Category Archives: Arcade

I tend to think that gamers are probably better than the average person at coordinating their left and right hands, thanks to years of hard training on concepts like making Mario jump and move to the right at the same time, which is something my mother may not ever grasp. Well, after playing dEXTRIS [Free] for a while, I find myself rethinking just how well ol' lefty and righty play together, even after all this time as partners. Although the title of this game first made me think of Tetris [$0.99], this game is actually another one of those short, super-hard, reflex-based challenges that have become so prolific since Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon [$2.99] released a couple of years back. I should stress, having played quite a few of these, dEXTRIS is actually a fairly distant cousin, mostly evoking similar feelings as you play rather than actually spinning off from Hexagon's gameplay like many others...

You might remember us posting the trailer for Bonsai Slice [Free], a slicing game that, rather than having you use your finger to make slicing gestures on the touchscreen, had you swiping your iOS device itself through the air to slice objects within a set time limit. It was a bit gimmicky, but a very cool gimmick, as it used the gyroscope to its full potential and had you literally playing in the real space all around your body. The one odd thing about Bonsai Slice was that it was iPad-only. Motion controlled games typically fare better on the smaller iOS devices, especially one that has you using your device to emulate a sword. I mean, I have pretty big hands, but I'm not really that great about palming a full-sized iPad...

One of the App Store's gifts that keep on giving, Frogmind's Badland [$3.99], has received yet another update, this time adding an interesting cooperative multiplayer mode. Fans of Badland already know that its multitude of single-player levels are a blast, but one of the under the radar features of the game has always been its competitive same-device multiplayer. Racing against your "friends" towards the end of a level and "accidentally" slamming them into a giant saw blade is some of the most fun you can have huddled around an iOS device. Today's update puts a twist on that by offering modified versions of all 40 Day I levels so they can be completed cooperatively with up to four players...

Freebie Alert: Dude, Go Ski in 'Dudeski', Free for a Limited Time

Like skiing but hate the snow? Are you more of a warm weather type of person? Then you should download the currently free Dudeski [$1.99], go grab a spot in the sunshine, and ski to your heart's content with your iOS device. Dudeski is a really fun little skiing game that gives a heavy nod to the classic PC game SkiFree, which I played obsessively in the early '90s. The goal in Dudeski is to ski all the way down a huge mountain. You can shred left or right to ski around slalom flags or avoid obstacles, and jump over hazards that completely block your path. All the while an avalanche is chasing you down, so missing flags or running into obstacles will slow you down, and eventually the avalanche will gobble you up if you make too many mistakes...

Cipher Prime Studios has amazed us before with hits such as Fractal, Splice and Pulse, each exploring various avenues related to puzzle and music/rhythm gameplay. With Intake: Be Aggressive [$2.99 (HD)], Cypher takes aim squarely at the arcade/shooter genre and hits the mark beautifully. Frenzied visuals, fast-paced gameplay with the right amount of strategy, and an awesome soundtrack make for an excellent iPad experience that’s well worth picking up...

The name of this game reminded me of two things, neither of them terribly pleasant. Since they share a name, Plax [$1.99] initially reminded me of a terrible, now-discontinued Canadian mouthwash. Nasty red stuff, felt like you were swishing fire around in your mouth. I don't recommend it. The other thing the name reminded me of was Atari's attempted Tetris [$0.99]-killer, Klax, which was not a very good puzzle game at all. Yes, things looked grim for Plax as I loaded it up, but I'm happy to report that it is neither a foul mouthwash that flays the gums from your teeth, nor is it a dull puzzle game with a neon hand on the cover for some reason. It is, in fact, a pretty neat twitchy score-attack game, a genre that needs a more efficient name if there ever was one...

The trifecta of Noodlecake news this morning comes with word that their surprise hit, Flappy Golf [Free], is getting new levels in the very near future. The new levels will be taken straight from the original Super Stickman Golf and reworked for Flappy Golf. And, Noodlecake mentions the possibility of those Super Stickman Golf 1 levels also making their way to Super Stickman Golf 2, something fans have been wanting for quite a while...

Here's a brand crossover that I'd never imagined: Lima Sky's cult iOS hit Doodle Jump has just launched a new crossover game with Nickelodeon's long-running cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. The new game, cleverly titled Doodle Jump SpongeBob SquarePants [$0.99], features the same tilt-based vertical jumping that made the original Doodle Jump such a sensation. However, as easy as it would have been to just slap SpongeBob into Doodle Jump and call it a day, that's not what they've done here. Instead of the normal endless high-scoring affair, the game is broken down into more than 40 increasingly challenging levels. If you beat all of those levels you can unlock an endless mode, or just unlock it early by using the in-game currency...

