Every Friday, we like to finish off the week by looking ahead and talking about the iPhone and iPad games that are just over the horizon.
This week, it's all about chaos. Swarms of enemies in frantic fast-paced fighter Spellsword, and swarms of asteroids in manic twin-stick shooter Ballistic SE. In these games, letting your guard down for a second can mean death at the hands of a meteorite - or a band of monsters.
Note: Dates, prices, and features are subject to change at the whim of the developer and Apple's approval team. Dates were correct at time of publication.
By Everplay - out on iPhone on April 26th (source)
Spellsword, from Terra Noctis developer Everplay, is a fast-paced fighter set in tiny arenas. Think Super Crate Box, but without all the crates.
There's also a much greater variety of enemies in Everplay's title. You'll fend off swarms of bees, bouncing blobs of slime, and giant eyeballs on stalks. Plus, the environments are more dangerous and teeming with obstacles, like hanging platforms swinging perilously over lava.
Elsewhere, you'll find an RPG-esque levelling-up system. As you defeat more and more monsters, you'll earn points to upgrade your skills, like the strength of your magic attacks, the length of your health bar, and the power of the game's eponymous weapon.
Spellsword does have endless score attack arenas like Vlambeer's Crate Box, but there's also a structured 90-level campaign to work through. The whole thing is presented in delectable pixel art that wouldn't be out of place on a Game Boy Advance.
Escape from Age of Monsters
Massive Joe Studios - out on iPhone and iPad on April 26th (source)
The only thing an endless-running game has to have is something to run from. In Canabalt, it's an alien invasion. rComplex has you escaping from some nasty demon tentacle things. And in Temple Run, evil monkeys are nipping at your heels.
Escape from Age of Monsters ups the ante just a little by putting every monster, alien, zombie, and hideous creature, from every corner of the multiverse, on your tail.
Enter Gizzard. He's a dopey teen with a pair of magic gloves which let him smash through walls in his flight from the monsters. The walls are colour co-ordinated - red and blue - so you'll need to use the right-coloured glove to punch through each wall. And with the way the walls are laid out, you'll need sharp rhythmic timing to succeed.
Mess up, and one of the screaming orphans running behind you gets eaten. If all the kids get munched, it's Game Over. You'll also leap from building to building, and the pace quickens with each jump. Plus, boss monsters will impede your progress.
The art looks fantastic. Artist Jeff Matsuda, the creative director of the Batman cartoon, has given each kid and each drooling monster a unique look and expressive animations. The music from LA metal band The Binges fits the bill, too.
By Radiangames - out on iPhone and iPad on April 26th (source)
Ballistic SE is the latest neon-soaked head rush from Xbox Live Indie ex-pat Radiangames (developer of Super Crossfire and Fireball SE).
We had a quick fiddle with the Xbox version. It's a twin-stick shooter in very much the same vein as Geometry Wars, with infinite waves of spherical enemies. The crux of the game is an involved levelling-up system, which lets you tweak and upgrade your ship every few waves.
These include big bombs, remote bombs, rapid fire, double damage, shots that bounce off walls, and shots that seek out enemies. You're constantly trying out new toys to find out which customisations work for you.
There's also the titular mode, which makes your ship slow but your gun faster. With the relentless pace of the game's swarming, claustrophobic enemies, you'll have to be brave to put your brakes on and enter this mode.
We're not quite sure how such a fast-paced and frenetic game will make the transition to the touch-only iPhone and iPad - but, Radiangames's back catalogue suggests it will pull the feat off.