Category Archives: $2.99

'It’s Full of Sparks' Review - A Cracking Good Time

It’s Full of Sparks [Free] is the latest release from prolific App Store publishers Noodlecake and developer Dabadu Games, and it’d be understandable if there were lingering doubts about whether quantity would eventually come at the expense of quality, and if some titles would make less of a bang amongst the iOS community. Thankfully, It’s Full of Sparks lives up to its name - from the outset, Dabadu Games have made a game full of sparks, new ideas and an abundance of charm from start to end. While a ‘platformer’ in the loosest sense of the word, It’s Full of Sparks suits the iPhone and iPad perfectly with its simple but incredibly solid central premise, and inventive level design means it remains engaging even as the novelty begins to wear thin...

Developer Kevin Ng created a smash hit back in May of 2013 with the stylish and frantic Impossible Road [$2.99], but several months before that he was also involved with a cute and quirky side-scrolling platformer called Food Run. This was an auto-running style of platformer, and while it didn't necessarily reinvent the wheel or anything it was one of the more polished and quirky runners on the App Store. It was also novel for being both level-based and fully premium, unlike most of its contemporaries, and it just gushed with fun and personality. Unfortunately Food Run eventually went the way of the dodo, but Ng has resurrected this old favorite with a completely remade version called Food Pals [$2.99] which just hit the App Store earlier today. ..




There is a good reason why each of the premium titles that were created by the Cube Escape [Free] developer bear the name Rusty Lake. Seeing this name should evoke the same sort of gut reaction upon seeing the words Twin Peaks. For those of you who are familiar with either of those names, you know you are in for a surreal cult series that is designed to bend the edges of reality. The tv show is a classic and broke new ground, and while Rusty Lake Paradise [$2.99] is only a sequel it does offer a lot of new story and of course new puzzles to solve as well...

Every era of gaming has one or two genres that dominate. Eventually, the popularity of said genres give way to something new, and from there it's a coin toss as to how relevant they remain. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, one of those "it" genres was the beat-em-up. In many ways defined by 1986's Renegade, the genre became a worldwide sensation with the game's spiritual successor Double Dragon. The game was a huge hit in the arcades, and its many home ports were tremendously popular. There was a Double Dragon comic, a Double Dragon cartoon, a Double Dragon toyline, and eventually even a Double Dragon live-action movie. Innumerable clones from virtually every other game publisher followed, flooding arcades and eventually the 16-bit home consoles until the coming of one-on-one fighting games pulled the market in another direction...

The legendary beat 'em up series Double Dragon is no stranger to the App Store. DotEmu brought us the entire trilogy of arcade games back in late 2013 with the appropriately titled and quite good Double Dragon Trilogy [$2.99], and way back in early 2011 developer Brizo Interactive released an enhanced remake of the original Double Dragon that was based on a version released for the obscure Zeebo console. It was super weird, but I actually loved that version, and am sad it's no longer available. Anyway, this brings us to this weekend as Arc System Works has released their 2017 entry in the series Double Dragon 4 [Free] on the App Store. Arc picked up the Double Dragon license a few years ago and announced this new entry in 2016, with a release on Playstation 4 and Windows about a year ago and a Nintendo Switch port arriving this past September. Here's the official trailer...

Back at the beginning of December, we posted that indie developer Andy Wallace was contemplating an update for his space non-shooter Particle Mace [$2.99] that would bring it up to current 64-bit standards and make it playable on iOS 11. In that same post I also gushed pretty hard about just how much I loved Particle Mace ever since it was released back in January of 2015. No, I am not embarrassed at how much I gushed over the game. Anyway, that iOS 11 compatibility update is now available and in addition it brings with it full support for that beautiful screen on the iPhone X. Being that this is one of the best one-handed portrait games in the world, iPhone X support is very exciting to me indeed...

Around two and a half years ago, Sonic Team released their first (and thus far only) mobile game. Sonic Runners finally brought the famous hedgehog to a gameplay style that should have fit like a glove. It was a side-scrolling auto-runner packed with rings to grab, characters to collect, and more nods to SEGA history than you could shake a ceramic knife at. Unfortunately, it was also packed with free-to-play shenanigans galore, using virtually every trick in the book to try to monetize. At its core, the game was fun, with interesting level designs and fairly solid gameplay. That clearly wasn't enough, however, as SEGA ended up pulling the plug on the game less than a year after its debut...

