Category Archives: Action

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$9.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

Eisenhorn: Xenos [$5.99], the latest release from developers Pixel Hero Games, proved to be highly divisive when it launched for various reasons. Some thought it was a rare glimpse of console-quality action brought to the smaller screen of the iPhone; others, including our own Carter Dotson in his review back in August, were not impressed by the clunky combat and confusing narrative that was hidden behind the veneer of graphical prowess. With such a contrasting array of opinions, it's understandable that many were somewhat skeptical of plunging into Eisenhorn: Xenos at its initial $9.99 price point. Today, the developers have put the game on sale for $5.99 for the first time, which is slightly more palatable for anyone on the fence, or anyone looking to truly flex the muscles of the new iPhone 7 with some stunningly gorgeous graphics that make the most out of the graphical capabilities of the most recent devices...




'Mikey Jumps' Review - A Divine Slice of Mike

That Mikey sure gets around. He uses hooks, boots, and even shorts in his previous adventures on iOS. But what if Mikey were to put down his shorts for a minute and just, you know, jump? Alright, all kidding aside, the Mikey games have always been about precise platforming, a gameplay mechanic that usually involves all kinds of jumping. So what is the deal with this new game? Well, I suspect Mikey Jumps [Free] got its name from the fact that you're really only dealing with what would be the jump button in previous games. As it did in those games, it does all sorts of things here, but the key difference between this spin-off and the mainline games it that Mikey automatically runs forward at all times. Your job is to make sure you're hitting that jump button at the right times to keep Mikey (or friends) alive, collect lots of coins, and grab the star at the end of each stage...

'The Bug Butcher' Review - Squashing Makes Me Feel Good

The Bug Butcher [$3.99] might have been released on PC earlier this year, but it felt like it was built for mobile devices. The horizontal Super Pang style, the limited amount of buttons -- it gels well with the endless approach for many similar mobile games, but The Bug Butcher has a level of sheen that a lot of those games sorely lack. There's also lots of room for colorful character designs, a tight control scheme, and some silly, funny writing that tie it all together. It looks and acts like a cartoon, and you'll uncover more and more layers of depth the more you play, which is the telltale sign of something you'll want to play beyond an initial curious play session. Developer Awfully Nice Studios did a great service porting this over...

In mid-October we learned about the newest game from Little White Bear Studios, a sequel to their well-received spin on the brick-breaking formula ZenDots. The sequel was quite a different beast though, and its subtitle, One Dot's Journey, kind of said it all. Here you would be playing as a single dot navigating through complex mazes of obstacles as you attempted to make your way around and break every brick on the screen. See? It's still a brick-breaker at heart! Due to Apple taking an unusually long time approving it, it missed all the release hullabaloo from yesterday but, much like its dot protagonist, this morning ZenDots 2: One Dot's Journey [Free] pushed through all the obstacles and finally made its way to the App Store...

'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth' Is Looking for iOS 8 and 9 Beta Testers

It may have only been a week since we heard the awesome news that The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally been approved by Apple and would hit the App Store 'very soon', but that hasn't stopped excited fans speculating about numerous aspects of the game. The biggest question has unsurprisingly been how soon is 'very soon', and when would we see the critically acclaimed dual stick roguelike hit the App Store, with some even hoping for a surprise launch this Thursday. However, earlier this morning Nicalis founder and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth producer Tyrone Rodriguez posted on his Twitter account a request for iOS 8 and 9 players to beta test the game, which means that while the game is extremely close, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to play The Binding of Isaac on your phone this week (unless you are on these previous software updates, in which case apply for the beta here)...

Classic Reload - 'Papa Sangre'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we spend a lot of time running into walls. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up today. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall library, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the leader of the underworld, I'll try to choose a nice variety of titles for this feature, but if there's something you really want to see, don't hesitate to make a suggestion in the comments below. You might not see your suggested game soon, since I plan my schedules fairly far in advance, but I will consider it for a future highlight...

