App Watch: the best new iPhone and iPad games for April 2017

These are the newly released games that’ll keep your tablet or smartphone ‘appy this April

06 April 2017
by Stuff Staff

It’d be an understatement to say that the Apple App Store is a big place – there are thousands of new titles hitting its digital shelves each and every week.

It’s an unprecedented situation that often results in great games being overlooked, buried under a mountain of soulless endless runners, tepid Candy Crush clones, and uninspired MMOs.

With that in mind, we want to shine a spotlight on those games fighting the good fight. Here are this month’s most interesting new releases.

DYNASTY WARRIORS: UNLEASHED (US$FREE + IAP)

My friend. You have been chosen. Only you can unite the three kingdoms and fulfil the vision of your ancestors. If you fail… blah, blah, blah. Look, I won’t bore you with the story details, because we both know that isn’t why you’re here.

You’re here because this is Dynasty Warriors – the frantic hack and slash franchise that arms you to the teeth, chucks you into enormous battles, and whispers “go nuts” softly in your ear. And that’s exactly what you’ll be getting with Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed, which manages to bring the long- running series to mobile without losing any of that maniacal, spear-twirling, button-mashing magic.

Well, actually the buttons didn’t make the cut. But you know what I mean.

KAMI 2 (US$FREE + IAP)

Remember KAMI? The breezy puzzler from State of Play Games that massaged the mind with its colourful conundrums. Well, it got a sequel!

The aptly titled KAMI 2 is just as much fun as its predecessor, but packs an even bigger punch thanks to the inclusion of more than 100 hand-crafted puzzles and thousands of daily challenges.

But wait, there’s more. Because this time around you can create your own gorgeous papercraft riddles and share them with the world. Just try not to make them obscenely difficult. It’s meant to be relaxing, y’know?

THE FROSTRUNE (US$5.99)

Hey, did you say you’re a huge fan of classic point-and- click puzzlers? And you also happen to enjoy digital dishes inspired by Viking folklore and wider Norse mythology? Well boy oh boy, isn’t this your lucky day.

That just so happens to be precisely what Snow Cannon Games’ moody puzzler The Frostrune is all about. And there isn’t even a catch, because The Frostrune is a superb slice of vintage point-and-click gaming that tells a well-crafted, compact tale that intrigues from the first second to the very last.

If that sounds like your cup of tea, then sip away my friend, sip away.

THE ELDER SCROLLS: LEGEENDS (US$FREE + IAP)

Fus-ro- dah! Sorry, I had something stuck in my throat. Now, where were we? Oh right: The Elder Scrolls: Legends.

First of all, put away that axe. You won’t need it in this corner of Tamriel. In these parts we let our cards do the talking. That’s right, in The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Bethesda has traded-in the steel and spells in favour of (digital) cardboard. Because, much like Hearthstone, Legends asks players to build a deck of cards – based on the world and lore of the titular franchise – and duke it out with players around the world in pursuit of those all-important bragging rights.

There’s also a solo story mode that’ll teach you the ropes and get you started, but the real draw here is the multiplayer. So grab your best deck and get yourself down to the arena. You don’t want to keep your adoring fans waiting.

OXENFREE (US$5.99)

A group of troubled yet inquisitive teenagers make their way to a strange island for some coming-of-age shenanigans. Everything goes exactly according to plan and they get the first boat home after a night of sensible pop-drinking and PG-13 storytelling. The end.

In a world without ’80s horror movies, maybe that’s how Oxenfree plays out. But this isn’t that place. This is a world that thought up the likes of Jason, Mike Myers, and Freddy Krueger. A world where teenagers should know better than to go exploring strange places, and doing silly things like “splitting up” and “throwing parties” and “opening supernatural rifts.”

Will those kids ever learn? Probably not. But it makes for one hell of a video game, so we’re not too cut up about it.

TICKET TO EARTH (US$6.99)

So your mining colony is going bust and you need to get on the last ship back to Earth, pronto. But there’s a catch: there aren’t enough tickets for everyone, and you aren’t part of the one percent that gets to go back home.

What do you do in the face of such brash, political lunacy? Lay down and accept your fate, or stand up and fight for what’s right? That’s the Orwellian premise propping up Robot Circus’ episodic puzzle-RPG, and that’s not even the half of it.

Peel back the layers and you’ll find a rewarding, tactical combat system, deep character progression, and psychedelic visuals that prove dystopian fiction doesn’t always have to be drenched in drab grey.

TYPESHIFT (US$FREE + IAP)

TypeShift is the latest word game from SpellTower creator Zach Cage, who’s become something of a linguistical legend in these here parts. Once again, Cage implores players to manipulate those crazy little things we call letters to solve puzzles by putting words back together.

According to Cage himself, TypeShift is best described as “anagrams meets wordsearch, with a sprinkle of crosswords.” We’ll be honest, that sounds a little complex for our taste.

Fear not, though, because Cage also happens to be something of a game design whizz, and what he’s done is take that mouthful of a concept and turn it into a well-oiled, super-smooth puzzler that’s a masterclass in every sense of the word.

VIREXIAN (US$FREE + IAP)

Virexian is an ’80s disco on steroids. An eclectic trip of a game that shares more in common with a herd of stampeding wildebeest making a beeline through a Jackson Pollock painting than it does a video game. If that hasn’t’ already sold you on First Mutant’s on-the-go, all-action roguelike then I don’t know what will.

Except maybe if I told you that Virexian is basically the lovechild of Geometry Wars and a fully-automatic paintball gun. Yes, I have no idea how those two things would mate, but that’s besides the point.

The point is that if you like chiptunes, neon-splattered visuals, and watching giant pixels go ‘boom,’ then Virexian might just be the love of your life. So, let’s get you two acquainted.

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