Dissembler offers a colorful twist on the matching puzzler, available on iOS

Ian MacLarty’s past games like Boson X and Black Hole Joyrider have all taken uniquely different angles on the runner genre, whether it’s the former‘s rotating gauntlets or Joyrider’s limited-fuel races. His newest iOS title, Dissembler, shifts from hectic arcade action to colorful minimalist puzzles, but maintains the trend of taking a different approach with its genre.

At its core, Dissembler is a matching puzzler, challenging you to shift tiles and match colors. But rather than new tiles appearing or the goal of a high score, Dissembler presens you with over a hundred single-screen collages and asks you to break down the design tile-by-tile, until none remain. This subtractive design forces you to think ahead moves ahead, consider how removing tiles will affect the overall shape and open up new matches.

Dissembler introduces its concept with simple blocks of color, but other mechanics allow for increasingly tricky puzzles, as you manage nested color layers stripped away with each match and color dots that need to be matched along the sides of tiles. Complete the game‘s levels and you’ll be ready to compete for leaderboard spots in the Daily and Infinite challenges.

Dissembler can be purchased for $ 2.99 on the App Store

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Hidden Gem of the Week: Dark Echo

Many horror games rely on jump scares and creepy atmosphere, but the stealth/horror/puzzle hybrid Dark Echo takes a different approach, instead conjuring horror from the unknown and unseen, through minimalist visuals and immersive audio.

While other mobile games like Papa Sangre and The Nightjar have delivered gameplay through sound, Dark Echo melds visuals with sound; every level starts out with a black screen, your white footprints the only color amid the surrounding dark. Move forward and lines emanate in all directions, the sound of your footsteps visualized, bouncing off the walls and revealing the environment. Without sound, you are blind. Your goal is simply to find the exit. However, you are not alone in these passages. Things lurk in the darkness, drawn by the sound of your movement, hunting you.

With each step taken – either fast footfalls, light taps, or loud stomps – or stone thrown to distract the creatures stalking you, Dark Echo reveals itself to be a tense game of cat and mouse where sound is your only means of sight. Water that amplifies your footsteps and slows your movement, switches, crushing walls, deadly terrain, and more add to the challenge and complexity of later levels. The visuals – stark lines contrasting against black – are simplistic yet work surprisingly well in representig the world and its dangersz But it’s the sound design that truly sells the game’s atmosphere:…

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New: Alto’s Odyssey (Games)


Alto's Odyssey 1.0.1

Device: iOS Universal
Category: Games
Price: $ 4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes)

Description:

Just beyond the horizon sits a majestic desert, vast and unexplored.

Join Alto and his friends and set off on an endless sandboarding journey to discover its secrets.

Soar above windswept dunes, traverse thrilling canyons, and explore long-hidden temples in a fantastical place far from home.

Along the way, you’ll grind across vines, bounce atop hot air balloons, ride towering rock walls, and escape mischievous lemurs – all while uncovering the desert’s many mysteries.

Features:

• A standalone experience. Alto’s Odyssey is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Alto’s Adventure, but you don’t need to have played one to enjoy the other.

• Easy to learn, difficult to master. At the heart of the Alto series is an elegant one-touch trick system. Chain together combos, and complete 180 goals — all with intuitive controls.

• Explore Biomes. From the dunes, to the canyons, to the temples, explore a rich and diverse landscape, with each area boasting unique visuals and gameplay.

• Newfound heights. Discover secrets in the sky with hot-air balloons, moving grind rails, and wall riding.

• Master the elements. In addition to dynamic lighting and weather effects like sandstorms and shooting stars, the desert is home to swirling wind vortexes and rushing water.

• Meet Alto and friends. Unlock six unique characters, each with their own attributes and abilities.

• Zen Mode. Complete with its own serene soundtrack, this relaxing mode distills Odyssey down to its purest elements: no scores, no coins, and no power-ups. Just you and the endless desert.

• Photo Mode. From the pause screen, get behind the lens and take stunning photos of your trip through the desert. Pinch, swipe, pan and zoom to frame the ideal shot, and share them with friends and family.

• Original music and handcrafted audio. Headphones recommended!

• Universal app with iCloud support. Play on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, and your progress will always be in sync.

Alto’s Odyssey is a premium game with no ads or in-app purchases. Purchase once, play forever.

What’s New

Welcome to the endless desert! We hope you have a wonderful time exploring the world of Alto’s Odyssey.

Alto's Odyssey

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Hidden Gem of the Week: Five Card Quest

Developer Rocketcat is best known for their popular RPG and action roguelike releases Mage Gauntlet, Wayward Souls, and Death Road To Canada, but amid their larger titles lies a smaller and intriguing outlier of a game, the turn-based minimalist roguelike Five Card Quest.

Selecting a trio of warriors from powerful Priest, the dagger-wielding Rogue, and more, you  battle room-by-room through grid-based dungeons. The focus here are those battles, an interesting blend of card game and lane-based strategy; tour party is one side of the screen, enemies on the other, spread out across three lanes. From each warrior’s deck, you choose abilities and attacks, all revolving around the tactics of slowing or damaging enemies, stalling or pushing them backwards in their lane, or even swapping your lane position or that of your foes.

This combination of drawing cards, lane management, and small team of very differently-skilled classes give the combat of Five Card Quest a surprising wealth of strategy and tactics. Controlling the lanes through positioning, swapping fighter placement at the best moment, debuffing enemies all are part of your stratetic repert; you may need to decide over fast slight damage now over a charged blow several turns later, or when to use attacks that target specific lanes or only injury the front-most foe.