'Dan the Man' Review - A Blast While it Lasts

'Dan the Man' Review - A Blast While it Lasts

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October 20th, 2016 12:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Reviews
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One of the more reliable means of drawing attention in marketing is to use the biggest numbers you can find for your product or service's features. It's historically been very useful in selling video games, with RPGs claiming dozens of hours of gameplay, open world games boasting about the sizes of their maps, and platformer games talking up the number of levels they have. Thing have become ludicrous in mobile gaming, with Candy Crush offering a couple thousand levels and many platformers eventually expanding out to over a hundred stages. Never mind that the levels might be short, or easily constructed. The players will find that out later, and when they do, they may well not even care...

'Nightgate' Review - Enter The Matrix

Semidome made a splash with their artsy debut Last Voyage [$1.99]. It was an artsy yet eclectic experience, as its ten chapters ran the gamut of gameplay styles to convey its abstract story. Semidome isn't done conveying this abstract digital atmosphere in their second title Nightgate [$4.99]. It positions itself as a more singular experience, but one that succeeds in creating a fascinating landscape for players to experience for just a little while...

Everyone has a genre they couldn't live without. For some youngsters, it's survival games, which can extend to Minecraft. For others, it's sports games, and the thrill of drafting out a new fantasy team with incoming college players thrown into the fray. For me, my choice ebbs and flows depending on the year, but the most consistent one I'm always falling back on is platformers. Whether it's those of the mascot variety with strict adherence to 3D standards and wonky cameras, or the tried and true 2D approach, you can put pretty much any one of them in front of me and I'll at least give it a go. Tons of Bullets [$1.99] caught my eye in name alone, but it ended up being about more than just blasting things...

A very interesting looking game released under the radar this week, and although it doesn't look like my type of game personally, the trailer was cool enough I thought it was worth sharing. In fact, it looks totally like a Shaun Musgrave kind of game, but since it's about 3am in Japan right now and Shaun is fast asleep (at least you better be, young man!) we'll have to wait a while to see what Mr. Weird Game Expert thinks of this one. Anyway, the game is called iRIUM [Free] and it's a rhythm game blended with RPG elements and a really fetching art style. Check out the trailer...

Last week saw the launch of many interesting App Store releases, one of which was Shadow Bug Rush [Free], the free to play endless alternative to the similarly named Shadow Bug [$3.99] that released earlier this year. Featuring a cool graphical style reminiscent of Badlands [$2.99], and some hardcore action platforming action to boot, Muro Studios crafted a game that became a cult favorite amongst the iOS community. While the endless iteration launched for a sweet price of zero dollars, the original Shadow Bug has today also been reduced to absolutely free, which is a great chance for fans of the new game to try out the fully fledged adventure alternative...

We really enjoyed Leap of Fate [$3.99] here at the TouchArcade Towers for quite a few reasons, and I personally thought the way the developers used various parts of the screen for special abilities was pretty clever and worked quite well. In a recent article, the developers talked in depth about how they went about making a fast-paced action game work well on mobile. They talk about how their number one priority was to build a control scheme that didn't require players to look at the HUD while playing so they could be focusing on the action (like how you play a console game). The article also talks about how they went about deciding on what kind of virtual sticks to have in the game and what playtesting taught them when it came to that aspect of the game...

It seems like Dan the Man [Free] has forever been in soft launch, teasing gamers from outside the lucky few regions that received the game early with its awesome platformer beat-em-up hybrid gameplay. In truth, it's only been a little under two months - but ever since having watched the fantastic eponymous cartoon series and the hands-on footage from GDC in March, I've been dying to get my hands on Halfbrick's newest game. Thankfully, the wait is now over - Dan the Man has launched worldwide on the App Store, and considering both Halfbrick's incredible track record and the game's low price of zero dollars, I'd definitely recommend booting the game up, and subsequently booting the eclectic cast of enemies where it hurts...

