Blow away asteroids and play as a giant worm: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps are both arcade games including an advanced Asteroids-like title and a game where you play as a man-eating giant worm.

iPhone (Credit: CNET)

Hey, iPhone gamers, I received a press release just yesterday that plenty will be excited about: Real Racing 2 is coming soon for the iPhone. As one of my favorite games for 2009, the original Real Racing might be the best in its class for graphics, gameplay, and realism (as the name suggests) among auto-racing games on the iPhone.

Though there is no information beyond the announcement (here is Firemint's cryptic info page), I'm personally hoping for new tracks, new cars, and maybe even an accelerometer-based motorcycle racing mode. I admit that last wish is probably far-fetched, but it never hurts to dream, right? It almost seems impossible to improve upon the original, so I'm excited to see what Firemint will add in the sequel.

Though I can only guess at a release date, the timing of this press release seems to suggest that we could have this product on our iPhones in time for the gift-giving season. I'm crossing my fingers!

This week's apps are both arcade games: an advanced Astroids-like title and a game where you play as a man-eating giant worm.

Space Miner Blast

Gather ore from asteroids to gain bonus multipliers for bigger scores.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Space Miner Blast (Free) is a slimmed-down arcade version of one of my favorite games on the iPhone called Space Miner: Space Ore Bust. The original game included a storyline in which you tried to keep your uncle's space-mining company afloat by mining various sectors of space and using the ore to make money so you could upgrade your ship. Though I still recommend the original as a more involved and unique game, Space Miner Blast takes the basic gameplay mechanic (flying around and shooting asteroids) and makes it into a fun challenge on its own.

Space Miner Blast tasks you with battling your way through wave after wave of asteroids and spaceships, all while grabbing power-ups to add to your firepower. Similar to the arcade classic Asteroids, Space Miner Blast uses a control scheme that lets you control your ship on the left side of the screen with your main fire buttons and thrust on the right. You'll need to shoot large asteroids to break them up into smaller pieces and blow away the remaining rocks by following the blue arrow indicators around your ship. As you progress through the game, harder enemies like UFOs and mines will make your job more difficult, but fortunately you can find shields as you play, and you can upgrade your ship in between levels for more firepower.

Space Miner Blast is an ad-supported free game. To get rid of the ads you have the option to buy one of three advanced ships for 99 cents each or you can allegedly buy the Blast Pack of all the ships for only $1.99. As of this writing, I was unable to locate the Blast Pack in the menus, but hopefully the developers will fix this soon so you don't have to buy all three ships at 99 cents each.

Part of what made the original Space Miner: Space Ore Bust such a great game was the classic Asteroids game mechanic. With Space Miner Blast, you get a game that the developers say "Brings Asteroids into the 21st century!" and I can't help but agree. Anyone who liked the original game or the classic Asteroids will love this shoot-'em-up action game.

Death Worm

Sneak up from underground to take the evil humans by surprise.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Death Worm (99 cents for a limited time) is a lot like a game I reviewed not long ago called Super Mega Worm and is the original game that Mega Worm was based upon. Already a widely acclaimed indie title, Death Worm is a great fit for the iPhone and iPod touch screen. The control system involves a directional pad on the left and buttons for nitro and firebombs on the right. The object of the game is to take out as many humans as possible as you worm your way underground and breach the surface to create havoc against a military onslaught. As you progress, your worm will level up, letting you add more nitro power, better fireballs, and stronger skin.

Death Worm is an excellent time waster, but not terribly challenging in the early levels, leaving you wondering just what it will take to bring you down. But as the game goes on, you'll be challenged by tanks, cars, rocket-launcher-wielding soldiers, helicopters, and more. In later levels, you'll struggle to stay alive long enough to level up, giving you full health to continue on.

Overall, with 45 levels to play across three themed locations, 30 enemy types to contend with, and enough explosions and carnage to satisfy the most serious shoot-'em-up gamers, Death Worm is a great addition to your iPhone game library.

What's your favorite iPhone app? How do you like the arcade action of Space Miner Blast? Which game is better: Super Mega Worm or Death Worm? What do you think Firemint will add to Real Racing 2? Let me know in the comments!

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