Category Archives: Game Center

It's always interesting to see what kind of games follow when a novel idea hits big. The first wave is usually composed of shameless clones, but after everyone gets those out of their systems, you start to see some interesting, enjoyable twists. Earlier this year, we took a look at Dungeon Tiles [Free], a game that fused some light RPG mechanics into the core mechanics of Threes! [$2.99], adding an extra layer of tension to the swipe 'n' merge gameplay. Stencilsmith [$0.99] takes a broadly similar approach to that game, but also introduces crafting aspects to give you even more to do. The game has been out for a few months already, but it just recently got a great update that made me take a closer look at it. While it's not much to look at and comes off a little rough in places, the added ideas it brings to the table makes for an entertaining twist on a favorite...

'Jade Empire: Special Edition' Review - Everybody Was Kung Fu Grinding

As one of the most well-known RPG developers in recent times, Bioware is primarily known for two things: Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy, and space operas. Back in 2005, as the original Xbox was fading out and the Xbox 360 was on the horizon, Bioware was able to slide a little something different down the line. Jade Empire [$9.99] was a martial arts fantasy action RPG inspired by wuxia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers. It was the developer's first real foray into incorporating real-time action into the RPG framework that had become known for, a blend that woulds  be revisited with greater success in the Mass Effect series. While it was well-received critically, the game failed to sell anywhere near as well as Bioware's other titles, so the developer went back to the more reliable fantasy/sci-fi salt mines. That's a shame, because Jade Empire is an excellent game with some flaws that could have been buffed out to marvelous effect in a sequel...




'Bullet Hell Monday' Review - Another Manic Monday

Last year, we were treated to a pair of excellent shooters by Japanese indie developer Masayuki Ito. Titled .Decluster [$2.99] and .Decluster Zero [$4.99], these shoot-em-ups combined a unique visual style with tense bullet-hell action. The scoring mechanisms largely surrounded the ability to cancel enemy bullets. The more bullets you canceled, the more points you would earn. This encouraged you to use risky strategies, making for some seriously thrilling close calls. The stage designs and enemy placements in the games were top-notch, too. The .Decluster games were sold as paid games with no IAPs, and that's probably one of the biggest points where Ito's latest shooter, Bullet Hell Monday [Free], diverges from his previous titles...

Fox's animation shows have been dominating TV for quite some time now. Family Guy, Futurama, Bob's Burgers, American Dad, and King of the Hill all offer their own specific kind of craziness and humor. It's not surprising, then, that Kongregate decided to develop a card game based on all five shows, and the result is hilarious, as to be expected. Yet not all is rosy in Animation Throwdown: The Quest for Cards [Free]; while you'll laugh at the silly card combos and be entertained for quite a bit with the gameplay, eventually you hit so many timers that you'll quickly regret your investment in the game...

'Antiquia Lost' Review - Goo Girl Gone

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You don't even have to squint for Antiquia Lost [Free / $4.99] to resemble the recent Asdivine games released by Kemco. In terms of its visuals, mechanics, and systems, it's barely changed from EXE-Create's last few games for the prolific RPG publisher. There are a few small twists, most notably that one of the main characters has an unusual method of leveling up, but for the most part, if you've played any of the EXE-Create RPGs that use weapon customization as a core mechanic, you'll know what to expect here. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I suppose, but it's also not a very exciting thing. The most noteworthy part of Antiquia Lost is in how it advances Kemco's IAP monetization techniques, and that's not really the kind of dinner bell most of us want to hear...

In January of 2014 Stoic Studios launched their tactical RPG Banner Saga [$4.99] on PC to much critical acclaim. In October of that year, just shy of two years ago, they launched Banner Saga on the App Store, and it turned out to be a fantastic fit for the mobile platform. The following December, Stoic officially announced what many people had already assumed was coming, a full sequel, and also mentioned their plans to eventually bring that sequel to mobile platforms as they did with the first game. Well, after another well-received launch on desktop this past April and on consoles in July, Banner Saga 2 [$4.99] has finally popped up for purchase in the App Store...

