Category Archives: Game Center

Back in May, FDG Entertainment and Cornfox & Bros. teased a fishing mini-game that was set to come to their action-adventure epic Oceanhorn [$8.99], and the following month the developers confirmed that the fishing being shown was actually part of a massive Game of the Year Edition update they had been working on. Today, they've released a new trailer which shows off some of the new content as well as highlights "your voice," meaning it's partially narrated by the many nice comments made by YouTubers and Let's Players. Be sure to watch the very end, where you can see a snippet of the highly-anticipated fishing...

Appeals to nostalgia have become something of a commodity these days in video games. With the generation of kids who grew up on 8- and 16-bit sprite-based games all grown up and making their own games, the relatively low cost of producing assets in the style compared to assets that push the bleeding edge of technology, and the generally favorable response from an audience pining for the carefree days of their youth, it's not really a surprise that what once was a rare treat has now become commonplace, particularly in indie and mobile circles. The most common way games tip their hats to the past is in the presentation, using graphics, sound, and music that reflect popular hardware of the past, such as the NES and the Spectrum...

When it comes to the games business, I'm not sure if there's any task that offers quite the same challenges as trying to convert a series from premium to free-to-play. Generally speaking, the upfront price tag ends up being the main advantage a free-to-play game can tout, with its paid predecessors usually offering a better longterm value for more frequent players. Some types of games have it easier than others, since certain genres almost demand improved visuals and major content updates as time goes by. In the case of a puzzle game, however, it's often hard to get people to buy into a sequel even without changing the deal much. Did anyone really go in for Tetris 2? People are often happy with good puzzle games as they are. Of course, one approach a publisher can take is to pull the previous games in the series, artificially shunting people to whichever version you want them to go to, but outside of that, it can be a minefield, as the creators of Dungelot [$0.99] found earlier this year with the initial blowback from Dungelot 2 [Free]...

Mini-game collections, or as they're sometimes known, party games, serve an important if somewhat niche role in gaming. It's safe to say that for most longtime gamers, party games aren't something we're going to be playing terribly often, yet on those rare occasions when you do need one, you really need one, so I suspect most of us keep at least one or two in the standing collection. Gather together four gamers for a party and the sky's the limit for mulitplayer, but if you've got someone in the room who isn't quite so familiar with games, the somewhat shallow and easy-to-learn nature of mini-games is probably the best route to avoid them giving up in frustration. So, like that dusty old Scrabble board you keep in the top shelf of your closet, it's useful to keep a good mini-game collection around for those special occasions...

A year ago yesterday, Mighty Rabbit Studios released Breach & Clear [$3.99] into the App Store, a tactical strategy game built for mobile devices. Now, to celebrate that first anniversary, Mighty Rabbit has dropped the price of Breach & Clear to free for this weekend. Our original review of Breach & Clear talked about the flashes of brilliance showcased in the game, but we were really put off by how much content in the game was labeled as "coming soon." It just felt like an unfinished product, and we can only really review the game as it exists at the time of review. To Mighty Rabbit's credit, they've since updated the game numerous times, not just adding in the "coming soon" content but also making many tweaks and improvements to the overall experience...

Lots of people in our forum are having fun with Gameloft's take on the social RPG genre, Dungeon Gems [Free]. As you can read in my review, it didn't exactly knock my socks off, but if nothing else, it's a fairly competent variation on Puzzle & Dragons [Free] with some spruced up visuals. Like I do for most games in this subgenre, I've spent a fair bit of time playing it during my downtime, and have put together a guide to help out beginners who are looking to dip their toe into the game. Some of this advice will be familiar to people who have played similar games, while other tips are unique to this game, but if you're getting started, you should find most of it helpful...

Last week, Disney and Marvel soft-launched a spinoff mobile game for the upcoming movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and as of today that game, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon [appprice url=""https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/guardians-galaxy-universal/id834485417?mt=8"] is now available worldwide. Following an original story inspired by the film and comic series, The Universal Weapon features gameplay similar to the original Battleheart which sees you controlling a party of characters and line-drawing to combat enemies in real-time. In addition to the five main characters from the film, there are 20 more Guardians of the Galaxy characters to unlock and play with through both single-player Story campaign and an Arena mode...

