Author Archives: Chris Carter


'Pac-Man Bounce' Review - Free-to-Pac

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October 19th, 2015 12:52 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Pac-Man really has withstood the test of time. Decades later he still tops the charts as one of the most recognizable mascots in gaming, and he's hosted so many spinoffs that it would take you a lifetime to play them all. It's no surprise then that he's found a new home on mobile devices. Although Pac-Man Bounce [Free] suffers from a very aggressive monetization setup, it's a fun little diversion nonetheless...

I feel like every week I'm writing about another game adopting Crossy Road's free-to-play scheme. There's a good reason for that, as the ability to play for an unlimited amount of time, unfettered from energy mechanics, is a great feeling, and developers seem to be picking up on that. As it stands The Balloons - Endless Floater [Free] isn't quite as entertaining, but it's still a charming pixelated romp through the sky...




'Wormarium Arcade' Review - Pac-Worm

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October 8th, 2015 2:07 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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I still remember the first time I ever played Pac-Man. It was at the arcade, and the concept of a maze-heavy game wracked my brain for hours on end. While most of the games I had played up until that point featured a linear design, like the Super Mario series, the only real comparable title I had played at the time was Dig Dug, which still didn't prepare me for all of those taxing yellow dots. Wormarium Arcade [Free] isn't quite as good of an experience, but it still offers up some of those same thrills...

One of my favorite games growing up was The Incredible Machine. While the IP has been sadly dragged through the mud in recent years, it was once a work of art, tricking kids everywhere into partaking in what was essentially edutainment. The concept was clear -- simply get an object to its goal while using any number of over-the-top machines.  They were Rube Goldberg machines through and through, and taxed your brain just as often as they put a smile on your face. The Sequence [$0.99] is a bit more muted, but it's the same principle...

'Sketch Breaker' Review - Rainbow Breakout

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September 17th, 2015 11:21 AM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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If there's one genre I used to play as a kid but almost never dip into now, it's brick breakers. I spent hours in the family car playing Breakout on the Game Boy, and if I ever managed to find myself in a bar area waiting for people, I usually picked the brick breaker minigame on those high-tech (at the time) miniature arcade machines. The bar peanuts weren't the only thing salty at that point, because these games are difficulty and unforgiving. Sketch Breaker [Free] is basically the same principle, but with a heap of IAP settings on top...

'Beat da Beat' Review - Dubstep 'em up

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September 17th, 2015 10:12 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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Another day, another shooter on iOS. The genre is thriving, and I can't get enough of it! This time around, Beat da Beat [$0.99] means business, despite the fact that it suffers from a lack of variety. You know a game is serious when it gives you both an epilepsy warning and a headphone suggestion at the start...

'Blocky Highway' Review - Voxel Vehicles

I've had a new wind when it comes to racing games lately. There's a boon on iOS in terms of MFi compatible games, and gyro controls have come a long way since they were introduced so many years ago. While racing is the perfect subgenre to exploit any energy system, the developers of Blocky Highway [Free] have managed to craft a limitless experience that follows the same generous IAP principle as Crossy Road...

I've said it many times before, but it's a great era for shoot 'em ups. The ease of development for the mobile platform has allowed for so many classics to arrive overseas, as well as a number of other excellent, original works. Coming off of the high of Operation Dracula I was pretty excited to give Lightning Duru [$0.99] a shot, but came away less than impressed...

Logic puzzle games are the bane of my brain. Note that I refrained from using "bane of my existence" because I actually like puzzles titles quite a bit, but more often than not, they'll stump me far more often than a hardcore action experience or number-heavy RPG. It's the simpler concepts that usually throw me for a loop, as I tend to overthink them and completely miss the trees for the forest. That's kind of how I approached Sputnik Eyes [$1.99], a charming little puzzler that will stump you for days on end...

'Zoombinis' Review - Edutainment at its Most Adorable

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September 1st, 2015 10:59 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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As a kid, I was pretty big into edutainment games. Any excuse to play video games in school I took, from Number Munchers to Oregon Trail. Some titles were more "entertainment" than "education," but I ran with it anyway -- and in some cases, I taught my fellow classmates how to earn a high score. Good enough, right?  However, in all my childhood I never had a chance to play Zoombinis [$4.99 (HD)]. I'm glad that I changed that recently with its iPad release, even if it hasn't aged all that well...

