Author Archives: Colette Bennett


We spied Oh! Edo Towns [$3.99/Lite] on the App store in early September, and ever since, I've been wringing my hands in anticipation at the thought of a new Kairosoft game to fill up my free time. After all, Game Dev Story earned our coveted five-star score, and we've enjoyed the clever and cute take on the pleasures of city sims every since. Throw in my slight obsession with historical Japan, and then tell me I get to build my own town in Edo-period Japan, and here you have a very excited gamer. Can I be a shogun? Paint some ukiyo-e? Maybe even thwart Saigo Takamori before he reaches the borders of my humble town?..

Wizardry is a series with a pretty long history, and the older you are, the more of it you're likely to recall. Thirty years after its original release, gamers still think of the same thing when they hear the word: a long dungeon crawl in the dark, careful stat management, and a pen and graph paper by your side. In fact, Wizardry was really the first graphical incarnation of the Dungeons & Dragons model, and gamers familiar with it would feel right at home on those subterranean treks through poorly lit mazes...

I discovered tower defense late in my gaming career. I have no good justification for this. Perhaps I was too busy burying my face into all the RPGs and sidescrollers I could find. However, my intro game into the genre was PixelJunk Monsters, and if you gotta discover late, it may as well be with one of the genre's best entries. Ever since, I salivate Pavlovian-style every time someone murmurs the words "tower defense," and I had the same reaction when Gem Keeper [$2.99] was mentioned around the Touch Arcade office. I also was digging the fact that NCSoft made it, because I like them and I wanted to see how their skills would translate to iOS...

Com2uS is making some pretty solid games these days. I had nothing less than a blast with their FarmVille clone Tiny Farm, and we took a real shine to Inotia 3: Children of Carnia as well. In other words, I trust them to deliver a solid gaming experience, so I really looked forward to sitting down with the cute looking, colorful puzzler Piggy Adventure [99¢/HD]...

Everything about Helium Boy [$1.99] seems like it should make for a highly appealing, adorable platforming experience, and I admit I had high hopes for it when I pulled it off the App store. The 3D look reminded me of games from past consoles, but in that fuzzy, fond way that makes you nostalgic to go back and play 'em again. And hey, I like cute stuff. So why wouldn't a game about a boy and his balloons fill all my portable gaming needs?..

Another physics-based puzzler with cute graphics and happy music in the App store, you say? NO WAY! Yes way, if you can wrap your mind around the uniqueness of that concept, then you just might get into Roll in the Hole [99¢/UHD]...

'The Dark Meadow' Review - Atmospheric Survival Horror, Now Portable

I am what you would call a horror genre fangirl. I wait with baited breath for new installments of Silent Hill (or used to anyway, when Team Silent was at the helm), sucked up every survival horror title that didn't look totally terrible (and a few that did, just for kicks), and and pretty much lived and died by how perfect I could get a photograph score in Fatal Frame. There's something about decaying hospitals and shambling, unidentifiable demons that just appeals to me, I guess. I think what this says about me is that I have a taste for the weird, I may or may not collect strange objet d'art, and that I possibly may have a bonafide future as a crazy cat lady. I hope I'm wrong about the latter...

A cute panda, a match three puzzler, and a summery theme with cute accouterments such as picnic baskets and watermelons -- where can Panda Picnic (Free) go wrong? I mean, if you literally think about the idea of pandas out on a picnic together, you immediately start smiling. Or at least I do. I'm assuming the picnic basket is full of bamboo, though -- not my idea of a scrumptious lunch. Maybe I'll hang with the humans after all...

I've been chastised in the past for using phrases like "Unless you grew up under a rock, you've probably heard of...", but in this case, if you haven't heard of FarmVille, you've probably never used the internet. Or you're Amish. Possibly both. At any rate, while there's nothing new about the whole land management genre, we can definitely give FarmVille a nod for making it popular on a massive scale -- and not with just gamers, either. Facepalm all you want, but when your mom tells you that she totally built out her English Countyside, you have to admit that games like this have changed the gaming landscape in a major way (although good or bad, we can't quite agree on.)..

