Category Archives: iPhone games

'Galactic Keep' Review - Keeping Me Up All Night

'Galactic Keep' Review - Keeping Me Up All Night

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August 20th, 2015 2:18 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $3.99, 5 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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For some game developers, it's almost a law that a game has to be fun within a certain number of minutes. That was particularly true back in the arcade days, and I suppose things have come full circle because it seems to be especially true now. I think there's a lot of merit to that philosophy, but like any attempt to make a rule like that, it doesn't fit every game. Galactic Keep [$3.99] is not very fun in the first few minutes, perhaps even in the first twenty. It's confusing, it offers little guidance, and it's just sort of frustrating. A player would probably be forgiven for giving up on the whole thing and jumping to something that offers a smoother and more obvious slice of gratification. Let's be honest, there are plenty of games where if the first few minutes are rough, things don't really pull up. But there are also cases where the confusion clears up, the goals start to become more tangible, and frustration melts into a feeling of pure satisfaction. Galactic Keep is one such case...

'Pac-Man 256' Review - Teaching an Old Pac-Man New Tricks

There are people who ask why retro games keep getting developed and iterated upon. We still have the classics, and they're more readily available than ever, so why do we need more of them? In some cases, it might be better to let some franchises die. This feels like a common complaint against the Sonic series, but I think that's more Sega's development teams not knowing what makes a Sonic game good (and loving bottomless pits too much). But interestingly, it's Pac-Man that's showing how a series can iterate and advance decades after its arrival. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99] was a recent fantastic example of how to advance and iterate the yellow dot-muncher's familiar maze-based gameplay. Now, Pac-Man 256 [Free] from Crossy Road [Free] developers Hipster Whale, with the help of 3 Sprockets of Cubemen [$0.99 (HD)] fame and Bandai Namco, shows that you can teach an old Pac-Man new tricks. The developers who advanced the Frogger formula into a definitive mobile experience, have done so again with Pac-Man...




If you weren't playing Hearthstone [Free] when the Goblins Vs Gnomes expansion came out, then know that the expansion cards first came out in Arena mode before they were released. It looks like Blizzard is doing something similar but instead of going the Arena way, it decided to highlight the game's new mode, Tavern Brawl. Therefore, this week's most Glorious (Blizzard's words) Tavern Brawl will be called The Grand Tournament Match and will be all about the new cards. The Brawl will feature a thrilling match between two potent forces; one will be led by Medivh and will feature a deck built around the Inspire mechanic. On the other side of the Brawl will be Alleria's forces that will be all about the Joust mechanic. The Brawl will run as usual from Wednesday to late Sunday...

'.Decluster Zero - Bullet Nocturne' Review - Oh, Bullet Hell Yes

It's been almost three years since famed bullet-hell shooter developer Cave released their last in-house iOS game in the genre they became well-known for. At the time of the company's restructuring, I was worried about the future of shoot-em-ups on mobile, and I doubt I was the only one. Luckily for mobile gamers, it turned out to be a non-issue, as we've seen several excellent releases in the genre, some of which have arguably been better than even Cave's offerings. One such game is .Decluster - Into The Bullet Hell [$2.99], an out-of-nowhere release from Japanese indie developer Masayuki Ito. It combined a simple but eye-catching visual style with enjoyable scoring mechanics and exciting enemy patterns to create a thrilling take on a well-worn concept...

Deck Builders have really been on the rise in recent years. From the humble beginnings of games like Dominion, now we’ve even got Marvel and Alien deck builders. I’m really partial to this genre myself. Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer [Free] is a game I still log into from time to time and it has never left my phone or iPad. I think the appeal of deck builders comes from having every card you’ll need right in the box. You don’t collect or trade cards and meticulously build your own deck before even playing. You and your friends can play right out of the box with a much smaller financial investment. They’re massively approachable. Anyway, the point is, Deck Builders are my jam, and Splendor [$6.99] is a super tasty mixed berry jam that’s won several awards for being so darn tasty...

Even as they've racked up a few strong successes in the puzzle genre, I'm sure King has realized they would have to branch out at some point to keep their business healthy. Besides a weird trivia game, Paradise Bay [Free] is the Candy Crush giant's first attempt at something outside of the puzzle genre on mobile platforms. Don't get too excited, however, as they've simply moved from one crowded free-to-play favorite to another. Paradise Bay has you building your own little village in a tropical location, producing goods to sell to other players or trade for various resources. It has the polish we've come to expect from King's recent games, but without any interesting new ideas, it's hard to make a strong case for it even if this is your genre/pay model of choice...

