Category Archives: Games

'Earthcore: Shattered Elements' Review - A Great and Innovative CCG

When I previewed Tequila Games' Earthcore: Shattered Elements [Free] a bit over a month ago, I talked about how I enjoyed the developers' attempt at making a CCG that moved in a different design direction than the likes of Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone. I liked how they implemented some different ideas that departed from the commonly-used gameplay strategies and tactics while retaining what makes CCGs such an enjoyable genre. Now that I've finally been able to play around with the released version of the game (since it was in soft launch for some time), I'm glad to say that the game meets and exceeds my expectations by providing an intriguing battle system while also offering an abundance of features as well as some of the best, if not the best, multiplayer features I've seen in an iOS CCG. Earthcore's not the perfect game - there are some issues with the menu design and the overall color pallete - but it's pretty close...

Hey friends, I'm back again with another installment in my level-by-level guide for Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free]. As usual, I want to get a disclaimer out of the way: these aren't bulletproof strategies for winning every time. Sometimes, Candy Crush Soda Saga won't give you the pieces you need to beat the stage. It happens. What these tips are for is to help you seize the opportunity when the game does give you the right pieces. Persistence and patience are your best friends in this game. With that said, let's get on with some advice for levels 41 through 60, where things really start to get tough...

'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

'Bad Dinos' Review - Yabba Dabba Defense

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May 26th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Reviews, Tower Defense, Universal
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I, Nathan Reinauer, have a problem. Buried somewhere deep in my soul, I think I may have known it all along. I’ve tried to blame others, but I’m starting to believe it is, in fact, my fault. Yes, it’s time I face the music and finally admit it to the world: I’m bad at tower defense games...

On-screen controls haters, take notice. If you play Sword of Xolan [$0.99], you'll have to rethink many of your arguments, and we all know how people love to hold on to their opinions. Sword of Xolan is a retro platformer that's just come out and is an entertaining action game with lovely art and strong level design whose only downside is a difficulty curve that often doesn't offer the right kind of challenge at the right moment. While this issue doesn't make the game repetitive, it does detract from the challenge and keeps the game from platforming perfection...

Imagine you’re in a room by yourself. Every so often someone comes by and slips a piece of paper under the door with Chinese characters on it. You don’t know Chinese yourself, but you do have a book that can help. You simply look up the characters in the book and it’ll tell you what should be said back based on the rules of Chinese language and conversation. You don’t actually understand any of what you’re writing, but the person on the other side of the door is convinced they’re conversing with someone who is fluent. This is John Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment, and I was reminded of that while playing Sleep Furiously [$2.99] by Playmation Studios...

'Oddwings Escape' Review - Shiny Wings

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May 22nd, 2015 1:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Free, Racing, Reviews, Runner, Universal
Free Buy Now

I wish I could love Oddwings Escape [Free] by Small Giant Games. Don’t get me wrong--I definitely like it. But in order to love something, I need to feel a drive deep in my soul to go back to it over and over, because That Thing is super enjoyable and puts a warm glow in my otherwise darkened husk of a heart. Like pizza and cats. Oddwings is more like… fireworks. I like fireworks. They’re pretty and fine and I’ve been known to enjoy a firework or two when the time is right. But I’m not the sort of person who seeks them out. Maybe you are, though, and that’s fine. And this game is fine. Let’s talk about it...

'Digit & Dash' Review - Domo Arigato, Mr. and Mrs. Roboto

I was recently reading a science fiction novel that featured a central character who argued against the idea that consciousness is a good thing to have. On the surface that sounds absurd, but think about it a little deeper. Computers absolutely demolish us when it comes to things like math and chess, and some of our most creative ideas come when we’re sleeping or thinking of other things. Your brain stem is an incredibly quick chunk of meat, and it could be argued that consciousness just slows it down. Imagine if self-awareness was required to remove your hand from a hot stove, for example. Yikes...

Dragon Blaze [Free], by producers Gamevil and Flint, is as fun as it is aesthetically pleasing. It sports a brightly colored world, intricately detailed backdrops, and characters animated with a puppets-on-a-string feel. The game opens with a pretty generic prologue, the extent of which is relatively unnecessary. The gist of the story is that Deathcrown the “King of the living and the dead,” has returned from banishment with an army of dragons, intent on opposing the humans and their ruler, King Gram. The main character is then tasked with unraveling the true story that lays beneath the war between dragons and humans, including the mysterious death of the princess and a royal plot that is darker than first appears...

Fresh off their recent launch of new permanent records and characters to unlock, the folks at Square Enix and DeNA have already restarted their weekly event that offers an opportunity for players to earn new characters and loot. This week's Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] event sees the launch of ‘The Fire Crystal Awakens,’ which is a Final Fantasy V based event focused on the heroic attempts to save the Fire Crystal from exploding (spoiler: they fail). Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is the big reward for participating in this Collector’s Event and we’ve got the tips and strategy needed to make it an easy endeavor...

