Category Archives: Games

'Lara Croft: Relic Run' Review - Temple Fun

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May 29th, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Free, Games, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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Some of you may recall a bit of controversy earlier this year over the fact that Temple Run 2 [Free] (and many similar games) didn’t let you play as a female character unless you paid for the privilege. This was brought to the attention of The Washington Post by a pretty awesome 6th grader who argued that it could be a form of gender discrimination, even if the developers didn’t intend it that way. Luckily, Imangi and several other devs took steps toward fixing the situation, but it’s no secret these types of games (and the industry as a whole) still have a ways to go. Well, stepping into the fray with tiny shorts and guns blazing is Lara Croft with her own take on the behind-the-back-runner formula. You’re welcome, women everywhere...

'Shobon Flip' Review - There Has To Be A Twist

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May 29th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3 stars, Games, Pinball, Reviews, Universal
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What is a Shobon? This was the biggest, most pressing question nagging at me while playing Shobon Flip [$0.99] by Masami Kodaira. A brief, incredibly confusing google search informed me that it has something to do with a cat character (who may be suffering from depression) that has appeared in various Mario-like platformers on the internet. Maybe you already knew that, and good for you if you did. The reason I needed to know is that he, she, or it is also the star of this weird little pinball game. The ball is a Shobon, and the background is often filled with a giant naked Shobon flexing his muscles and shaking his pearly white butt around. Readers, welcome to my nightmares...

This review comes with a small caveat: you have to like the rock band Queen even a little bit to appreciate this game. Otherwise, read this review as a commentary on how a "band" iOS game should be made. And now that we are done with that, let's talk about Queen: Play the Game [$2.99], a mobile game released yesterday out of the blue. I'm quite a Queen fan ever since forever; still, I approached this game to see both what it could offer Queen fans but also how it stands as a model for licensed band games. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed playing the game, and as long as content keeps on coming its way (as the developers said it will), Queen: Play the Game will stand as a great "gameficication" of everything Queen...

'Chaos Rings 3' Review - Put A Ring On It, This One's A Keeper

Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99] is hauling a lot of baggage with it. It carries the hopes of a series that seems to be hanging on by a thread, the expectations of a fanbase who were heavily engaged by the storytelling chops of the series to date, and potentially the future of original, premium mobile RPGs from Square Enix. Like the protagonists of the previous games, it's a creation pulled out of its context, struggling to find relevance in a changed world that offers little mercy. The entire game feels like it was heading down a particular path only to get yanked in an entirely different direction just before it was finished. This whole situation likely explains why this game has a lot of cruft and loose ends hanging from it. It feels like they threw in everything, the kitchen sink, and the whole housewares department while they were at it. As a result, I think this game has a little something for everyone, but few people are going to indulge in everything. It's just the sort of messy RPG that Square Enix used to fill our bellies with on a regular basis when they weren't quite so risk-averse, and I personally love it for that...

'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' Review - Finally on Mobile, and I Couldn't be Happier

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's what Activision's Sierra imprint and Lucid Games have done with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions [$4.99]. They iterated and tweaked upon a winning formula without rocking the boat too much. The game is this: it's the base modes of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, which formed the base of the long-gone Geometry Wars: Touch. It then adds in the adventure mode, centered around what Geometry Wars: Galaxies introduced. These are levels where you have to hit certain score thresholds to get stars and to advance. Mix those in with the new modes introduced by the Retro Evolved 2 game, and throw in some original creations, like Sniper, where there's limited bullets to use. Visually, it sticks the glowy geometric style of Geometry Wars, but throws in some new touches, like spherical 3D boards similar to Super Stardust. Yet it has a particular color scheme that makes it something that's familiar in many ways, but ultimately is its own creation. And with all that, you get Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Lucid Games absolutely knocked it out of the park when it first came out on console and desktop, and now it's on iOS. It is a wonderful game...

RPG Reload File 040 - 'Infinity Blade'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we don't ask how dad's gear gets back to his family every time. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to see how it holds up in the modern day. It's a little revisiting, a little reflecting, and a chance to take a deeper dive than our reviews typically allow for. As the host of this little program, I try to choose a wide variety of RPGs from week to week, but I need your help to make sure I'm not missing anything. That's why once per month, I turn the selection to you. Simply make your suggestion known by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload Club thread in the forums, or by tweeting me at @RPGReload. Since June's reader's choice has already been decided, any votes at this point will go towards the July reader's choice. The next reader's choice, coming up next week, is Guardian Saga [$0.99]...

This game almost completely slipped under my radar. It released last week to virtually no hype or buzz at all. I downloaded it along with a bunch of other weekly releases and nearly forgot about it entirely. Man am I glad that I decided to boot it up while cleaning my phone's storage instead of deleting it outright. Dynamix[Free] from C4Cat is one of the most interesting and unique, if ultimately flawed, music games in recent memory...

I’m a big fan of this week’s Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] limited time event. For one, the major reward is unlocking the record for Vanille, a character that I enjoyed when I played through Final Fantasy XIII. More importantly, the event takes place in FFXIII which means I get to listen to the game’s awesome battle theme some more. For fans of DeNA's RPG looking for some tips to get through this week’s The Fal’Cie of Pulse event, we got you covered below...

Good news, racing fans! XperimentalZ Games’ fantastic side-scrolling racer Pixel Boat Rush [$1.99] has finally received that big update promised late last year. Not only is there a spankin’ new endless mode, there’s also an editor to make your own pixel boats. You know, for rushing!..

