Category Archives: Game Center

Many people who go to conference like GDC and WWDC know that TouchArcade is inexplicably tied to Denny's fine dining establishments. It has become tradition since the inception of TouchArcade in 2008 that the staff visit Denny's anywhere between two and seven times during a conference. Running around a city like San Francisco, meeting with developers, going to events and parties… it wears you down, and Denny's is always there waiting with open arms and Moons Over My Hammy 24 hours a day 7 days a week...

Hunted Cow's been a bit nostalgic this year. After making a big return to World War 2 with the recent Tank Battle: East Front [$1.99] series and revisiting ancient warfare with Ancient Battle: Alexander [$3.99], it's making another return to the American Civil War, last visited in Civil War: 1862 [$1.99] late last year. For some, it's probably a bit too soon to go back to a very familiar period, but I'm just happy to get a break from tanks in my mobile war games. As you might expect given the frequency of Hunted Cow's releases, Civil War: 1864 [$4.99] feels very iterative, but there are a couple of differences beyond the expected slate of new missions...

'Sky Force 2014' Review - A Modern Take On The Mobile Shoot-Em-Up

It's sometimes easy to forget how far mobile gaming has come in such a short time. Not even 10 years ago, people playing phone games were using ill-suited keypads to move sluggish characters around simple environments to fill the time while they waited for the bus. Almost none of the big game companies had their eye on the ball, and that left an opportunity for a bunch of smaller guys to get a lot more attention far more easily than they can today. As an example, just look at Sky Force. Originally released in 2004, developed by a four-person team in Poland, Sky Force's enjoyable mix of 1942 enemy patterns and Raiden-like visuals made it a big winner among early mobile gamers. It later enjoyed an enhanced port to other smartphones, with a choice of tilt or touch-based controls and a lot of features that were interesting at the time, like Open Feint. Like all too many games of that vintage, iOS updates eventually left Sky Force behind, sadly...

On the list of things I would never have guessed I'd be playing on my iPhone in 2014, a rhythm game from SNK based on the King of Fighters franchise has to rank pretty highly. I'm not going to question what led SNK to make their first new music game in over 13 years, but given how fondly I remember their last one, I'm glad to see them return to the genre, even if it's in quite a different form. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most people haven't played SNK's Cool Cool Toon for the SEGA Dreamcast, given it was a fairly late Japan-only release, but if you have, The Rhythm of Fighters [$0.99] borrows heavily from it, along with a little inspiration from Theatrhythm Final Fantasy [Free]...

The last three major LEGO releases on iOS certainly represent quite the platter. LEGO The Lord of the Rings [$4.99], as a shared release with the other major handheld game systems, was cut down from the console versions in many respects, offering a few decent-sized hubs but taking out the interesting RPG elements. Still, while some parts were lost, the levels at least stayed fairly faithful to the console title. Then, we got a port of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga [Free], which seemed to be a fairly direct port of the console games and, perhaps significantly, did not release on the 3DS and PlayStation Vita. I've mentioned this in earlier LEGO reviews, but it's worth repeating for context's sake. The entire handheld LEGO line's design is held back by the weakest hardware in the group, and that still, to this very day, includes the original Nintendo DS...

One of the things I've had to get used to about living in Japan is the existence of a rainy season. As I write this review, we're coming off a solid week of rain. It rains all night, it rains all day, breaking just long enough to convince you to leave your house without an umbrella before recommencing in full swing. It's an annoying part of every year because it's really hard to get things done when it's raining all the time. The positive side of that situation is that sometimes you really can't get anything done, and you are kind of forced to relax inside your house with nothing but time on your hands, a bit of a rarity in adult life. I have no idea if it was the intention of the developer, but Rainblocks [Free], the new puzzle game from Subaku [$1.99] creator Let's Playing, very much feels like a rainy day in some ways...

Halfbrick Studios' Age of Zombies [$0.99] is a preeetttyyy old game by iOS standards, launching way back in October of 2010, but it's actually even older than that as it was originally a PlayStation Mini title released earlier that year in February. Mobile games don't tend to have a long lifespan, so it was kind of incredible that Halfbrick up and decided to update Age of Zombies earlier this month with actual new content in the form of a rideable zombie T-Rex and MFi controller support. Not bad for a 4+ year old game. Well, Halfbrick apparently wasn't done, because there's yet another Age of Zombies update that popped up today, which adds even more new content than the last update did...

