Category Archives: First Impressions

'Sproggiwood' Preview - The Roguelike for the Rest of Us

Freehold Games' Sproggiwood is a turn-based roguelike that mobile gamers should anticipate. Where many games in the genre use its conventions to be extremely difficult, Sproggiwood tries to be a lot more forgiving for the person who isn't a die-hard and just wants to enjoy the gameplay of the genre without being punished each time, as the game features persistent equipment upgrades and a world-based structure that encourages shorter play sessions and progression without having to survive intensely-long runs...

'Proun+' Preview: The PC Tunnel Racer Finds a Home on Mobile

There are some games where the question has to be asked: why wasn't this on iOS sooner? Joost Van Dongen's Proun+ is one of those games. Releasing on November 27th for $3.99, ported by Engine Software, it's a game that really feels like it's finally home on iPhones and iPads. The PC version is remembered as a particularly notable entry in the tunnel racing genre, and it feels like it's reaching its intended destination on iOS, where games like Unpossible [$1.99] and Synesthetic [$2.99] have followed in its footsteps, wittingly or not...

'Chaos Rings 3' Preview - Import Impressions

I've sunk over a dozen hours into Chaos Rings 3 these last few days since it released, and I'm going to be putting in plenty more in the future. I find myself constantly going back to it, even when I have other things I need to do. That should clarify perhaps the biggest concern about the game, I'd hope. This is a very good game, and a very good RPG. At the same time, I'm a bit torn about a few things, and I have worries about a few others. Let me start by saying that a fair length of time has passed since Chaos Rings 2 [$15.99 / $16.99 (HD)] was released, with the market changing rapidly in that period, not just in mobile but in gaming in general. Chaos Rings 3 is very much a reflection of those changes, and as a result, I'm not sure how satisfied fans of Chaos Rings in particular are going to be with this sequel...

I've been working my way through the new iOS version of Dragon Quest 3 since it hit the Japanese App Store last week, and now that I've finally brought peace back to the land, I figured I would give you some deeper impressions about the game. This game has been confirmed for English release, though we don't have a date any more specific than within a few months of Dragon Quest 1 [$2.99]'s release. I don't expect there will be any substantial changes from the version I've been playing, beyond translating the text and separating it out into its own app as opposed to its current form as IAP for the Dragon Quest Portal app...

Hands-On with 'Run, Sackboy, Run!', Currently Soft-Launched in New Zealand

Earlier this month, Sony announced their intention to bring the LittleBigPlanet series to mobile platforms with Run, Sackboy, Run! The game is a side-scrolling auto-runner that features plenty of unlockables and even the ability to unlock special items in the console versions of LittleBigPlanet. Sony is no stranger to mobile tie-in games that connect to their console big brothers, but thus far none of their mobile offerings have been particularly strong on their own. I was really hoping Run, Sackboy, Run! would break that tradition. Late this past Friday, Run, Sackboy, Run! soft-launched in the New Zealand App Store, so I figured I'd grab this early version and see what it was all about...

Hands-On Video and Impressions of the MOGA Rebel MFi Controller

Yesterday, MOGA officially unveiled their first full-sized MFi controller for iOS devices, the MOGA Rebel. I had a chance to sit down with the final version of the hardware with company representatives in San Francisco and spend a little time trying it out. I'll be saving most of my thoughts for a full review in time for the controller's release next Wednesday, after spending the weekend really putting it through its paces, but for now here are some initial thoughts and a little hands-on video to give you a better idea of what the MOGA Rebel offers those looking for a decent full-size MFi controller...

A couple of weeks back, I ran across a thread in our upcoming games forum for a new stealth-based game simply called Stealth. The game was the product of about 18 months of work from a single developer who had one goal in mind: recreate the stealth-based gameplay of the Metal Gear Solid series on mobile devices. The early screenshots and videos looked pretty promising, so I figured it'd be something I'd keep my eye on… except that the forum thread was created after the game was already submitted to Apple, and as it so happens, Stealth [$1.99] was approved and is available as of this morning. What a happy surprise!..

