Category Archives: $3.99

Pleasant is the operative word to describe Dan Fitzgerald and Lisa Bromiel's Dog Sled Saga [$3.99], a charming game about dog sled racing that is more of a simulator than a racer. It came out last fall, but I couldn’t let us get through the winter without giving it a proper look over. Especially since the current build is so much more polished and stable than launch. It’s definitely the strongest game the developers have released thus far and it only makes me look forward to what they comes out with next. So strap your boots on and clean out the kennel. It’s time to crack the whip!..

Way back in June of 2015, Suminell Studios announced their throwback horizontal shoot 'em up Z-Exemplar. They used the classic 8-bit gaming computer ZX Spectrum as their inspiration for how the game should look and play, and appeared to be nailing the authenticity to an incredible degree. Updates on the game's progress were fairly frequent through the rest of 2015, but then things went oddly silent until this past August when the developers posted an update saying they had been quietly toiling away on the game and that it was finally feature complete. The game finally launched on Steam in November, and then on Android about a week ago, and at long last Z-Exemplar [$1.99] has also arrived on iOS as of this morning. Here's a look at the launch trailer from the Steam release...




Cannonfire Concerto [$3.99] is another gamebook release from Choice of Games that offers an unusual premise and excellent world-building. You play as a touring musical virtuoso in a setting that has something of an 18th century European feel. It's a time of momentary peace for the region, but things are starting to fire up again. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to get involved and which side you'll pull for, but whatever you choose, the show must go on. Written by Caleb Wilson, Cannonfire Concerto is a lighter and faster-paced read than some of the last few ChoiceScript games released, but that doesn't stop it from creating an interesting setting and having a good bit of fun with it...

'Colt Express' Makes Robbing Trains Fun and a Treat for the Eyes

Board game ports are a popular genre on the App Store, and while some are fun, not all of them strike a good balance between retaining the feel of a board game and taking advantage of all the digital realm can offer. I'm glad to say Colt Express [$4.99], the port of the award-winning board game, manages to bring the board game to life on digital by adding enough animation and sounds to make it pleasing to the eye while keeping the spirit of the board game intact. In fact, the developers have done something unusual in this port; they've transformed the 3D trains of the board game into 2D ones that look made of cardboard...

Last year Nitrome released a very silly and clever puzzler called Silly Sausage in Meat Land [Free] where your goal was to stretch a freakishly flexible dog from point to point all while strategically avoiding various types of hazards on your way to each checkpoint. It was a lot of fun, and we really enjoyed Silly Sausage in Meat Land in our review. Well, the stretchy dog shenanigans were far from over as in September Nitrome announced a sequel, and as of this morning Silly Sausage: Doggy Dessert [Free] is now available. Expect more crazy puzzling as in the first game, but with a truckload more sugary sweets. That's desserts, not deserts, for those keeping score at home...

In March of last year, Kalypso Media released a refreshing take on the roguelike genre with Crowntakers [$3.99]. By taking elements from turn-based strategy RPGs and blending in some of the most popular elements of roguelikes, they created an experience that was more than the sum of its parts. Also, by including two difficult levels, one where you could take your characters and experience levels with you game to game and one that was truly permadeath and caused you to start completely over upon death, Crowntakers appealed to a wide audience of gamers. We loved it in our review and really the only problem was that Crowntakers was an iPad-only game, limiting the amount of people who could play it. Well, that's no longer going to be the case as Kalypso has announced that Crowntakers will be receiving iPhone support this coming January. Here's how the game will look on the iPhone...

'Exiled Kingdoms RPG' Review - Chop 'til You Drop

I usually try to stay on top of the various RPGs that come out from week to week, but every once in a while, something good slips past. Fortunately, the TouchArcade forums are pretty reliable about finding the things we happen to miss, and that's just how I came across Exiled Kingdoms [Free], a surprisingly excellent action-RPG in the vein of Diablo. While it's not the prettiest game around, it offers dozens of hours of killing monsters, looting dungeons, and gathering awesome gear. Just in case you need some convincing, the game even offers a substantial portion to play for free, with the rest unlocking for a one-time IAP...

