Category Archives: $2.99

Interactive fiction, or choose-your-own adventure as we often call it, has been divisive in gamer circles. Some consider it a legitimate form of interactive entertainment while others see it more like a book than a game. When it comes to interactive fiction, I fall firmly on the side of those who see anything that involves player interaction as a game, so this is as far as I'm willing to entertain the game vs not game debate. Still, interactive fiction games come with various levels of interactivity that can often make those games feel either closer to a book or closer to a video game. What Bromoco Games, the developers of Buried [$2.99], set out to do when developing its game was to bring interactive fiction closer to a more "traditional" video game by including numerous photos and also choice indicators reminiscent of Telltale games (for instance, "X will remember that)...

I was more of a console gamer growing up, so I unfortunately missed out on all the great old-school gaming computers, like the Amiga. It wasn't until the world of iOS gaming that I came to know Pinball Dreaming [$1.99] and Pinball Fantasies [$2.99], two classic pinball games from Digital Illusions that were originally released for the Amiga in the early '90s and ported to iOS by Cowboy Rodeo way back in 2009. Let me tell you, I may have been late to the party, but boy was I glad to be invited. Both Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies are fantastic digital pinball games. Sadly, Cowboy Rodeo was a tiny outfit and despite doing reasonably well back in the day it didn't appear that the Dreams and Fantasies ports lit the world on fire. Like so many other great games from that first year of the App Store, updates eventually dried up, though to Cowboy Rodeo's credit they did make an effort every year or two to ensure the games at least ran on latest iOS software and hardware, but new features weren't really in the cards...




The App Store is such a massive place that it's pretty common for games to fly under the radar, even when they're the type of games that seem like they shouldn't have. Swedish developer Wadonk's Captain Cowboy [$1.99] is one of those games that I'd have figured our forum members would have been all over when it released back in December. It's a very old-school inspired puzzle adventure with a heavy Boulderdash influence, as you're exploring and digging your way through a huge world collecting diamonds but you'll have to be strategic about how you dig around so you don't end up in a situation where a boulder will crash down and squish you. There's also plenty of puzzle elements where you'll have to use the boulders to pass various traps and weapons. Overall it's a quirky little game with not a lot of hand-holding and plenty of little details to discover on your own, just like the old days. It even has faux scanlines. Like I said, this is the type of stuff our community is usually all over! Such is the nature of the App Store. ..

Out of all the high-profile iOS games that have been broken by iOS updates and removed from the App Store in the past year or so, poor little Sonic 4: Episode 2 [$2.99] has flown under the radar more than any other. Perhaps it's because Sonic's fanbase is extremely impassioned and didn't take too well to Sonic 4, but as someone who both loves Sonic and who quite enjoyed the Sonic 4 games (though they'd never hold a candle to the original trilogy and Sonic CD), I was pretty darn bummed when iOS 7 broke Sonic 4: Episode 2 back in 2013. ..

It's been a while since we've heard anything from our 2014 Game of the Year pick Wayward Souls [$6.99], but Kepa Auwae of Rocketcat Games has been in touch to let us know that an update for it and their more recent tactical card battling game Five Card Quest [$2.99] have already been sent off to Apple and are awaiting approval. The Wayward Souls update will add a new pet system where a whopping 29 different pets can be found during play and will stick with you until you die or exit a dungeon. Some pets will offer various stat buffs, like increasing your chances for a critical hit or doubling the coins you find, and others will help you directly in combat by attacking the enemies you encounter...

'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...

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