New releases round-up - Colin McRae Rally, League of Evil 3, Layton Brothers: Mystery Room, and more
By Mark Brown 27 June 2013
Game Name: New releases round-up | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: iPhone, iPad
Every Thursday, we take time out to look at the week's new and noteworthy iOS games in both words and video.

Sometimes, it feels like you could describe the games in these articles by pulling names out of a hat. Maybe something like "a tower defence game", "a wonky port of a console game", and "a match-three puzzler".

But there's generally something to surprise you among the New Releases. A murder mystery game starring the son of Professor Layton, say, or a Zelda-inspired 16-bit adventure.

The App Store can be a very predictable place at times, sure, but you can always find something fresh if you dig around for long enough.

Anyway. Enough talk. Watch the video, then read on for prices, pretty pictures, and App Store links.

Colin McRae Rally
By Codemasters - iPhone, iPad (£2.99 / $4.99)

Colin McRae Rally

First up, we have Colin McRae Rally. This is ostensibly a port of the much-loved PlayStation game Colin McRae Rally 2.0, though it has been ever-so-slightly tarted up for the iPhone.

The dated sprites and mushy textures still make it look like a decade-old game, mind.

A fair few features have fallen by the wayside in the porting process, by the way. You can't get under the bonnet and tinker with your car, for instance. You can't use manual transmission, either. Oh, and there's no multiplayer. Which is all a bit of a shame.

All of that aside, it's still a fun racer. You move at breakneck speed, and you get enormous amounts of control over your ride. Colin McRae games always have a great handling model, and this slapdash iOS edition is no exception.

League of Evil 3
By Ravenous Games - iPhone, iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)

League of Evil 3

You must know the drill with League of Evil by now, right? Short and snappy levels; fluid movement; precise controls; and punching scientists in their bespectacled mugs.

With this third instalment, Ravenous doesn't really fiddle with the formula. There are some new enemy types and new obstacles, of course, but the real focus is on delivering more of everything. More levels, more costumes, more worlds.

The League of Evil games are definitely some of the best platformers on iOS. And this iteration's ruthless, toothy, unrelenting difficulty makes it feel like a mobile Super Meat Boy.

So, if you liked the first two (or just like the sound of this description), check out #3 now.

Cosmic Clean-Up
By Ripstone - iPhone, iPad (Free)

Cosmic Clean-Up

PlayStation Mobile expat Cosmic Clean-Up is all about destroying space junk, asteroids, and - for some reason or another - clouds. How, though? By burning them up in your rocket's fiery exhaust. Natch.

So, yeah, you've gotta use your tail-like trail of fire in the way you would use a whip to slice through comets and blimps and defunct satellites. Ah, all without crashing your ship into them.

It's quite a clever little mechanic, in truth. Plus, the game's pretty original and the controls - two buttons for turning clockwise and anticlockwise - work well. Free, and fun. Check it out.

Siegecraft TD
By Crescent Moon Games - iPhone, iPad (£1.99 / $2.99)

Siegecraft TD

Dear god, can we seriously call for a moratorium on tower defence games? Please? For me?

Siegecraft TD is the latest project from the collaborative duo of Blowfish Studios and Crescent Moon. Their game looks utterly lovely, is packed with content, has video replays, and some other fun stuff. At its core, though, it's about setting up turrets to fend off waves of enemies. For the millionth time.

The Blowfish / Crescent Moon tag team has plumped for the Fieldrunners-style setup here, so you have to build your own path for the villains - this time, cute dragons - to take, which requires some extra strategy.

But show me someone who's not sick of tower defence games and I'll be staring at a big fat liar.

Block Block Block
By Wegrass Interactive - iPhone, iPad (Free)

Block Block Block

In Block Block Block, Wegrass uses the age-old rules of match-three games to deliver a smart and original little puzzler. The aim is to get all the little blocks to form a straight line - either horizontally or vertically - within a certain number of moves.

But here's the twist: if you put three blocks in a line, you'll blow your load early and make them disappear, forcing you to restart the level. Instead, you must figure out a way to stop any threesomes from occurring until you slot in the final block.

If nothing else, this free Noodlecake-published game will train you to be better at Candy Crush Saga and the like.

Anodyne Mobile
By Sean Hogan - iPhone, iPad (£1.99 / $2.99)

Anodyne Mobile

Anodyne Mobile is clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda. You'll be exploring dungeons, solving puzzles, collecting items, and beating up enemies.

Only in this game, you have a broom instead of a sword.

It's got a great ambience, with a moody dream-like soundtrack and a mysterious narrative. And some good puzzles to boot. The PC version was well received, and while this iOS port's controls are a struggle, fans of indie games should definitely take a look.

Layton Brothers: Mystery Room
By Level-5 - iPhone, iPad (Free)

Layton Bros

Despite the name, this game has very little to do with the Professor Layton games we love on Nintendo DS. That's not surprising - it wasn't actually supposed to be a Layton game (or a mobile one, for that matter) until late in development.

Whatever the case, it's a clever murder mystery game, starring the good professor's son.

In each case, you have to systematically work through a whodunit by finding clues in a swish 3D recreation of the crime scene. Then, you'll interrogate the suspects, untangle their lies, and figure out the killer.

So, more Ace Attorney than Professor Layton, then.

And while it's never quite as smart as the Phoenix Wright games, and definitely not as well written, it's a charming little head scratcher. I can't wait to play more of it.

You get the first few cases for free, then you can buy the rest via a pair of reasonably priced in-app purchases. Do give it a go, puzzle fans.
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