Author Archives: Eli Hodapp


About the Author

Eli as been obsessed with mobile gaming his entire life. Originally starting with Tiger Electronics handhelds, graduating to the original Game Boy, and upgrading to nearly every handheld platform leading up to modern day portables.

While we're primarily supported by a mixture of Patreon, Twitch subscriptions and Amazon referrals these days, site sponsors go a long way in making up for the funding shortfalls of our Patreon never reaching its goal. To show our appreciation, we are now publishing these posts thanking our sponsors each week- Both to give them a little extra visibility and hopefully to get readers who love TouchArcade to give their games a look to similarly support their efforts in allowing us to continue to provide everyone with awesome third party mobile games editorial which the App Store ecosystem badly needs...

'Iron Marines' Review - 'StarCraft' for Mobile

'Iron Marines' Review - 'StarCraft' for Mobile

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September 15th, 2017 4:45 PM EDT by Eli Hodapp in 5 stars, Reviews, Strategy
$4.99 Buy Now

Earlier this week, I posted some pretty exhaustive first impressions of Iron Marines [$4.99], and consider this review a continuation of that article. In it, I cover most of the basics of the game and how various mechanics work. To avoid endlessly repeating myself a bunch, I'd recommend going back and reading that as this review will mostly confirm suspicions that I had and answer questions about the game's monetization methods which have been fairly controversial in our community...




We got a look at Square Enix's (then upcoming) King's Knight [Free] at PAX, and our initial impressions were that it was a pretty cool game even if we didn't really understand how to initially play the demo they had on the show floor. Basically, when you're actually playing the game portion of King's Knight, it's a hybrid of a dungeon crawler and a vertical shooter- A super neat mash-up that I'm not sure I've ever seen done before. (Although, on a platform like the App Store, that's almost an impossibility.) Unfortunately, after playing quite a bit of the actual release of King's Knight, I wish I could say I was surprised that it's absolutely packed to the brim with practically every freemium shenanigan in the book: Post-install downloads, multiple gacha systems, connectivity requirements, multiple ways to level up seemingly everything, login bonuses, friend systems, daily quests, and elaborate freemium menus (each often with their own tutorial) to manage all these things. It's really sort of incredible...

I just got finished playing around an hour or so of Ironhide's Iron Marines [$4.99], and it'd be hard for my first impressions of the game to be any better. It's from the developers of the Kingdom Rush [Free] series, so it's not much of a surprise that they'd know how to make a really great mobile game. At its simplest, the easiest way to describe Iron Marines is that it's pretty dang close to a mobile version of StarCraft. At times it even feels a little too on the nose when it comes to riffing directly from the Blizzard classic, but with a unique art style and a fascinating blend between tower defense and real time strategy mechanics, Iron Marines manages to feel distinctly different even if it is giving a unbelievably massive hat tip towards the StarCraft universe...

In the summer of 2016, a surprisingly fun musical puzzle game called Tapt [Free] hit the App Store. I posted a first impressions piece on it explaining what you do in the game, which effectively amounts to remembering and tapping the basic beat of a large collection of ultra recognizable songs. It was a basic concept, sure, but it worked very well and was one of those things I couldn't believe hadn't been done before. Well, Tapt developer Stephen Coyle is back with another clever puzzler that also has an interesting twist. It's called Deja [Free] (as in, deja vu) and the inspiration behind the title becomes immediately apparent once you start playing the game...

We've covered Ankama's Drag'n'Boom [Free] quite a bit in the past based off its real cool trailer. It hit the App Store yesterday, and I just wanted to post about it again in case this gem got lost in all the hustle and bustle of the new iPhone announcements. If this is the first you've heard of Drag'n'Boom, I think the easiest way to describe it is that it's like playing as a dragon inside of a medieval version of The Matrix. Every action you make in the game comes with a slow down bullet time-like effect, and that includes everything from movement to actually firing flames from your mouth...

New iPhone Games on Our Forums: 'King's Knight', 'Sprnkls', 'Saboteur', 'Drag'n'Boom' and More

Oh man, as far as made up holidays are concerned, today's is something I'm actually excited to talk about: It's Roald Dahl Day! As a kid, Roald Dahl was my absolute favorite author, and the boxed set of all of his books is my go-to gift for any kid I know that's in grade school. I'd say Fantastic Mr. Fox was my favorite book of his, but they're all so great it's basically splitting hairs. Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox movie is incredibly great as well. OH, aside from honoring an incredible author, there's also a ton of new iOS games that came out this week. I'm posting this roundup a little earlier in the day than I usually do, so expect some surprises to popup throughout the day...