The biggest release of the week is undoubtely Civilization Revolution 2 [$14.99], both in overall depth/scope as well as price. We're still working on our review of the game, but in the meantime, if you're wondering whether or not Civ Rev 2 is worth the fifteen bucks, the thread in our forums is filled with some great first impressions from our community...

Last week, we got wind that animator and designer David O'Reilly, famous for his work on Spike Jonze' Her, Adventure Time, and shorts like The External World, was submitting his first game to the App Store. In a rare Tuesday morning release, Mountain [$0.99] is now available...

'Final Fantasy Agito' Preview - Final Fantasy Goes Back To School

Anyone who has been following the story of Final Fantasy Agito knows that the development of the game has had almost as many twists and nonsensical turns as the average Final Fantasy game's plot. Back in 2006, a game called Final Fantasy Agito XIII was announced for mobiles as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis project of Final Fantasy XIII companion games. It helps to put things into scope when you realize that announcement predates even the original iPhone by more than a year. Eventually, the team's ambition grew beyond what phones of that time could manage, so the project was moved to Sony's Playstation Portable in 2008. After the whole Final Fantasy XIII business didn't go quite the way Square Enix envisioned, the game was retitled Final Fantasy Type-0, finally releasing in late 2011. That seemed like it was that for Agito, but late last year, Square Enix announced out of the blue that they would be developing a prequel to Type-0 for mobiles, once again claiming the name Final Fantasy Agito. I guess they were really proud of that title...

I'm not sure if I've become jaded in my old age or if I'm just on about whatever the tenth stop out is on "fool me once," but I don't expect very much out of games that rocket up the top free charts. Recently it seems like the games have all been total one hit wonders, with incredibly basic gameplay that often hinged on reaction times or brutal difficulty...

Sliding in under the radar of this week's new releases is Shattered Planet [Free] from Execution Labs and Kitfox Games. It's a strategy RPG set in a sci-fi world, and it's peppered with roguelike elements. Your job is to explore randomly generated planets collecting items and gathering information on the various inhabitants. It's set up like a dungeon crawler in that you'll explore one area, find the teleporter, then get zapped into the next, "deeper" area. You'll gain better rewards the deeper you go. There's also a slight element of permadeath, in that each time you die you'll lose all your items gained during a run and get sent back to the world hub, ready to start over from the beginning. However, there are permanent attribute upgrades you can earn that will slowly build up your overall character level...

Big Blue Bubble has published a wide breadth of different kinds of mobile games to the App Store, most notably their Burn the Rope series and the wacky city-builder/musical-monster-collector My Singing Monsters. However, I don't believe they've ever covered dungeon crawler territory, but that's changed with the worldwide release of their newest game Finder's Keep [Free]. Finder's Keep was soft-launched last month, and the early impressions from our forum goers have been quite positive. ..

Not long ago, word got out that Square Enix would be releasing a new, free-to-play mobile installment in their long-running Seiken Densetsu/Mana series, which fittingly got its start on the most popular handheld gaming device of its day. Reactions were mixed, to say the least. There's a lot of fondness for Secret of Mana [$8.99], and it speaks to the depth of that fondness that even after 20 years of failing to repeat its success, people still hang onto hope that Square Enix can deliver a similar experience again. Well, since Rise of Mana has released in Japan, I've sunk a bit of time into the game, and I don't need to tell you that it isn't that game. In truth, Rise of Mana appears to represent Square Enix's latest attempt to grab onto the success of Gungho's popular Puzzle And Dragons [Free]. Still, I think if you can take the game on its own terms, you might have something to look forward to here...

As if last night's huge list of new iOS releases wasn't enough, there's a late-comer to the party that's been generating quite a buzz in our forums since it showed up in New Zealand earlier today. It's Block Legend [$1.99] from Dot Warrior Games, and to quote a member of our forums, "…imagine crossing that 10000000 game with Slayin. Only turn it up to 11." Ok, maybe that's not totally accurate, but it sort of is...

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