Category Archives: $2.99

It's really great when a well-made game seemingly comes out of nowhere, and that's just what seems to have happened with the stealthy release of Princess And Knight [$2.99], a new strategy RPG that is so under the radar, I can't find much proof of its existence beyond the App Store itself and a fairly new blog for the developer, Team SoftIceCream. Sometimes when that happens, it's because the game isn't quite ready for prime time, but apart from a really rough English translation, this is a remarkably solid effort from what appears to be an indie developer. The game design is unabashedly vintage, calling to mind SRPGs from the 16-bit console era and earlier, but there's a certain appeal to a game that drops out of the complexity arms race that the strategy RPG genre tends to get swept up in at times...

I found myself kind of curious about Wavefront [$2.99] when I saw that it was published by DeNA – and it wasn't a free-to-play game. It started out as Waveform on PC, and now has been brought to iOS under the new name, for unknown reasons. Curious. But it still doesn't answer why this was published by DeNA, as this game is paid without IAP at all, which is even odder given that it's, well, DeNA. Did I wake up in bizarro universe? Perhaps not, but Wavefront is an interesting enough puzzler worth checking out...

'Helix' Review - Let it Surround You

868-HACK [$5.99] creator Michael Brough is doing for the arena survival genre with Helix [$2.99] what he did for the roguelike with 868-HACK: take an existing genre and own it with his own style. This is an arcade game that's got great art, great controls, intriguing gameplay, and even a few secrets to try and dig up, that make this worth checking out if you love arcade games...

'Pumped BMX 2' Review - I Want To Ride This Bicycle

Side-scrolling games where you ride through a course performing tricks and stunts seem to be all the rage these days, mostly thanks to the sudden popularity the Trials series found several years ago. That rise coincided nicely with the fall of 3D open world trick games like the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, ensuring that trick-crazy gamers wouldn't go hungry. Unfortunately, Trials took its sweet time coming to mobiles, just arriving in 2014 as Trials Frontier [Free]. One thing I've learned about the App Store is that if you leave a void, someone will fill it, and one of the more fun attempts to do so came in the form of 2012's Pumped BMX [$1.99], from developer Yeah Us. The game was a weird hybrid of Tiny Wings [$0.99] and Trials, focusing mostly on performing stunts on the way to clearing each stage...

'Inferno 2' Review - Great Balls of Fire

Radiangames – perhaps the most prolific creator of dual-stick shooters on the App Store - has made their biggest one yet with their latest release Inferno 2 [$2.99]. Seriously, Inferno 2 is massive: 80 levels full of mazes, tens of thousands of enemies to take down, four different weapons to use, four different missiles (inspired by the special weapons of JoyJoy [$1.99]), a level-up system, and loads of upgrades to use. This game is vast, and it's a great pickup for fans of Radiangames' previous work, or anyone looking for an action game to sink a few hours into...

Personally, I'm always satisfied when I see a horror game make good on the sales charts these days. After hearing certain big companies insist that gamers weren't interested in scary games anymore, watching something like Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99] go big makes me feel good because it affirms that, hey, there are lots of different kinds of people with lots of different kinds of tastes buying and playing games. I wish I liked it more, but those are the breaks, sometimes. ..

Snake is a timeless game. It was one of the first experiences I had on a portable device, and despite the fact that there was just one level (a giant square box), it provided endless hours of entertainment. It was a much simpler time, and that time is over. In the current era of gaming, it's expected that a snake game would have a load of bells and whistles, lest it fall short of providing something you haven't seen a million times in the past 20 years. The Jake and Finn skinned Treasure Fetch - Adventure Time [$2.99] differentiates itself somewhat, but falls into the same few trappings as the snake genre along the way...

'Rapture - World Conquest' Review - Take over the World in Five Minutes

Tundra Games has opened up shop with its debut title, Rapture - World Conquest [$2.99]. With a new faceplate and some veteran talent, this game studio is one to keep an eye out for. If you asked the question: how could you make the Civ experience accessible and time-appropriate for the iOS mobile platform? This game would probably be the answer. Sure there are plenty of world conquering strategy games out there, but this one has a fantastically frenetic pace that is perfect for on-the-go gaming...

