Category Archives: Prices

I often find myself into a bit of a bind when I review a game that's well done in terms of design but also has major technical issues. How do you separate the plot and design ideas in the first episode of BATMAN - The Telltale Series [$4.99] from the engine's obvious shortcomings that make the game almost unplayable on all but the latest iOS devices? I've been playing the game on my iPhone 7 and even though I got some relatively long load times here and there, overall the experience was relatively fine (minus some typos, blurry text in the Codex, and graphical glitches). However, when I tried playing it on my iPad Air, I couldn't enjoy the game because the minutes-long load times really messed with the flow of the story (it's like watching a movie with long commercial breaks)...

We've seen quite a few celebrity-based games in recent years, from Kim Kardashian: Hollywood to Katy Perry Pop and Britney Spears: American Dream, and all of them were nothing but the same mechanics dressed in each celebrity's brand. Nicki Minaj: The Empire [Free] has joined the party of celebrity games, but this time around there's a new addition to the formula and one appropriate for a game based on a singer; you can actually sing and record your voice. Now, whether that's a good thing, only your shower knows. The game comes with quite a few beats - some free and some cost in-game money - and you can use those beats to record your own rap. There's a Beatbook (think Facebook) that lets you store your own verses and hear other player's raps. And apparently Nicki Minaj will be giving shout-outs on the best raps of the month...




As promised last month, developer Firi Games have released a huge version 2.0 update to their fantastic vertical shooter Phoenix II [Free]. The biggest change in this update is a new League system which will move players up and down in various levels of leagues based on how they perform in each day's mission. So, if you found the game pretty difficult you'll likely stick around in the lower leagues and get daily missions that are a bit easier. If you're quite proficient at the game, you'll rise up the league ranks and get daily missions that are increasingly harder. It's a smart system that should hopefully cater to a wider level of gamers than the original release...

Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest [Free], the most fun you can have with Magic cards on iOS, is celebrating its one year anniversary in a couple of days, so the game's getting a big update that includes 184 cards from the Kaladesh set, Magic's latest card set. Kaladesh is a really cool card set that includes vehicles, huge constructs, and all kinds of other cards not usually seen in Magic. The set comes with 4 new mechanics: Energize, Overload, Fabricate, and Crew. You can read all about those mechanics in detail here. If you want to check out all the Kaladesh cards coming to the game, go here...

I think it's fair to say base builders is one of the most popular genres on the App Store, so there's no shortage for players trying to get into one of them. Natural Motion's Dawn of Titans [Free] - which is out in the US today - is definitely a base builder, but it stands apart from most others for a few reasons. Firstly, the game's visuals are second to none in the genre, with great character and building design and a fully 3D fantasy world. The other feature that makes the game worth playing is the real-time battle control, which has you fighting the enemy in a manner similar to Total War games - although simplified, of course...

While the music/rhythm genre has become somewhat stagnant on consoles, it’s been alive and well on mobile with ports of classics along with new twists to enjoy. Still, it’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed a tried and true classic take on the rhythm genre. Pianista [Free] is an excellent new title that offers that exact experience with the added benefit of a treasure trove of classical music. In fact, when you combine the well-designed rhythm system with an interesting freemium system, there’s really no reason not to at least check it out...

This week's Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl is a deathrattle blast from the past. We first got Double Deathrattler Battler more than a year ago, and now it's here again. As you can guess from the title, in this brawl any deathrattle minion triggers twice, which is the path for all kinds of crazy shenanigans. You get to create your own deck this week, which was a slightly sore spot for many F2P players last time around because the best deathratttle minions came from Curse of Naxxramas, so those who lack that adventure are at a disadvantage this time around. Still, there are decks you can make that don't use too many Naxx cards...

