Category Archives: Prices

'Pokémon Shuffle Mobile' Hits the App Store

The path for Pokémon Shuffle has been a windy one. Back in February of this year, Pokémon Shuffle released for the Nintendo 3DS. It was noteworthy for being one of the first really "free to play" free to play games on Nintendo's handheld, complete with energy systems and everything. Many saw that as the signal for the end of video games as we know them, but it turned out to not be so bad. The real problem was that Pokémon Shuffle's bite-sized gameplay wasn't particularly well-suited to the Nintendo 3DS, a platform that's definitely designed to be portable but typically isn't as conducive to killing quick bursts of free time as something like a smartphone. ..

Touchstone Tavern #14 - Your Weekly 'Hearthstone' News Roundup

And it's out, finally! As of last Monday, we've all started playing with Hearthstone's [Free] new toys, the 132-card The Grand Tournament expansion which has been welcomed by most players as it has given us new ways to play the game, new deck ideas to think about, and in general, made the game more fun. Now, I don't know whether TGT will radically change the meta or whether we'll just see a few cards fitting into existing decks; it's really too early to tell that because we'll need to wait until the dust settles and new decks are designed, put to the test, and seen how they fare. I'm hopeful that we won't go back to the Face Hunter domination of old, but I'm slightly worried that Patron Warrior decks will still dominate, especially if that Mr. Frothing Berserker doesn't get a nerf soon...




Way back in the before times, when I was a little fellow attending elementary school, I often found myself doodling on the paper in front of me. Well, to be honest, I did that in junior high school, high school, and university, too, but that's neither here nor there. The point is, my imagination wandered frequently, and conspired with my hand to try to keep the whole system from going to sleep. I feel like I drew all the standard things: dinosaurs, super heroes, video game characters, the screaming souls of the damned as they burned in searing agony for all eternity, fighter jets, ALF, and of course, space ship battles. I would doodle an assortment of ships on the left, another group on the right, then simulate their battles. Sentinel Command [$3.99 (HD)] reminds me of those hand-sketched battles, but with rules, challenge, and all kinds of good things like that...

tinyBuild Games' Divide by Sheep [$0.99] was definitely an interesting little puzzle game when it first released, straddling the line between being a casual math puzzler with a cute look, with challenging puzzles and a surprisingly-gory macabre theme. If you haven't checked this one out yet, and you've been meaning to, well, now's as good a time as ever, as the game has just gotten its 5th world in the latest update, along with a cool $0.99 sale price...

Did you miss Adventures of Pip [$9.99] when it was $4.99 at launch? Well, while I think the game is worth $14.99 since it's a good platformer and that's what the game is worth on other platforms, I'm here to tell you about an opportunity to both pay an above-average price for a mobile game and still get a discount. Because Adventures of Pip is in the PAX 10, the developers at Tic Toc Games have put the game on sale for $9.99 for the weekend. No one knows when the game will be on sale again, so if you want the game for less than $14.99...do it now...

Most puzzle games don't necessarily have an impactful message. I mean sure, some of them encourage critical thinking and educate youngsters, but you usually don't see anything meaningful in your puzzle soup. The Path to Luma [Free] switches that up a bit however, as the entire affair is sponsored by NRG (a clean energy company), and deals with themes such as solar and wind power. Thankfully, the actual game is pretty good, so the message doesn't fall on deaf ears...

TEKKEN Card Tournament [Free] was Bandai Namco's attempt to rethink the TEKKEN fighting games by turning the action fighting games into a card fighting game. Although not too many people talk about the game currently, it actually has great reviews on the App Store, so Bandai Namco's attempt was apparently well-executed. By making the game F2P with IAPs, Bandai Namco was probably hoping that TEKKEN Card Tournament would benefit from the popularity of its sister fighting game and become a strong source of revenue. Alas, as a VentureBeat article points out, that was not to be. TEKKEN Card Tournament, which went live in 2013, has broken into the 1000 highest-grossing iPhone apps only in eight countries, none of them countries with big spenders. Therefore, Bandai Namco decided to reach over into the physical world to summon some help for its card battler...

