Category Archives: Arcade

We've been following the progress of Extreme Gear ever since spotting it for the first time back in late January, but today is the day that Zero Games' Extreme Gear: Demolition Arena [Free] has finally arrived in the App Store. If you haven't been following along, Extreme Gear is pretty much an homage to old-school Destruction Derby from the PS1 days, something I've been hoping for on iOS for a long time. I've spent a good chunk of my day with Extreme Gear, and while it's certainly rough around the edges and has plenty of room for improvement, the bottom line is that smashing into other cars is fun, and Extreme Gear does a great job at letting you do just that. ..

If you listen to the Touch Arcade Show podcast every week (and you should), then you might recall what a frustrating experience Jared had trying to play Rocky Hong's Beat Stomper [$1.99] on a recent episode. The game seemed sorta like Doodle Jump [$0.99], but the timing was all weird and it took quite a few attempts for him to get the hang of it. Eli, on the other hand, had no problems whatsoever and demonstrated this by apparently playing with his eyes shut. Two completely different experiences with one simple high score chaser. So what about me? Or you, for that matter?..




'Rope Racers' Review - Swing Low, Sweet Undead Zombie

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March 21st, 2016 11:53 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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Swinging from ropes is fun. I don’t know why, but it is. Many of my favorite games on the App Store use some kind of swinging as a mechanic, from Hanger World [Free] and Mikey Hooks [$1.99] to the long forgotten Rock Runners and Slingshot Racing [$0.99]. In preparation for this review I did a brief Google search to figure out what is so satisfying about swinging, but all I found were adult advice columns. (Some iOS games call it "hooking"; maybe I should have searched for that instead?) Perhaps it’s so fun because our ancestors lived in trees, or because it hits some perfect combination of speed and weightlessness. Who knows! Developer Small Giant’s latest game Rope Racers [Free] is all about swinging, and it pretty much nails that sensation...

'Train Conductor World' Review - Freight Control

'Train Conductor World' Review - Freight Control

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March 8th, 2016 12:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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Blake Patterson’s review of the original Train Conductor [$2.99] on Touch Arcade remarked that it was “like Flight Control [R.I.P.] on rails”. That’s certainly the feeling I got from playing the latest game in the series as well. Train Conductor World [Free] truly feels like a blast from the past with its central mechanic of routing things around the screen with swipes, as I probably had at least five or six games on my phone back in the day that were heavily inspired by Firemint’s classic airplane game. I can’t remember the last time I played something like that, and it’s a heck of a lot of fun revisiting similar ideas in World. Of course, this is no longer 2009, and the App Store is a very different place now. Can The Voxel Agents’ cute little trains keep up?..

'Abzorb' Review - Avoid and Conquer

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March 8th, 2016 10:06 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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One Man Left’s classic Tilt To Live [$2.99] series is a favorite of mine, partly because of how it subverted expectations when it came out in 2010. It looked like a shooter, with the main gimmick being that you tilted your device instead of using on-screen controls. Of course, that wasn’t the only “gimmick”, as it turned out the game wasn’t even a shooter at all. Your job was to avoid enemies, rather than hunting them down. That doesn’t mean you were totally defenseless, though, as there were many power-ups that allowed you to turn the tables on the evil red dots. Gerald Kelley’s new game Abzorb [$2.99] lands even closer to the pacifist side of the spectrum, as you don’t even get power-ups to defend yourself. All you can do to avoid death is run away. Is it anywhere near as fun and frantic as Tilt To Live, though?..

The Swords [$2.99] is an interesting little experience because it's this mixture of gorgeous art and animation combined with gameplay that's fun but sometimes frustrating. The story that sets up The Swords is that a master of swords is telling a story about his grandmaster, an expert swordsman proficient in many different types of swords, and the very idea of them. Microgames wind up comprising the gmaeplay here, as you perform sorts of different actions through swipes and taps depending on the section of the game you're in, so that you can progress. You'll be swiping to deflect enemy swords, utilizing a spinning sword to deflect enemy blows, controlling the sway of a tree in the wind, and more. You kind of get to do anything and everything sword-related here...

Peter Panic [Free] is Wario Ware mixed with a musical, and only halfway complete. Seriously, the game borrows its structure and goofiness from Wario Ware almost exactly. You play through levels all with a specific theme, trying to complete a short micro-game to get a point and advance further to a boss level. Beat that, then you complete the level and go on to the next one. The games use the touchscreen in different ways, and there are some key variations, but generally? This is Wario Ware but on iOS as a musical – and not finished yet...

