Category Archives: Games

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, said Charles Caleb Colton, a man whose words are far more famous than his name. I'm not sure if that's always the case, but I do believe strongly that it sometimes is. For example, when I was a young lad, I used to try to draw Spider-Man exactly the way Todd McFarlane did. His art was so exciting and cool to me that I would find my favorite panels and more or less copy them. That eventually extended to my original drawings of Spider-Man, with the big eyes and the bundly webs finding their way into those margin-doodles my poor teachers had to put up with. In my defense, McFarlane was pretty popular at the time. I was a big fan of the art, and I wanted to express that through drawing similar things. Never mind that they were poor replicas, they were sincere, innocent-minded odes to McFarlane's unusual style. I think we see a lot of that type of situation in the game industry, since so many of today's developers grew up blanketed in the hobby. Of course, we also see quite a bit of the less-innocent imitations that are less about appreciation of art and more about appreciation of money, but I think it's safe to say that 2012's Partia [$3.99], a naked homage to Nintendo's Fire Emblem, is more the former...

'Monster Strike' Review - Billiards And Dragons

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November 3rd, 2014 2:00 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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I've written many words about games that sought to bump Gungho's Puzzle And Dragons [Free] from its lofty perch high atop the Japanese App Store, though only one, Terra Battle [Free], managed to top it in quality and none have been able to beat it in the charts. Well, the king appears to be dead, and the perpetrator is none other than Monster Strike [Free], another game from a big Japanese company, albeit not a company traditionally associated with games. Instead, it's brought to us by Mixi, sort of Japan's answer to Facebook before the latter rode in to grab its market share. Don't worry, though, because there's some real industry talent behind this game and it shows. Monster Strike has dealt a powerful blow to Puzzle And Dragons, and it hasn't come by that through luck...

I don't get that many chances to express my affection for pinball around here, mostly because the two main pinball developers tend to publish their new work as IAPs rather than stand-alone apps, and we don't typically review that kind of thing around here. Let it be known, however, that I love pinball to its core. I love it like Joanie loves Chachi. I used to have an off-brand pinball machine in my basement back home in Canada, and whenever I went to arcades as a kid, I was instantly drawn to the noisy clicks, bells, and synthesized music emitting from whichever licensed machine they had that month. Although it took me a while, I've also developed a taste for video pinball, though like most fans, that's out of compromise more than anything else, since finding an actual pinball machine in this day and age is hard enough in the USA, let alone Japan. It goes without saying that I am both a big fan of Pinball Arcade [$0.99] developer Farsight Studios, and a harsh critic. I regret that today, I am going to be more the latter...

'Puzzle to the Center of the Earth' Review - Miner Match-Thirty-Niner

There still aren't enough mining games out there in the world. Despite the resurgence of the genre on the mobile platform and recent mainstream hits like Steamworld Dig, I could probably play a new mining game every week without getting bored. There's something about digging down into the great unknown that fills a void many other titles can't, and Puzzle to the Center of the Earth [Free] manages to keep the core facets of the genre intact, while adding in some unique puzzle elements...

Drift'n'Drive [$1.99] is quite the fun chaotic top-down racing game. I was intrigued by the game when I saw a GIF of it in action with a whopping 32-car field, and it looked like something I had to play. And it lived up to my expectations. It's very much an arcade-like experience. The cars auto-accelerate, and have tires with low grip, making them drift-happy, and providing for a very chaotic game. And the only controls are left and right to steer, with a turbo boost that charges up over time. Helping with the chaos is the fact that the courses are generated randomly in the career mode, so it's about reacting to what might be coming up next and trying to stay on the road. Grass and dirt slow the car down, hitting trees and walls causes damage to the car, and it's possible to lose a wheel, which makes steering more difficult, until both front wheels are gone, and the vehicle is just straight-up wrecked...

Earlier this month we saw the release of Hail to the King: Deathbat [$4.99], a product of Subscience Studios and the band Avenged Sevenfold. Members of the band grew up playing video games, and when it came time to make their own, they wanted to create an homage to the games they loved playing back in the '80s and '90s. The combat and magic system in Deathbat is pretty simplistic, and the difficulty can be unforgiving. Those are the reasons I love the game so much, but those are also the reasons a lot of people didn't like the game so much. Opinions, you know? Because of the polarized feelings towards Deathbat, I imagine there were a lot of people who might have been interested in the game but were stuck on the fence. Well, if that describes you, now might be a good time to jump off the fence as Hail to the King: Deathbat is currently on sale for $1.99, down from its normal price of $4.99...

Yesterday, I remarked that it's rare for games to get complete overhauls in the way that Wave Wave [$2.99] just got. Well, Halfbrick just made me look stupid, as Age of Zombies [$0.99] has just gotten a "Season 2" update that takes the game and revamps its visual style. Gone is the pixel art, and in is a new 3D style, albeit one that tries to stay loyal to the original game's art. Halfbrick says that they're doing this in preparation for future content coming to the game. They've taken a keen interest in adding new stuff to the game, as there's been pretty much a new update every few weeks at this point. And with 3D, it may be easier to make new content without creating new pixel art – and with resolutions getting all screwy, going to 3D may be more future-proof...

