it’s a port of a pop­u­lar Nin­tendo 3DS game that costs twice as much, and it looks much bet­ter here, any­way. Mon­ster Hunter Sto­ries puts you in com­mand of a hero who joins up with an ar­ray of beasts, and then you’ll take them into bat­tle to fight larger mon­sters found in the wilds. It’s a lit­tle bit Poké­mon-es­que in that re­gard, but ul­ti­mately this is a big, beau­ti­ful, turn-based RPG that you could po­ten­tially pump hours into. And thank­fully, there’s a free demo ver­sion to try be­fore you buy.

6. Wall Kick­ers Price: Free from fave.co/2DX3UqE

Wall Kick­ers isn’t about mis­placed ag­gres­sion, but rather vault­ing a lit­tle pixel char­ac­ter sky­ward by bounc­ing from wall to wall while avoid­ing myr­iad ob­sta­cles. And it’s rarely as sim­ple as just bounc­ing back and forth be­tween par­al­lel walls. Much of the time, there are just in­di­vid­ual, float­ing walls, which means you’ll need to use longer jumps and aerial back flips to bound be­tween them, or even switch from one side to the other. Add in spikes, elec­tric walls, and other haz­ards, and Wall Kick­ers al­ways finds a way to keep you on your toes (or in the air).

7. Val­leys Be­tween Price: Free from fave.co/2yh9HBv

Val­leys Be­tween is a gor­geous puz­zler about the ebb and flow of na­ture. Sim­ple swipes are used to raise and lower chunks of ter­rain, which gen­er­ates dif­fer­ent re­sults. For ex­am­ple, you might raise up some trees and then com­bine them into a for­est, which also cre­ates new land nearby, or raise up some grass to help an­i­mals wan­der across the grid. Lit­tle haz­ards such as fires or bro­ken obelisks pop up along the way, but your ac­tions (or those of the an­i­mals you help) can solve the prob­lem and con­tinue na­ture’s healthy ex­pan­sion. It’s a lot to take in right off the bat, ad­mit­tedly, but with such a sooth­ing and al­lur­ing aes­thetic within, that’s re­ally not too much to ask.

8. Warham­mer: Age of Sig­mar – Realm War Price: Free from fave.co/2RqLmBL

We’ve seen an over­whelm­ing num­ber of Warham­mer games on the App Store in re­cent years, but if you can tol­er­ate one more, Age of Sig­mar – Realm War might be worth the at­ten­tion. On the sur­face, it’s the fan­tasy fran­chise’s take on Clash Royale and Star Wars: Force Arena, as you wield char­ac­ter cards in bat­tle to take down en­emy tow­ers and crush your op­po­nent. Realm War brings in some in­ter­est­ing tweaks, how­ever, in­clud­ing a Realm­gate side path on the board that lets you un­lock bonus cards, plus a wide range of hero tech­niques and at­tacks that give the game a uniquely Warham­mer feel. It brings a lit­tle bit more of the MOBA (mul­ti­player on­line bat­tle arena) feel into the Clash Royale-like for­mula, and also looks darn good do­ing so.

9. Where Shad­ows Slum­ber Price: £4.99 from fave.co/2OacuXV

Where Shad­ows Slum­ber is a tap-driven ad­ven­ture about nav­i­gat­ing tricky en­vi­ron­ments. Your lantern­wield­ing char­ac­ter can har­ness light and shad­ows to help re­veal un­seen items and puz­zle-solv­ing el­e­ments in the world around him. Walk­ing be­hind a pil­lar, for ex­am­ple, casts a large shadow on the rest of the level. Tip­toe­ing around makes the shadow shift, of course, but look, now there’s a bridge where there wasn’t be­fore. You’ll have to play around with your lo­ca­tion and the var­i­ous parts of the en­vi­ron­ment to find these mys­ti­cal sur­prises, but it’s enough to add a cu­ri­ous twist to the fa­mil­iar Mon­u­ment Val­ley ap­proach and give Where Shad­ows Slum­ber a unique hook.

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