Category Archives: Retro

The recorded story of modern man has been divided in to chapters of historical significance, with events and accomplishments that every person alive today is taught about in grade school. The ancient Egyptians constructing of the pyramids, Alexander Flemming discovering penicillin, Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon first, and now, Madgarden releasing Hodappy Bird [Free] on the App Store. A new age of iOS gaming is upon us, and nothing will ever be the same...

Arena battle games have really come into their own in recent years. Mobile platforms in particular have enjoyed a great crop, including Super Crate Box [$1.99], Muffin Knight [$0.99], Spell Sword [$0.99], and many others. It's a great way for a small developer to make a great action game without busting the bank, while providing a nice bite-sized bit of fun that suits mobiles well. Of course, for the gamer looking for something more than just a slice of game now and then, the better examples in this sub-genre have included some sort of progression system that persists beyond individual plays. Typically, this is done by putting in some sort of collectible or experience system that will unlock new weapons or abilities, which not only gives you something to shoot for over the long term, but also refreshes the game experience over time to keep it from getting dull...

Twinsen is a dreamer, and soon learns that dreams can change the world. He finds himself imprisoned in an asylum, but he can’t let the evil Dr FunFrock just rule the world. Escaping the asylum is the first steps in Little Big Adventure, [$4.99] and you will get to repeat this part a couple of times. Little Big Adventure was released back in 1994 for MS-DOS, and I fell in love with the whimsical world of Twinsun right away. I don’t remember if I ever completed it back then, or if I just enjoyed exploring the quite open game world. DotEmu has recreated the original, as close as I can remember it. ..

'Shin Megami Tensei' Review - A Genuinely Classic RPG Gets Its English Debut

We've reached a point in gaming where, at least when it comes to major franchises, there are very few great JRPGs that haven't been eventually released in English. There are no lost Final Fantasy mainline games, all the holes in Dragon Quest have been filled, and even less famous series such as Ys and Monster World have had previously skipped over installments finally brought to English gamers. There are still a few significant gaps, though, and for me personally, none more significant than the missing games in the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is a franchise that, largely through the popularity of spin-off series Persona, has never been so relevant in the west as it is now. Sure enough, missing games connected to the franchise have made it over, one-by-one, with the entire Persona series now available in English and even the cursed Soul Hackers finally finding its way overseas, but we're still missing the games that started the whole ball of wax...

One of the cool things about indie games is that concepts that literally have no chance of getting greenlit via traditional means can still find a way to get out there. Everything from inside jokes to personal stories to insanely specific niches can all become games for the world to see and play. Shinjuku Dungeon [Free], from one-man developer Uehara Labo, is a great example of this. On the one hand, it's a very typical retro-styled adventure that has you exploring a winding labyrinth, solving a variety of puzzles, and collecting keys and items that allow you to open up new areas. On the other hand, it's a nearly perfect recreation of a real place that tens of thousands of people walk through every day. While the game itself is decent enough, it's certainly nothing special. Yet, for anyone familiar with the real place, Shinjuku Dungeon takes on a whole new meaning...

The Winter Games may be behind us for a few more years now, but Old Man Winter's grip on the Northern Hemisphere seems to be holding strong. With flaky white stuff inevitably on the minds of more people than just the usual dandruff shampoo marketing executives, we've been seeing lots of great games that take place in or around snow. Not long ago I reviewed SuperPro Snowboarding [$0.99], which called back to the Tony Hawk era of extreme sports video games, albeit from a 2D perspective. Cubed Snowboarding [$0.99] takes things back a bit farther, with a feel more reminiscent of 8-bit computer sports games. Rather than trying to stuff in all of the intricacies of the sport, it gives you a limited and somewhat simple moveset, a mountain full of increasingly difficult courses, and a challenge to get the highest score you can in a single run of the whole sequence...

'Continue?9876543210' Review - In My Time Of Dying

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March 4th, 2014 2:16 PM EDT by David Clarke in $3.99, 4 stars, Adventure, Retro, Reviews, Role-Playing
$3.99 Buy Now

Does anything drive humans as much as our awareness of mortality? No other animal sees a bush, calls it a bush, draws the bush, gives the bush a back story, then cries when the bush dies. It's arguably the saddest, and most beautiful quality humans possess. We have awareness of the world, we can create art, and we know we are going to die...

