Category Archives: Adventure

Remember a few weeks ago when almost all the Telltale games (and other games, too) pulled a Houdini on us and disappeared from the App Store? The Walking Dead [Free], The Wolf Among Us, and Back to the Future were pulled both from the App Store and from purchase histories because of iOS 9 audio issues. Well, the first of the three, The Walking Dead, has just reappeared on the App Store with the audio bug apparently fixed. I expect that the other series will follow suit, and we should have the full Telltale collection back on the App Store. While the whole apps-disappearing debacle seems to mostly be in the past, it did emphasize for many the ephemeral nature of all digital games and, in this case, especially iOS games. So yes, the Telltale saga is steadily heading towards a happy ending, but who knows when (not if) the next similar situation will arise...

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons [$4.99] is a tragic story about personal loss and the things we do to deal with those situations. For example, when Sony's The Last Guardian appeared to have been canceled and designer Fumito Ueda left the company, I coped by replaying Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus. Starbreeze Studios, on the other hand, appear to have coped by creating this game, a gushing love letter to one of gaming's most unique developers. It would have been easy for this to feel cynical or uninspired, but to its credit, Brothers generally feels like its own gorgeous thing, albeit with a few tips of the hat here and there. While I didn't feel it quite hit the target it was aiming for, it's still a trip worth taking...




Wow Telltale, that was fast! Just a couple of weeks after Minecraft: Story Mode [$4.99] first episode came out to very positive reactions, Mojang has just announced that we'll be getting the second episode of the series today! Never before has Telltale spit out two episodes of the same series so close to each other, and it caught many by surprise. This surprising publishing pattern might mean a few things: perhaps the developers feel that this series will be its most popular and want to make sure they strike while the iron is hot, or when Telltale said that Minecraft: Story Mode is easier to make because animating the characters is easier, it was speaking truth. Of course, it could be a bit of both...

This is going to be a slightly unorthodox review. Since Zojoi decided to release all four of the ICOM Simulations MacVenture games for iPad on the same day, we figured it would be best to review them all in one shot. While the games aren't precisely equal to one another, they're using the same engine, and have been ported similarly, so there's a great deal of overlap in terms of what they offer. So what I'll be doing is first covering the shared elements before devoting a little section to each game. For all intents and purposes, you can read the score on this review as applicable to all four of the games, however...

Much as I've enjoyed recent releases from gamebook publisher Tin Man Games, I have to admit there's been one area I've wanted to see some improvement in that has remained largely static across the bulk of their releases: the combat system. Given that the raison d'etre for the company has been to bring Fighting Fantasy-style gamebooks to mobile as accurately as possible, it's hard to complain too much about the simple dice-based back-and-forth battles they've used in many of their releases. Still, the occasional tantalizing flash of something more, as in their brilliant conversion of Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$2.99], has had me wishing they would take greater advantage of not being shackled to the rules of physical books...

Kabam’s Star Wars: Uprising [Free] is not a very forgiving freemium game. With multiple in-game currencies along with a premium counterpart that’s pretty expensive to purchase that aspect of Uprising would be tough enough to navigate. Combine that with the expansive equipment system, mission structure and the extracurricular battles and there is plenty of opportunity for players to lose out on potential rewards. However, with the right timing and knowledge, there’s also opportunity to be taken advantaged of. A few of us here have been playing pretty regularly since launch and have compiled a few tips on how to potentially put the odds in your favor...

Telltale has just announced that the sixth and last episode of its epic Game Of Thrones [Free] series will release Novemeber 17th, bringing the saga of the Forrester family to an end. Now, this is Westeros, so I expect the ending to be at least bittersweet and with plenty of bloodshed followed by a glimpse of victory just before you get a limb chopped off. I've been playing the series (I even did so on our Mobcrush channel), and I have to say that I've suffered some, well, strokes of bad luck that are perfectly in tune with the tone of the books, the TV show, and the game. As you can imagine, then, this Telltale series isn't the happiest of the bunch, but who ventures into Westeros looking for a laugh?..

