Category Archives: Game Center

One of the cool things about indie games is that concepts that literally have no chance of getting greenlit via traditional means can still find a way to get out there. Everything from inside jokes to personal stories to insanely specific niches can all become games for the world to see and play. Shinjuku Dungeon [Free], from one-man developer Uehara Labo, is a great example of this. On the one hand, it's a very typical retro-styled adventure that has you exploring a winding labyrinth, solving a variety of puzzles, and collecting keys and items that allow you to open up new areas. On the other hand, it's a nearly perfect recreation of a real place that tens of thousands of people walk through every day. While the game itself is decent enough, it's certainly nothing special. Yet, for anyone familiar with the real place, Shinjuku Dungeon takes on a whole new meaning...

It was just a few days ago we told you about the new skatepark that was heading to True Axis' skateboarding sim True Skate [$1.99], but it looks like Apple wasn't messing around as the update has been approved and is now available in the App Store. In case you missed it, the new skatepark is called The Warehouse and is an indoor park similar to the game's other park called Inbound. However, The Warehouse is much more spacious than Inbound, and features all kinds of awesome lines to discover. Here's a shot at what The Warehouse looks like...

If you're somewhat new to the world of iOS gaming, it's possible you haven't heard about Chris Neveu's adorable little platformer Miss Claire Garden [$0.99], which launched way back in January of 2011. However, last week the game received a massive, long-overdue update, and if you somehow have missed out on the game before, now is the time to introduce yourself to Miss Claire. The game is largely built around the mechanic of picking up items and enemies that will be instantly familiar to fans of Super Mario Bros. 2, or at least the non-Japanese version of it (which is actually a game called Doki Doki Panic that was reskinned with Mario characters and released as Super Mario Bros. 2 outside of Japan). Miss Claire Garden takes the item-picking-up idea and runs with it, and the original 2011 release is considered by many to be one of the top platforming games on iOS...

Big Blue Bubble has published a wide breadth of different kinds of mobile games to the App Store, most notably their Burn the Rope series and the wacky city-builder/musical-monster-collector My Singing Monsters. However, I don't believe they've ever covered dungeon crawler territory, but that's changed with the worldwide release of their newest game Finder's Keep [Free]. Finder's Keep was soft-launched last month, and the early impressions from our forum goers have been quite positive. ..

The Winter Games may be behind us for a few more years now, but Old Man Winter's grip on the Northern Hemisphere seems to be holding strong. With flaky white stuff inevitably on the minds of more people than just the usual dandruff shampoo marketing executives, we've been seeing lots of great games that take place in or around snow. Not long ago I reviewed SuperPro Snowboarding [$0.99], which called back to the Tony Hawk era of extreme sports video games, albeit from a 2D perspective. Cubed Snowboarding [$0.99] takes things back a bit farther, with a feel more reminiscent of 8-bit computer sports games. Rather than trying to stuff in all of the intricacies of the sport, it gives you a limited and somewhat simple moveset, a mountain full of increasingly difficult courses, and a challenge to get the highest score you can in a single run of the whole sequence...

I always enjoy it when a sequel makes a strong effort to surpass its predecessor without losing the core concepts that worked in the first place. Bloo Kid [$1.99], released in 2011, was a vaguely Bubble Bobble-like single screen platformer where you had to clear the screen of enemies by bouncing on their heads to finish each stage. The controls were pretty decent, the graphics were colorful and cute, and there were 84 stages with a few goals on each, so if you enjoyed it, there was a fair bit to chew on. That said, single screen platformers, while enjoyable, were knocked nearly into extinction when Super Mario Bros. first came around, approximately 25 years or so before Bloo Kid tried to get some attention with a fairly rote take on the concept. When Bloo Kid 2 [Free] popped up on my radar, I assumed that like many sequels, this was going to be little more than a level pack with a few new things stapled on at best...

Early last week Hutch Games revealed details about their new update for Smash Bandits, which would add a new racing mode among other things and was scheduled to go live later in the week. Well, things happened, and the update got pushed back. But fear not: The new update is now live, and with it the game is now officially known as Smash Bandits Racing [Free]. The new racing mode is great fun. The way it works is there are 5 tiers of races, with 5 races per tier. The 25 total racing courses are set in the same environments as the regular Smash mode, but aren't random. Instead, they're specific routes that will be the same each time you play...