I love tower defense games. I can totally understand the sentiment that as a genre, its a little played out though. Right Pedal Studios' newest title, Ninja Raft [$2.99], has an eye out to avoid some of the most common pitfalls many TD games make. With a focus on active gameplay and an adventurous setting, you aren't going to be left feeling like you are digging in waiting for things to happen. Your ninjas will need to be agile to keep their floating fortress safe from their ultimate nemesis...

Cubus Games is a relative newcomer to the surprisingly burgeoning gamebook market on the App Store, with Heavy Metal Thunder [$2.99] being just their second release. Mobile gamers have been getting spoiled lately by the heavy competition between the existing gamebook publishers, with each new release finding new ways to push beyond what was possible with an actual paper book. Heavy Metal Thunder won't be joining that particular arms race, but it does deliver a reasonably exciting adventure with some occasionally shaky but always enthusiastic writing. In most ways it's a very orthodox entry into the genre, though I do give it credit for its strong use of audio, and while it may lack in ambition, it's a very well-put together, enjoyable bit of pulp sci-fi action...

'FOTONICA' Review - A Running Riot

I'm going to take a guess, dear reader, and say that you have played an endless runner or two hundred. I don't think you've played anything on mobile quite like Fotonica [$2.99]. It's an auto-runner by way of Mirror's Edge [$0.99 / $9.99 (HD)] – not the side-scrolling game, but the original game, in first-person, all in a wireframe style. The entire game is played with one touch, but it's not tap-to-jump. Essentially, tapping and holding on the screen descends to the ground, and allows the runner to pick up speed, while letting go jumps in the air. When jumping, trying to land with this rapid descent is important to maintain speed, as bonus points are earned for running fast enough that the world turns gold...

Developer Osao dropped Chronology: Time Changes Everything [Free] on the App Store last week. If the title didn't give it away, Chronology is a platform game that grants you, the player, the ability to manipulate time. Straddling the time periods directly before and after an apocalyptic event, it's up to you to discover the cause and ultimately try to prevent the disaster. Born from a sketch of a snail and a man with a fez, this game has a quirky sense of humor that should prove to have a pretty wide appeal...

I wanted to love Phantom Rift [$2.99]. I wanted to give it my unabashed affection. I am quite fond of the Mega Man Battle Network series because of, well, everything about it. Certainly, paying homage to Mega Man is something Phantom Rift isn't doing, but the series itself is paying homage to boasted a unique combat system that took the best aspects of card games and mixed it with fast-paced real-time combat. But where Phantom Rift falls apart is not respecting that speed. Not so much in the combat, but in the overworld that governs getting from fight to fight, and managing the character and deck: it's just too slow to get anywhere in this game, both figuratively and literally...

Reviewing a game like Dragon Quest [$2.99] is never easy. First of all, as many of you probably do, I have a very deep childhood connection to this game, which means it's a nostalgic trip for me every time I play it. Then there's the fact that this is a genre-defining game, and as a result, can't possibly be expected to be as refined as the games that followed in the path it carved out. Ultimately, this game is both a classic and a curio, a piece of history that feels like one, no matter how much Square Enix tries to pretty it up. Its age is in its fundamental structure. I think it holds up very well relative to other games from its era, but that's perhaps faint praise, given the state of console RPGs in 1986. A completely new player without any sort of fondness for the history of the series would be better off checking out Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] first. That doesn't mean that the first Dragon Quest has nothing to offer, but it's probably not the best way to break the ice in 2014...

It seems hard to believe, but it's already been a whole year since developer Michael Brough released his techno-roguelike masterpiece 868-HACK [$5.99] onto the App Store, and to celebrate he's dropped the price of the game for the first time ever. You can now buy the game at the discounted price of $2.99, down from its original price of $5.99. In case you're not familiar, 868-HACK is a highly strategic, incredibly challenging roguelike with a cyberspace theme. It's one of those games where every single choice you make matters, and it's imperative that you have a decent understanding of the game's mechanics and are able to plan your moves well ahead. We absolutely loved it in our review from a year ago...

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