Category Archives: Game Center

'Minesweeper Genius' Review – A Classic Game with a Modern Twist

We all have those memories from childhood, the ones which follow us through our life, bringing back huge waves of nostalgia whenever anything reminds us of the more innocent and simple times of our youth. For me one of those memories is visiting my mum, sitting in her office at this huge, clunky looking computer and playing minesweeper. So, to say I was excited when I heard about Minesweeper Genius [$1.99] would be an understatement of the greatest magnitude. Let me tell you now, I was not disappointed. Minesweeper Genius takes a well-known classic and dresses it in some of the best elements of today's mobile gaming world. Graphics have come a long way since the original minesweeper was released on an ancient PC, and many developers have cloned the iconic game with up to date effects. However, Mother Gaia Studio's vision was to change the graphics completely, they offer us "A modern take on the classic minesweeper game!" (quoted from their App Store description)...

A few releases back, SEGA added Gunstar Heroes to the SEGA Forever line-up. It's an awesome game, one that put the name of its developer Treasure on the map. Even if it's not ideal when experienced with touch controls, I'm sure many SEGA fans who own iOS devices are glad to have it. At the same time, however, it is a game that was previously released on iOS several years ago. That version of the app had long since been broken by iOS version updates, but the fact remains that Gunstar Heroes isn't exactly new to the platform. Treasure's other great 16-bit games, on the other hand, represent fresh ground for mobile devices. As luck would have it, SEGA has opted to resume their SEGA Forever releases with one of those titles, the imaginative platformer Dynamite Headdy [Free]...




Okay, I know some people out there aren't going to believe me, but sometimes educational things can be fun. Sometimes fun things can be educational. Our parents and teachers weren't totally misguided. Exhibit A: logic puzzles. Are they the greatest puzzles out there? It depends on your tastes, but at the very least I expect most fans of video games to enjoy logic puzzles in some form or another. The interesting thing is that no matter how they are presented, they all come down to a set of very basic rules that can be diagrammed in a way that looks more like homework than entertainment. Throw in an element of time pressure and you've got yourself a blueprint for a fine video game...

'Part Time UFO' Review - It Works Hard for Its Money

For many years, mobile gamers dreamed the impossible dream of having Nintendo games on their platform of choice. When that dream finally, improbably, came true, it didn't come in the form that many of those players had hoped for. There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about why Nintendo's mobile efforts are what they are, but regardless of the why, the fact remains that they're not quite the same as what the company puts out on its own hardware. Well, HAL Laboratory isn't Nintendo, but they're quite close in a lot of ways. If you were one of those people looking for a Nintendo-like experience on your mobile device, you may find that HAL's latest release, Part Time UFO [$3.99], scratches the itch nicely...

'Dissembler' Review - Click-Clack I Was Making a Match

While it's true that not every pre-existing genre of game has adapted comfortably to touch controls, I feel like the puzzle genre has benefited tremendously from them. In some cases, there are puzzles that just wouldn't work properly with other methods of input. Other titles benefit simply from the improved tactility that comes from using your fingers directly on objects in the game. Granted, you're just mushing your finger against a piece of smooth glass no matter what the game is like, but the really great ones line up sound effects and visual flourishes to create the illusion that you're actually playing around with solid pieces...

Developer Kenny Sun is best known for his unique puzzle games involving geometric shapes. Each of those games picks a shape and builds a puzzle experience around it that tends to differ entirely from the developer's previous games. There are some common points, of course. The games usually have a ton of levels, each one introduced with a card stating that it was made by Kenny Sun. They're also typically audiovisual treats, albeit abstract ones. A Hollow Doorway [Free] follows in the footsteps of games like Yankai's Triangle [$2.99] and Yankai's Peak [$2.99] in some ways, but it's different in that this is more of a game of reflexes than considered thought. It has this developer's usual flourishes, but in terms of mechanics, it's closer to something like Super Hexagon [$2.99] than the positional puzzles seen in the last couple of Sun games...