If you're a big mobile gamer, you've probably played more running games than you can shake a sneaker at. Whether it's side-scrolling or behind the back, the App Store is full of unimaginative examples of the genre. Because of this crowded market, there are quite a few games in the genre that depend on a gimmick, particularly if they don't have a popular character or license to lean on. Adventure Land [Free], in most respects, is a pretty by-the-numbers side-scrolling infinite runner. You run towards the right, shooting or jumping over obstacles, collect coins, and pick up the occasional health pick-up. Things go faster and get more hectic the longer you play, seeing how far you can get. Adventure Land has a gimmick, though, and it's a truly cool one. In fact, it's probably the most interesting gimmick I've seen in a runner in quite a long time...

One of my favorite pastimes is spending hours skating around the virtual world of True Skate [$1.99] from True Axis. While True Skate contains missions to complete and a scoring mechanic that put it squarely in "game" territory, myself and many others enjoy it simply as a virtual skateboarding toy. The physics engine and numerous skateable objects in True Skate mean you're only limited by your own imagination when it comes to things to do in the game...

One of my very favorite platformers, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds [$8.99], is currently free on the App Store. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2012, Mutant Mudds made its debut on the App Store in December of that same year, and proved to be quite a hit. It's more of a slow-paced action platformer, as you'll need to take your time and make precise jumps in order to get past the many enemies in the game. It's very challenging, but also very satisfying. There's a hint of Metroidvania in it too, as you'll slowly unlock and upgrade new weapons and abilities that allow you to revisit previous levels and gain access to new areas. Finally, one of its key elements is the ability to jump in-between three levels of depth in the environment. There's a normal middle plane, a farther away plane in the background, and even an extreme close-up foreground plane. It's a neat effect, but it also ties into much of the puzzling and exploring in Mutant Mudds...

Not long ago, word got out that Square Enix would be releasing a new, free-to-play mobile installment in their long-running Seiken Densetsu/Mana series, which fittingly got its start on the most popular handheld gaming device of its day. Reactions were mixed, to say the least. There's a lot of fondness for Secret of Mana [$8.99], and it speaks to the depth of that fondness that even after 20 years of failing to repeat its success, people still hang onto hope that Square Enix can deliver a similar experience again. Well, since Rise of Mana has released in Japan, I've sunk a bit of time into the game, and I don't need to tell you that it isn't that game. In truth, Rise of Mana appears to represent Square Enix's latest attempt to grab onto the success of Gungho's popular Puzzle And Dragons [Free]. Still, I think if you can take the game on its own terms, you might have something to look forward to here...

Ravenous Games first landed on people's radars with the awesome League of Evil [$1.99] a few years back, but it's pretty safe to say their output has been a bit of a mixed bag overall since. Looking at their last couple of releases, Random Runners [$0.99] was a complete misfire, and before that, League of Evil 3 [$1.99] was a pretty uninspired sequel. This developer is in need of a comeback, and I'm happy to report that at the very least, their latest title, Devious Dungeon [$0.99], shows slightly more creativity in concept than those two. It's more than a little similar in feel to their hit Random Heroes games, but the idea works far better here...

The strategy game that just keeps on giving, Ndemic's Plague Inc. [$0.99], is giving yet again with a brand new update that's scheduled to hit sometime next month. To back things up a bit, Plague Inc. is a game that tasks you with unleashing a plague on the world, with the ultimate goal of eradicating all of humanity. The various plague types all behave differently, and you'll need to counteract humanity's efforts to squash your plague from spreading. It's a highly strategic and challenging game, and while it was great when it initially launched on the App Store in May of 2012 it's only gotten better over time thanks to numerous content updates, most recently the addition of "Scenarios" back in November of last year...

A previously iPad-only title is getting a shot at a much wider audience thanks to a new Universal update. Cloud Spin [$1.99] from Skytrain Studios is a visually stunning flight game that Eli and myself loved in our initial TA Plays video as well as in our 4.5 star review. In Cloud Spin, you play a rabbit named Lucky who's equipped with a jetpack and flies through on-rails levels trying to earn high scores with skilled flying. You can also unlock a free flight mode, and here you can kick back and enjoy the beauty of the game's environments while flying around wherever you please. It's highly reminiscent of using the flight cap in Mario 64 or even elements of the awesome Pilotwings series...

Here's something you might not know about me: I'm obsessed with the mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free]. It's funny too, because, when the game first launched in April of last year, I really liked it upon first impression. However, as with many free to play games (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this), I did sort of a value/time assessment with the game, and although I liked the core gameplay quite a bit, I considered the time investment of grinding, timers, and other free to play-isms and ultimately decided it's just not worth it. I've got too many other games to play, you know?..

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