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 recent iOS devices unless otherwise indicated.
Buy From Apple 1. Banner Saga 93 iPad iPhone 4S+ iPod Touch
Strategy/RPG, $9.99, ages 12+, from Stoic
"A dark, strange, tough, and beautiful tactical RPG-cum-interactive story with one of the richest settings you could hope for. Banner Saga is an iOS game to savour."
A blend of tactical RPG and interactive storytelling, Banner Saga (ported here from its PC version) unfolds an epic story in a world inspired by Norse mythology.
From the Publisher: Embark on your own epic journey in this critically acclaimed tactical RPG, where your strategic choices directly affect your personal story, as well as the outcome of conflicts encountered during your struggle for survival in this Viking inspired tale.
- A 2D fantasy realm inspired by Norse mythology – immerse yourself in beautifully hand drawn combat sequences and animations, accompanied by an evocative score from Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory.
- Player choice that drives your own narrative – every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds.
- Over 25 playable characters each with unique personalities – embark on your journey with a variety of characters from 7 different classes, each with unique abilities and upgrade options to fit your play style.
- Strategic combat with consequences - victory or defeat and even the permanent loss of a character depends on which characters you choose to take into battle and what decisions you make afterwards.
- Winner of the Geekie Award for best Indie Video Game, 2014, Independent Games Festival Finalist for Excellence in Visual Art and Honorable mentions for Design and Audio.
Buy From Apple 2. Skylanders Trap Team 90 iPad 3+ only
Action-Adventure, free, ages 9+, from Activision
"You can't go wrong with Trap Team on console, but the iPad and Android port is just as good, if not better because of the portability."
The latest version of Activision's money-making toy/videogame hybrid comes to iPad. The "free" download comes with two digital characters, but you'll probably need to purchase additional digital packs (at $15 a pop) or the physical starter pack ($75) to get the most out of the game.
From the Publisher: Capture Evil. Unleash Good. Get the full Skylanders Trap Team™ console video game experience on your iPad! Now you can Bring the Skylanders to Life™, defeat villains and trap them wherever you go! Begin the adventure for FREE with TWO Digital Skylanders: Instant Snap Shot and Instant Food Fight & TWO Instant Traps. Then continue your adventure by buying the STARTER PACK or purchase the DIGITAL PACKS through In-App Purchase. Kaos has blown up the walls of the feared Cloudcracker Prison freeing the most notorious villains in Skylands. It's up to you and the Skylanders to find and capture them. Using Traptanium™, a magic material that can harness the power of the Elements, you have the amazing ability to trap the villains and return them to Skylands to fight for you!
Buy From Apple 3. Galaxy Trucker 87 iPad only
Strategy/Board game, $7.99, ages 9+, from Czech Games Edition
"Takes a good board game and uses all the digital tricks to make a truly great app."
This port of the board game of the same name offers solo play against the AI or multiplayer for up to 4 total players via either a local pass-and-play mode or an asynchronous online mode.
From the Publisher: Galaxy Trucker, the award-winning board game by Vlaaďa Chvátil, is landing on your iPad! Build space ships, dodge meteors, and fight off bad guys, all in a quest to be the trucker with the most cosmic credits at the end of the game. This digital version can be played with up to three other players, either online or on one shared iPad. A turn-based building system designed especially for this app allows pass-and-play or asynchronous online play. You can also play real-time games online using the traditional building method of grabbing stuff and attaching it to your ship as fast as you can. For solo play, the app offers a dozen AI personalities and a special campaign mode in which new players can learn the game and experienced players can discover new challenges. The non-linear storyline offers hours of trucking fun as you meet quirky characters and explore the Galaxy. So head to the space station, grab the best components, and build a great-looking ship ... ideally one that can reach its destination. You'll need cannons to fight off bad guys, shields to protect you against meteors, engines to rocket ahead of the other players, and lots and lots of cargo containers to hold all the goods you pick up along the way. It's time to become a galaxy trucker!
Buy From Apple 4. Terra Battle 85
Strategy/RPG, free, ages 4+, from Mistwalker
"With an excellent battle system and diverse character roster, Terra Battle is ever expanding and endlessly playable."
This freemium mix of JRPG, tile-based strategy, and puzzle gameplay comes from esteemed game designer Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger).
From the Publisher: An encounter that will tear away the veil shrouding the world's secrets and set the gears of fate in motion... *Maneuver your characters freely to outflank your enemies. Move units freely around a grid-based map to flank the enemy, striking from both sides in a pincer attack. *Eradicate multiple foes in one fell swoop with chain attacks. Characters can be positioned to execute chain attacks with allies. Take advantage of bonus items on the map as well to obliterate your foes! *Customize characters strategically via jobs and skills. Characters can undergo three types of job changes. Acquire new skills and combine them to create characters that best fit your play style. *Experience an expansive game world with hundreds of battle maps and hundreds of friends and foes. A myriad of richly distinctive and diverse foes will confront you on a variety of battle maps. Prevail against them to gradually unravel the mysteries of this strange new world.
Buy From Apple 5. Turbo Dismount 85 iPad 2+ iPhone 4S+ iPod Touch 5G+
Action, free, ages 12+, from Secret Exit Ltd.
"It's a game that is what it is, and it's fun – but it's inherently limited."
This iOS port of Turbo Dismount is billed as "the most convincing vehicular personal impact simulation seen on the App Store." (We're afraid to ask just how many vehicular personal impact simulations are available on the App Store.)
