Category Archives: Shooter

Appeals to nostalgia have become something of a commodity these days in video games. With the generation of kids who grew up on 8- and 16-bit sprite-based games all grown up and making their own games, the relatively low cost of producing assets in the style compared to assets that push the bleeding edge of technology, and the generally favorable response from an audience pining for the carefree days of their youth, it's not really a surprise that what once was a rare treat has now become commonplace, particularly in indie and mobile circles. The most common way games tip their hats to the past is in the presentation, using graphics, sound, and music that reflect popular hardware of the past, such as the NES and the Spectrum...

ZeMind Game Studio's Starborn Anarkist [$2.99] is a fantastic dual-stick space shooter that puts a huge emphasis on building and customizing your own ship. We really loved Starborn Anarkist when it released in early December of last year. But that was more than 7 months ago, an eternity in the world of iOS gaming, and Starborn Anarkist was in desperate need of some tweaks and fixes that had plagued an otherwise fantastic game. A week ago today we learned that the long-awaited update that ZeMind had been talking about for ages was finally submitted to Apple, and today I'm very happy to announce that the update is live in the App Store...

No, gentle reader, you are not seeing double. Though it shares a surname and a great deal of assets with early summer's Bill Killem [Free] from Everplay and Chillingo, Buzz Killem [$0.99] is a completely different game that takes place in the same universe. Rather than the timed running action of Bill, this game puts you in control of Bill's father, Buzz, in a stage-based arena battling action game that will feel instantly familiar for fans of Super Crate Box [$1.99]. This isn't the first time Everplay's name has been attached to an arena battler, of course. They also acted as the publisher for FireFruitForge's awesome melee action game Spell Sword [$0.99], and there are certainly elements of that incorporated into Buzz Killem's design as well...

Panic Art Studios' Hero Siege [$2.99] is a frantic dual-stick shooter that released late last year. That initial version was fun, but certainly rough around the edges. Panic Art worked diligently to iron out its issues with many updates over the course of the last six months or so, and what we ended up with was a dual-stick shooter that we enjoyed very much, but felt that there was "tons of potential for Hero Siege to be more than what it is." Well, according to a post from Panic Art in our forums, some of that potential will be realized with a beefy update heading to the game adding tons of new stuff, chief among them cross-platform multiplayer. Here's a recent trailer dishing out all the details of the new update...

One of my favorite scrolling shoot'em ups got a fancy modern remake this year with Infinite Dreams' Sky Force 2014 [Free]. It took the original game and gave it a massive graphical overhaul, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with modern mobile gaming like online leaderboards and tournaments. This remade version turned out really phenomenal, but Infinite Dreams still has some more planned for Sky Force 2014. They've posted some new screens in our forums for the forthcoming Stage 8, which you can see in the screenshot on the left while the screenshot on the right is from a cutscene that'll play just prior to the boss battle on that stage...

Late last year, a rough little indie platformer named Cally's Caves [Free] won over the hearts of many members of the TouchArcade forums. No sense mincing words, the game's visuals were pretty bad, both in design and execution. That said, the gameplay was fun, the music was excellent, and for reasons I can't exactly understand, the game in its entirety was free, with little more than inobtrusive ads and a single wholly unneccessary IAP to pay the bills. The game featured large, sprawling levels and a less forgiving checkpoint system than today's games typically use, giving the game a pleasantly challenging bite. Well, it hasn't been all that long, but Cally is back in Cally's Caves 2 [Free], and the months have been kind to her. It's still a bit rough around the edges, and in some aspects rougher than the first, but there's no denying the game is a huge step up from the original overall...

'World of Tanks Blitz' Review - A Fine Addition To Wargaming's Cannon Canon

Although it's recently become something of a household name in gaming circles, Belarus-based developer Wargaming.net has been around for a while now. For the first several years, it focused on strategy games, both turn-based and real-time, and had modest success within that niche. It finally hit the big time with its release of World of Tanks for the PC, a massively multiplayer online action shooter designed with the strategic sensibilities you would expect from a developer with Wargaming's resume. Initially launched in Russia in 2011, it soon spread across the globe, enjoying huge success in virtually every region it released in. It's a rare free-to-play game that manages to pull in casual players and hardcore alike, with its fair economy, approachable gameplay, and surprising depth...