Skeletomb [Free], by Punk Labs, is a retro-style endless dungeon crawler set in a pixelated fantasy world whose "blocky" design is a nod to Minecraft's infamous aesthetic. With precious few lives, this game will have you frantically dashing, jumping, and swinging to try to survive as long as possible and climb deeper into this fun but deadly world. There are 28 characters to unlock, including a White Knight, a Skeleton, the "Dan in a Box" (think Jack-in-a-Box with a club), a Jester, and the Viking-like Bourboness, to name a few. The game doesn't take itself too seriously, which is an appropriate match to the quirky and simple art style. ..

The Men Who Wear Many Hats, developers of zombie-filled Oregon Trail parody game Organ Trail: Director's Cut [$2.99], have just released a massive new expansion pack for their game just in time for Halloween. The new "Final Cut" expansion pack will run you $2.99 and essentially doubles the content in the game. It features brand new cities and the ability to choose your route as you go, as well as double the number of story encounters and road events. There are now 10 playable characters (6 unlockable) and 5 new unlockable cars in addition to the stock station wagon. ..

If there's one thing, above all else, that you should take away from The Doom Beneath [$2.99], it's that you shouldn't run away from bears. Stand your ground, play dead, or fight back even, but if you run away from a bear, there's a strong chance it will give chase and you'll end up falling into a subterranean cavern filled with cultists and Lovecraftian horrors. If the worst happens and you do fall into such a cavern, you should then play dead. It's good rehearsal for what's ahead, I promise...

The biggest strength of interactive fiction is in how it lets the player shape the story of the game. While other genres are improving in that regard, they're limited largely due to the costs associated with visual and audio assets. It simply doesn't make sense to spend millions of dollars on content that only a small percentage of players will experience. Text isn't quite free, but it's certainly a lot cheaper. That said, with all of that freedom, there are still an awful lot of games in the genre that have you playing a similar character in the broad sense. Violence may not be a useful answer in our modern society, but it will sure get you far in plenty of games. Ratings War [$2.99] does something different, and in doing so, feels a lot more real in spite of its far-flung futuristic setting. You play as a journalist, and although you get to decide what kind of journalist you are, there's very little room for action-heroics in this story...

'Dust: An Elysian Tail' Review - This Dust's No Bust

Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] is the kind of game you can really lose yourself in. The sort of game that you want to take to a comfortable corner and just give all of your attention to until it's finished. In spite of the many releases each week on iOS, plenty of which are good games in their own right, we don't see efforts like this terribly often on the platform. At least half the time we do see titles like this, they're ports from another platform, as Dust itself is. That's a sad economic reality of the iOS ecosystem. The platform's main appeal, judging by the charts, is in games that entertain in short bites, perfect for the busy player or someone on the go. That's fine sometimes, but other times, you really want to get into a game, and players on mobile devices perhaps don't get as many opportunities to do so as we'd like. Luckily, it's easy to forget those gripes when you get stuck into something like Dust...

Telltale has been in the news a lot recently, hasn't it? From the whole games are disappearing story to Minecraft: Story Mode coming out next week and Tales From the Borderlands [Free] Episode 1 going free for the first time, I feel that I've been writing a lot of Telltale-related sentences and stories recently. Still, I'm not complaining because I really enjoy what Telltale has been doing with narrative-driven games these last few years, and while its games occasionally have a hard time escaping narrative linearity, they are definitely fun to play. On October 20th, one of Telltale's most surprising games, Tales From the Borderlands, is coming to an end with the fifth and final episode hitting our devices, and we have a short teaser too...

'Gamebook Adventures 12: Asuria Awakens' Review - A Truly Epic Close

I can't recall if it's been formally announced, but this twelfth installment in Tin Man's long-running Gamebook Adventures series is, at least for now, the last. The series has had ups and downs, but even the weaker installments helped flesh out the fascinating fantasy world of Orlandes, so I'm a little sad to see it going on hiatus. I am, however, ecstatic that it's doing so with Asuria Awakens [$1.99], which is not only the best Gamebook Adventures yet, but also one of the finer traditional-style gamebooks I've ever played. The creative team behind this game seemingly held nothing back, giving us a quest that takes your character from a lowly gofer to a savior. There are a lot of gamebooks that do that, mind you, but you really have to earn it in this one, and it feels great...