Our culture's fiction has a fascination with werewolves. We've explored what it would be like to be an American werewolf tourist in Europe, what it would be like to have a werewolf Michael J. Fox, what it would be like to have a werewolf boyfriend, what it would be like to have a werewolf boyfriend who competes with our vampire boyfriend but then ends up being the boyfriend of our daughter instead, and so on. But I feel we could be doing a better job of digging into the fascinating subject of what it would be like to have a werewolf member of congress, a niche I was hoping Congresswolf [Free], a recent gamebook release from Choice of Games, would fill...

I don't know about you, but me and my wallet are still recovering from the ridiculous amount of App Store sales that took place on Black Friday. However, debilitating debt and an already immeasurable backlog can't stop the killer deals for iOS, as Cyber Monday should bring with it even more excuses for developers to cut the price of their games down even further. Today, the stunning slashing RPG Severed [$6.99] has had its price cut to $3.99 - while the game did already go on sale back in October, for four dollars you can acquire a sure-fire candidate for many end of year lists, and a title that received an extremely favourable review from us back at its release in September...

Look, I love my hardcore math battles as much as the next person, but sometimes it's nice to get something a little lighter. It can be hard to find an RPG that skates the line between simplicity and complexity well, but that's just the spot that Witch Spring 2 [$1.99] fits into. With an emphasis on crafting, exploration of a limited map, and simple turn-based battles, it's probably not going to be to everyone's tastes. It also leans rather heavily on a cute anime style that is obviously going to resonate with some and turn off others. And yet, there's a lot of heart to the effort, and its innocent enthusiasm can be a little infectious. It's certainly a nice break from the usual template we see in this genre, if nothing else...

'The Bug Butcher' Review - Squashing Makes Me Feel Good

The Bug Butcher [$3.99] might have been released on PC earlier this year, but it felt like it was built for mobile devices. The horizontal Super Pang style, the limited amount of buttons -- it gels well with the endless approach for many similar mobile games, but The Bug Butcher has a level of sheen that a lot of those games sorely lack. There's also lots of room for colorful character designs, a tight control scheme, and some silly, funny writing that tie it all together. It looks and acts like a cartoon, and you'll uncover more and more layers of depth the more you play, which is the telltale sign of something you'll want to play beyond an initial curious play session. Developer Awfully Nice Studios did a great service porting this over...

I don't know how the weather is across the Atlantic, but November has brought with it some incredibly cold weather to the UK, which I guess is fitting as we are slowly approaching the holiday season. Therefore it's almost poetic that Frost [$3.99], the snowy and sublime card game that released back in the far warmer month of September, has today received its first major content update on the App Store. With brand new scenarios, mechanics and abilities, fans of the game have even more to enjoy here, and anyone who missed the boat first time around have no excuse to stop giving Frost the cold shoulder and to give it a go today...

'Nightgate' Review - Enter The Matrix

Semidome made a splash with their artsy debut Last Voyage [$1.99]. It was an artsy yet eclectic experience, as its ten chapters ran the gamut of gameplay styles to convey its abstract story. Semidome isn't done conveying this abstract digital atmosphere in their second title Nightgate [$1.99]. It positions itself as a more singular experience, but one that succeeds in creating a fascinating landscape for players to experience for just a little while...

'Pumped BMX 3' Review - A Successful 360 Spin

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October 13th, 2016 11:05 AM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $3.99, 4 stars, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Sports
$3.99 Buy Now

The original Pumped BMX [$1.99] was a fun, surprisingly deep side-scrolling stunt game that combined elements of Tiny Wings [$0.99] and Trials to great success. The sequel, Pumped BMX 2 [$2.99], completely blew the first game out of the water. The highlights included a dramatically-improved presentation, a deeper trick system, and a better set of controls that made pulling off intricate maneuvers much easier. It was such a big step up from the first game that it was hard to see where the series could go in a sequel without completely tearing up the carpet. That seems to have proven true, as Pumped BMX 3 [$3.99] isn't nearly the upgrade that the second game was over the first. There are some significant additions, but nothing that really changes the game in any major way. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on how well you've enjoyed this series until now...