'Drylands' Review - A Great RPG/Platformer that's Anything But Dry

It's one thing for a game to promise players the moon and the stars, and it's another for it to actually come close to delivering what it promised. Angry Bugs' Drylands [$2.99] has managed to both promise and deliver a great iOS game that manages to artfully blend RPG and platformer. A few weeks ago, I decided to preview Drylands because the promises of a Fallout-like game for iOS were sirens too enticing to ignore. My time with the game back then left me hopeful that Angry Bugs hadn't made their promises lightly; the developers were really trying to evoke those old PC RPGs that have gone down as among the most influential games of all times. Even though the game had a failed launch (technical issues due to the 8.3 iOS update), the developers weren't deterred and even managed to improve the game for its second, official launch. The game is a pleasure to play and adds to iOS a kind of game it was missing, a quality RPG platformer that will keep players entertained for hours...

Though there was little risk of this ending up as a "weak week" for releases as it was, Square Enix has decided to give us a little victory lap in the form of an out-of-nowhere English release of Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99]. Announced in August of 2014, the game was released in Japan just a few months after in October. While there was no formal announcement of an English release, it was assumed it would make the hop overseas due to the success of the previous games worldwide. Well, it's been a bit longer than we might have hoped, but early this morning, the Japanese version of the game received an update adding English support and the switch was flicked to release it outside of the Japanese App Store. At $19.99, it's a bit cheaper than the Japanese price of 2,800 yen, but still on the higher end of Square Enix's line-up...

'Grim Fandango Remastered' Review - Dust off the Bones Before you Roll Em

It's not every day you get to say that a Tim Schafer/Double Fine creation just released, but today we can celebrate the iOS port of Grim Fandango Remastered[$9.99]. This is a game that for so many of us requires no introduction whatsoever. The stars have aligned and now we have another treasured piece of history that has been given new breath to once again delight and mezmerize...

Physics has always been a staple of the App Store. Slingshot Physics, Ragdoll Physics, Skateboard and BMX physics, and so on. Playing a game with finely tuned, consistent physics just feels so right. I don't know why these games are always so popular, but man, are they satisfying. That's how I'd describe Ball King[Free] from developer Qwiboo. Eminently satisfying to play...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

'Tofu Hunter' Review - Tofu Isn't This Bland

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May 27th, 2015 4:15 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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Sometimes a parody can be just as shallow as the very thing it attempts to lampoon. Take Tofu Hunter [Free]. It makes every attempt to poke fun at games like Deer Hunter, subbing out living pieces of bean curd for real live woodland creatures. Just like a bad batch of soy milk, it's a little too bitter...

If you're into classic computer RPGs like the Ultima series, then 2015 has been pretty kind to you. One of the handful of interesting retro-style RPGs that popped up earlier this year, Dungeons Of Chaos [$1.99 (HD)] offers a decidedly vintage non-linear feel with a lot of depth to it. I enjoyed it well enough in my review of the game, but worried about whether we'd see the story of the game finished due to its open-ended chapter-based structure. Luckily, the developer has been pretty dedicated to to the game since its release, updating a few times to fix and re-balance a couple of things, and the latest update finally brings the story to a close...

Crazy Kings [Free] is a creatively cartoon-y tower defense adventure which documents one hero’s valiant attempt to rally troops and save the world from the siege of the titular raving royals. Along the way, players will reinforce battlefields ranging from towers and arenas to icebergs and (obviously) run-of-the-mill fields from enemy invaders. In exchange for a successful campaign, the player is rewarded up to three pieces of loot (one for each potential Star earned) with the available prizes being some combination of in-game currency known as Gems, Armor for protecting your main hero or Cards for summoning new units. The completion rewards are displayed right at the beginning of the level as an added incentive to try, try again if at first you don’t succeed. There are also a myriad of other distractions along the way that promise new and exciting rewards on a “give it a try, once (or twice) a day” basis without using up any main-story-progressing energy. But don’t get too crazy, energy in Crazy Kings doesn’t come cheap. Each level, whether first run through or reprise, will cost you ten green bottles and since you only start with 50, that means you could be running out of treasonous activities pretty quickly...

'Earthcore: Shattered Elements' Review - A Great and Innovative CCG

When I previewed Tequila Games' Earthcore: Shattered Elements [Free] a bit over a month ago, I talked about how I enjoyed the developers' attempt at making a CCG that moved in a different design direction than the likes of Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone. I liked how they implemented some different ideas that departed from the commonly-used gameplay strategies and tactics while retaining what makes CCGs such an enjoyable genre. Now that I've finally been able to play around with the released version of the game (since it was in soft launch for some time), I'm glad to say that the game meets and exceeds my expectations by providing an intriguing battle system while also offering an abundance of features as well as some of the best, if not the best, multiplayer features I've seen in an iOS CCG. Earthcore's not the perfect game - there are some issues with the menu design and the overall color pallete - but it's pretty close...

Hey friends, I'm back again with another installment in my level-by-level guide for Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free]. As usual, I want to get a disclaimer out of the way: these aren't bulletproof strategies for winning every time. Sometimes, Candy Crush Soda Saga won't give you the pieces you need to beat the stage. It happens. What these tips are for is to help you seize the opportunity when the game does give you the right pieces. Persistence and patience are your best friends in this game. With that said, let's get on with some advice for levels 41 through 60, where things really start to get tough...

'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

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