Dear readers, it appears that Christmas has come a few days early. Santa went down the virtual chimney of the Internet and digitally deposited a veritable treasure trove of games into the App Store’s stockings. It was hard to narrow down this week’s list to six entries, let alone pick a winner. I mean come on. Anomaly Warzone Earth sequel, Ravensword sequel, Where’s My Water? spin-off, Final Fantasy IV remake, plus two very creative auto-scrolling runners that may lack star power, but certainly don’t lack heart. Happy Holidays, indeed!
Anomaly Korea ($2.99)
It was a close call, but the long anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Anomaly Warzone Earth just had to take my top spot this week. Few other games manage to be so creative in such a simple way, yet still appeal to a broad demographic. The war against Earth’s mysterious new alien menace continues in Korea. Developer 11 Bit Studios has gone all out, with new and improved HD visuals, new units and player powers, enemies, and the ‘Art of War’ trial mode. Even if you didn’t play the first one, make sure to grab this at the special intro price of three dollars, so you too can experience the first major reverse tower defense franchise.
Where’s My Holiday? (Free)
Where’s My Water? and Where’s My Perry? finally kind-of sort-of meet in this Holiday themed promotional sequel from Disney. Essentially, this is like an ad for the major games with a bit of a gimmick. You can sample special holiday-inspired levels, while experiencing a wide preview of all the mechanics these games have to offer, with the option to upgrade to the full games if you haven’t already. Three levels will be released each week, all completely for free. It’s a brilliant way to really get a feel for both games without having to check out separate lite versions.
Ravensword: Shadowlands ($6.99)
This was my other top contender for game of the week. It’s been a couple years since Crescent Moon Games developed the original Ravensword: The Fallen King, putting their name on the map with one of the most advanced and full-featured RPG’s yet seen on iOS. Of course, with the rate at which things evolve on the App Store, that game already looks completely outdated and positively retro, but the sequel is here to save the day, with incredible visuals in an impossibly large world to explore and quest in. This is like the Skyrim of mobile gaming, and it’s an outstanding achievement worth every penny.
Final Fantasy IV ($15.99)
Speaking of big RPGs, if you prefer a more colorful, bombastic, Japanese flavor to your roleplaying, Square Enix has you covered with the port of their Nintendo DS remake of Final Fantasy IV. Older gamers might recognize this better as Final Fantasy II on the SNES. It was an incredible sequel to what we were introduced to in the first Final Fantasy. The remake added 3D visuals and extra content, similar to the style of Final Fantasy III, except this game is way better, telling an iconic and simple story that is at the very foundation of gaming. It may be obscenely priced, but still holds a special place in elder gamers’ hearts.
Last Knight HD ($0.99)
Like endless runners? Well then how about an endless jouster? Crescent Moon Games is having one heck of a week, with their in house developed Ravensword sequel, plus the publishing of this very creative 3rd person runner from Toco Games. Enjoy a classical fantasy adventure of knights, dragons, skeletons, and princesses as you ride through six randomly generated environments, avoiding obstacles and running through enemies. This game is simply gorgeous. The Unreal engine visuals are colorful and cartoony, yet still sharp and detailed for a unique look that I just love. The controls can be hit or miss, sadly, but this is definitely worth checking out.
Speaking of gorgeous visuals, this auto-scrolling action platformer is like a Japanese painting from the feudal era come to life. In it, you play as a samurai disowned by his master, also known as a Ronin. As you run across the lands you’ll encounter bandits and other samurai that you must overcome. As you run you collect wisps, which recharge your various powers, including a very useful slow-motion power among many others. There isn’t a whole lot to this game, but its simple reflex challenging fun with intuitive controls, several languages, and a refreshing lack of in-app purchase nonsense.