Category Archives: iPod touch games

TinyBuild's Divide by Sheep [$2.99] is a game that I first saw back at PAX South, and it left an indelible mark on me. This was thanks not just to its cute-yet-macabre theme, but also because its puzzles were clever, and did a lot to add joy to what is otherwise a casual-friendly math puzzler. Not that there's anything wrong with being a casual-friendly game, but it's tough for those games to stand out. I do wonder just how much Divide by Sheep suffers for trying to be a game for gamers, though: it feels like it sits in this odd middle ground between being a game that's a casual-friendly math puzzler, but with a deceptive theme. And I worry too many people will see the sheep and bright colors and maybe pass this fun game over. Though, if you're reading this, you should not, it's fun...

It's been almost a year now since Bandai Namco soft-launched a free to play version of the updated take on their classic Pac-Man franchise Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99], but at long last the game has finally gone worldwide as of earlier today. What took so long? Well, the version that soft-launched last year was built with all the typical free to play trappings, like in-game currencies and timers, and was met with plenty of criticism from fans, especially those who have enjoyed the various premium Pac-Man Championship games on consoles and even right here on iOS over the years. ..




Announced back in May and arriving a wee bit later than the rest of this week's new releases, Adventure Time Puzzle Quest [Free] is now available for download in the App Store. It's very much what it says it is on the tin: Puzzle Quest with an Adventure Time theme. Well, I guess that's not totally accurate. The matching-and-battling gameplay essence of Puzzle Quest is here, but this latest entry hews much closer to D3's other licensed matching RPG Marvel Puzzle Quest [Free], as it's free to play and loaded up with lots of social stuff...

I know, few of you care much about Hearthstone's [Free] Tavern Brawl today since the big announcement is coming in a few hours; however, the announcement will come and go, but this week's Tavern Brawl will be around until Sunday. So, this week's Tavern Brawl is Heart of the Sunwell: you start each game with ten mana and then you go from there. In this Brawl you build your own deck and then go to battle with ten mana already there for you to use. As you can imagine, the ten mana rule means no need to build up towards an end-of-game strategy or wait till the later turns to play your combos. Now you just need enough cards in your hand (so make sure you run cards that enable card draw). Ever wanted the ability to play those 9-cost minions immediately or run your combos non-stop? Here's your chance...

One of my favorite games of 2015 is the adorable and bloody puzzle platformer Furdemption [$3.99] from developer RareSloth, which launched just about a month ago. In it you guide a cute bunny rabbit through the treacherous depths of hell over the course of 100 increasingly complex levels. From the fluid animations, to the wonderful art style and music, to the cuteness of your rabbit juxtaposed with its horrific death scenes, Furdemption fires on all cylinders, and we happily gave it 5 stars in our review. Today we have learned that more Furdemption is coming our way in the form of an expansion titled The Widow's Den. ..

Have you ever had the sudden urge to be a creepy person wandering around in public making people uncomfortable? If so, you are in luck. Magic Cube's Barcode Knight[$0.99] is out and offers you the perfect excuse to wander around and scan random barcodes with your iOS device. Whether you are sneaking around a Walmart or lurking in a McDonalds, you now have an almost semi-plausible excuse for it. ..

With the surprise announcement of the new iPod touch this morning, we knew about some of the tech specs, but not all of them. Now, we've gotten word about just how powerful it is. We know how much RAM it has: 1 GB, which every current iOS device has except for the iPad Air 2, which has 2 GB. The processor is the A8 processor in the iPhone 6, but clocked a bit lower, likely to save on battery as Apple uses a very thin and light battery in the iPod touch to keep it small. Plus, it's drawing to a smaller screen resolution, being a 4" 1136x640 screen, same as the iPhone 5 and 5s. Still, GeekBench scores indicate that it's about at the level of power as 2013's devices were, around the iPad Mini 2, iPhone 5s, and iPad Air...

Heroki [$4.99] is a game I desperately wanted to love. It hits a lot of my buttons: it's a stunningly gorgeous game. It's a platformer-type game that's centered around premium experience, and charging a fair price. It is a game I desperately want to do well. I want other big publishers to see that charging reasonable prices for well-made premium experiences is a viable business strategy for mobile games. I want there to be an audience for this. Plus, it's just so well-made, and its protagonist is adorable in the way an older Sega character might be. It does a lot right, and I am invested in this game's success. The problem is that the game is just kind of blah. It isn't bad. It just isn't very memorable. ..

I feel like it's pretty hard for a letter game to distinguish itself at this point in the App Store's life. Much like any long-in-the-tooth genre, new entries are starting to feel far more similar to each other than different. AlphaBear [Free], the latest from Triple Town [Free] developer Spry Fox, looks into the developer's past for inspiration. Panda Poet is a web game that has you making words to create bigger and more numerous pandas than your opponent. It's kind of a word game crossed with Othello, and if I may put on my day job hat for a second here, it's been invaluable as an English study tool for some of the kids I teach. Though it works fine in mobile browsers, it's not available as a native mobile app, and you really do need two human players to get the most out of it. In short, there's room to grow the concept, and that's sort of what AlphaBear does...

Shooting Stars [$2.99] is the kind of game that hits very high heights: it has an enjoyable premise, lots of bullet-dodging shoot 'em up action, roguelike elements, plenty of flashiness, and laser cats. It should be amazing. But as you play, those elements show themselves to have flaws: a game with very shallow humor, a flawed daily run mode, and imbalanced weapons. Shooting Stars is fun, but it's remarkably flawed, too...

