The best gaming apps for your iOS device this month
Below, we run through the ten best new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch games released within the past month. All titles are playable on all iOS devices unless otherwise indicated.
Buy from Apple1. Magic 2013 92 iPad Only
Card battle, free, ages 9+, from Wizards of the Coast
"I had just as much fun with the new iPad version as I did with the PC and console versions—perhaps even more so."
Also known as Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, this new release brings the popular collectible card game to the iPad for the first time, with both single- and multi-player modes; after playing the free version for a while, though, expect to shell out $9.99 to get the premium version, which brings many more decks, cards, and levels.
From the Publisher: Face a greater challenge with Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013! In the latest installment of this hit franchise, travel across the fantastic plane of Shandalar as you face encounters, and battle powerful Planeswalkers. Magic 2013 offers new features including statistics-tracking for your game play and, for those already skilled in slinging spells, the option to choose what lands to tap when you cast your spells.
[Free version of the] game includes:
• 3 decks with 5 unlockable cards each
• Single-player campaign across the plane of Shandalar
• 4 deadly opponents, including the Planeswalker Garruk Wildspeaker
• Encounters, a new feature in which you test your skills against different preset AI strategies
• Planechase mode, which changes the rules with a randomized deck of cards based on the planes of the Magic Multiverse
Buy from Apple2. SQUIDS Wild West 91
Strategy/RPG, $0.99, ages 4+, from The Game Bakers
"This game could sell for $35 on the 3DS and it wouldn't be out of place next to the other pieces of software available for the system."
This sequel to the tactical RPG SQUIDS improves everything about the original while retaining its casual and accessible approach to turn-based strategy.
From the Publisher: The Squids are back: bigger and better! The epic adventure continues as our band of stretchy heroes explore the underwater Wild West, fight back against the evil Black Ooze, and search for Winnick, their fallen comrade. If you don't know SQUIDS yet, SQUIDS Wild West is a great place to start! SQUIDS Wild West has a unique mix of action strategy and RPG: build your team of heroes for challenging turn-based battles against corrupted crabs and shrimp! This sequel is even better than the original, with many surprises in store: devious new enemies, four new playable characters, and nearly twice as many levels. You can even ride seahorses into battle!
- Brand new chapter in the funny and exciting SQUIDS saga
- Unique mix of turn-based tactics and classic RPG elements
- An epic adventure: hours of gameplay with varied missions and boss battles
- Simple controls: grab Squids by the tentacles, then fling them across the battlefield
- Four character classes with different abilities: shooters, scouts, troopers, and healers
- Recruit your own Squid army among 12+ playable characters
- Equip your Squids with special ability-boosting helmets
- Universal App with iCloud syncing—play on any device and store your progress!
Buy from Apple3. Little Things Forever 90
Puzzle, $2.99, ages 4+, from KLICKTOCK
"On every level, Little Things Forever hits all of the right notes: it is easy to pick up, fun to play alone or with a friend, simple yet challenging, and extremely replayable."
The sequel to 2010's Little Things asks you to search giant images constructed from hundreds of tiny objects for specific items.
From the Publisher: Little Things® Forever is the long awaited sequel to the iPad App of The Week, Little Things®. Features hundreds of improvements over the original and now available as a universal app on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Thousands of little things to find.
- Incredible artwork and a beautiful soundtrack.
- Retina display support on iPhone and the new iPad.
- Randomly generated lists of things to find means you can be entertained forever! Excellent value.
- 101 puzzle pieces to collect and 9 puzzles to solve.
- Built to last: Little Things® Forever will feature new puzzles delivered in future updates.
- Fun for all the family.
Buy from Apple4. WarGames: WOPR 88
Puzzle/Strategy, $0.99, ages 9+, from Be-Rad Entertainment
"This is one of the finest match-three puzzlers on the App Store, as well as a shockingly good movie-based game."
While it is officially licensed, this strategic puzzle game actually bears little resemblance to the 1980s movie in terms of gameplay, though it does use their voices, and fans will notice references throughout.
