Category Archives: Games

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we need food badly. Each week, we dig into the archives to find an RPG from times past, all just for the little old purpose of seeing how it holds up today. It's a bit of reflection, a little revisiting, and a chance to dive deeper on a game than our usual reviews allow. As ever, I try to present a sensible spread of titles to represent this vast genre from week to week, but if you think I'm missing something cool, please let me know. You can make suggestions by commenting down below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. We've only got one last regular reader's choice article coming up in August before starting the new format, so if there's something you want to see soon, let me know now...

'Avernum 2: Crystal Souls' Review  - The Empire Strikes Back

If you’ve been following along on our RPG Reload Podcasts, you’ll know that we have a soft spot for Spiderweb Software’s excellent old-school RPGs. In addition to dedicating a whole segment to Avernum: Escape from the Pit [$9.99 (HD)]on Episode 2, we’ve also spoke at length to the recent drama regarding Avernum 2: Crystal Souls [$9.99 (HD)]. Released and taken off the market within a day, issues with iOS 8.3 threatened not only its release but also the release of future titles. Thankfully, all that has been resolved and Jeff Vogel’s group has rereleased the second game in the Avernum series on iPad. It’s a big win for RPG fans, as Avernum 2 continues the excellent tradition of old-school RPG goodness with a new adventure deep underground...

Heroki [$7.99] is a game I desperately wanted to love. It hits a lot of my buttons: it's a stunningly gorgeous game. It's a platformer-type game that's centered around premium experience, and charging a fair price. It is a game I desperately want to do well. I want other big publishers to see that charging reasonable prices for well-made premium experiences is a viable business strategy for mobile games. I want there to be an audience for this. Plus, it's just so well-made, and its protagonist is adorable in the way an older Sega character might be. It does a lot right, and I am invested in this game's success. The problem is that the game is just kind of blah. It isn't bad. It just isn't very memorable. ..

UpUp: Frozen Adventure [Free] by developer Sioux is a fresh take on iOS puzzle platformers. The crux of the game is to guide an unnamed hiker safely up the mountain before he freezes to death. There is a health bar in the upper lefthand corner that slowly empties as you get colder and colder. The goal is to balance speed and collection strategies, as there are small yellow gems scattered throughout each level...

I feel like it's pretty hard for a letter game to distinguish itself at this point in the App Store's life. Much like any long-in-the-tooth genre, new entries are starting to feel far more similar to each other than different. AlphaBear [Free], the latest from Triple Town [Free] developer Spry Fox, looks into the developer's past for inspiration. Panda Poet is a web game that has you making words to create bigger and more numerous pandas than your opponent. It's kind of a word game crossed with Othello, and if I may put on my day job hat for a second here, it's been invaluable as an English study tool for some of the kids I teach. Though it works fine in mobile browsers, it's not available as a native mobile app, and you really do need two human players to get the most out of it. In short, there's room to grow the concept, and that's sort of what AlphaBear does...

'Adventures of Pip' Review - I Came In Like A Rectangle

The majority of games I’ve been playing the past few months have been somewhat shallow affairs. Quick reaction games, simple puzzlers, goat simulators. That’s not to say some of them haven’t been excellent and extremely rewarding experiences, but it’s no shock that iOS games, for the most part, tend to not be terribly deep. Now, before you exclaim “But Nate! What about X or Y?”, just know that I’m not saying there aren’t ANY substantial games on the App Store. I’m just saying that if you pull up the list of recently released games on Appshopper any given hour, you’re gonna be flipping through quite a few pages before you find anything more than random clickers, Ketchapp-style microgames, and some gross casino sims. (Also, don’t call me Nate. Only my friends call me that, and I don’t know any of you weirdos.)..

