Category Archives: $2.99

'Politaire' Review - You Got to Know When To Hold 'Em

I got into poker at a relatively young age. For most kids in conservative families, it's usually the same story -- one of your relatives probably teaches it to you and tries to get you to sip a beer. I carried over my knowledge of straights and flushes into middle school, where I'd compete for candy in the cafeteria and tell faculty and staff we were playing Go Fish. And in high school, like everyone else during the height of the poker craze that seemingly exploded with Rounders, I played for higher stakes. But by my college years, it kind of tapered off a bit, and now I rarely encounter a situation where I can get some hands in. Yet, I've kept all of my experiences bottled in, including all of the statistical probabilities for each hand, ready to dump at a moment's notice. That proved rather useful for Politaire [Free]...

There's nothing finer than when a great game from years past gets an update out of the blue. That's the case today with the fantastic Picross game Paint it Back [Free], which originally launched way back in October of 2013 and hasn't seen an actual content update in nearly two years to the day. Developer Casual Labs rewrote the entire game in Unity and released it on Steam in October of last year, and this update is essentially that improved rewritten version, minus the Workshop level editor portion. That means that you can now play in Master difficulty in addition to Normal and Pro. As the puzzles in Paint it Back get larger, Normal would break them up into smaller 10x10 chunks, or 15x15 chunks in Pro. Master means that you'll be solving the whole enchilada all at once, none of that chunk business. Despite the cute graphics and overall charm of the game, the puzzles get absolutely brutal in the later portions so Master should be a nice incentive for the hardcore Picross solvers among us...




We don't really make a habit of posting about sales or freebies anymore, because frankly, most games nowadays are already free and most paid games go on sale so frequently that it kind of loses its impact after awhile. Both of these games fall in that latter category, both Bastion and Transistor have seen plenty of sales in the past, but gosh darn it these games are so incredibly good it just didn't feel right to not let everyone know that they're both currently on sale at the same time. ..

In a mobile market saturated with clones and "me too" copycats trying to ride the coattails of the mega hits, it can be rare to come across a game that genuinely feels fresh and unique. That was certainly not the case though when Rule With an Iron Fish [$2.99] launched early last month. This is one of those games that blends a lot of popular concepts together, but not in a way that feels like its treading familiar territory. ..

Ackeron [$2.99] is remarkable for a few reasons. First, it's a remake of a 15+ year old Palm Pilot game, which I can assure you is not something you see every day. Second, it's a large, complex, single-player RPG from an indie developer, something that is becoming rare these days on iOS. Perhaps the most amazing thing about it is just how much effort seems to have been put into this remake. Ackeron could easily pass for a new game on iOS, though its mechanics might quickly disabuse you of that notion. When a developer puts that kind of work into a remake, it's easy to see the passion behind the game. Indeed, Ackeron feels like a massive passion project, but it's also a surprisingly enjoyable RPG if you can stick with it through some of its bumpier parts...

It's interesting watching the flow of game design over time. While it's sometimes painful to watch established game designs hop from a paid model to a free-to-play set-up, those very same free-to-play hits have now been around long enough to start inspiring developers to travel that road in the opposite direction. The basic structure and look of Dungeon x Balls [$2.99] seem heavily informed by social RPG sensations like Puzzle and Dragons [Free], but rather than send the player down an endless rabbit hole of collection, evolution, and battling, it opts for a more traditional style. You'll find new characters with their own special abilities, battle boss creatures, and work your way through the story, and while there are IAP, they're solely of the cosmetic variety. Best of all, its core gameplay mechanic feels intuitive and fresh, a difficult thing to accomplish in the wildly crowded mobile market...

Despite Portugal somehow winning the Euros regardless of only winning one game in normal time and against the will of an army of moths, Pixel Cup Soccer 16 [$2.99] still remains a highly enjoyable footbal experience on mobile. In our review last month we loved the tight arcade action that was well suited to a more portable device, however a relative lack of content and some other minor flaws held it back from being a truly definitive iOS experience. That being said, the developers have been extremely active on our forums promising future support for Pixel Cup Soccer 16, and today an update has been released which adds a few cool new features to help satiate any fans like myself who now have the prospect of a month without the beautiful game until the new season starts...