Zombie titles really need to innovate more-so than a lot of other types of games these days. The market is just so saturated that the mere notion of "survival" itself just isn't enough, and there at least needs to be an interesting hook involved beyond the solitary concept of continuing to exist. Skyhill [$2.99] does that, even if the magic doesn't last as long as the developers intended it to...

Just over a month ago, we told you about Zip Zap [$1.99], an upcoming puzzler from Phillip Stollenmayer and his studio Kamibox, maker of the brilliant existential crisis platformer Sometimes You Die [$1.99] as well as clever puzzlers like Okay? [Free] and Squaredance [Free]. Oh, and I can't forget about my favorite silly time wasters like Pancake - The Game [Free] and 1 Meter [Free]. Zip Zap looked to fall into that "clever puzzler" category, as it has you manipulating various Erector Set-like pieces that are joined with hinges in an effort to scoot, hop, or swing them over to an end goal. The whole thing makes a lot more sense if you watch the trailer for Zip Zap...

The sheer number of mobile devices out in the wild coupled with the ease of downloading apps and their tendency to be free means that download milestones can get pretty crazy compared to other platforms. A million or, heck, even half a million units sold on another platform would be a huge success for most studios, but on mobile it's not even a drop in the bucket anymore. Which brings me to the news that FDG's ape-themed auto-runner Banana Kong [Free] has just reached the 100 million downloads mark across all platforms, and to celebrate FDG will be bringing a huge Beach-themed update to the game on iOS this Thursday. Here's a video showcasing the new Beach content...

'Steins;Gate' Review - Desperately Seeking a Good Time

There's a certain attraction to time travel stories. Sometimes, they're about comparing the present to the past, particularly by sticking a fish out of their water. Other times, they're used as a way to think about the future and the promise it holds. Most of them really come down to a simple question: what would the present be like if things had gone differently in the past? Ultimately, time travel stories are more often than not morality tales about appreciating what we have and who we are. A warning about greed and how it can leave you with less than you had. A means of dealing with regret and the paralysis it can bring. Well, except for Back to the Future. That one's about making out with a younger version of your hot mom and getting a new truck...

'Ember' Review - Keeping the Old-School RPG Light Burning

When 505 Games and N-Fusion released their old-school inspired RPG Ember [$9.99] last week, there were a few interesting things we noted. First, with a stated longevity of 30+ hours (coupled with no IAP), it’s certainly one of the longest premium RPGs we’ve played in awhile. Second, as a near simultaneous release with the PC version, it’s one of those increasingly rare games where the developer isn’t trying to hide the fact that a mobile version was developed concurrently with the PC version. Both are typically good indicators of a well-made game, and Ember certainly fits the bill. It does an excellent job paying homage to the old-school RPG and its controls make an acceptable transition to touch screen...

The sirens are blaring, the news reports are shouting, and one thing is very apparent to you: The nuclear apocalypse is coming, and coming quick. In one minute to be exact. In 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure [$3.99], which just launched on iOS after arriving on desktop in May of last year, you have one minute to scavenge your house for supplies and to grab members of your family (the ones who you want to survive, anyway) and then drop down into your bomb shelter to tough out this nuclear apocalypse for as long as possible. ..

When I first played Exploding Kittens on mobile, I was quite happy with the way the physical had turned digital; the subtle additions of animation and sounds here and there really helped bring the game to life, making it even more fun to play than the original. Sushi Go! [$4.99] has followed a similar path in its journey from card to digital with the developer keeping the game's original card art but adding subtle animations that help make the game quite charming and make it feel more like a digital game than a straight port of a card game. Sushi Go! isn't perfect - there's limited interaction with other players (no emotes or anything like that), which detracts from the social aspect of a card game, and the iPad UI doesn't take advantage of the screen as well as it could. Despite these issues, Sushi Go! is a fun, quick card game that might also put a smile on your face every time you play it...

