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. The King of Fighters–i 2012 88
Fighting, $6.99, ages 12+, from SNK Playmore
"The King of Fighters might very well be the new king of iOS fighters, thanks to its massive roster and inclusion of excellent online play."
Possibly the best fighting game released for iOS devices to date, this 2012 update adds a dozen new characters and online multiplayer to last year's already-solid first edition.
From the Publisher: 32 playable characters!! Fight against the strongest players from all over via Wi-Fi Network!! 6 different game modes available in SINGLE MODE to enjoy the game for hours and hours even alone! Simple Commands allow to easily perform any type of combo! The 2D versus fighting game "KOF-i" returns on iPhone / iPod touch with tons of new content like never before!!
- VS BATTLES FROM ALL OVER VIA WI-FI A"RANK VERSUS" Mode, in which your player ranking changes depending on your number of victories and losses, as well as a "FRIEND VERSUS" Mode, where your rank is not reflected, are available. Challenge the strongest players from all over!
- A SINGLE-PLAYER MODE RICH IN CONTENT 6 game modes are available for thousands of hours of enjoyment even when playing alone: "SINGLE BATTLE" for 1-on-1 fights, "TEAM BATTLE" for classic KOF 3-on-3 gameplay, "ENDLESS" Mode to defeat as many opponents as possible with one character, "CHALLENGE" Mode to clear trials by fulfilling requirements, the newly introduced "TIME ATTACK" Mode to compete for the best clear times by winning 10 matches, and "TRAINING" Mode to get accustomed to the Virtual Pad-based controls and practice your combos.
- SIMPLE COMMANDS The Virtual Pad recreates perfectly reproduces KOF's smooth controls. Even novice players in fighting games will be able to release various Special Moves, Super Special Moves, NEOMAX Super Special Moves, and other complex moves in one touch. With the Simple Commands, you can easily perform many of the game's fancy combos!! *Please refer to "TUTORIAL" Mode for an explanation of these commands.
Buy from Apple2. LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias 88
Adventure/Platformer, $3.99, ages 9+, from Frontier Developments
"Featuring much improved controls and a more robust story, Lost Winds 2 is everything we could have hoped it would be."
While the iOS port of the first LostWinds (originally a WiiWare game) was disappointing to many critics, this bigger, better sequel shines on Apple's mobile devices.
From the Publisher: The award-winning, enchanting 'LostWinds' adventure continues! Amazing new season-switching gameplay. Incredible new wind powers at the tips of your fingers. Beautiful visuals. Expansive new environments to explore. Charming new characters, and an absorbing storyline. Each element builds on the success of the first game to make 'LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias' an unmissable experience on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.
Switch seasons back and forth between Winter and Summer at will, and use all Enril the Wind Spirit's awesome new elemental powers - plus those from the first game - to successfully guide and protect the young boy Toku. Evil Balasar has sent a poisonous, powerful adversary and a host of new minions to thwart your ongoing battle to lift his curse and save the enchanting world of Mistralis.
A quest to rescue Toku's mother, Magdi, becomes a race against time through spectacular and richly interactive new regions of Mistralis. Toku and Enril journey through the picturesque Summerfalls Village – now beset by a sinister eternal winter and living in fear of Snow Monsters - to the frozen mountains of Chilling Peaks and the magnificent, seemingly deserted Melodia City. They come to realize that the shadowy hand of Balasar has entwined Magdi's immediate fate with the disappearance of the ancient Melodia people centuries ago…
Buy from Apple3. Air Mail 87
Adventure/Simulation, $4.99, ages 4+, from Chillingo
"It looks fantastic, provides solid options for controls and has a cool story that makes each and every task feel important."
A flying simulation with missions linked together by an ongoing story, Air Mail is notable for its stunning graphics.
From the Publisher: The sky's the limit... Welcome to the beautiful world of Air Mail, where you take to the skies as a fearless letter-carrying, disaster-averting pilot. Simply stunning in its presentation, with incredibly deep gameplay, this is one flight you can't afford to miss.
- MIND-BLOWING VISUALS One of the most stylish and best looking games on the App Store. Air Mail draws you into it's gorgeous world from take off to landing, with full Retina support for the new iPad.
- LET'S FLY Choose one of three control schemes depending on your style. Each has been expertly designed to feel intuitive and natural.
- WHAT AN ADVENTURE Choose one of three game modes to play through. Mission Mode is an epic story spread over seven chapters, Express Delivery is a score-attack mode, and Explore Mode lets you do just that—explore the islands collecting hidden items.
