Author Archives: Chris Carter

'Traffic Rider' Review - Stop Riding Those Brakes, AI

Although plenty of racing games existed before mobile, I feel like the advent of iOS and Android devices spawned a whole new era. While it's generally difficult to craft high quality simulation experiences for PC and console platforms, tons of developers are able to create arcade-like games for mobile, often times to great success. This goes for none other than Traffic Rider [Free], which feels like a fully-fledged racer in its own right...

'TrainCrasher' review - Slash 'em up

January 13th, 2016 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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I can't exactly remember what my first beat 'em up was, but I believe it was one of the NES Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. They're great to play solo for sure, but most of my fun came by way of co-op, mashing away with three (or more) players on an arcade cabinet. There's an awesome sense of comradery there, all focusing on the common goal at once -- something that's very rarely replicated in the gaming world's current online focus. TrainCrasher [Free] might not have co-op, but it's a fun enough recreation of all of those old classics...

Having grown up with a controller in my hand, I've learned quite a few skills by way of video games, ranging from vocabulary enhancements, to motor skills, and even things like geography. One of the more practical things I picked up though is general sports knowledge. In fact, it's where I first learned golf, with my uncle breaking down the specific function of each club, and when to use them.  But the game of golf never really took for me, and to really get into the sport of it, I needed a bit of persuasion, sometimes of the fantastical variety. Enter Kirby's Dream Course on the SNES, with wonderful gimmicks like ball morphing and leaping over pitfalls and other hazards, and I was in. I never thought that 20 years later, I'd be writing about a similar experience on iOS, but here we are with Frank the Dillo [$0.99]...

'CaRRage' Review - Twisted Mobile

January 5th, 2016 10:11 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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Car combat is one of my favorite subgenres, despite the fact that it flies under the radar in just about every generation. My first taste was probably Rock 'n' Roll Racing on the SNES, before I graduated to the PlayStation platform, with Twisted Metal and Vigilante 8, among others. There's something exhilarating about racing in a fast-paced environment while explosions are happening all over the screen, especially in some of the more flair-heavy games. While CaRRage [Free] isn't as iconic as the aforementioned titles, it's an incredibly fun way to pass the time on your mobile device...

'Gopogo' Review - Hop 'til You Drop

December 29th, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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The mobile landscape has shifted quite a bit since the introduction of the App Store. In the beginning, the market was flooded with tons of hardcore experiences, meant to cater towards the console and PC gaming crowd. But over time, a lot of those games started to thin out, in favor of garnering massive audiences with casual titles and aggressive IAP "platforms." While there are a lot of gems in either side of the coin, it's nice to get a difficult game ever now and then, which includes the inevitably polarizing Gopogo [Free]...

I'm so glad that so many old school conventions are still commonplace in this industry. Tons of retro genres are seeing a resurgence, particularly roguelikes and adventure titles, and a lot of them end up on the mobile platform, bringing the meeting of old and new full circle. Tales of a Viking: Episode One [$0.99] has a few fundamental flaws for sure, but it handles grid-based combat with more grace than a lot of its competitors...

'AirAttack 2' Review - Stunning Shooting

When people claim that gameplay takes precedent above all else, including visual fidelity, I ask, "why not both?" There have been plenty of games that have pushed the envelope in just about every facet imaginable, including the recent Witcher 3 from CD Projekt Red. The same goes for mobile titles, which are pushing boundaries far beyond what I thought was initially capable when the App Store first debuted so many years back. We're starting to see full console experiences on portable devices, and AirAttack 2 [$0.99] is one such game that doesn't even feel like it should be possible given the hardware...

'Rush N Krush' Review - Wacky Races

December 18th, 2015 10:39 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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I never could have imagined that the mobile platform would house so many old school arcade experiences. Growing up I'd spend hours pumping quarters into various games, often times logging how much average playtime I'd get out of a single coin, so I could maximize my time at an arcade. I kind of do the same thing now with mobile games, especially if they offer "extra lives" or some form of energy mechanic...

Rayman is one of those franchises that always lights my face up when I play it. Despite my issues with a few of the older games, the newer generation of titles have been nothing short of amazing, and I'm including both mobile runners in that conversation. Rayman Jungle Run [$2.99] and Rayman Fiesta Run [$2.99] were excellent translations of the formula to the mobile platform, and although they're technically runners, they operate more like a platformer hybrid, and don't sacrifice any of the quality that the series is known for. Rayman Adventures [Free] is more of the same in that regard, with several holdups inherently related to its free-to-play nature...

