Fresh iPhone Apps for June 23: BackStab, Kona’s Crate, D.A.R.K, 1-bit Ninja

Jun 23, 2011
Games

Today’s big batch of weekly games includes some real standouts that we’ve been hearing about for a while. Fresh from a spin on Google’s Android platform (and an exclusive on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play) is BackStab, Gameloft’s pirate-themed game about sword-fighting and assassinations. Next, Kona’s Crate is a physics game in which you use a […]

Today’s big batch of weekly games includes some real standouts that we’ve been hearing about for a while. Fresh from a spin on Google’s Android platform (and an exclusive on Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play) is BackStab, Gameloft’s pirate-themed game about sword-fighting and assassinations. Next, Kona’s Crate is a physics game in which you use a rocket-powered platform to deliver a crate to the chief. D.A.R.K, our third title, is a top-down 3-D action-RPG with a sci-fi horror bent from Chillingo, and 1-bit Ninja mixes 2-D and 3-D gameplay in a Mario-style platformer.

BackStab (iPhone, iPad) $6.99

Formerly an exclusive for Android’s Xperia Play, Gameloft’s swashbuckling 3-D action game has finally come to iOS. Players take on the role of Henry Blake, a disgraced British Navy officer wrongly accused of treason and set to be executed. Upon escaping, he goes on a quest for revenge across four 18th century cities, hunting the man who betrayed him and attempting to find his vanished fiancée.

BackStab is closely modeled after Ubisoft’s console hit, Assassin’s Creed, except with a pirate-themed look and story. Blake traverses the world by climbing buildings and sneaking up to back-stab his enemies, as well as get into plenty of sword battles. Set up like a sandbox game in which players can wander cities freely, taking on quests from various characters scattered around them and upgrading his equipment along the way. Gameloft has imbued the game was some fairly beautiful graphics, and BackStab seems like it’ll keep players busy for some time.

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Kona’s Crate (iPhone, iPad) $2.99

Puzzler Kona’s Crate turns you into a delivery service. Your job is to bring a crate through each level to Kona, a chief. Basically, you control the crate – or more correctly, you control a rocket-powered platform that carries the crate. Touching the right side of the platform fires the rockets on the right side; same with the left. You’ll have to carefully fire the jets to steer the platform and tilt it to try to deliver the crates as quickly as possible, without losing them along the way.

The speed with which you bring the crates to Kona affects the star rating you get for each level, but you’ll also get bonuses for skillful execution like landing gently. Kona’s Crate carries more than 60 levels, as well as leaderboard support from both OpenFeint and Game Center.

D.A.R.K (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

From Chillingo comes a D.A.R.K, a top-down 3-D game that mixes the dual-stick shooter genre with that of survival horror. Through the course of the story, you’ll wander the halls of derelict space ships, fighting robots, zombies and monsters bent on your destruction. It’s a bit like EA’s Dead Space, but with a different sort of take on similar material.

You’ll contend with gunfights as well as puzzles in this action-RPG, and you’ll spend some time gathering weapons and armor and purchasing upgrades from shops with loot you get off enemies. D.A.R.K also includes Game Center support, which provides achievements and friend support, as well.

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1-bit Ninja (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

Think Super Mario Bros. and you have a really solid idea of what 1-bit Ninja is like. Simplicity is where it excels: Touching one part of the screen makes your character move forward, touching another makes him jump. The levels even resemble those of early Mario games, and the goal is to get through each one as quickly and efficiently – while gathering coins and the like – as possible.

There’s an added wrinkle to 1-bit Ninja that makes it pretty interesting, though. By dragging your thumb across the top of the screen, you can slightly alter the perspective you take on any given level, allowing you to take the 2-D game world and see it in 3-D. This allows you to discover secret paths and other things you didn’t know were there, adding an additional level to the classic, simple gameplay.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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