Category Archives: Arcade

Sure, Dawn of the Plow [$0.99] seemed appropriate back in the days of the cold and brutal Chicago winter of 2014, when the world was cold and snowy and suddenly I wanted to go back to Texas. But now, even in the dog days of summer, Dawn of the Plow lives, as Chicago indie developer Dan FitzGerald has updated the game with a new mode, Attack of the Snowmobiles...

This past March, Sega announced a new entry in the beloved Crazy Taxi series which was to be both free to play and exclusive to mobile devices. After a brief soft-launch period, Crazy Taxi: City Rush [Free] is now available worldwide. Now, I'm imagining the arrival of City Rush will be divisive amongst players. On the one hand, Sega has crafted a really good "mobilized" version of Crazy Taxi. It's sort of like a Temple Run game, in that it's behind the back and you auto-accelerate, but you also can choose your own routes through the cities, so it feels less restrictive and more open. It can be played in either portrait or landscape orientation, and visually City Rush just pops with color and style. It's a very bright and happy game. There are also loads of customization options, from a massive fleet of different taxis to unlock to tons of visual customizations as well as ability upgrades for each...

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$3.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

Duet [$2.99], Kumobious' take on the minimalist arcade challenge genre, has been steadily updated since its release last year, and it's getting an Epilogue update this Thursday that brings a ton of new levels and features...

As a medium moves forward, it's often the case that things that were important and indeed integral in its early days become obsolete or out of vogue. I've talked about this a bit before with regards to shoot-em-ups, adventure games, and belt-scrolling beat-em-ups, but one genre I haven't mentioned yet perhaps represents some of the earliest and most important roots of the hobby of electronic gaming. Chances are, if you're old enough, you've got memories connected with light gun shooters in some form or another. Both in the arcades and at home, light gun games enjoyed quite a long period of popularity, possibly because of how straightforward they are to understand. At their core, you just have to point and shoot, and although new elements were added over time like reloading, choosing different routes through stages, and using cover, they've always been something you can easily pick up and play...

It's been just over a month since Double Stallion's Big Action Mega Fight! [$2.99], or BAMF! for short, switched from being a free to play game and rejiggered itself to be a pay-once game with no in-app purchases. According to a recent interview with Pocketgamer, it looks like that decision is working out for the best. BAMF!'s designer Nicolas Barrière-Kucharski tells Pocketgamer "On a business level, during our $1.99 launch week June 25th to July 1st, revenue from the premium version of game across all versions surpassed lifetime revenue up to that point." That means in that in just that first week after switching to a paid game, BAMF! made more money than it had in the six months it existed as a free to play title. That's quite a turnaround...

I was sort of blown away last month when Semi Secret's seminal endless runner Canabalt [$2.99] received a substantial update for the first time in nearly three years, but apparently that was just a warmup. Today Canabalt version 2.0 has hit the App Store and it adds in all the additional modes and local multiplayer functionality that Android and Ouya players have been enjoying for the past couple of years, and which were hinted at for iOS players way back in 2012. The additional modes consist of eight variations of the original mode, which is now dubbed Origin, and they all focus on a single element of the Canabalt gameplay...

Mini-game collections, or as they're sometimes known, party games, serve an important if somewhat niche role in gaming. It's safe to say that for most longtime gamers, party games aren't something we're going to be playing terribly often, yet on those rare occasions when you do need one, you really need one, so I suspect most of us keep at least one or two in the standing collection. Gather together four gamers for a party and the sky's the limit for mulitplayer, but if you've got someone in the room who isn't quite so familiar with games, the somewhat shallow and easy-to-learn nature of mini-games is probably the best route to avoid them giving up in frustration. So, like that dusty old Scrabble board you keep in the top shelf of your closet, it's useful to keep a good mini-game collection around for those special occasions...

Orbitum [$0.99 / Free] by Happymagenta is a twisty little challenging arcade game. A challenge of keeping an orb from getting sucked into the central vortex by moving it outward, one orbit at a time, while collecting point orbs and avoiding obstacles and going too far out, this game can be rather rewarding once it is understood...

I find myself skeptical of games where spinning around an object and launching off of it is the core gameplay mechanic. Part of it is because the games often make themselves harder than they need to be: angular momentum is a tough concept to grasp and to execute well in a game. Thankfully, Beyond Gravity [$0.99] manages to avoid this trap by making it as accessible as possible...

If you're looking for another freebie to fill your iPhone with this week, check out Bitforge's Orbital [$2.99]. I'm pretty sure the gameplay mechanic has been done about a million times before both by other games on the App Store and in Flash games before the App Store even existed, but it hardly matters- Where Orbital shines is in its presentation. Rad music, bright colors, particle effects everywhere, it's got it...

ZeMind Game Studio's Starborn Anarkist [$1.99] is a fantastic dual-stick space shooter that puts a huge emphasis on building and customizing your own ship. We really loved Starborn Anarkist when it released in early December of last year. But that was more than 7 months ago, an eternity in the world of iOS gaming, and Starborn Anarkist was in desperate need of some tweaks and fixes that had plagued an otherwise fantastic game. A week ago today we learned that the long-awaited update that ZeMind had been talking about for ages was finally submitted to Apple, and today I'm very happy to announce that the update is live in the App Store...

If you're tired of matching colored blocks, vegetables, candies, bubbles, and so on, King's Pyramid Solitaire Saga [Free] can make for a nice change of pace, while still offering you many of the things you would expect from a game developed by the Candy Crush Saga [Free] giant. The most familiar thing it offers up is an often maddening level of difficulty. As I noted in my review, sometimes you can make all the right moves and still come up short thanks to the heavy luck element inherent to most solitaire games, but that doesn't mean there isn't any merit to playing with strategy. While it's hard to make much of an absolutely terrible draw of cards, there are plenty of cases where the difference between winning and losing rests on making effective moves. Having poured a fair bit of time into this game, I've once again put together a bunch of tips to help you along the way...

One of my favorite scrolling shoot'em ups got a fancy modern remake this year with Infinite Dreams' Sky Force 2014 [Free]. It took the original game and gave it a massive graphical overhaul, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with modern mobile gaming like online leaderboards and tournaments. This remade version turned out really phenomenal, but Infinite Dreams still has some more planned for Sky Force 2014. They've posted some new screens in our forums for the forthcoming Stage 8, which you can see in the screenshot on the left while the screenshot on the right is from a cutscene that'll play just prior to the boss battle on that stage...

Running (mostly) horizontally all the time must get tiring, because our old pal Sonic now has two video games featuring himself jumping vertically and not doing much running at all. The latest is Sonic Jump Fever [Free], which Sega originally announced about a month ago but has been soft-launched since April. It's a sequel of sorts to 2012's Sonic Jump [$2.99], which I actually found surprisingly fun. Sure it was just a Doodle Jump-type game, but Sega did a great job at transitioning the traditional Sonic game into this genre. It has interesting levels, classic power-ups, and exciting boss fights. For being totally not like a traditional Sonic game, it still felt very much like a Sonic game...

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