Category Archives: Game Center

'Crystal Siege HD' for iPad Review - Tower Defense Ain't Dead Yet

Certainly, tower defense is a genre where it's difficult to really rock the boat too much, especially since the genre's evolution was accelerated by the fact that it was a great fit for mobile, and everyone and their mother decided to apply their take on the genre. But hey, the games are still pretty fun, and there's still the occasional title with a clever twist on the proceedings. Crystal Siege [$4.99 (HD)] from Carrot Games and FDG Entertainment tries to apply an action-RPG take on tower defense, without drifting too much into the action-RPG side of things, like Dungeon Defenders [$2.99] does. As such, this winds up being a take on the genre that does some great things for itself while not rocking the boat too much...

One of the true App Store classics is Kairosoft's 2010 release of Game Dev Story [$4.99], which was pretty much just a simple port of a game that they originally released on PC in Japan in the late '90s. It wasn't the prettiest game, nor did it have any fancy features that took advantage of iOS's capabilities. What it did have was an unparalleled gaming experience that let you create your own fictional game company and release your own fictional games. The amount of tongue-in-cheek humor and video game cultural references was incredible, and the game itself was a very satisfying simulation. The game's popularity prompted Kairosoft to release a multitude of similar simulations for mobile devices, and while many of them are quite good there's really nothing that's topped Game Dev Story...

The fourth and final installment of Forge Reply's digital gamebook Joe Dever's Lone Wolf [$0.99] is now officially available for download, just as we learned it would be earlier this month. The new installment, titled Act 4 - Dawn Over V'taag, will run you $4.99 if purchased on its own, or if you've previously bought a Season Pass it will simply be available for download. Here is a trailer detailing the Dawn Over V'taag episode...

Character action games are a genre that feels underrepresented on iOS, perhaps because they inherently rely on complex button combinations for combat that just don't translate very well to the touchscreen. Well, about a month ago, Ghost Blade [$4.99] launched on the App Store seemingly out of nowhere, and set a standard for how these types of games should be built for the touchscreen. Rather than rely on a set of virtual buttons, Ghost Blade uses intuitive touchscreen gestures for its combat mechanics, and it works incredibly well, creating a very satisfying experience. ..

As one of my favorite bands Iron Chic points out in the song "Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?", we're all on a giant blue rock that's spinning through space, falling in circles forever into the sun. It's a pretty morbid way to view human existence, and kind of depressing, but the one lyric that makes me feel better is "This once we all fall together." Hey, we're hurtling towards a giant fireball in space, but at least we're in it together, right? That's similar to the premise behind Sunburn! [$2.99], the debut title from developer Secret Crush that just hit the App Store this morning...

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

It's a frequently-visited topic throughout the history of the hobby, but the topic of the length of games (or the lack thereof) has been coming up a lot recently among mobile gaming fans. Faced with a market that that is often frighteningly resistant to handing over more than a few dollars in lump sums, many developers who want to build a traditional game with a beginning and ending, free of IAP consumables and other monetization techniques, are faced with a pretty hard economic reality. The answer to that problem is usually to scope the game's content according to some very meager budgets, leading to some great games that don't take all that long to play through. This was a very hot discussion when it came to Monument Valley [$3.99], and it may well be the same for those who pick up Space Expedition: Classic Adventure [$2.99]...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

Late last month, Portable Pixels unveiled their latest project, a sequel to their popular 2012 virtual pet game Hatchi, and as of this morning Hatchi 2 - The Virtual Pet Breeding Game [$0.99] is now available in the App Store for 99¢. The original Hatchi was unabashedly retro, featuring a blocky faux LCD experience that closely mimicked the physical Tamagotchi and Digimon toys of the '90s. Hatchi 2 kicks things up a notch with full color visuals, but not too far, as it's still decidedly pixely and retro...

Pixelbite's fantastic drift-heavy, top-down racer Reckless Racing 3 [$2.99] has received a significant content update and is on sale for $2.99, down from its regular price of $4.99. The update adds support for Apple's Metal graphics API, and while Reckless Racing 3 was a very attractive game to begin with, there definitely seems to be a bump up in the lighting, shadows, smoke and other effects. This update also adds some classic levels from the original Reckless Racing, which is nice because the original appears to no longer be available. A new cup, additional arcade events, and a tweak to the difficulty in arcade mode round out the latest update...

This falls squarely in the "Huh, that's neat" category of iOS gaming, and I thought it was worth mentioning. Overglide [$0.99], released today, is a tiny game that you play in the "Today" section of your Notification Center on iOS 8. It takes advantage of iOS 8's new capability of having "live" widgets that can be added to Notification Center, giving you up-to-date looks at weather, sports scores, and even allowing you to make calculations. To my knowledge, Overglide is the first to actually let you play a game right from the lock screen. The game itself is a simple cave flyer where you control a paper airplane and dodge obstacles for as long as possible...

App Store Classic 'Space Miner' Getting a Modern Update, Sequel Still in the Works Too

I've mentioned this before, but I have a list of games that I'd do practically anything to have them be updated for modern screen sizes and iOS versions. There have been a lot of amazing games released on iOS in its fairly short history, but not all of them are in a position to be continuously updated to keep up with new iOS software and hardware. Some of those games aren't even available anymore, probably for that very reason. One of the games that was very high up on my update wish list is Venan Entertainment's Space Miner: Space Ore Bust [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)]. Well, I'm very happy to say that Venan has posted in our forums that an update is in the works for Space Miner that will bring support for all the different iOS screen sizes as well as iOS 8...

Forge Reply's wonderful digital realization of Joe Dever's classic gamebook series Lone Wolf is set to get its fourth and final act later this month on November 20th, the developer has announced in our forums. The new act is titled Dawn over V'Taag, and you can see it in action in the following trailer...

For the first time since releasing in September of last year, Ian MacLarty and Jon Kerney's fantastic behind-the-back runner Boson X [$2.99] is currently free on iOS. We loved the look of Boson X since we first laid eyes on it prior to it being released. The premise is that you're a scientist running through a particle accelerator, leaping from platform to platform while avoiding falling into the gaps, and running across the glowing platforms to hit an energy threshold that lets you move on to the next level. It's proudly inspired by Super Hexagon both in its look and the fact that you're rotating a giant angular shape by tapping either side of the screen. Though Boson X is based on a decagon as opposed to a hexagon...

We figured this week would be quite busy after the packed list of releases on Wednesday night, but there's still games sneaking out that didn't quite come out last night that are of particular note. Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is one of those games, and in fact it released totally under the radar last Friday. It's a curious game that seems to mix in any number of genres, perhaps a fusion of turn-based roguelikes with an endless runner. ..

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