We're now a week into December, which brings with it a whole host of wacky and wonderful things you just wouldn't see at any other time of the year. Firstly, an overabundance of decorative lights on virtually every surface. Secondly, cats around the globe endeavouring to pull down any festive tree within jumping distance. However, most importantly for iOS gamers are the various Christmas updates for many of the most beloved titles on the App Store, and while normally mere cosmetic differences, such additions serve as a fitting excuse to revisit some releases that may have been overshadowed somewhat since launch. High Risers [Free] is one such game, and has today received a new Santa Claus and North Pole themed update which should help shake up Kumobius's latest immensely compelling high score jumping game...

While rumours persist about some upcoming major changes to Pokemon GO [Free] - including the introduction of the 100 new second generation creatures and a massive promotion with coffee chain Starbucks - the most recent update to the game is, fitting with Pokemon as a whole, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In the 1.19.1 patch that launched for both Android and iOS this morning, Niantic have focused on quality of life enhancements that should streamline some of the more tedious processes to the game, most notably being the ability to finally transfer more than one Pokemon at a time to Professor Willow. While such features have been a long time coming, it's great to finally see them implemented, and are one step closer to the perfect game that Niantic envisioned prior to Pokemon GO's relatively turbulent launch period...

Well, it looks like this week is the Pokemon GO [Free] week. We've already talked about the apparent Starbucks-Pokemon GO promotion, and now Sprint has announced that tomorrow at 8:30AM PST it will hold a joint press conference with Niantic to discuss some news related to the mobile carrier and the game everyone loved and now love to pretend to hate. Sprint's Chief Executive, Marcelo Claure, and Niantic's Chief Executive, John Hanke, will be at the news conference, so I'm guessing this announcement should be relatively big. I have a hunch we'll be getting more Pokemon GO news this December...

Punch Club [$4.99] made quite a splash when it came out partly because of how well it captured a long-gone era (sorry guys, the 80s are ancient history now) while still managing to modernize the tycoon-genre gameplay. We liked it quite a bit in our review, and I personally really enjoyed the pixel art that looked like a refined (but not too much) version of games like Double Dragon. An article by the developer's art director published yesterday goes into the art process in depth. He talks about how the artwork is drawn and then scaled, and how the scenes are created in terms of making sure the geometry works well...

We've been hearing rumors of more Pokemon and more Pokemon GO [Free] features coming our way, so add the following story to that list. Apparently, Starbucks employees have spotted a new Pokemon GO promo that points to new Pokemon coming as well as some other promotions. According to the rumor, beginning December 8th almost all Starbucks locations in the US will become Pokestops or Gyms, and we don't know whether this change will be permanent or temporary. While the leaked document doesn't mention new Pokemon, it does seem probable that such a promotion will coincide with the much-awaited influx of the next 100 Pokemon...

Happymagenta are one of my favorite mobile developers, as their relatively simple experiences are always incredibly well done, and perfectly suited to gaming on the go. Tomb of the Mask [Free] is a particular highlight, as its mix of Pac Man and The Last Rocket [$1.99] was impossible to put down, and the perpetual quest to improve on your previous best run was ridiculously compelling. However, while such endless high score hijinks are always a lot of fun, anyone wanting a more substantial level-based campaign will be delighted to hear that the developers have today added a whole new story mode, which features sixty specialised stages that will truly put your Tomb of the Mask skills to the test...

While it may seem a little dated nowadays with the fast paced technological advancements that are one of the defining attributes of iOS devices, the original Aralon: Sword and Shadow [$4.99] was one of the most noteworthy releases on the App Store, and for good reason. After an age of excited speculation on the upcoming forum thread, the game launched to universal critical acclaim in late 2010 for its ambition, scale, and graphical fidelity which was unprecedented in the early years of the App Store. The 2015 sequel titled Aralon: Forge and Flame [$2.99] may have not been as groundbreaking or revolutionary as the original, but still managed to further refine the formula that was so well received back in the day, resulting in an essential App Store release for anyone looking for their Elder Scrolls-esque RPG fix on mobile devices. In the near future, Galoobeth and Crescent Moon Games are planning on releasing a brand new content update for Aralon: Forge and Flame, with a whole new dungeon as well as some other enhancements that should give fans who have completed the campaign even more adventuring to do on the go...