One of last year's best games, and really one of the more enjoyable and unique games for mobile in general, was Kestrel Games' Rule with an Iron Fish [$2.99]. It's a game about fishing but is certainly not a fishing simulation game, of which there are several on the App Store. Instead, Rule with an Iron Fish almost feels like one of those incremental idle games, but one where you actually DO stuff. The progression system is addictive as you're constantly catching new fish, getting new equipment, and unlocking new areas. Everything has a grander feel to it though as there's also a full world to explore filled with non-player characters to interact with, all of which have quite colorful personalities. It's like many of the best parts of an RPG have been whittled down into a super-mobile friendly package with a perfect gameplay loop for short gaming sessions. Oh, and did I mention it's a totally paid, premium title with no IAP? tl;dr: I love Rule with an Iron Fish...

Over the past decade I've grown to love a lot of iPhone games, but there's a handful of games that I love on a whole different level, like I SUPER DUPER LOVE them. Andy Wallace's Particle Mace [$2.99] is one of those games. Released in early 2015, Particle Mace on first blush looks like your typical retro-inspired top-down space shooter. Except… you can't shoot. After finding your ship's weapons nonfunctional, you improvise by tying a bunch of garbage to an array of bungie-like cords to your ship. You defeat enemies and smash asteroids by zipping around and using your momentum to sling that makeshift weapon (let's just call it oh I don't know a PARTICLE MACE) into them, and it is honestly one of the most unique and satisfying gameplay mechanics I've ever used. Here's the trailer for Particle Mace so you can see what I'm very poorly attempting to explain in action...

Here I am doing my weekly deep dive into the inner depths of the App Store to scrounge up all the new games for our weekly roundup, and I just happened to notice that Reigns: Her Majesty [$2.99] is available right this minute in the App Store despite it being scheduled to go live tomorrow. Hey, I'm not complaining! For those unaware, Reigns: Her Majesty is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed original Reigns which had you ruling a kingdom and making life-changing sociopolitical decisions like you were swiping for a date on Tinder. It's freaking awesome, and this sequel not only has you playing as a Queen this time around (which you probably could have guessed from the title) but it also adds tons of new features and elements to really supercharge the original game's mechanics...

As far as endless arcade type games go, the first Dragon Hills [$2.99] was a fun and chaotic beast. Featuring a princess in a tower waiting for her prince to rescue her, a prince finds all the gold on a lower floor and just books it. The princess, apparently being great friends with the dragon that ‘imprisoned’ her (I assume as a favor so she could get a man), sets off after this jerk of a prince with blazing fury in her eyes, embodying old sayings about hell’s fury and scorned women. All while riding said dragon, who gets around by burrowing, jumping, and sliding through the hills. Rebel Twins have now returned with a sequel, and it’s more varied, more polished, and much stranger than ever. Welcome back to the hills. It’s Dragon Hills 2 [$2.99]...

The 32-bit Appocalypse has come and gone, and apart from the few of us resolutely holding on to iOS 10, it seems many have accepted the perilous fate of many classic App Store games as Apple make further strides towards modernisation of their software. Thankfully, missing the iOS 11 launch doesn't permanently condemn any specific application to irrelevance, and it's been really neat to see games like XCOM: Enemy Within [$9.99] make a miraculous 64-bit resurgence. Samurai 2: Vengeance [$2.99] may not have the big-name pedigree of the aforementioned sci-fi strategy title, but the game did have a significant role in the early evolution of the App Store when it launched in 2010. While its hack 'n slash gameplay wasn't particularly revolutionary (despite being surprisingly slick with its virtual joystick input), Samurai 2: Vengeance had a truly stunning visual style that was groundbreaking for its time, and I'm delighted to see Madfinger Games' breakout release finally be updated with 64-bit support today...

It's hard to believe that 10tons launched their fantastic dual-stick shooter Neon Chrome [$6.99] on iOS almost an entire year go, as the game still feels as fresh and fun as it did last November. Following its great reception on mobile, questions quickly turned to when 10tons would be releasing the Arena mode DLC that had been added to the desktop version of Neon Chrome this past January. Well, it took longer than I think we all thought it would, but today that Arena mode DLC has finally arrived in the mobile version of Neon Chrome...

