Category Archives: $2.99

'Grayout' Review - How Do I Word?

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Neven Mrgan and James Moore's Grayout [$2.99] is a word game, but in a unique sense that it plays with words in ways you might not necessarily expect. You are Alaine, who is suffering from aphasia, a condition that affects communication, which manifests itself in this game as where you have a whole pile of words to respond to messages from the doctors allegedly treating you. You need to form sentences, and it starts out just from having a bunch of different words that are designed to fool you from their slight differences as to how they play out in the sentence, eventually getting to the point where the words become warped, and you have to piece together sentences going through several layers of aphasia-induced difficulty...

Remember that wacky, over-the-top short film riff on kung-fu movies called 'Kung Fury' which took the internet by storm back in May? You may also recall that a mobile tie-in game was released alongside it called Kung Fury: Street Rage [Free], and at that time it was little more than an endless, high-score-chasing beat 'em up with left/right combat mechanics similar to something like One Finger Death Punch [Free] or Fatal Fight [Free]. Now, that wasn't exactly a bad thing, as Kung Fury was a lot of fun for a high-scoring game and the production values were totally on-point, nailing the look and feel of an '80s-era arcade game. It's just that it felt like it could have been so much more; a full-fledged brawler like Final Fight or Streets of Rage...




I make a terrible Arthur. It's not something I've had to put much thought into in my life, so I wasn't actually aware of that particular gap in my skillset until I played Pendragon Rising [$3.99], the latest release from prolific interactive fiction publishers Choice Of Games. This adventure sees you guiding a young Arthur (or Arta, if you'd prefer to play a woman) as he returns to Briton from a seven-year stay in Rome. Your parent, the ruler of Gwynedd, is seriously injured in a battle with the leader of the invading Saxons, and the matter of their succession will determine the fate of Gwynedd and Briton itself. There's a rightful heir to the throne, and you technically aren't it, but as is often the case with stories based on the Arthurian legend, things get complicated fairly quickly...

The fundamental conflict surrounding how I feel about roguelike I Wanna Be a Hero [$2.99] is that the game owes a huge debt to Crypt of the Necrodancer, and if you've played that game, then a lot of what this is trying to do makes sense. Of course, Necrodancer isn't on mobile quite yet, so if you're just a mobile gamer, then perhaps you're only used to this. Still, I Wanna Be a Hero does a lot that is interesting and it's not a bad game, but it's definitely lacking...

Way back in 2008, not long after the App Store first opened and I was devouring mobile games left and right, I downloaded a game called Sneezies from developer Retro Dreamer. Probably because I read about it on TouchArcade. Sneezies was an ultra-simple game where bubbles containing little critters were spread across the screen and you'd choose one spot to tap and pop a bubble, with the little critter inside's sneeze dust expanding out from the blast. Any other bubbles that came in contact with the dust would pop as well, and the goal was really to cause a chain reaction and pop the proper quota of bubbles in order to move on to the next level. ..

It's always nice when a game gets an update that you just did not expect. You would be forgiven for thinking Icycle: On Thin Ice [$2.99] was otherwise lost to history after its release in 2013, but no! The game has suddenly gotten a big 2.0 update that adds new content to complete the game, over 2 years since its original release. ..

As regular readers know, I play a lot of interactive fiction games. Visual novels, gamebooks, text adventures, I enjoy them all just the same. While I'm often pleasantly surprised by the writing or structure of these games, it's quite rare for me to come across something that is different from a gameplay perspective. Veteran gamebook developer Tin Man Games has been full of surprises recently, however, so I suppose I should start expecting things like Choices: And The Sun Went Out [Free]. It's a choice-based adventure with a couple of clever twists, with chief among them being that it's not finished. Okay, that's normally a bad thing to say about a game, but in the case of Choices, it's actually its main hook. Rather than presenting a complete story that players can purchase up-front, Choices instead offers a subscription-based model where new content arrives every week, building on the story bit by bit...

Simogo is a developer that marches to the beat of their own drum. You don't need to look any further than their games to see that. Titles like Device 6 [$3.99] and The Sailor's Dream [$3.99] blur the lines between games, storytelling, and interactive media, and Year Walk [$3.99] was an uncharacteristically unsettling experience from the normally upbeat developer that utilized a really unique companion app [Free] to flesh out its world in interesting ways. In keeping with their tradition of being untraditional, Simogo is celebrating the 5th birthday of their very first iOS game Kosmo Spin [$2.99] by actually raising its price rather than dropping it. If you're unfamiliar with Kosmo Spin, then check out this sickeningly adorable trailer...

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

'Progress To 100' Review - Are We There Yet?

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November 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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It’s no secret that there are some pretty expensive iOS games out there. Thankfully, most of them tend to be free, but there are still a few that are a dollar or even two (twice as much!). Even worse, most of these games only use a couple of my iPad’s features. I mean, if I’m going to break the bank on a game that costs money it had better be utilizing my whole device. (Example: I bought Horizon Chase [Free] earlier this year for three entire dollars and quickly found that it only uses my touchscreen. What about the gyroscope? The microphone? The camera? Eeeeyoo, eeeyooo! Ripoff alert!) Progress to 100 [$2.99] is yet another of these wallet draining “premium” games, but I quickly found that this one is different. As I played through its hundred levels, it slowly began to dawn on me: This game uses everything. Finally!..

