Category Archives: iPod touch (5th gen)

Several months back, mobile gamers were treated to Alphadia Genesis [$9.99], the first kind-of-3D RPG from Kemco, courtesy of developer EXE Create. Since then, Kemco's released another half dozen or so games, but they were all using older 2D engines, even EXE Create's Fanatic Earth [$0.99]. Well, we've finally got our second game using the 3D battle engine in Illusion Of L'Phalcia [$3.99], and it just goes to show that if you're dedicated to churning out an RPG in a span of weeks, it doesn't matter if you're using 2D or 3D graphics, the results are still going to be mixed...

Gameloft's newest release, Spider-Man Unlimited [Free], makes me feel all complicated inside. Regular readers will know that I tend to prefer my running games to be simple and gimmick-free, and this game is anything but that. Of course, regular readers will also know that I can't resist a game based on superhero comics. I expected that to be my struggle with the game, but in a surprise twist, it's not. This is probably the most fun I've had with a gimmick-heavy runner this side of Iron Man 3 [Free]. It has a ton of gameplay variety, a great goal-based structure to accompany its endless running mode, exceptional fan service, and a few ridiculously compelling tricks borrowed from Puzzle & Dragons [Free]-style games. As a huge Spider-Man fan, playing this game is an absolute joy. Unfortunately, leveling up an assortment of collectible characters isn't the only way Spider-Man Unlimited borrowed from that popular genre, and therein lay the proverbial fly, or I suppose spider, in the soup...

'Motorsport Manager' Review - Formula Racing for the Masses

When I sat down to try Motorsport Manager [$1.99], I thought it would be the perfect thing to poke at while listening to a podcast. After all, I wouldn’t be expected to drive the cars; I’d be running the biz and laying out the race strategy. A half-hour in, I realized I hadn’t absorbed a word, because I was so fully engaged in growing my fledgeling racing empire and watching my drivers tear up the track. It’s never overwhelming, nor is it too light to maintain interest. Motorsport Manager finds a nice spot in the complexity spectrum wherein it requires frequent decision-making, without ever inducing paralysis by presenting too many options simultaneously...

'Rules!' Review - Have Fun Finding The Limits Of Your Memory

Like your body, your brain needs exercise to stay in shape, and the older you get, the more you're fighting nature to achieve that goal. While gamers have no shortage of ways to give their grey matter a good old kicking, we rarely have to push against the limits of our short-term memory. Back in the day, we'd have to remember all kinds of stupid cheat code commands, passwords, and directions to play, but passwords and directions gave way to saves and maps, and cheat codes turned into IAP, removing quite a bit of the strain placed on that part of the brain. I mean, unless you're a hardcore fighting game player. Those guys are pros at remembering phone numbers, I tell you. The developers of the iOS adaptation of Carcassonne [$9.99] have got a new game that will give your flabby memory a workout, though, and it's actually quite a bit of fun...

If the recent exhumation of the Sierra name (as a publishing imprint of Activision) incites a nostalgic impulse toward adventure in you, Bik - A Space Adventure [$2.99] should satiate. Even if relics like Space Quest are outside your experience, Bik offers an efficient, humorous jaunt punctuated by light puzzles that anyone can enjoy. Its ambitions are modest, but all the key elements work well enough, and they fit together to make a coherent, entertaining whole...

There really aren't enough decent 3D platformers on the App Store. There are quite a few good side-scrolling platformers, but even the companies with IP and money behind them seem reluctant to fill the 3D gap. Maybe it's the cost, perhaps it's a perceived issue with controls, or it might even just be down to the waning popularity of the genre in the hobby on the whole. Whatever the reason is, it leaves an opening for a game like Angel In Danger 3D [$0.99] to make its mark. It's not a particularly great game, and I'm not sure if it actually has even one idea to call its own, but it's challenging, competently-made, and by default is one of the better games on iOS to ape Mario's 3D style...

