Category Archives: Adventure

'Steins;Gate' Review - Desperately Seeking a Good Time

There's a certain attraction to time travel stories. Sometimes, they're about comparing the present to the past, particularly by sticking a fish out of their water. Other times, they're used as a way to think about the future and the promise it holds. Most of them really come down to a simple question: what would the present be like if things had gone differently in the past? Ultimately, time travel stories are more often than not morality tales about appreciating what we have and who we are. A warning about greed and how it can leave you with less than you had. A means of dealing with regret and the paralysis it can bring. Well, except for Back to the Future. That one's about making out with a younger version of your hot mom and getting a new truck...

Marriage is a tricky, tricky act, isn't it? Quite often those joined in holy matrimony don't really fit well together, and even when they do, compromises must abound if there is to be any kind of happiness in their new union. And when the marriage is of two very different people, the challenges are even greater. If you've played Minecraft (either the mobile or the PC version) and any of the Telltale games, then you already know why I started my review of Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] with these metaphors. When Telltale told the world that it would apply its narrative-based formula on Minecraft, the game that's now synonymous with sandbox, many gamers wondered whether Telltale could pull it off and whether Minecraft players would bother with a developer that put their beloved open-world game in a narrative straight-jacket, possibly chopping off any parts that refused to obey the narrative techniques that Telltale has used in its other series...




Did you play Day of the Tentacle [$4.99] and think "I like how this game makes me feel stupid, but would like it better if it was a platformer?" Well, that's Donut Games' Vulture Island [$2.99] in a nutshell. It sends you on the quests of a LucasArts point-and-click adventure game, but with 2D platforming. You will use items in weird ways on other items, trying to solve puzzles that will make you curse yourself and slap your forehead over how obvious the solution seems after the fact. It's all that fun, but as a platforming game, a clever combination that's made for another winner from Donut Games...

Even though the wait for the third series of Rick and Morty grows more and more excruciating by the day - and BoJack Horseman is threateningly close to overtaking it as my favourite animated series at the moment - Pocket Mortys [Free] has remained strong, with constant support in the form of free content updates. The last substantial update to the Morty collecting simulator added a massive new tournament mode on the single player side of things, as well as a whopping twenty eccentric variations to collect, which only continued to elevate Pocket Mortys beyond its original inception as an entertaining and unashamedly Pokemon influenced piece of fan service, to a truly expansive experience, all for the price of zero dollars. Today, the series creator Justin Roiland hinted at yet another new update hitting Pocket Mortys tomorrow, with a Pirate Morty, a Beach Hipster Morty, and most amazing/shocking of all, a Summer Morty, which I cannot wait to collect...

'Sorcery! 4' Review - The End of an Incredible Journey

It's been over three years since inkle released their adaptation of the first book in the Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series. In a lot of ways, that app redefined what players expected from a mobile version of a gamebook. It would have been a far simpler matter for inkle to do the expected thing and do a straight conversion of the original books. They had the engine for it, and the series is well-regarded enough that it probably would have done fairly well. Instead, the developers decided to make something that a physical book would have a hard time approximating, while at the same time appealing to the fairly large overlap between gamebook readers and tabletop gaming fans. The first game mostly relied on a unique presentation and reworked battle mechanics, but the following two games brought more and more complexity to the table. Sorcery! 3 [$4.99] was so near to a full-on RPG that its roots were hard to spot at times...

Donut is most well-known for making simple, mobile-friendly arcade-style games, but they went out of their own wheelhouse back in July of 2014 when they released the adventure platformer Traps n' Gemstones [$4.99], and they totally nailed it. It turns out that Donut was quite suited for more meaty experiences, but Traps n' Gemstones was more than two years ago, and in the time since then Donut went back to their usual (but still fantastic!) simpler fare. Well, it was just last week that we were first teased with images from a then-unnamed upcoming platformer from Donut Games, and only a couple days after that we got the first trailer as well as an official name for that game: Vulture Island. Donut was being a bit vague about the release date, simply saying it was "coming soon," but much to my own and I'm sure many others' pleasure Vulture Island [$2.99] has suddenly appeared in the App Store as of just a few moments ago...

Classic Reload - 'Waking Mars'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the Classic Reload, the monthly feature where we know not what we do, but we do it just the same. Each month, we take a look at a game from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the present day. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall iOS library, or simply to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow. I'll do my best to present an interesting selection of games in this feature, but if there's something you'd really like to see covered, please let me know by commenting below the article. I can't promise you'll see your suggestion soon, but I'll certainly consider it for a future highlight...

