Category Archives: Games

'Politaire' Review - You Got to Know When To Hold 'Em

I got into poker at a relatively young age. For most kids in conservative families, it's usually the same story -- one of your relatives probably teaches it to you and tries to get you to sip a beer. I carried over my knowledge of straights and flushes into middle school, where I'd compete for candy in the cafeteria and tell faculty and staff we were playing Go Fish. And in high school, like everyone else during the height of the poker craze that seemingly exploded with Rounders, I played for higher stakes. But by my college years, it kind of tapered off a bit, and now I rarely encounter a situation where I can get some hands in. Yet, I've kept all of my experiences bottled in, including all of the statistical probabilities for each hand, ready to dump at a moment's notice. That proved rather useful for Politaire [Free]...

Teeny Titans [$3.99] is perhaps my biggest surprise of 2016. If you're somehow unfamiliar with the game, it's a Pokemon-like that has you running around the world of Teen Titans GO battling and collecting little figures based off of characters from the show. It has a super clever battle system and is dripping with polish and charm. As someone who never really watched Teen Titans GO, I wasn't expecting Teeny Titans to be something that would float my boat, but holy moly was I wrong. We loved it in our review, and I became pretty obsessed with it once it came out, and even after beating the entire game I still come back to it just to battle and level up my crew because it's so darn fun. ..




'Time Locker' Review - This Free Shmup is Super Hot

"Good artists copy, great artists steal." It's a line that essentially means that explicitly mimicking something is easy enough to do – making a clone of a game is simple enough. But it's another thing to take the ideas of one game and use them in another to create something that is original all in itself. Time Locker [Free] explicitly steals the gimmick of Superhot, the first-person shooter where time only moves when the player moves. It even uses a very similar low-poly graphics style. But instead, it turns the game into a shoot 'em up with some hints of Crossy Road [Free] to feel like a unique iteration on previous ideas, one that uses existing concepts liberally, but to form its own thing that stands on its own merits...

I first played Guild of Dungeoneering [$3.99] on PC at PAX South 2015, and I thought from the first time I played it that it would be perfect for mobile. Well, it took a year and a half between the game's continued development and PC release to finally make it happen, but this curious little roguelike where you use tile cards to build the dungeons as you traverse them and fight enemies using a separate card system, is well worth the wait. It has its own quirks and shortcomings, but really it's like nothing you've ever played before...

RPG Reload File 087 - 'Chaos Rings 2'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where heroes might be gone, but are never forgotten. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the here and now. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their position in the overall tapestry, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I try to choose a balanced plate of RPGs from week to week in order to represent the diverse nature of the genre, but if you feel like I'm missing anything important, please let me know. You can do that by commenting below the article, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Your suggestion might not appear soon, but it will be added to the master list...

As has been predicted a couple of days ago, the world-consuming phenomenon known as Pokemon GO [Free] has finally launched in Japan. Seems like kind of a bum deal that they had to wait this long, seeing as The Pokemon Co is based in Japan, but better late than never I always say. Also this lag time has (hopefully) given developer Niantic some time to beef up their servers, which have been notoriously spotty ever since the game launched in the US and several more regions a couple of weeks ago. ..

There's nothing finer than when a great game from years past gets an update out of the blue. That's the case today with the fantastic Picross game Paint it Back [Free], which originally launched way back in October of 2013 and hasn't seen an actual content update in nearly two years to the day. Developer Casual Labs rewrote the entire game in Unity and released it on Steam in October of last year, and this update is essentially that improved rewritten version, minus the Workshop level editor portion. That means that you can now play in Master difficulty in addition to Normal and Pro. As the puzzles in Paint it Back get larger, Normal would break them up into smaller 10x10 chunks, or 15x15 chunks in Pro. Master means that you'll be solving the whole enchilada all at once, none of that chunk business. Despite the cute graphics and overall charm of the game, the puzzles get absolutely brutal in the later portions so Master should be a nice incentive for the hardcore Picross solvers among us...

In October of last year, Next Games launched a very interesting game based around AMC's The Walking Dead series called The Walking Dead: No Man's Land [Free]. In the game you were tasked with building a compound in order to keep your survivor friends safe from the zombies, so pretty typical base-building type of stuff, but when you actually had to engage in combat with them it turned more into a tactical turn-based strategy game. There were also plenty of RPG elements peppered in, and overall No Man's Land was a very cool way to experience the world of The Walking Dead. Today Next Games has connected the game even closer to the show as a new update adds Heroes to the game based off of many of the characters from the show...

Like it or lump it, there are some publishers out there who march to the beat of their own drum. Square Enix is definitely one of them, as today's news demonstrates quite nicely. Fresh from removing most of the Chaos Rings series of RPGs from the App Store storefront, Square Enix has announced a spin-off title in the series called Cosmos Rings. As one might expect, it's an RPG, and it's supposedly going to be releasing quite soon worldwide. Oh, and it's for the Apple Watch...

Ever since Paradox Interactive declared its intention of bringing some of its big strategy games, such as Crusader Kings and Stellaris, over to mobile, I've been wishing for one thing; a Crusader Kings mobile game where I can play out all those complicated and often hilarious storylines that have made the game so famous. Well, although I won't take any credit, Paradox decided to give us a game close to what I was wishing for. Crusader Kings: Chronicles [$4.99], which just now hit the App Store, is an interactive novel that has you playing as the second son of an indebted baron in the middle of war-torn borderlands...