Pako - Car Chase Simulator [$0.99] from Tree Men Games is marching towards its 2nd birthday this coming summer, and what a "ride" it's been thus far (pun totally intended). When it originally launched in August of 2014 Pako was a stylish but simplistic high-scoring game all about trying to drive around with no brakes for as long as possible while avoiding obstacles and police cars. It's still about that at its core, but Pako has seen a ton of updates since its release, like new environments to drive in along with new vehicles to drive. This has given Tree Men the opportunity to expand the boundaries of Pako with unique levels like the Arena which allows you to choose what vehicle you use, the Moon with its crazy gravity, the Desert which is an actual race against other cars, or the Airport which has you starting out as a human on foot and lets you hop into any vehicle you come across, including luggage carts, tiny aircraft, and stair cars (You're going to get some hop-ons). Oh! How could I forget my favorite level the Hockey arena which lets you cruise around on the ice in a Zamboni and even run into a giant puck which you can launch into the net to score a goal?..

'Thumb Drift' Review - Slip Slidin’ Away

'Thumb Drift' Review - Slip Slidin’ Away

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March 3rd, 2016 9:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4.5 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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We here at Touch Arcade don’t usually review the many, many free little arcade games that pop up on the App Store each week. There’s no rule against it, of course, but the fact is there are just too many games, and our time is usually better spent focusing on (slightly) meatier experiences. For example, just last week saw the release of Slingshot Rush [Free], which is yet another fairly shallow little Boombit game like the many others that came before. I actually found it incredibly fun and satisfying to play, but it’s ultimately too simple to fully review. I mean, you hold the screen to swing around corners and it’s really fun. I don’t even think a gimmicky question-and-answer format could stretch that out enough to count as an actual review...

Desert Golfing [$1.99] is a minimalist 2D golfing game from developer Justin Smith, who has been well-known for years now for creating quirky gaming experiences on a variety of platforms but is probably best-known on mobile for his wacky Bear Driving Simulator Enviro-Bear 2010 [$1.99]. Anyway, Desert Golfing took on a life of its own following its release in August of 2014. Something about its extreme minimalism drew people in hole after hole, but subtle things like the terrain very slowly changing color over the course of many thousands of holes prompted people to find deeper meaning in all this endless golfing. I have no doubt that it's only a matter of time before Desert Golfing is required teaching in every philosophy class across the globe...

Earlier this month Craneballs released their latest iOS game Splash Cars [Free], a wonderful little game about painting color onto a black and white world by driving around and blasting paint out of the back of your vehicle. It was fun just to drive around and paint the world, but what really made Splash Cars compelling was the balancing of your limited fuel supply along with avoiding contact with cops and other objects as well as smart use of your movement so as not to waste any time overlapping on any areas you've already painted. It was a really fun game that we enjoyed a lot in our review...

In November of last year, Pixeljam released a wonderful little game called Last Horizon [$0.99]. In it you played an astronaut who needed to flee your dying world in a hurry, so you set out on a solo journey through space attempting to harvest resources and not get killed on your way to a new inhabitable planet to call home. The excellent controls and fun inertia-based flying made Last Horizon a winner in our eyes, but there were a couple of drawbacks. One was that Last Horizon was a pretty difficult game, and the way it was set up you had to actually beat one world to unlock the next, harder world, and eventually unlock an endless mode. ..

We've known Magic Cube for years as makers of simple but fun mobile games like the Infect Them All series, Call of Snakes [$0.99] and its various spinoffs, and plenty more. This week however they've launched their first game as a publisher, called Karma Ball Z [$0.99]. The game is developed by MinjeongKim (36) Studio who previously released 4Legs [Free], a completely absurd "art jump performance game" where you play as a centaur trying to jump high into space while collecting carrots and radishes and avoiding getting killed by an enemy wearing a horse head and a sombrero. Um, yeah. Karma Ball Z is the follow-up to that game, and it's basically just as crazy. You play as the same centaur character, named Super Karma Centa, who must defend the planet against the evil horse aliens who are invading Earth. You do this by thinking dumb thoughts which allow you to gather energy in your hands and shoot powerful Super Karma Bombs at those pesky horse aliens. Also you have a combat wig. Here's the nonsensical trailer...