Ninja games! One might say there are not enough of them out there, if one were the sort of person who needed a new ninja game every hour of every day for the rest of one's life. It might seem silly that there are so many games featuring them, but like their equally overplayed colleagues, zombies, it's really just because they (or at least the pop culture image of them) fit video games almost perfectly. While zombies are great for letting a player cut loose on a crowd of human-like figures without any of the messy moral implications, ninjas are great shorthand for a nimble character who could potentially have any tools at his or her disposal. If a ninja pulls out a smoke bomb, we don't question it. If a ninja launches a grappling hook at the ceiling Batman-style, hey, it just works. Wall-jumping is really hard in real life, but if anyone can do it, a ninja can. Plus, they look really cool...

Nostalgia is a heck of a thing. Like many of you, I like to indulge in revisiting my childhood on occasion. To tell the truth, though, when it comes to games, I feel like I never fully left my childhood favorites behind. Not only am I big on retro collections and classic re-releases, I actually have an NES and SNES connected to my main TV, plugged in and ready to go at all times. I keep my old brick Game Boy in an empty drawer in the kitchen in case I want to play some Tetris while I wait for the water to boil. There's one important part of my gaming past that I fell out of touch with over the years, however, and that's computer gaming. My first gaming hardware that I actually owned and had in my house, apart from a Coleco Mini Arcade version of Galaxian, was a Commodore 64. It was only a couple of years later at most that I got an NES, but those Commodore years remain as formative to my gaming memories as hanging off of arcade machines at the restaurant where my mother worked...

The old-school dungeon crawler can be a cruel mistress. First-person movement, gameplay that basically drops you in the middle of a world and tells you to figure it out - it’s certainly a far cry from the handholding that most RPGs do these days. Coldfire Keep [$4.99], the latest title published by Crescent Moon Games, does a decent job of recreating the basics of the classic genre with a large world that kept me wanting to return, explore, and conquer. However, it left me wanting more in terms of combat and controls...

'Only One' Review - Here We Are, Born To Be Kings

If you like hacking away at something using a sharpened piece of metal with a handle, you are probably a very happy camper with your mobile device. Perhaps you even think you have all the slice 'n' dice games a person could ever want. I'd like to humbly offer at least one more example for all the up and coming sword-fighters out there, however. Only One [Free] is a pretty fresh take on a genre almost as old as the medium, and it does so without any fancy motion controls or specular lighting. Pick up your sword and get ready for a serious test of your skills, because you are the Only One who can survive. Well, you and, I guess, all the other people who play the game and get good enough at it to win. Probably the Only One Thousand?..

'R-Type II' Review - Don't Bydo More Than You Can Chew

Seeing the Irem logo come up when starting a game still makes me a little sad. We've seen a lot of important game companies go softly into the night, but somehow, seeing Irem give up game development to focus on pachinko machines hurts a little bit more than the usual. At the time they made the decision, it stung all the more because it resulted in virtually all of their games being pulled from digital services, including the original R-Type, one of the true classics of its genre. As a bit of a silver lining, though, Irem seems to be agreeable about licensing their older games out, and R-Type has slowly been making a return. Last summer saw DotEmu's enhanced re-release of R-Type [$1.99] for iOS, which offered the original game with a few new options. It's a great version of a game that's been ported to just about every piece of hardware imaginable, as long as you can't imagine an NES...

Hands-on with ‘Coldfire Keep’ - Old-school Dungeon Crawling

Earlier this week we had the opportunity to check out Coldfire Keep, the latest title from publisher Crescent Moon Games. A combination of old-school, first-person dungeon crawler gameplay and updated visuals, this indie game certainly has what it takes to offer fans of this classic genre with a new adventure...

As someone who grew up in the rather harsh winters of Northwest Ontario, Canada, I know all too well about snow and what a genuine pain in the butt it is, both to remove it and to keep it off. Waking up early school mornings to march outside with a shovel while the snow was still falling, knowing full well as soon as I got home from school, I'd be doing it again, followed by another round just before bed, I have a good understanding of the seemingly futile attempt to fight off Mother Nature. I mention this for two reasons: first, I am certainly in a position to vouch for the authenticity of any game trying to capture the essence of snow removal, and second, you would think that I would never, ever want to play a game that did...

It's always a bit of a gamble to take direct control of the main character of a game out of the player's hands. When it works, it can force the player to pay attention to things going on outside of the area they're currently focused on, which adds some welcome complexity. When it goes off the rails, it can leave the player feeling incredibly frustrated at losing due to circumstances quite literally out of their control. One genre where it seems to work well, even with somewhat simplistic implementation, is the puzzle genre. Games like Lemmings or the later entries in the Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series show how rewarding it can be to set up a plan and guide it through to its conclusion, even if you aren't directly playing through it. Lost Yeti [$1.99] takes a similar approach, with its titular character having a mind of his own, wraps it all up in retro stylings, with the end result being a pretty good action-puzzler...

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