'Jade Empire: Special Edition' Review - Everybody Was Kung Fu Grinding

As one of the most well-known RPG developers in recent times, Bioware is primarily known for two things: Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy, and space operas. Back in 2005, as the original Xbox was fading out and the Xbox 360 was on the horizon, Bioware was able to slide a little something different down the line. Jade Empire [$9.99] was a martial arts fantasy action RPG inspired by wuxia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers. It was the developer's first real foray into incorporating real-time action into the RPG framework that had become known for, a blend that woulds  be revisited with greater success in the Mass Effect series. While it was well-received critically, the game failed to sell anywhere near as well as Bioware's other titles, so the developer went back to the more reliable fantasy/sci-fi salt mines. That's a shame, because Jade Empire is an excellent game with some flaws that could have been buffed out to marvelous effect in a sequel...

'Bullet Hell Monday' Review - Another Manic Monday

Last year, we were treated to a pair of excellent shooters by Japanese indie developer Masayuki Ito. Titled .Decluster [$2.99] and .Decluster Zero [$4.99], these shoot-em-ups combined a unique visual style with tense bullet-hell action. The scoring mechanisms largely surrounded the ability to cancel enemy bullets. The more bullets you canceled, the more points you would earn. This encouraged you to use risky strategies, making for some seriously thrilling close calls. The stage designs and enemy placements in the games were top-notch, too. The .Decluster games were sold as paid games with no IAPs, and that's probably one of the biggest points where Ito's latest shooter, Bullet Hell Monday [Free], diverges from his previous titles...

Side Scrolling Shooter 'The Bug Butcher' Is Finally Set to Crawl Onto the App Store on October 20th

Bugs always seem to be victims of video games, from many different perspectives. You have the literal development cycle, whereby iOS apps are (hopefully) purged of software bugs before release, which gets even more meta when you take something like Game Dev Story [$4.99] - is this bug-ception? Regardless, it's set to get even worse for bugs, but this time in the literal, creepy-crawly sense. The Bug Butcher is a side scrolling shooter which sets your suited protagonist on a path of insect genocide, as you must navigate thirty levels and five brutally difficult boss fights of pure pest extermination. The Bug Butcher looks beautiful in action and a whole lot of fun, so I cannot wait to play it when it makes the transition to iOS on October 20th...

A year and a half ago we reviewed Ire: Blood Memory [Free] and really liked it for its Dark Souls-influenced gameplay and its entertaining enemies, even though the UI and the monetization left quite a lot to be desired. Ire's developers, Tenbirds, wanted to improve quite a lot of aspects of the game, and they decided that instead of continuously patching the older one, to go ahead and remake it into a new app. So, the new version of the game that has just released retains the original idea and general design but adds much-improved graphics, a more functional UI, changes to attack speeds, cool-downs, and all of that, and adding more content through a new world map and new quests...

Zombie titles really need to innovate more-so than a lot of other types of games these days. The market is just so saturated that the mere notion of "survival" itself just isn't enough, and there at least needs to be an interesting hook involved beyond the solitary concept of continuing to exist. Skyhill [$2.99] does that, even if the magic doesn't last as long as the developers intended it to...

'Ember' Review - Keeping the Old-School RPG Light Burning

When 505 Games and N-Fusion released their old-school inspired RPG Ember [$9.99] last week, there were a few interesting things we noted. First, with a stated longevity of 30+ hours (coupled with no IAP), it’s certainly one of the longest premium RPGs we’ve played in awhile. Second, as a near simultaneous release with the PC version, it’s one of those increasingly rare games where the developer isn’t trying to hide the fact that a mobile version was developed concurrently with the PC version. Both are typically good indicators of a well-made game, and Ember certainly fits the bill. It does an excellent job paying homage to the old-school RPG and its controls make an acceptable transition to touch screen...

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