Category Archives: $2.99

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 [$3.99] may have released back in December and been quite an improvement over the already phenomenal Badland [$2.99], 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...

It's not uncommon for Rockstar Games to put their Grand Theft Auto iOS ports on sale, but it's not as common to see the entire library of them all on sale at the same time. That's what we're experiencing right now, in what I'm dubbing "The Great Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto (and Max Payne) Cinco de Mayo Sale of 2016". Pretty catchy name, no? Right now all of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto iOS ports are available for just a few bucks, down from their already pretty darn cheap regular prices. If you were to do some sort of cost to hours played equation for something like GTA: San Andreas, we'd be talking fractions of a cent per hour of senseless violence and crime. It's an amazing deal and really there are no bad GTA games in the bunch. They've even knocked a buck off of the solid mobile version of GTA's bullet time cousin Max Payne. Now is a great time to pick up any of these that you don't own to fill out your collections. ¡Viva Rockstar Games!..

'Warbits' Review - War Never Changes

Do you like Advance Wars? The 2001 Game Boy Advance turn-based strategy game holds a special place in a lot of folks' hearts because it was an interesting and accessible game, being the first strategy game that many people played, myself included. Many turn-based strategy games to this day owe a signifcant debt to Advance Wars. Warbits [$3.99] falls well in that category, but it's probably more accurate to say that it's trying to be Advance Wars. It lacks originality, but it doesn't screw anything up on the way, and it's Advance Wars on your phone with online play. I'm not hearing any objections...

There are a lot of different ways a piece of interactive fiction can succeed. Some of them tell a great story, some of them give the player a genuine feel of agency in the plot, and some of them have interesting puzzles. Some have tense, RPG-like battles, while others have no fighting at all and focus on building character relationships. A few just take a very interesting setting or theme and run with it. But for all of these strong points that gamebooks can take advantage of, there are a ton of pitfalls that, if not specific to the format, are at least more potentially devastating to the overall enjoyment of a work. It's not an easy thing to put a smooth, highly-interactive narrative together that manages to be strong enough to carry an entire game. It involves almost all of the headaches of writing a good book combined with the difficulties of quality game design...

'Pang Adventures' Review - Pang, Nab It

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April 20th, 2016 11:01 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, Action, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews
$3.99 Buy Now

Until now, publisher Dotemu's work on iOS has been mostly limited to bringing back beloved classics in their original forms. Their releases have run the gamut from arcade shoot-em-ups like R.Type [$1.99] to point-and-click PC titles like Sanitarium [$3.99], to say nothing of the work they've done for other companies like SNK and Square Enix. Pang Adventures [$3.99] is something of an unusual case for the prolific French publisher, as it's a new game based on an old favorite franchise. You might remember the series under the names Pang, Buster Bros., Pomping World, Magical Michael, or if you're particularly well-informed, Cannon Ball. We'll go with Pang for the purposes of this review...

In July of last year, we first learned that DotEmu was teaming up with Pastagames to revive the 1989 classic arcade series Pang, also known as Buster Bros. and Pomping World. The new game would be called Pang Adventures [$3.99], and besides some very vague promo art, nobody knew what this modern take would be like. Then the following November we finally caught a glimpse of Pang Adventures during DotEmu's Paris Games Week recap video, and it looked quite faithful to the original but with a more contemporary art style. We didn't really hear much on the game since that point, but early this morning Pang Adventures surprise launched on the App Store for iOS, along with versions for Steam, consoles, and Android...

There's no denying that the surfer culture is an extremely laid back one, so it's sort of apropos that Diverso Games' latest title Go Surf [$1.99] shuffled onto the App Store just a wee bit later than all of yesterday's new releases. Hey, it's cool bro! We're all a little late sometimes. If you aren't aware of Go Surf from our previous coverage, it's a super-stylish one-tap endless surfing game that does a wonderful job at capturing the beach lifestyle. Check out the trailer...

'Mimpi Dreams' Review - Dream A Little Dream

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April 5th, 2016 11:45 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, iPhone games, Platform, Puzzle, Reviews
99¢ Buy Now

The original Mimpi [Free] was a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and serviceable controls. Mimpi Dreams [$0.99], the sequel, is a cute, somewhat short puzzle-platformer with inspired art design and excellent controls. The original game was an excellent little bit of fun and still holds up quite well today, and the follow-up offers up another tasty serving with a few useful refinements. While its brevity and relative lack of difficulty might turn off those looking for something more substantial to sink their teeth into, Mimpi Dreams has enough appeal to carry it far...

In January of this year I was pleased to see Sega release an update for Sonic 4 Episode 2 [$2.99] that addressed some iOS compatibility issues which had rendered the game unplayable. Sure the game was broken for about 2.5 years before the fix arrived, but I was still glad to see it arrive at all and, perhaps feeling a bit too optimistic, I also said "Although it's never been broken by iOS, I sure wouldn't mind Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 [$2.99] getting a little update love with some widescreen action." Well hey, guess what? Sega has done just that with an update released just this morning. Not only is the game properly widescreen now, but the art itself has been cleaned up for modern iOS device resolutions. Here's a bunch of comparison shots from before and after today's update, click on any of them to enlarge...

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