Category Archives: Game Center

'The Trace' Review - Tracing Clues and Taking Names

'The Trace' Review - Tracing Clues and Taking Names

StarStarStarStarStar
March 25th, 2015 8:16 PM EDT by Tasos Lazarides in $4.99, 4.5 stars, Game Center, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

One of my favorite gaming experiences back in the late 1980s was playing the fantastic Police Quest series by Sierra Entertainment. I had perhaps too much fun playing the cop and roaming the streets as an incompetent instrument of justice. So, I was quite happy that The Trace [$1.99], the new game by British award-winning games developer Relentless Software, out now for iPhone and iPad, brought me back to my glorious crime-solving days. As Detective Sam Pearce of Baltimore PD, you get to follow a long trail of bodies in the hunt for a killer. Relentless Software has developed the game from the ground up for tablet and mobile devices, and it shows both in the game's influences and its controls. If you've been gaming on mobile devices the last few years, you'll easily recognize the genres that make up The Trace...

Last year's Flappy Bird phenomenon was certainly a sight to behold. People became obsessed with it, playing again and again, just trying to push a little bit farther than their friends. Clones and homages arrived to the App Store by the bucket load, even well after Hodappy Bird [Free] rocked us all with its take. For several months, there was a heavy influence on the entire iOS market from the players to the media to the developers and publishers themselves. Then, partly snuffed out by its own creator, the whole fire just sort of went out and things went back to normal. There were some lasting lessons for those interested in picking them up, however. For one thing, simplicity isn't a four-letter word. For another, large groups of people actually like games that figuratively smash your thumb with a hammer. You don't need a slick presentation with this kind of game, since what you're really targeting is the competitive instinct and tenacity in the face of certain failure that resides in almost everyone...

Even today, it's rare to see a developer's name affixed to a video game title. There are a lot of reasons for that, depending on which period we look at, but one of the bigger exceptions to that is the name of Sid Meier. I'm not sure how or why his name ended up in the title of Sid Meier's Pirates! [$2.99], but it might have simply been to help make the somewhat generic title more unique. The game was a massive hit, and while publishers generally don't like to canonize developers, they'll make an exception for just about any rule if the money looks right. So it is that after just a few more games, nearly every game Sid Meier had a hand in, and a few that he didn't, carried his name. It's an odd outcome for someone who seems to be a relatively low-key guy. The problem with his name becoming a brand, however, is that you can't be too sure with any given release just how much of the game is Sid Meier the designer versus Sid Meier the marketing tag...

It's late on a Friday afternoon/evening, and we're getting ready to wrap things up until Monday. But before we give you the Best Reviews of the week, the Game of the Week, and The TouchArcade Show podcast, I just had to sneak in a quick recommendation for a game I've been enjoying since yesterday called Rush Rally [Free]. As I'm sure you could guess, Rush Rally is a rally racing game. Now, there's no shortage of racing games on the App Store, but rally racing games are a bit more rare, and ones that actually nail the driving physics are even scarcer. Rush Rally is one of those that totally nails it. ..

Rop [$0.99] has a bit of an odd name. Without the accent over the o, it may seem like "rahp" instead of "rope," which is the theme of this game. It's a puzzle game where a bunch of ropes are strung together, and your goal is to rearrange the different linked points into a shape matching what is given, all on a hexagonal grid. Yep folks, this is a casual minimalist puzzle game that's also a real game. 2015, we did it! I can tell you whether you will enjoy Rop or not through the answer to one simple question: do you get satisfaction when you get a massive mess of cords untangled? If so, every time you solve a puzzle here, you will feel pretty good...

'Imps in Tokyo' Review - Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

A first glance at Imps in Tokyo [$1.99] might not really reveal much about what type of game it is. A picturesque style and a dark purple-blue motif are at the forefront of information you can see from screenshots. Developer We are Vigilantes have crafted a game that is much greater than the sum of its parts. Imps in Tokyo is, in broadest strokes, a pattern recognition game. Passing most stages will require flying around, dodging some enemies, killing other enemies and collecting as many magic pellets as possible. ..

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter dungeon crawler series has seen a lot of changes over the years, and that theme continues with this year’s release of Dungeon Hunter 5 [Free]. Yes, the hack n’ slash series continues its march into freemium territory, but this time it does so with a system that’s pretty fair to its players. It actually leads to a game that’s not only pretty enjoyable (within the confines of its systems) but has the potential for long term investment...

I've reviewed a lot of Kemco games in the last couple of years here at TouchArcade, and while the quality varies wildly, I can easily say my least favorite of that two dozen, give or take, was Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]. It basically encapsulated everything that I dislike about developer Magitec's games. The archaic engine with its jerky scrolling, the localization so stiff you could iron a shirt on it, the irritating dungeons that have you doubling back and forth hitting switches with damage floors everywhere, the asinine approach to character development, and more all added up to one sad little reviewer. Every time I see Magitec's name on a new Kemco release now, I take a deep breath, flinching the way one would when a static shock is expected from a touch...

