Category Archives: Arcade

I always enjoy it when a sequel makes a strong effort to surpass its predecessor without losing the core concepts that worked in the first place. Bloo Kid [$1.99], released in 2011, was a vaguely Bubble Bobble-like single screen platformer where you had to clear the screen of enemies by bouncing on their heads to finish each stage. The controls were pretty decent, the graphics were colorful and cute, and there were 84 stages with a few goals on each, so if you enjoyed it, there was a fair bit to chew on. That said, single screen platformers, while enjoyable, were knocked nearly into extinction when Super Mario Bros. first came around, approximately 25 years or so before Bloo Kid tried to get some attention with a fairly rote take on the concept. When Bloo Kid 2 [Free] popped up on my radar, I assumed that like many sequels, this was going to be little more than a level pack with a few new things stapled on at best...

Early last week Hutch Games revealed details about their new update for Smash Bandits, which would add a new racing mode among other things and was scheduled to go live later in the week. Well, things happened, and the update got pushed back. But fear not: The new update is now live, and with it the game is now officially known as Smash Bandits Racing [Free]. The new racing mode is great fun. The way it works is there are 5 tiers of races, with 5 races per tier. The 25 total racing courses are set in the same environments as the regular Smash mode, but aren't random. Instead, they're specific routes that will be the same each time you play...

If you're a big mobile gamer, you've probably played more running games than you can shake a sneaker at. Whether it's side-scrolling or behind the back, the App Store is full of unimaginative examples of the genre. Because of this crowded market, there are quite a few games in the genre that depend on a gimmick, particularly if they don't have a popular character or license to lean on. Adventure Land [Free], in most respects, is a pretty by-the-numbers side-scrolling infinite runner. You run towards the right, shooting or jumping over obstacles, collect coins, and pick up the occasional health pick-up. Things go faster and get more hectic the longer you play, seeing how far you can get. Adventure Land has a gimmick, though, and it's a truly cool one. In fact, it's probably the most interesting gimmick I've seen in a runner in quite a long time...

For a game with a title which sounds like a 80’s rock band, Primal Flame [$2.99] is surprisingly serene. In fact, it’s more than serene, it’s beautiful; and not just a hackneyed beauty either, it’s poetic...

In space no one can hear you scream, but you can hear a lot of corny camp voice acting. It is hard to explain that an assignment as an astronaut that takes years to even come close to achieving in 2014 are left to complete jackasses in the future. Nevertheless that is what we are stuck with in Beyond Space [$2.99]...

When Hutch Games released Smash Bandits [Free] in August of last year, I instantly fell in love. They took the same vehicular smashing gameplay of their previous Smash Cops and put you in the role of the bad guy, outrunning an increasingly aggressive pursuit of police as you aimed to wreak as much havoc and monetary damage as possible. They also rotated the action into a more friendly one-thumbed, portrait orientation that made Smash Bandits an easy go-to option for killing time throughout the day with my iPhone. It was just an astoundingly fun game to play...

With the new Robocop movie in theaters, I'm sure many people are spending some time with the tie-in game of the same name, Robocop [Free], from Glu Games. I reviewed it a while back and found it to be a bit of a bear thanks to its monetization aspects, but if you're feeling like being Robocop, this is pretty much your best option apart from threatening a druglord and putting your faith in the city of Detroit to put you back together again. So, I felt that, in the spirit of my previous guide for Batman: Arkham Origins [Free], if you're going to play this, you might as well have a guide to help you get through as efficiently as possible without reaching into your cybernetic wallet compartment in your leg, by which I mean, your pocket...

Perhaps because of how many of them are made, platformers have often turned to heavy usage of gimmicks to try to breathe some fresh air into things. Whether it's the closet full of special suits from Mario's adventures or the gravity-defying antics of VVVVVV, it's strangely more difficult sometimes to find a platformer that isn't packed full of novelties. There's nothing wrong with gimmicks, of course. When used well, they can make running and jumping from point A to point B feel like something you've never done before. Still, it's nice once in a while to play a game that gives you a straightforward run and jump through cleverly designed stages. Ava's Quest [Free] is just such a game. There are a few little gimmicks as you play through the game's 30 levels, but for the most part, the game simply focuses on using familiar elements to present you with a pleasant challenge. Oh, and to let you know up-front, you only get four stages for free. The rest are unlocked via an IAP for $1.99...