If you had a robot suit, what is the first thing you would do with it? If your answer is "jump around in small, contained rooms packed with things that can kill you with the slightest touch", have I got a game for you right here. Suited Up [$1.99] is one of those games that boils down to one simple mechanic, with levels built to progressively test your mastery of that mechanic. As is often the case with this kind of game, it starts to get a bit old before the levels run out, but Suited Up has an ace up its sleeve that extends the fun, provided you're on-board with the core jumping gameplay...

One Man Left has just put their frenetic arcade game Tilt to Live 2: Redonkulous [$2.99] on sale for the first time since its release in November of last year, down to just 99¢ from its original price of $2.99. If you aren't totally sure if you'll dig Tilt to Live and a buck feels like too risky of an investment for you, then I have some good news. A brand new lite version has also just released called Tilt to Live 2: Freedonkulous [Free]. The new lite version seems quite generous, offering up the entirety of Classic Mode for free...

The iOS platform is one of the best platforms for shoot-em-ups of all time. Yes, I'm going there. In previous reviews of shoot-em-ups I've written here, I may have come off a bit harsh, but that's the reason for it. This is a platform where we have excellent versions of classic shooters like Raiden Legacy [$4.99], Blazing Star [$0.99], the R-Type [$1.99] games, and Cave's finest arcade games. We have ports of modern games like Sine Mora [$5.99] and Dariusburst [$10.99], and even a good selection of original titles like Space Invaders Infinity Gene [$4.99], Phoenix HD [Free], Danmaku Unlimited 2 [$4.99], and Dodonpachi Maximum [$11.99]. That's the cream of the crop, but there are plenty of other excellent shooters available for your mobile device. All of these are available for some of the lowest prices we've ever enjoyed shoot-em-ups at. Simply put, this is a buyer's market of epic proportions, and when you can plunk down a few bucks to get R-Type 2 [$1.99] or drop a ten-spot and change to get a Cave shooter, it becomes a lot harder to justify spending time or money on the mediocre...

For a media form so ripe for it, there's been very little decent video game parody until recently. Thanks to the rise of independent developers who were born and raised on games, we're seeing more and more games that tweak the nose of gaming's history, some more affectionately than others. Blackmoor [Free] is a side-scrolling melee action game that is absolutely drenched in love for classic Japanese games, sending up or homaging works from Capcom, Konami, Technos, Nintendo, and more. Anyone can toss in Firebrand or a Dragon Punch and call it a day, though, so that's not especially noteworthy. Blackmoor goes a little beyond the superficial trappings, which it admittedly revels in, and shows not just a fondness for characters and attacks, but also for the depth in mechanics of the action games that came out of those great companies...

Last October, Bean's Quest and Time Surfer developer Kumobius released Duet [$2.99], a twitchy and extremely challenging arcade game. It received critical success far and wide, including our own review, and seemed to do fairly well in the charts too. Nothing earth shattering, but decent. Then in late February through mid-March, Duet saw a huge resurgence, and actually came to hit the top three in the overall paid charts, coinciding with a price drop to 99¢. Duet always felt like it should have done better in the charts than it had, and finally it was getting its due. I actually think it had something to do with the whole Flappy Bird phenomenon and the sudden obsession with super challenging twitch games...

Savant - Ascent [$1.99], D-Pad Studio's slick little arena shooter themed after the electronic artist Savant, has just received a brand new update. The update includes two new soundtracks so you can blast away at bad guys while bumping to some more Savant tunes, as well as Game Center leaderboard integration which is crucial in a high-score-focused game like this. In addition, there's now support for Japanese language, but this comes with a problem: the updated version of the game defaults to Japanese, which means after you update and fire up the game you might find yourself a little lost. Never fear, I'll tell you the simple fix for this...

'Wind-Up Knight 2' Review - As Tightly-Wound As A Grandfather Clock

The original Wind-Up Knight [Free] was a great game and a fine example of how platformers, a genre many thought couldn't get along with touch controls, can work just fine on mobiles provided they're designed properly around the hardware. The mechanic of constantly moving forward while asking you to manage jumps, swings, rolling, and the shield gave you plenty to worry about without having to fuss around with a virtual directional pad, and the game made sure to test your skills at all of those things to the hilt. It boasted tons of levels, an assortment of collectibles, and plenty of goals to shoot for during play. It also apparently struggled at its initial price, because it was later retooled as a free-to-play experience, albeit a fairly generous one, since you could still unlock pretty much everything without paying a cent if you were skilled enough at the game...

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