Category Archives: $3.99

The cult classic New Star Soccer [Free] has amassed many fans since its initial launch in 2012 - and even won a BAFTA to show for it - although the lack of any substantial updates for over a year has led to many wondering what the future held for this excellent arcade soccer simulator. These questions were answered when this morning out of nowhere New Star Games, in association with French book publisher Hachette, released a spinoff in the series called New Star Soccer G-Story [$3.99], which merges the gameplay of its predecessor with an interactive Choose Your Own Adventure style ebook. The developers released a reveal trailer showing the slick new engine and an array of options you can take to influence your player’s career over the duration of the game:..

I have to admit that ever since the latest generation Apple TV launched last fall with a true App Store and a bazillion games, I haven't really played many games on it since that initial week or so of checking things out. It's not that I don't enjoy playing games on the big TV in my living room, it's more a problem of already having more awesome games than I can handle on my iPhone and not really having any additional time in the day to plunk down on the couch and get my Apple TV on. This is probably why I didn't notice that late last week one of my all-time favorite iOS games The Incident launched on the Apple TV with an awesome new local multiplayer mode...




'I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream' Review – A Master Class in Psychological Horror

Some of you may remember from previous reviews of mine that I love horror and dark fantasy. Everything from Lovecraftian anti-existentialism to tastefully done psychological horror to torture porn to “2Edgy4U” bull-crap. I find something to enjoy in all of it. I also love simple stories of heroes and hope and overcoming hardships, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the darkest depths and the brightest heights of the human imagination. Well… if any one living author, and any particular story, represents those darkest depths, it’s Harlan Ellison and his story and point and click adventure game, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream [$3.99]...

The Long-Awaited 'Warhammer 40000: Regicide' is Now Available on iOS

There's hardly a week that goes by where there isn't at least one straggler new release, and this week that prize goes to none other than Warhammer 40000: Regicide [$3.99] which just hit the App Store a few moments ago. Originally announced just over two years ago, Warhammer 40000: Regicide takes the core idea of Chess but expands its boundaries and sets it in the Warhammer universe for a totally over-the-top version of the classic game. However, if you prefer a more traditional take, you'll be happy to know that Regicide also includes a Classic mode that follows the original rules of Chess more closely...

The Heroes Rise trilogy of gamebooks are, as near as I can tell, among the most popular releases from Choice Of Games. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, including the popularity of both superheroes and reality show send-ups, the interesting, convoluted plot, and the overall quality of the writing. Most of those things are still just as popular now as they were before, so even though the author of Heroes Rise has already started a new series set in another universe, it's perhaps not that surprising that the Hero Project is coming back for a second season. That trilogy wrapped things up so well, however, that it's hard to say what the best way forward would be for a follow-up. The Hero Project: Redemption Season [$3.99] finds a new direction, and while it's a pretty good one, it's tackling some complex issues that it can't quite seem to get a proper handle on...

Quirky media can often be a breath of fresh air. Whereas dramas and grimdark settings usually go over well with just about anyone, weird comedies like Arrested Development can break the mold and have us enjoy something we never even knew we wanted. But quirk alone isn't enough to carry every project. Sometimes, studios or developers can go overboard, and made a game so loud, so desperate for your attention that it falls on deaf ears. Despite some solid gameplay mechanics, Egz The Origin of the Universe [$3.99] suffers from some of these issues...

It's not uncommon for Rockstar Games to put their Grand Theft Auto iOS ports on sale, but it's not as common to see the entire library of them all on sale at the same time. That's what we're experiencing right now, in what I'm dubbing "The Great Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto (and Max Payne) Cinco de Mayo Sale of 2016". Pretty catchy name, no? Right now all of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto iOS ports are available for just a few bucks, down from their already pretty darn cheap regular prices. If you were to do some sort of cost to hours played equation for something like GTA: San Andreas, we'd be talking fractions of a cent per hour of senseless violence and crime. It's an amazing deal and really there are no bad GTA games in the bunch. They've even knocked a buck off of the solid mobile version of GTA's bullet time cousin Max Payne. Now is a great time to pick up any of these that you don't own to fill out your collections. ¡Viva Rockstar Games!..

