Category Archives: $1.99

I find myself skeptical of games where spinning around an object and launching off of it is the core gameplay mechanic. Part of it is because the games often make themselves harder than they need to be: angular momentum is a tough concept to grasp and to execute well in a game. Thankfully, Beyond Gravity [$0.99] manages to avoid this trap by making it as accessible as possible...

ZeMind Game Studio's Starborn Anarkist [$1.99] is a fantastic dual-stick space shooter that puts a huge emphasis on building and customizing your own ship. We really loved Starborn Anarkist when it released in early December of last year. But that was more than 7 months ago, an eternity in the world of iOS gaming, and Starborn Anarkist was in desperate need of some tweaks and fixes that had plagued an otherwise fantastic game. A week ago today we learned that the long-awaited update that ZeMind had been talking about for ages was finally submitted to Apple, and today I'm very happy to announce that the update is live in the App Store...

When I was younger and even less wise than I am now, I often wondered why there weren't more games like The Legend Of Zelda and Metroid. I mean, they were popular, almost everyone liked them, surely there was some gold in those hills, right? Later, when I actually started thinking about the design behind games, I realized that it's not that people didn't see profit or merit in those types of games, but rather it's that they're a colossal pain in the butt to put together. ..

Storm Casters [$1.99] from Get Set Games – yes, the Mega Jump [Free] people – is a fun little take on the hack 'n slash genre. It's essentially Gauntlet meets the cinema classic, Crank. Players have a limited amount of time to rush through levels with hordes of enemies, before the portal that warped them in closes. Thus, there's not much in the way of dawdling about in levels, as it's all about getting to the next room, fighting a boss, and going on before the timer runs out, collecting sweet loot upon the way to buy upgrades, so that the next run can progress further thanks to longer portal times, increased damages, and more potent card effects. And yes, there's a card system in the game, but it is shockingly non-onerous...

If you’re into water physics puzzlers, H2FLOW [$1.99] by Haptix Games is the latest entry into the mix. Differentiating itself from the rest of the pack is the fusion of a few elements from other genres, making it part-action, part-puzzler with water physics tying it all together. Alas, some significant issues with controls, combined with an exceptional emphasis on difficulty may take the game beyond the typical casual audience for such puzzlers. However, endure and you’re left with a satisfying, though challenging, experience...

Thanks to the relatively low barrier to entry, the App Store is filled with labors of love. Compared to most other times in gaming's fairly short history, it's less difficult to get a game together and out in front of the public's eyes, even if you have a small team and no budget, so it's no surprise we see a lot of people making homages to their childhood favorites or putting together something that approximates their dream game. Arcane Ghosts [$1.99] is one such labor of love, a letter written with care to express affection for the side-scrolling action games of old, with a particular eye towards Capcom's Ghosts 'n' Goblins series. That series is famous for a few things, but mainly for being a very frustrating game with unusual, yet tight, controls. Arcane Ghosts gets almost all of that right except the most important part...

'Tales of the Adventure Company' Review - A Fine Tale, Indeed

Seeing a remarkable resurgence on the App Store lately, developers seem to have flocked to the rogue-like to try and create the next cool simplified adventure. Tales of the Adventure Company [$1.99] tackles this trend in a different manner, by combining some of those rogue elements with a traditional, tile-based puzzler’s look and feel. It also succeeds at melding these genres to a degree far higher than most games, making it an excellent combination of puzzle and strategic depth...

Last week Zen Studios announced that a new pinball table starring Marvel's "Merc with a Mouth" Deadpool would be heading to the Zen Pinball [Free] and Marvel Pinball [$0.99] apps, and the update with that table is now officially live in the App Store. The Deadpool table clocks in at $1.99 and is a sufficiently fun pinball table in its own right, but the presence of Deadpool pushes it over the top. A tiny Deadpool runs amok around the table getting into all sorts of mischief, even playing on a tiny pinball table of his own at times (insert Inception joke here). Best of all are the constant quips by Deadpool that are fully voiced by Nolan North...

Free to play is one of the hottest topics in gaming, and especially in mobile gaming. At its best, the free to play system can offer a way for a game to reach a wide audience and allow those who enjoy the game to pay money into it only if they enjoy it, while avoiding the risk of buying a game up front that they end up not liking. At its worst, free to play can cause developers to design the mechanics of the game itself around the pay system in a way that pushes players to make purchases in the game in order to remove obtrusive paywalls or boring grinds. While I think most everyone will agree that there's a "right" way and a "wrong" way to do free to play, something that's equally important to consider is if the type of game being developed even fits the free to play style...

With as many puzzle-platformers as there are on iOS, a title really need to do something to earn some limelight. Crescent Moon Games' Twisty Planets [$1.99] earns its attention in a couple of ways. Its world-turning element is well done and certainly adds a different perspective to the genre. Meanwhile its variety in levels and emphasis on gradual difficulty give players motivation to continue playing. It all leads to a fun platformer worth enjoying...

'Doug Dug.' Review - Grab Your Shovel And Dig In!

For the life of me, I really don't understand why I find digging so much fun. Whether it's digging at the beach, at the park, in the shoe section of Walmart, or in a video game, I really seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of displacing soil. If you think I'm weird, think of all the awesome video games about digging: Dig Dug, Mr. Driller [$4.99], Super Mario Bros. 2, Minecraft [$6.99], and Steamworld Dig, just to name a few highlights. Now, I'll grant you that in some of those games, digging is just a portion of the game, but there are quite a few games that center around the idea. Doug Dug [$1.99], the new game from pixa [$2.99] developers The Electric Toy Company, is all about digging for treasure and the risk versus reward that presents itself from the concept...

Some puzzle games have such simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick them up and do fairly well without too much effort. Games like these usually rely on something external to the mechanics to add a greater challenge, such as a timer or giving you a penalty for making mistakes. Perfect Paths [$2.99], from Lums [$2.99] developer Hyperbolic Magnetism, is not one of those games. In the broad sense, the rules aren't that hard to understand. You've got a certain number of different colored blocks that each need to be moved to a matching-colored goal. You do this by drawing the paths each block should move, then press the button to execute your plan. If all goes well, you can enjoy watching each block make its way to its final location, all according to your brilliant strategy...

Fluid SE [$1.99] from Radiangames is perhaps the most hardcore of all of their releases on iOS. Granted, many of the dual-stick shooters like JoyJoy [$1.99] are very much games for core gamers, the ones who like intense action and watching things go boom, versus, say, SideSwype [$1.99] and its puzzle-y-ness. But no, Fluid SE is for the person who wants to repeat a challenge again and again, trying to shave fractions of a second off of their best times...

Rolling Zimro [$0.99] is an endless runner with a gimmick. Actually, it's an endless runner with two gimmicks, but one of them is just set dressing. First, and most obviously, this game has a big old coat of recreational drug culture paint covering it from head to toe. The main character is a thinly-veiled pot-farmer, some of the enemies look kind of like bongs, the name of the currency you're collecting is 'munchies', and most of the power-ups are drug references. That's going to be a selling point for some people and a turn-off for others, but personally, I'm kind of indifferent...

Pixel Cup Soccer [$1.99 / Free] is, for better or for worse, an arcade sports game using just two buttons, and one that revels in its inaccuracy to the real sport. Those expecting a version of FIFA 14 [Free] but with pixel art will be sorely disappointed. But as an arcade soccer game, it's charming and worth coming back to again and again...

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