RPG Reload File 039 - 'Rogue Ninja'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we beat up kappa and eat up kappamaki. Friends, you do not want to mix those things up, I assure you. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to give it another spin. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, check up on games that might have seen some improvements over time, or even just to take a deeper dive on particularly interesting titles. As the leader of this particular party, I try to balance out the schedule with a wide variety of RPGs. That said, every person has their own biases, so to make sure nothing gets left behind, I throw the choice to you, the readers, once per month. Simply let me know your suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload. I randomly choose the winner, so anyone has a chance! The next reader's choice article is coming up in a couple of weeks, so be sure to get your selection in soon...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

Kids today are all about Minecraft [$6.99]. Mining this, mining that. Back when I was a young fellow, we had a different kind of 'craft: Lovecraft. Okay, if you're still reading, you're probably strong enough to handle a bit of Lovecraftian gamebook horror. The problem is that up until recently, most of the horror gamebooks on iOS have been focused on zombies, vampires, or other such classic monsters. Tin Man Games has had a couple of promising-looking titles up for a couple of years now, but they were French books without translations, leaving them out of the reach of most English players. Well, it seems like May 2015 is the month where Tin Man is finishing some old business, because in addition to the recent release of Gamebook Adventures 10 [$2.99], they've also finished up an English version of Les Fils d'Uruzime, translated directly as Sons Of Uruzime [$2.99]...

Sometimes, the most simple experience is the best experience. That goes double for the mobile platform, where often times your only method of control is a basic tap motion. Orbits [Free] follows that principle to a tee, and although it can be a tad too simplistic in its presentation, it's definitely worth looking into...

The official iOS release of Kickstarter-funded monster-training RPG- EvoCreo [$0.99] from brand new development company Ilmfinity LLC has finally come to pass. The game features a world that fans of a certain wildly popular Nintendo game will jive with pretty quickly. From its patches of vigorously shaking bushes to the impromptu destruction of random children’s precious pets, EvoCreo might leave you feeling a little nostalgic. ..

Beast Quest [Free] is an action RPG where you explore the fantasy world of Avantia in an attempt to combat a variety of creatures who have been cursed by an evil wizard. Follow Tom, a young warrior tasked with breaking the wizard's curse, and his friends as they slay monsters, collect provisions, hunt for treasure, and navigate a dynamic landscape...

Rebel 1…. Action! Full disclosure up front; if you couldn't tell. I freaking love the BlazBlue games. Not only are they complex, highly competitive fighting games, but they have a genuinely awesome story that is actually the focus. The mastermind of BlazBlue, Toshimichi Mori, has even said his intention was to create an epic fighting game saga with a deep, interesting  story that mattered from game to game, which is pretty much the opposite of the standard. Also, the soundtrack is pure excellence to my taste. Tons of epic Prog Rock/Orchestral hybrids. Very metal. Listen to This song here to get psyched up while I tell you about a brand new iPad exclusive BlazBlue  Collectible Card Game (CCG), BlazBlue: Battle Cards...

I absolutely love how Zen Studios is able to collaborate with so many different companies in order to bring a number of different brands to life in pinball table form. There are of course a multitude of tables based on the Star Wars and Marvel properties, but there's also things like Walking Dead Pinball, which really captured the essence of Telltale's adventure games, and South Park Pinball which feels incredibly authentic to the show. When Zen announced earlier this month that it had partnered with Valve to create a Portal Pinball, I got really excited. Portal is one of my all-time favorite game series, and there's something about a Portal pinball table that just makes sense. Today, we catch our first glimpse at Portal Pinball in action in this brand new trailer...

'Capitals - Free Word Battle' by NimbleBit Review - Real Game, Really Fun

Capitals [Free] from NimbleBit is their take on a long-running genre: the turn-based multiplayer word game. Thankfully, they manage to deliver a fun and worthwhile take on the genre by making it a simple strategy game that just uses familiar word game mechanics to feel familiar. It's a game that's accessible, but leads to an intense battle between folks. You form words from tiles on a hex grid using Scrabble/Words With Friends [Free] rules, with each tile you play being replaced by another tile. Any tiles you play connected to your color of tile are added to your tiles, and if you capture the enemy capital, you get an extra turn. Wipe out all the enemy territory, and you win!..

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the developers of Midnight Star [Free] were planning a hefty update, and that update has just hit the App Store with a thump. Update 1.1 is the biggest update of the game so far and addresses some important issues as well as adds several new features that will change the way you play the game...

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