Category Archives: $3.99

At times, it's hard not to anthropomorphize Kemco as that student who is always in such a rush to turn in their assignment that they cut every possible corner. This behavior is particularly evident in the works of developer Hit-Point, who have so much potential that seems to get thrown under the bus in favor of churning out a half-dozen RPGs per year. Rusted Emeth [$7.99] is, sadly, a near-perfect example of both what Hit-Point does well and what they do poorly, another strike against my hopes of seeing this developer actually have some time and money for their projects. They're trying so hard to do something new, but on the way, they're making more sloppy mistakes than ever before...

Square-Enix has been running a sale on its mobile games catalog for almost two weeks, but it’s been limited to the Google Play store until now. Between now and the end of the week, you can save a fiver on the iOS version of Secret of Mana [$8.99], which is usually $8.99...

Compared to other popular licensed characters, the Ninja Turtles have had it pretty good in the video game industry. Their first game from Konami is well-remembered if not necessarily loved, though at the very least it taught many an elementary school kid that turtles can't breathe underwater. After that slight misfire, it didn't take long for Konami to put the TMNT into a few of the most beloved belt-scrolling beat-em-ups of all-time, along with a couple of less-successful one-on-one fighters. After their initial popularity waned and the license left Konami, the Ninja Turtles have had a handful of decent, if not spectacular, outings based on their various revivals, most recently seen on iOS in TMNT: Rooftop Run [$3.99]. Sure, their star may have faded over the years, but they headlined two games that are still considered among the best in their genre, something you can't say for those smug Power Rangers...

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$2.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

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 [$0.99], 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...

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