Category Archives: iPod touch games

I am extremely conflicted about Hitman: Sniper [$4.99]. It's a great game, a legitimately fantastic mobile title. It's a game that takes a simple premise of sniping and turns it into a complex puzzle game, where you have to learn how your weapons and abilities work to piece together sequences of actions to get the most points possible, through becoming really good at the game. Seriously, Square Enix Montreal has made an absurdly clever game. It may be more 'traditional' than their previous Hitman Go [$1.99] was, but it shows the same sparks of clever creativity that made that game special. I just wish that there was more than one level to play over and over again!..

King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

'Nubs' Adventure' Review - A Tale Of Home Ownership In The 21st Century

Poor old Nubs. He had defied the odds of the modern economy and purchased a nice house with a great view and plenty of land to build on. Sure, the land taxes were a bit tough to manage each year when tax season came around, but he had things sorted out nicely for the most part. Then one day, a couple of guys swing around, kick him out of his house and off the nearby cliff, then burn the whole thing down. I mean, are debt collectors getting rough these days or what? Luckily, a fairy offers to help you rebuild a home in a new, even better location. You're just going to have to grease the wheels a bit with some fairy dust, which can be extracted from crystals that are just laying around the world, protected by deadly monsters, cunning traps, and treacherous terrain. All things considered, it's probably still safer than a bank loan...

When I reviewed developer Kidalang's Sage Fusion 2 [$2.99] a couple of years ago, I found a very satisfying story that was regrettably attached to a pretty terrible RPG. The story was strong enough to make it worth suffering through the questionable gameplay for, but wouldn't it be better if we didn't have to suffer at all? I'm not sure if it's from feedback or simply recognizing their strengths, but Kidalang has gone a different way for their latest game, An Octave Higher [$6.99]. Rather than create another odd hybrid, the developer has opted to go with a fairly straight-up visual novel design. I think it was a very good choice, to be honest. While An Octave Higher isn't an extraordinary example of the genre, it feels less like a broken experiment and more like a proper experience...

It's an oft-heard complaint that simulation game developer Kairosoft spins their wheels a little too much. I've made that complaint myself a few times while reviewing their games. They have a few templates they like to work with. Typically, they select one of those templates, apply a new theme to it, and maybe add one or two small refinements. The result is usually pretty fun, don't get me wrong, but does tend to feel like you're playing the same game again, except this time with a fake mustache. That said, they've been slowing down their releases on iOS a bit of late, putting out more unusual or at least less well-worn fare like Kairobotica [$4.99] and Magazine Mogul [$4.99]. I find myself actually looking forward to their releases again, something that hasn't happened for a while. Their latest release, Biz Builder Delux [$4.99], is in many ways their best one yet...

'You Must Build A Boat' Review - You Must Buy This Game

To tell you the truth, friends, I'm actually pretty busy working on something today. That said, I was asked to come and write something for all of you about the new follow-up to Luca Redwood's 10000000 [$2.99]. It's called You Must Build A Boat [$2.99], and it's every bit as compelling as the first game. Did you like the first game? Do you enjoy puzzle games? Do you like games? You're going to want this one, trust me...

Skiing Yeti Mountain [Free] is the kind of game that's best in a bunch of small doses over time. The gameplay is solid, the controls excellent, and the structure of this skiing game is great for mobile. But in trying ot be this experience that you play over a long time, it doesn't do a great job at being a game that you'd want to play a lot of in one sitting. It's a blessing and a curse for Featherweight's otherwise fun title...

Friends, it's been a cavalcade of bummers for iOS SEGA fans lately. After tapping Christian Whitehead to do an amazing job of remastering Sonic CD [$2.99], Sonic The Hedgehog [$2.99], and Sonic The Hedgehog 2 [$2.99], the company for whatever reason decided they weren't interested in doing the same for Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The fantastic port of Jet Set Radio stopped working as of iOS 8 and was pulled from the App Store, presumably never to return. The much-hyped Sonic Team iOS debut turned out to be a rather lackluster runner that may or may not exit soft launch, and just a few weeks ago, SEGA cleaned house on their App Store library, removing most of the Genesis games and several other titles for "quality" reasons. And in fact, as I checked the App Store for background on this story, I see the remaining Genesis games have been removed, along with ChuChu Rocket! and a couple of others...

'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...

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...

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]...

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...

Update Mondays: 'Star Wars Rebels', 'Candy Crush Soda Saga', 'Asphalt 8', 'Junk Jack X', And More

Hello everyone, and welcome to the week! It's time once again for our look back at the noteworthy updates of the last seven days. Wow, this is quite the list of updates this week, my friends. I'm almost overwhelmed at the breadth of games that got some kind of content update or fix, and I'm not even including the ones that have minor patch notes. Of course, you can keep an eye out for updates yourself using AppShopper Social [Free], the watchlist in the TouchArcade App [Free], or by participating in the TouchArcade forums, but this weekly summary is here to fill in the things you might have missed. Let's dig in!..

Quantum Sheep, the developer behind such games as Air Supply - SOS [$0.99] and Docking Sequence [$0.99], is a huge fan favorite among our TouchArcade forum members. Its games are usually score-challenge throwbacks to the days when arcades and microcomputers ruled the roost, with easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay and charming retro presentations. Oh, and lots and lots of fun unlockables. Since the release of Docking Sequence, Quantum Sheep has been somewhat quiet about its next project, instead focusing on updating older titles and taking out the bins...

Every week when I put together the Update Mondays articles, it makes me smile to see certain games and developers appearing frequently. Particularly so if it involves free updates to paid games, because let's be honest, that's a lot of extra work for likely little return in the pure financial sense. One of the most often-appearing developer is The Trese Brothers, a family team who have released a number of games on iOS and Android. On iOS, their most famous title is likely Star Traders RPG [$2.99], but they've also released the strategy RPG Heroes Of Steel [$3.99] and the 4X simulation game Star Traders 4X Empires [$4.99]. Each of those games is updated dutifully with bug fixes, new content, balance tweaks, and more, and hardly a month goes by without one or more of them appearing on my list. Simply put, this developer puts a lot of work in to try to make its customers as happy as possible...

As I've said before, sometimes writing the weekly RPG Reload is more educational for me than anyone else. In researching for this week's article on Rogue Ninja [$2.99], I decided to get in touch with the developer, Q-Cumber Factory, to get a bit more information about the game's development. Naturally, one of the questions I asked was if a sequel to the game was coming. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Sato of Q-Cumber not only confirmed a follow-up, but told me it was coming next month! Today, Q-Cumber Factory sent over some details and screenshots of the game, titled Alchemic Dungeons, and I'd like to share them with you...

RPG Reload File 039 - 'Rogue Ninja'

Hello, gentle readers, and welcome to the RPG Reload, the weekly feature where we beat up kappa and eat up kappamaki. Friends, you do not want to mix those things up, I assure you. Each week, we take a look at an RPG from the App Store's past to give it another spin. It's a chance to revisit old favorites, check up on games that might have seen some improvements over time, or even just to take a deeper dive on particularly interesting titles. As the leader of this particular party, I try to balance out the schedule with a wide variety of RPGs. That said, every person has their own biases, so to make sure nothing gets left behind, I throw the choice to you, the readers, once per month. Simply let me know your suggestion by commenting below, posting in the Official RPG Reload thread in the forums, or tweeting me at @RPGReload. I randomly choose the winner, so anyone has a chance! The next reader's choice article is coming up in a couple of weeks, so be sure to get your selection in soon...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

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