'Sky Force 2014' Review - A Modern Take On The Mobile Shoot-Em-Up

It's sometimes easy to forget how far mobile gaming has come in such a short time. Not even 10 years ago, people playing phone games were using ill-suited keypads to move sluggish characters around simple environments to fill the time while they waited for the bus. Almost none of the big game companies had their eye on the ball, and that left an opportunity for a bunch of smaller guys to get a lot more attention far more easily than they can today. As an example, just look at Sky Force. Originally released in 2004, developed by a four-person team in Poland, Sky Force's enjoyable mix of 1942 enemy patterns and Raiden-like visuals made it a big winner among early mobile gamers. It later enjoyed an enhanced port to other smartphones, with a choice of tilt or touch-based controls and a lot of features that were interesting at the time, like Open Feint. Like all too many games of that vintage, iOS updates eventually left Sky Force behind, sadly...

Halfbrick Studios' Age of Zombies [$0.99] is a preeetttyyy old game by iOS standards, launching way back in October of 2010, but it's actually even older than that as it was originally a PlayStation Mini title released earlier that year in February. Mobile games don't tend to have a long lifespan, so it was kind of incredible that Halfbrick up and decided to update Age of Zombies earlier this month with actual new content in the form of a rideable zombie T-Rex and MFi controller support. Not bad for a 4+ year old game. Well, Halfbrick apparently wasn't done, because there's yet another Age of Zombies update that popped up today, which adds even more new content than the last update did...

A 16 bit action platformer come endless runner, Bill Killem [Free] focuses on a movie star hero who’s out to kick some alien butt. When they destroy his movie premiere, he decides to take vengeance in the only way he knows best, guns and hellfire. The game itself is an interesting pixel-driven storyline full of unique twists, and thankfully, despite it’s free-to-play model, doesn’t require any additional spend to really get stuck in. ..

Even on devices that survive and thrive using non-conventional control methods, tilt controls are somewhat controversial among players. Some people find them a bit hard to control or inaccurate, while others are unsurprisingly using their mobile devices outside of their homes and don't want to draw attention to themselves. Those in favor of tilting usually point to the more natural feeling it sometimes offers, along with delegating fewer actions to on-screen buttons or sticks. Usually, developers who want to use the tilt feature do their best to accommodate everyone, but sometimes a game comes along where the tilt controls are inseparable from the game itself. A great example of this is the excellent Tilt To Live [$2.99], a game that typically appeals even to people who aren't big fans of motion controls. Even in the case of that game, some people just aren't convinced...

One of my very favorite releases of 2014, Glorkian Warrior: Trials Of Glork [$2.99], has just received an update adding Game Center achievements, new tilt controls, and language support for Italian, French, Spanish and German. Das ist gut! Game Center achievements are pretty self-explanatory, and should offer further goals beyond just getting high scores for those goal-oriented gamers. As for tilt controls, well, I'm not typically a fan of them, and that remains true here too. But, they work just fine, so for those who have been asking for tilt controls in Glorkian Warrior, your prayers have been answered...

Developer Radiangames has released a few cool puzzle games recently, but it's been a while since Radiangames last visited the shooting genre on iOS. Since their twin-stick shooters are among the best available on the App Store, it's a more than welcome return. Of course, JoyJoy [$1.99] represents a return in more than one way, since it's actually a revamped version of one of the developer's oldest games. You would think that would put the game in a hard position, launching among its successors and all, but it does enough to differentiate itself to make it worth owning for any fan of the genre...

'Kero Blaster' Review - Toad, All Carnage

It's hard not to think about Cave Story while playing Kero Blaster [$4.99]. For those unfamiliar with Cave Story, it was one of the first big games of the modern indie era. Released all the way back in 2004 on PC, it was an extremely impressive take on the Metroid-style non-linear action game genre. Packed with challenge, secrets, and great action gameplay, it held up strongly to the best the genre had to offer. On top of that, it was faux-retro well before that became trendy, featuring adorable and expressive pixel-art characters and a wonderful chiptune soundtrack. Released on the PC for free and ported to almost everything under the sun except mobiles, it drew attention to the indie scene in a way no other game had before and few have since. It wasn't just a great game, it was an important game, and it was all the product of one single person: Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya. Cave Story was the result of five years of work for him, and it shows in every respect...

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...

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