Rush Rally 2 [$0.99] is a mainstay on my iPhone, as despite coming from a small development team from the UK, it managed to be an incredibly immersive, balanced, and most of all fun racing game, which has been a rarity on the App Store of late. While the game was critically acclaimed in our review back in June, this hasn't stopped developer Brownmonster from enhancing the racing simulator with further additions since release. However, in comparison to the 1.06 update that launched today, previous additions seem relatively superfluous, as multiplayer support through Game Center, an online ranking system and a whole host of both major additions and minor tweaks cement Rush Rally 2's peerless position as the best rally racing game on iOS to date...

You don't play This War of Mine [$14.99] to cheer up or put a smile on your face; no, you play this game because it throws you in the middle of the horror that is war and asks you to make one difficult decision after the other. Despite its lack of sunshine and flowers, this is a game that, as Eric wrote in his review, deserves to be played by everyone because it is an emotional tour de force. Now the game has raised the stakes ever more with the addition of The Little Ones, a DLC that has you experiencing the hardships of war through the eyes of a child. Sounds fun, right? The Little Ones focuses on how even in the middle of a war, kids are still kids; they still look for toys, play, cry, and in general experience the world around very differently from their parents...

Back when I reviewed developer AJTilley's first visual novel release on iOS, Sword of Asumi [$1.99], I found myself underwhelmed by the weak follow-through on what I felt was a fairly good premise, but had some hope for future releases from the team. Well, we now have a another game from AJTilley, and I have to say that I'm a lot less optimistic about their future work. Divine Slice of Life [$3.99], like the developer's previous effort, has a good enough premise. You play as the reincarnation of Zeus who had been living a normal student life until two demigoddesses came crashing in, demanding you marry one of them and ascend to the Pantheon. Silly? Sure, but romantic comedies often are. Unfortunately, just as in Sword of Asumi, a decent premise ends up being entirely squandered. Somehow, it's even worse this time around...

Alto's Adventure [$4.99] is always up for using new iPhone and iOS features when they come out, like when it added 3D Touch support and even stickers more recently. In the latest update, Alto's Adventure has added in-game support for Haptic Feedback in iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. If you don't know what haptic feedback is, it's a new addition to the iPhone series that reproduces the sensation of motion or generates tactile experiences; in other words, it's like a better version of the force feedback many of you might be familiar with from console controllers. The way it works in Alto's Adventures is you'll feel "precise vibrational feedback" (as the developers put it) at exciting moments in the game, for instance when you collect a llama or slide over an ice boost...

A few weeks back we wrote that the deck-building word game Paperback [$3.99] was getting a digital version, and that version would be coming out soon. Well, "soon" has arrived since Paperback has just released on the App Store. In the game you play an author trying to finish genre novels like Sci-Fi, Romance, Westerns, and so on. You start with a deck of letter cards, and as you form words, you earn money that you then use to purchase even more powerful letters (in a way like you do what you do in games like Ascension  minus the word-building). Many of the letters have special abilities that get activated when used in a word...

Even though the majority of major App Store releases are clustered around the traditional Thursday launch date, it's always fantastic to start the week with some games that, for whatever reason, avoided this trope of iOS gaming. Frost [$3.99], from the critically acclaimed graphic designer JĂ©rĂ´me Bodin, is one such release, and while RPG titles infused with card game mechanics is not necessarily a new concept, the predictably brilliant aesthetic direction of the title could go far in distinguishing it from the crowd. Having already launched on Steam to almost universal positive feedback, Frost describes itself as a 'solo survival card game', and requires you to build your deck in the vein of similar titles such as Dominion [Free] and Ascension [Free] to survive a perpetual Arctic winter...

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