Category Archives: Games

'Space Marshals 2' Review - It's 'Space Marshals', Too

Pixelbite got a lot right with the first Space Marshals [$4.99]. They eschewed much of what is common in dual-stick shooters on mobile, going with a slower, more thoughtful, stealth-based game. With an array of interesting weaponry and tactics at your disposal, such as using noisemakers to distract enemies to take them out away from the prying eyes of other enemies, it was a cool concept and a fun game. The controls were great for mobile, with MFi controller support, and iCloud to boot. It was not a perfect game, but a great example of how to make an original, stylish title for mobile. Plus, they updated the game with 2 new episodes months after launch. Space Marshals 2 [$5.99] returns and basically is the same game, streamlined with a couple new features, and skipping on the whole episodic aspect to give you 20 beefy levels of tactical stealth action in a space wild-west setting. And like any sequel where iteration is the key difference, it's not bad – this is the superior game – but the lack of surprise can be a bit disappointing...

If you like to see weird animals, then you've come to the right place. Hearthstone's [Free] One Night in Karazhan Adventure has opened its third Wing, The Menagerie, and in the process released a collection of rare - and deadly - creatures. Apparently, normally all these creatures are kept in check by Medivh's reliable Curator, but he's having an off night and, well, all the creatures are out to play. You have to step into the Curator's shoes and recapture the creatures before they eat too many guests. This is the setup behind Karazhan's Wing 3, and it's a perfect way to bring out mostrous Bosses like Nightbane, Terestian Illhoof, and the Curator himself, as well as rewarding you with cards like Zoobot, Cat Trick, Menagerie Warden and Menagerie Magician, and even the Curator himself. So, let's start with the first boss and help you take him out in Normal and Heroic...




So, you thought you were getting a technical marvel of an action game in Eisenhorn: Xenos [$9.99]? Wrong! This adaptation of the 2001 novel set in the ever-expansive and convoluted Warhammer universe, starring inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn, has disappointing combat, and the game largely tries to hide it and convince you that it's unnecessary. Instead, this is about telling the story from the novel, featuring Mark Strong as Eisenhorn, while presenting some gorgeous backdrops, with you at the controls driving the narrative. And if Warhammer lore is your bag, this is a game for you. As an action game? Eh...

There's nothing quite like finding a cool game we missed several months back. It's like getting a new cool game, except it's usually had a bunch of updates to make it even better! Such is the case with Celsius Heroes [Free], an interesting take on the Puzzle & Dragons [Free] formula of social RPGs. The game was pointed out to me a few weeks ago by a member of the TouchArcade forums, and I've been looking for an excuse to mention it since. As the game just got a big content update, this seems as opportune a time as any...

Nitrome have, in many ways, taken the helm from legendary iPhone developers Donut Games, in that they consistently release enjoyable retro experiences on the App Store that, while not necessarily the deepest of titles, hark back to a nostalgic and reductionist era, where video games focused on only a couple of interesting features, but did them really, really well. Whether it's the extremely compulsive Leap Day [Free] that has become a daily ritual for many, or something more immersive and traditional like Gunbrick [$2.99], Nitrome have rarely put a foot wrong. Magic Mansion [Free] appears to follow in these footsteps, as obvious inspiration from older Game Boy titles has resulted in a challenging yet charming retro platformer that, for the low, low price of absolutely nothing, is certainly worth a try for Nitrome fans or anyone looking for another arcade experience on the App Store...

If you like the idea of building castles (and if not, I want to know who ruined your childhood), then you should grab Castles of Mad King Ludwig [$2.99], the port of the Ted Alspach board game with the same name, which has gone on sale for the first time since it released. Castles has you, well, building castles, each turn adding onto your already-existing layout in an attempt to build a monstrosity that will bring you enough points to win the game. If you want to actually win, you'll have to try and set up your own room combinations while making sure your opponents don't get any good room combinations going. Our own Andrew Fretz liked it in his review partly because he liked the game's flavor and the ways the theme works well with the gameplay...