There's a pretty decent assortment of Adventure Time games available on the App Store now, and while they're not exactly blazing trails for the hobby, just about all of them are quite a bit better than a lot of licensed titles end up being. Adventure Time has already tackled the side-scrolling runner, sort of, in Ski Safari: Adventure Time [$0.99], and now it's taking a swing at the behind the back runner with Time Tangle: Adventure Time [$2.99]. This game is coming at us from the developers of Indiana Stone [$2.99], TwinSky, and like that game, it's got a very different idea of how to approach a well-mined concept...

Following up on their incredible port of Monster Hunter Freedom Unite [$14.99], Capcom is back with another outstanding port of one of their handheld titles. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies [Free], or Ace Attorney 5 for the sake of brevity, continues the crazy adventures of lawyer Phoenix Wright. He's no stranger to iOS gamers, with his first three adventures collected last year in HD form in Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD [Free]. Fans were a little mixed about that release, with just about everyone agreeing it was a great value, but some taking issue with the look of the HD sprites, the lack of support for 4-inch displays, and missing animations. Overall, it was a really great package of ports, but not perfect. Well, I don't think there's going to be too many similar complaints about the job Capcom has done with Ace Attorney 5...

At times, it's hard not to anthropomorphize Kemco as that student who is always in such a rush to turn in their assignment that they cut every possible corner. This behavior is particularly evident in the works of developer Hit-Point, who have so much potential that seems to get thrown under the bus in favor of churning out a half-dozen RPGs per year. Rusted Emeth [$3.99] is, sadly, a near-perfect example of both what Hit-Point does well and what they do poorly, another strike against my hopes of seeing this developer actually have some time and money for their projects. They're trying so hard to do something new, but on the way, they're making more sloppy mistakes than ever before...

Boshi [$0.99] is one of those games that focuses on delivering a simple but unique core gameplay concept, with little room for frills or extras. It's the kind of game that wouldn't have been out of place in the earlier eras of gaming. It's actually kind of similar to Pac-Man [$6.99] in a lot of ways. You play as a lumberjack, and your goal in each stage is to cut down all of the large trees. Each tree will come down with five good swings of your axe. Wherever it's possible, you'll want to do this without attracting any nearby wolves, who are alerted by your proximity and the sound of your chopping, and will chase you down and kill you if they catch you. Each stage has a set layout, so the trees, rivers, bridges, and so on will be the same each time you tackle a level. The wolves wander around in set patterns, though obviously if you get in a chase with them, they'll end up in different places before wandering back to their original area...

'Dragon Quest IV' Review - But Thou Must Play This!

Dragon Quest IV [$14.99] is one of my favorite games in the entire Dragon Quest series. That also makes it one of my favorite RPGs, and by extension, one of my favorite games. Every time I run through this game, I find myself impressed that a game of this vintage hasn't lost even a bit of its shine. Dragon Quest IV does many interesting things, some of which are rare even today. As a result, while a lot of elements of this game are going to feel familiar to RPG fans, there's still nothing else quite like it, even with nearly 25 years of road behind it. So, you know clearly now where I stand concerning this game, but that's not much use to you without telling you why I think so highly of this game...

'Micromon' Review - All It Needs Is A Micromon Rap

Pokemon clones are by no means a new thing. With as much success as Nintendo's monster-catching RPG has enjoyed, clones are simply an expected part of doing business. They're not even a new thing for iOS. I've reviewed both Hunter Island [Free] and Band of Monsters [Free] in the last year, to say nothing of the many Puzzle & Dragons [Free]-inspired games released that borrow liberally from Pokemon. That said, with all of the clones, homages, parodies, and more that I've played over the years, none have skated quite so closely to Pokemon's game design as Micromon [$0.99]. There's little pretense about what they're doing here, with cheeky references all over the place and gameplay that is certainly the spitting image of Pokemon imagined as a $0.99 mobile game. Well, originality isn't everything...

