Category Archives: Game Center

'Battle Riders' Review - Wreck And Roll Racing

Once upon a time, there were shooting games and there were driving games. Two fine genres enjoyed by many gamers, young and old. Then, in the early 80s, in a move precedented only by the peanut butter-chocolate combination that was so delicious it kicked off the concept of democracy, the two ideas were finally brought together. It's hard to nail down who did it first, with it largely depending on how broad you go, but by the time the theme from Peter Gunn was pounding in your local arcade, there was no going back. We were driving cars, we were shooting at other cars, and it was pretty great. As a genre, its certainly had its ups and downs, but I don't think it's ever going to disappear entirely...

After playing Colorbs for a few minutes and going back to the home screen of my iPhone, everything looked so much more boxy that I thought Apple had done a stealth UI update or something. That is probably the most interesting thing I can say about Colorbs [$1.99], a very minimalistic puzzle game from One Minute Games, who previously brought us the well-liked Commander Pixman [$1.99]. The game pulls in elements from many staples of the genre such as Puyo Puyo and Panel de Pon to create something mostly familiar but with a few little twists to set it apart. It's all packaged up in a terribly bland presentation that leaves the game feeling just a little bit too lifeless...

The cooperative element of Lucky Frame's new puzzle-roguelike The Nightmare Cooperative [$3.99] reveals itself after a few quick crawls through the game's tile-floored dungeon. Your party of up to four Miners, Archers, and Warriors moves as a single entity, sliding up, down, right, and left in unison with each swipe of your finger. With these strictures in place, its your job to guide your ragged band through 16-odd levels littered with wolves, pits, yetis, and executioners carrying gilded pitchforks. ..

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 [$1.99] was approved and is available as of this morning. What a happy surprise!..

'Angry Birds Stella' Launches Worldwide, Hits Cackling Pigs

The latest Angry Birds game is now out worldwide. Angry Birds Stella [Free], now free from its soft-launch release, stars Stella, a pink bird who has a power of her own, to freeze in midair and launch in another direction, helping to activate chain explosions and the like. There's a whole new cast of characters to play as, each with their own abilities, but it's still the same core Angry Birds game. Much like Angry Birds Star Wars 2 [Free], it's possible to buy extra characters to use in challenging levels, or to use telepods to bring in extra characters...

'ALONE' Review - Forever Alone

With all the gimmicks endless runners tend to have bolted on them these days, it's sometimes easy to forget that it all started with just a simple score attack. No IAPs, no coins, no cosmetic upgrades, no power-ups, just an endless, increasingly difficult, randomized stage and a challenge to see how far you can go before inevitably failing. That's not to say gimmicks are bad, as they can be quite a lot of fun. Just look at Jetpack Joyride [Free], which is so loaded with stuff you could almost forget about the goal of going farther in favor of collecting things and still have tons of fun. There's something about that pure experience, however. It's something I greatly appreciated in Boson X [$2.99], and it's something I very much enjoy here in ALONE [$1.99]...

The genre label 'Metroidvania' is a combination of Metroid and Castlevania, referring to just about any Metroid game and the post-Symphony of the Night Castlevania games largely overseen by Koji Igarashi. The genre itself, though, stretches back pretty far, and there's at least one series concurrent to Metroid and well before Symphony that hasn't really gotten its due in the grand history of things. I'm referring to Westone's Monster World series, which spun of out the action-oriented Wonder Boy, got a lot of confusing localizations and revisions, and sadly bowed out after the 16-bit console generation. It's a great series that had a lot of clear influence on later titles such as Shantae [$2.99], but seems to get little credit for its contributions to the genre. With that in mind, I am not going to call Ninja Smasher [$3.99] a Metroidvania. It's a non-linear action game with a big, interconnected map where you find new abilities to open up new routes, but at least in my estimation, this game is taking notes less from Metroid or Igarashi's Castlevania and more from Westone's colorful, cartoonish adventures...

It seems hard to believe, but it's already been a whole year since developer Michael Brough released his techno-roguelike masterpiece 868-HACK [$5.99] onto the App Store, and to celebrate he's dropped the price of the game for the first time ever. You can now buy the game at the discounted price of $2.99, down from its original price of $5.99. In case you're not familiar, 868-HACK is a highly strategic, incredibly challenging roguelike with a cyberspace theme. It's one of those games where every single choice you make matters, and it's imperative that you have a decent understanding of the game's mechanics and are able to plan your moves well ahead. We absolutely loved it in our review from a year ago...