Buy from Apple4. Bee Leader 86
Action, $0.99, ages 4+, from Flightless
"The whole package is a visual treat with a real knack for design, and it's also a fun, fresh game."
Help your bee gather nectar in four stylishly designed 2D environments.
From the Publisher: Fly around the world and hover over flowers to collect nectar. Look out for enemies and bad weather! Collect as much nectar as you can before the sun sets. The faster you get nectar back to your hive the more honey you'll make! Pick up plenty of bonuses along the way - nectar, honey, time, and bee buddies. The more bee buddies you find, the more nectar you'll collect. More nectar means more honey - sweet!
To climb up the Bee Leader ranks fly through different worlds making honey - Just Desert, Country Life, City Heights and Island Time. Each world has different obstacles, enemies, flowers, bonuses to break open and other fun interactive goodies. Some worlds are small, others are big, and there's a few surprises along the way.
Control your bee using your preferred method: joystick, touch or tilt. You can also remotely control Bee Leader using another iOS device via wifi or Bluetooth using Joypad.
Buy from Apple5. The Sandbox 85
Simulation, free, ages 4+, from Bulkypix
"A remarkable little app that will keep you busy for ages."
Play god in this freemium, pixel-art-style world creation game that asks you to create an environment from the ground up, with two dozen missions to challenge you along the way.
From the Publisher: The Sandbox is a unique powder game that provides you with your very own "physics sandbox" and gives you god-like powers, right on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad!
Imagine creating your own universe (complete with amazing Pixel Art), composing your own music, and much, much more. The universe is yours to create or destroy, and the only limit is your imagination!
Start from scratch with basic building blocks like stone, water and soil. Once you discover mud and sand, you’re on your way! Grow plants, build walls, and gain access to advanced tools for crafting more and more complex elements.
Before long, you’ll be able to access non-organic elements like metal and light bulbs, allowing you to populate your universe with creations both natural and technological.
Buy from Apple6. Score! Classic Goals 85
Sports, $0.99, ages 4+, from First Touch
"Score! Classic Goals is a fantastic idea, executed marvelously. Why did no one think of this sooner?"
Every month seems to bring another iOS soccer game, but this one takes a unique approach, asking you to recreate the most memorable goals from the sport's history.
From the Publisher: Have you got what it takes to score the match winning goal? Recreate your favourite goals from the past 4 decades in this unique soccer based puzzle game! Soccer fan or not, this app will keep you entertained for hours!
- Recreate classic goals from the past 4 decades of international soccer!
- Pass, Cross & Shoot using our intuitive swipe mechanics
- Smart defensive AI will react to shots and passes, making you feel like you’re part of the action
- Precision controls for sensational top-corner shots
- Just one more turn! Gameplay that’s easy to pick up, tough to put down
- 240 levels with 80 memorable goals to recreate!
- Amateur, Pro & Bonus modes will keep you engrossed throughout!
- Unique ‘Bonus mode’ lets you finish off classic goals in ways you didn’t think possible!
- 20 challenging achievements to obtain for precious Game Center points!
- Full Retina Display Graphics
- Over 500 motion-captured animations
- True to life immersive commentary
Buy from Apple7. N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance 85
First-person shooter, $6.99, ages 12+, from Gameloft
"N.O.V.A. 3 does exactly what's required of it: more of the same, but better and bigger than ever before. The refined multiplayer offering might still have some kinks in it, but it has potential to provide some extraordinary longevity."
You'll find plenty of single- and multi-player content in this third chapter of the sci-fi FPS that comes close to giving console games a run for their money.
From the Publisher: The most immersive and impressive sci-fi FPS franchise on smartphones is back! Fight for mankind's survival in the greatest space shooter on mobile devices! Four months have passed since Kal ruined the Volterites' plans by sabotaging their war factories, and stopping the extraction of the Judger Artifacts. However, following the assassination of President Folsom, the government surrendered the colonies to the Volterite Protectorate in order to prevent civil war between the increasingly pro-Volterite citizens. Kal Wardin has been laying low since Folsom's death, nut now he has received a desperate plea from Yelena to come to Earth. Once again, the hero must rise to save mankind!
- An epic storyline: Humanity finally returns to Earth after years of exile! Fight in 10 immersive levels across the galaxy, from a war-torn Earth to a frozen Volterite city.
- Multiple weapons and powers: Run, shoot, drive vehicles, and pilot a mech to defeat hordes of enemies.