Back in May, developer Rumblecade released a side-scrolling beat 'em up called Rockabilly Beatdown [$0.99] that featured simple button-mashing gameplay and some of the nicest pixel art and animation I'd seen. Despite being a simple game with just a single attack button, there was some hidden depth to Rockabilly Beatdown that slowly unveiled itself the more you played. With the charm and personality of the characters in the game, this was definitely an "endless high-scoring" take on the beat 'em up genre that I could get behind. The biggest problem was that it felt like a one-trick pony and, besides shooting for high scores, there wasn't a ton of meat on the bones in terms of progression and unlocks, things we had issues with in our review. That's something that Rumblecade has attempted to rectify with the first big update for Rockabilly Beatdown...

As we learned last month, retro-inspired racer Horizon Chase [Free] has just reached the one-year anniversary of arriving in the App Store, and to celebrate the team at Aquiris Game Studio has just released a special update adding some great new content to the game. This new content comes in the form of a new Australian Cup with 9 brand new tracks and two new vehicles, one a more modern high-performance sports car and the other more of a classic muscle car. Both are very welcome additions to what I believe is one of the finest racers on mobile, and you can see the new stuff in action in the following trailer...

By now, we all know what to do if a large meteor is on a course to strike the Earth: throw Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, and Steve Buscemi in a rocket loaded with a nuclear bomb, point them at the rock, and let the magic happen. They're our planet's ace in the hole. But what should we do if not one meteor is headed for us, but rather five? Ten? One hundred? Even if you throw in Casey, it's not enough Affleckpower to take care of that many flying chunks of absolute destruction. Such is the nightmare scenario considered by Atomic Super Lander [$2.99], the latest action game from Crescent Moon Games and bitWeird Games...

In June of last year, a phenomenal puzzle/action platformer named Furdemption [$2.99] took the App Store by storm. We loved it in our review, as did players in our community. It was easily one of the best games of 2015. Then in September, just over a year ago in fact, developer RareSloth announced that a level editor would be coming to Furdemption that would allow players to create and share levels forever and ever and ever! Well, due to various circumstances, that level editor got put on hold indefinitely in November. The silver lining was that in place of the editor, RareSloth instead would be bringing out a brand new sequel to Furdemption, called King Rabbit [Free], which launched back in March and, like the original, was simply fantastic. Well, things are coming full circle as today RareSloth has announced that the level editor is back on and heading to King Rabbit early next year...

Last week, we brought you the trailer for a charming upcoming point-and-click adventure game called Paul Pixel - The Awakening [$1.99], and as promised, the game is now available for purchase on the App Store. Paul Pixel the game follows the adventures of Paul Pixel the character as he wakes up to find that his neighborhood has been quarantined thanks to an alien zombie invasion. Yes, not just aliens, not just zombies, but alien zombies. Yikes! Your job is to escape the quarantine zone and save the entire world in the process. No pressure...

Back in July, Lucky Kat released their charming monster collecting/combining/battling game Combo Critters [Free], and we rather enjoyed it in our review. Taking a page out of Pokemon, in Combo Critters you'd explore an overworld map and engage in battles, and upon winning, hopefully snag that defeated foe to add them to your collection. Where things got really neat was in the way you could combine any of the creatures in the game to get a mishmash character as a result. It made for a ton of variety in terms of monsters, and today Lucky Kat has announced that there will be even more variety thanks to a new update next week that will add 3 new worlds and 45 new types of creatures to Combo Critters. You can check out the new stuff in this trailer...

Gorgeous Puzzle Adventure 'Submerged' Hits the App Store Ahead of Schedule

Earlier today we posted that Uppercut Games' gorgeous adventure Submerged was set to hit the App Store tomorrow, and while it may be "tomorrow" in some parts of the world already, the appearance of the game just moments ago does seem to be earlier than was intended. Hey, I'm not complaining! Submerged: Miku and the Sunken City [$4.99] released just over a year ago on PC and console to a somewhat mixed reception. This is a game that relies heavily on story, atmosphere, and exploration, which turned off a segment of the audience who was looking for more action. Those that enjoyed the type of game that it was, though, have had some high praise for the game. Here's a brand new trailer showing the mobile version of Submerged in action...

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