Category Archives: Arcade

'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 [$0.99] 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 [$2.99]. 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...

If you like to crash again, and again, and again, then you should be playing Piloteer [$2.99], a very challenging but equally rewarding jetpack (dying) simulator from Fixpoint Productions that's gone free for the first time as Apple's Free App of the Week. We really liked the game when we reviewed it because while it's absurdly challenging, it's not impossible. So, when you actually get the hang of it, or at least as much as one can get the hang of a rocket strapped to ones back, the game becomes incredibly satisfying. Mastering your jetpack doesn't come from buying the right upgrade but rather having the right feel for it. There are many iOS games that border on the impossible and infuriating but not that many that walk the fine line of "nigh impossible yet doable once mastered" (after many, many attempts)...

As you could probably tell if you’ve ever seen my forum avatar, I’m a huge Calvin & Hobbes fan. Aside from how funny, intelligent, and surprisingly philosophical the strip could be, one of my favorite aspects was how the titular duo could go anywhere and do anything with just a cardboard box. It could be anything from a transmogrifier to a duplicator to a time machine, and each one led to a sense that anything was possible with a large enough box and an even larger imagination. Sky Chasers [Free] by Lucky Kat Studios attempts to tap into a similarly whimsical feeling, and--for the most part--it pulls it off...

Good news for fans of Hanger World [Free], as developer A Small Game is currently testing a level editor tool that they plan to release as an update for the game. As you may know, Hanger Worlds is a rope-swinging game with wacky ragdoll physics and character dismemberment, which sounds like a horror movie except that it's hard to take very seriously with the construction paper doll-like characters in the game. Your goal is to swing through each level avoiding hazards as much as possible, since when you run into something chances are pretty good that a leg or arm might just pop off. It's actually possible to complete levels with nothing but an arm and a head, though I doubt your character's quality of life after that victory will be that great missing most of their body. Anyway, Hanger Worlds is challenging, silly, and a lot of fun, and the type of game that's perfect for a level editor. Check out how simple the editor is to use in this early preview video...

Back in September shortly after developer Prettygreat launched their debut game Land Sliders [Free], people in our forums started to notice something strange in the game, myself included. If you don't know, Land Sliders is an endless high-scoring game where you try to make it from level to level by sliding the land (or your character, which is a better option in my opinion) around little randomly generated levels. In that initial release, occasionally you'd come across a strange little cement table in a level that had a scroll with coordinates printed on it. Naturally people started plugging these coordinates into Google Maps and started to realize they pointed to pretty specific areas across the globe. This led to some of the more adventuring Land Sliders players to actually go physically investigate the locations that were close enough for them to reasonably travel to. Lo and behold, there were hidden USB sticks at each location. Crazy!..

If a buffalo dances in space, does it make a sound?..

One of last year's biggest games and indeed one of our own Best of 2015 and a serious contender for Game of the Year, Aquiris Game Studio's Horizon Chase [Free], has just gone free for the first time since its release. The best way I can describe Horizon Chase is that it's like what someone in 1985 would imagine an arcade racing video game would be like in 2015. It has a decidedly retro feel but somehow still feels modern at the same time. I mean, just look at this glorious trailer for Horizon Chase...

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have one lesson to teach us, it's that pizza is awesome. If they have a second lesson to teach us, it's about the value of teamwork and watching out for your friends and family. The thing is, outside of the multiplayer TMNT games, we're usually only seeing one of the brothers in action at a time. Sure, you can usually choose your favorite turtle, but what would Master Splinter say if he saw the team separated all the time like that? TMNT - Portal Power [$3.99]'s main claim to fame, as near as I can see it, is that it allows you, nay, requires you to control all four of the turtles at once. If that sounds like it could get hectic, you're right. Portal Power isn't quite as deep as some other TMNT games, but it's still a pretty fun game that fans of the characters should enjoy...

Jared Bailey (aka No Can Win) is one of my favorite developers on the App Store. I loved Cubed Rally Racer [$0.99], and was near-obsessed with the follow-up, Cubed Rally Redline [Free]. After that, though, he started focusing on much simpler Ketchapp-style games that weren’t really my cup o’ tea. The last game of his (which I reviewed) was called Super Bounce Back [Free], and it seemed to be a step back in the right direction, with a clever concept that was slightly more involved than the “one-button-quick-reaction” style games he’d been putting out after the Cubed Rally series. And fortunately for me (and you, I suppose), his latest effort Rocket Ski Racing [Free] climbs out of that inverted bell curve even further. Simply put, it’s a blast...

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