From the Publisher: Shall We Play A Game? This is THE officially licensed WarGames mobile game! Step into the role of the iconic WOPR computer as you wage intense battles of Global Thermonuclear War against characters from the movie. Take on David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick), Jennifer Mack (played by Ally Sheedy), McKittrick (played by Dabney Coleman), and others. Features: -Compelling storyline -40+ levels -24 Tactics and Mods to make your character more powerful, each with 6 upgradable levels -GameCenter achievements and leaderboards -iCloud enabled -Supports the New iPad's retina resolution
Gameplay: There are four tile types on the board at any given time. Drag your finger over as many similar tiles to create as long of a chain as possible. The longer the chain the bigger the bonus you'll get or more damage you'll deal to your opponent. Enemy Tiles: Your opponents will deploy tiles onto the board in an attempt to damage you and heal themselves. Match enemy tiles with regular tiles of the same type to damage and eventually destroy them. Enemy tiles are denoted by a pulsing crosshair. Tactics: Tactics are instant-use items deployable during battle. They do anything from dealing direct damage to your opponent, destroying enemy tiles, or nuking the whole board. They cost money to use (gain money by clearing money tiles). There are 12 unique tactics, each of which has 6 upgradable levels. Mods: Mods give passive bonuses and are always active during battle. Their powers range from increasing the amount of money gained each turn, adding to the value of a completed chain, or giving insane bonuses for completing long chains. There are 12 powerful mods and each one has 6 upgradable levels.
Buy from Apple5. Autumn Dynasty (2012) 86 iPad Only
Real-time strategy, $6.99, ages 9+, from Bulkypix
"A feature-packed RTS that's smart, intuitive, and has the gameplay chops to back up its gorgeous looks."
This challenging strategy title for the iPad utilizes eye-catching visuals inspired by a Chinese painting and an intuitive control scheme.
From the Publisher: For generations, the knowledge of firedust and the legend of the Thousand Sun Weapon have kept the Autumn Empire safe from foreign barbarians. But now, the government is weak and her officials corrupt. Masked subversives lead the peasants in righteous revolt, seeking to seize the secrets of Empire. As civil war threatens to tear the land asunder, will you take up the sword and stand on mountains to mend the sky?
The traditional Chinese painting becomes an epic battlefield in Autumn Dynasty – a revolutionary new Real Time Strategy game designed from the ground up for the iPad. Paint your battle plans directly onto the map and command your armies using simple gestures: employ terrain, positioning and cunning stratagems to defend your lands and conquer your foes!
Buy from Apple6. Asphalt 7: Heat 86
Racing, $0.99, ages 4+, from Gameloft
"While just as unrealistic as its predecessors, Asphalt 7 manages to turn up the notch on its presentation, game modes, AI and career progression, making it a hard to ignore example of fun Arcade Racing."
The latest installment in the arcade-style racing game series gives you a choice of 60 cars and 15 tracks, as well as improved graphics and multiplayer gameplay.
From the Publisher: Hit the speed of heat in the newest, fastest, most visually stunning edition of the famed Asphalt series. A FIRST-CLASS LINEUP Drive 60 different cars from the world's most prestigious manufacturers, like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Aston Martin, including the legendary DeLorean. RACE ACROSS THE GLOBE Gear up to race on 15 tracks set in real cities around the world, including brand new tracks in Hawaii, Paris, London, Miami and Rio. CHALLENGE THE WORLD The completely revamped multiplayer lets you take on up to 5 of your friends locally or online. Keep track of who's the best with the new Asphalt Tracker that lets you compare stats, show off achievements and challenge rivals. You can also find new online opponents with the matchmaking system. Practice hard, because there are special events that will pit you against the best in the world! YOUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY Play however you please with 6 different game modes packed with 15 leagues and 150 different races. CUTTING EDGE GRAPHICS Every car and track is more beautiful than ever thanks to graphics that push the limits of your device and the Retina display. A RECORD OF SUCCESS Acclaimed by both media and players, the Asphalt license has already attracted several million players worldwide... Come and join the ride!
Buy from Apple7. Mega Run - Redford's Adventure 85
Platformer, free, ages 4+, from Get Set Games
"Mega Run is an engrossing, vibrant game that has a fantastic presentation, controls and art direction. At its core, the action is pretty standard, but the execution is near flawless. Give it a spin."
The creators of Mega Jump return that game's cute cast for a cartoony take on the auto-runner genre; in-game purchases, while helpful, aren't required to advance.
From the Publisher: Redford's brother and sister have been kidnapped by a mysterious monster and taken far away! Join Redford on an amazing adventure across multiple worlds and dozens of challenging stages. Find Redford's lost family and discover new worlds to explore by following the trail of stolen coins and Forest Gems! Mega Run - Redford's Adventure is an epic platform game complete with an incredible cast of characters, fantastical landscapes to explore, and stacks of explosive powerups!
