Category Archives: $3.99

'Prune' Review - Let it Grow on You

I must admit, Prune [$3.99] snuck up on me though it probably shouldn't have. Made by ex-AAA developers out of Madison, apparently the game had been floating around the midwestern games scene, and I somehow missed it until I got an email about it a couple days ahead of launch. And holy heck, do I wish I had seen this sooner, because Prune is a gorgeous and unique experience...

Of all the stories I expected to experience this week, a cross between a dating simulation and 21 Jump Street was not especially high on the list, but here we are. Sword Of Asumi [$3.99] is a visual novel with mild dating sim elements that casts you as an undercover assassin trying to root out the source of a terrorist threat at a school. You'll have to pose as a schoolgirl for however long it takes to find the culprit, with your superior keeping an eye on you as one of the teaching staff. I'll be honest: I think that's an absolutely brilliant premise for a game like this. It's a good central plot to build a story around, providing reasons to mingle with as many people as possible in a variety of locations. There are potentially great conflicts if you happen to get close to someone who is involved in the nefarious plot. There's a reason this all worked so well for Fox in the late 1980s...




I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

'Fearless Fantasy' Review - The Stuff of Nightmares and Dreams

When tinyBuild’s turn-based RPG was released on Steam almost a year ago, players flocked to the game’s highly unique visuals and interesting take on RPG turn-based battle mechanics. Some even pointed out that the game would fit well on iOS devices. Indeed, we’ve been keeping tabs on a potential release even before an open beta was held on our forums earlier this year. Well, after a complete overhaul of the game’s art assets, as well as an extensive period of fine-tuning its mechanics, Fearless Fantasy [$2.99] is finally out on iOS and is well worth the wait...

'Rex Rocket' For iPad Review - Mega Man Meets Metroidvania In This Excellent Action Adventure

If there's one thing I should have learned after being into video games for as long as I have, it's that nature abhors a vacuum. Even after watching countless genres swing out of and back into fashion over time, I still sometimes find myself lamenting the lack of games of a certain type during the quiet periods. After seeing Castlevania leave the hands of Koji Igarashi and Nintendo seemingly giving up on Metroid for the moment after the disappointing reception to Other M, I grumbled about the seemingly dim future of the Metroidvania sub-genre. Looking around today, I clearly needn't have worried. After all, there are more people making games than ever, and more games being released than ever, so any holes left by the big players are likely to get filled by smaller developers looking for a niche. Especially so if said hole is a genre near and dear to the hearts of many gamers-turned-developers, the way Metroidvanias seem to be...

One side-effect of Apple requiring an annual fee from developers is that, if the developer goes out of business, their games drop off the App Store. That's what happened with Spanish indies Blue Shadow and their gravity-based platformer Naught. So while anyone with an Android device can still download Naught and its sequel, they've been missing from the iOS App Store. You can't keep a good indie team down, though, and now former Blue Shadow developers have returned as Wild Sphere, and Naught is back on your Apple device...

In the ever-present artistic struggle between playing it safe or trying something new at the risk of failure, most of the games that Kemco releases fall in the former camp. Sure, almost every game has something unique about it, but it's often buried in minutiae that even most genre fans don't pay much attention to. Their latest game, from developer Hit-Point, is the most unusual RPG they've published in quite some time. I'm an old hand at this genre, as regular readers know, and my initial reaction to Valkyria Soul [$3.99] was a disproportionate amount of excitement. The game looks like nothing Kemco has released on iOS before. The tone of the story is different from Hit-Point's usual breezy fare, and it even has a more competent translation than we typically see from that developer's works. The game doesn't even have the standard top-down dungeon exploration, playing out instead from a pure side-scrolling viewpoint...

'Out There: Ω Edition' Launches on PC and Mac, but the Free iOS Upgrade Should Follow Soon

Last week, Mi-Clos Studio released Out There: Ω Edition, a graphical overhaul of last year's excellent iOS space-faring adventure game, on Steam for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The Ω will come as a free upgrade for Android and iOS players who purchased the original, but we haven't heard much about it since last year...

I've been kicking this review down the road for a while now. I don't typically wait for games to get patches before reviewing them, because once the game is on the store, it's fair game for any customer to buy. I had to make an exception in the case of Echo Dawn: Shattered Visions [$3.99], which worked on my device when I first grabbed it, then broke with the next update, then broke some more before finally getting fixed with its last update. That's not a promising start to a review, I know, but I think it's important to be clear about one side of Echo Dawn. It lacks polish in more ways than one, and there's really no ignoring that aspect of it. There's another side to Echo Dawn, however, and it's a far more pleasant one. It's an enthusiastic indie take on a typical JRPG, more complete than many that attempt to deliver a full package, and it has some genuinely interesting gameplay systems, even if they don't quite come together as cleanly as one might hope...