'Leap of Fate' Review - Jump In

Leap of Fate [$3.99] didn't make a great first impression on me. The opening cut-scene dialogue is ponderous. The aiming feels a little off. The tutorial has a lot of clumsy navigation elements, suggesting there will be some shoveled-in platforming to break up the action. The first time I loaded the game, I played through the tutorial, wondered why Jared was raving about it so much, then switched over to something else. Of course, since I was assigned to the review, I had to come back to Leap of Fate soon. Reviewing games is generally a great job, but one of the few downsides is that you can't always walk away from games you're not enjoying. Sometimes, however, that turns out to be a good thing, and Leap of Fate is one such case...

The fantastic Teeny Titans [$3.99] is getting more content next month, a challenge mode in the form of the appropriately-called Justice League Recruitment Center. This JLA satellite office will have you facing "rigorous aptitude tests" (and I thought I was finally done with testing) using those lovely figures of yours. The new challenge mode will come in Normal and Intense difficulty levels, with the Intense challenging even players with maxed out figures. When you win in this mode, you'll get Justice Points that can be used to rank up within the Justice League and can even get unique figures that can't be earned anywhere else...

There once was a studio called Dropforge Games that developed a great mobile version of the PC game Card Hunter called Loot & Legends, a game I personally still enjoy playing. But then the juggernaut that is Wargaming.net, of World of Tanks Blitz [Free] fame, swooped in and bought the company, renamed it WG Cells, and had it focus exclusively on mobile titles. Unfortunately, that didn't go so well. After developing just one game, Smash Squad, which is no longer available on the App Store as far as I can tell, the company has pretty much closed up shop, shutting down its Seattle studio. According to Wargaming, WG Cells' closure is part of an attempt to "consolidate its efforts in other geographies and around other in-house teams which operate closer to or in the key growing mobile markets."..

After briefly incubating in soft-launch, Puzzle Monster Quest [Free] is out worldwide on both iOS and Android. As is usually the case in Puzzle Quest games, you'll be matching tiles to move your hero around and take out enemies. In this version of the formula, you'll be navigating treacherous dungeons filled to the brim with monsters you can either battle or capture and befriend. And you'll be able to evolve friendly monsters (of course). When you fight against monsters, you'll be trying to match as many tiles as possible to launch stronger attacks. At the same time, different tile colors are associated with different element types that can buff or debuff your attacks...

Marriage is a tricky, tricky act, isn't it? Quite often those joined in holy matrimony don't really fit well together, and even when they do, compromises must abound if there is to be any kind of happiness in their new union. And when the marriage is of two very different people, the challenges are even greater. If you've played Minecraft (either the mobile or the PC version) and any of the Telltale games, then you already know why I started my review of Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] with these metaphors. When Telltale told the world that it would apply its narrative-based formula on Minecraft, the game that's now synonymous with sandbox, many gamers wondered whether Telltale could pull it off and whether Minecraft players would bother with a developer that put their beloved open-world game in a narrative straight-jacket, possibly chopping off any parts that refused to obey the narrative techniques that Telltale has used in its other series...

Captain Blackheart's Treasure is one of those memorable Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawls but not for all the right reasons. CBT is all about the Discover mechanic - each turn you get three cards to pick one - and was supposed to come out just before the League of Explorers adventure as a way to prepare players for what was to come. However, it was not to be as the technical demands of the Brawl stressed the servers so much that Blizzard took it down immediately and gave us Webspinners instead. A few weeks later, in late November, we ended up getting the Brawl after all...

After the bafflingly slow rollout of the newest 1.5 update for Pokemon GO [Free], trainers now have access to a brand new Appraisal system, which allows you to hear from your team leader about whether your prized Rattata is in the top percentage of Rattatas, or if it's yet another rodent to be transferred away to be turned into candy. However, in typical Pokemon fashion, what Blanche, Candela or Spark tell you is not a particularly accurate or explicit guide to your creature's potential, and such wooly phrases like "Your Farfetch'd is pretty strong!" doesn't help anyone wanting cold, hard stats on whether their companion is battle worthy. Thankfully, the internet is a beautiful place, and Gamepress has managed to decode all the individual phrases into numbers that quantify your Pokemon's abilities, which I have painstakingly compiled into a cool color-coded chart below...

After making balance changes to Clash Royale, Supercell is also doing some balance changes to Clash of Clans [Free] in preparation for the next major update - which shouldn't be too far into the future. The changes, coming in a patch soon, are not that many but as everyone knows, every small change can make a big difference in a game like Clash of Clans. Cannon damage will be increased for levels 11-14 as a way to offer players a better defensive answer to mass attacks of mid-size units, and Healers will once again trigger air traps because recently they've become a staple high-level troop that can at the same time stay out of defensive range...

