Category Archives: $0.99

'Monkeyrama' Review - We’re Just Tryin’ To Be Friendly

Shortly before iOS took over my life, one of my favorite games was Boom Blox on the Wii. It was the brainchild of a little known game designer by the name of Steven Spielberg (who also dabbles in film, I’m told), and it was absurdly fun. There’s something about huge explosions and large structures toppling over that delights the eight year old boy in me, and Boom Blox (and especially it’s sequel, Bash Party) took over my free time for countless weeks. Ever since those days I’ve been yearning for something like that on mobile, and while there have been a couple physics-based games that provide a similar feeling (my favorite being Turbo Dismount [Free]), none have quite captured the floaty, block-on-block destruction I’ve craved since 2009. [Dramatic pause.] ...That is, until now...

I've always felt the best action games have a certain underlying rhythm to them. In those games, levels are designed in such a way that the skilled player rarely has to stop, a sort of drumbeat of attack, jump, dash, and whatever other moves are in the character's repertoire. Auto-runners pull back the curtain entirely, particularly the ones that have pre-designed levels. You have no choice but to move forward, and if you can't keep the beat, the beat will beat you. There's a purity to that concept that works well, so well that even mighty Mario has included the odd auto-run stage or two in his latest adventures. The more precisely the player has to match the designer's beat, the more difficult the game becomes. Many games of this sort use a gentle curve to slowly nudge the player's skill up bit by bit. Then there are games like Jump Jack [$0.99]...




'Hocus' Review - They're Illusions, Michael

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October 8th, 2015 11:28 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Games, Maze, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

When I was a kid my dad taught me how to draw a Penrose triangle, which is regarded as one of the purest example of an impossible object. I drew it on everything, and my poor teachers at the time probably thought my family was part of some secret order or something. I just find the shape kind of fascinating since it forces your brain to reset itself depending on where you’re looking. Also, isn’t it slightly mind blowing that in order to depict an object too complicated to exist in three dimensional space, you have to dumb it down to a flat plane? Maybe “too complicated” isn’t the right way to describe it (indeed, the fact that it’s missing a dimension is precisely what allows the illusion to work), but there’s still something rather enigmatic about impossible shapes. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, since there are quite a few games that use the idea as the basis for mind warping puzzles. Like Hocus [$0.99], for example...

One of my favorite games growing up was The Incredible Machine. While the IP has been sadly dragged through the mud in recent years, it was once a work of art, tricking kids everywhere into partaking in what was essentially edutainment. The concept was clear -- simply get an object to its goal while using any number of over-the-top machines.  They were Rube Goldberg machines through and through, and taxed your brain just as often as they put a smile on your face. The Sequence [$0.99] is a bit more muted, but it's the same principle...

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

'Cavernaut' Review - The Eagle Has Landed

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September 29th, 2015 10:59 AM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4.5 stars, Arcade, Cave-Flyer, Games, Retro, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I had several moments while playing EinheitB's Cavernaut [$1.99] where I thought to myself, "This is exactly why I love mobile." It's a game that's probably not going to change the world, but that's okay. It's just a great, tight little experience that could really only exist on this platform...

It seems like gore sells on the App Store recently, doesn't it? Take Happy Wheels, the challenging platformer that was a surprising hit on the App Store partly because of the wonderful explosions of bones and blood that accompany each of your (frequent) failings. If you think about it, we are extremely used to death in our games (Mario doesn't bounce back when he falls off a platform - he meets an untimely, violent death), but those deaths are often bloodless, a sanitized failure that makes a game suitable for all ages while still retaining the mechanic of dying equals losing. Cute Things Dying Violently [$0.99], ApathyWorks' recent iOS port of its Xbox Live Indie Games hit, declares from as early as the title that gore is central in this puzzle-platformer game, but one shouldn't think that CTDV is all about the gore...

Ravenous Games has been around iOS for a long time. League of Evil [$2.99] was one of the first platformers on the App Store that actually worked, and it quickly became one of my favorite iPhone games. The controls were shockingly responsive (for the time), and speedrunning each level for leaderboard supremacy wasn't just doable, it was actually really fun. Of course, these days there are hundreds of platformers on the App Store and it seems the genre has come a long way since LoE took over my iDevice all those years ago. Unfortunately, though, in a lot of ways Ravenous's own games (which seem to make up about half of all the platformers on iOS) haven't changed with the times...

'Beat da Beat' Review - Dubstep 'em up

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September 17th, 2015 10:12 AM EST by Chris Carter in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

Another day, another shooter on iOS. The genre is thriving, and I can't get enough of it! This time around, Beat da Beat [$0.99] means business, despite the fact that it suffers from a lack of variety. You know a game is serious when it gives you both an epilepsy warning and a headphone suggestion at the start...