Buy from Apple8. Zombie Carnaval 85
Action, $0.99, ages 9+, from Mobigame
"Featuring Pixar-like graphics, simple controls, and plenty of content to keep us hooked, Zombie Carnaval is a surprisingly addictive and challenging affair."
Find out what it's like on the other side as you control a rampaging zombie in this endless runner action title notable for its strong graphic design.
From the Publisher: The zombies are revolting ! Take your place in a crowd of rampaging undead as you race through the city attacking the unfortunate survivors and adding them to your unstoppable throng of hungry, hot-footed horrors. It's a Zombie Carnaval out there, and everyone is invited! Beginning with a single zombie running through the streets, chase down the living and add them to your chaotic procession of dashing undead. The more people you bite and add to your ranks, the longer the Zombie Carnaval can charge across the planet, eating everything in its way. But brains aren't the only thing you can eat as the Zombie Carnaval gets into full swing. Devour the bonuses and power-ups to activate the Giant Zombie with multiple lasers shooting out of its many eyeballs, sneak around the cities as a netherworld Ninja, or clone members of your zombie hoard with the UFO. Zombie Carnaval is a fun-packed thrill-ride of destruction, excitement and tasty brains! Who can gather the biggest collection of charging zombies? Can you survive the gaping chasms, powerful bombs and streets filled with tanks with at least one flesh-eater still on its feet? Join the Zombie Carnaval and find out!
Buy from Apple9. Dungeon Village 85
RPG, $3.99, ages 4+, from Kairosoft
"It definitely feels like their most streamlined version of their formula so far, and comes strongly recommended if you haven't done the Kairosoft thing to death yet. But if you've had enough of the sim formula from Kairosoft you may want to give it a rest, lest you end up as burned out on it as I am."
The makers of Game Dev Story return with a new sim that asks you to build up your humble medieval village by sending your citizens out to battle monsters.
From the Publisher: Welcome to an epic RPG world in which the town you build can grow from humble hamlet into a mecca for the land's most ambitious adventurers! The enterprising warriors that stop by your blossoming burg will defeat monsters and earn you money. Conquering dungeons and clearing out hordes of monsters will bag you loot to stock your shops. And if your hamlet flourishes, adventurers will want to set up house and settle down! Build training facilities like Combat Schools and Magic Labs to hone your heroic denizens' skills and boost your village's Popularity. The more faces that flock to your cause, the bigger the baddies you can beat! An all-new "Cauldron" feature also allows you to test your alchemic expertise. Toss items obtained from quests or shops into the Cauldron and your armory might receive a rare addition. No dungeon is too deep! Make your village the crown estate of this bold RPG narrative!
Buy from Apple10. Mad Acorn 84
Rhythm, $1.99, ages 9+, from APD
"Mad Acorn hasn't much depth, but it does have some really nice visuals, the great art, and inherent replay value based on desire to get better, rather than through extraneous incentives. It's a great pick-up-and-play title and solid summer casual gaming choice."
This cartoony rhythm game plays like a mix between an endless runner and a fighting game; a separate free version lets you play the first four stages before committing to a purchase.
From the Publisher: Do you like Tap Tap Revenge, Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero? Then you'll LOVE Mad Acorn!! Mad Acorn is a revolutionary music rhythm game. TURN ON SOUND, pay attention to the music and you'll find the enemies coming towards you are actually music notes. Simply TAP anywhere on the screen to play the rhythm! All you need to do is TURN UP THE VOLUME, be one with the music and JUST TAP your finger anywhere on the screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Help private detective Mad Acorn in his adventures on a burning bridge, bullet train, radioactive sewer and deadly swamp. Mad Acorn improves his skill as you score combos and his fighting technics explode to the levels beyond the art of war.
|Uplink iPad only||Simulation||App store||$4.99||4+||83|
|Tiny Troopers||Action||App store||$2.99||12+||82|
|Pocket Planes||Casual||App store||Free||4+||80|
|Plague Inc.||Simulation||App store||$0.99||9+||78|
A few to avoid
No Red T-Shirts 52 currently holds the distinction of being the worst-reviewed June release for iOS, while Adventure Time - Legends of Ooo: Big Hollow Princess 56, based on the quirky Cartoon Network show, also received disappointing reviews.
What are you playing?
Have you tried any of the games above? If so, what did you think of them? Are there any other new iPhone or iPad games that deserve a download? Let us know in the comments section below.