Late last month we learned about a new level editor that was heading to Hanger World [Free], the absurd physics-based swinging and disembodying game released in July of last year. Today that level editor update is now available, and it's everything I hoped it would be. Creating levels is stupidly easy as you just choose from a selection of items and drag them around the screen where you want them. The standard shapes you can even resize and reshape by pulling on the corners, so with a little creativity you can create just about any kind of landscape you desire...

'Splash Cars' Review - Black and White and Sped All Over

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February 12th, 2016 10:29 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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When you first lay eyes on Craneballs’ latest game Splash Cars [Free], there’s a good chance the phrase “Pako [$0.99] meets Nintendo’s Splatoon” might come to your mind. And let’s face it: if it didn’t have the painting gimmick of the latter, the game would probably be little more than a clone of the former. In my mind, though, I can’t help but see the 1998 film Pleasantville. It depicted a black and white town from a fictional 1950’s TV show, and how the characters (and town) slowly begin turning multicolored as they are introduced to the messy, complicated joys of real life for the first time. Certainly going on a high-speed chase would have counted, right?..

It's a pretty nice week for early releases with both Final Fantasy IX [$20.99] and Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99] out in the wild and likely sucking up a large portion of everybody's time. However, if you're feeling overwhelmed with these big ol' RPGs and looking to cleanse your palate with something a bit more breezy, another really awesome new game just dropped ahead of the normal weekly releases. It's Happymagenta's Tomb of the Mask [Free], and the best way I could possibly describe it is it's as if Pac-Man [$4.99 / Free], Downwell [$2.99], and The Last Rocket [$1.99] all had a three-way lovechild (which is totally possible, haven't you seen The Brothers Solomon?)...

'Circa Infinity' Review - Like a Record, Baby

'Circa Infinity' Review - Like a Record, Baby

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February 5th, 2016 10:14 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Games, Platform, Retro, Reviews, Universal
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In our recent review of Super Phantom Cat [$1.99] I remarked that I “wished the developers had been as creative with the platforming genre as they’d been with the art”. I loved the game in large part because of its wonderful presentation, and the solid gameplay was definitely fun despite feeling a bit too safe at the end of the day. And now, immediately after, I have Kenny Sun's Circa Infinity [$2.99] in my hands. It’s striking in that I like the game just as much as Phantom Cat, but my reasons for it are exactly the opposite. The gameplay in Infinity is unlike anything I’ve played before, to the point where I’m not even sure you could call it a “platformer” at all. The game’s presentation, however, is pretty solid but nowhere near as eye-catchingly beautiful as Phantom Cat. None of that should be taken as complaining, though, because I’m sure there are plenty of people who are completely over the moon for the traditional gameplay of the former and absolutely in love the sparse pixel stylings are of the latter...

Prolific mobile developer Nitrome announced back in September that they were going to be dipping their toes in the game publishing game. I say dip their toes because technically the first game they were set to publish, Ultimate Briefcase [Free], was created by outside developer Quite Fresh, but whose founder was also previously an artist for Nitrome. So Nitrome was branching out, but still somewhat keeping it in the family, so to speak. Anyhoo, Ultimate Briefcase somehow dodged our weekly Out Now post like it was some sort of bomb falling from the sky, but I'm here to let you know that it's officially available right this very moment...

Last week we got our first taste of Ninja Boy Adventures, a game created by The Clash Soft as an answer for there not being any classic Bomberman experiences available on iOS. The very next day we got a lengthy look at Ninja Boy Adventures being played with an MFi controller, a final taste of the game ahead of its planned February 3rd release date. Well, it's not quite February 3rd yet here in California, but with the wackiness of time zones and an entirely digital App Store it turns out Ninja Boy Adventures [$1.99] is already available as of just a couple hours ago...

Lost In Harmony [$3.99] is the latest game from Yoan Fanise, whose work at Ubisoft included directing Valiant Hearts [Free] and Rayman Raving Rabbids, along with sound design and audio direction on titles such as Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids Go Home, and Assassin's Creed 3. With that kind of resume, it's perhaps not surprising that Lost In Harmony attempts to be an audio/visual spectacle, a heart-wrenching experience, and a unique hybrid of gameplay styles all at once. It succeeds completely on the first point and reasonably well on the second, but there are some definite issues that crop up with the third point. You can get a lot out of Lost In Harmony, but you're going to have to forgive a few things along the way...

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