Tree Men Games' Pako [$0.99] has turned out to be a fun and wacky little car chase game – which is good, because they bill it as a Car Chase Simulator – and they've delivered a massive number of post-release content updates. But this latest update, releasing on Thursday, is perhaps the most unique yet. Pako is getting an optional chase camera mode, so you can see from behind the car:..

A couple of months back, I reviewed a unique little game called Trappy Tomb [Free], a game that had you running and jumping through a deadly tomb, grabbing treasure and trying to stay alive. Its most interesting feature was what it referred to as 'mingleplayer', where you would see the ghosts of tons of other players running along with you. It not only made score-chasing feel more exciting, it could also clue you into any cleverly hidden secrets someone had uncovered. Of course, there were also lessons to learn about the dangers of herd mentality. The developer of that game is back with his next title, MiniGolf Endless MMO [Free], and though it's in a completely different genre, it retains a similar gimmick...

I've said it many times before, but it's a great era for shoot 'em ups. The ease of development for the mobile platform has allowed for so many classics to arrive overseas, as well as a number of other excellent, original works. Coming off of the high of Operation Dracula I was pretty excited to give Lightning Duru [$0.99] a shot, but came away less than impressed...

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...

Glitchsoft's Uncanny X-Men: Days Of Future Past [$0.99] is a decent side-scrolling action game that layers on some excellent X-Men fan service. I enjoyed it well enough in my review, though I found the fighting mechanics to be on the repetitive side and the jumping to be a bit dodgy. Since then, the game has received a few updates, adding additional playable characters, improved control schemes, and lots of valuable bug fixes. It's been more than a year since the last one, but a brand new update for the game just hit, and to go along with it, the game's price has dropped from its regular $4.99 to a mere $0.99...

'Engines of Vengeance' Review - Heavy Metal

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August 11th, 2015 4:14 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3.5 stars, Fighting, Games, Reviews, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

I’m not sure what it is about iOS games and metal bands, but they seem to go together well. Take Hail to the King: Deathbat [$4.99], for example. The hack ‘n’ slash gameplay paired pretty perfectly with the music (and personality) of the band Avenged Sevenfold, and we even gave it a pretty favorable review at the time. Another example is… um. Okay, I could only think of one. But there’s just something about the gritty, messy nature of rock & roll that seems to translate well to tiny little taped-together indie games. Wait! Here’s another example: Engines of Vengeance [$0.99] by Serdar Balli. (And just in the nick of time. This review was going nowhere.)..

'You Against Me' Review - Not the Punk Rock Band

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August 4th, 2015 12:00 PM EST by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 4 stars, Card, Games, Reviews, Strategy, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

In some ways, Easy 8's You Against Me [$0.99] is an unwitting argument in favor of going free-to-play. The game is a measly 99 cents, which means you could go to a Dollar Tree, buy a single item (an incredibly uncomfortable roll of toilet paper, perhaps), and have spent more money. And yet, it seems very few people have been willing to download the game. I mean, why would you? Angry Flippin’ Birds 2 [Free] came out the same week and is cheaper than You Against Me AND toilet paper. It’s unfortunate, too, because the main draw of the game is its online multiplayer mode. I’ve been trying to find matches the past few days, but it takes an agonizingly long time to find someone else who had 99 cents to spare...

One of my absolute favorite high-score chasing games is Pako - Car Chase Simulator [$0.99] from Tree Men Games. Released in August of last year, Pako sets you loose in a variety of different environments and in a variety of different vehicles with one main goal in mind: don't get caught! Your brakes are on the fritz and the cops are chasing you, so you must dodge obstacles at all cost and you're score is based on the amount of time you can survive in each level before inevitably crashing into something. It's stupid amounts of fun, and Tree Men have done an excellent job of adding new content to the game since its release last year...

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. ..

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...

FireWhip [$0.99] is a perfect example of a game that shows that you shouldn't just judge a book by its cover, but if the book is good, having a rad cover sure helps! This is a unique high-score chaser that puts work in to feel like a standout experience. FireWhip delivers exactly what it its title promises, as it has you swinging a whip made of flames, trying to fend off enemies that want to get to you. You have to swing the whip around to make it large and fast enough to hit oncoming enemies, but some of the base enemies are cowards – literally, they're called cowards – and will shy away. The enemies that come at you directly? They have shields, come in large numbers, or attack really quickly. And if you swing your whip too fast, it flames out, and that's not going to be any good for you...

I reviewed the fascinating Last Voyage [$1.99] by Semidome back in April, and the developer has just decided to double the number of chapters in this abstract game. It's still something that defies any sort of genre classification, as it goes through multiple genres, and this update introduces a number of new game mechanics, like tilt-based puzzles to try and solve, or even to just sit back and experience. The whole thing still doesn't make much sense, but it's still really pretty. And hey, there's new music, checkpoints, and achievements to get...

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