Square Enix's 'King's Knight' Hits the App Store

September 13th, 2017 10:07 AM EDT by Eli Hodapp in News, Release
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We got a quick look at Square Enix's King's Knight [Free] back at PAX, and we were pleasantly surprised by what a cool game concept it was. Basically, imagine something that resembles a dungeon crawler hack and slash sort of thing combined with a vertical shooter. It's controlled using a virtual d-pad of sorts, which we didn't initially figure out in our first PAX playthrough...

A new thing I've been doing on our Twitch channel is just streaming me working during the day. I'm usually alternating between playing games and writing about them, but today I wrote most of the stories for the keynote and then streamed the keynote itself while we talked about it together in Twitch chat. Afterwards, I did a bit of a wrap-up of sorts going through all the new pages on Apple's site showing off all the features and specs which I thought might be interesting to watch for people who weren't on stream or potentially missed the keynote...

Apple Reveals New iPhone X with "Super Retina" OLED Screen, A11 Processor, Face ID, "TrueDepth" 3D Cameras, and More

While most of the surprise had been spoiled by the unbelievable leaks leading up to the keynote, moments ago Apple finally officially revealed the iPhone X (pronounced "iPhone ten"). While the Android world has had OLED screens for a while now, the iPhone X marks the first iteration of OLED screens in Apple devices with the 2436x1125 TrueTone HDR-enabled "Super Retina" display. The iPhone X interestingly straddles the middle ground between what has become standard of "normal" sized iPhones and the Plus models. With a 5.8" screen, the iPhone X actually has a larger screen diagonally than the Plus models, with a overall footprint that is between an iPhone and a iPhone Plus. It's sort of a Goldilocks device for me as I like the idea of a larger screen but always found the Plus models to be way too large for my pocket...

If you listen to our podcast, you've likely heard us gushing about Apple's AirPods. They've been nearly impossible to get since they were released in December of last year, and for good reason: They're incredible. I've posted both a first impressions piece as well as a more detailed review once I had spent more time with them, but after months of using them almost daily I've turned into the biggest AirPods evangelist I know amongst my friends. As of this writing, it's a bit unclear if today's announcement was new AirPods that come with the Qi inductive charging case, a Qi inductive charging case, or both. Either way, this 1.1 iteration is a fantastic upgrade to an already great set of headphones. Amusingly enough, these new AirPods were also leaked beforehand:..

Apple Reveals iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

September 12th, 2017 2:17 PM EDT by Eli Hodapp in News

While we all held our breath for the reveal of the rumored iPhone X, Apple first revealed more "traditional" iPhone models with the iPhone 8. Compared to what we've heard of the iPhone X, they're sort of boring to talk about, but hey... Different strokes for different folks. The iPhone 8 is basically just a refresh of last year's iPhone 7, with minor improvements. It's got a "Retina HD" display with the TrueTone color that the iPad has. The speakers are also louder, with better bass...

When AR Kit was first revealed at WWDC this summer one thing became crystal clear: Augmented reality was about to go from a weird gimmick to potentially changing everything. When it actually works well, AR is pretty magical, as we've shown posting about a few different developers fiddling with AR Kit themselves. In specific, the AR version of Splitter Critters [$2.99] looks really awesome, and things like the AR spectator mode in Guns of Boom [Free] seems like another really cool idea. Today at the keynote Apple showed a bunch of other augmented reality experiences I'm super excited for...

Today is the day, and we're mere moments away from Tim Cook and friends taking the stage to reveal this year's new iPhones. For better or for worse, it would seem that practically everything to do with the new iPhones has been leaked to the rumor mill. Our sister site MacRumors has put together a massive roundup detailing absolutely everything that we know about today's announcement. If you read it, you'll see that we're likely all going to be watching the keynote for any weird little snippet that might not have already been leaked. Who knows, there might be some surprises in there. Anyway, streaming the keynote is as easy as ever...

The Evolving Tale of 'Evolution' - A Game We Have Seen at Three Different PAX Events Now

While we've already posted a ton of games from PAX, there's one straggler we haven't yet due to an embargo we agreed to on the show floor. It's a board game that has had not one but two successful Kickstarters. All together, they've raked in over $400,000, which really goes to show just how wild people on Kickstarter are about board games. The digital companion to the physical version of Evolution is well on its way. We first saw the game at PAX a year ago, and then once again at PAX South, it's been fascinating watching the game evolve through the various conferences, particularly with the latest and most recent look at PAX West 2017:..

