Updates are an integral part of the App Store and its economy. They allow developers to (instead of rushing out new games) draw fresh eyes to their old games by providing more content, crucial bug fixes, and general improvements. Updates are, however, as numerous as they are important, and it's sometimes difficult to find much to say about an update other than "new levels, hooray!"

With this in mind, we've decided to take steps to "update" our coverage of updates with a comprehensive article summarizing the most important updates. Worry not, these lists will not drone on about minor bug fixes and the like; only games that have been updated in at least somewhat substantial ways will be covered.

Battle of Puppets
Current Version: 1.1
[App Store]
[Our Review]

Battle of Puppets really stepped up to the plate to address player complaints, adding in a new tutorial and a complete hint system to help out new players. Other changes include increased performance on all hardware versions and a bunch of random bug-smashing.

TileStorm
Current Version: 1.0.2
[App Store]
[Our Review]

This update has been long-coming, but a lot of user-friendly options have finally been added to TileStorm to make it less of a hassle to navigate the menus. There's now a pause menu, the ability to restart a level without having to exit it and reselect it, and a "back" button was added to the level select screen. The other big fix in this update is the inclusion of the ability to "surrender" up to 10 times throughout the game. This counts the level that you surrendered on as a completed level (sort of) so you can unlock more levels and come back to the difficult levels later.

Parcel Panic - Post Car Racer 3D
Current Version: 1.2
[App Store]
[Our Review]

OpenFeint has been added, and along with that, of course, comes online leaderboards and achievements. Other issues addressed include the ability to add boxes during free ride and some slight texture work to improve the game visually.

Bust-A-Move
Current Version: 2.1.0
[App Store]
[Our Coverage]

OpenFeint 2.4 has now been included in Bust-A-Move, so high-score chasers and achievement lovers can rejoice! Facebook and Twitter connectivity was also added in this update for the social networking addicts out there.

Words With Friends
Current Version: 3.06
[App Store]
[Our Review]

Along with a bunch of various bug fixes, an entirely new dictionary has been integrated into Words With Friends. The dictionary is being touted as "a big improvement" from the developer, and will probably ease a lot of frustrations that people had with earlier versions.

Little Metal Ball
Current Version: 1.2
[App Store]
[Our Review]

A bug in the spotlight levels that was wreaking havoc on iPhone 3Gs has been issued here, but the biggest reason that this update is worth talking about is the substantial performance improvements that you'll notice while playing the game. I really enjoyed Little Metal Ball and made that clear in my review, but it doesn't seem like many of our readers ever really latched onto the game (especially given the low number of comments on that review). I'd like to seriously recommend that anyone who likes Labyrinth-style games check this out, because it's a ton of fun and deserves some love.

Ravensword: The Fallen King
Current Version: 1.2
[App Store]
[Our Review]

This isn't exactly a major update for Ravensword, but I'm sure that plenty of users will appreciate the integration of Crystal for online leaderboards and achievement support. Being a single-player game, Ravensword could benefit from a little bit of community integration, so I'm pretty happy about this particular update.

Battle For Wesnoth
Current Version: 1.3
[App Store]
[Our Review]

Kyle Poole just keeps on delivering with episodic content updates for Battle of Wesnoth, and the newly-added Episode 3 reportedly will clock in at over 10 hours of gameplay for those who delve into it. Not only has an entirely new campaign been added, but a whole slew of bug fixes (including one that reduces memory requirements to make the game more stable) and OpenFeint 2.4 with achievemens has been integrated. That, my friends, is how to do episodic updates. Bravo, Mr. Poole.

Diner Dash
Current Version: 2.0
[App Store]
[Our Coverage]

In an unexpected show of love for one of their original hit games, PlayFirst has delivered an update for Diner Dash that promises enhanced graphics (with a focus on larger sprites to make control easier), difficulty adjustments, and 10 new levels. Facebook connectivity has also been added, just in case there's a single person on your friends list who cares about your progress in an iPhone game.

  • cranker

    It would be nice to have this update every week. Sometimes I delete games and I might want to re-install them if they have been updated. Also, some games I passed on for various reasons and might want to give them a second look.

