Category Archives: $1.99

A little more than a year ago, id Software updated two of their old iOS ports–Doom Classic and Rage HD– with 4-inch widescreen support and support for Apple's then-new iOS 7 software. Both games had quietly disappeared from the App Store at least a month prior to the updates, which was scary for me as I'm a massive fan of the Doom iOS port. I was delighted to see them return with updates, and hoped that id might see fit to update some of the other games in their iOS catalog...

'Cosmic Crown' Review - It's Good to be King

Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is just an undeniably cool game. It's a roguelike, particularly in the vein of Hoplite [$1.99] where there are occasional upgrades after levels to improve oneself with. But the uncommon twist about the game is that it's entirely one-dimensional, literally. The only movement is forward and backward, with traps, enemies, and slowly-opening doors serving as the things standing between the green protagonist and those sweet cosmic crowns...

I feel like the last few games I've reviewed have skirted the line between being a game in the functional definition and being just an interactive experience. Cosmic DJ [$1.99] by GL33k and Devolver Digital is perhaps is more accurately described as a gamified music synthesizer than an actual game per se, it passes the sniff test just enough that it's worth talking about here. Actual musicians might find the basicness of composition rather lacking, and people who enjoy playing games to completion might find the lack of resistance toward achieving their goals dissatisfying. But non-musicians who want a clever way to compose music with only minimal musical knowledge, or want to enjoy the goofy-yet-earnest story here, will want to check this out...

'Monument Valley: Forgotten Shores' Review - Take Another Trip To The Valley

As I mentioned back when I reviewed Monument Valley [$3.99], it was bound to be a love it or hate it affair, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that most people felt as strongly about the experience as I did. It's a beautiful thing to play with, an artfully-constructed world that you can manipulate and bend around in ways that only a few other games have allowed. It was a gorgeous, pure experience, free of the flashing lights and urging pace that seems to be the general speed of things in this wonderful hobby of ours. It was also very short, with a mere ten levels to its tale, about a third of which were basically tutorial stages. By the time it turned up the gas even a little bit, it was soon finished. As an experience, it's hard to argue with it. As a mechanical game, it was a whole lot of potential with a somewhat wanting level of realizing it. Generally, it was very well-received, with most people left crying for more. So developer Ustwo got working on some more, and after several months of development, they've released an expansion for Monument Valley called Forgotten Shores...

'Mr. Particle Man' Review - At Last, One For The Gentlemen

Up-front disclaimer: I hadn't played or even heard of Ms. Particle Man [$1.99], the game this is a sequel to, until about a week ago. It was apparently released in late 2012, so I was probably busy building my deluxe shelter to protect myself from the impending inevitable apocalypse, which appears to be rather late at this point. I wish I had discovered it sooner, but I'm glad I finally did, even more so because I've found it by way of its superb follow-up, Mr. Particle Man [$1.99]. It's an unabashedly old-school experience that manages to make use of a few modern tricks, one of which I've never seen implemented in quite the same way before in an iOS game. Fair warning: Mr. Particle Man is one of those tough as nails games where you'll die, die, and die some more, and it's very possible, likely even, that you'll hit the limits of your own skill before the game is finished. If you're the sort that gets frustrated by games like that, move along with your sanity intact. For the rest of us weirdos who meet such adversity with laughter and an insane need to keep playing, what this game does is going to be a nice, comfortable fit...

We figured this week would be quite busy after the packed list of releases on Wednesday night, but there's still games sneaking out that didn't quite come out last night that are of particular note. Cosmic Crown [$1.99] is one of those games, and in fact it released totally under the radar last Friday. It's a curious game that seems to mix in any number of genres, perhaps a fusion of turn-based roguelikes with an endless runner. ..

Drift'n'Drive [$1.99] is quite the fun chaotic top-down racing game. I was intrigued by the game when I saw a GIF of it in action with a whopping 32-car field, and it looked like something I had to play. And it lived up to my expectations. It's very much an arcade-like experience. The cars auto-accelerate, and have tires with low grip, making them drift-happy, and providing for a very chaotic game. And the only controls are left and right to steer, with a turbo boost that charges up over time. Helping with the chaos is the fact that the courses are generated randomly in the career mode, so it's about reacting to what might be coming up next and trying to stay on the road. Grass and dirt slow the car down, hitting trees and walls causes damage to the car, and it's possible to lose a wheel, which makes steering more difficult, until both front wheels are gone, and the vehicle is just straight-up wrecked...

