Category Archives: Arcade

Long-time TA'ers may remember a segment we used to do on our podcast called Jared's Kitty Korner, where each week we highlighted the cream of the crop in the world of cat games. We've since retired the segment, but every once in a while some hot cat game news pops up and it's time to briefly revisit the Korner. Today, that hot cat game news is that Rusty Moyher's Box Cat [$0.99] has received a much-needed update adding widescreen and iOS 8 support, as well as Retina graphics on the iPad...

'Pixel Boat Rush' Review - Everybody Do The Wave

I've often felt that the genre that perhaps benefited the most from the jump from 2D to 3D was racing. Really thinking about it, racing is one of the genres that begged the most for polygons, having already spent years working in pseudo-3D with scaling sprites and optical tricks. Hardware that couldn't manage said tricks tended to have racers that skewed the perspective to at least offer some sort of visual depth. Racers that opted for a strict, flat side-view to the action were historically pretty rare outside of obstacle course time-attacks like Motocross Maniacs. There are lots of reasons as to why that was likely the case, but it mostly comes down to the simple idea that it's hard to express the excitement of racing from that point of view. If there is no depth, there's no passing, no hairpin turns, no drafting, and collisions become hard to sort out. You have to find other ways to bring the beautiful tension that makes racing so compelling, and that's just what Pixel Boat Rush [$1.99] sets out to do...

Rovio's got a curious new title out today from their new LVL11 publishing initiative, called Retry [Free]. It's seemingly their take on the whole Flappy Bird craze, asking, can we make a challenging arcade-style game with pixel art...but also make it free-to-play friendly, and with a three star system? Sure! Players control a plane with a single tap-and-hold, which allows it fly upwards and spin backwards. This is a problem as the goal is generally to fly forwards to the end goal. So, light tapping is needed to stay on the straight and narrow, with coins to collect and even secret paths to find in the game's levels. ..

Say whatever else you will about Angry Birds [$0.99] creators Rovio, they know how to make fun, accessible games that have a lot of personality. There's no question that they've done just that, once again, in Angry Birds Transformers [Free]. It's not terribly deep, but it's enjoyable to play and its sense of humor is in exactly the right place, paying respect to the Transformers license while still gently poking fun at it. I walked away from Optimus and company a while back because sometimes it's not a good idea to revisit your childhood favorites, but playing this game brought back a lot of good memories for me. So, congratulations to Rovio, it's a nice game that uses its admittedly strangely-matched license well, and does so without retreading the default Angry Birds template, as tempting as that likely was...

When I'm reviewing games, the hardest to evaluate tend to be the ones that hit their core gameplay well but provide a small amount of content. Usually, they promise more to come in updates, and Tail Drift [$1.99] is no different in that regard, but most people who have been gaming on mobiles for a while know that promise isn't always one a developer can keep, so you can't count on that. At the moment, Tail Drift is a sweet piece of cotton candy. You pop it in your mouth, get a momentary hit of pleasure, and before you know it, it has dissolved. I think at the price it goes for, that's not really a raw deal, but there are so many games on the App Store that will offer you bigger bang for your buck, especially in the highly-competitive racing genre...

Noodlecake's Flappy Golf [Free] is both a fun flappy take on their Super Stickman Golf series as well as a strange social experiment in how schoolyard word of mouth can drive the popularity of an iOS game. As we talked about a few weeks ago, Flappy Golf had seen some incredible organic growth following its initial release back in March, with no real advertising or marketing push behind it...

Did you ever play Super Hexagon [$2.99] and think, "this was too easy?" Well, congratulations, Superhyper [$1.99] is just the game you've been looking for, you masochist. It's got the gameplay of a lane-based endless runner, mixed with pretty much everything Super Hexagon was about, and drenched in hot sauce. This is a game so challenging, it may be weeks before anyone unlocks its ultimate difficulty level. It's fair but downright cruel, the kind of game that's worth playing again and again just to prove it wrong...