Last week, we brought you the trailer for a charming upcoming point-and-click adventure game called Paul Pixel - The Awakening [$1.99], and as promised, the game is now available for purchase on the App Store. Paul Pixel the game follows the adventures of Paul Pixel the character as he wakes up to find that his neighborhood has been quarantined thanks to an alien zombie invasion. Yes, not just aliens, not just zombies, but alien zombies. Yikes! Your job is to escape the quarantine zone and save the entire world in the process. No pressure...

Last week we were told by the good folks at Mojang that the final installment in Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] would be hitting sometime this week, and now we finally know specifically when this week they were talking about: Right now! Or, right now-ish, I guess. The eighth and final episode of Minecraft: Story Mode, titled "A Journey's End?", arrives today on console and PC, and should be arriving on mobile platforms as well. In fact, it may even be there by the time you read this! In celebration of this momentous conclusion of Telltale's thus far longest episodic release ever, they've put together a brand new trailer for Episode 8 which shows the Minecraft: Story Mode crew going all Hunger Games to get out of their current predicament...

Back in July, Lucky Kat released their charming monster collecting/combining/battling game Combo Critters [Free], and we rather enjoyed it in our review. Taking a page out of Pokemon, in Combo Critters you'd explore an overworld map and engage in battles, and upon winning, hopefully snag that defeated foe to add them to your collection. Where things got really neat was in the way you could combine any of the creatures in the game to get a mishmash character as a result. It made for a ton of variety in terms of monsters, and today Lucky Kat has announced that there will be even more variety thanks to a new update next week that will add 3 new worlds and 45 new types of creatures to Combo Critters. You can check out the new stuff in this trailer...

Gorgeous Puzzle Adventure 'Submerged' Hits the App Store Ahead of Schedule

Earlier today we posted that Uppercut Games' gorgeous adventure Submerged was set to hit the App Store tomorrow, and while it may be "tomorrow" in some parts of the world already, the appearance of the game just moments ago does seem to be earlier than was intended. Hey, I'm not complaining! Submerged: Miku and the Sunken City [$4.99] released just over a year ago on PC and console to a somewhat mixed reception. This is a game that relies heavily on story, atmosphere, and exploration, which turned off a segment of the audience who was looking for more action. Those that enjoyed the type of game that it was, though, have had some high praise for the game. Here's a brand new trailer showing the mobile version of Submerged in action...

In our review of Machinarium [$4.99] back in 2011, we were stunned by its aesthetic beauty, but also the incredible narrative and puzzle design, describing it as "a treasure, judiciously and efficiently designed, with not a single pencil-drawn sprite out of place". At the time, Machinarium transcended virtually every point-and-click experience on the App Store, and Amanita Design's next iPhone release Botanicula [$4.99 (HD)] took the elements that made the former title so memorable, and expanded these into an equally beautiful natural premise. Samorost 3 [$4.99], which has released today on the App Store for $4.99, continues this progression, and is arguably Amanita Design's biggest and most impressive game to date, as you traverse some incredibly detailed environments across nine unique and varied alien worlds...

Gamebooks based on the works of William Shakespeare are so hot right now. Well, okay, there's really just Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$5.99], Ryan North's Romeo And/Or Juliet, and now this one, but that's enough for me to call it a trend. A delightful, wonderful trend. But lest you think Choice of Games is merely riding the tailcoats of those previous books with A Midsummer Night's Choice [Free], let me assure you that this is an entirely different sort of animal. While North's gamebooks take the familiar situations and characters and give the reader the chance to move the story in wildly different direction, A Midsummer Night's Choice tells an almost entirely original tale, albeit with its fair share of nods to Shakespeare's famous play...

It's always extremely sad to see games removed from the App Store permanently, as it means if you weren't quick enough to purchase it initially, the app is now entirely unavailable to play through legal means. Occasionally there are excuses or attempts to justify such actions, but such sudden removals on an entirely digital format aren't exactly encouraging for the longevity of the platform, and are sadly becoming more and more inevitable over time. However, at the very least, sometimes we get notice of when a certain game will be removed so there is still a chance to not miss out on what will soon become a relic. Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse [$4.99] is one such game, as Sega - the publisher for the title - have announced they are not renewing their licensing agreement with Disney, and therefore will be delisting it on all formats, and potentially iOS, on September 2nd. While it is not clear if Castle of Illusion will be taken off the App Store, if you're enticed by impressive platforming title, it's certainly worth picking up before Friday just in case...