Earlier this month we saw the release of Hail to the King: Deathbat [$4.99], a product of Subscience Studios and the band Avenged Sevenfold. Members of the band grew up playing video games, and when it came time to make their own, they wanted to create an homage to the games they loved playing back in the '80s and '90s. The combat and magic system in Deathbat is pretty simplistic, and the difficulty can be unforgiving. Those are the reasons I love the game so much, but those are also the reasons a lot of people didn't like the game so much. Opinions, you know? Because of the polarized feelings towards Deathbat, I imagine there were a lot of people who might have been interested in the game but were stuck on the fence. Well, if that describes you, now might be a good time to jump off the fence as Hail to the King: Deathbat is currently on sale for $1.99, down from its normal price of $4.99...

Super Crate Box [$1.99] has definitely spawned a few games inspired by it, to say the least, though games cutting too close has been a sensitive subject. But the game owes a lot to the original Mario Bros. in terms of structure, and Woah Dave [$1.99] from Choice Provisions, the former Gaijin Games, manages to take more after Nintendo's original than Vlambeer's modern. And it does a great job at making its own blend of challenging survival and situation management that I quite enjoyed...

'Pixel Boat Rush' Review - Everybody Do The Wave

I've often felt that the genre that perhaps benefited the most from the jump from 2D to 3D was racing. Really thinking about it, racing is one of the genres that begged the most for polygons, having already spent years working in pseudo-3D with scaling sprites and optical tricks. Hardware that couldn't manage said tricks tended to have racers that skewed the perspective to at least offer some sort of visual depth. Racers that opted for a strict, flat side-view to the action were historically pretty rare outside of obstacle course time-attacks like Motocross Maniacs. There are lots of reasons as to why that was likely the case, but it mostly comes down to the simple idea that it's hard to express the excitement of racing from that point of view. If there is no depth, there's no passing, no hairpin turns, no drafting, and collisions become hard to sort out. You have to find other ways to bring the beautiful tension that makes racing so compelling, and that's just what Pixel Boat Rush [$1.99] sets out to do...

Square Enix's excellent Hitman-themed puzzle strategy game Hitman GO [$4.99] has just been updated with a new classic level pack and iCloud integration, and it's on sale again for just $1.99. The new chapter of levels is called "St. Petersburg Stakeout" and is based off of the same level from the 2002 console game Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. The new pack contains 8 levels, and if you remember that St. Petersburg Stakeout level from Hitman 2, you'll definitely recognize it here too...

Game 1 of the MLB World Series between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants kicks off today, and to celebrate the MLB-developed R.B.I. Baseball 14 [$4.99] is on sale for the first time since its release back in April, down to just $1.99. The original R.B.I. Baseball series was a mainstay of the sports genre on 8- and 16-bit game systems, but had laid dormant since its last entry in 1995. This year, MLB's in-house development studio Major League Baseball Advanced Media looked to resurrect the series with a modern coat of paint, while keeping the gameplay simple and arcadey as a throwback to the series' origins...

When I'm reviewing games, the hardest to evaluate tend to be the ones that hit their core gameplay well but provide a small amount of content. Usually, they promise more to come in updates, and Tail Drift [$1.99] is no different in that regard, but most people who have been gaming on mobiles for a while know that promise isn't always one a developer can keep, so you can't count on that. At the moment, Tail Drift is a sweet piece of cotton candy. You pop it in your mouth, get a momentary hit of pleasure, and before you know it, it has dissolved. I think at the price it goes for, that's not really a raw deal, but there are so many games on the App Store that will offer you bigger bang for your buck, especially in the highly-competitive racing genre...

Did you ever play Super Hexagon [$2.99] and think, "this was too easy?" Well, congratulations, Superhyper [$1.99] is just the game you've been looking for, you masochist. It's got the gameplay of a lane-based endless runner, mixed with pretty much everything Super Hexagon was about, and drenched in hot sauce. This is a game so challenging, it may be weeks before anyone unlocks its ultimate difficulty level. It's fair but downright cruel, the kind of game that's worth playing again and again just to prove it wrong...

Over the years, I feel like I've developed a pretty good nose for my own tastes. Usually just from reading a brief outline and seeing a few screens, I can at least figure out in ballpark terms how well I'll like a game, and it's rare for a game to fall outside of those admittedly broad estimates. Surprises come in two flavors, then. Sometimes a game I don't expect to like much turns out to be totally up my alley, like SEGA's Yakuza, and other times, a game that I think looks great just doesn't click for me at all. Unfortunately, Card Dungeon [$3.99], a game that initially appears to have a great deal in common with the PC game Card Hunter, is an example of the latter. It's a roguelike with an interesting hook and a great visual style reminiscent of a board game, and while I could list off a lot of things I think it does very well, it never manages to come together into something I can truly enjoy...

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