Category Archives: Arcade

Last month, Hutch Games soft-launched their latest game MMX Racing [Free], and as of today the game has completed its soft-launch period and is now available worldwide. The easiest way to describe MMX Racing is "it's like CSR Racing with monster trucks," but there's more to it than that. You'll be drag racing against a progressively more difficult ladder of opponents, and timing is crucial as you'll need to step on the gas at just the right times to maximize your speed through each of the courses. Don't get me wrong, this is some super simple single-tap racing, but it's surprisingly fun...

Many people who go to conference like GDC and WWDC know that TouchArcade is inexplicably tied to Denny's fine dining establishments. It has become tradition since the inception of TouchArcade in 2008 that the staff visit Denny's anywhere between two and seven times during a conference. Running around a city like San Francisco, meeting with developers, going to events and parties… it wears you down, and Denny's is always there waiting with open arms and Moons Over My Hammy 24 hours a day 7 days a week...

'Sky Force 2014' Review - A Modern Take On The Mobile Shoot-Em-Up

It's sometimes easy to forget how far mobile gaming has come in such a short time. Not even 10 years ago, people playing phone games were using ill-suited keypads to move sluggish characters around simple environments to fill the time while they waited for the bus. Almost none of the big game companies had their eye on the ball, and that left an opportunity for a bunch of smaller guys to get a lot more attention far more easily than they can today. As an example, just look at Sky Force. Originally released in 2004, developed by a four-person team in Poland, Sky Force's enjoyable mix of 1942 enemy patterns and Raiden-like visuals made it a big winner among early mobile gamers. It later enjoyed an enhanced port to other smartphones, with a choice of tilt or touch-based controls and a lot of features that were interesting at the time, like Open Feint. Like all too many games of that vintage, iOS updates eventually left Sky Force behind, sadly...

On the list of things I would never have guessed I'd be playing on my iPhone in 2014, a rhythm game from SNK based on the King of Fighters franchise has to rank pretty highly. I'm not going to question what led SNK to make their first new music game in over 13 years, but given how fondly I remember their last one, I'm glad to see them return to the genre, even if it's in quite a different form. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most people haven't played SNK's Cool Cool Toon for the SEGA Dreamcast, given it was a fairly late Japan-only release, but if you have, The Rhythm of Fighters [$0.99] borrows heavily from it, along with a little inspiration from Theatrhythm Final Fantasy [Free]...

Today's law enforcement officers have many tools at their disposal for catching bad guys. Tasers, handguns, tear gas, forensic investigation, DNA testing, and more are used to their utmost effectiveness to keep normal citizens like you and me safe from nefarious fellows. Vigilantes, too, have their tricks, whether it's martial arts skills, expensive tank cars, or goopy web fluid. However, some criminals are so devious that they fall between the cracks of the police and superheroes. The secret to stopping them is known only to two entities: Macaulay Culkin and the developers of Get Fiquette [$1.99]...

One of the things I've had to get used to about living in Japan is the existence of a rainy season. As I write this review, we're coming off a solid week of rain. It rains all night, it rains all day, breaking just long enough to convince you to leave your house without an umbrella before recommencing in full swing. It's an annoying part of every year because it's really hard to get things done when it's raining all the time. The positive side of that situation is that sometimes you really can't get anything done, and you are kind of forced to relax inside your house with nothing but time on your hands, a bit of a rarity in adult life. I have no idea if it was the intention of the developer, but Rainblocks [Free], the new puzzle game from Subaku [$1.99] creator Let's Playing, very much feels like a rainy day in some ways...

A young boy who gets trapped inside a video game? Well, it all sounds a little familiar.. doesn’t it? That aside, Marcus Level [$0.99], despite it’s strange name, is a curious platform game that takes elements from the endless runner genre to combine a unique twist on what is essentially a quirky finite runner game...

Free to play is one of the hottest topics in gaming, and especially in mobile gaming. At its best, the free to play system can offer a way for a game to reach a wide audience and allow those who enjoy the game to pay money into it only if they enjoy it, while avoiding the risk of buying a game up front that they end up not liking. At its worst, free to play can cause developers to design the mechanics of the game itself around the pay system in a way that pushes players to make purchases in the game in order to remove obtrusive paywalls or boring grinds. While I think most everyone will agree that there's a "right" way and a "wrong" way to do free to play, something that's equally important to consider is if the type of game being developed even fits the free to play style...