Sometimes I'm the mood for a puzzle game, and sometimes, I'm in the mood for a word game. Or the rare occasion that I'm in the mood for both, I don't have a lot of choices on my iPhone, but I believe Chillingo has fixed that with the addition of Gum Drop! [$0.99 ] to their library. A hybrid of both genres, Gum Drop! is a very attractive game that I believe will have staying power with kids and adults alike...

Chillingo is pretty reliable when it comes to fun mobile releases, so I went into my experience with Fruit Roll [99¢/HD] expecting to enjoy my time with it. A cheerful, colorful title with a cartoon-inspired style, Fruit Roll foregoes a complex approach in favor of a simple one, which really makes it easy to pick up and never want to put back down...

Don't ask me how this is even a possibility, but before I got my hands on Food Chain [Free], I had never played a single moment of Tetris Attack. Not even a second. Which is basically a crime, since I do love Tetris, but I guess I was sleeping under a rock at the time or something...

It seems like physics-based puzzlers are always popular with fans of iOS games, but the genre is undoubtedly saturated. Mikrotie's take on it is prettier than most -- in fact, graphics are likely to be the first thing to suck you into Treemaker [$0.99], which has a modern, atmospheric look to it that certainly is easy on the eyes. I admit that I am totally a sucker for extremely pretty games, so I was interested to see if Treemaker could offer great gameplay to accompany its uncommonly good looks...

Don't ask me why, but there's something about a videogame with a ridiculous premise that always appeals to me. In this case, it's the story of a fat cat named Tombo who lives in a tall tower and gets food air shipped in on a weekly basis to fill his growing belly. For me, this brings up a lot of common sense questions. How does he pay for the food? Who has such a delivery service that they send orders in by air balloon? Do they deliver in my area?..

Chillingo sure knows how to be timely. Their newest game, Conan: Tower of the Elephant [$1.99], was slated to come out around the same time as the 2011 film remake, which means that they hope lots of people will stroll out of the theatre feeling all barbarian-like and search the App store to find this game. I have to hand it them though, giving a nod to one of the original Conan the Cimmerian stories with the title and storyline was a nice touch...

One of my favorite genres is the adventure genre, since I was brought up on games like Shadowgate, Zork and Myst. So I admit that before even starting Cryptic Keep [$1.99], I was already rubbing my hands together in anticipation over the idea of it. A deserted castle? Stubborn puzzles to solve? Mysterious music? Why, maybe there would even be the useless combining of items that make no sense together! Wait, what's the appeal of this genre again?..

It's no secret to anyone that the App Store is crammed with word games -- they're hard to miss. Considering how simplistic the genre is and how it appeals to such a wide variety of different types of gamers, it's no surprise everyone wants to make the word game that people can't seem to stop playing. To do that, you either have to execute the original formula very well, or find a way to give it a twist. With DooWaru [99¢/Lite], it's the latter, and I'm happy to report that the experiment was a great success...

If you've never heard of Ragnarok Online, I'd have to assume that you've been living under a rock since about 2002. The popular Korean MMORPG came to American shores in 2003, but by that time it already had a rabid fanbase among Korean gamers (50 million players worldwide to date). The game originally started as a Pay To Play title, but a Free To Play version came along later down the line, which only amped its popularity. What more could you ask for from a fun little MMO like this? Why, to make it portable, of course ... and with Ragnarok Violet [Free], that's just what you've got...

While NyxQuest [99¢/Lite/HD/HD Lite] may be new to iOS platforms, it is not a new game. Chillingo's greek-themed platformer has already been praised in its WiiWare incarnation, and it's also been available for PC and Mac via Steam since late last year. The question we have been mulling around since the game first popped up for discussion on our forums was an obvious one: Would we get a beautiful translation of the game for our portable devices, or would it merely end up being a shabby port?..

Every iOS developer wants to hear great feedback about their game. Still, some compliments are better than others, and when it comes to a portable title, there is one phrase that is music to the ears every time: “I can't put it down!” When it comes to Bouncy Mouse [99¢/HD], the new physics-based game from Munkadoo Games, that’s the only phrase you’ll be able to think of -- because once you pick it up, you won’t want to put it down...