Category Archives: Arcade

Love it or hate it, Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free] has made a fairly predictable march up to the top of the charts since its release not too long ago. That means tons of people are playing it, and knowing King's games as I do, that means tons of people are getting stuck and wanting to toss their mobile device every time they hear that smarmy voice-over guy say, "Oooh". Well, as usual, I've spent a good bit of time playing the game since its soft launch in the sandy deserts of Canada, and I've got some advice to help you turn those "ooohs" into "ahhhs". Well, there isn't actually an "ahhh", but you know what I mean...

You forgot about Pocket God [$0.99], didn't you? Sure, it has been a year since the last episode, "Apocalypse, Ow!" But that's no reason to forget about the game that made the "apps with free updates" concept a reality. Well, the app refuses to die, as Bolt Creative has announced episode 48 is coming soon, entitled "Call of Booty." The big new feature in this update is the ability to dive in the sea and explore underwater, hunting for treasure, while avoiding deadly sea creatures. There's twenty total pieces of booty to get, and a golden oyster idol, because why not? Check out the trailer for the upcoming update:..

'Crossy Road' Review - Watch Out for That Train!

What separates the great games from the good games? There's an intangible aspect of making a game feel fun to play that can be difficult to pin down when trying to describe it, and even more difficult for a developer to create. But when a developer nails it down, it's truly sublime. Crossy Road [Free] absolutely nails how a game should feel, which makes it endlessly replayable, and my current go-to pick-up-and-play game...

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

'Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores' Review - Take Another Trip To The Valley

As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores...

App Store Classic 'Space Miner' Getting a Modern Update, Sequel Still in the Works Too

I've mentioned this before, but I have a list of games that I'd do practically anything to have them be updated for modern screen sizes and iOS versions. There have been a lot of amazing games released on iOS in its fairly short history, but not all of them are in a position to be continuously updated to keep up with new iOS software and hardware. Some of those games aren't even available anymore, probably for that very reason. One of the games that was very high up on my update wish list is Venan Entertainment's Space Miner: Space Ore Bust [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)]. Well, I'm very happy to say that Venan has posted in our forums that an update is in the works for Space Miner that will bring support for all the different iOS screen sizes as well as iOS 8...

'Mr. Particle Man' Review - At Last, One For The Gentlemen

Up-front disclaimer: I hadn't played or even heard of Ms. Particle Man [$1.99], the game this is a sequel to, until about a week ago. It was apparently released in late 2012, so I was probably busy building my deluxe shelter to protect myself from the impending inevitable apocalypse, which appears to be rather late at this point. I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I'm glad I finally did, even more so because I've found it by way of its superb follow-up, Mr. Particle Man [$1.99]. It's an unabashedly old-school experience that manages to make use of a few modern tricks, one of which I've never seen implemented in quite the same way before in an iOS game. Fair warning: Mr. Particle Man is one of those tough as nails games where you'll die, die, and die some more, and it's very possible, likely even, that you'll hit the limits of your own skill before the game is finished. If you're the sort that gets frustrated by games like that, move along with your sanity intact. For the rest of us weirdos who meet such adversity with laughter and an insane need to keep playing, what this game does is going to be a nice, comfortable fit...

There are lot of reasons developers might choose to put a game on mobiles, and plenty of them have nothing to do with the unique interface presented by the touch screen. Most of us have learned to deal with virtual buttons and such just fine, but it's always nice when a developer clearly designs their game around the hardware's natural input methods in an intuitive way. Splot [$1.99], a new platformer from the developers behind the Trine games, benefits greatly from its easy-to-understand control setup. Its controls work very well, and that should theoretically open the developer up to more challenging level designs, an element I think most platform fans can agree on. Unfortunately, Splot doesn't quite go as far as I'd like it in that regard, but it still ends up being a fun, content-rich game that will keep you busy for at least a few hours...

