Category Archives: Arcade

Boshi [$0.99] is one of those games that focuses on delivering a simple but unique core gameplay concept, with little room for frills or extras. It's the kind of game that wouldn't have been out of place in the earlier eras of gaming. It's actually kind of similar to Pac-Man [$6.99] in a lot of ways. You play as a lumberjack, and your goal in each stage is to cut down all of the large trees. Each tree will come down with five good swings of your axe. Wherever it's possible, you'll want to do this without attracting any nearby wolves, who are alerted by your proximity and the sound of your chopping, and will chase you down and kill you if they catch you. Each stage has a set layout, so the trees, rivers, bridges, and so on will be the same each time you tackle a level. The wolves wander around in set patterns, though obviously if you get in a chase with them, they'll end up in different places before wandering back to their original area...

Chillingo has been pretty quiet lately but they are back in action, publishing PlayFlame's physics simulation style game, Zombie High Dive [Free]. PlayFlame's debut game mixes the launch trajectory component of Angry Birds [$0.99] and the wind resistance air rotation physics of Bouncy! Trampoline [Free]. We can't draw too much from the history of the developer, but the publisher is one of the most prolific in the business. For better or worse, the game brings what you would expect from EA owned Chillingo: Full facebook integration, highly stylized art, music and sound work, with hopefully some intriguing gameplay...

'Astro Duel' for iPad Review - A Fabulous Single Device Local Multiplayer Arcade Game

With pixelated, triangular ships thrusting around an asteroid-studded starfield and issuing forth crunchy 8-bit sounds, the trappings of Astro Duel [$2.99 (HD)] would allow it to blend seamlessly into any eighties-era arcade. Yet, Astro Duel is timely, for it taps into the quiet renaissance currently unfolding in the mileu of razor-sharp in-person competition waged across a single screen. Whether sitting cheek-by-jowl around a Warlords machine, or in a tangle of controller cables strewn from a console running Bomberman or in front of a desktop PC running the latest indie sensation on Steam (if you're curious, try out Nidhogg, Samurai Gunn or Crawl), there is a particular intensity to testing your reflexes and tactics against those of your friends with no barriers between you...

Crazy Taxi: City Rush [Free] is a test for those who play it. How much monetization needs to get in the way of a game that's ultimately pretty fun to harm it? Hardlight Studios, Sega's go-to for making IAP-laden mobile games, are going to hit a lot of breaking points with players who can't stand free-to-play monetization, because this game is full of enticements to spend money. But in my estimation, they can't ruin what makes Crazy Taxi [$4.99]as a gameplay concept great...

Soccer Physics [$1.99] is a dumb game and I mean that in the most loving way possible. This is the latest from the creator of Wrestle Jump [$1.99] and Tank of Tanks [$1.99 (HD)], Otto-Ville Ojala. It's a 2-on-2 soccer game where players have only cursory amounts of control over their players by timing their jumps, with balls, goals, and fields that are randomized for each round. First to score five goals wins. There's a lot of wacky stuff that happens because the game is so innately chaotic – and that's what makes it so compelling...

Here's a whopper of a freebie: ZeMind Games' Starborn Anarkist [$2.99] is currently free for the next two days. Originally launched this past December, Starborn Anarkist sunk its hooks into me thanks to a very engrossing ship-building system. There are more than a dozen different ship shapes to build by dragging and dropping a variety of weapons, plating and other equipment onto a grid. The game does a remarkable job of making each ship feel wildly different from the next, and there's a crazy amount of strategy tied to how you build out your ships...

Sure, Dawn of the Plow [$1.99] 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 [$0.99] 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 [$1.99 / 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...

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