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK's independent regulator for advertising across all media, has recently taken an interesting stance on some F2P tactics when it ruled that the way some F2P games directly pressure children to make in-game purchases is wrong. While the actual ruling is specifically against Bin Weevils and Moshi Monsters, which are primarily browser games but with plenty of mobile offshoots, the ASA ruling refers to IAPs in general. For ASA, the first issue with these games was how they hid certain additional benefits behind a paid-membership system. Players were constantly pushed towards membership-only benefits and were put in situations where when they lost in a minigame with limited attempts, they were prompted to buy more "lives" by becoming a member...

Both 'Minecraft: Story Mode' and 0.12 Update For 'Minecraft: Pocket Edition' Drawing Closer To Release

It looks like a good Minecraft news week all around. First, we got the tweet below from Minecraft: Pocket Edition [$6.99] developer Tommaso Checchi, who pretty much called the Beta season for update 0.12 over. If you haven't been following MCPE's development, every new update usually goes through weeks-long beta testing on the Android side of things before popping up on the App Store once finished. Once the beta testing is over, it usually takes very little time for the update to appear on the App Store, so hopefully we should be getting the 0.12 update on iOS soon. If you don't know anything about the 0.12 update, MCPE is about to get a huge overhaul as it's gradually brought to parity with the PC version...

'Horizon Chase' Review - What's Old is New Again

Aquiris Game Studio was on a mission with Horizon Chase [$2.99]. They wanted to recreate classic racing games like Outrun, Top Gear, Jaguar XJ220, and others from the late-1980s and early-1990s, even getting the Top Gear composer, Barry Leitch, to create the soundtrack for the game. And oh, did they knock it out of the park. They've created a game that spectacularly recreates the feel of the racing games of 25 years ago, while abandoning the annoying aspects of those games, creating this wonderful hybrid that shows that they managed to create their dream game...

Lots of drama with developer Machine Zone recently, and this last one is an interesting one. Machine Zone is the developer of Game of War: Fire Age [Free], currently the Top Grossing Game on the App Store. So, the company isn't poor. According to a story in The Verge, a Machine Zone employee was intercepted by FBI agents as he was boarding a plane to Beijing for allegedly stealing trade secrets from the company. Apparently, the employee was unhappy with his position in Machine Zone and decided to download data to use as a bargaining chip in an attempt to get more money. What makes the story interesting is the type of data this employee stole, data that was so important that FBI got involved; it wasn't anything to do with the game's code or the company's structure, but, rather, information about player behavior, including how users spend money in the game. The breach didn't include any credit card information or the like, simply information about players' in-game habits and behavior...

When you sit down to write a review of the mobile port of an older PC game, it can get tricky. As times change, so does the context in which we view different games, and playing the 2004 PC Game Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 (RCT 3) [$4.99] on my iPad and iPhone in 2015 is definitely an interesting, and quite new, experience in itself. Add to that my sense of nostalgia when playing games I used to play back in the day when they came out (although when it came to management games, I was more into the older Theme Hospital than the RollerCoaster Tycoon games), and reviewing a game like RCT 3 becomes an interesting exercise in detachment; I have to make sure I review what I see and play rather than what I remember...

While paid games are certainly not the way to make money on mobile, there's still hope for deelopers looking to, you know, sell a game up front. The developers of Prune [$3.99] have reported that they've sold over 100,000 copies since release – and at $3.99 per copy (before Apple's 30% cut), that's a great performance for a small indie team of two people that worked on the game. Certainly, it's a positive sign for paid games...

iOS Classic 'Badland' Getting Level Editor Soon, Beta Testing Starts Today

Back in April of 2013, developer Frogmind released Badland [$3.99] into the App Store, and I don't think anyone at the time could have imagined how much it would evolve over the years. The release version of Badland had a striking visual style, and more importantly it had compelling gameplay that worked beautifully with simple tap controls, which is imperative for a successful iOS game. But the real magic has come since that release, as Frogmind has been incredibly dedicated to furthering Badland and it stands as one of the most updated games in the history of iOS. Tons of additional levels, multiplayer modes, missions, achievements, and much more. Today, Frogmind has unveiled perhaps the biggest update for Badland yet, as they're prepping a brand new level editor for the game. This trailer shows it in action, and it looks really cool...