Well, here it is, everyone. Magikiras [Free] is easily one of the worst gamebooks I've played in my years of reviewing, and hands-down the most painful. It's absurdly long given its meager premise, poorly-written, and just plain boring. There are tons of spelling and grammar mistakes, and many other instances of incorrect English. It's linear to a fault, with almost every choice in the book save a few very important ones coming down to the same set of approaches listed in the same order. Even those chances come entirely too sporadically, however. You'll mostly just be tapping through page after page of banal text, praying for a release that is perpetually too far away...

Retro City Rampage DX [$4.99] finally hits iOS. Took it long enough, eh? Brian Provinciano's "what if Grand Theft Auto was an 8-bit game that paid homage to every classic game and notable 1980s cultural phenomenon" title had landed everywhere but mobile. It was on desktop (PC, Mac, and Linux!), the Vita (on cartridge too!), 3DS, Wii U (not the Wii), Xbox One, PS3 and PS4, even a demo for NES! But the new platform releases started to dry up over time, even after the DX update to the original game that brought some new features and tweaks was released. And yet, no mobile version. Yet, one night it unexpectedly showed up! And while I have some issues with the game, I'm quite glad it showed up...

I am a major fan of Orangepixel's games. The solo developer should be remembered by history as a unique, standout artist, despite his games not being the kind of artsy-fartsy stuff you'd typically expect to be called artsy. But it's because his games always have this unique touch to them in the art and gameplay that makes them feel unique compared to other games, even ones from consistent studios. The games having this consistent vision behind them is part of what makes them special. An Orangepixel game looks and feels like something only he could have made...

'Puzzle Strike' Review - A Great Game With a Few Missed Opportunities

The iOS version of Sirlin Games' Puzzle Strike [$3.99] is a tricky game to review. This is a fantastic game, if you're into deckbuilding games with a high degree of interactivity, and while it plays pretty well on mobile, there are some glaring omissions that detract from what would've been a mobile gem (pun intended). Still, even with issues like a lack of proper notifications and questionable UI decisions, Puzzle Strike is a great addition to the App Store and should more than satisfy those looking for a game that's easy to grasp but can take forever to master. While it definitely shines as a multiplayer game, Sirlin has packed the game with plenty of single-player content too like a pretty strong AI to play against as well as 10 Challenges that will test your skills and help you discover the game's strategic nuances. So, a great deckbuilding game, and a good mobile game, too...

Prolific mobile developer Nitrome announced back in September that they were going to be dipping their toes in the game publishing game. I say dip their toes because technically the first game they were set to publish, Ultimate Briefcase [Free], was created by outside developer Quite Fresh, but whose founder was also previously an artist for Nitrome. So Nitrome was branching out, but still somewhat keeping it in the family, so to speak. Anyhoo, Ultimate Briefcase somehow dodged our weekly Out Now post like it was some sort of bomb falling from the sky, but I'm here to let you know that it's officially available right this very moment...

Do you ever have a game that just does not click with you? Twofold Inc. [$3.99] is the equivalent of a restaurant where you can admire the work and craftsmanship that went into the product at hand. What you're given is made with care and skill. But understanding and respecting why something is the way it is doesn't mean that you have to like it. You can even understand why others may like it. I respect Twofold Inc. but I didn't have much fun with it...

Lost In Harmony [$3.99] is the latest game from Yoan Fanise, whose work at Ubisoft included directing Valiant Hearts [Free] and Rayman Raving Rabbids, along with sound design and audio direction on titles such as Beyond Good & Evil, Rabbids Go Home, and Assassin's Creed 3. With that kind of resume, it's perhaps not surprising that Lost In Harmony attempts to be an audio/visual spectacle, a heart-wrenching experience, and a unique hybrid of gameplay styles all at once. It succeeds completely on the first point and reasonably well on the second, but there are some definite issues that crop up with the third point. You can get a lot out of Lost In Harmony, but you're going to have to forgive a few things along the way...

