Category Archives: Arcade

Poor old Sonic The Hedgehog. He's been celebrating his 24th birthday recently, and to commemorate the occasion, SEGA has baked him a moist, delicious cake and topped it with inedible sludge. Sonic Runners [Free] has finally come out of its soft launch, and it's unfortunately still plagued with all of the problems it suffered from right from the very moment it set foot on the Japanese App Store. That this particular mixed bag comes from Sonic Team themselves is hardly surprising when you break down exactly what's wrong and right with it. Is it salvageable? Absolutely. Will it be? I wish I could say...

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

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June 30th, 2015 12:24 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 5 stars, Arcade, Games, Reviews, Universal
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I was about five years old when film The Rocketeer hit theatres, so I don’t remember a whole lot about the characters or plot. What I do remember is strapping a pair of 2-liter bottles to my back and zooming around my backyard like a lunatic. I’m almost afraid to re-watch the movie now that I’m older, because I have nothing but good feelings about it currently and I don’t want cold hard reality to tarnish them. That childhood wonder I felt while pretending to fly around in an awesome dieselpunk jetpack was pretty priceless, ya know?..

FireWhip [$0.99] is a perfect example of a game that shows that you shouldn't just judge a book by its cover, but if the book is good, having a rad cover sure helps! This is a unique high-score chaser that puts work in to feel like a standout experience. FireWhip delivers exactly what it its title promises, as it has you swinging a whip made of flames, trying to fend off enemies that want to get to you. You have to swing the whip around to make it large and fast enough to hit oncoming enemies, but some of the base enemies are cowards – literally, they're called cowards – and will shy away. The enemies that come at you directly? They have shields, come in large numbers, or attack really quickly. And if you swing your whip too fast, it flames out, and that's not going to be any good for you...

There are plenty of things I appreciate about Cartoon Survivor [Free], a new isometric platformer from Australia-based Spunge Games. Most immediately, it has a strong and cohesive visual design, full of bright colors and cute animations. The level designs are clever and packed with secrets to find, some of which may require you to come back with gear you'll earn later in order to get the best time. There are unlockables both of the cosmetic and practical type, giving you something tangible to shoot for as you play through. It also gives you enough levels for free to get a feel for the game before it asks you to pay to unlock the rest, and in an unusual turn, allows you grind up in-game currency and pay that way. You're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop right about now, and it will. But don't worry, it's only a little shoe. A booty, at best...

The beauty of mobile and this era of digital distribution is that with small games, we can see how games can become wildly different affairs from the same idea. Sure, this is the same system that leads to rampant cloning, but sometimes you see developers legitimately iterate on the same idea. Take Hue Ball [Free], for instance. It credits Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby as its inspiration. This is the same game that inspired Orbital [$2.99 / Free], a classic App Store puzzle game, that both start from the same idea: you launch balls from a bottom cannon into a playing field, trying to break balls in the playing field to earn points, and to keep balls from landing and expanding below the border line where your cannon sits. What Hue Ball does is to tweak the concept just enough to feel like a very different experience, going from a slow, tactical puzzle game where one mistake can doom you, to a fast-paced high-score chaser that's somewhat forgiving...

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

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After a few years of reviewing iOS games at Touch Arcade and elsewhere, I've begun to notice something. You can usually tell how "good" or "bad" a game is by the specificity of your gripes with it. If I'm writing generally about how the controls don't work or the graphics are ugly, the game as a whole probably isn't that great. However, if I'm spending an entire paragraph about how disappointed I am that one level is too hard or too easy, or that there aren't enough pants to buy in the shop, there's a good chance the rest of the game is pretty enjoyable. Why waste time pointing out every little flaw if there are bigger problems to discuss? And conversely, if a game seems to nail everything, what else is there to discuss but the tiny annoyances that don't really amount to much?..

Brickies [Free] is not a bad game. It is an excellent game in many regards, and a top entry in the brick-breaker genre. The problem is that it's still a brick-breaker. No matter how it mixes things up, I just can't shake the fact that it's a brick-breaker, and it's quite the familiar game. And while it's not bad at all, and is really quite good, it's also not an essential must-have in a venerable, oft-imitated genre...

I love surprises, especially when they have to do with unexpected game releases, and this one today ranks pretty much at the top of my "great surprises of the year" list. Transistor [$9.99], the great A/RPG from Supergiant Games, has just appeared on the App Store this morning. I had been waiting for this game to appear on the App Store for quite some time, but, to be honest, I wasn't even sure that Supergiant Games would bring their sci-fi RPG masterpiece to iOS. Apparently, not only have they ported the game over to iOS, but they are offering an "intuitive new touch interface" in addition to the game's classic controls. And the developers have included gamepad support, which I know will make many of you happy...

King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

'One More Dash' Review - Disc Divin'

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June 5th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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As a casual fan of developer SMG’s other games, One More Dash [Free] was one of the first things I downloaded this week. I played a few rounds, and it seemed pretty good. Alas, there were a lot of other games to potentially review, and it fell by the wayside. As usual, some of them turned out to be great, and some were not so great. As I closed one app and flicked through my homescreen to find another, my eyes kept falling on Dash. I began playing it more and more, and it slowly began to take over my free time. Don’t be put off by it’s simple appearance, readers. This one’s a keeper...

