New releases round-up: Heroes of Loot, Dead Effect, Strata, and more

Hands-on video impressions of this week's new and noteworthy iOS games

New releases round-up: Heroes of Loot, Dead Effect, Strata, and more
| New releases round-up

At the end of every week, we take time out to look at the new and noteworthy iOS games from the past seven days in both words and video.

This week, jousting! And dungeon-crawling and squid jumping and ribbon weaving. And just because we're feeling generous, two zombie games. And an endless-runner!

As always, these are our first impressions of playing the week's new iOS games. If you're still on the fence, or require a numerical digit to make decisions, we'll have full reviews for the big ones up on the site... soon.

Video below. Words, prices, and links to the App Store below-er.

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Heroes of Loot
By OrangePixel - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)

Heroes of Loot

OrangePixel is well known for making retro-style platformers, like Gunslugs and Meganoid. But now it's trying something new.

Enter Heroes of Loot: a frantic and fast-paced dungeon-crawler. Actually, scrap that. Let's call it a 'dungeon runner'. This is not a game about crawling, that's for sure.

It features endless dungeons, randomly generated quests, shops, gold, and a chaotic combat system that's more like a shoot-'em-up than anything. It's lots of fun, and there are absolutely no barriers between you and loads of crypts to loot.

Dead Effect
By BulkyPix - buy on iPhone and iPad (£2.49 / $3.99)

Dead Effect

Dead Effect, or Mass Space if you will, is a violent, corridor-crawling zombie-filled FPS. You're on a space station, where the entire crew has been turned into flesh-eating undead meatbags. Luckily, you remembered to pack your shotgun.

The controls are as you'd expect. As in, you're trying to control a fast-paced action game by feeling up a slab of glass. And the graphics are pretty good. Well, until you shoot a zombie and the bright red bloodsplosion looks like tomato sauce.

Dead Effect is a bit bland and very, very dumb, but it's a perfectly playable first-person shooter if you're still trying to play those on your telephone.

Squid Up
By Abyssal Games - download on iPhone and iPad (Free)

Squid Up

If Squid Up were rubbish, I could say: "Abyssal Games? More like Abysmal Games!" And everyone would promptly laugh and I would win a prize for journalism.

Sadly (for me), Squid Up is not rubbish. It is merely deeply underwhelming.

You are a squid, and you bounce from wall to wall to giant rotating wheel in an infinite climb up a giant corridor. You'll collect coins, which you can spend on upgrades. You'll bat away an advert for Candy Crush Saga. You'll never play this again.

Where's My Water? 2
By Disney - download on iPhone and iPad (Free)

Where's My Water 2

Where's My Water? is possibly the best puzzler on the App Store. A controversial choice, I'm sure, but I stand by it. It's got a really clever idea, oodles of character, and stacks of content. It's a treat.

Which is why it's so heartbreaking to see Where's My Water? 2 surface as a typical free-to-play sequel, with power-ups, absurdly expensive IAPs, gates, and an energy system in tow.

The gameplay in this follow-up is just as good as in the original, mind. You dig through dirt to send water to a bathing croc' named Swampy. And this sequel has a few neat twists on the formula like challenges and Duck Rush levels.

But the heavy-handed monetisation just makes me sad. So very sad.

Joust Legend
By Rebellion - buy on iPhone and iPad (£1.49 / $1.99)

Joust Legend

Joust Legend is a belter. It's this thoroughly engaging little mini-game about poking your opponent with a jolly great stick. It's all about risk vs reward; patience; reflexes; and wrestling with a pair of power bars.

It's also got some crazily detailed graphics. It's powered by Rebellion's console engine, you see, and all the animations were motion captured from real jousters and horses. You get to thoroughly customise your gear, too.

Joust Legend is filled with extra modes and stuff to do. It's a bit of an oddball title, but this is definitely one to check out.

By Graveck - buy on iPhone and iPad (69p / 99c)


Strata is a beautiful and elegant little puzzle game with a very unique idea. The plan is to lay strips of ribbon over a grid of coloured squares so that the topmost ribbon is the same colour as the square below.

It means weaving these strips of ribbon in and out of each other like stitching; getting confused; trying again; and then having that 'a-ha!' moment when you figure it out.

Strata also features this graceful strings soundtrack, which 'reacts' to how you play. Keep getting things right, and you'll hear a pleasing melody. Get something wrong, and you're punished with a discordant flubbed note.

Infectonator: Hot Chase
By Armor Games - download on iPhone and iPad (Free)

Infectonator Hot Chase

The first Infectonator was something different. Not the zombie part; that's as stale as George A. Romero's career. I'm talking about the rather unique pixel-art strategy gameplay, which we called "a worthy distraction".

Hot Chase, however, is something very familiar. It's Jetpack Joyride, by any other name. As your zombie hero runs through the street, you hold the screen to make him climb the screen. Then, you eat people and dodge obstacles.

It's kind of fun in a totally brainless sort of way, but the very thought of slowly inching my way along yet another listless IAP-strewn upgrade path makes me wish for a real zombie apocalypse.

Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.