One of the main reasons we were such big fans of the original Out There : Ω Edition [$4.99] by Mi Clos Studio was not purely because of the admittedly excellent survival gameplay aspects, but the atmospheric and agoraphobic feeling that being lost in space alone perpetuated. For anyone captivated by the lore of the series, Out There Chronicles [$2.99] appears to be the perfect evolution from the original, as through creating an interactive graphic novel that focuses on the writing and narrative as the main priority it will certainly satiate anyone looking for an expansion on the Out There universe...

The practice of cloning is troublesome for many reasons. There are the obvious problems, but beyond those, the fear of a game being perceived as a clone stifles the natural process of building on a great idea. We've seen some pretty shameful clones in the App Store's history, but perhaps none of them have been as harmful to the original game as 2048 was to Threes! [$2.99]. A marketplace battle took place, and I think it's safe to say a lot of people felt the wrong game won there. I'm not sure if the cloud hanging over that has kept more developers from taking a crack at ideas inspired by Threes!, but if it has, more's the shame. Still, we see the odd swing at doing something interesting with the compelling swiping and combining mechanism that Threes! introduced so well. The latest is Dungeon Tiles [Free], from developer Takashi Iyoda...

The days of every new iOS game dropping uniformly at midnight on Thursday morning seem like a distant memory. Owing to the evolution of the App Store and the emergence of soft launches for many new titles, the release schedule is significantly more fluid. This means that, while there is a lot more unpredictability and excitement on what's going to come out each week, sometimes games can slip past our concise weekly round up. One such game is Nanuleu [$2.99] by Selva Interactive, which won 2nd place at the 2015 Indie Game Maker competition and impressed us on our first look last week...

Back in late January, developer Kenny Sun released Circa Infinity [$2.99] to the App Store, describing it as a "brain-melting circular platformer." Well, seeing as actually describing in detail what it is you do in Circa Infinity is nearly impossible, "brain-melting circular platformer" is pretty on the money. Just know that there are trippy visuals, pumping audio, and frantic twitch platforming all wrapped up in a slick package. We loved Circa Infinity in our review, and that's probably the best place to find out just what this one is all about. Anyway, today is a big day for Circa Infinity as a huge new update was just released which adds in an entirely new endless mode called Circa Affinity...

'Hyperburner' Review - Mad Space Dash

'Hyperburner' Review - Mad Space Dash

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June 27th, 2016 4:25 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Action, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

It's hard to recall what the first flight simulator game I played was. I believe it was Wing Commander on the PC, before I graduated on to other space games like the X-Wing and TIE Fighter series, as well as Descent. Either way, it was love at first sight. The cold loneliness of space translated perfectly to the video game realm, and the possibilities were endless since the theme wasn't tethered to any particular planet or rules...

'Rule with an Iron Fish' Review - Good ol' Fishin' Without IAP Bait

In a sea of ad-based gaming, currencies upon currencies, and premium purchases, it's fun to find a game every so often that abandons that entirely. Sometimes, a game itself is a premium purchase, bestowing everything, from content to opportunities, with reckless abandon. It's a model that isn't exactly popular with each passing year, but one that still exists -- and the developers of Rule with an Iron Fish [$2.99] have executed it wonderfully...

11 Bit Studios have earned a very deserved reputation as one of the best developers on the App Store. Ever since the launch of Anomaly: Warzone Earth [$1.99] back in 2012 which completely reversed the tired Tower Defence genre on its head with beautiful graphics to boot - and even won an Apple Design Award for their efforts - 11 Bit Studios have strived in releasing games that are ever increasing in quality. If for whatever reason you haven't had the chance to play one of their games or are missing a title from their library, this may be the perfect time to amend that as the developers are having a sale on their applications until June 20th. Unfortunately, as of today only their most recent premium effort This War of Mine [$14.99] is on sale for $2.99, however the fact that all of their games are on sale on Android and their Twitter suggests that this is also applicable for iOS, there is a chance that other apps such as Anomaly 2 [$4.99] and Anomaly Defenders [$4.99] may also drop in price soon...