SNK has had a large presence on the App Store for a number of years now, mostly thanks to the many excellent touchscreen ports of their legendary fighting games. However, they've put out some original stuff too, like Metal Slug Defense [Free] which takes the Metal Slug characters and puts them into a castle defense game. Or Beast Busters [Free / $0.99], which crosses over the on-rails gallery shooter arcade game of the same name with King of Fighters characters. Another of SNK's original mobile titles is The Rhythm of Fighters [Free], a game that tasks you with keeping the rhythm during classic SNK tunes while a massive cast of fighters duke it out based on your performance. The Rhythm of Fighters was a really novel idea for a game, and it's only barely a year old, but unfortunately SNK is yanking it off the App Store next week...

It released at kind of an oddball time in the week, but we thought board game fans would be excited to know that Days of Wonder has released the digital version of Splendor [$6.99] into the App Store. A couple of weeks back Days of Wonder announced the release date of Splendor on iOS, and our own Tasos Lazarides summarized what the game was all about quite well:..

Imagine an MMO RPG where you venture through fantastic worlds with great environment variety, fun enemies, and an entertaining story. I know, this description fits most good MMOs, so now imagine that in this MMO you get to play as one of over a hundred different characters, each with his or her own skills, special moves and powers, and you've got the new LEGO game, Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online (LMO) [$4.99], the iOS version of the original computer game. The game offers a variety of fun worlds and environments, one included with the game and four more as IAPs, an incredible amount of ridiculous characters to play as, and the usual LEGO gameplay fare of fighting, smashing, and building...

It's tough to really tell what's interesting these days on the App Store, but something the other day caught my eye with Downhill Riders [Free]'s app icon -- a kid in a shopping cart going downhill, bringing back fond memories of watching Jackass with friends. It's not quite everything I had hoped for, but most runner enthusiasts will want to give it a shot...

Shooting Stars [$0.99] is the kind of game that hits very high heights: it has an enjoyable premise, lots of bullet-dodging shoot 'em up action, roguelike elements, plenty of flashiness, and laser cats. It should be amazing. But as you play, those elements show themselves to have flaws: a game with very shallow humor, a flawed daily run mode, and imbalanced weapons. Shooting Stars is fun, but it's remarkably flawed, too...

RPG Reload File 046 - 'Final Fantasy 5'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we appreciate the subtle pun of the root of all evil being a tree. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, reflect on their place in the overall scheme of things, or just to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. I try to present a balanced schedule of RPGs from week to week, but if you have any suggestions, I'm certainly open to hearing them. Simply comment below, post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or tweet me at @RPGReload and let me know what you'd like to see featured. We've got one last normal reader's choice article coming up in August, so get those suggestions in! Although I'll be sad to see it go, I'm pretty excited to tell you about its replacement for the following month. I'll be giving you all more details on that pretty soon...

'Dinofour' Review - Craig, Stop Eating Crayons

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July 8th, 2015 8:04 PM EDT by Brittney Broder in 4 stars, Action, Adventure, Platform, Puzzle, Ratings, Retro, Reviews
$1.99 Buy Now

Dinofour [$1.99] is a charming retro-inspired puzzle platformer where the goal is to guide four dinosaurs to their egg at the end of the level. Each of the four dinosaurs has a different color and power to assist you on your quest: red breathes fire, green can move boulders, blue can fly, and purple can manipulate gravity to walk on the ceiling. The game was created by the new indie developer Craigeatscrayons and is the first launch of the Melbourne-based company. As far as first projects go, Dinofour set the bar high with playful yet challenging level design, interesting mechanics, and a vast amount of available content, including 3 worlds, over 70 levels, and secret areas and collectibles...

I don't know about everyone else, but for my money, the best part of using a tomb-raiding setting for a story is when the main character has to escape from a collapsing death-trap. I'm not sure why ancient civilizations would rig things to collapse in such a precise and deadly manner, or how annoying it must have been when they were setting it up and Bob accidentally tripped the whole thing just before the last piece was set, but watching someone try to outrace a series of perfectly-timed traps lest they be buried in the very location they sought to loot never gets old. With the rise of Indiana Jones happening almost in step with the booming popularity of early home gaming, it's not surprising we've seen many interactive takes on the concept. When it's done well, it's just as exhilarating to play as it is to watch. Trappy Tomb [Free] is a relatively simple game that focuses exactly on that kind of escape sequence, and while it has some issues, a few clever ideas help smooth things over...