Having just finished my review of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two [$4.99], I thought it might be nice to decompress with a little pinball, as I often do after finishing a story-heavy game. Luckily for me, the developers behind Zen Pinball [Free] just released a thematically-appropriate new table as both a standalone app and an in-app purchase within the regular app. The Walking Dead Pinball [$1.99] follows most of the well-established trappings of Zen Studios's take on silverball, so it's hard to say if people burnt out on their offerings will be all that excited with it. For fans of The Walking Dead game, however, it brings just enough of the character of Season One [Free] to make it worth checking out...

It feels like we've been waiting for this forever, but the massive version 2.0 update for the classic JRPG Lunar Silver Star Story Touch [$6.99] is now available in the App Store. Originally released as Lunar: The Silver Star on Sega CD back in 1993, an enhanced remake of the game launched in Japan for the Sega Saturn in 1996 and later in North America on the PlayStation as Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. The iOS version is based off of that enhanced remake, and launched in September of 2012–just in time to miss out on being enhanced for Apple's then-new 4-inch widescreen of the iPhone 5...

'Appointment With F.E.A.R.' Review - My New Favorite Superhero Is Tin Man

If you ever need proof that competition is healthy for the customer, just check out the gamebook scene on mobiles. What started as simple conversions of the text of existing books has spun out into three developers each, in their own way, trying to combine the essence of classic gamebooks with the flexibility that modern technology allows. It started with Tin Man Games essentially giving you the keys to the game via a bunch of extra features, followed by inkle's brilliant adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99] and Forge Reply's original RPG adventure based on the popular Lone Wolf [$0.99] character. Then, in April, Tin Man released their version of Starship Traveller [$5.99], where for the first time, the developer didn't simply bring the original book over with some bells and whistles, but elaborated on it. Recently, inkle again upped the ante with their stunning take on Jules Verne's classic novel, 80 Days [$4.99], and now we've got Tin Man replying in kind with what is clearly their most confident conversion yet, Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$2.99]...

I always love to see a game that doesn't take itself too seriously. If it also happens to be genuinely funny at times, that's even better. Ace Ferrara And The Dino Menace [$3.99] packs in enough self-awareness, charm, and humor, it's easy to forgive some of the failings in its gameplay. It's a space shooter that feels a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon, with a colorful cast of characters, a goofy plot to take over Earth, and plenty of action. The gameplay also feels like it's tuned for a younger crowd, with short, easy to clear missions and very simple controls. Veteran starfighters looking for their next battle probably won't be satisified, at the very least. As a fun little popcorn experience, however, Ace Ferrara has a lot going for it...

Maybe it's just everyone dumping ice water on their heads to promote charity, but Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage [$0.99 / $2.99] going on sale seems awfully appropriate. And not only is it going on sale, it's completely free for a limited time as Apple's "App of the Week", likely in connection to developer Nitrome's latest game 8bit Doves [$2.99] recently releasing...

'Motorsport Manager' Review - Formula Racing for the Masses

When I sat down to try Motorsport Manager [$4.99], I thought it would be the perfect thing to poke at while listening to a podcast. After all, I wouldn’t be expected to drive the cars; I’d be running the biz and laying out the race strategy. A half-hour in, I realized I hadn’t absorbed a word, because I was so fully engaged in growing my fledgeling racing empire and watching my drivers tear up the track. It’s never overwhelming, nor is it too light to maintain interest. Motorsport Manager finds a nice spot in the complexity spectrum wherein it requires frequent decision-making, without ever inducing paralysis by presenting too many options simultaneously...

Okay, so I'm a typical SEGA fan. I complained about Sonic Jump Fever [Free] in my review, but I still ended up playing it a lot anyway. This, however, works out to your benefit, because since I've somehow unlocked pretty much everything, I'm in a great position to give you some advice about how to get the most out of this game with a minimum of pain and suffering. The core gameplay isn't very deep, and if you've played a jumping game before, you've probably developed some skills that will help you out in this game. The game does have a bunch of unlockables and power-ups, though, and there's definitely an optimal way of making use of those. Here are ten tips to help you score big in Sonic Jump Fever without losing your personal gold ring stockpile...

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