I don't think I'm alone in feeling a bit disappointed by the way Kairosoft's been spinning their wheels with most of their releases. It's not that the games aren't fun individually, it's just that they provide such similar experiences that it's hard to get all that interested in another one if you've already played more than a few. So it was with a slightly weary sigh that I downloaded their latest game, Kairobotica [$4.99], expecting another Pocket Harvest [$4.99] -level rehash and little more. Much to my surprise, this is Kairosoft's most innovative new game in quite some time. That might sound like faint praise, but with the change-up in mechanics, the developer's strengths shine through brighter than they have in a while. The result is a game that may not please everyone, but should at least be a welcome sight to exhausted fans of any of the developer's prior games...

'80 Days' Review - This Adventure Is More Than Just Hot Air

If it's not enough that developers inkle turned gamebooks on their heads with their wonderfully creative adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99], they're now trying to out-adventure Jules Verne in his own story. 80 Days [$4.99], based on the classic Verne novel Around The World In 80 Days, takes the nearly-perfect premise of the book and uses it as a launching point for one of the most interesting tales I've come across in the interactive fiction genre. This isn't the kind of game that is going to get people to cross lines if they don't like this genre, but if you do, 80 Days is pretty much a must-have thanks to its sharp writing and incredible replay value...

Compared to other popular licensed characters, the Ninja Turtles have had it pretty good in the video game industry. Their first game from Konami is well-remembered if not necessarily loved, though at the very least it taught many an elementary school kid that turtles can't breathe underwater. After that slight misfire, it didn't take long for Konami to put the TMNT into a few of the most beloved belt-scrolling beat-em-ups of all-time, along with a couple of less-successful one-on-one fighters. After their initial popularity waned and the license left Konami, the Ninja Turtles have had a handful of decent, if not spectacular, outings based on their various revivals, most recently seen on iOS in TMNT: Rooftop Run [$3.99]. Sure, their star may have faded over the years, but they headlined two games that are still considered among the best in their genre, something you can't say for those smug Power Rangers...

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$2.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

World Of Tanks Blitz [Free] manages to pull off the difficult task of capturing the essence of its much-loved PC counterpart, allowing you to get into some pretty tense tank battles with players from around the world. While it lacks many of the vehicles and most of the modes of the PC version, it's still quite a deep game for a shooter, with a pace unlike most other games in its genre on iOS. The most important trait it adopted from the PC game is that you can enjoy a great gaming experience without spending a cent. I've been playing it a fair bit since its wide release a few weeks ago so, as usual, I've got some advice for players who are just starting out. Since this is a game which at its core is about teamwork, I've taken the unusual step of calling in a little field support from someone who has logged in countless hours on the PC version without dropping any cash: my son, Juon. We'll be breaking the guide into a few different sections covering various aspects of the game...

Adventure games are currently enjoying a renaissance after a long period of dormancy. Telltale's dialogue-heavy episodic games are enjoying excellent sales and general critical acclaim, Kickstarter's main legacy in gaming may well end up being dragging many veteran adventure game designers back out for another game, the PC market just might be the strongest it's ever been, and touch interfaces have proven to be a natural second home for point and click-style games. It's an interesting situation for this latest version of Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99] to release into, a game which has a history of arriving in slightly drier climates. Originally released in 2006 for PC with ports a couple of years later on Nintendo's DS and Wii systems, Secret Files has been fairly successful at taking advantage of a lack of competition, something that obviously isn't the case on iOS...

In my review of the game based on Thor: The Dark World [Free], I remarked about how, as a child, I never would have expected Thor of all characters to become a major media star for Marvel. There are always bigger miracles, however. I remember flipping through the pages of a Marvel Handbook when I was in elementary school and coming across Rocket Raccoon. It was my first time seeing him, and to my eyes, he looked stupid. Not just The Shocker-stupid, but genuine, unadulterated Razorback-level stupid. He was the kind of character who you would only see in a Marvel Handbook, with a handful of appearances to his name, doomed to disappear entirely for 15 years of publications. Several years ago, he and many other somewhat forgotten members of Cosmic Marvel returned as a new Guardians of the Galaxy team, in an effort to revamp that part of the Marvel Universe. It was so successful, they've got a live action movie coming out next week, and with it, their very own game. Now, that's improbable...

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...

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