Puzzle And Dragons [Free] is a scorching hot hit in many Asian countries, but while it's done quite well in Western countries, it hasn't had quite the same dominance. So, while Eastern publishers are scrambling hand over fist to try to catch a little lightning in a bottle with their own takes on the idea, we actually haven't seen all that many straight attempts from Western publishers. Enter Gameloft, one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of mobile gaming. It's been known for many things in its history: making, shall we say, heavily inspired homages to popular titles, pushing extremely high-quality production values, and recently, making free-to-play games and pushing mandatory online connections. Their latest title, Dungeon Gems [Free], is all of those things wrapped up into one neat little package...

Last week Zen Studios announced that a new pinball table starring Marvel's "Merc with a Mouth" Deadpool would be heading to the Zen Pinball [Free] and Marvel Pinball [$0.99] apps, and the update with that table is now officially live in the App Store. The Deadpool table clocks in at $1.99 and is a sufficiently fun pinball table in its own right, but the presence of Deadpool pushes it over the top. A tiny Deadpool runs amok around the table getting into all sorts of mischief, even playing on a tiny pinball table of his own at times (insert Inception joke here). Best of all are the constant quips by Deadpool that are fully voiced by Nolan North...

Hey Injustice junkies (Injunksties?) a new update is now available for the mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free] that spills the beans on four new challenge characters as well as makes some much-needed improvements to the online portion of the game. First up: the new characters. Expect to see challenges for Killer Frost, Luchadore Bane, Arkham Origins Deathstroke and Red Son Batman go live in the coming weeks. In fact, the Killer Frost challenge is already live and will run until July 13th. Also, the actual interface for the challenges has been reworked and it's a lot easier to tell how many challenge levels you've completed and what the rewards are with the new layout. A small thing, but it matters...

Freebie Alert: 'True Skate' Street League Skateboarding Update and Price Drop are Now Live

Earlier today we detailed the latest news in the world of True Skate [$1.99], the popular skateboarding simulation from True Axis. As of just a few moments ago, that update has gone live in the App Store as has the very limited time free promotion of the base download of the game. The big new feature in this update is a new park, the real life street course from the 2013 Street League event in Kansas City. This is what that new park looks like...

'True Skate' Now the Official Mobile Game of Street League Skateboarding, Going Free for First Time Ever to Celebrate

True Axis has been treating their True Skate [$1.99] players well in 2014, with four brand new skateparks added as DLC (The Schoolyard, The Warehouse, Double Infinity, and The Factory) along with sweet new features like a replay viewer and a "realistic" mode. It was already one of my favorite and most-played iOS games when it released more than a year and a half ago, but it just keeps on getting better with age...

Free to play is one of the hottest topics in gaming, and especially in mobile gaming. At its best, the free to play system can offer a way for a game to reach a wide audience and allow those who enjoy the game to pay money into it only if they enjoy it, while avoiding the risk of buying a game up front that they end up not liking. At its worst, free to play can cause developers to design the mechanics of the game itself around the pay system in a way that pushes players to make purchases in the game in order to remove obtrusive paywalls or boring grinds. While I think most everyone will agree that there's a "right" way and a "wrong" way to do free to play, something that's equally important to consider is if the type of game being developed even fits the free to play style...

Back in December, Ubisoft brought some Assassin's Creed flair to iOS with the spinoff title Assassin's Creed Pirates [$4.99]. It was a pirate-themed nautical combat game, similar to the ship combat portions of Assassin's Creed 3 and 4 on consoles. This put it in a sort of weird position, as it was a pretty decent nautical adventure but failed at delivering a full Assassin's Creed experience to gamers on mobile. We enjoyed it well enough in our review upon release, but Ubisoft has been good about updating Assassin's Creed Pirates every couple of months with new features. The latest update hit yesterday and is dubbed the Freedom Update, and adds a new area to explore called La Isla de la Juventud along with a new ship customization feature...

'Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville' Review - Once Again, The Day Is Saved

Every once in a long while, things converge in this hobby in such a way that I almost feel the resulting game was aimed right at me. I'll confess, I was on top of this game as soon as I saw it was The Powerpuff Girls. I can't explain why watching three super-powered kindergarteners beat the crap out of a hyper-intelligent megalomaniacal talking monkey is awesome. I shouldn't need to. Next, I saw that word used to describe it: Metroidvania. That term gets tossed around a lot, and even though most of the games that invoke it rarely deliver, I'll still show up every time, because I miss Metroid and Symphony-style Castlevania games. Finally, as a ridiculously unnecessary coup-de-grace on the whole thing, I saw that it was developed by none other than radiangames, who have a very fine catalog of games on the App Store, including the recent Fluid SE [$1.99] and JoyJoy [$1.99]. They're a developer I trust enough to buy their games as soon as they appear, no questions asked...

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