Category Archives: $1.99

'Furdemption' Level Creation Contest Winners Revealed and Sequel Announced

A couple of weeks back, we told you about the level creation contest developer Raresloth was holding for their wonderful puzzle platformer Furdemption [$2.99], and this past Friday the winners of that contest were announced. Receiving the grand prize of a $25 iTunes gift card is the level "Just Dodge" created by Makoto. In 2nd place is "A fast shove" created by Snowblzr, who will receive $15 in iTunes credit. Finally in 3rd place and taking home $10 in iTunes credit is "Destroy" by Compakeo. Here's a video showcasing the top three winning levels, check 'em out!..

It feels like the design document of Zombie Match Defense [$1.99] involved putting a bunch of popular App Store things in a bag and shaking liberally. I can't lie, it's not a very appealing prospect, mostly because I've seen so many games go very wrong with this kind of approach. Happily, this game fares better than most that make the effort, mostly due to not trying to combine too many disparate elements. Essentially, it's got the whole zombie-themed lane-based defense gameplay as seen in Plants Vs. Zombies [$0.99], mixed in with a turn-based match-3 puzzle game as seen in roughly 23,000 other games on the App Store.  It blends together quite nicely, and the result certainly feels distinct from its inspirations, so it avoids two of the bigger pitfalls of genre mash-ups. Ultimately, what keeps Zombie Match Defense from being as good as it ought to be is also quite common: it has a good concept, but doesn't do enough with it...




This is going to be a slightly unorthodox review. Since Zojoi decided to release all four of the ICOM Simulations MacVenture games for iPad on the same day, we figured it would be best to review them all in one shot. While the games aren't precisely equal to one another, they're using the same engine, and have been ported similarly, so there's a great deal of overlap in terms of what they offer. So what I'll be doing is first covering the shared elements before devoting a little section to each game. For all intents and purposes, you can read the score on this review as applicable to all four of the games, however...

In space, nobody can hear you scream because you were just slightly off with that black hole you placed down, careening your ship just to the side of the key you needed, flying into the barrier around the goal that you thought would be down. Maybe next time, AGRAV [Free]. This game of black holes will fluster you, but it's rewarding, and its entry price point – 30 levels for free with an IAP for more – is unbeatable...

You can always count on Zen Studios doing pinball table tie-ins with popular properties, but their latest collaboration is quite a doozy. Zen has teamed up with Fox to create four–yes, four!– brand new pinball tables based on Fox's stable of hit animated shows. The "Balls of Glory" pinball pack contains tables for Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, American Dad and Archer. All tables feature the characters, and crucially, the voices you know and love from each show, all presented in Zen's trademark over-the-top pinball style...

After the absolutely fantastic initial release of puzzle platformer Furdemption [$2.99], followed by a hefty update that added loads of new content, RareSloth's little gem is now getting all primed and ready for the addition of a level editor, which we talked about last month. Well, in an effort to get people play-testing the level editor prior to release, and to get the ball rolling on having some levels created, RareSloth is currently holding a level creation contest...

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

'Super Sharp' Review - Cutting Edge

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October 16th, 2015 1:02 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I don’t know about you guys, but my favorite puzzle games are the ones that make me feel like a genius. It’s an extremely delicate balance to achieve, because if the puzzles are too easy, it can feel boring. If they’re too hard, I’m going to feel like an idiot. Somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum is a sweet spot, and it can be especially tricky to pinpoint since every person is different. Super Sharp [$1.99] hits that sweet spot for me...

The biggest strength of interactive fiction is in how it lets the player shape the story of the game. While other genres are improving in that regard, they're limited largely due to the costs associated with visual and audio assets. It simply doesn't make sense to spend millions of dollars on content that only a small percentage of players will experience. Text isn't quite free, but it's certainly a lot cheaper. That said, with all of that freedom, there are still an awful lot of games in the genre that have you playing a similar character in the broad sense. Violence may not be a useful answer in our modern society, but it will sure get you far in plenty of games. Ratings War [$2.99] does something different, and in doing so, feels a lot more real in spite of its far-flung futuristic setting. You play as a journalist, and although you get to decide what kind of journalist you are, there's very little room for action-heroics in this story...

'Mos Speedrun 2' Review - But Wait, There's More

When it comes to game developers, you should not expect reasonable practicality from them. Their dreams far exceed their ability to deliver. I mean, if you've ever backed a Kickstarter project, you know, because they were at least late on delivering it. And Star Citizen has somehow turned into "The creator of Wing Commander wants to make a new space game" into a multinational crowdfunded AAA nightmare. The point being that when a game developer promises you the moon, you should expect a large rock at best. Except in the case of Mos Speedrun 2 [$1.99], a game made by some real crazy people. It's so crazy, that it's got secret items that only appear on certain days. Secret areas that house difficult-to-collect golden skulls are often more difficult than the actual levels themselves. One of the developers watching me stream the game said that I missed several secrets in one level alone. They somehow managed to jam-pack everything they ever could possibly stick into a speedrun game, and it is absurd...

This Sunday is the Street League Skateboarding Super Crown Championship, basically the Super Bowl of Street League, and as the official video game of SLS True Skate [$1.99] has added a brand new downloadable park and is going free for the weekend to celebrate. The new course is the SLS Los Angeles 2015, the course from the first stop in this year's SLS. The course was designed by Street League competitor and all-around amazing skateboarder Luan Oliveira, and is modeled after the architecture found in his home country of Brazil. Here's a couple shots of the 2015 SLS Los Angeles park...

