Category Archives: $3.99

Zombie Commando [$3.99] is the rare premium game without in-app purchases that I think would actually be better if it had them, because with the current structure, it's grinding or nothing. Zombie Commando's premise is like many more before it: kill wave upon wave of zombies. This time, players control an entire team of zombie killers, all at once, across fifty missions...

When we reported that King of Fighters '98 [$2.99] was coming to mobile soon, we were not kidding around, as soon meant "this week" – you can download this classic Neo-Geo fighting game regarded as one of the best in the series right now. The port is done by the usual suspects at DotEmu, who handle most of the King of Fighters and SNK games ports. Much like their other ports, there's gamepad support, including MFi gamepads, though the touchscreen controls have been surprisingly adequate for pulling off the convoluted super moves. ..

Mini-game collections, or as they're sometimes known, party games, serve an important if somewhat niche role in gaming. It's safe to say that for most longtime gamers, party games aren't something we're going to be playing terribly often, yet on those rare occasions when you do need one, you really need one, so I suspect most of us keep at least one or two in the standing collection. Gather together four gamers for a party and the sky's the limit for mulitplayer, but if you've got someone in the room who isn't quite so familiar with games, the somewhat shallow and easy-to-learn nature of mini-games is probably the best route to avoid them giving up in frustration. So, like that dusty old Scrabble board you keep in the top shelf of your closet, it's useful to keep a good mini-game collection around for those special occasions...

Generally speaking, RPGs tend to stick to the same sorts of settings and broad plot strokes. Some big evil thing is threatening a typical fantasy world, and it's up to some plucky young guy and his ragtag group of accomplices to defeat the bad guy, save the world, and bring about a happy ending. Even the recent shift towards more dark fantasy settings still has us exploring a fantasy world of some kind, and still usually going after that big evil threat that will end the world. That plot outline loosely describes just about every game released by prolific mobile RPG publisher Kemco, and though I can usually find something interesting in the mechanics to catch my attention, it does get a bit tiresome at times watching the same story play out again and again. Of course, given the rapid pace of releases Kemco works with, a lot of the similarities are down to neccessity, but it's hard to deny that there's a certain stubborn streak running in the genre in spite of a few great counter-examples...

I have a confession: I never finished Mi-Clos Studio's engrossing space-travel roguelike Out There [$3.99]...

Die-hard Kemco fans, or sufferers as we are known to normal people, know that for whatever reason, Kemco's games usually hit Android before iOS. Typically, the iOS versions lag behind by a month or two, but there have been a couple of instances where Kemco skipped to the next game instead. As of this month, one of those two skipped titles has finally seen release on iOS, some eight months after the Android release. For any other publisher, that's not a very long time, but for Kemco, that's somewhere around eight releases ago, and as a result, Link of Hearts [$3.99] feels a bit outdated in several respects. Well, more outdated than usual, I guess I should say...

'Powerpuff Girls: Defenders Of Townsville' Review - Once Again, The Day Is Saved

Every once in a long while, things converge in this hobby in such a way that I almost feel the resulting game was aimed right at me. I'll confess, I was on top of this game as soon as I saw it was The Powerpuff Girls. I can't explain why watching three super-powered kindergarteners beat the crap out of a hyper-intelligent megalomaniacal talking monkey is awesome. I shouldn't need to. Next, I saw that word used to describe it: Metroidvania. That term gets tossed around a lot, and even though most of the games that invoke it rarely deliver, I'll still show up every time, because I miss Metroid and Symphony-style Castlevania games. Finally, as a ridiculously unnecessary coup-de-grace on the whole thing, I saw that it was developed by none other than radiangames, who have a very fine catalog of games on the App Store, including the recent Fluid SE [$1.99] and JoyJoy [$1.99]. They're a developer I trust enough to buy their games as soon as they appear, no questions asked...

Some puzzle games have such simple mechanics that just about anyone can pick them up and do fairly well without too much effort. Games like these usually rely on something external to the mechanics to add a greater challenge, such as a timer or giving you a penalty for making mistakes. Perfect Paths [$2.99], from Lums [$2.99] developer Hyperbolic Magnetism, is not one of those games. In the broad sense, the rules aren't that hard to understand. You've got a certain number of different colored blocks that each need to be moved to a matching-colored goal. You do this by drawing the paths each block should move, then press the button to execute your plan. If all goes well, you can enjoy watching each block make its way to its final location, all according to your brilliant strategy...

