Category Archives: Action

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...

Perhaps because of how many of them are made, platformers have often turned to heavy usage of gimmicks to try to breathe some fresh air into things. Whether it's the closet full of special suits from Mario's adventures or the gravity-defying antics of VVVVVV, it's strangely more difficult sometimes to find a platformer that isn't packed full of novelties. There's nothing wrong with gimmicks, of course. When used well, they can make running and jumping from point A to point B feel like something you've never done before. Still, it's nice once in a while to play a game that gives you a straightforward run and jump through cleverly designed stages. Ava's Quest [Free] is just such a game. There are a few little gimmicks as you play through the game's 30 levels, but for the most part, the game simply focuses on using familiar elements to present you with a pleasant challenge. Oh, and to let you know up-front, you only get four stages for free. The rest are unlocked via an IAP for $1.99...

'Word Mage' Review - The Hyperactive Member Of The Word Game Family

The word game is one of those genres that's basically always active on iOS, with new entries released at a fairly regular pace. That said, recently, there seems to be a higher amount than usual of excellent new games twisting RPG mechanics into the genre. They're two great tastes that taste great together, I suppose. What's interesting to me is how games coming from the same basic angle of "word game plus RPG" can have such different results. If we consider the recent Spell Quest [Free] to be the Dragon Quest of word RPGs, with its slow, deliberate pace and focus on carefully-planned strategy, then Word Mage [$0.99] is the Ys of the genre, moving at a blazing pace and demanding quick reactions to enemies that become increasingly dedicated to finishing you off...

Sports games tend to go in one of a few different directions. Some of them opt for hard realism, trying to capture every nuance of the sport in a very clinical way. The aim here is to try to give the player the exact feeling of playing the sport. Others go the route of Tony Hawk, where it's kind of realistic in some ways, but fantastical in others. These games are cool because you're usually following the rules of the sport, but it makes you feel like you're a superhuman player. Another way to go is to pitch out any pretenses of reality and just go wild. The familiar surface gives something for the players to connect to, but the end result usually feels less like a sports game and more like another genre. Endless Surf [$0.99], the sequel to Bobble Surfer [$0.99] is from the latter school of thought. Looking at screenshots, you would think this was a Tony Hawk-style take on surfing, but it's actually pretty much a straight-forward runner with an interesting skin...

Nostalgia is a heck of a thing. Like many of you, I like to indulge in revisiting my childhood on occasion. To tell the truth, though, when it comes to games, I feel like I never fully left my childhood favorites behind. Not only am I big on retro collections and classic re-releases, I actually have an NES and SNES connected to my main TV, plugged in and ready to go at all times. I keep my old brick Game Boy in an empty drawer in the kitchen in case I want to play some Tetris while I wait for the water to boil. There's one important part of my gaming past that I fell out of touch with over the years, however, and that's computer gaming. My first gaming hardware that I actually owned and had in my house, apart from a Coleco Mini Arcade version of Galaxian, was a Commodore 64. It was only a couple of years later at most that I got an NES, but those Commodore years remain as formative to my gaming memories as hanging off of arcade machines at the restaurant where my mother worked...

Apart from fussing around with the odd flight simulator on my Commodore 64, one of the first flying games I remember spending any real amount of time on was Top Gun for the NES. Like many young boys, I thought planes were pretty cool, and I loved how I could choose which missiles I wanted to take with me. Anyway, this game was one of the ones that was kept at my grandmother's house, so I only got to play it when we went there to visit, but I would almost always play it when we did. There was just one problem with Top Gun, especially if you only got to play it now and then, and if you've played it, you probably know what I'm talking about. At the end of the first level, you're directed to land your jet on an aircraft carrier. The game gives you all kinds of signals and directions that you're supposed to follow, but no matter what I did, that plane crashed almost every single time. I think I landed it once, maybe twice? As a result of this game, I have a mild trauma when it comes to landing an aircraft in video games, but I have discovered some sweet therapy in the form of Any Landing [Free]...

'Second Chance Heroes' Review - Zombies Ate My World Leaders

What if Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and the arcade classic Gauntlet were mixed together into one zombie slaying romp? The concept alone would probably win over a decent amount of fans hungry for another old school hack and slash, but fortunately, Second Chance Heroes [$0.99] does a whole lot of things right to help move it out of a niche category and more into the forefront. Most notably, it's free-to-play -- the good kind...

Hanzo is one angry ninja, as he finds his family kidnapped and village pillaged upon returning from training camp. Most of us would break down and cry, but Hanzo has got the power to cope and the skills to do something about it. Perhaps not the most original story, but considering this is a game called Draw Slasher [$2.99] it will do just fine...

Stubies [$0.99] is a deceptive little game. When you first start playing, it's simple. A bit too simple, in fact. In this game, little creatures of different colors will come walking in a straight direction from some point off of the map, and you have to point them in the right direction to find another creature of the same color, at which point they'll be cleared off the board and you'll score some points. Each level has a set amount of points as the goal, and once you reach it, your score and time are tallied and it's off to the next stage. The only way you can lose is if too many of the little Stubies wander off an edge. Each one that drops costs you a star, and if you lose all three of your stars, you fail the stage. Another thing you want to avoid is having two Stubies of different colors pushing against each other. After a short time, they'll turn into solid white objects that will deflect anything that tries to walk into them. It doesn't directly cost you stars, but it can complicate things...

This past November, Rocket City Studios unveiled their upcoming action game Second Chance Heroes [$0.99], and this is just a quick note to let you know that the game is now available worldwide. So what's so great about Second Chance Heroes? Well, it has you playing as various historical characters fighting off "an apocalypse of the absurd." So if you've ever dreamt of playing as a chainsaw-wielding Abe Lincoln or an electrified Nikola Tesla, this is the game for you...

Old school games are often filled with technical limitations that made them harder than they otherwise would have been. The modern term for this is "fake difficulty," and although it's a bit of an overused catch-all to describe challenging games, it often applies to many works, even today. Trambo [$1.99] is one such game that often feels unfair as a result of its design, but masochists will still find a lot to like despite its flaws...

'Rocket Robo' Review - An Adorable Intergalactic Adventure

It's not often that a title will offer up an endearing setup that's just as impressive as the gameplay, but that's just what Rocket Robo [$0.99] does. As a tiny little robot in space whose sole purpose is to keep "the Tinker" company, it's your job to recover all of the stars in the galaxy, and bring joy back to your maker. Thankfully, it plays as well, too...

'Only One' Review - Here We Are, Born To Be Kings

If you like hacking away at something using a sharpened piece of metal with a handle, you are probably a very happy camper with your mobile device. Perhaps you even think you have all the slice 'n' dice games a person could ever want. I'd like to humbly offer at least one more example for all the up and coming sword-fighters out there, however. Only One [Free] is a pretty fresh take on a genre almost as old as the medium, and it does so without any fancy motion controls or specular lighting. Pick up your sword and get ready for a serious test of your skills, because you are the Only One who can survive. Well, you and, I guess, all the other people who play the game and get good enough at it to win. Probably the Only One Thousand?..

Skydrift [Free] is one of the interesting recently-released games on the App Store right now, and I’m still trying to make sense of it. I’m stunned not just because a game this good is free and devoid of IAP — this is Tyson Kubota’s first game, and it’s a hell of a release — but also because it’s one of the strangest and most beautiful mobile games I’ve played in a while...

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