The bright angular aesthetic, easy-to-grasp mechani…

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Cute platformer Reed makes the jump from Android to iOS on March 8th

After releasing last year on Android, Reed is bringing its cat-like character and challenging platforming to the App Store next month.

As an agile creation of a powerful supercomputer, your running, jumping, and trap dodging in Reed is your attempt to save your creator and the world by collecting its scattered cubes. Giving you only a double jump, Reed pits you against fifty gauntlets of spikes, saws, enemies, and other hazards, as well as secret levels to discover and tricky achievements to collect.

Published by Crescent Moon Games, Reed will be $ 1.99 when it releases on iPad and iPhone and currently can be preordered on the App Store. In the meantime, you can also find the game on Google Play.

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Returner 77 concludes its sci-fi puzzle adventure with the release of the Den chapter

More than a few games have followed in the footsteps of The Room, exploring tactile hands-on puzzle solving through different themes. Games like House of Da Vinci have gone for a familiar Victorian style, but Returner 77 designed its rooms and puzzles with science fiction flair. Now the game’s final chapter, titled The Den, is available on iOS, added in a recent update.

Returner 77 tasks you with exploring an attacking alien force’s crystal ship, in the hopes of finding a way to save Earth. Within its odd corridors and otherworldly rooms rest machinery and extraterrestrial contrapations to interact with, letting you progress deeper into the vessel and through the game’s five chapters. Rotating objects, interacting with weird devices, activating switches and portals are your means to completing Returner 77’s challenges. 

The final chapter, The Den, adds an anti-gravity twist to the gameplay, granting you greater movement to jump around the chapter‘s enviroments to solve its puzzles and find secrets in your quest to the conclusion.

Returner 77’s sci-fi puzzles and story of apocalyptic threat can be purchased on iPad and iPhone for $ 4.99.

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Technolites hopes to bring cross-platformer shoot-em-up action to mobile

The bullet hell spectacle of the shoot-em-up has graced mobile many many times, from Cave‘s games to popular indie titles like Phoenix, and the customizable ship shooter Technolites looks like it might offer another action-heavy entry to that genre.

You may be facing an overwhelming alien threat, but Technolites lets you even the odds by building a unique ship, choosing from hundreds of weapons and parts. Not only can you make a ship of your own design bristling with gatling guns or lightning guns or flame throwers, you can merge weapons together to create powerful hybrid weapons. Progressing through Technolites’ animated story campaign unlocks new parts to use, as well as upgrade pilot stats for further bonuses and buffs.

Additional game modes and difficulties complement the campaign with challenges to truly test your shooter prowess, but most importantly, cloud saving will let you transfer progress between devices; you’ll be able to play Technolites on the go and then continue playing on different platforms at home, and vice versa.

Technolites is currently gathering funds on Kickstarter, and is expected to release later this year. You can also find more details through the game‘s …

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A Steel Media round-up for the week of February 12th

Here’s another weekly round-up of news, previews, and features from Pocket Gamer, 148Apps, and the rest of our sister sites.

On our Youtube page, James Gilmour plays a round of the Chinese release for Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile; the graphics may not be as detailed as its PC and consoles cousins, but it looks like the tension and action of its gameplay has made the transition.

For Pocket Gamer, the App Army provides a wide range of impressions for the recent release Purrfect Date, a visual novel with a feline twist. Amusement, confusion, disappointment, and other reactions make for quite a divisive response.

Tre Lawrence on Android Rundown offers a very positive overview of the very useful Pocket Casts app; any avid podcast listener will want to take a look at why Pocket Casts comes so highly recommended.

And lastly for 148Apps, Campbell Bird put together a helpful guide for how to dive into the concise mobile 4X strategy game The Battle of Polytopia and its new multiplayer update. These tips help navigate its tad-confusing method o…

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Update: Florence (Games)


Florence 1.0.1

Device: iOS Universal
Category: Games
Price: $ 2.99, Version: 1.0 -> 1.0.1 (iTunes)

Description:

Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and heartbreaking lows of a young woman’s very first love.

Florence Yeoh feels a little… stuck. Her life is an endless routine of work, sleep, and spending too much time on social media. Then one day, she meets a cello player named Krish who changes everything about how she sees the world and herself.

Experience every beat of Florence and Krish’s relationship through a series of mini-game vignettes – from flirting to fighting, from helping each other grow… to growing apart. Drawing inspiration from ‘slice of life’ graphic novels and webcomics, Florence is an intimate and unforgettable story.

What’s New

Thank you for playing Florence.

Florence

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Death Squared doubles the tricky challenges in this color-based iOS puzzler

The block-pushing Sokoban-style puzzler has seen myriad variations and permutations on mobile, but while others may be more complex or minimalist, few can claim to as clever and mischevously designed as the newly-ported-to-iOS Death Squared.

At its core, you think you might know how Death Squared works: manuever blocks around tight levels filled with gaps and barriers and corners, pushing those blocks into the right spots. And you would be right; Death Squared does want you to solve its 80 main levels like that, enhanced with color-based twist where red and blue objects and traps interact with the like-colored blocks.

Death Squared works like that, until you realize moving a block makes the exit tile move simultaneously. Or that a laser turrets rotates in sync with a specific block. Or a switch makes hidden spikes pop out of the ground. See, Death Squared‘s levels are also unpredictable surprises that can shift and rotate and reveal hidden traps as you drag blocks around. You’ll need to carefully study each stage, experiment with block movement and position, see what switches activate, how you might be able to change the level layout, to solve Death Squared’s tricky challenges.

Whether playing alone or letting a friend control a block with same-device co-op, Death Squared is a unique and promising take on a classic puzzle formula. You can purc…

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