'Magic Flute by Mozart' Review - One Time At Bandcamp

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September 29th, 2015 12:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Music / Rhythm, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$3.99 Buy Now

I first heard about Mozart's opera The Magic Flute when I was a music major in college. I remember thinking the title was sort of ridiculous, and the plot seemed equally silly. Something about a guy and his bird buddy meeting some witches or something and then rescuing a princess somewhere. And, of course, there's a magical flute. It was hard to take seriously since opera was never my thing, but reading about it on wikipedia all these years later it actually sounds kind of interesting. The main plot is supposed to be kind of light and silly, but underneath there's a subtext about religion, reason, and enlightment. Oh! And there's an iPhone game based on it now. Did I mention that part?..

'Starseed: Origin' Review: Old School Cool

Starseed: Origin [Free] is not a game you play for an original concept or to casually tap with half your attention elsewhere. Starseed is a game you play until it gets too hard and too fast and you blow up and die. ..

'Trick Shot' Review - Putter Finger

When a game has been revealed to be developed by one of the artists behind Monument Valley [$3.99], it has quite a lot to live up to. That game is an outstanding puzzler, but I’d wager about half of its appeal is the unique, wonderful visuals. It won a ton of awards and recognition--deservedly so--and I don’t envy artist Jonathan Topf for developing what could be seen as a followup of sorts. Sure, Monument Valley and his first solo outing Trick Shot [$1.99] don’t have much in common, but they are both puzzle games in their own way. And, of course, they’re pretty good lookin'...

I suppose they can't all be winners. Radiangames has been the king of dual-stick shooters on iOS, at least in terms of quantity. The solo developer has delivered a ton of knockout titles, with JoyJoy [$1.99] and Inferno 2 [$2.99] being the most recent, and most stellar examples of his work in the genre. This is all setup to say that Devastator [$1.99] had me really excited, but unfortunately left me quite disappointed...

Shane McCafferty's dreadnought-destroying shoot 'em up Starseed: Origin [Free], published by Crescent Moon Games is now available on the App Store, out a little ahead of the normal Thursday release day. Possibly due to iOS 9's release on Wednesday? Who knows. All we know is that Starseed is out now. I don't know why it has the "Origin" unless there were issues with Starseed Pilgrim, maybe? Why not Starseed B.C, then, as many metal bands tend to do, like the bands Bison and Ghost have done? I mention this because metal influences are all over Starseed, including a ship named Dimebag (rest in peace), and a ship named the Sabbath. It's not completely metal, as there's a ship called Prodigy, but Prodigy's still awesome, so it works...

Desert Golfing [$1.99] is one of those games that practically transcends what we expect from video games. On its surface it's an extremely simplified game of golf, where each hole is a single screen and by using the tried and true "pull back and slingshot" method your job is simply to get the ball in the hole in as few moves as possible. There is no menu, there is no level select screen, there is no storyline or additional goals. You hit the ball in the hole, move on to the next hole, rinse and repeat for the rest of eternity. ..

Logic puzzle games are the bane of my brain. Note that I refrained from using "bane of my existence" because I actually like puzzles titles quite a bit, but more often than not, they'll stump me far more often than a hardcore action experience or number-heavy RPG. It's the simpler concepts that usually throw me for a loop, as I tend to overthink them and completely miss the trees for the forest. That's kind of how I approached Sputnik Eyes [$1.99], a charming little puzzler that will stump you for days on end...

'Ski Safari 2' Review - Also Adventure

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September 4th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 4 stars, Games, Reviews, Runner, Sports, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I enjoyed the original Ski Safari [$0.99], but I didn’t love it. I played it for a few days, but it seemed like one of those runners that takes forever to get challenging. I grew tired of doing the same thing for ten-plus minutes only to die and find that I hadn’t beat my previous score yet. Sure, the game had a good amount of variety in the different animals you could ride and stuff, but it still didn’t keep my attention for long. Flash forward a few years, and I have to admit this sequel looked pretty sweet. Maybe the gorgeous Alto’s Adventure [$0.99] had softened me up first, but either way, I had to try Sleepy Z's Ski Safari 2 [$1.99]...

Fancy Force's gory physics-based trials game Happy Wheels [Free] took the iOS world by storm last week when it arrived on the App Store and quickly shot up to the top position in the free games chart. Happy Wheels was originally released as a Flash game way back in 2010, and has grown by leaps and bounds in the years since. With a cast of ridiculous playable characters and vehicles, as well as a community-driven level-creator which has over 6 million user-created levels, Happy Wheels has been a huge success in the world of browser games. Which makes me feel sort of silly that I'd never even heard of it before it popped up on iOS last week. Hey I'm old, I don't know what these crazy kids are into nowadays. ..

Usually I know what games will be topping the App Store's charts at any given moment: on the paid side, we have Minecraft: Pocket Edition, on the Top Grossing side, we have either Game of War or Clash of Clans. What I didn't expect to see today, to be honest, was Jim Bonacci's Happy Wheels [Free], a port of the apparently huge PC hit with the same name, lording over the Free Games category, higher than the much-praised Pac-Man 256. If you haven't played the game, Happy Wheels is all about being unhappy on your various wheels - a Segway, a wheelchair, and so on - as you crash over and over again with bone-crunching sound effects and gory visuals accompanying your every failure...

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