Sometimes all you really need is a bit of quick shooting action. Beyond Helios [$0.99] aims to fill that need in a game that feels like an homage to classic arcade shooters like Sinistar. Minus Sinistar itself, of course. No one can imitate that guy. You'll hop in your ship of choice and fly around freely in overhead stages set in space. There are a number of targets you'll need to take out, enemy ships that will hassle you as you attempt to do so, power-ups that will give you a temporary boost, and some hazards that will kill you if you bump into them. It's a pretty fast-paced game and there are some rough edges here and there, but overall there's a fair bit of fun to be had here for action fans...

'Cinco Paus' Review - A Rosa By Any Other Name

One of the things that makes games from developer Michael Brough so great is in how much there is to discover in each one. They're densely-packed pouches full of Eureka moments, constantly dripping out new tricks, traps, and techniques for those who are patient and observant enough to notice them. His games don't just trust the player to figure them out; they challenge the player to do so. You really won't make much progress at all in his games if you're not willing to play along with this philosophy. It's a school of design I happen to enjoy, but I do so knowing that it's just as much of a turn-off for some as it is a joy for others. After all, there's a fine line between being obtuse in order to teach and being obtuse just to be obtuse. Where that line falls tends to come down to the player...

After digging a little deeper into obscurities for the last couple of releases, SEGA has gone back to one of their tried and true 16-bit franchises for the latest addition to the SEGA Forever line-up. The Streets of Rage series has lain dormant for a very long time now, but in its heyday, it was one of SEGA's most successful action brands. To this day, I still consider Streets of Rage 2 to be one of the very best side-scrolling beat-em-ups ever made. But we're not here to talk about the sequel. Well, not yet anyway. No, today we're looking at the original Streets of Rage [Free], a game that may be lesser than its follow-up but still packs a pretty solid punch. Happily, SEGA has given the game the finest treatment we've seen for a new SEGA Forever release yet...

I have to give SEGA some credit. One of the many points where I felt that the initial line-up of SEGA Forever titles was lacking was in the selection; they were all games drawn from SEGA's 16-bit platform, and only two of the games were new to iOS gamers. Subsequent releases have mostly stuck to Genesis games, plus a few updated versions of prior SEGA iOS releases. But the Genesis games in particular that have been selected are certainly eclectic choices that demonstrate an affection for the deeper cuts from SEGA's 16-bit library, and that's pretty cool. It reassures me that in spite of the numerous issues that have plagued SEGA Forever, the project is a work of passion. Because honestly, who else but a SEGA super-fan would choose to release something like ESWAT: City Under Siege [Free] ahead of better-known titles like Streets of Rage 2 or Gunstar Heroes?..

I'm probably not saying anything controversial by mentioning that like any other human, I have genre preferences. I obviously enjoy my superhero stories and flights of fantasy, and humor goes a very long way with me. I'm not that big on horror stories, however. Stories about ghosts and the paranormal have to work a little bit harder to get my attention. With that in mind, I wasn't sure how well I was going to take to Heart of the House [$5.99], a recent release from prolific gamebook/interactive fiction publisher Choice of Games. It's a Victorian-era story of the supernatural with a healthy dollop of mystery mixed in. While this isn't my usual cup of tea, the character development and overall high quality of the writing ended up winning me over...

A few years back, I reviewed an enjoyable puzzle game called Circix [Free]. In that game, you had to connect circuits in the correct fashion to get past each stage. Setting aside the theme, the core puzzle of the game was in thinking about how each node had to relate to its neighbors. Well, the developer behind that game recently released a new puzzle game called Taps [$1.99]. On the surface, it's completely different from the neon electronics theme of Circix, but it follows a similar idea of building its puzzles around logical relationships. Taps feels more polished, more unique, and more carefully thought-out than its predecessor, and it's just as devilishly challenging once it gets going...

There aren't many good games out there based on the Power Rangers franchise. Much of that is down to the nature of the licensing beast, similar to how hard it seems to be to get a superhero game of decent quality. There are many factors, both obvious and subtle, that work against licensed games. The Rangers certainly haven't been free of such hassles. The obvious solution is to take a swing at it without a license, but as Behold Studios found out, that's a delicate road to walk. Things worked out in the end, however, and Chroma Squad [$4.99] became an officially-endorsed spin on the Super Sentai concept that is free to do its own thing without the heavy restrictions that come with a full license. It's a good game, probably the best Ranger-themed game ever, though how much you like it will depend greatly on what you're looking to get out of it...