Veteran Developer Hero Craft is bringing the Sons of Russ straight to your face with WarHammer 40k: Space Wolf[Free]. This visual stunner brings the table top classic to life in a squad based strategy card skirmish with the low low entry fee of nothing. If it sounds too good to be true, well there are some twists on the road to destroying the xeno threat. This game has some truly fantastic features intermingled with some pretty big roadblocks. If you can suspend your disbelief (and maybe an upturned wallet), you'll find a pretty solid game here. Available exclusively for iPad 3 or higher, iPhone 5 or higher and requiring an internet connection, the game is a little less accessible than most universal apps. With gameplay very similar to the PSP's Metal Gear Acid, I was really excited to get into what promised to be a tactically deep strategy game...

RPG Reload File 012 - 'Costume Quest'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we put metaphorical cardboard boxes on our heads and pretend we're knights. Each week, we play an RPG from the App Store's past to do a little deep diving. It's a chance to revisit and reflect on some great games from years gone by, and an opportunity to expand beyond the usual scope of our reviews here at TouchArcade. Like a particularly cunning trick-or-treater, I've carefully planned my schedule, so as to cover a wide variety of RPGs, but if you guys know of any houses that are handing out full-size Snickers bars, fess up! Drop a comment down below or post in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums to vote for which RPG you'd like to see me write about. Once per month, the majority rules, and I will carry out the tragic work of playing that awesome game. The next reader's choice article is next week, and the winner this time is Baldur's Gate [$9.99]! Any votes made from now will go towards the following reader's choice, which will take place in RPG Reload File 017 at the beginning of December...

Thomas Jansson doesn't believe in the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy, clearly. His game Wave Wave [$2.99] has gotten a complete makeover in style and structure this week, with a 2.0 update that changes just about everything but the very core of the gameplay. The immediate change is the visual style, going from a contrasting black-white with triangular visuals to one that is based around specific colors, with text that's got very chunky pixels. The original version borrowed a lot with its menus from Super Hexagon [$2.99] – while an update changed things, this is definitely a step forward and a step back in regards to Wave Wave's relation with Super Hexagon...

For far too long, Surgeon Simulator [$5.99] fans who have wanted to play the game on the go have had to deal with the tyranny of playing on the iPad, and not on their phones. Well no more must you iPhone owners who want to transplant alien organs while sitting on the bus have to suffer! Bossa Studios has today made Surgeon Simulator universal, adding iPhone support to the previous iPad exclusive app. Certainly, any game going universal is a welcome sight, but given how this game is really based on precise actions, this might be better on bigger screens. ..

It was just about a week ago that Konami soft-launched their Yu-Gi-Oh! card battling game, Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Generation [Free (HD)], but already it appears the game has launched worldwide, popping up in the US App Store earlier today. Based on the original, physical Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, Duel Generation features over 6,000 cards, online multiplayer, and special weekly events. Perhaps most importantly, it allows you to play offline against a computer AI and features a single-player campaign, which is a nice feature for those who don't always have internet access...

Super Crate Box [$1.99] has definitely spawned a few games inspired by it, to say the least, though games cutting too close has been a sensitive subject. But the game owes a lot to the original Mario Bros. in terms of structure, and Woah Dave [$1.99] from Choice Provisions, the former Gaijin Games, manages to take more after Nintendo's original than Vlambeer's modern. And it does a great job at making its own blend of challenging survival and situation management that I quite enjoyed...

Back in 2012, Portable Pixels released Hatchi [$0.99] on to the App Store, and it was a great throw back to the the 90's and the days of Tamagotchi, Digimon, and other virtual pets, even boasting the grayscale style that many of the original little virtual pet hardware used. In some ways, it kind of presaged mobile gaming, the idea of having something with you personally that you check on regularly, though the virtual pet has never really taken back off. Well, Portable Pixels is going to take things to a new level with Hatchi 2, coming soon...

Let's be frank, video games based on team sports aren't known for revolutions between updates. That reputation was mostly earned by them being among the first types of games to adopt a yearly release schedule. As it turns out, games take a lot of work to make, and if you're committed to meeting a particular date every year, there's only so much you can risk upheaving. Given this long-held tradition in the genre, I almost instinctively wasn't surprised to find that NHL 2K [$7.99] is, shall we say, a modest step forward from the last hockey game 2K released on iOS. Shaking away that initial gut reaction, I then remember that this isn't a yearly update, and it has in fact been over four years since NHL 2K11, and in that context, it's almost embarrassing how little has been done here. If you're looking for a decent hockey game and you don't have NHL 2K11, it's easy enough to recommend NHL 2K. It's competent, and there's honestly little competition even across the entire handheld spectrum. If you do have 2K11, the question of whether it's worth it gets a bit trickier...

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