From the Publisher: Perform death-defying motor stunts, crash into walls, create traffic pile-ups of epic scale - and share the fun! Turbo Dismount™ is a kinetic tragedy about Mr. Dismount and the cars who love him. It is the official sequel to the wildly popular and immensely successful personal impact simulator - Stair Dismount™.
- Flinch-inducing crash physics
- Crunchy sound effects
- Delicious slow-mo replay system
- Multiple vehicles: cars, trucks, construction vehicles, a skateboard...
- Multiple levels, obstacle types and characters
- Tweak levels to your liking!
- Customize your character and the vehicles with your own photos!
- Game controller support!
- Game Center leaderboards and achievements
Buy From Apple 6. Skullduggery! 84
Platformer, $1.99, ages 9+, from ClutchPlay Games
"Though players may find themselves stuck on a frustrating sequence or two, Skullduggery is a unique and charming physics/action game."
Play as a skull with an elastic slingshot mechanism to vanquish foes in this cartoony platformer from the makers of Little Chomp.
From the Publisher: You know the old saying, "you can't take it with you?" Well, we've got news for you, my friends, they were WRONG! "Deadbeats" have been taking their riches with them to the afterlife for centuries and it's the job of the INFERNAL Revenue Service — and its army of skulls — to collect! That's where you come in. In "Skullduggery!" you'll play a Semi-Organic Autonomous Skull employed as a collection agent for the IRS. Using the elasticity of your own brain, flick yourself around the fortresses of the afterlife's biggest deadbeats. "Skullduggery!" features the endearingly grotesque art stylings of game artist extraordinaire Bill Mudron, inspired by the Max Fleischer animations of the 1930's, and a quirky, doom-jazzy, bureau-noir soundtrack from industrial musician Michael Arthur Holloway.
Buy From Apple 7. Sleep Attack TD 84 iPad 2+ iPhone 4S+
Strategy, $2.99, ages 4+, from Ayopa Games
"If by some weird quirk of fate you haven't played a tower defense game, Sleep Attack TD is a fantastic introduction."
Sleep Attack adds a new (literal) twist to the tower defense genre, allowing you to rotate the playing field to your advantage.
From the Publisher: Enjoy an amazing new TWIST in Tower Defense! You control the layout of the battlefield, and you decide the paths your enemies follow! Build and place powerful turrets to attack invading enemies. Then rotate the battlefield to force foes down your preferred path of destruction. Be careful though, there are always multiple routes to control! Combine tactical planning with strategic tower upgrades to slow, divert and damage your enemies. Carefully choose the placement and upgrade levels of your towers, as each turret possesses unique strengths and weaknesses. Simply swipe to change the routes your enemies take, allowing each tower to cause maximum carnage!
Buy From Apple 8. Helix 84
Action, $2.99, ages 9+, from Michael Brough
"A garish and wonderfully retro anti-shooter, Helix deserves your high-score chasing attention."
This indie arcade-style twitch action game comes from the designer of 868-HACK.
From the Publisher: Encircle your enemies. By the creator of 868-HACK, Corrypt and Glitch Tank.
Buy From Apple 9. Zombie Highway 2 83
Racing/Action, free, ages 12+, from Auxbrain
"Zombie Highway 2 offers very little innovation, but it's an enjoyable and well-crafted free to play nonetheless."
This free-to-play post-apocalyptic survival driving game takes over where Zombie Highway left off.
From the Publisher: Cars, Guns, and Zombies. What more could you want? I'll tell you: NITRO! Zombie Highway is back! - Completely overhauled, intense gameplay featuring NITRO! - 6 redesigned cars - 15 -upgradable- weapons,100% redesigned. 4 completely new super-weapons! - 10 Zombie types, 4 all new! - 55 challenging objectives! - The Daily Challenge! A unique challenge every day! - A new, randomly generated road with multiple, super-detailed environments every game. - Your friends appear on your highway near their best score! - Everything in Zombie Highway 2 can be unlocked or used for free with a reasonable amount of effort - In app purchases do NOT give players a long term advantage over players who don't make purchases
Buy From Apple 10. Puzzle to the Center of the Earth 83
Puzzle/Platform, free, ages 9+, from Foursaken Media
"Puzzle to the Center of the Earth co-opts match-3 to make a brutal puzzle-platformer in the most literal sense. It's utterly fascinating, and rewarding in a way few games are."
This match-3 puzzler also incorporates platforming action.
From the Publisher: Embark on an epic journey to the center of the Earth in this unique mix of platforming, digging, and match-three puzzling! FEATURES • Match-three meets platforming in a unique puzzler! • Explore over 80 levels as you dig your way to the center of the Earth! • Solve puzzles, find legendary treasure, and explore a vast underground world. • One-handed gameplay is designed specifically for mobile devices. • Overcome creatures, traps, cave-ins, lava, ice, underground oceans, and tons more!
|Smarter Than You||Strategy||App Store||Free||80|
|Pixel Boat Rush||Action||App Store||$1.99||80|
|ZEN Pinball: South Park: Super-Sweet Pinball||Pinball||App Store||$3.99||80|
|Pokemon TCG Online||CCG||App Store||Free||78|
|Adventure Xpress||Puzzle||App Store||Free||78|
|Tilt to Live: Gauntlet's Revenge||Action||App Store||$2.99||78|
A few to avoid
There's nothing truly terrible this month, but October's lowest Metascore belongs to Hail to the King: Deathbat 56, an Avenged Sevenfold-related title that divided critics.
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. And visit our iOS Games section for reviews of all new and recent releases.