'Helix' Review - Let it Surround You

868-HACK [$5.99] creator Michael Brough is doing for the arena survival genre with Helix [$2.99] what he did for the roguelike with 868-HACK: take an existing genre and own it with his own style. This is an arcade game that's got great art, great controls, intriguing gameplay, and even a few secrets to try and dig up, that make this worth checking out if you love arcade games...

Why, hello there, totally random IP crossover! In case you weren't aware, this year marks the 30th anniversary of one of my all-time favorite movies, Ghostbusters, and apparently an appropriate way to celebrate that is with… an update to Fruit Ninja [$0.99 / Free]? Yes, it sounds weird, but that's totally the case, and in fact it's a really nice update for fans of both brands...

'Skullduggery!' Review - Collecting Taxes via Brain Flinging

Clutch Play is headed back to mobile with their sophomore title, Skullduggery [$4.99]. No bones about it, this game is a head turner. You can find platformers of all shapes and sizes on iOS but this one is the head of its class. Just looking at the graphics(and my amazingly funny jokes), you can probably already guess there are plenty of head and brain puns to be found in this app. What you find underneath, however, is a really great game...

As a developer, if you're going to wade neck-deep into a crowded genre, especially one in a very crowded marketplace in general, you have to have some kind of means of standing out from the crowd. When it comes to side-scrolling running games, it's getting harder and harder to find something that can actually accomplish that job. Jack B. Nimble [$1.99], from developer Sean Noonan, opts to take the approach of a double-barreled appeal to nostalgia, with graphics that look like they came off a torqued-up Game Boy and a theme that will be instantly recognizable to Castlevania fans. It's got an interestingly familiar cadence to it that I don't see very often in this kind of game, and it will certainly have strong appeal for those who appreciate streamlined runners like Canabalt [$2.99] or Boson X [$2.99]...

Halfbrick is continuing with the Zombie Month updates for their dual-stick shooter Age of Zombies [$0.99], as another significant update is now available for the game. The month of updates began a few weeks back when Age of Zombies was updated with co-op multiplayer, and this latest update completely revamps the game's Survival Mode into a wave-based affair complete with boss fights called Horde Mode. In addition, there are four new sentry guns to use in Horde Mode so you can strategically set up some stationary offense to help you mow down waves of enemies...

'Pumped BMX 2' Review - I Want To Ride This Bicycle

Side-scrolling games where you ride through a course performing tricks and stunts seem to be all the rage these days, mostly thanks to the sudden popularity the Trials series found several years ago. That rise coincided nicely with the fall of 3D open world trick games like the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, ensuring that trick-crazy gamers wouldn't go hungry. Unfortunately, Trials took its sweet time coming to mobiles, just arriving in 2014 as Trials Frontier [Free]. One thing I've learned about the App Store is that if you leave a void, someone will fill it, and one of the more fun attempts to do so came in the form of 2012's Pumped BMX [$1.99], from developer Yeah Us. The game was a weird hybrid of Tiny Wings [$0.99] and Trials, focusing mostly on performing stunts on the way to clearing each stage...

Personally, I'm always satisfied when I see a horror game make good on the sales charts these days. After hearing certain big companies insist that gamers weren't interested in scary games anymore, watching something like Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] go big makes me feel good because it affirms that, hey, there are lots of different kinds of people with lots of different kinds of tastes buying and playing games. I wish I liked it more, but those are the breaks, sometimes. ..

Back in mid-August, we "stumbled" across a trailer for a quirky new game from developer Set Snail called Daddy Long Legs [Free]. Like QWOP [$0.99] and many other awkward physics-based games that task you with doing everyday things like, uh, walking, Daddy Long Legs sees your furry, square-ish hero trying to walk as far as possible with his ridiculously long legs. Simply tapping on the screen alternates which leg Daddy puts forward, so careful timing and a whole lot of luck are required in order to make it any significant distance...

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