iOS Gaming Watch List: Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Empire of the Eclipse and more

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We're taking a look at the most promising iPhone and iPad releases for May 17, 2012.

Each week the iOS Gaming Watch List will inform you of some noteworthy releases coming to the App Store. Major releases tend to hit on Thursdays, so we'll be coming at you every Wednesday with the games to look out for, as well as some of the bigger content updates on the way. While this won't be a comprehensive list of games releasing for a given week, it does offer a quick selection of games and upates that show promise or look interesting for one reason or another. Worth noting that we have not played many of these games, so you shouldn't take these as short reviews. Think of this more like a helpful guide of games to investigate as they launch on Thursday.

Unfortunately, since these are pre-release games, App Store links are not available, but if you search for the title within the App Store tomorrow, it should pop up.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II

Interest in Sonic may have waned in recent years, but the addition of the little blue hedgehog's running, jumping, rolling, and tumbling to the App Store is one that is welcomed. Sega has delivered a polished game that looks crisp and plays to the strengths of the Sonic series by allowing players to do what Sonic does best: run with exhilarating bursts of speed while collecting gold rings. Hooray! (Universal app, launching at $6.49) - App Store Link

Empire of the Eclipse

It doesn't have the bright colors or saccharine characters of a typical mobile game, but Empire of the Eclipse has our interest. It's an intergalactic MMO that's free to download but requires an account subscription. Players will be able to connect with others via 3G or WiFi and build their empires using diplomacy, playing with the economy, and creating strategies to dominate the universe. Admittedly this isn't for everyone, but we're flagging it as a potential loin-stirrer for those who think intergalactic relations are the best kind of fun. (Zarksoft, launching free) - App Store Link

Extinction Squad

Everyone needs to watch the gameplay trailer for Extinction Squad and marvel at the genius that is the bouncing whale. Seriously, look at it go! Players control a comically small trampoline to bounce endangered species to safety (although it is unclear why said endangered animals are jumping off a perilous cliff to begin with. It is also unclear where 'safety' is meant to be). The joy comes in the way Adult Swim has characterized each animal - these pandas, dodos, and fat whales may be close to death, but boy have they got personality! (Universal app, launching at $0.99) - App Store Link


Boomlings clearly draws a lot from Bejeweled, but instead of being a blatant rip-off, it brings many satisfying gameplay elements to the table. The facial expressions of the blocks, the way their chubby cheeks puff up in anticipation of being 'cleared', the visceral 'pop' noises that are as satisfying as bubble wrap - these elements almost make you feel like you're playing a completely different game despite the similarities in the core mechanics. It's also free, so it's definitely worth checking out. (Universal app, launching free) - App Store Link

Circus Atari

It is unclear at which point clowns stopped being a part of childhood nightmares and returned to being likeable, but hey, here we have a non-terrifying clown bouncing through the air collecting balloons, and it appears to make for a pretty solid game. Tilting the phone from side-to-side controls the direction the clown moves; bouncing into canons or onto spring pads will launch the clown further into the air. Miss too many launch opportunities and your clown will begin to fall. Fall too far and the game will end in a sad clown face. Nobody likes a sad clown face. (Universal app, launching free) - App Store Link