Author Archives: Nissa Campbell


We called it whack-a-mole, back when I was a raid healer in World of Warcraft. It's been a while, but I'll bet things haven't changed all that much. You watch a screen of green boxes slowly deplete, and do your damndest to tag them with heals as they drop. Whack - a heal-over-time on the off-tank. Whack - a big heal on the main tank. Whack - a last second save for someone squishy. On and on until the boxes stop dropping, you look up, and hey—the boss is dead...

I have to admit my eyes glazed over a bit when I took my first look at Tomb Breaker [$0.99] It could probably look more like Bejewled with a little effort, but I've had my fill of straight Match-3s and then some. I probably wouldn't have given it a second look if I hadn't noticed it was from Kurt Bieg, creator of the delightfully frustrating Circadia [$1.99]. That bit of trivia caught my attention, and I'm glad it did...




'Sorcery!' Review - Inkle's Gamebook Gets It Right

As someone who can get pretty obsessive about both reading and video games, I keep expecting gamebooks to grab me by the throat. It seems as though they should be perfect for that: part game, part book, all gripping entertainment...

There's no escaping it: multiplayer on a single iPad is pretty much always a full contact sport. It's all hands and fingers everywhere, ducking and dodging to see under and around your opponent and clear to your goal. You can try to fight it, to keep everything very organized so everyone stays in their respective corners. Or you can embrace it, as Alistair Aitcheson has with Slamjet Stadium [$2.99 (HD) / Free (HD)]..

There is something inherently perverse about intentionally creating the thing that will destroy you. I don't mean that in any sort of metaphorical sense; this isn't some sort of child-destroys-the-parent thing. In Bit Ate Bit's They Need To Be Fed 2 [$1.99], you are charged with growing a monster and then crawling into its mouth to die, over and over and over again. You are responsible for pulling yourself through a hellish platform-scape, gathering the magical bean that contains your killer, planting it, and then feeding yourself to the monster that results. The game's developer Jesse Venbrux has some twisted ideas...

Away from the heart. You have to bounce the ninjas—no, punch them—away from the heart, not toward it. Indiscriminate punching isn't good enough. "Defend Heart!" they said. You had one job, and you failed by scoring on your own goal, punching some guy right into your own vulnerable heart. There might be a metaphor there. ..

Blendoku [Free] is a game you might not immediately recognize as such. I didn't. Where, I wondered, is the challenge in lining up five colours according to hue? You put the darkest blue on the right side, the lightest blue on the left, and fill the rest with shades in between. A color theory exercise, perhaps, but a game?..

Halfbrick's games usually grab me immediately. Jetpack Joyride [Free] was the cave flier of my dreams, Fruit Ninja [$0.99] devoured my high-score hunting hours. I didn't immediately latch on to Fish Out of Water [$1.99], though. It doesn't have the same obvious hooks—the shiny coins and the upgrades that keep you hitting that play button over and over. Heck, it doesn't even have a typical high score system. ..

For some reason there isn't an iOS adaptation of HeroQuest, the adventure board game that informed the childhoods of many folks my age. There are a few that tread similar territory, though, and one of them is Mighty Dungeons, [$1.99] published by Forest Moon Games...

Illusion Labs has a reputation for quality iOS games, with Blast-A-Way [$4.99], Touchgrind [$4.99] and a few other classics under its proverbial belt. Let that be enough to convince you to try out the studio's newest, Mr. Crab [Free]. At a glance it looks visually busy and overly simple, a vertical platformer of no great account. A few moments in action, however, show that it's more appealing - and more interesting - than it first looks...

RPGs and matching games are a proven combination, one that's been explored thoroughly since the good old days of Puzzle Quest. There may be variations yet to be discovered, though. Take Dungeon Hearts [$2.99 (HD)], the boss rush of Puzzle/RPG hybrids. It's a frantic matching experience that lets up only when you win or die...

Trauma [$2.99] gives us few concrete facts. There is a hospital, a woman in a bed, a doctor offering an uncertain prognosis. Beyond that, a series of dreams pieced together from photographs and memories, narrated by the woman, a victim of a traumatizing accident...

GDC 2013: IceFlame's 'Soccer Rally 2' Takes Car Football Further

If you haven't played the original Soccer Rally [$0.99] (or watched Top Gear play car football), this might take some explanation. Soccer Rally 2 is a game about driving cars and playing soccer. Or, rather, driving cars while playing soccer with them: the sort of thing that gets messy in real life but is crazy fun in a game...

First Trailer for Double Fine's Adventurous 'Broken Age'

Last night at the GDC Choice Awards, Double Fine's Tim Schafer revealed the first trailer for Broken Age. In case you haven't heard, that's the name of the game that the studio's record-breaking Double Fine Adventure crowdfunding drive has become...

Gameloft Reveals Iron Man 3, an Upcoming Endless Flyer

Marvel's Iron Man 3 is just over a month from release, and that can only mean one thing: a new Gameloft official movie tie-in. Sure enough, the studio has announced the upcoming release of Iron Man 3 with a trailer full of flying, explosions, and, uh, more explosions...

Coming Tonight: 'Dungeon Hearts,' 'Final Fantasy V,' 'Magicka,' 'Nimble Quest,' and More

It's Wednesday, which means that despite being knee-deep in upcoming game coverage at GDC, there are plenty of games coming out right now that are worth getting excited about. By "right now," of course, I mean about 11pm EST in the Americas and potentially much earlier elsewhere...

GDC 2013: KlickTock's Upcoming Strategy CCG 'Deck War'

We had a chance to sit down with Matthew Hall from KlickTock, the studio behind Little Things Forever [$2.99] (and personal favorite ZONR [$0.99]) to check out his upcoming game, Deck War. It's still early in development—only six weeks of a planned six month development cycle—but what Hall had to show so far is looking pretty great: colorful, cute, and a lot more active than your average collectable card game...

GDC 2013: A Tour of 'Drifter' With Celsius Game Studios

Since we first saw it in person at GDC 2012, Drifter has been under heavy development by Celsius Game Studios. The sandbox space trading game is approaching the final months of its development and studio founder Colin Walsh stopped by to show us some of its sights...

Behold Studio's Knights of Pen & Paper [$4.99] is one of the best tabletop roleplaying-style experiences on iOS, and it's about to get much better. Paradox Interactive has teamed up with the studio to bring the game to PC, Mac and Linux, and in the process the whole game will be seeing a big improvement on mobile with the +1 Edition update. We had a chance to check out the upcoming update, which is going to bring a lot of big changes to the already substantial game...

Hacking isn't much of a competitive sport. There are certainly competitions out there like Pwn2Own, but they don't look much like Hollywood's idea of hacking—you know, the bright colours, trippy graphical interfaces and sexy music (and people)...