iPad Game Thursday: New Releases

This week’s roundup has you building worlds; dominating space; trying your hand at something a little like virtual origami; making your way through a mad professor’s body in creepy-crawly fashion; and reuniting some hair-happy balls with their mushrooms. Yes, you read that right.

Come on, let’s take a look.

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Topia World Builder

There are already sim games that let you play God with people, but what about a game that lets you create the world? In Topa, you can shape the land however you want — create mountains, bodies of water, valleys and more, all with a simple swipe of your finger.

Then, after your world has satisfactorily taken shape, you can allow nature to take its course. Watch trees and plants begin to grow, plus spawn wildlife, then see how they interact in and with the environment. (Predators will keep your huge herds of herbivores in check.) It’s up to you to adjust the time of day, the level of “chaos” within the game and more.

Without its incredible graphics, this game and its concept would be so-so. But the beautiful 3-D globe the player gets to navigate takes Topia to a whole other level. Spin the world around, zoom in, zoom out and watch the herds migrate over gorgeous terrain painted with a serene palette. I think you’ll find this game inspiring on so many levels.

Price: $0.99
Developer: Crescent Moon Games
Download: iTunes

Hairy Balls

True, the name of this game is an overt call for attention and I would have called it such, rolled my eyes and moved on, except for one tiny detail: The game is fun. So Redtribe gets away with it I guess.

Meet the follicle-amplified balls Dwayne, Graham, Jerome and Lola. It’s your job to get them to their mushrooms in each level. And this is where the logic puzzle play comes in. Each ball must eat the mushroom of its matching color, and so you have to use all the mushrooms to get each one to its respective mushroom.

But wait, it’s not that easy! The mushrooms will rot with each move you make, which means you can’t use too many moves to accomplish your task, otherwise the mushrooms will rot and the balls will be left with nothing to eat, forcing you to start the level all over again.

Price: Free
Developer: Redtribe
Download: iTunes


Tentacles: Enter the Dolphin

Tentacles features some wicked-cool graphics paired with a dark and imaginative storyline. The black-tentacled orb Lemmy has ended up inside the body of mad scientist (and dolphin) Phluff as the result of an experiment gone wrong.

As the player, you are now Lemmy trapped inside Phluff’s body, and must use tap controls to avoid vein-, intestine- and brain-related obstacles and surface hazards. Periodically you’ll have to take on bosses and and eat eyeball creatures to recover from battles.

The game features more than 40 levels, each one boasting rapidly changing surfaces and gameplay environments. In addition to beating each level, see if you can also clear the speed and damage challenges.

Developer: Microsoft Corporation
Download: iTunes

Alien Frontiers

If you like games in which you can get lost in the minutiae of strategy, then you will love Alien Frontier. This resource management game was designed for two to four players and features a complex gameboard showing the planet, its moon, the stations in orbit around the planet and the solar system’s star.

As a player, you’re a deep-space colonist whose goals are to manage resources, build a fleet, research alien life and settle more colonies. Players take turns placing their dice (representing ships in their space fleets) to gain advantages over one another and potentially block others out of useful areas of the board. Every move you make must be calculated to steal other players’ resources, take over their territories and advance your own colonies.

A very fun game requiring a lot of strategy and the ability to successfully read your opponents, Alien Frontier will have you challenging everyone to a space race.

Price: $4.99
Developer: Clever Mojo Games
Download: iTunes

Envelope HD

Here’s a beautiful geometric puzzle game designed especially for the iPad. The principle is simple — overlap geometric shapes by dragging points with your finger — but accomplishing this can be a real challenge.

Simultaneously relaxing and mentally stimulating, Envelope calls to minds something like an exercise in virtual origami. At the top of the screen you see the geometric shape you’re trying to make. At the bottom of the screen you have what resembles a grid or web with dots. Your goal is to drag these dots onto the shape in order to make the web and shape one and the same.

As the complexity of the levels increases, you will definitely need to take advantage of the slider that can check overlapping steps. Then, when you finally finish, you can check out your statistics for each playing session.

Price: Free
Developer: Jerome Zattoni
Download: iTunes

What are You Playing?

Which games are you hooked on right now? Let your fellow gamers and iPad enthusiasts know in the comments section below!