Looking past Mobius Of Magic [$2.99] 's lifting of Final Fantasy's mage designs, there's a somewhat creative idea at its core. Battles play out as duels between magic users, and in this game the best offense is a good defense. You can block most incoming attacks by swiping in the direction it's coming from, and in doing so, not only does it nullify most of the damage, but it also charges up your mana so that you can deliver stronger counter-attacks. Thus, battles are enjoyably fast-paced affairs where you need to pay careful attention to your foe and react quickly and precisely. It makes a valiant go of building a game around that interesting mechanic, but it ultimately doesn't quite manage to take things much farther than what you'll see in the earliest combats...

Do you hate "pay-to-win" free-to-play games? Is the idea of ever spending any chunk of money in a game offensive to the very fiber of your being? Well, you might not like Monsters Ate My Metropolis. [Free] But if you've got a nuanced opinion about free-to-play games, then you might just enjoy Monsters Ate My Metropolis...

Did anybody around here play DrawQuest? It was kind of like Draw Something [Free] but without the pesky game parts getting in the way. Each day you’d be tasked with a new quest (something like “Who crossed the road?” or “Publish a novel”), and you had to make a drawing based on it. You’d earn coins if other users liked your work, and it was incredibly satisfying to craft the perfect picture and have it rewarded with heaps of adoration and fake money. Furthermore, perusing other people’s drawings could be just as much fun (if not more so) than making your own, and the creativity on display could be truly astonishing at times. It was eventually shut down and removed from the App Store when it failed to turn a profit, which unfortunately is not an uncommon tale. The good news, though, is that iOS basically sees an unlimited supply of new games week after week and odds are something else will come along that can scratch the same itch...

Fancy Force's gory physics-based trials game Happy Wheels [Free] took the iOS world by storm last week when it arrived on the App Store and quickly shot up to the top position in the free games chart. Happy Wheels was originally released as a Flash game way back in 2010, and has grown by leaps and bounds in the years since. With a cast of ridiculous playable characters and vehicles, as well as a community-driven level-creator which has over 6 million user-created levels, Happy Wheels has been a huge success in the world of browser games. Which makes me feel sort of silly that I'd never even heard of it before it popped up on iOS last week. Hey I'm old, I don't know what these crazy kids are into nowadays. ..

One of the most curiously popular genres to emerge in the past few years is the clicker genre. Stripping nearly all the fluff away from most progression-based systems in games, clickers have distilled the satisfaction of watching progress bars increase into bite-sized, single-tap experiences. They're silly, sure, but also strangely satisfying. Clickers aren't for everyone though, and to some the passiveness of it all just isn't enough to get their juices flowing. That's why I really took a shining to Tap Quest [Free], which released a month ago from Nanoo Company...

'Final Fantasy 7' Review - Square Enix's Classic, With A Few Clouds In The Sky

With the exception of some of Nintendo's Pokemon games, there is no Japanese RPG more famous and high-selling than Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. That might be the only non-controversial thing a person could say about the game. It's the JRPG's Star Wars, a game that changed the course of the genre in many ways. It proved there was an audience for RPGs in the Western market, but it was also a bold statement for consoles adopting optical media and perhaps even Sony's entire mission with the PlayStation. Here is the future, its commercials screamed, and though they were pretty deceitful in one way, those commercials helped pave a new road for console gaming's future. For many people it was their first JRPG love, and the passion it drove in its fanbase pushed Square into the limelight worldwide to the extent that they could push a ridiculously-budgeted CG movie into wide theatrical release. It spawned spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and merchandise galore. And now, in 2015, you can play it on the phone you keep in your pocket...

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