'Card Crawl' Review - Just One More Time

Card games are extremely difficult to make, in my estimation: the game has to provide a rigid set of rules, while having to deal with randomness in a way that feels fair while reveling in the entropy that comes from not knowing what's next. I don't know if Card Crawl [$2.99] ever completely succeeds in that respect in terms of fairness with the randomness. But it does an excellent enough job otherwise at making a game that's super-fun with an interesting set of rules that I struggle to put this one down...

Those sneaky Angry Birds, they almost slipped this one by us. Early yesterday morning, Rovio unleashed Angry Birds Stella POP! [Free] onto the world at large after a soft-launch period which began in late January. Angry Birds Stella POP! is a bubble shooter not totally unlike Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble, but probably more closely aligned with something like King's Bubble Witch 2 Saga [Free]. It utilizes the characters and settings of the latest Angry Birds spinoff series, Angry Birds Stella [Free]. ..

Just as we told you it would a couple of weeks ago, One Man Left's Outwitters [Free] has finally landed on Android and gained a massive overhaul in a version 2.0 update for iOS. Well, while it's technically a "massive overhaul," you won't likely notice much about the new iOS version just on the surface. One Man Left ended up rewriting the game from the ground up as part of the Android porting process, so the game runs like a dream now and features cross-platform play with Android folks. There's also native iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screen support, in-game auto-refresh to create a more "real-time" feel to the asynchronous multiplayer, and many more nips and tucks to the nearly three year old game...

Balancing a tower defense title properly is a pretty tough task. Make a game too easy and players may lose interest in advancing through the game’s missions and difficulty. On the other hand, an incredibly difficult TD title can potentially alienate a lot of prospective players. Epic War TD 2 [$2.99] by AMT Games leans heavily on the difficult side in terms of the TD spectrum. However, the game is balanced well enough that most TD gamers can succeed while optional modes provide a challenge for the hardcore fans...

'Miner Z' Review - Mr. Zombie Driller

StarStarStarStarNone
Free Buy Now

I can't get enough of mining games. Although there are a decent amount of them out in the world, I feel like we still need more. The thrill of digging down deep into the depths of the unknown is unparalleled, and incredibly addictive. Miner Z [Free] might be a more arcade-like experience akin to an endless runner, but it still gets the job done...

Starting in June of last year, Halfbrick began an aggressive updating schedule to one of their oldest and most beloved games, Age of Zombies [$0.99]. Arriving about every month on average, these updates added new content and features that injected new life into a game that was originally released way back in 2010, and long-time fans like myself couldn't be happier to see a classic getting some loving. ..

'Blokshot Revolution' Review - Round And Round We Go

It's been interesting watching the way shooting games have progressed over the years. As one of the first genres in video gaming, the shooting genre has had a lot of interesting twists and turns. From the earliest titles like Space Invaders that offered a single screen and a big set of targets to pick off one at a time, to the advent of scrolling shooters with titles like Namco's Xevious, into a golden age with amazing shooting games being made by just about every prominent company, often with intricate stage designs and power-up systems. This was followed by the near-total death of the genre that coincided with the rise of Cave who, along with developers like Treasure and Psikyo, continued to service the shrinking audience with increasingly intricate and complex games. The once-mighty genre seemed consigned to niche status forever...

There are a lot of pieces of Pixel Heroes [$6.99] that would have had a much stronger effect on me a couple of years ago. The well-designed faux-retro graphics and sound, the roguelike elements, and the referential sense of humor are all things that have appeal for me, but even the marriage of these particular aspects is getting a bit too familiar to be exciting. That means the game has to carry forward on its gameplay, and it's honestly a mixed bag. This is a challenging streamlined RPG that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers a lot of replay value, but its repetitive nature and tedious combat eat away at the fun, bite by bite...

We're busy little bees running around GDC meeting with developers and checking out cool games, but this is just a quick heads up that the latest update for Pixelbite's tactical dual-stick shooter Space Marshals [$4.99] is now available as a free update in the App Store. The update adds Chapter Two to the game, which includes new weapons, new gear, new missions to complete and new enemies to defeat. Check out the trailer...

We were already well aware that Pixelbite Games were experts at making racing games, with the excellent Reckless Racing series and Repulze, but in early January they released Space Marshals [$4.99] and showed the world that they've also got a lock on tactical dual-stick shooters. We loved Space Marshals in our review, noting that it really focused on forethought, skill and strategy, which is a contrast from most dual-stick shooters which are largely blast-a-thons. The one bummer about Space Marshals is that it was designed as an episodic game, and the first chapter, while a nice meaty ride, still felt like it left you hanging when it was over. Good news, then, as today Pixelbite has announced that the Chapter Two update to Space Marshals is arriving next week on March 5th. They've released a new trailer showing off some of the awesome new stuff you can expect in Chapter Two...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...

One of the best mobile games of 2014 was Goblin Sword [$1.99], an action platformer with RPG trappings from two-man studio Gelato Games. With drop-dead gorgeous pixel art, flawless controls, a lengthy campaign and just enough character upgrading and customization elements, everything just fell into place with Goblin Sword and we effortlessly awarded it 5 stars in our original review. That was all way back in September of last year though, and while it's taken a bit of time, a huge new update has just been released for Goblin Sword which adds in all sorts of goodies...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.