Category Archives: First Impressions

While we had heard some rumblings about something cool coming from Bethesda at E3 that would be for mobile, we had no real clue what exactly it would be. Turns out it was a brand new game, and available right away: welcome to Fallout Shelter [Free], a town-builder that lets you build your own underground vault. We're diving into this one, but if you're just waking up and am curious about this one, here's our first impressions of this game: and despite being a town-builder from a AAA publisher, it might not be what you're dreading, it's actually really neat and does monetization in a different way from other games in the genre...

'Hopiko' Hands-On Preview: Live Fast, Die a Lot

Sometimes when you play a game, you just realize that it looks really cool, and like you want to play it. Hopiko from Laser Dog Games, creators of the fun Alone [$1.99], was one of those games that appealed to me right away when they first announced it. I sadly wasn't at the event in the UK where they demoed an early build of the game. But Laser Dog has just started beta testing Hopiko, and they sent along a build. As a games journalist who's self-aware enough to realize that getting to play preview builds of games is a privilige that shouldn't just be dismissed, I dove right into Hopiko. While I have a few concerns about the final product, I must say: this game is as cool as the initial trailer made it seem. I've got some video below of the first few levels. Watch it in sixty frames per second on the YouTube site. Not just because it looks smoother, but this frame rate is central to this game...

'Hyperburner' Hands-On Preview: Gorgeous, But I Just Crashed Again

Hyperburner was the kind of game that I was immediately taken by thanks to its promise of gorgeous worlds and quick-reaction gameplay. Developer Badpotion was gracious enough to send me a pre-release build to try out of Hyperburner, and while I think there's still some work that needs to go into this one, there's definitely a lot of promise for this game as it gets closer to completion. Check out some hands-on footage, including a first glimpse at some of the game's later worlds as they're being developed, below:..

'Demon Hunters: Dungeon of the Hell Dragon' First Impressions - Dungeon Crawling in 3D

Let's see if I can get your attention with two words: Fantasy XCOM. Pretty sure that worked. I've recently been playing Demon Hunters: Dungeon of the Hell Dragon (I know, not the most original title), an upcoming dungeon crawler by Wave Light Games that's gotten people in the forums very excited and for good reason. The developers, who come from a table-top wargamming and strategy-game background,  describe the game as a cross between Warhammer Quest and XCOM, borrowing the dungeon crawling and loot-gathering from Warhammer and the cover and line-of-sight aspects from XCOM. The game is currently in Testflight Beta, and while there's still a lot of work to be done, I like where it's heading...

'Subterfuge' Strategy/Diplomacy Game Preview - Fascinating Machinations of Machines

One of my favorite aspect of strategy games is the clash of wits and the constant attempt to outmaneuver your opponent. Yet, AI opponents never really give me those glorious moments that a strategy board game can, the knowledge that you've just outmaneuvered someone who sees and understands the game in the same way you do but still couldn't figure out the trap you'd been setting the last few turns. So, when I first heard about Subterfuge, a one-week long multiplayer game of strategy and diplomacy currently in alpha developed by a team consisting of Ron Carmel (of World of Goo), Noel Llopis (of Amazing Alex), and artist Shane Nakamura (of Zombie Gunship), my strategy sense started tingling. According to the developers, the game was greatly influenced by Neptune's Pride and Diplomacy, which is music to my ears. After spending about a week with the game, I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the game coming out because Subterfuge really brings diplomacy to the fore and will be a great game to play with friends (as long as you don't mind losing a few of them after you double-cross them for the tenth time)...

'Operation Dracula' Preview - The Most Authentic Bullet Hell Shmup From Outside Japan Yet?

Samurai Games is not from Japan, but if you play their upcoming bullet hell shoot 'em up, Operation Dracula, you might think they are. Developed by a team with the lead developer in Morocco, but others in the US, this game, being published by Crescent Moon Games, could prove to be one of the most accurate representations of the Japanese bullet hell shmup outside of Japan when it eventually releases...

'Heavy Rockets' Preview - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Rocket

Heavy Rockets is a stylish-looking game that intrigued me when I saw the first gameplay footage, and now I've finally gotten my hands on a beta build. It's a game that definitely shows some promise and some variety as both a cave shooter and a racing game. In its current form, it promises to be quite punishing, and requiring a lot of practice to do well at. There may be a few things that need tweaking to make this as fun as possible, but this is pretty interesting so far...

In our last piece about Apple Watch games, we covered the trailblazer developers that debuted games that were either specially designed for Apple’s latest platform or were updates to existing games that played, well, as if they were made for the device. However, there’s a whole other category of apps for the Apple Watch that the company is classifying as Companion Apps which are designed to supplement iOS games that are just too complicated for the little machine. We’ve taken a look at a few of these upgraded apps and our impressions are below...

After an introduction last year, a slow trickle of information and a pre-order period of two weeks, Apple Watch is here at least. If you listen to the ravings on the Internet, I’m apparently one of the lucky few to score an Apple Watch delivery here. For all the other folks celebrating Christmas in April with a Apple’s latest piece of hardware, here are some first impressions of a few of the dozens of games already available for the device...

Hands-On First Impressions of 'Mortal Kombat X' for iOS

Mortal Kombat X [Free] is out right now! While the sudden release means that it's hit or miss whether you can download it or not, I was able to download the game and play through some of it, and am here to give you my first impressions of this hotly-anticipated fighter after about an hour of play...

'Earthcore: Shattered Elements' Preview - "Risking" a Change

Touchscreens and Collectible Card Games (CCGs) have been enjoying a great relationship the last few years with the App Store featuring games like Might and Magic: Duels of Champions, Solforge, Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers, and the current King of the Mountain, Blizzard's Hearthstone. I've recently been playing a bit of Earthcore: Shattered Elements [Free], a new CCG by Polish Independent Developers Tequila Games currently in soft-launch, and I think it's going to be an intriguing addition to iOS CCGs...

Hands-on with 'Sick Bricks' - A Mobile-First Toy Adventure

iOS was a little late to the game when it came to action-adventure games that featured real-world toys. Disney’s iOS version of Infinity [Free] is restricted to its (admittedly cool) toy box mode while Skylander’s Trap Team [Free (HD)] is the first title on iOS to offer the full console package. While both have enjoyed some success on iOS, they are still ports of console juggernauts. Sick Bricks by toymaker Spin Master looks to change all that with a new universe of animated shorts and miniature toys all grounded in an action-adventure title designed for mobile...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's pretty much the attitude for WWE Immortals [Free], which is out right now, which I got a hands-on demo of recently at NetherRealm Studios out here in Chicago. The Mortal Kombat developer is of course known on mobile for Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free], which has done remarkably well for them and has done a great job at being a fighting game that scaled down to mobile and free-to-play without feeling way too dumbed-down and pay-to-win. And after playing through some of WWE Immortals, it seems as if the strategy was quite simply "Let's do Injustice but with WWE stars" to the point that the game should probably just be called "WWE Injustice."..

'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 [$14.99 / $14.99 (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 [$2.99] was approved and is available as of this morning. What a happy surprise!..

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