Sports games tend to go in one of a few different directions. Some of them opt for hard realism, trying to capture every nuance of the sport in a very clinical way. The aim here is to try to give the player the exact feeling of playing the sport. Others go the route of Tony Hawk, where it's kind of realistic in some ways, but fantastical in others. These games are cool because you're usually following the rules of the sport, but it makes you feel like you're a superhuman player. Another way to go is to pitch out any pretenses of reality and just go wild. The familiar surface gives something for the players to connect to, but the end result usually feels less like a sports game and more like another genre. Endless Surf [$0.99], the sequel to Bobble Surfer [$0.99] is from the latter school of thought. Looking at screenshots, you would think this was a Tony Hawk-style take on surfing, but it's actually pretty much a straight-forward runner with an interesting skin...

Apart from fussing around with the odd flight simulator on my Commodore 64, one of the first flying games I remember spending any real amount of time on was Top Gun for the NES. Like many young boys, I thought planes were pretty cool, and I loved how I could choose which missiles I wanted to take with me. Anyway, this game was one of the ones that was kept at my grandmother's house, so I only got to play it when we went there to visit, but I would almost always play it when we did. There was just one problem with Top Gun, especially if you only got to play it now and then, and if you've played it, you probably know what I'm talking about. At the end of the first level, you're directed to land your jet on an aircraft carrier. The game gives you all kinds of signals and directions that you're supposed to follow, but no matter what I did, that plane crashed almost every single time. I think I landed it once, maybe twice? As a result of this game, I have a mild trauma when it comes to landing an aircraft in video games, but I have discovered some sweet therapy in the form of Any Landing [Free]...

Hanzo is one angry ninja, as he finds his family kidnapped and village pillaged upon returning from training camp. Most of us would break down and cry, but Hanzo has got the power to cope and the skills to do something about it. Perhaps not the most original story, but considering this is a game called Draw Slasher [$2.99] it will do just fine...

Stubies [$0.99] is a deceptive little game. When you first start playing, it's simple. A bit too simple, in fact. In this game, little creatures of different colors will come walking in a straight direction from some point off of the map, and you have to point them in the right direction to find another creature of the same color, at which point they'll be cleared off the board and you'll score some points. Each level has a set amount of points as the goal, and once you reach it, your score and time are tallied and it's off to the next stage. The only way you can lose is if too many of the little Stubies wander off an edge. Each one that drops costs you a star, and if you lose all three of your stars, you fail the stage. Another thing you want to avoid is having two Stubies of different colors pushing against each other. After a short time, they'll turn into solid white objects that will deflect anything that tries to walk into them. It doesn't directly cost you stars, but it can complicate things...

'Only One' Review - Here We Are, Born To Be Kings

If you like hacking away at something using a sharpened piece of metal with a handle, you are probably a very happy camper with your mobile device. Perhaps you even think you have all the slice 'n' dice games a person could ever want. I'd like to humbly offer at least one more example for all the up and coming sword-fighters out there, however. Only One [Free] is a pretty fresh take on a genre almost as old as the medium, and it does so without any fancy motion controls or specular lighting. Pick up your sword and get ready for a serious test of your skills, because you are the Only One who can survive. Well, you and, I guess, all the other people who play the game and get good enough at it to win. Probably the Only One Thousand?..

'R-Type II' Review - Don't Bydo More Than You Can Chew

Seeing the Irem logo come up when starting a game still makes me a little sad. We've seen a lot of important game companies go softly into the night, but somehow, seeing Irem give up game development to focus on pachinko machines hurts a little bit more than the usual. At the time they made the decision, it stung all the more because it resulted in virtually all of their games being pulled from digital services, including the original R-Type, one of the true classics of its genre. As a bit of a silver lining, though, Irem seems to be agreeable about licensing their older games out, and R-Type has slowly been making a return. Last summer saw DotEmu's enhanced re-release of R-Type [$1.99] for iOS, which offered the original game with a few new options. It's a great version of a game that's been ported to just about every piece of hardware imaginable, as long as you can't imagine an NES...

'SuperPro Snowboarding' Review - If You Like Tony Hawk, This Is A Snow-Brainer

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, back on the original PlayStation, was something of a revelation for me as a gamer. See, up until that point, I generally avoided games whose themes I had little interest in. If I didn't like watching or playing football, why would I like Madden? If I didn't like 7up, surely Cool Spot would not appeal to me. So, having little interest in skateboarding, I paid little attention to THPS until a friend pretty much forced me to try it. It quickly became one of my favorite games, and I became an avid fan of the series until it tragically asphyxiated itself with a giant skateboard accessory. All that, without knowing anything about skateboarding other than that I was really lousy at it. After that, I started to be considerably more open-minded about what I played, and that's never a bad thing...

Copyright 2013, TouchArcade.com, LLC.