'Miles & Kilo' Review - It's Dog-Gone Great!

The original Kid Tripp [$0.99] was an excellent ode to Westone's classic Wonder Boy and the Adventure Island series that it spawned. The game looked and sounded like a latter day Master System or Game Gear game, and the auto-running platforming was almost pitch-perfect. To this day, I consider it one of the better platformers available on iOS. Well, the kid is back, and this time, he brought his dog. More importantly, however, Miles & Kilo [$2.99] tries to advance the Wonder Boy-style gameplay with new moves, gimmicks, and obstacles that Tom-Tom never had to worry about. The result is a fantastic game with one foot planted firmly in the past and the other in the here and now. If you like platformers, you won't want to miss this one...

'Jelly Juggle' Review - Jelly Fish Pong

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March 10th, 2017 11:00 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Game Center, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
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I've been down the road a couple of times before with games from developer Ian MacLarty, and I feel like I know at least a few things to expect from his work. First, my poor pride is going to take a serious beating. Second, I'm going to keep on playing anyway. That was true for Boson X [$2.99] and Black Hole Joyrider [$0.99], and it's true again for Jelly Juggle [Free]. This one has a cuter, softer, kid-friendlier look to it than MacLarty's last couple of iOS games, but don't be fooled. That smiling, goggle-eyed fish wants only one thing in this world, and that's to make you cry. You might not feel like you need another ultra-tough, one-touch game on your device, but if you've ever enjoyed that sort of thing, I certainly encourage you to give this quirky Pong take-off a try...

The popularity of hero-centric multiplayer has taken gaming by storm over the last few years. Seeded by MOBAs like League of Legends and DotA 2 and spreading to the likes of Overwatch and Battleborn (R.I.P.). These games didn’t invent the concept of course, but it’s certainly become much more trendy. So, what would you say to a simple but deep hero centric turn based strategy game in a unique fantasy setting with day and night cycles during play that can completely change the face of a battlefield? All on mobile? I say heck yes. This is Little Lords of Twilight [Free]...

I’m a simple man. I see vikings, I click download. This has been true for years, and it was true a couple months ago, when Vikings: an Archer’s Journey [Free] was in the recommended new games section of the App Store home page. I didn’t opt for a review right away because this game definitely needed some more time in the forge, but a few thousand whacks with the hammer of improvement later and we have a solid bow-and-arrow-centric runner on our hands worth giving a look...

The latest game from Dong Nguyen, the creator of the viral hit sensation Flappy Bird, has just hit the App Store and Google Play. Titled Ninja Spinki Challenges!! [Free], it's sort of a tongue-in-cheek ninja training game. For this game, Nguyen worked with Japanese publisher Obokaidem, a relatively new face best known for games like PICK-XELL [Free] and Green The Planet [Free]. Spinki is Nguyen's first game since 2015's Swing Copters 2 [Free], and his first time working with an outside publisher...

Pleasant is the operative word to describe Dan Fitzgerald and Lisa Bromiel's Dog Sled Saga [$3.99], a charming game about dog sled racing that is more of a simulator than a racer. It came out last fall, but I couldn’t let us get through the winter without giving it a proper look over. Especially since the current build is so much more polished and stable than launch. It’s definitely the strongest game the developers have released thus far and it only makes me look forward to what they comes out with next. So strap your boots on and clean out the kennel. It’s time to crack the whip!..

Cannonfire Concerto [$3.99] is another gamebook release from Choice of Games that offers an unusual premise and excellent world-building. You play as a touring musical virtuoso in a setting that has something of an 18th century European feel. It's a time of momentary peace for the region, but things are starting to fire up again. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to get involved and which side you'll pull for, but whatever you choose, the show must go on. Written by Caleb Wilson, Cannonfire Concerto is a lighter and faster-paced read than some of the last few ChoiceScript games released, but that doesn't stop it from creating an interesting setting and having a good bit of fun with it...

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