Category Archives: $1.99

Satellina [$1.99] tries to apply a minimalist veneer and an arena-survival touch to the speedrun genre, and while its challenges are small in nature, there's fun to be had here. The goal is to move your X avatar around an arena full of green, yellow, and red particles. The green particles are the ones you must collect, with the yellow and red ones killing you, and forcing you to start the level over. However, those yellow particles turn green once all the green ones are collected, and the red ones turn yellow, and so on. The game is structured with 10 different sets of 5 levels, where you must try to beat the set as quickly as possible. As a completion game, it's not much, as everything can be tackled through sheer force of will, so this is primarily for speedrun fanatics. There is a clever progression structure where multiple level paths open up as you complete different level sets...

'Lowlander' Review - More Highs Than Lows

Of all of the Ultima games you would expect someone to want to make a tribute to, Ultima 2 has got to be near the bottom of the list. Oh, it's no Ultima 9, to be sure, but I've always seen it as the little road bump on the way to Ultima 3 and 4 more fully realizing the concept of the series. It's a familiar story for sequels, I suppose, but by playing things a bit too safely, it had to succeed without the novelty of the original game and all of its faults. It was still a pretty good game in its time, but relative to the series on the whole, I think it's kind of underwhelming. I'm sure a whole list of people might disagree with that, and at least one of the names on the list would be the developer behind Lowlander [$1.99]...

There's no two ways about it, sometimes an RPG fan just gets the urge to play a good, classic CRPG. While iOS offers plenty of options for the gamer who wants to revisit 90s CRPGs or early roguelikes, adventures that recapture the 1980s era of Ultima and the SSI gold box games are a bit harder to come by. Fortunately, we've seen a few developers try to fill the gap in recent times, and one such game is the iPad-only Dungeons Of Chaos [Free (HD) / $1.99 (HD)]. While it doesn't quite have the scope of some of the great games of old, it's certainly got the feeling down pat. For many, that might be a turn-off, but for some of you, and you probably know who you are, you're going to find this one hard to put down until you've finished it...

One of the cooler games in the history of the App Store era of mobile gaming was 1-bit Ninja [$2.99], it being a platformer with a couple of neat twists: you could only move in one direction, generally forward; you could also shift the perspective of the screen to see ahead and to find where obstructions were actually background objects. It was a remarkably clever game, and one that is still fantastic today thanks to its recent update making it work on modern devices. 1-bit Ninja Remix Rush [$1.99] uses many of the same principles as that game, but with a new endless structure, that manages to be a great way to check this out for the first time, or as a way for people familiar with the original to get a fresh experience...

I love platformers, and there are tons of great ones on iOS in all shapes and sizes. One of my very favorite "Mario-like" platformers is Wonderworks' Bloo Kid 2 [Free], which I picked as one of my personal favorite games of 2014. It's colorful, well-designed, and the running and jumping physics feel fantastic. Today a new update has made the game even better by adding in a new fifth world with 9 new levels, a new "Nightmare" difficulty and two new game modes. The new modes are Time Attack and Boss Rush, and they'll unlock along with the new difficulty option once you've beaten the normal Story Mode once. Here's the game's launch trailer...

There are lots of different reasons that a person might enjoy an RPG, from the story to the battle system to exploration, but I think the one aspect that speaks to just about everyone is seeing numbers go up. It's such an appealing element of RPGs that it's been wholesale lifted by other genres over the last several years to massive success. Some games have even gone as far as to ditch everything else, allowing you to mindlessly tap away to see your numbers go up. Templar Infinite Crusade [$1.99] doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly in the neighborhood. It looks like the dog's breakfast, it's so random that you'll need as much luck as strategy to survive, and yet, there's a certain basic appeal to the game that might get its hooks into you if you give it a shot...

'Drop Wizard' Review - Here Comes the Drop

I absolutely love Neutronized's pixel art stylings. They added a lot of flair to their previous games Roar Rampage [$0.99] and Lost Yeti [$1.99], though both were darn good games in their own rights. Now they've returned with another pixelly game, and one that pays homage to single-screen arcade classics like Bubble Bobble with Drop Wizard [$1.99]. It's definitely a game that's paying homage to the classics, and feels like it'd be a great fit in an arcade cabinet from 25 years ago or so. But Neutronized don't just rest on their laurels with the retro homage, they actually make a game that's remarkably clever in and of itself...

Lately it seems like tons of classic iOS games are getting new life with modern updates, and the latest is Critical Thought Games' tower defense title geoDefense [$1.99]. This update was announced in mid-December, and in fact it just barely beat the clock and arrived just before the end of 2014. The update adds native support for all the various iPhone screens as well as support for iOS 8, which had previously rendered the game completely broken. The update also removes OpenFeint, which died a long time ago, and replaces it with Game Center for online leaderboards...