Last weekend at D23, Disney Interactive held its panel to a packed crowd of gamers excited to hear about Disney’s upcoming gaming offerings. While the majority of the panel focused on console and PC specific games like Kingdom Hearts 3, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Disney Infinity 3.0 (all pretty cool games, in my opinion), the event did debut a new mobile offering that has the potential to be pretty cool...

Day after day, we are inching closer to the release of The Grand Tournament, Hearthstone's [Free] next expansion that should shake up the meta, at least for a month or two. Today, Blizzard revealed some very fun cards on its stream, and also announced...no, not the release date, sorry. However, Blizzard did announce that it will reveal ALL TGT cards on its Facebook page by the end of today. This reveal will let you start deckbuilding before the cards even come out so you are one step ahead of the competition. Of course, like in warfare, fantasy deckbuilding cannot withstand the clash with the opponent's cards, but still, it's fun trying to figure out what new archetypes TGT might engender and whether we will actually see what Blizzard seems to be seeking, a slow-down of the meta...

If you loaded up the App Store around 2:00 PM central yesterday when the new App Store features come up, you may have noticed that Tactile Wars [Free] was the Editor's Choice this week. The game's been in soft launch for a while now, and has just now gone global, but it seems like that soft launch didn't prepare developer Ankama and publisher DOFUS for the game's launch, as the big feature caused the servers to not work. So Apple unpersoned the game – it's no longer featured and it no longer has its prominent Editor's Choice banner. If you search for the game on the App Store, it still shows its Editor's Choice label, but the game isn't there any more on the front page...

NRG, a pioneer in developing smarter energy choices (as per the company's website), has given us a lovely, free game, The Path to Luma [Free], that promotes sustainability by having you play as SAM (short for Sustainability Augmentation Model) as it travels to save the galaxy. The game plays out across 20 worlds filled with all kinds of puzzles, all the while reminding you that the device you are holding (which has been made using barely any renewable resources) can act as a messenger for a cleaner, more sustainable future. The game has a great art-style and lovely music and, despite my slight sarcasm earlier, does try to send a message through its gameplay, which is never a bad way of going about trying to change hearts and minds...

If you're a fan of platforming games like I am, then you're no doubt familiar with the excellent action platformer Goblin Sword [$1.99] from Gelato Games. Launching just about a year ago, Goblin Sword captured plenty of gamers' hearts with its fantastic pixel visuals and superb virtual controls. There was even some light RPG elements involved, and the entire production earned an easy 5 stars in our review. Several month down the road, in February of this year, a huge version 1.5 content update arrived for Goblin Sword adding in 16 new levels in a new chapter titled The Lost City, which also featured new enemies, new boss fights, new weapons and more. Now, as announced in our forums, Gelato is back with another huge Goblin Sword update. Here's a couple of screens from it!..

'Doom & Destiny Advanced' Review - An Immature RPG In Every Sense Of The Word

The first monster you fight in Doom & Destiny Advanced [$2.99] is a giant poop. Not long after, your characters complain that something has attacked "(GameString not set)", before they run into expies of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage en route to rescuing Princess MacGuffin from alternate universe versions of themselves. One of the characters remarks that he's very likely to crap his pants. And then everyone dies. Or something. I don't know. I do know that you soon run into an angry skeleton who laments the loss of his wiener, and a nobleman who disintegrates at the sound of your barbarian's mighty belch. I think you've got the idea by now, friends. Doom & Destiny [$2.99] was a ridiculously over-the-top RPG with surprisingly solid mechanics and an absurd script rendered even more wacky by its... interesting translation. Somehow, its follow-up feels even more extreme in every regard, and I'm not sure if I find it charming or completely idiotic. If the first game was the Bill & Ted of RPGs, this one is the Pauly Shore...

My first ever interaction with golf was on the NES. I remember being fascinated by the concept of hitting a ball across a screen, and although the idea of woods and irons completely eluded me, I was content with whacking away Happy Gilmore style. Over time golf became far less foreign, and though the sport's popularity has waxed and waned over the years, I still have a certain degree of interest in it, at least at a base level. Battle Golf [Free] doesn't really do a whole lot for me though...