If you've played Rymdkapsel, you probably know that the developer managed to make a highly-engaging game with minimalist graphics, and Twofold Inc. [$3.99], the developer's new game that's just released on the App Store, looks to do the same. As we wrote about a few days ago, this is one of those games that's hard to describe without actually seeing it in action, and even a simple trailer can't really do it justice. The developer describes the game as a "humble puzzle game" where you scroll the playfield to unravel the tiles, then make a path to clear them away. The levels are never-ending, there are no time limits, and in general the game seems to be more of an introspective puzzle rather than a frantic one like most puzzle games on the App Store...

'Dungelot: Shattered Lands' Review - Chewie, We’re Home

Most people that have seen the new Star Wars movie enjoyed it, but one complaint I’ve seen a lot is that it borrows heavily from the first film, A New Hope. I’ve read that it was intentional, and part of the reason was probably to remind people of how much they loved the original trilogy and help them forget the prequels. And as weird as it may seem, it sort of reminds me of what Red Winter has done with the latest Dungelot sequel, Dungelot: Shattered Lands [$3.99]...

Last month brought the release of Oddrok's Power Hover [$2.99], a behind-the-back hoverboarding game with an incredibly stylish look. Now, a little over a month later and Oddrok has begun teasing some of what to expect in the game's first content update. Backing up a bit, one of the things we loved most about Power Hover in our review is the number of truly interesting environments you got to hoverboard around in, and how cinematic the game could feel with its dynamic camera changing between various dramatic angles. Basically, with the cool visuals, great music, and smooth movement, Power Hover is a game that's simply fun to play and is the perfect game to kind of zone out with. So, as for the update, Oddrok says you can expect a brand new snow level and they've offered up a .gif preview which you can see below...

I've learned a few things from MetaHuman Inc. [$3.99], the latest interactive fiction release from Choice Of Games. First, with a little creativity, the ChoiceScript engine that powers these games can be more mechanically versatile than I thought it was capable of being. Next, I'm a terrible CEO. Just plain awful. Finally, I don't especially like being a CEO, and that ended up being a problem for me because being a CEO is more or less what MetaHuman Inc. is all about. At the start of the game, you are appointed the job of running MetaHuman Inc., a shady company that produces human enhancements through a variety of means legal or otherwise. The job starts in January, and you'll see it through to the end of the calendar year, at which point you'll face a final evaluation by the majority shareholders. If you fail to impress them, your death is certain...

'A Study In Steampunk: Choice By Gaslight' Review - Holmes Plus Steampunk Equals Excellence

As much fun as they can be, at the end of the day, most pieces of interactive fiction have stories that are good for games. That's the nasty little asterisk that reminds the player not to expect too much from the story, that it has sacrificed literary merit in exchange for getting the reader's input at frequent points throughout. It makes sense, if you think about it. Writing a great story is like making a great painting. The words are the strokes on the canvas of the page, and, ideally, each one will be carefully chosen to serve a purpose. Good writing is hard, in other words. An interactive story magnifies that difficulty greatly, as you now have to create hundreds of similar but equally great works based on how the player decides. Then you have to deal with the expectations of the audience, who generally want lots of action and a brisk pace, preferably with elves or aliens. I love the genre, but mostly because of the fusion of choice and narrative. If you handed me the stories on their own, I'd probably be considerably less thrilled with many of my favorite gamebooks...

There's something to be said about striking the cultural zeitgeist at the right time. Power Hover [$2.99] drops right when people are getting into hoverboards, what with the fascination over this being the year that Back to the Future Part 2 took place in, and those little scooter things that are called hoverboards despite not actually hovering. But I guess they have no better name. Point is, hoverboards are blowing up. Literally. And Power Hover is here to be an entertaining game where you race through deserts, on the ocean, and through tubes, on a hoverboard. It's solid if not amazing, but fun for the time you'll sink into it...

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