The development of Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] is almost as great a fable as the actual game. Having been developed entirely by one man in over three and a half years, the title became a cult hit on every platform it released on, and since its launch on Xbox 360 back in 2012 has sold over a million copies. When Dust finally made its way to the App Store in October of last year, it received the same glowing reception as its console iterations amongst both gamers and critics, and our review acclaimed it as one of the best games of the year on iOS. It really was one not to miss, but if you did avoid picking it up at its full launch price of $5.99, Dust is now on sale for the borderline criminal price of only $0.99...

'Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm' Announced, Now a Free Roaming 3D Action RPG

It's been just under three years since Oceanhorn [$8.99] made waves in the App Store, and its beautiful Zelda-esque approach to the mobile adventure - even if heavily inspired by the classic sword-fighting series - managed to make more traditional console gamers take notice of iOS as a serious platform for video games. While Oceanhorn was universally loved by fans and critics alike, there was always a question of whether Cornfox & Bros. could expand and develop this experience into a truly unique offering of its own. Today, that question has been emphatically answered - Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm has been announced on our forums, and offers a dramatic shift from the isometric perspective of the original to a true third-person camera, which could prove to be a major evolution for the Action RPG series...

Out There Chronicles [$2.99] is a good idea. Take the mysterious, interesting universe of the survival/resource management game Out There [$4.99] and create a gamebook in the same setting that helps flesh the background out. A boots on the ground view, so to speak. It's even written by the same person that wrote the original game. The presentation is quite strong for a game of this genre, adopting much of the aesthetic of the core Out There experience, and it even attempts to incorporate a few of the mechanics, such as learning alien languages and trying to conserve resources. As a companion piece to Out There, it's pretty neat. But while it's good at evoking the feel of its parent, as a piece of interactive fiction, it leaves me a bit cold...

Three weeks ago, The Quest HD [$7.99] hit the App Store after receiving a very warm reception on Steam earlier in the year, but there was only one major problem: The game was iPad-only. That's all well and good if you have an iPad, but if you don't or even if you simply prefer gaming on your iPhone then you weren't able to experience this remaster of one of mobile gaming's all-time classic RPGs. Well, as it turns out, developer Redshift didn't make The Quest HD iPhone-compatible because the numerous previous releases and expansions of the original The Quest are all iPhone-only, and they were worried people might be confused which games were the old ones and which one was the new one when looking at them in the App Store. Well, it wouldn't be any more confusing than it already is with like 20+ existing versions of The Quest! Thankfully Redshift agreed, and so after seeing the demand from players wishing for an iPhone version, they quickly went to work on a Universal update which has just become available...

When it comes to interactive fiction, certain elements have to carry a disproportionate amount of weight on their shoulders. A good premise helps. Interesting choices are a must. While the story doesn't necessarily have to be spectacular, it should at least be well-written. There's more to it than that, especially if said game starts dipping its wick into the RPG genre, but at a minimum, quality interactive fiction should present the player with a good story in which they have some agency, or at least the illusion of it. Deadman Diaries [$0.99] is the latest release from Cubus Games, best known for their hardcore space action gamebook Heavy Metal Thunder [$3.99]. It carries a lower price tag than the rest of Cubus's line-up, and while I don't think you can always judge a game by its price, it's a useful indicator in this case...

'The Quest HD' Review - That Old Magic is Still Alive

Redshift's The Quest [$4.99] was originally released for Pocket PCs and Palm devices, but it found new life when the game was ported to iPhones in March of 2009. Its massive size and depth, combined with a seemingly endless parade of new content through regular expansion pack releases, made it one of the best RPGs on the platform, and for many people, the only one they ever needed. Surprisingly, the years have been generally kind to it in most regards, so it still plays as well as it ever did. Only a few respects betrayed the game's age. One of the most obvious points is that it offered no iPad-native version, forcing tablet owners to play it with a less-than-flattering zoom applied to the visuals. As detailed as the graphics in the original port are, they're clearly coming from the pre-retina days of mobile gaming, and while that's not something I mind terribly, it made the game look too old-fashioned for some...

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