With the Gamebook Adventures series winding to at least a temporary close, Tin Man has opted to release the last couple of volumes at the same time. I'm not going to fib, I'm a pretty big fan of this series and the fictional world of Orlandes it uses as a setting. From a story-telling standpoint, it's great to have a well-realized setting that players can take so many different perspectives in. On the gameplay side, the Gamebook Adventures gamebooks are usually fairer and more enjoyable than the paper gamebooks that inspired them. They're written knowing the player isn't having to stick a thumb in the pages and keep track of their inventory with a pencil, and they're stronger experiences for it. That we only have these last two volumes to hold us over for the time being makes each of them precious. That's why it kind of breaks my heart that I don't like Songs Of The Mystics [$1.99] more than I do...

I like Cyberpunk stories and games for the questions they raise on machine-human interactions, questions that are becoming more and more relevant to us as machines and robots continue to evolve around us (while we don't). Murder, an upcoming cyberpunk adventure game created by Peter Moorhead and published by Curve Digital, aims to explore the "intersection of morality and sentence, in a future where both are commodities." As the game proclaims, there's no protocol for a machine on human attack, and as Lieutenant Motomeru Minori of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, you'll have to navigate uncharted legal and social waters (my kind of waters, actually). The game claims as its inspirations the works of Masamune Shirow, Katsuhiro Otomo, Neal Stephenson, and other Cyberpunk greats, and has looked to the games of Fulbright and Blendo Games for inspiration, too...

If you've been watching entertainment news or you enjoy sci-fi books, you'll know that Andy Weir's The Martian, which has just hit the movie theaters, is set to conquer the box office the same way the book has captured the public's imagination. I mean, the movie and book couldn't have hoped for a better marketing boost than NASA announcing that there's running water on Mars. You do have to wonder whether it's all a marketing ploy, don't you? If you don't know anything about the movie or book (very slight spoilers follow), it's about an astronaut stranded on Mars in the near future and the world's attempt to bring him back to Earth. Now we have an official mobile game, The Martian: Bring Him Home [$0.99], that puts you in the shoes of NASA's ground control crew and scientists as they attempt to help bring Matt Damon (I mean Mark Watney) back to Earth in one piece and preferably still breathing...

'Minecraft - Pocket Edition Version 0.12' Review - You've Come A Long Way, Stevie

In the world of gaming, four years is a long time. In the specific corner of the hobby that is mobile gaming, four years might as well be twenty. It's long enough to turn the greatest of apps into digital dust, to add 1200 levels to Candy Crush Saga [Free], to see a new iPhone model launch and be discontinued, and certainly long enough for a diligent developer to turn around a disappointing launch release. Minecraft - Pocket Edition [$6.99] was a shell of its proper self when it debuted on the App Store back in November 2011, something we made note of in our original review. And while I don't want people to get in the habit of expecting a new review for every game that gets a significant update or two, Minecraft - Pocket Edition has come so far that almost nothing in our original review applies to the game anymore. With the release of a significant new version of the game, now is as good a time as any to revisit it...

It seems like I'm running out of clever introductions to stories like this that convey just how much support and extra content gets added to Junk Jack X [$4.99] on an ongoing basis. So I'm just going to be boring with it: Junk Jack X continues to get a staggering amount of support and new content on an ongoing basis! The latest example of this is update 2.4.4 which just dropped today and adds an extensive gardening system into the game. It makes sense, I mean gardening is basically just crafting but for plants. Add a bit of this seed, a bit of that seed, and voila, you've got yourself a fancy new plant. The gardening system allows for more than 15,000 different types of plants, so you better get started now if you want to grow them all...

One of the things I like about Japanese visual novels as opposed to their Western interactive fiction counterparts is they seemingly habitually go completely off the rails at points. No matter how mundane the premise might be, it's almost an expectation in the genre that the story take a lot of unexpected turns. At least in my experience, it's the strongest quality of a visual novel, since the choices you make tend to be few, far between, and not immediately all that important. The other interesting thing about them is that while there is a true ending, it's typically not possible to find it on your first playthrough. You have to explore multiple routes and sometimes have to piece together the right sequence to see the real ending. This can result in players having to put up with a great deal of overlap, particularly early in the game, as they make their way to each forked path...

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