Fresh iPhone Apps for Mar. 29: Dark Meadow update, Gnu Revenge, Ion Racer, Rinth Island

Mar 29, 2012
Games

This week’s big game day kicks off with a rather involved update of Dark Meadow, the Unreal Engine 3 game that brings a horror slant to the kind of gameplay you’d see in Infinity Blade. Optimized for the new iPad, with lots more content and even a new freemium version, there’s a lot of incentive […]

This week’s big game day kicks off with a rather involved update of Dark Meadow, the Unreal Engine 3 game that brings a horror slant to the kind of gameplay you’d see in Infinity Blade. Optimized for the new iPad, with lots more content and even a new freemium version, there’s a lot of incentive to get back into the game. We also have Gnu Revenge, a space-based physics game; tilt-controlled sci-fi racing game Ion Racer; and 3-D puzzler Rinth Island. Check them all out below.

Dark Meadow update (iPhone, iPad) $5.99

Last year, Dark Meadow hit the App Store and brought a horror vibe and a first-person perspective to the same basic set of mechanics seen in Infinity Blade. The game excels in terms of atmosphere and slow-burn storytelling, placing players in an abandoned mental hospital that’s overrun by monsters that have to be dispatched by dodging their attacks and then slicing them apart with a sword. It’s been a while, but Dark Meadow just got a very big update.

The game has been expanded by about a third and now has new weapons, maps to help with navigation and other handy improvement. It has also been optimized for Apple’s new Retina display-capable iPad, so the Unreal Engine graphics really shine. There’s also a freemium version of the game called Dark Meadow: The Pact, so if you haven’t given Dark Meadow a shot before now, it’s worth checking out, if only for its atmosphere.

Gnu Revenge (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

There have been physics games with space themes, planetoids and gravity wells in the App Store for quite a while now, and even though Rovio Mobile has grabbed all those things to use in Angry Birds Space, more gravity-ridden space puzzlers are still on their way. One such is Gnu Revenge, a puzzler in which you have only one button to push, and require a light, deft touch.

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In Gnu Revenge, your job is to fire a jetpack just enough to allow your gnu to navigate each level, using the gravity of different objects to allow him to save other gnus and then smash head-first into the flying saucer of an evil crocodile. If it sounds weird, it is – which makes it pretty endearing – and it’s definitely tough, as well. Fire the jetpack too much and you’ll slingshot off into the void; too little and you’ll create a new crater on the nearest celestial body. With 72 levels, you’ll be busy rescuing gnus for a while.

Ion Racer (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

Tilt-based 3-D racing title Ion Racer packs all the high-speed sci-fi action you’d expect. At the outset, you build your racer by adding custom components you can purchase with items you find on the track. Once you’re ready, it’s time to blast through the tracks. The goal is to pick up floating energy orbs along the way to use to purchase more parts, while smashing through blue barriers to earn points and avoiding red ones, which can damage you.

Ion Racer uses tilt controls and gives you the ability to either accelerate in short bursts, in order to take out red barriers, or to hit the brakes, allowing for tighter steering. The longer you survive in any given run, the higher your points multiplier becomes and the more energy you take down for use in upgrading your craft. There’s also Game Center support for achievements and leaderboards.

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Rinth Island (iPhone, iPad) $0.99

Rinth Island is a 3-D puzzle game that’s primarily about pushing blocks to reach a specific point in each of the game’s levels. As one of two characters, you’ll start at one point in a rounded level and have to figure out what blocks to push and where, which walls to detonate and what various other things you’ll have to manipulate along the way so you can get to the goal. Mess up, and you’ll either have to use an undo on your mistake – which you can purchase – or restart the puzzle altogether.

Each level in Rinth Island is actually four puzzle-driven challenges. There’s the adventure mode, in which the goal is just to reach the end of the stage and drive the story, plus modes that have you chasing down crystals hidden in each stage, counting your steps to the end and trying to hit a certain time. You can also create your own levels for others to play and download levels made by other players.

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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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