Category Archives: $1.99

'Digit & Dash' Review - Domo Arigato, Mr. and Mrs. Roboto

I was recently reading a science fiction novel that featured a central character who argued against the idea that consciousness is a good thing to have. On the surface that sounds absurd, but think about it a little deeper. Computers absolutely demolish us when it comes to things like math and chess, and some of our most creative ideas come when we’re sleeping or thinking of other things. Your brain stem is an incredibly quick chunk of meat, and it could be argued that consciousness just slows it down. Imagine if self-awareness was required to remove your hand from a hot stove, for example. Yikes...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...




Well, I guess I opened a can of worms when I reviewed Hakuoki [$27.99] a while back, because we've received numerous reader requests for more visual novel reviews. Let it never be said that TouchArcade does not aim to please, so even though it's a few months old, I've decided to write up the most commonly-requested title, Queen's Gambit [Free]. This one comes from Voltage Entertainment USA, one of the more popular American developers in the genre, and it follows the adventures of an elite spy working for a private organization dedicated to keeping the world safe. Like most visual novels, you can count on a lot of reading, a little bit of decision-making, and a whole lot of romance...

It's hard to imagine a more generic studio name than "Game Dev Team," but their recently-released title Hardboiled [$0.99] is anything but generic. A lot of energy has gone into this one, the game content is rich, compelling and definitely worth a play through. Hardboiled is a turn based, strategy RPG that explicitly mentions the classic Fallout series as inspiration. In Hardboiled, you play as Max, a wanderer in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Armed with makeshift weapons and equipment, your mission is to explore the devastated town in search of items you need to progress in the game...

One of the oldest names in Japanese video gaming, Namco is a publisher of many talents. Perhaps chief among them throughout its history is its ability to look at what its competitors are doing and make its own, often better version. It reached near-comical levels with SEGA in the 1990s, where SEGA would release a new arcade game, and Namco would chase it with their spin on the concept. This wasn't new behavior for them, either. Like most Japanese developers in the early era of gaming, Namco started popping out Space Invaders clones before the paint had dried on the cabinets of Taito's seminal hit. Namco's Galaxian added colorful graphics and aggressive enemies to the concept, launching a franchise that still pops up here and there, more than 35 years later...

'Kindo' Review - Respect, but not Love

Kindo [$1.99] is the kind of game I feel somewhat conflicted about. It's a game that I like and respect. I appreciate it for what it is and everything that it does. I think the concept of the game is strong, easy enough to pick up on, while allowing for high level play. It does almost everything it needs to in terms of features. But it's the kind of game that I personally won't be playing long-term because it doesn't give me the kind of satisfaction I like from games...

I'm generally terrible at roguelikes. What can I say, I'm young and reckless! But I love the genre (and its conventions that inspire other games) because they're highly replayable and demand that I get better at them. When Steam had its recent roguelike sale, I found out that I owned more than half of the games on sale – and bought a few more. So, MicRogue [$1.99] definitely appealed to me, especially as a bite-sized roguelike. And hey, I do love me some pixel art. Thankfully, MicRogue delivers solid, entry-level roguelike gameplay...

'The Paris Dossier' Review - Spying in WW2 Paris

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May 1st, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Tasos Lazarides in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Adventure, Reviews, Universal
Free Buy Now

When most think of WW2, they think of grainy black-and-white footage of exploding planes and of exhausted soldiers running to their death. That this is the dominant imagery of WW2 is not surprising, of course, since most of us are drawn to the visual spectacle of explosions and destruction. Yet, there was an even more intense aspect of WW2, one that was in a way a war of individuals rather than armies, and that was the spy-against-spy war whose theater consisted of the cities and villages behind enemy lines. It's in this quiet battlefield that Lexica Games has set its noir-ish adventure game, The Paris Dossier [Free], a relatively-traditional adventure game that is entertaining, especially for those with an interest in cryptography and word puzzles, despite its relative brevity and occasional UI issues...

'Rex Rocket' For iPad Review - Mega Man Meets Metroidvania In This Excellent Action Adventure

If there's one thing I should have learned after being into video games for as long as I have, it's that nature abhors a vacuum. Even after watching countless genres swing out of and back into fashion over time, I still sometimes find myself lamenting the lack of games of a certain type during the quiet periods. After seeing Castlevania leave the hands of Koji Igarashi and Nintendo seemingly giving up on Metroid for the moment after the disappointing reception to Other M, I grumbled about the seemingly dim future of the Metroidvania sub-genre. Looking around today, I clearly needn't have worried. After all, there are more people making games than ever, and more games being released than ever, so any holes left by the big players are likely to get filled by smaller developers looking for a niche. Especially so if said hole is a genre near and dear to the hearts of many gamers-turned-developers, the way Metroidvanias seem to be...