    • Adams Immersive

      No need to delete unless you’re out of space! I just let my newest games end up past the the last page of my iPhone. You can pull them up in Search then.

      Until OS 4.0 (hopefully) brings better app management, I use Notes to keep a list of these “invisible” apps to browse. Not ideal—but deleting my progress and settings when I remove an app isn’t either. (We really need an official way to back up/restore ONE app’s content, and a way to remove an app while keeping its content stored.)

      • Jason

        I agree: we need a way to backup the app content. My wife's songs all disappeared from her iPod Touch, so I restored the iPod from its last backup (I wanted a clean start after that.) Naturally, all of the content and settings for all of the apps were wiped out. =(

        As far as app management, if you're willing to jailbreak your device, you can use Categories to store your apps in folders, and you can also change the folder icons. Apple will hopefully include such a useful feature in an OS Update. As Pope Clement VIII was purported to have said of coffee, when his advisors asked that he call it "the bitter invention of Satan": "This devil's drink is so good... we should cheat the devil by baptizing it."

  • http://gameprom.com svolskiy

    Jungle Style Pinball:
    * fixed bugs on save/restore
    * Shaman and Big Kong animations
    * fixed scores multiplier for golden ball
    * stereoscopic imaging (needs anaglyph glasses)

    and in Apple review queue:

    Wild West Pinball
    * multiball (each 3rd completed mission)
    * mission timeout
    * stereoscopic imaging (needs anaglyph glasses)

    The Deep Pinball
    * multiball (each 3rd completed mission)
    * mission timeout (reduce after each missions round)
    * “ball savers activation” buttons exchanged with “stream activation” buttons
    * stereoscopic imaging (needs anaglyph glasses)

  • Symbolist

    Little Metal Ball was killed by those screenshots of crappy inferior textures.

    • Ryan Rigney

      The developer is actually going to try to up-res those textures in a future update. He's been trying to figure out how to do so without making the game's filesize +100 mb. Also, I disagree that it KILLED the game. Those textures were hardly noticeable.

      • Symbolist

        I spoke about screenshots. Most people tend to make decision on the screenshots look - which, in this case, was horrible.
        Otherwise I would have bought this game for sure.
        Good look with those strange... shrinkwars.

  • Ahiru

    disappointed with Ravensword.. i mean, come on, Crystal?? what other great games use crystal as a social network api?? it should have been openfeint... or plus+.. maybe even agon... but crystal?!? ...

    • starmonkey101

      why would chillingo support one of their games with anything other than their own crystal?

    • Der-Kleine

      "i mean, come on, Crystal?? what other great games use crystal as a social network api"

      Well, have you ever thought about when the first game with crystal was released? Really, crystal isn't that bad! (ok, ok, I do like OpenFeint more...)

      • Ahiru

        um... let's see.. defender chronicles is published by chillingo... do they use crystal? no.. and that's just an example...

        and i haven't seen any example of a great game using crystal? really, regardless of which i prefer or not, openfeint has a LOT more games than any other, plus+ is also growing fast, agon has quite a few - even though not-so-popular, but crystal...

  • Ben

    What about dead strike?

  • Will090

    I love update articles, you guys should make more of these

  • UncleAlias

    Rebirth of Fortune also got a really great update which replaced the generic chessboard battlefield with more realistic looking terrain, including height displacements. Makes the whole thing seem much more like a "real" game.

  • newbatthis

    I'm not a big fan but, Gameloft finally fixed Modern Combat multiplayer.

  • guest

    Where's Waldo added a new amazing explore mode that makes the game way better.

  • guest

    Where\'s Waldo added a new amazing explore mode that makes the game way better.

    • guest

      sorry

  • Chris

    Diner Dash update has some issue. Im on the last Diner where she has 4 arms... if you put a single person on the row of seats at the bottom it is VERY VERY hard to select them. Also, the happiness level of the guests on the bottom you cannot see. It's off-screen.

  • Fattychance

    The Battle for Wesnoth update is a HUGE HUGE improvement.

    It's completely playable now. Before crashes made campaigns painful. Much, much, much better.

    Well worth the money.

    I think it is actually well over 200 hours of game play. The new campaign was an additional 10 hours by itself.

    Feint integration is really well done also.

    Don't miss it. GREAT GAME!