Today is Halloween, and for the vast majority of people this means elaborate costumes, spooky trick-or-treating and binging Stranger Things 2. However, for us mobile gaming enthusiasts, this 'holiday' also brings along with is a slew of brilliant price reductions on the App Store. If you prefer to stay away from the shadows in the comfort of your own home, or you just want to grab one of 2017's best releases at a bargain price, Ironhide Studios has you covered. Iron Marines [$3.99] was a neat futuristic RTS game from the creators of Kingdom Rush [Free (HD)], and received an exultant five-star review in our extensive launch coverage. With some deserved comparisons to the mighty StarCraft, it was certainly not one to miss for real-time strategy fans - if the game did manage to slip by in the usual tsunami of App Store releases, the developer has put Iron Marines on sale for the first time this Halloween, and is now a veritable bargain at $2.99...

Released on Steam in November of last year and PlayStation 4 this past August, ICEY [$2.99] is a stylish side-scrolling action game that has just surprise released in the App Store. This falls into the realm of yet another Steam game that I've never heard of before that's apparently quite critically acclaimed, and now that it's shown up on iOS I finally have the chance to experience it. ICEY reminds me quite a bit of the incredible Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] in that combat is fast and heavily focused on cool combos and special moves, but the game takes place on a 2D side-scrolling plane. There's also quite an interesting narrative in ICEY, as the omnipresent narrator is constantly guiding you and telling you what to do, but you can choose to defy its instructions and branch out into areas on your own...

'Kick Ass Commandos' Review- A Gloriously Gory Homage to Arcade Shooters of the Past

The late 80's and early 90's were times when the more gore and shock-value video games had, the better. One of my favorite games of this time was Total Carnage. My cousin and I would play the crap out of its violent cooperative mode. Total Carnage's gory, action-packed gameplay made us feel like the edgiest kids of all time. I'm a sucker for anything that provides nostalgia (as I have mentioned time and time again) and Kick Ass Commandos [$2.99] gave me a much-desired dose of Total Carnage-like gameplay. It was originally released on Steam back in November of 2016, and now the game has "Schwarzenegger'd" and "Stallone'd" its way onto the App Store...

It's always a happy day when one of my favorite older games gets a 64-bit update and is saved from the doom of the Appocalypse. Today's example of this is ZeMind Game Studio's unique space shooter Starborn Anarkist [$2.99]. Initially released in December of 2013, Starborn Anarkist isn't your typical dual-stick space shooter, of which you can find many on the App Store already. Its main hook is the ability to build and customize your ship using a variety of ship blueprints and parts that you'll drag onto a grid and connect in the game's garage. I can't stress enough just how much fun it is to try out wacky ship designs and see what works, and the collecting and unlocking of new parts and blueprints is one of the most engaging forms of progression I've seen in a mobile game. It's very possible to create a total clunker ship that barely functions right, but that's part of the fun, and with randomly generated enemies and an endless nature Starborn Anarkist is one of those games that I'm always guaranteed to have a good time with when I fire it up...

I don't want to use the old equivalency argument for App Store pricing - for example, I rely on caffeine to live, and therefore $3.99 for a much-needed coffee is incomparable to a four dollar game. However, there are times when some of the best mobile releases are just so good that prices below ten dollars almost feel like stealing. Death Point [$2.99] was one such title, and its $5.99 cost of entry was a bargain for the awesome stealth shooting action within. In the strange case that you thought six dollars was too much, or perhaps you spent too much money on the other recent excellent 2017 releases, Death Point has today gone on a 50% sale for the first time, and is now available at a measly $2.99...

Doug Cowley's Hoplite [$2.99] appeared like an early Christmas present when it arrived back in December of 2013 and quickly became a favorite of our community and went on to receive critical acclaim from the gaming world at large. It takes place in a hexagonal dungeon and your task is to dive down to the 16th floor and retrieve the Fleece of Yendor. It's turn-based and there's a simple set of rules for how you can go about moving and attacking the various enemies in the game. Hoplite is refreshingly simple and clean on the surface, but provides an ample amount of depth and replay value through its brilliant mechanics. We absolutely loved it in our review, and it only got better since then with the addition of new modes and features. Basically, it's a must have and absolute iOS classic for strategy and dungeon crawling fans...

As any dedicated disc golf fanatic would know, today marks the start of the US Disc Golf Championships in South Carolina. While this event is apparently the pinnacle of the disc golf season, the App Store serves as a year-long celebration of the frisbee-throwing sport, as mobile gaming and disc golf has resulted in numerous excellent arcade experiences over the past few years. Disc Golf To Go [$3.99], from solo developer Kelsey Doherty, marks the latest iOS disc golfing release, and serves as an especially impressive premium title with 40 meticulously crafted levels, 20 unique discs and continued support since its release in August. To celebrate the big US Disc Golf Championships, Disc Golf To Go is now on sale for the first time since release, and is $2.99 for a limited time...

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