- Join 12-player battles in 6 multiplayer modes (Capture the Point, Free-for-All, Capture the Flag, etc.) on 6 different maps.
- For the first time, multiple allies can jump inside the same vehicle and spread destruction on the battlefield.
- Discover the new FPS benchmark for graphics and gameplay on iOS (real-time shadow & lights, particle system, ragdoll physics, etc.)
Buy from Apple8. Shoot the Zombirds 83
Action, $0.99, ages 9+, from Infinite Dreams
"Shoot the Zombirds is a smart, fun, and addictive action arcade game for iOS. If you love physics controlled iOS shooters, then you'll want to check it out."
This arcade-style action game is an improved sequel to last year's Shoot the Birds.
From the Publisher: Do you remember Pumpkin Boy? Last year he was protecting little Pumpkids from the evil birds. Now, that the Pumpkids have grown up a bit, the undead birds are after them once again.
Dive into our new and absorbing game of bird and zombie shooting. Both at the same time! Defend little Pumpkids against the demonic hordes of undead birds. Complete dozens of challenging objectives!
Use your loyal crossbow and big magic power-ups to reach the top of the leaderboards! Upgrade your skills and dress up as classic horror movies characters! All that, with tons of fun in Infinite Dreams newest release - Shoot The Zombirds!
Buy from Apple9. Slingshot Racing 83
Racing, $0.99, ages 4+, from Crescent Moon Games
"Slingshot Racing is a refreshingly beautiful and elegant racer that may not be as hardcore as similar titles, but combines simple controls with skilled timing perfectly."
This unique racing title asks you to master a grappling-hook control scheme as you compete against AI or online opponents.
From the Publisher: Slingshot Racing is an original racing game developed exclusively for iOS devices. Behold a beautiful steampunk environment with ice tracks, grappling hooks, snowmen and more!
Use your grappling hook to slingshot around corners in this fast paced arcade style racer. Hone your skills by learning on the tutorial tracks, then blast out of the snow onto more complex tracks against other racers. Race around a selection of tracks in stunning day and night settings.
Career mode features 64 races with different objectives and settings. Take part in a simple straight race to the top spot on the podium. The pickups race pits you against the clock to collect all the cogs on the track as quickly as possible. The time trials offer you the chance to shave all important seconds and compare your times with others on the Game Center leaderboards. Alternatively prove your mettle by taking on the fearsome chomper as it hunts you around the track.
With 4 way multiplayer you can race family or friends on just a single device. With just a few clicks you can create mini tournaments the way you like or just mix it up with a quick random selection.
Buy from Apple10. Spellsword 82
Action-RPG, $0.99, ages 9+, from Everplay
"The RPG elements are light enough that they aren't overwhelming, yet compelling enough to be engaging. It's a definite must-play for fans of action-RPGs, and for those looking for a twist on the Super Crate Box formula."
This retro-styled hack-and-slash title incorporates RPG and platformer elements as you collect cards to power your sword in new ways to kill the baddies; a recent update also makes the controls a lot easier to handle.
From the Publisher: Spellsword is a retro-inspired Hack N Slash survival based iOS game presented by Everplay and FireFruitForge. Spellsword follows the path of an unlikely hero as he quests to unleash the power of his newly found Spellsword. The player will fight in a variety of arenas to unlock new items and spell cards. Spellsword imbues classic platforming fun with intense action, light comedy, and endless gameplay that’s a perfect fit for mobile gamers.
- 60 Missions
- 9 Endless Arenas with High Score Leaderboards through GameCenter
- RPG elements and upgrades
- Retro Inspired Graphics and Gameplay
- Hats, Amulets, and Rings, oh my!
- Universal – 1 Purchase for all your devices.
- iCade Enabled
|Tower of Fortune||RPG||App store||$0.99||9+||80|
|Virtua Tennis Challenge||Sports||App store||$4.99||4+||80|
|Extinction Squad||Action||App store||$0.99||9+||79|
|Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia||RPG||App store||$2.99||9+||79|
|Juggernaut: Revenge of Sovering.||RPG||App store||Free||9+||79|
|Luxor Evolved HD: Full||Action||App store||$2.99||4+||78|
|Gene Effect||Action-adventure||App store||$2.99||9+||78|
|Penny Time||Action||App store||$0.99||9+||78|
|Dark Legends: 3D MMO||MMORPG||App store||Free||12+||78|
|This Could Hurt||Action||App store||$0.99||9+||78|
A few to avoid
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.