Most puzzle games don't necessarily have an impactful message. I mean sure, some of them encourage critical thinking and educate youngsters, but you usually don't see anything meaningful in your puzzle soup. The Path to Luma [Free] switches that up a bit however, as the entire affair is sponsored by NRG (a clean energy company), and deals with themes such as solar and wind power. Thankfully, the actual game is pretty good, so the message doesn't fall on deaf ears...

You really can't go wrong with anything cat-related on the internet. At the very least, people will give it a click or a view, and you can move about your life having seen one cuter thing that day. But in Apocalypse Meow: Save the Last Humans [Free], the cats are anything but cute. Instead, they've taken over the entire Earth, and it's up to a squadron of dog fighter pilots to rescue the remaining humans. It's weird, and delightfully so, but thankfully it's backed up by a rather fun shoot 'em up on top of the premise...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But in the mobile world, developers are often subject to clones -- where games are almost copied wholesale from the original. Having said that, there are occasions where games may start entire subgenres, like in the case of Angry Birds. Yes, almost everyone knows that Crush the Castle (and the numerous tank titles before that) was "first," but at this point Rovio has refined the formula enough to call it its own. Although we're a bit early in the "Crossy Road" genre, Blocky Raider [Free] does a few unique things that allow it to make a name for itself...

My first ever interaction with golf was on the NES. I remember being fascinated by the concept of hitting a ball across a screen, and although the idea of woods and irons completely eluded me, I was content with whacking away Happy Gilmore style. Over time golf became far less foreign, and though the sport's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, I still have a certain degree of interest in it, at least at a base level. Battle Golf [Free] doesn't really do a whole lot for me though...

'Operation Dracula' Review - One, Two, Three Power-Ups, Ahaha

I think I could play shoot 'em ups until the day I die. It was one of the first genres I experienced in arcades outside of fighting games, and to this day, it's by far the genre that I import the most. Ironically, Siberian Strike was one of the very first games I played on an iOS device as well -- it's in my blood. It's good that Operation Dracula [$2.99], in spite of its cheesy presentation, is a solid showing...

'Agent Awesome' Review - More like Agent Meh

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August 10th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $1.99, 3 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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As a general rule, I really dig espionage games. Although stealth is old hat for some, it's a nice change of pace from the action-heavy games I usually play, and as a fan of James Bond and other classic spy franchises, nice little gags and references usually bring a smile to my face. But with Agent Awesome [$1.99], things get a little awkward, with some tacky writing and weird delivery...

What's in a name? Quite a bit actually, especially when it comes to the gaming arena! A catchy title can really vie for attention in this crowded era, especially with names like "I Made a Game With Zombies In it!" or "A Space Shooter for Five Bucks." While Red Game Without a Great Name [$2.99] isn't all that enticing, the gameplay is far flashier than the moniker...

'To-Fu Fury' Review - Soy Milk Ninja

There's been a resurgence of games featuring tofu in the past year or so, but not all of them are necessarily worth checking out. Naturally, I gravitated towards a recent release called To-Fu Fury [$0.99], featuring piece of ninja tofu. I mean, when have ninjas ever let me down, right? While you won't be running on rooftops and taking down rival daimyos in epic combat, you will be flinging yourself across the screen and collecting pieces of Chi. It's more of a zen-like ninja experience, and that's completely fine with me, given how great the control scheme is...

It's really tough to describe a game like Agar.io [Free]. It hearkens back to the old age of computing, back when Prodigy and CompuServe allowed users access to games at the cost of an hourly rate. There's something soothing about the experience, and since it's free and gets right into the action in seconds, you may as well try it out...

There really aren't enough expansive RPGs or dungeon crawlers on the mobile platform. It's a pretty hard pair of genres to translate, but the ones that do shine on mobile are perfect for quick "pick up and play" sessions. That's basically where Exsilium [Free] stands, and although it doesn't do a whole lot more than your average top-down action game, it's a free affair that is easy to get into...