There are an awful lot of games involving cats on the App Store. Sometimes, their inclusion doesn't even make sense. Like most of the Internet, I love cats, so I'm not going to complain, but there are plenty of people out there who have a slightly more negative appraisal of the feline species, and I can only guess how many games they miss out on as a result. If that describes you, perhaps you've gazed longingly at Cat Physics [$1.99], the popular puzzle game released a few years back by Donut Games, wishing you could enjoy its physics-based puzzles without all that shedding on your freshly-laundered slacks. Well, person with an unusually strong hatred of digital cats, have I got a game for you. It's called Lightlands [$0.99], and although it has a few new ideas to freshen things up, at its core, it's essentially Cat Physics after TV's Alf has made the scene...

'Doug Dug.' Review - Grab Your Shovel And Dig In!

For the life of me, I really don't understand why I find digging so much fun. Whether it's digging at the beach, at the park, in the shoe section of Walmart, or in a video game, I really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of displacing soil. If you think I'm weird, think of all the awesome video games about digging: Dig Dug, Mr. Driller [$4.99], Super Mario Bros. 2, Minecraft [$6.99], and Steamworld Dig, just to name a few highlights. Now, I'll grant you that in some of those games, digging is just a portion of the game, but there are quite a few games that center around the idea. Doug Dug [$1.99], the new game from pixa [$2.99] developers The Electric Toy Company, is all about digging for treasure and the risk versus reward that presents itself from the concept...

Fluid SE [$1.99] from Radiangames is perhaps the most hardcore of all of their releases on iOS. Granted, many of the dual-stick shooters like JoyJoy [$1.99] are very much games for core gamers, the ones who like intense action and watching things go boom, versus, say, SideSwype [Free] and its puzzle-y-ness. But no, Fluid SE is for the person who wants to repeat a challenge again and again, trying to shave fractions of a second off of their best times...

Even on devices that survive and thrive using non-conventional control methods, tilt controls are somewhat controversial among players. Some people find them a bit hard to control or inaccurate, while others are unsurprisingly using their mobile devices outside of their homes and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Those in favor of tilting usually point to the more natural feeling it sometimes offers, along with delegating fewer actions to on-screen buttons or sticks. Usually, developers who want to use the tilt feature do their best to accommodate everyone, but sometimes a game comes along where the tilt controls are inseparable from the game itself. A great example of this is the excellent Tilt To Live [$2.99], a game that typically appeals even to people who aren't big fans of motion controls. Even in the case of that game, some people just aren't convinced...

Over in the tiny mobile area of EA's massive E3 booth, EA Sports was showing off their arcadey take on golf King of the Course [Free], which they launched worldwide earlier in the day to coincide with the start of E3. Despite the normal free-to-play-isms like power-ups and in-game currency, King of the Course is actually a surprisingly fun (and incredibly unrealistic) way to play golf, and it seems really well suited to mobile...

'99 Bricks: Wizard Academy' Review - An Excellent Twist On Tetris

Tetris [$0.99] is one awesome game. I personally consider it one of the best games ever made, and certainly one of the closest to pure perfection. While most other games are work-in-progress designs that eventually have to be snipped off, polished up, and released, Tetris's big coming-out releases on Game Boy and NES were essentially flawless realizations of the design's potential. Other than catching up with technology like internet play, what do you really add to Tetris to make it better? Every attempt to change the game in some way has resulted in, at best, a lateral move, and at worst, an absolute disaster. Well, 99 Bricks: Wizard Academy [$2.99] offers a few interesting answers to my question, and while it's probably not a better game, it's a more than worthy side-trip for fans of that classic...

While it has its share of problems, most of which are outlined in my review of the game, Bubble Witch Saga 2 [Free] is a pretty enjoyable way to kill a couple of minutes here and there. It's a bit of an oddball in King's lineup thanks to how strongly success depends on getting a lucky distribution of bubbles, but even when winning is futile, you can still sharpen up your skills for the next round. Having picked my way through all of the currently available stages, I've managed to put together a list of tips and advice for those of you trying to make your way through. Of course, if you've played the original game of this type, Taito's Bust-A-Move, or one of its many, many clones, you've probably already got a lot of great techniques in your arsenal, and I'll be going through a few of those here, but Bubble Witch has a few twists that require some specific strategies...

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