ZeMind Game Studio's Starborn Anarkist [$1.99] is a fantastic dual-stick space shooter that puts a huge emphasis on building and customizing your own ship. We really loved Starborn Anarkist when it released in early December of last year. But that was more than 7 months ago, an eternity in the world of iOS gaming, and Starborn Anarkist was in desperate need of some tweaks and fixes that had plagued an otherwise fantastic game. A week ago today we learned that the long-awaited update that ZeMind had been talking about for ages was finally submitted to Apple, and today I'm very happy to announce that the update is live in the App Store...

No, gentle reader, you are not seeing double. Though it shares a surname and a great deal of assets with early summer's Bill Killem [Free] from Everplay and Chillingo, Buzz Killem [$0.99] is a completely different game that takes place in the same universe. Rather than the timed running action of Bill, this game puts you in control of Bill's father, Buzz, in a stage-based arena battling action game that will feel instantly familiar for fans of Super Crate Box [$1.99]. This isn't the first time Everplay's name has been attached to an arena battler, of course. They also acted as the publisher for FireFruitForge's awesome melee action game Spell Sword [$0.99], and there are certainly elements of that incorporated into Buzz Killem's design as well...

One of my favorite scrolling shoot'em ups got a fancy modern remake this year with Infinite Dreams' Sky Force 2014 [Free]. It took the original game and gave it a massive graphical overhaul, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with modern mobile gaming like online leaderboards and tournaments. This remade version turned out really phenomenal, but Infinite Dreams still has some more planned for Sky Force 2014. They've posted some new screens in our forums for the forthcoming Stage 8, which you can see in the screenshot on the left while the screenshot on the right is from a cutscene that'll play just prior to the boss battle on that stage...

The Sonic The Hedgehog franchise has a tough line to walk. It's still SEGA's most reliable means of generating sales, and these days, that's more important for that company than ever before. At the same time, the reputation of the character has taken a real bruising over the years from some of the more questionable attempts at leveraging his popularity. For what it's worth, SEGA seems to be aware of the problem, and I would say a good half of the Sonic games released these days are quality efforts like Sonic Generations, the Christian Whitehead remakes of the classic Sonic games such as Sonic The Hedgehog 2 [$2.99], and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed [Free]. I'll even go as far as to say that Sonic Dash [Free] was a pretty decent behind-the-back runner that only got better with updates. Then there's the other side of Sonic, the games that are a poor fit for the franchise, just plain mediocre, or both. Here I'm talking about things like Sonic: Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, and yes, the original Sonic Jump [$2.99] for mobiles...

Late last year, a rough little indie platformer named Cally's Caves [Free] won over the hearts of many members of the TouchArcade forums. No sense mincing words, the game's visuals were pretty bad, both in design and execution. That said, the gameplay was fun, the music was excellent, and for reasons I can't exactly understand, the game in its entirety was free, with little more than inobtrusive ads and a single wholly unneccessary IAP to pay the bills. The game featured large, sprawling levels and a less forgiving checkpoint system than today's games typically use, giving the game a pleasantly challenging bite. Well, it hasn't been all that long, but Cally is back in Cally's Caves 2 [Free], and the months have been kind to her. It's still a bit rough around the edges, and in some aspects rougher than the first, but there's no denying the game is a huge step up from the original overall...

Running (mostly) horizontally all the time must get tiring, because our old pal Sonic now has two video games featuring himself jumping vertically and not doing much running at all. The latest is Sonic Jump Fever [Free], which Sega originally announced about a month ago but has been soft-launched since April. It's a sequel of sorts to 2012's Sonic Jump [$2.99], which I actually found surprisingly fun. Sure it was just a Doodle Jump-type game, but Sega did a great job at transitioning the traditional Sonic game into this genre. It has interesting levels, classic power-ups, and exciting boss fights. For being totally not like a traditional Sonic game, it still felt very much like a Sonic game...

Real Racing 3 [Free] just can't stop being updated, can it? There's seemingly something new being added to the game on at least a monthly basis. This month? It's Ferraris. The latest update, available today, adds in two new Ferrari cars. There's the Ferrari F40, the last car personally approved by Enzo Ferrari, the company's namesake. A classic car to be sure, but a Dodge Dart at high speeds can take it out...

This past May, SMG Studio managed to do something with the release of OTTTD [$2.99] that few have managed before: they made me enjoy a tower defense game. For a genre that has been a staple of the iOS platform for years, there's surprisingly few tower defense games that have resonated with me, but OTTTD was definitely among them. With its cheeky humor, sci-fi theme and high level of polish, OTTTD wasn't just a great mobile tower defense game, it could easily shine on any platform you put it on...

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