Noodlecake has been porting games over to Android for a while now, among them the superb Wayward Souls [$6.99] and the more recent Shooting Stars [$2.99]. As Noodlecake noted in a recent blog, finding an audience for premium games on iOS is getting trickier by the day, but it still has faith that there's an audience out there for the company's games, which is why it went with a $2.99 price for Shooting Stars. However, the situation over on the Android side of the universe is even more desperate; of all the Android installs of Wayward Souls, Rocketcat Games' roguelike hit, only 11% were paid and the rest were pirated. These numbers prove once more that when developers claim there's no money to be made on Android for premium games, they are pretty much spot on. It's hard to motivate a developer to go through the wringer of porting to the many different Android devices only to see the game pirated...

Lest you forgot about Telltale's fantastic Tales from the Borderlands [$4.99] series, it's still cranking forward, with its fourth episode, "Escape Plan Bravo," scheduled for release next week, starting August 18th. As such, expect the iOS episode to release on or around August 20th, next Thursday. This is the second-to-last episode, so there's a big finale set to hit sometime really soon, too...

When it comes to this week's Tavern Brawl, some might say that Blizzard phoned it in by giving us the same Brawl as the one about a month ago. Sure, we once again have The Great Summoner Competition where every spell you cast summons a random minion that costs the same mana as the spell you cast. Here's the story from a month ago here so I don't repeat everything. So yes, we've been warned that we'd see Tavern Brawl repeats, but while the pessimists might claim Blizzard is getting lazy, resting on the pile of money Hearthstone [Free] is making, I'm an eternal optimist, and I believe that Blizzard went with an older Tavern Brawl only because the developers are all busy getting The Grand Tournament expansion ready to go next week...

The Long Siege [$1.99] clicked with me when I first saw it, despite my vocal distaste of match-3 games in general. I feel like the genre is just overplayed. But sometimes, a little bit of familiarity isn't a bad thing, and I actually do enjoy the unique aspects of this one, though it is definitely an imperfect game. This is a match-3 RPG of sorts, though to call it an RPG feels inaccurate. It's a match-3 game with an upgrade system. You fight an enemy army, trying to destroy their base, by summoning 3 types of units, repairing your base with utility tiles when the enemies destroy your unit generation, getting currency by matching specific tile types, and using cannon tiles to attack the enemy. ..

In early July a simple little endless runner named Samurai Blitz [Free] caught me by surprise. I know, I know, endless runners are SO blasé nowadays, but something about this one was different. The jumping mechanic felt really good, and there was the ability to attack with your sword and you could actually chain together combos by slashing enemies in succession while in the air. It was so cool! Something about playing Samurai Blitz just clicked in all the right ways, and on top of that it had excellent pixel art and animations which gave the whole game a lot of personality. It brought me back to the days of when Monster Dash [Free] and even Canabalt [$2.99] were the hot new thing. ..

'Operation Dracula' Review - One, Two, Three Power-Ups, Ahaha

I think I could play shoot 'em ups until the day I die. It was one of the first genres I experienced in arcades outside of fighting games, and to this day, it's by far the genre that I import the most. Ironically, Siberian Strike was one of the very first games I played on an iOS device as well -- it's in my blood. It's good that Operation Dracula [$7.99], in spite of its cheesy presentation, is a solid showing...

'Hanger World' Review - Not A Used Clothing Store

I was a fan of TouchArcade long before I was a writer here, and one of my favorite of the more recent regular features is Shaun’s Update Mondays posts. The weird thing is, the updates themselves aren’t even why I look forward to it every week. Rather, it’s because I think Shaun’s a funny dude and I just enjoy reading his descriptions of each update. More specifically, I need to know what game he decides to give the coveted Update Mondays Most Spider-Mans Of The Week Award to. Is it going to be Spider-Man Unlimited [Free] again? (I mean, it does get a lot of Spider-Mans.) Or will it be something completely random? Well, I think I may have found a good future candidate. I’m talking about A Small Game’s Hanger World [Free], and it’s packed full of all kinds of Spider-Mans slinging themselves this way and that. As it turns out, it’s also a really, really fun game...

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