'Lost Frontier' Review – Dang Near Perfect, I Reckon

Mika Mobile. I have a certain fondness and emotional connection to these guys. Back in 2011, I had just started my career as a mobile game critic. Working for a different site, I had the pleasure and privilege of playing and reviewing the Android version of Battleheart [$2.99] as one of my most early pieces of work. We’re talking second week on the job here. I have grown leaps and bounds since then, and so has Mika Mobile, upping the ante to the incredible Battleheart Legacy [$4.99]. Now they’re breaking into a new genre for the studio, and while I would say it isn’t as strong as the Battlehearts, it really is great. This is the weird west turn based strategy, Lost Frontier [$2.99]. Saddle up, folks. This one is a doozy...

'Pixel Cup Soccer 16' Review - There's Your Fairytale

It's rather telling that the best soccer titles on handheld devices are the simplest. The reductionist approach of games such as New Star Soccer [Free] - where only a few elements of the sport such as scoring goals are focused on - fits mobile gaming so much better, as instead of trying to port a console experience which simply doesn’t fit on the iPhone, they play to the smartphone’s strengths. Pixel Cup Soccer 16 [$2.99] is another fantastic addition to the growing roster of soccer games, and focuses - for better and for worse - on the simplest arcade elements of the beautiful game to provide an extremely fun footballing experience that is easy to pick up, hard to master and even more difficult to put down...

Badland 2 [$1.99] may have released back in December and been quite an improvement over the already phenomenal Badland [$0.99], but that doesn't mean that the first game doesn't still have some gas left in the tank. We used to joke about Badland being the best value for money on the entire App Store due to it getting dozens of awesome content updates literally years after its release, and with the arrival of a built-in level editor in September of last year, it gave Badland pretty much endless replay possibilities. Now, about 9 months after the release of the level editor, developer Frogmind has announced that Badland players have created a staggering 70,000+ levels for the game, and along with a new bug fix update today they've featured what they consider the 40 best of those user-created levels in the Eternal Day chapter in the game...

When the Apple Watch released, a number of developers attempted to take advantage of the buzz by either updating old games with new features, or by releasing new games specifically designed with the Apple Watch in mind. One of the more success of the latter group was Lifeline [$1.99], an interactive fiction game that had you guiding a student named Taylor who had been stranded on a moon. As with most games in this genre, the game mostly consisted of reading text and making the occasional choice. The gimmick came from the way the game incorporated real time into the story. Taylor would often become busy after you made a choice, and you'd have no choice but to wait until Taylor notified you, via your watch or your device, that the story could continue. While the game itself was quite simple relative to other gamebooks, this element gave Lifeline the twist it needed to stand out from the pack...

Apparently, merpeople are the new trend in interactive fiction. Yes, I call something a trend if I spot more than one instance. I'm pretty weird that way. Anyway, a couple of months ago, Choice Of Games released The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], a somewhat farcical adventure that provided a brief, enjoyable window into a fantasy world under the sea. The Sea Eternal [Free] also chooses the ocean depths as the setting of its story, but from the other side of the coin. Rather than playing an inquisitive human who accidentally stumbles upon this strange world, you play as one of the merpeople who inhabit it. In spite of this shift in perspective, the core of the story largely tries to untangle what it is to be human, or at least what it is to be sentient. It takes on a lot of very difficult questions, and although it doesn't handle them all with perfect grace, The Sea Eternal is nevertheless quite engaging and thought-provoking...

In an era where kids can fire up a game like Real Racing 3 [Free] for free on a mobile device, I can't imagine slot car racing sets are as ubiquitous as they were when I was a kid. Just about everyone seemed to own one back then, whether they were interested in cars or not. They're pretty simple toys, with the only real input being how fast the car is going at any given time, but there was a certain thrill in seeing how fast you could take corners without careening wildly off the little plastic tracks. There was a bit of technique to it, though the advantage certainly went to the player who was most familiar with the track. Black Hole Joyrider [$0.99], the latest from Boson X [$2.99] creator Ian MacLarty, might look and sound like a grand space adventure, but it's basically a gorgeous game of slot car solitaire...

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