'You Must Build A Boat' Review - You Must Buy This Game

To tell you the truth, friends, I'm actually pretty busy working on something today. That said, I was asked to come and write something for all of you about the new follow-up to Luca Redwood's 10000000 [$2.99]. It's called You Must Build A Boat [$2.99], and it's every bit as compelling as the first game. Did you like the first game? Do you enjoy puzzle games? Do you like games? You're going to want this one, trust me...

Skiing Yeti Mountain [Free] is the kind of game that's best in a bunch of small doses over time. The gameplay is solid, the controls excellent, and the structure of this skiing game is great for mobile. But in trying ot be this experience that you play over a long time, it doesn't do a great job at being a game that you'd want to play a lot of in one sitting. It's a blessing and a curse for Featherweight's otherwise fun title...

'Hardest Game Ever 2' Review - Deceptive Titling

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June 3rd, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Brittney Broder in 3 stars, Arcade, Games, Ratings, Reviews
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To call The Hardest Game Ever 2 (HGE2) the “hardest game ever” is a bit deceptive. Rather, the game hinges on a series of simplistic challenges that range from mindlessly easy to frustratingly difficult. New stages unlock as existing stages are passed with varying degrees of success, which is rated according to a letter-grade system. Getting a higher score will earn you a “S” (for “Star”) and a certain amount of stars are required for unlocking further levels. The difficulty of the game comes from needing to acquire so many S-level rankings, rather than just passing the minigames themselves...

Hey friends, I'm back again with another installment in my level-by-level guide for Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free]. As usual, I want to get a disclaimer out of the way: these aren't bulletproof strategies for winning every time. Sometimes, Candy Crush Soda Saga won't give you the pieces you need to beat the stage. It happens. What these tips are for is to help you seize the opportunity when the game does give you the right pieces. Persistence and patience are your best friends in this game. With that said, let's get on with some advice for levels 41 through 60, where things really start to get tough...

'Digit & Dash' Review - Domo Arigato, Mr. and Mrs. Roboto

I was recently reading a science fiction novel that featured a central character who argued against the idea that consciousness is a good thing to have. On the surface that sounds absurd, but think about it a little deeper. Computers absolutely demolish us when it comes to things like math and chess, and some of our most creative ideas come when we’re sleeping or thinking of other things. Your brain stem is an incredibly quick chunk of meat, and it could be argued that consciousness just slows it down. Imagine if self-awareness was required to remove your hand from a hot stove, for example. Yikes...

Curling as an influence to a high score game? What? That's what Gameblyr's Into the Circle [Free] promises and delivers on. Curling is an underappreciated sport here in the United States. It's something I always try to catch whenever the Winter Olympics happen, or if ESPN3 has some on. It's surprisingly entertaining! It's better than watching golf on TV. There's not a lot of great curling games out there, so hey, we'll have to settle for curling-inspired ones like this. And Into the Circle winds up being a fun little game, albeit suffering a little bit from pay-to-win syndrome...

One of the oldest names in Japanese video gaming, Namco is a publisher of many talents. Perhaps chief among them throughout its history is its ability to look at what its competitors are doing and make its own, often better version. It reached near-comical levels with SEGA in the 1990s, where SEGA would release a new arcade game, and Namco would chase it with their spin on the concept. This wasn't new behavior for them, either. Like most Japanese developers in the early era of gaming, Namco started popping out Space Invaders clones before the paint had dried on the cabinets of Taito's seminal hit. Namco's Galaxian added colorful graphics and aggressive enemies to the concept, launching a franchise that still pops up here and there, more than 35 years later...

Upcoming 'Deadliest Catch' Game Promises to Throw you into the Icy Alaskan Seas

I remember a few years ago when most cable channels, especially the Discovery Channel, started producing shows that let us enjoy an often-sanitized and idealized view of different dangerous or weird occupations, from being a lumberjack to flipping real estate. However, the show that really stood out for me, and for critics since it was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, was The Deadliest Catch, the show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea. After two relatively unsuccessful games based on the TV show, Tapinator, a mobile game developer, announced today that it's developing a game called Deadliest Catch: Seas of Fury for mobile platforms so we can all finally dare Alaska's icy waters from the comfort of our couches...

Apparently Crossy Road [Free] can be successful even when the cars drive on the other side of the road because according to a new report by research firm App Annie, Hipster Whale's take on Frogger had more active players in the UK during the first quarter of 2015 than Candy Crush Soda Saga and Clash of Clans. ..

It's now a widely-accepted fact that Scott Cawthon, developer of the Five Nights at Freddy's [$2.99]...(what's the right word now) game, jump-scare creation machine, cultural phenomenon, etc, is our current overlord. Going purely from what I witness in my daily life, the last time I've heard kids under 14 talk about a game with such reverence and passion was Minecraft. With a fourth installment coming in a few months and with Warner Bros signing on to create a feature adaptation, the future's looking bright (or dark and full of terrors) for Scott Cawthon's animatronic babies...

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