Crashlands [$4.99] kicked off 2016 with a bang (or, if you'd prefer, a crash) when it launched back in January, and with its incredible attention to detail and interesting amalgamation of action RPG and crafting action, Crashlands is a sure-fire contender for any impending Game of the Year compilations. While the original launch iteration was already outstanding, developers Butterscotch Shenanigans have continued to strive to make the game even better through successive updates that have fixed numerous minor niggles as well as add more substantial features. Today, Crashlands has received arguably its biggest update yet - the Juicemancy 1.2 patch brings with it some major gameplay mechanics as well as support for Bluetooth controllers, which is a suitable excuse for any fans to revisit the game, and a compelling reason for anyone who missed out on Crashlands first time around to experience a true iOS classic...

If you had told me five years ago that slingshot RPGs were going to become a thing, I'd have been happy to hear of a future where Squids [$1.99] was so influential. Of course, Squids isn't what really kicked off this craze. No, the current wave of flick-and-flail casual RPGs that are cropping up can be laid at the feet of Monster Strike [Free]. It's only natural a hit of that magnitude would inspire similar games, but it's impressive just how sophisticated some of them are becoming. Gamevil's entry into the proverbial arena is Knight Slinger [Free], and it might just have the best production values of any game like this yet. In terms of gameplay mechanics, it doesn't mix things up too much, but there are some new things here that veterans of Monster Strike might like to play around with...

A few days ago, I wrote about the upcoming Pianista [Free], the Guitar Hero-like rhythm game that has you playing classical music instead of rock. Well, the game is now available worldwide, so if classical music is your thing, jump on it. Pianista can be played with two thumbs - so no weird finger gymnastics - and you hit the notes as they roll your way. You have the usual note sustain and finger dragging to quickly get to the notes, and every time you miss a note, your life gauge decreases. Miss enough notes, and you die poor in an attic or basement like some of the classical music composers...

Shadowverse [Free] is one of the many CCGs that have popped up on the App Store recently but is one of the few to actually get a foothold and a decent player base both on mobile and on PC. Now, the game is getting ready for its second expansion called Rise of Bahamut, and this one is bringing a few new mechanics to the game. The one is called Enhance. If you have enough play points, they're automatically spent to activate the Enhance abilities of a card when you play it from your hand. Clash is different and it activates whenever attacking or defending against an enemy follower. It does not activate when attacking the enemy leader, though...

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land [Free] is getting an exclusive character designed by The Talking Dead host and Nerdist chief executive owner, Chris Hardwick. The character is now available for free but only for a limited time. The character's name is Rufus and is inspired by Hardwick's great-grandfather Rufus Ellison Hardwick, who used a washer and dryer as a moonshine still. The Walking Dead Rufus is a solitary mountain man who's still making moonshine, although this time around the moonshine's used to make bottle bombs and take out the walkers. Fun idea, and it's always entertaining to see real-life characters become inspirations for game characters...

If you were an iOS-only gamer following Capcom's Ace Attorney series, things probably got a little confusing with Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies [$0.99]. Why did it seem like Phoenix Wright was coming back to his job from a long time off? Who is this Apollo guy that takes up a third of the game? Wait, Phoenix has a daughter? What's up with that? I'm not sure why Capcom decided to give mobile players the fifth game in a series before the fourth one, but they've finally decided to fill that gap. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney [$0.99] is a beautiful remaster of the original game which, up until now, was exclusively found on the Nintendo DS. While the graphics aren't polygonal like Dual Destinies, they were originally rendered at a much higher resolution than the Game Boy Advance sprites that were redrawn for the Phoenix Wright Trilogy. It's also, for various reasons, generally not as well-liked as most of the other installments in the series. Nevertheless, it's safe to say that if you enjoyed your time in the courtroom in previous Ace Attorney games, you'll want to show up to the stand here, too...

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