If you have fond memories of geoDefense [$1.99] and geoDefense Swarm [$1.99] but are bummed that neither title have been updated to be a 64-bit binary that will survive past iOS 11 and still want to play a similar tower defense game, take a look at neoDefense [$1.99 / Free] which has become a bit of a forum favorite over the last week or so. Like geoDefense, neoDefense is a very no frills tower defense game, with very simple geometric graphics. Where the game doesn't skimp (again, just like geoDefense) is in the particle effects department. As you get loads of towers out, and enemies begin rampaging through your defenses, the screen looks like a fireworks show...

I try to keep a close eye on the top free charts of the App Store, as that's where you can find all the smash viral hit games like Flappy Bird and others that just appear out of nowhere and get downloaded millions of times because reasons. As anyone who has surfed the top charts knows, these games can vary widely in quality. Often times when you grab a game that's charting well you have no idea if it's going to be super cool, or weirdly janky. Well, I'm happy to say that Push & Pop is the former. It combines a Tetris-like mechanic with Sokoban, and throws in an aesthetic that that reminds me a lot of games like Lumines. I'm not sure if it's the music (by 𝓘𝓼𝓲𝓭𝓸𝓻) or the overall look and feel of the visuals, but I'm picking up a definite Lumines vibe here and I'm really curious if other people are feeling that too...

The App Store of 2009 was a very different place, which sort of goes without saying. Most games were paid, and developers were just beginning to dip their toes into the idea of selling DLC via in-app purchases. The Iconfactory's Ramp Champ [Free] launched at $1.99 with a couple of IAP unlocks that were $0.99 a piece. Ramp Champ was sort of a big deal because The Iconfactory were practically legends in the Mac OS scene. As their name might hint, they got their start creating icons, but went on to release things like the first really big iOS Twitter client, Twitteriffic [Free], which won an Apple Design Award in 2008. Additionally, there was a bit of an interesting rivalry between Ramp Champ and Freeverse's licensed Skee-Ball game on the App Store charts. A lot of people thought Ramp Champ was the better game, but history would show it was totally unable to compete with the might of the official Skee-Ball brand. Regardless, Ramp Champ is a fantastic look at the days of App Store's past- Particularly now that it's been updated to run on modern devices...

I got a suggestion at PAX that I should try live streaming my day to day TouchArcade work on Twitch, as the "Creative" category is growing substantially. If people will watch streamers make cupcakes, there's no reason why they won't watch someone play games and write about them- Which is exactly what I'm doing today over on the TouchArcade Twitch channel. The first game that Twitch chat suggested I check out was Verticow [Free], which is yet another absurd flipping game from the developer of Pancake - The Game [Free] and Burger - The Game [Free]. (Although his most popular title is likely Zip Zap [$1.99].) Verticow is an odd combination of the joint mechanic in Zip Zap and the flipping elements of the previous titles...

PAX Wrap-Up - The TouchArcade Show #322

September 8th, 2017 8:45 PM EDT by Eli Hodapp in Podcast
Free Buy Now

We're back from PAX, and after running a Rewind episode last week, we've got a lot to talk about. If you missed any of our coverage, we go over all the coolest things we saw on the show floor. I'm super-excited for Reigns: Her Majesty and Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition, but really, we saw so many awesome games at PAX it's hard to really put your finger on the best one(s). We also talk a bit about the biggest news stories of the week including Magic the Gathering Arena and other neat stuff. We ran long, so I'm just going to keep all the games I wanted to talk about for next week and do a more game-centric episode, so look forward to that!

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to podcast@toucharcade.com. We read 'em all, and love decoding messages written entirely in emoji. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

As a companion to this audio podcast, we also do a video version of the same show that is exclusive to Patreon which allows you to see us playing the games we're talking about. Backers can view the most recent video episodes of the TouchArcade show by clicking here. Be sure you're logged in to see the latest content. For everyone else who is curious, you can check out our public patreon posts to see older episodes of the video podcast. If you like what you see, consider becoming a TouchArcade Patreon backer.

Developers, publishers, and anyone looking to reach an audience of energized iOS gamers (and other developers)- We offer sponsorship spots on this podcast. If you're interested in more details on sponsoring an episode of The TouchArcade Show, email ads@toucharcade.com.

 

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Stitcher: The TouchArcade Show via Stitcher Radio for Podcasts [Free]
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-322.mp3, 75MB

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