I've been playing Magic Duels [Free] non-stop since it was released this morning at around 8:00 AM Eastern, and even streamed the game a bit on Mobcrush. Overall, I dig it, but that's coming from a someone who can't get enough Magic the Gathering and has played the game most of his life. I'm the guy who puts up with how remarkably jank Magic Online has been forever simply because I love playing Magic. Maybe I let my imagination run a little too wild following our E3 preview, but instead of releasing something incredibly awesome, Wizards once again didn't go all the way...

Is a high level of difficulty a necessary part of a roguelike? It's something I've been thinking about a bit as I've played Alchemic Dungeons [$2.99], the latest from Rogue Ninja [$2.99] developer Q-Cumber Factory. Most genres don't factor challenge into their definitions, but I suppose the roguelike genre isn't like most others. For decades, roguelikes acted something like the horror B-movie of the games industry. There was always a very strong cult following, but outside of certain limited successes in Japan, those outside the circle rarely gave the games much attention. In recent years, things have changed, however, and that has forced a somewhat insular community to reassess exactly what it is that they get out of games using the roguelike descriptor. Alchemic Dungeons checks off all the boxes as a Japanese-style roguelike, but its main gameplay hook gives it a certain fairness that isn't typically present in this genre...

Freebie Alert: 'Card Wars - Adventure Time' Goes Free For The First Time

There sure are a ton of Adventure Time games on the App Store these days. I'm not sure which is the best one, but I've certainly noticed which seems to be the most popular one: Card Wars [$3.99]. Its combination of being a paid app while making use of a stamina meter with timers didn't win it a lot of friends around here, to be sure, but it certainly did well for itself in the App Store. It stuck around in the top ten paid app charts for quite a while and received a bunch of good updates, with the most recent one adding an expansion called Doing It The Card Way, featuring Fiona and Cake, for the price of $2.99. Well, if the price tag on the app was your issue, I've got some good news for you today. For the first time ever, Card Wars - Adventure Time has dropped to the affordable price of $0.00...

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Australian national treasure and host of the weekly game review show "Zero Punctuation!" over at The Escapist, is a man of many talents. In his free time, when he isn't taking part in the running of video game themed cocktail bars or doing manly combat with the horrifying fauna of Australia, he's an amateur game developer. You can find many of his creations over the years on his site, but now, with the help of Addicting Games and Defy Media, his very first mobile game, Hatfall [$1.99], is available for download. In it, you help the man himself get his hat back. Over and over again. While also dodging refrigerators, anvils, and trying to discern which devilishly handsome plain white avatar is yours...

'The Executive' Review - Like a Boss

Riverman Media's latest game The Executive [$4.99] is a masterpiece. The new game from the creators of Pizza vs. Skeletons [$4.99 / Free] is brilliantly absurd and absurdly brilliant. Riverman has combined a touchscreen-friendly brawler with an idle clicker, all set in an absurd universe full of things like wolves wearing Guy Fieri shirts, and featuring a distinctive art and animation style. It's an amazing game, and you need to play it...

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

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July 7th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

Take a look at the screenshots for Lines the Game [$2.99]. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Pretty lame, right? I mean, it’s a bunch of empty, basic shapes on a white background. I’ve seen sweaters that looked more fun to play. Heck, even the name is painfully uninspired. “Lines”, huh? Oh, and it’s a “Game”? You don’t say. How about I pour myself a glass of warm water and prepare a big ol’ bowl of lettuce, ‘cause “Lines the Game” is here and we need to celebrate this. Well, the joke’s on me (as is often the case), because Gamious’ new game is actually shockingly great. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my favorite puzzle game at the moment. It’s brilliant, satisfying, supremely relaxing, and--to borrow an amusingly awkward phrase from the literary world--unputdownable. So… what is it?..

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