'BLOCnog' Review - Slip Sliding Away

December 11th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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If I ever see a grid-based puzzle game, I jump at the opportunity to play it. Ever since I experienced Chip's Challenge so many years back I became addicted, and there's something so orderly at the concept of solving puzzles in a uniform format. BLOCnog [$0.99] is one such game, but it's conceal beneath a devlishly cute premise, and some very interesting concepts...

'Amazing Loot Grind' Review - Tap to Loot

December 3rd, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation, Universal
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For a period of one month, Cookie Clicker basically took over my PC. I played it at work, and at home, with two simultaneous instances running at once. The concept of watching numbers go up over time isn't anything new -- it's something PC and old console RPGs have been doing for decades -- but clickers cut out all of the downtime and just let you get to the rewards. It's a fascinating social experiment, but on occasion, it also makes for a fun video game. Amazing Loot Grind [Free] is one such instance, and it's perfect to play for hours or seconds at a time...

'Super Hyper Ball' Review - Breakout Pinball

December 3rd, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Pinball, Reviews, Universal
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I've been playing Breakout-esque games for decades now, and despite the fact that they've fundamentally remained the same, they still do the trick every so often when I'm craving an arcade-like retro experience. Sure it's a score-attack-based affair, with a dangling carrot that will never actually be reached, but at the very least, you can still break out all of those bricks and move on to the next set of tiles. There's a sense of progression to it and a noble air of simplicity that makes the genre so alluring. Super Hyper Ball [Free] maintains the same classic feel as those titles, but adds in a few rudimentary aspects of pinball into the mix...

'Dark Fear' Review - Old School Horror

November 20th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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I have a love-hate relationship with horror films and games. As a rule, I'm in love with older films, which use practical effects to great success, and deliver interesting and suspenseful stories. But as time progressed, CG is often used as a crutch, and horror has become increasingly more about shock or jump scares rather than a normalized sense of fear. It's the same way for games, but Dark Fear [$2.99] manages to bring us back into the 80s in more ways than one...

'Lumino City' Review - Point and Tap Adventure

November 18th, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $4.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Point and click adventure games had a wonderful, whimsical feel to them, amidst the chaos of pixel-hunting. One minute you were searching for that perfect "eureka" moment, and the next, slamming your keyboard in frustration because that one tiny little item you needed that was barring your progress for eight hours was in the corner, behind a window. It brought out the duality of emotions like no other genre, and the same goes for Lumino City [$4.99] on mobile devices...

Sometimes, a game can grab my attention immediately.  Whether it's the presentation or the ironclad mechanics, very few developers are skilled enough to really blow me away out of the gate. Beneath the Lighthouse [Free] was one of those games. I was drawn in by the Fez-like art style, and stayed for the gameplay...

I still remember the wild west of touchscreen development years ago, when people said that platformers would never work. While many classics have been ported by way of MFi controls, a lot of others stuck it to the naysayers with inventive on-screen control methods, or a design philosophy that accommodates accordingly. Count Crunch's Candy Curse [$0.99] is definitely manageable even without the help of an MFi device, but it doesn't really seek to do much more than that...

'Ghost of Memories' Review - Dazzling and Vague

November 10th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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The isometric take on puzzles games isn't new, but Monument Valley did it with such panache, that it started a revolution in the mobile arena. It's such a good premise for a limited amount of screen real estate, as the view allows you to take in gigantic landscapes without getting lost, or wanting for more. Ghost of Memories [$2.99] follows that same principle, but it's  not quite as exciting as its competition...

RPG mechanics, if implemented correctly, can give a game a shot in the arm when it comes to replay value. If done poorly, it can create the feeling of a grind, which are unfortunately often paired with enticing microtransactions. While it's a fine line to walk, I feel like a lot of mobile games are doing it right, and entice players to forge on, getting the best pieces of gear like any fully-fledged release. One such game is Dash Quest [Free] -- a runner with a ton of goodies to sift through...

Beat 'em ups were the perfect way to pass the time back in the day. They were simple in nature, often two players, and despite their mindless core, were often some of the most fun games on any individual platform. There's hardly any nuances to the gameplay for most of them -- you basically just need to dodge slightly and attack when there's an opening -- but the linear nature is a nice break if you're looking to relax. That's sort of the same feeling that Leave Me Alone [$2.99] left me with, but it has its own signature personality as well...

'Lunar Flowers' Review - Rock the Dragon

October 22nd, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 4 stars, Free, Games, iPad Models, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I think the games as art debate is pretty much done in my view. Yes, games can be art, and in their own unique way, provide us with an alternate viewpoint that can enrich us both spiritually and culturally. While Lunar Flowers [Free] isn't exactly a life-changing event, it's a pretty fun little game, and a beautiful work of art...