I'm not going to try to put one over on you guys. I wasn't exactly excited when Kemco's latest, Band of Monsters [Free], popped up on the App Store, since it hit right about five minutes after Agarest War [$14.99] and five minutes before Final Fantasy Agito dropped. I'd say I have an appreciation for Kemco's fare that exceeds many people's, but there's such a thing as too many RPGs at one time. Starting the game up, I was at least relieved to see it was from developer Hit-Point, whose system-based focus usually results in something interesting, if not extremely iterative...

One of the App Store's gifts that keep on giving, Frogmind's Badland [$3.99], has received yet another update, this time adding an interesting cooperative multiplayer mode. Fans of Badland already know that its multitude of single-player levels are a blast, but one of the under the radar features of the game has always been its competitive same-device multiplayer. Racing against your "friends" towards the end of a level and "accidentally" slamming them into a giant saw blade is some of the most fun you can have huddled around an iOS device. Today's update puts a twist on that by offering modified versions of all 40 Day I levels so they can be completed cooperatively with up to four players...

Some games are so beautiful that even before you lay your hands on the controls, you want to love them. Last Inua [$3.99], a haunting adventure that takes place in the snowy arctic, is one of those games. The art design is striking. The wintery vistas provide a feeling of quiet isolation, an aspect that is bolstered by the restrained sound design. At the same time, the main characters are animated so well that you can feel their warmth and affection, and again the sound design backs that feeling up. The basic gameplay hook is well-tested and promising without having been overdone. You control two characters, each with their own set of skills and abilities, and must make use of the right skills in the right situations to see both of them safely to the goal. Think Lost Vikings, minus one viking, and you'll have the general idea, or at least what I think was the intended idea...

Just under a year ago, Aspyr Media made the dreams of many come true by bringing the classic Bioware RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic [$9.99] to the iPad. We thought it was a stellar port, and pretty much a must-own for anyone with an iPad. However, the release did leave iPhone and iPod touch gamers out in the cold, but Aspyr fixed this last December when they updated the game to be Universal. Since its release on iOS, Knights of the Old Republic has seen quite a few sales, but none as drastic as the one currently taking place. In celebration of May the 4th (as in "May the 4th Be With You") the game has been put on sale for just $3.99 down from its regular price of $9.99...

Here's a brand crossover that I'd never imagined: Lima Sky's cult iOS hit Doodle Jump has just launched a new crossover game with Nickelodeon's long-running cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants. The new game, cleverly titled Doodle Jump SpongeBob SquarePants [$1.99], features the same tilt-based vertical jumping that made the original Doodle Jump such a sensation. However, as easy as it would have been to just slap SpongeBob into Doodle Jump and call it a day, that's not what they've done here. Instead of the normal endless high-scoring affair, the game is broken down into more than 40 increasingly challenging levels. If you beat all of those levels you can unlock an endless mode, or just unlock it early by using the in-game currency...

In October of last year, Simogo did what they do best and turned everything I thought I knew about literature, video games and my own imagination and turned it on its ear with their digital masterpiece Device 6 [$3.99]. Is it a gamebook? Is it an adventure game? Or a visual novel? All of those things? None of them? Device 6 is definitely many things at once, and the only thing I can say for certain is there's nothing else quite like it on the App Store. It was worthy of every bit of the 5 stars we gave it in our review, and then some...

Frogmind's Badland [$3.99] made flapping cool before Flappy Bird took the world by storm earlier this year, and since its release in April of 2013 it's been updated numerous times adding all sort of great new content. Today Badland received yet another new update adding a pack of ten new levels, but this time Frogmind is trying something a bit different: The new level pack is a 99¢ in-app purchase. Previously, all new levels have been part of free updates, but I actually applaud this new paid approach. Badland felt worth far more than its asking price even upon release, so now more than a year later it feels right to be giving them a little something for new content...

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