Do you enjoy games like Out There [$4.99] or FTL [$9.99 (HD)], where you have to manage resources and survive encounters in randomized galaxies? Well, Last Horizon [$2.99] isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it exists within a very similar sphere thematically and even structurally, while being an entirely different game...

'Dark Fear' Review - Old School Horror

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November 20th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Adventure, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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I have a love-hate relationship with horror films and games. As a rule, I'm in love with older films, which use practical effects to great success, and deliver interesting and suspenseful stories. But as time progressed, CG is often used as a crutch, and horror has become increasingly more about shock or jump scares rather than a normalized sense of fear. It's the same way for games, but Dark Fear [$2.99] manages to bring us back into the 80s in more ways than one...

Lost Echo [$2.99] is a sci-fi mystery point-and-click adventure game that was originally released on iOS way back in September of 2013. It's possible you don't remember it because, frankly, it didn't make a huge splash when it arrived and received mixed reviews from the media. However, it had a pretty devoted following of fans, especially in our forums, and the game has been praised for its excellent story and stylish look. Lost Echo is one of those games that probably didn't get the full recognition it deserved when it released, but that hasn't deterred developer KickBack Studios from continuing to work on it. ..

In Western culture, both Friday and the number 13 are considered unlucky. So when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, it's like a double whammy of unlucky. Whether you're superstitious or not, Friday the 13th (which is today in case you didn't notice!) is a fun excuse to indulge in something frightful, and since we're a mobile gaming site let me offer up the just-released Dark Fear [$2.99]. Dark Fear is a classic-style point-and-click adventure with a heavy horror vibe. We talked about it a few weeks ago but here's the trailer again in case you missed it...

Ravenous Games is a developer I've always wanted to like more than I perhaps do; League of Evil [$2.99] still holds a place of greatness as one of the original trial platformers on mobile and a damn fine example of pixel art. Later games have always felt like they've had that missing spark that has prevented the great art and ideas behind the games to be something great. But Tiny Rogue [$2.99] appealed to me for two particular reasons: one, I dig the pixel art and the pocket-sized, turn-based roguelike concept. But the other reason was that Ravenous was now doing something completely different from what they had before, and I think moving into a different genre is a good thing for them...

'Ghost of Memories' Review - Dazzling and Vague

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November 10th, 2015 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
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The isometric take on puzzles games isn't new, but Monument Valley did it with such panache, that it started a revolution in the mobile arena. It's such a good premise for a limited amount of screen real estate, as the view allows you to take in gigantic landscapes without getting lost, or wanting for more. Ghost of Memories [$2.99] follows that same principle, but it's  not quite as exciting as its competition...

Thank you Terry Cavanagh! One of my all-time favorite games ever, on any platform, is Terry Cavanagh's Super Hexagon [$2.99]. It practically started the twitch gaming trend on mobile way back in 2012, and will always be a mainstay on my devices for as long as it's feasible. Anyway, Super Hexagon hasn't seen a whole lot of love since its release, besides the odd iOS compatibility update. It never supported "true" Retina resolution on iOS, but a few jaggy edges didn't really diminish the retro-style game. A bigger problem was that at some point, I believe after iOS 7's release, the game's performance suffered and occasionally the game would stutter briefly while playing. Unlike the jaggies, this was not ideal for a fast-paced twitch game like Super Hexagon. Though it was never crippling, it was a frequent annoyance. ..

I never like it when a game's ending manages to affect the opinion of the rest of the experience. Agent A [$2.99], up until its ending, is an uber-stylish, gorgeous, and fun point-and-click adventure game that does a lot to avoid the clunkiness and frustration that many games in the genre have. But when it turns out that this is an incomplete story, it takes a legitimately great game and makes it a frustrating experience that leaves you wanting more, like a tasty meal that wasn't filling...

'Five Card Quest' Review - Kitchen Sink not Included

I dont usually prejudge games before playing them, but I would be lying if I said I didnt get excited by the sheer mention of a new Rocketcat game. Five Card Quest[$2.99] is that game and it is cool + awesome. Even though it could be described as a Card Battler/Tactical RPG/Roguelike, it doesn't play like a hybrid game. It is a sleek and challenging dungeon delver that really stresses making the right decision and playing the right card each turn. ..

Beat 'em ups were the perfect way to pass the time back in the day. They were simple in nature, often two players, and despite their mindless core, were often some of the most fun games on any individual platform. There's hardly any nuances to the gameplay for most of them -- you basically just need to dodge slightly and attack when there's an opening -- but the linear nature is a nice break if you're looking to relax. That's sort of the same feeling that Leave Me Alone [$2.99] left me with, but it has its own signature personality as well...

How difficult do you like your games? Do you like them punishingly difficult, to where you will have to play a level dozens of times in order to beat it? Congratulations, Astra [$0.99], a level-based orbital platformer, is for you. It's fun to play and features some of my favorte mechanics in orbital platformers. Here, you run around a planet and jump to other planets to make it through the levels, bopping enemies and nabbing collectibles on the way. I tend to not be the biggest fan of orbital games at times, because I find it difficult to be accurate with launching off to where you want to go. I get that's kind of the point, but sometimes I struggle to have fun with these games. But I enjoyed the way Astra's orbital platforming works. ..

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