Category Archives: Game Center

When the absurd PC hit Goat Simulator [$4.99] launched on iOS last September, it was a joyous event. I'd seen all the crazy videos and read all the reviews, and I knew that Goat Simulator was something I needed in my life, but for whatever reason I never got around to playing it until it hit iOS. Once I had though, it was basically everything I'd ever hoped for, and we gave it high marks in our review. However, the iOS version wasn't quite up to snuff with its PC counterpart in terms of content, but developer Coffee Stain Studios let us know on their blog that big things were in the works for the mobile Goat Simulator. Today, one of those big things was released in the form of a new update for the game...

When Apple added widget functionality in iOS 8, it greatly expanded the kinds of cool things you could do with the lock screen on your iOS device. Most widgets have offered some sort of utility benefit, but there's a small number of developers who have brought gaming to the lock screen through widgets. First we had Overglide, which allowed you to play a simple cave flying game on your lock screen. Then there was the inevitable arrival of a 2048 widget. Widget functionality was even added to one of our favorite "non-game" games, Godville. Now, Overglide developer AA Mather is back with another widget game, and this time they're bringing a PC classic to the lockscreen with Minesweeper - Widget Edition [$0.99]. ..

'Lowlander' Review - More Highs Than Lows

Of all of the Ultima games you would expect someone to want to make a tribute to, Ultima 2 has got to be near the bottom of the list. Oh, it's no Ultima 9, to be sure, but I've always seen it as the little road bump on the way to Ultima 3 and 4 more fully realizing the concept of the series. It's a familiar story for sequels, I suppose, but by playing things a bit too safely, it had to succeed without the novelty of the original game and all of its faults. It was still a pretty good game in its time, but relative to the series on the whole, I think it's kind of underwhelming. I'm sure a whole list of people might disagree with that, and at least one of the names on the list would be the developer behind Lowlander [$1.99]...

If you were a Monument Valley [$3.99] fan who fell in love with Ida and especially the Totem (though a couple million of you drowned your poor Totem friend), then I have good news: Super Glyph Quest [$1.99] is getting an update this Thursday that adds the Monument Valley stars to the puzzle game. They're appearing as cameo characters in the match-3 puzzler, appearing in some of the quests that show up in the game. The characters show up in this new trailer, and you can catch a a glimpse of them in the Glyph Quest art style:..

Happymagenta has become one of my favorite studios producing smaller flaplike games: I dug Orbitum [$1.99], and Fist of Fury [Free] is a really fun fast-action game. Their latest title is Hammy Go Round [Free], and it's an endless runner that does some interesting things with its structure. You control a hamster spinning around an world turning clockwise, and have to collect acorns to go as far as possible. The game is ruled by a clock, and you can't really die, though you can run out of time. You can extend the timer by buying upgrades, which get you more acorns and then can buy powerup upgrades, and eventually unlock the game's other character, who exists in a counter-clockwise world...

In October of last year, a bizarre and intriguing tactical strategy game called Ambition of the Slimes [Free] was released. The premise was that those adorable little slimes that have been fodder in RPGs for decades are finally sick of being pushed around, so they decide to fight back. The way they do this is by inhabiting the bodies of humans. The game plays out in turn-based fashion as you tactfully position your slimes near human enemies, take over their bodies, and then use those inhabited humans as weapons against the rest of the humans. It's kind of twisted, but everything's oh-so-cute, so it's ok. ..

It's that time of year again, football fans. You know what I mean. "The Big Game." Oh hell, I'll just say it: the Super Bowl is coming! (please don't sue us NFL). Here in America, the Super Bowl is like an unofficial holiday. All productivity comes to a halt as people kick back, eat and drink way too much, and watch who comes away with the NFL's biggest prize. In celebration of this big event, two NFL games from Full Fat have been updated with new Super Bowl XLIX content. ..

Foursaken Media tackled the deficiency in games inspired by Mega Man Battle Network last year with their action-RPG Phantom Rift [$0.99]. Haven't gotten a chance to check it out yet? Well, now's as good a time as any, as the game is on sale for $0.99. The game combines deck-building with real-time combat, as you create decks of attacks, and draw them out in battles, which you use against enemies, but with an energy cost to equip. You also get to explore a world that is built before your eyes, Bastion-style [$4.99], and can get all manner of equipment to deck out your wizard...

10tons' Crimsonland HD [Free] has just gotten an update with a feature that not a lot of folks may be able to use, but should be pretty fun to play with for those who have it: local co-op with multiple MFi gamepads. The co-op mode was available in other versions of the game, but wasn't on iOS – until now. While MFi gamepads are still a bit pricey, if you and a friend have the game and an iPad or at least the ability to hook up to a TV, you can go through the entire game in co-op mode, with support for up to four players, all using their own gamepads...

It's possible that I'll never get tired of good "endless" games. Although there's no real goal in sight, earning all of those incremental upgrades to do slightly better after each run is the definition of deviously addicting. Go!Go!Go! Racer [Free] has the addicting part down, but it suffers from the same fate as any heavily monetized game in that the devs have made it difficult to enjoy it without paying up...