If you've been looking for a fun CCG that has you clearing out dungeons instead of fighting other players, you should check out Lost Portal CCG [$0.99], which just dropped to its lowest price ever. Lost Portal CCG has been a big hit among our forum members, with the game's thread now over 54 pages long. It's not hard to figure out why it's been so popular; Lost Portal CCG , which by the way is pretty much the word of one person, focuses on a single-player experience and has you exploring dungeons, collecting treasures, fighting AI enemies and bosses, and leveling up your character along the way. The game has plenty of content with random enemies and card drops, 216 cards in five rarities, over 80 enemies and bosses across 5 towns and 15 dungeons...

'Jurassic GO - Dinosaur Snap Adventures' Review - Prehistoric Pokemon Snap

There aren't enough games like Pokemon Snap in the world -- there just aren't, even though it was released nearly 20 years ago. I'd like to think that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are sitting on the concept, ready with a tiny hammer to smash a glass container somewhere with the code for a mobile edition, but we aren't there yet. Instead, we'll have to deal with the various "tourist" and survival sandbox games we have now, which get us ever closer to that fully realized open world Snap many of us long for. Thankfully, Jurassic Go - Dinosaur Snap Adventures [$3.99] is helping us get one step closer...

Horizon Chase [Free] is a pretty astonishing mobile game in numerous different ways. Not only did it receive a glowing review back in 2015, where we declared it as the gold standard for retro-inspired racers on the App Store, but it was also used as a way for composer Barry Leith to propose to his girlfriend in the game, which won the hearts of many adoring fans - and most importantly the lucky lady, who did indeed say yes. Now with over 5 million downloads and around 70 million races completed since its release, developers Aquiris are celebrating the one year anniversary of Horizon Chase's launch with a set of updates that include a new cup, two new cars and Apple TV support...

Riptide GP: Renegade [$2.99] launched on Apple TV earlier this month, and with its high-octane futuristic racing coupled with some beautifully detailed graphics, it went down extremely well with racing fans on the variety of platforms it was released on. However, with the series originating on iOS back in 2011, and the predecessor Riptide GP2 [$1.99] receiving much deserved praise in our review on its release in 2013, many fans on our forums have been eagerly anticipating when Riptide GP: Renegade would make the transition to mobile devices. Thankfully, it didn't take too long - Renegade has today launched on the App Store, and with the same premium features for a heavily reduced cost of $2.99 (from its previous $9.99 price point for the Apple TV version), it seems Vector Unit have yet again created another hit for any fans of adrenaline-pumping, high speed jet ski-esque action...

'Lumines Puzzle & Music' Set to Launch September 1st Worldwide on the App Store

Lumines Puzzle & Music only soft launched on the App Store back in July, but that didn't stop excited forum members finding ways to circumvent App Store regional barriers to download it early, despite being a paid title. While the game has lived up to the lofty expectations of Lumines fans, for those of us not in New Zealand, Australia or Japan, or anyone who was too poor, lazy or ambivalent to somehow acquire it from their respective App Stores, the wait is almost over. Lumines: Puzzle & Music is set to launch worldwide on the App Store on September 1st for $2.99, and developers Mobcast and Q Entertainment have released a new trailer with some pretty graphics in preparation for the upcoming release. An upcoming ask-me-anything on Reddit on August 30th with the series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi is the icing on the cake, and for a series with a relatively turbulent existence, it'll be a great opportunity for fans to ask him what's next, on both iOS and beyond...

The beauty of the App Store is that developers aren't afraid to attempt combinations of ideas and concepts that would be too ludicrous or risky on most other major platforms. Before today, I had never considered that real-time strategy and beat 'em up games could come together to form a destructive combo, but I'm extremely glad that Defend Your Turf [Free] - from the efforts of sole developer Stephen Folkes - has taken this exploratory leap. You guide a faction of nondescript red characters to battle a team of opposing blue alternatives, but have to use a variety of attacks, techniques and weapons to defeat them in entirely creative and edgy environments such as a dump and a parking lot...

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