We don't really make a habit of posting about sales or freebies anymore, because frankly, most games nowadays are already free and most paid games go on sale so frequently that it kind of loses its impact after awhile. Both of these games fall in that latter category, both Bastion and Transistor have seen plenty of sales in the past, but gosh darn it these games are so incredibly good it just didn't feel right to not let everyone know that they're both currently on sale at the same time. ..

Recently, I was invited to come and visit the headquarters of BlazeGames, the developer behind the new game Battle Champs [Free]. Along with a few other members of the media, I was given a brief tour of their offices located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and got to see a short presentation about Battle Champs. The highlight of the trip was a chance to ask some questions about the game to a few of the team members. Producer Yuji Okada, art director Akihiko Yoshida, and assistant art director Satoshi Matsura all took some time out of their busy schedules to tell me about the new game. As the interview ended up being quite lengthy, I've broken it up into two different parts. Make sure you read the first part of the interview before going ahead...

These past two weeks, we've been talking about Blizzard's whispers that a new Hearthstone [Free] Adventure announcement is incoming, and it seems that next week, those whispers will turn into an actual announcement. According to this invitation sent to us as well as to many pro players and Hearthstone personalities, Blizzard is preparing a "once-in-a-lifetime event that will be full of magic and celebration," and there's also "something very special in story for you." "Please be prompt," the invitation concludes, "as we have an unforgettable adventure planned!" The chances that this is not an Adventure announcement are pretty slim to none, but we won't know for sure until next Thursday, July 28th...

Few genres have made the jump to free-to-play monetization models quite as smoothly and successfully as puzzle games have. That's why I was a little surprised when Mobcast and Q Entertainment announced Lumines was returning to iOS in both paid and free-to-play versions. The market is so different now compared to the period the last Lumines iOS game released, and to be honest, that version of the game didn't go over great to begin with. Lumines VS, the free-to-play game, is still a ways out from release, but Lumines Puzzle & Music, the paid game, has launched in a few countries ahead of its wide release this September. Since one of those countries is Japan and I love Lumines enough to keep buying it wherever it appears, I figured I'd give the game a go and let you all know how it turned out...

An Interview With Akihiko Yoshida, Yuji Okada, and Satoshi Matsura from the 'Battle Champs' Team

Recently, I was invited to come and visit the headquarters of BlazeGames, the developer behind the new game Battle Champs [Free]. Along with a few other members of the media, I was given a brief tour of their offices located in Shibuya, Tokyo, and got to see a short presentation about Battle Champs. The highlight of the trip was a chance to ask some questions about the game to a few of the team members. Producer Yuji Okada, art director Akihiko Yoshida, and assistant art director Satoshi Matsura all took some time out of their busy schedules to tell me about the new game. As the interview ended up being quite lengthy, I'm breaking it up into two different articles. Check in tomorrow for the second part...

In a mobile market saturated with clones and "me too" copycats trying to ride the coattails of the mega hits, it can be rare to come across a game that genuinely feels fresh and unique. That was certainly not the case though when Rule With an Iron Fish [$2.99] launched early last month. This is one of those games that blends a lot of popular concepts together, but not in a way that feels like its treading familiar territory. ..

After the successful launch of Taichi Panda [Free] last year, Snail Games has been going hard with the new releases in 2016. Their latest is yet another free to play action RPG called Chaos Legends [Free]. Now, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the action RPG genre. I actually love hack 'n slash games, but holy jeez, they are like a dime a dozen nowadays and most of the time it's hard to tell one apart from another. With their grindy free to play systems it's nearly impossible to be actively playing more than one at a time, so while most of these games look and play pretty awesome, realistically I just don't have time for them, you know? At any rate, Chaos Legends does look really cool based on its release trailer...

Do you want a lesson on how far the point-and-click adventure game has come, while still seeing the appeal in the classics? Day of the Tentacle Remastered [$4.99] is a perfect example of that. This is a genre classic made by some of the masters of the medium. Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are two of the names behind this game that you likely recognize, straight from the LucasArts days. Fans of the original game will be glad to know that this is the exact same as the original, just with an optional enhanced interface and redone graphics that convey the spirit of the original game, adding some detail and animation, without altering the heart of them. For people coming to this for the first time, like myself – strap in for a frustrating experience, but one that's rewarding if you give it a shot and are patient...

Despite an extremely erratic global launch rollout, Pokemon GO [Free] is still not out in Japan. While the perpetual server issues suggest that Niantic are being cautious with what is possibly the most hardcore and fanatical Pokemon loving nation in the world, it is still bizarre that the home of the series still has not received a game that has taken the rest of the world by storm. Thankfully, that wait appears to be over, as according to TechCrunch sources, Pokemon GO is set to launch in Japan tomorrow, ending the long and arduous wait for any Japanese players to go out into the world and catch virtual critters on their smartphones; further launches in Asian regions are also stated to take place later this week...

'LUMINES PUZZLE & MUSIC' Soft Launches in New Zealand, Australia and Japan

Lumines on iOS has always hypothetically been a perfect fit. The compulsive amalgamation of high score breaking action of Tetris, with one of the best soundtracks in a puzzle game ever, was incredible on the limited portability of the PSP back in 2005, and would be even better given a proper release on smartphone devices. While it may not be the first game of the series on iPhone (a rather half-hearted rushed effort released back in 2009, but we don't talk about that anymore), we finally have a title that is truly deserving of the Lumines name. LUMINES PUZZLE AND MUSIC has just soft launched in New Zealand, Japan and Australia and, despite being a paid title, it is certainly one worth buying for any fans in these regions - or anyone who can circumvent the region restrictions of the App Store...

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