Is a high level of difficulty a necessary part of a roguelike? It's something I've been thinking about a bit as I've played Alchemic Dungeons [$2.99], the latest from Rogue Ninja [$2.99] developer Q-Cumber Factory. Most genres don't factor challenge into their definitions, but I suppose the roguelike genre isn't like most others. For decades, roguelikes acted something like the horror B-movie of the games industry. There was always a very strong cult following, but outside of certain limited successes in Japan, those outside the circle rarely gave the games much attention. In recent years, things have changed, however, and that has forced a somewhat insular community to reassess exactly what it is that they get out of games using the roguelike descriptor. Alchemic Dungeons checks off all the boxes as a Japanese-style roguelike, but its main gameplay hook gives it a certain fairness that isn't typically present in this genre...

'The Executive' Review - Like a Boss

Riverman Media's latest game The Executive [$4.99] is a masterpiece. The new game from the creators of Pizza vs. Skeletons [$4.99 / Free] is brilliantly absurd and absurdly brilliant. Riverman has combined a touchscreen-friendly brawler with an idle clicker, all set in an absurd universe full of things like wolves wearing Guy Fieri shirts, and featuring a distinctive art and animation style. It's an amazing game, and you need to play it...

Has iOS been around long enough now to start talking about some of its earlier releases as classics? If so, Redshift's early 2009 port of their Pocket PC RPG The Quest [$4.99] surely must qualify. The initial release alone offered dozens of hours of exploration, solving quests, navigating treacherous dungeons, and battling deadly creatures. If that wasn't enough to slake your thirst for adventure, the game also received 16 expansions, each one giving you another 30+ hours of fun. The Quest in its entirety is likely one of the biggest RPGs on the App Store, and it's just as much fun today as it was several years ago. In short, this is the kind of game that is worth preserving and curating as our young branch of the hobby continues to grow. With that in mind, it's scary how close we came to losing it recently...

Amazon's been bringing over several of their mobile games to iOS now, and Tales from Deep Space [$3.99] is their latest and their best. It took some time to make the leap from the Kindle Fire tablets, unlike Lost Within [$5.99] and Til Morning's Light [$5.99] which launched simultaneously on both Fire OS and iOS. This is a puzzle-platformer where you control two characters, and it's got clever puzzles to play with, though the combat portions tend and clumsy controls do drag the experience down a bit...

The Quadsphere's latest game, Icarus-X: Tides of Fire [$2.99] comes out firing with a great idea: combine a bullet-hell shoot 'em up with the loot systems seen in modern RPGs. You play levels, and can get new weapons and shields to do more damage and deal with enemy threats more effectively. You can also level up, applying points to a skill tree. It's an idea that really works for the game, and is a cool fusion of two notable genres into one package. The problem is that the game tries to stretch a limited amount of content into a full game, and it grows tiring quite quickly...

I start this review of Til Morning's Light [$5.99] off with a treatise on WayForward Technologies, the developer of Til Morning's Light. They are, to me, a solid B-grade developer. They make games that are usually good to decent; I don't know if they have any truly great ones on their resume. I'd say their best game is probably the original Shantae, which I actually own the original cartridge of. Regardless, they're a developer that you should generally get reasonably excited for when they get to work on a licensed project, because it means that it's probably not going to suck. Well, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW was not good, but I think that might have just been them going outside of their comfort range, not knowing what makes a dungeon crawler great, or maybe that game needed more than a year of development. But hey, at least the two Zelda-aping Adventure Time games they did weren't bad! And Double Dragon Neon is a solid beat 'em up. ..

Poor old Sonic The Hedgehog. He's been celebrating his 24th birthday recently, and to commemorate the occasion, SEGA has baked him a moist, delicious cake and topped it with inedible sludge. Sonic Runners [Free] has finally come out of its soft launch, and it's unfortunately still plagued with all of the problems it suffered from right from the very moment it set foot on the Japanese App Store. That this particular mixed bag comes from Sonic Team themselves is hardly surprising when you break down exactly what's wrong and right with it. Is it salvageable? Absolutely. Will it be? I wish I could say...

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$9.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

The Harmony series knows what it is and is quite comfortable in its skin. That might be one of its better qualities overall. The games use a basic, simple-to-understand mechanic to set up increasingly devious puzzles, trying to wind you up more and more. While the games work hard to frustrate you in that respect, the most relaxing, gorgeous music plays in the background, making it nearly impossible not to chill out. This odd discord makes for a compelling combination of flavors, and each installment simply drops another few scoops on your plate. Harmony 3 [$2.99] follows the pattern to a tee, which makes this an awfully short review if you've played a game in the series before. Did you like it, and want more? Buy this one, you won't be disappointed. Did you dislike it or become tired of its bag of tricks? Then you won't find anything to grab you here...

Just over a month ago, prolific gamebook publisher Tin Man Games released the latest in their in-house Gamebook Adventures series, Gamebook Adventures 10: Lords Of Nurroth. It had been a long time coming, with Tin Man releasing all kinds of great stuff in the interim. I enjoyed the game quite a bit in my review. But even I have to admit, although each book is designed to stand on their own, there's a certain appeal to diving into a world's lore hard, and doing that with a gamebook series ten installments deep can be intimidating to the pocketbook, bundle or no...

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