Diego Cathalifaud's mobile roguelike trilogy is concluding with another solid game: Arcane Tower [$2.99]. After the fun Amber Halls [$1.99] and Power Grounds [$0.99] each released last year, a game with similar flat visuals and roguelike gameplay. It's a great way to end the trilogy, bringing another solid game that's great on the go...

I remember the early days of the App Store, when twin-stick shooters roamed the landscape free and clear. They're a bit more rare now, as the genre got crowded and kind of played itself out. Geometry Wars: Touch [$0.99] remains un-updated for modern devices. At least Radiangames has cornered the market with JoyJoy [$1.99], Inferno 2 [$2.99], and the dual-stick shooter Metroidvania Powerpuff Girls: Defenders of Townsville [$3.99] which unfortunately is no longer for sales. I enjoyed the era of dual-stick shooters, because I liked the variety of games developers made with the conventions! Trigonarium [$1.99] should provide some hope for the masses, needing more dual joysticks to blast enemies from all over the place. If you like frantic shooters and going for high scores, all at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second, Trigonarium is the game for you...

There's something about girls with pet dragons. I think we can all agree on that. But while Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones [$4.99] uses her scaly babies for intimidation, airborne immolation and other miscellaneous conquering duties, the princess in Dragon Hills [$1.99] uses hers strictly for vengeance. Leave the fair maiden alone and she'll not trouble you. But lock her up in a tower and she'll summon forth her fiery steed and hunt you down, wreaking all manner of chaos and destruction in the process...

Ryleh Industry’s Chromaticon [Free] is a challenging experience that relies heavily on tilt mechanics and color coordination. In fact, it’s probably one of the more difficult games that I’ve played in a while and borders on being too hard for some players. However, it succeeds in making accomplishment a very cool experience and, when combined with great visuals and cool music, make it a game worth checking out...

'Criminel' for iPad Review - A Flawed Investigation

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April 2nd, 2015 7:54 PM EDT by Carter Dotson in $1.99, 3 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, Reviews
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I feel like Criminel [$1.99] is a game that could have been great, but it never manages to deliver on its promise, relying entirely on story and theme without challenging the player. The premise is that you're a new crime scene photographer in Paris in 1890, and you join the police force to help solve crimes with the investigator you work under, Max Roget. You learn the basics – you take photos of relevant evidence, examine the photos for any important aspects, then analyze witness testimony in order to find the important clues to figure out who committed the crime. Then, you get a lineup of criminals based on the collected details, and you have to accuse the person who likely did it...

Not all runners are created equal. Some are endless, others are finite, but for the most part, we can agree that they fit the mobile platform due to their simplistic controls. Escape from the Pyramid [$1.99] is another game that both benefits and suffers from its simplicity...

Proto Raider [$2.99] makes a great first impression. Its graphics are entirely composed of ASCII symbols, giving it a striking appearance, particularly when things start to move on the screen. By this point in gaming, it's somewhat difficult to make a platform game that can immediately catch the eye, and the idea of going back to the very roots of video games for inspiration is a clever one. Behind the intriguing presentation sits a somewhat ordinary platformer with excellent level design. It reminds me of the wildly experimental days before the success of the Super Mario Bros. series dictated what platformers ought to be like. It's almost as though a lost Commodore 64 game spilled out of the time tunnel and into the App Store...

'Jump'N'Shoot Attack' Review - Fun Shooter, Boring Jumper

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March 26th, 2015 11:00 AM EDT by Andrew Smith in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Reviews, Shooter
$1.99 Buy Now

Not long in to playing Jump'N'Shoot Attack I sent an enthusiastic message to some of the other Touch Arcade writers, telling them that it was "super fun". Chatting to the developer on Facebook, I said the game was "right up my street". So this is a game that makes a great first impression. Sadly, the fun that is promised and delivered by those early stages, soon gives way to some unimaginative level design that is more tedious than it is challenging...

It's an exciting time for Martin Magni, developer of Odd Bot Out [$1.99]. Just two months after his game's release on iOS and Android, the cutsey sci-fi puzzler has sold enough copies to cover its development costs, and has made Martin a darling of the indie scene...

Magenta Arcade [$1.99] is a game in the shoot 'em up genre, which isn't really crowded, but is neither lacking for titles. But what this game does to stand out is extremely clever: it's a shmup that exploits the way that fingers exist on and around mobile touchscreens, and makes it part of the game itself. It doesn't make the game any easier, and I have some issues with the structure of the game, but this core concept makes for a ridiculously clever game...

It's late on a Friday afternoon/evening, and we're getting ready to wrap things up until Monday. But before we give you the Best Reviews of the week, the Game of the Week, and The TouchArcade Show podcast, I just had to sneak in a quick recommendation for a game I've been enjoying since yesterday called Rush Rally [Free]. As I'm sure you could guess, Rush Rally is a rally racing game. Now, there's no shortage of racing games on the App Store, but rally racing games are a bit more rare, and ones that actually nail the driving physics are even scarcer. Rush Rally is one of those that totally nails it. ..

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