Category Archives: Action

I find it kind of interesting that although one of the appealing aspects of flying is the freedom from our earthly bindings, a great deal of games built around the concept opt to set themselves up like a dark ride at Disneyland. You get in your ship, or on your dragon, or into your fighter jet, and are pulled along a rail while all kinds of craziness unfolds around you. Usually you're more the gunner than the pilot, since you can really only move yourself around in the little one-way tunnel the game has set up for you. There are a lot of good reasons for this kind of set-up, including a desire to guide the experience for the player to create more cinematic scenes, technical limitations of one sort or another, or a simple lack of the resources required to create a full, free 3D world. I suspect with Star Horizon [$3.99], the new space-themed rail shooter from Tabasco Interactive, it's that first reason more than anything else...

Following hot on the heels of their movie-licensed shooter Robocop [Free], Glu Games has finally taken their follow-up to Frontline Commando [Free] and Frontline Commando: D-Day [Free] out of soft launch and into wide release. Robocop itself used many of the same mechanics as the Frontline Commando games, so it's perhaps not that surprising that some of the new elements in Frontline Commando 2 [Free] echo certain parts of it. Luckily, one thing they didn't carry over, at least not completely, is the stamina meter, but even without that hanging over its head, Frontline Commando 2 is kind of a dud sequel, particularly when held against D-Day...

Crytek's latest mobile effort, The Collectables [Free] which was unveiled on the sly back at WWDC last year before being officially announced this past December, has exited its soft-launch period and is now widely available. Here's the brief trailer that was released during the announcement in December, so you can get a quick look at what The Collectables is like...

'Dual Survivor' Review - Seeing Double

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March 13th, 2014 1:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Action, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

There aren't many games that ask you to do two things at once. One character to move about in a platformer -- one cursor in adventure games -- limiting control to one thing at a time is a common practice. But with Dual Survivor [$2.99], you're controlling two ships through two separate tracks -- which is as tough as it sounds...

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...

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 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...

In a throwback to the days before fictional whiny teenage boys who sparkle in the sun, cute, quirky, stealth action game Midnight Bite [$1.99] manages to recapture the essence of the cool, caped retro style bloodsucker and replenish the hunger of the vampire-loving public...

In space no one can hear you scream, but you can hear a lot of corny camp voice acting. It is hard to explain that an assignment as an astronaut that takes years to even come close to achieving in 2014 are left to complete jackasses in the future. Nevertheless that is what we are stuck with in Beyond Space [$2.99]...

With the new Robocop movie in theaters, I'm sure many people are spending some time with the tie-in game of the same name, Robocop [Free], from Glu Games. I reviewed it a while back and found it to be a bit of a bear thanks to its monetization aspects, but if you're feeling like being Robocop, this is pretty much your best option apart from threatening a druglord and putting your faith in the city of Detroit to put you back together again. So, I felt that, in the spirit of my previous guide for Batman: Arkham Origins [Free], if you're going to play this, you might as well have a guide to help you get through as efficiently as possible without reaching into your cybernetic wallet compartment in your leg, by which I mean, your pocket...

'Bug Heroes 2' Review - This Sequel Ant Fooling Around

A few years ago, Foursaken Media released Bug Heroes [Free], an awesome hybrid of castle defense and twin stick shooting with a healthy dose of RPG mechanics sprinkled in. What could have turned out to be an overly ambitious idea instead ended up just right, offering players tons of content with great core mechanics. Given how well it went over with iOS gamers, it was probably inevitable that we would one day be talking about the sequel, and here we are. Bug Heroes 2 [$1.99] is an excellent follow-up to the first game, maintaining the same basic elements that made the first game work so well and adding a few twists, all while piling a giant heap of new content on top and giving the whole thing a beautiful shine. The end result is just about everything a fan could want out of a sequel...

Ninja games! One might say there are not enough of them out there, if one were the sort of person who needed a new ninja game every hour of every day for the rest of one's life. It might seem silly that there are so many games featuring them, but like their equally overplayed colleagues, zombies, it's really just because they (or at least the pop culture image of them) fit video games almost perfectly. While zombies are great for letting a player cut loose on a crowd of human-like figures without any of the messy moral implications, ninjas are great shorthand for a nimble character who could potentially have any tools at his or her disposal. If a ninja pulls out a smoke bomb, we don't question it. If a ninja launches a grappling hook at the ceiling Batman-style, hey, it just works. Wall-jumping is really hard in real life, but if anyone can do it, a ninja can. Plus, they look really cool...

In a crowded games market where it may be tough to stand out, games that try to meld genres tend to have the greatest chance of getting attention. Of course, the problem with that technique is the simple fact that it can be hard to make an engaging game takes the right elements from their respective genres. As a reverse TD Action/Strategy hybrid Demonrock: War of Ages [$0.99] actually does a decent job from a technical standpoint in melding gameplay. However, it’s missing a lot of the refinement from each of those respected genres that make them popular...

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