In December of last year, developer Infinite Dreams announced they'd be remaking their classic scrolling shooter Sky Force for modern touch devices. Being a huge fan of both the original Sky Force and its sequel Sky Force Reloaded, I was really excited for the news. However, the purist in me wasn't sure how I'd feel about new graphics, and I was leery at the prospect of the game being free to play. Luckily, when Sky Force 2014 [Free] launched in June my fears were put to rest, as the game was absolutely fantastic. The new visuals were incredibly impressive while still retaining the style of the original, and the free to play system built into the game was one of the best I've ever seen, allowing you to play completely for free if you choose or buy permanent IAP to turn the game into a true "premium" experience...

Okay, so if you've been around the block a few times in the mobile or flash game scenes, you've almost certainly come across a time management game before. Going back as far as Activision's Pressure Cooker, this puzzle sub-genre typically requires you to match pieces of things just right while under a time limit. It's enjoyed a bit of a comeback in recent years thanks to games like Diner Dash [Free] and Cook, Serve, Delicious! [$4.99 (HD)], and you can find dozens if not hundreds of games in the genre on the App Store, covering a wide variety of jobs or tasks. The difficult thing, then, for a new time management game is to differentiate itself from the enormous pack. Twisty Hollow [$2.99] opts for a more abstract view of the action, and from there it finds a few tricks to call its own...

I love how far mobile device hardware has progressed over the years, and the complex and impressive games that are possible because of it. But I also have a soft spot in my heart for those simplistic time wasters that aim to fill those brief moments of downtime throughout our busy lives. Specifically, I love portrait-oriented, one-handed, single-thumb games. Games like Bouncy Trampoline [Free], SlamBots [Free], Doug Dug [$1.99] and yes, even Flappy Bird are frequented by me when I feel like playing something but don't feel like thinking too hard about what I want to play. I even have a folder on my home screen dedicated to games like this, games that I know I can tap on any of them and reliably be entertained...

'Monster Strike' Review - Billiards And Dragons

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November 3rd, 2014 2:00 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I've written many words about games that sought to bump Gungho's Puzzle And Dragons [Free] from its lofty perch high atop the Japanese App Store, though only one, Terra Battle [Free], managed to top it in quality and none have been able to beat it in the charts. Well, the king appears to be dead, and the perpetrator is none other than Monster Strike [Free], another game from a big Japanese company, albeit not a company traditionally associated with games. Instead, it's brought to us by Mixi, sort of Japan's answer to Facebook before the latter rode in to grab its market share. Don't worry, though, because there's some real industry talent behind this game and it shows. Monster Strike has dealt a powerful blow to Puzzle And Dragons, and it hasn't come by that through luck...

I don't get that many chances to express my affection for pinball around here, mostly because the two main pinball developers tend to publish their new work as IAPs rather than stand-alone apps, and we don't typically review that kind of thing around here. Let it be known, however, that I love pinball to its core. I love it like Joanie loves Chachi. I used to have an off-brand pinball machine in my basement back home in Canada, and whenever I went to arcades as a kid, I was instantly drawn to the noisy clicks, bells, and synthesized music emitting from whichever licensed machine they had that month. Although it took me a while, I've also developed a taste for video pinball, though like most fans, that's out of compromise more than anything else, since finding an actual pinball machine in this day and age is hard enough in the USA, let alone Japan. It goes without saying that I am both a big fan of Pinball Arcade [$0.99] developer Farsight Studios, and a harsh critic. I regret that today, I am going to be more the latter...

Thomas Jansson doesn't believe in the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, clearly. His game Wave Wave [$2.99] has gotten a complete makeover in style and structure this week, with a 2.0 update that changes just about everything but the very core of the gameplay. The immediate change is the visual style, going from a contrasting black-white with triangular visuals to one that is based around specific colors, with text that's got very chunky pixels. The original version borrowed a lot with its menus from Super Hexagon [$2.99] – while an update changed things, this is definitely a step forward and a step back in regards to Wave Wave's relation with Super Hexagon...

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