I've reviewed a lot of Kemco games in the last couple of years here at TouchArcade, and while the quality varies wildly, I can easily say my least favorite of that two dozen, give or take, was Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]. It basically encapsulated everything that I dislike about developer Magitec's games. The archaic engine with its jerky scrolling, the localization so stiff you could iron a shirt on it, the irritating dungeons that have you doubling back and forth hitting switches with damage floors everywhere, the asinine approach to character development, and more all added up to one sad little reviewer. Every time I see Magitec's name on a new Kemco release now, I take a deep breath, flinching the way one would when a static shock is expected from a touch...

Earlier today we sat down with Disco Pixel, makers of the rhythm title Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas [$3.99]. Since its release in 2014, Jungle Rumble has seen enough success in various markets to warrant some significant updates, which were revealed to us at GDC...

'AG Drive' Review - Doesn't Reinvent the Hover Engine

You just don't see a whole lot of ugly futuristic racers. Even if a game has ugly visuals, it can be excused away as a lo-fi stylistic choice to represent the vagueness of the future, or some artsy gobbledygook like that. But often, because the games can be big, bold, and colorful because they're playing with exaggerated fantasy, futuristic racing games can be gorgeous. Wipeout has always been a great-looking franchise. AG Drive [$3.99] follows that Wipeout formula - deliver fast-paced futuristic racing that's absolutely stunning to look at. This is a solid futuristic racing game that's quite easy on the eyes...

Rarely does a game make me question the reason for its very existence. Often times, the objective is clear enough. A game might want to tell a story, to thrill the player and test their reflexes, or even to just make a lot of money by capitalizing on a particular trend. But with Tempo [$1.99], I just cannot for the life of me conceive just why does this game exist? Who thought this game was a valid idea that should exist? It's not a bad idea, but it's the video game equivalent of building a bridge in the middle of a field. Sure, it can be a structurally sound and beautiful bridge, but what exactly was the point of building it in the first place?..

I've reviewed more than 20 RPGs from Kemco since I started at TouchArcade in mid-2013, so I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on what to expect from each game at this point. Oh, the quality varies somewhat unpredictably, but the basic outlines each developer for the publisher employs are well-established by now and all too familiar. Every once in a while, however, one of those games dares to color outside the lines just a little bit, and when that happens, you can usually find Hit-Point's name listed as the developer. Such is the case with Seven Sacred Beasts [$3.99], a strangely experimental title whose chief virtue is that it doesn't just feel like a new story plugged into the same old gameplay. Instead it's the opposite, which might seem like a good thing, but ends up causing some serious problems...

'Garou: Mark of the Wolves' Review - When Butt Fights Dong, We All Win

The latest port of an SNK Neo-Geo fighting game to iOS is one of the best yet. Garou: Mark of the Wolves [$0.99] has a reputation as being one of the last Dreamcast games to release in the US, a late-era Neo Geo game, and as a darn good fighter, the last in the main Fatal Fury series. Now it's on iOS along with other ports done by DotEmu, but this version winds up being one of the best ports yet thanks to the robust features included...

Another Thursday straggler that didn't quite hit at midnight? AG Drive [$3.99] from ZORG Entertainment, a futuristic racer, is now out worldwide. If you enjoy games like F-Zero, Wipeout, and the many futuristic racers that followed in their footsteps, this might just be up your alley, as you control a way-too-fast hover-car through dangerous, twisty courses at high speeds. There are no weapons here, so it's just about out-maneuvering and out-speeding your opponents. Or, at the very least, just staying alive to the finish line, as you have a health bar and three lives to deal with...

This morning we were excited to tell you that the "Platinum Edition" update for one of our most beloved iOS games Space Miner [$3.99] was awaiting approval from Apple and could be arriving at any time. I'd hoped that while writing that story last night I'd wake up and see the update waiting for me, like a 10-months-too-early Christmas present. Well, that almost happened, as just a few minutes ago the update popped up in the App Store. Well… sort of. Let me explain...

Man, what is the deal with Sensible Soccer? That game is popular for its top-down soccer play and two-button controls, a formula that I see a lot of other soccer games try to replicate. The latest is Active Soccer 2 [$3.99], a soccer game that I wish would try to break free of the two-button limitations, though I do find the soccer action to be quite entertaining here...

It was just about a year ago that Mi-Clos Studio launched their haunting deep-space survival game Out There [$4.99] to critical praise, including our own 5 star review and Game of the Week nod. In July of last year the studio announced that Out There would be getting a huge revamp dubbed the "Omega Edition" and along with that it would be expanding to PC, Mac and Linux. Just last month, Mi-Clos revealed the first images of Omega Edition and detailed some of the changes and new features that it would include. Today the beta version of Out There: Omega Edition has launched and Mi-Clos has released the first trailer showing off some of the new features in the game, including the slick new graphical engine...

It's been just under a year since RPG fans were treated to the first ever official English release of Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei [$7.99], the game that launched the brand Atlus built its company around. It's a great port that mixes various pieces of different remakes to create the ultimate version of the game, though its UI in portrait mode sure does look strange. It was on the RPG Reload list of the best iOS ported RPGs of 2014, owing largely to its unique atmosphere and teeth-gnashing challenge level. There's really nothing else quite like it on iOS, and now you can own it for just $3.99, half the usual price...

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