Developer EXE Create seems to have their business all sorted out when it comes to putting together an enjoyable JRPG on a Kemco-sized budget. Even at their worst, we end up with something like Infinite Dunamis [$3.99], a solid effort whose chief offense is in its lack of ambition. More typically, however, an EXE Create release will fall among the best of prolific publisher Kemco's mobile catalog. The developer has a particular strength for characterization, casting their adventures with clashing personalities and a hero that shows actual growth. This work is backed by surprisingly strong localizations, resulting in a story that's fun to play through even if the overall plot isn't all that special. In terms of gameplay, they tend to play it safe most of the time, but unlike their stablemates at Kemco, even if they're not strong at a particular design element, they at least turn in a good enough effort that it doesn't detract from what they do well...

I love platformers, and there are tons of great ones on iOS in all shapes and sizes. One of my very favorite "Mario-like" platformers is Wonderworks' Bloo Kid 2 [Free], which I picked as one of my personal favorite games of 2014. It's colorful, well-designed, and the running and jumping physics feel fantastic. Today a new update has made the game even better by adding in a new fifth world with 9 new levels, a new "Nightmare" difficulty and two new game modes. The new modes are Time Attack and Boss Rush, and they'll unlock along with the new difficulty option once you've beaten the normal Story Mode once. Here's the game's launch trailer...

Atomic Pinball Collection [Free] was announced last month, and it quickly became a game to keep an eye on. Developer Color Monkey created the beloved Revenge of the Rob-O-Bot [$2.99], an original pinball table for iOS that proved to be quite popular. Now, that table has returned in a new version along with a new table, called Masks of Glory in the new Atomic Pinball Collection. The main app is free to download, and lets you play each table up to a certain score for free before having to pay. ..

There are lots of different reasons that a person might enjoy an RPG, from the story to the battle system to exploration, but I think the one aspect that speaks to just about everyone is seeing numbers go up. It's such an appealing element of RPGs that it's been wholesale lifted by other genres over the last several years to massive success. Some games have even gone as far as to ditch everything else, allowing you to mindlessly tap away to see your numbers go up. Templar Infinite Crusade [$1.99] doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly in the neighborhood. It looks like the dog's breakfast, it's so random that you'll need as much luck as strategy to survive, and yet, there's a certain basic appeal to the game that might get its hooks into you if you give it a shot...

One of my favorite little gems released in 2014 was Pako - Car Chase Simulator [$0.99] from Tree Men Games. The premise is pretty simple: The cops are after you and you're trying to escape in your vehicle. The only problem is you're confined to a small space, like a parking lot, and the gas pedal is stuck to the metal. Your only option is to try and evade the police for as long as you can while avoiding running into obstacles like parked cars and buildings. It really is a very clever survival game with a killer art style. Today Pako has received its first major expansion, adding in all sorts of new goodies. ..

In May of 2013, developer Mode 7 released Frozen Synapse [$12.99 (HD)] for the iPad, a tactical strategy game that had received critical praise when it released on PC and Mac the year before. Unsurprisingly, the game translated incredibly well to the iPad. However, ever since its iPad release fans had been clamoring for Frozen Synapse on the iPhone. Being that the interface of the game was already quite busy even on the larger iPad screen, an iPhone version would be a challenge, but in April of last year Mode 7 promised just that. It took quite a while, but Frozen Synapse iPhone [$2.99] is finally now available...

Lately it seems like tons of classic iOS games are getting new life with modern updates, and the latest is Critical Thought Games' tower defense title geoDefense [$1.99]. This update was announced in mid-December, and in fact it just barely beat the clock and arrived just before the end of 2014. The update adds native support for all the various iPhone screens as well as support for iOS 8, which had previously rendered the game completely broken. The update also removes OpenFeint, which died a long time ago, and replaces it with Game Center for online leaderboards...

In True Axis' fantastic skateboard simulator True Skate [$1.99], manuals (or wheelies to the layman) were always possible to do, but they were sort of finicky. In an update in late November, True Axis greatly improved the way manuals worked, adding a whole new dimension to the game. Our resident True Skate master, forum member totallymichael, made a new video showcasing all the possibilities that the revamped manual system allows. Check out the vid, and maybe even watch it a couple of times to fully comprehend all the crazy tricks he pulls off...

Endless runners are a dime a dozen on the App Store, but there's one that's unique enough that it's been holding my attention ever since it released in late September. That game is Jack B. Nimble [$1.99] from indie developer Sean Noonan. Obviously it's an auto-runner where the speed gradually increases as you jump from platform to platform and try to avoid falling to your death, but it adds a clever Castlevania-inspired whipping mechanic into the mix which also has you trying to whip candlesticks to increase your score multiplier while simultaneously avoiding falling to your death. The added mechanic adds an extra layer of franticness and a risk/reward proposition as sometimes going for those candlesticks can seriously throw off your running and jumping rhythm. This is all tied together with visuals that are a very faithful homage to the original Game Boy and a killer soundtrack...

This news flew under the radar a bit, but a few weeks back Coffee Stain Studios spelled out their plans for Goat Simulator [$4.99] on mobile, and fans of the wacky sandbox game should be pretty excited about it. As they explain in a post on their blog, they're currently working on bringing a new level, Goat City Bay, as well as "a ton of new goats" to the iOS and Android versions of Goat Simulator. Even though this is content that's already in the PC version of the game, they have to essentially build everything from scratch in order to make it work in the mobile version, which is then followed by ""months of optimizing, building and testing in a cycle that takes a really long time." So it's not like they're ignoring you, mobile goat enthusiasts, it's just time-consuming work...

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