In True Axis' fantastic skateboard simulator True Skate [$1.99], manuals (or wheelies to the layman) were always possible to do, but they were sort of finicky. In an update in late November, True Axis greatly improved the way manuals worked, adding a whole new dimension to the game. Our resident True Skate master, forum member totallymichael, made a new video showcasing all the possibilities that the revamped manual system allows. Check out the vid, and maybe even watch it a couple of times to fully comprehend all the crazy tricks he pulls off...

Endless runners are a dime a dozen on the App Store, but there's one that's unique enough that it's been holding my attention ever since it released in late September. That game is Jack B. Nimble [$1.99] from indie developer Sean Noonan. Obviously it's an auto-runner where the speed gradually increases as you jump from platform to platform and try to avoid falling to your death, but it adds a clever Castlevania-inspired whipping mechanic into the mix which also has you trying to whip candlesticks to increase your score multiplier while simultaneously avoiding falling to your death. The added mechanic adds an extra layer of franticness and a risk/reward proposition as sometimes going for those candlesticks can seriously throw off your running and jumping rhythm. This is all tied together with visuals that are a very faithful homage to the original Game Boy and a killer soundtrack...

I don't know about you guys, but out here on the Northern California coast, it's been raining like crazy. Which means it isn't exactly ideal conditions to hit the streets and go skateboarding, which makes virtual skateboarding on your iOS device a lovely alternative. This week, two of iOS's best skateboarding games, True Skate [$1.99] and Skater [$4.99], received updates adding in new content. Check out the details of each update below and go hit the virtual streets...

I don't think a person needed to be a fortune-teller to see this outcome, but going back to my review of Tomb Raider 1 [$0.99] from last year, I ended it by expressing little hope for a potential port of Tomb Raider 2 [$0.99] fixing the control issues with the first game. It wasn't hard to guess because the problem is neither with the unorthodox and somewhat fussy controls of the Tomb Raider series, nor was it with virtual controls, but rather the marriage of the two that the mobile version offered. There's simply no clear way to map virtual controls to these games in a satisfying way. Tomb Raider 2 only makes that problem clearer with its increased challenge and greater emphasis on pulling off non-stop sequences of moves, particularly in timed situations. It's the kind of situation where I don't feel good about giving it a score, because if you have an MFi controller, this game is an incredible experience at a ridiculously low price, but if you don't, it's just about pointless to buy. Consider the number at the end of this review to be the middle of those two scenarios and apply it to your own situation accordingly...

Tower Of Fortune [$0.99] developer Game Stew is a hard developer for me to get a read on. I mean, I think if you look hard enough you can find a designer's fingerprints all over just about any game, but you don't even have to do that with Game Stew. Their games are instantly recognizable thanks to their consistent, unusual presentation style. If you do choose to look a bit harder, you can see that also carries over to the gameplay, even if some of their games are ostensibly in different genres from each other entirely. It's interesting because even though their games are generally quite unique from almost every angle, once you understand Game Stew's way of doing things, you can reliably count on certain elements being present. Specifically, you're probably going to have quite a few trappings of the roguelike genre. Being predictably off-beat certainly isn't a bad thing. Tim Burton doesn't seem to be suffering for it, at least. The big problem with having that kind of reputation is that you need to keep coming up with ways to keep your audience's thirst for oddity quenched...

'Arcane Quest 2' Review - A Quest For Heroes

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December 1st, 2014 2:30 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $1.99, 4 stars, Board, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
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Like any lifelong enthusiast of role-playing games, I've got a few memories that are embarrassing to relate in mixed company. Since we're all friends here, I'll let you in on one of them. In junior high school, or middle school as some of our readers might call it, our class planned a trip to one of the islands in the lake my hometown sits beside. It's kind of a popular beach for those who have the means to reach it, and there are even a couple of food stands and a vague attempt at a boardwalk. Well, everyone was pretty excited about this trip, and when the day arrived, people came with bags packed with swimming gear, water guns, and sports equipment for the park. My tight little group of RPG-loving friends and I had our swimsuits and a couple of Super Soakers. I mean, we weren't totally out there. But instead of bringing a volleyball or anything like that, my good friend had Milton Bradley's HeroQuest board game tucked under his arm. We spent a good portion of the day sitting in the park beside the beach, making our way through a few campaigns...

I like the cut of Not Doppler's jib. Their stable of 2D games are all solidly entertaining games with zippy gameplay. Their most recent game, Earn to Die 2[$1.99], is the first time they have revisited one of their iOS games with an update. From a bird's eye view, this one is really strong, avoiding some of the pitfalls other popular games have stumbled into. Some of the best decisions made are that the follow up game has more content and maybe most importantly, this one was packages as a separate game independent from the first Earn to Die[$0.99]. Once you get a little closer, you'll find there is even more to get excited about...

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