Category Archives: $4.99

I often find myself into a bit of a bind when I review a game that's well done in terms of design but also has major technical issues. How do you separate the plot and design ideas in the first episode of BATMAN - The Telltale Series [$4.99] from the engine's obvious shortcomings that make the game almost unplayable on all but the latest iOS devices? I've been playing the game on my iPhone 7 and even though I got some relatively long load times here and there, overall the experience was relatively fine (minus some typos, blurry text in the Codex, and graphical glitches). However, when I tried playing it on my iPad Air, I couldn't enjoy the game because the minutes-long load times really messed with the flow of the story (it's like watching a movie with long commercial breaks)...

Punch Club [$4.99] made quite a splash when it came out partly because of how well it captured a long-gone era (sorry guys, the 80s are ancient history now) while still managing to modernize the tycoon-genre gameplay. We liked it quite a bit in our review, and I personally really enjoyed the pixel art that looked like a refined (but not too much) version of games like Double Dragon. An article by the developer's art director published yesterday goes into the art process in depth. He talks about how the artwork is drawn and then scaled, and how the scenes are created in terms of making sure the geometry works well...




While it may seem a little dated nowadays with the fast paced technological advancements that are one of the defining attributes of iOS devices, the original Aralon: Sword and Shadow [$4.99] was one of the most noteworthy releases on the App Store, and for good reason. After an age of excited speculation on the upcoming forum thread, the game launched to universal critical acclaim in late 2010 for its ambition, scale, and graphical fidelity which was unprecedented in the early years of the App Store. The 2015 sequel titled Aralon: Forge and Flame [$2.99] may have not been as groundbreaking or revolutionary as the original, but still managed to further refine the formula that was so well received back in the day, resulting in an essential App Store release for anyone looking for their Elder Scrolls-esque RPG fix on mobile devices. In the near future, Galoobeth and Crescent Moon Games are planning on releasing a brand new content update for Aralon: Forge and Flame, with a whole new dungeon as well as some other enhancements that should give fans who have completed the campaign even more adventuring to do on the go...

Crashlands [$4.99] kicked off 2016 with a bang (or, if you'd prefer, a crash) when it launched back in January, and with its incredible attention to detail and interesting amalgamation of action RPG and crafting action, Crashlands is a sure-fire contender for any impending Game of the Year compilations. While the original launch iteration was already outstanding, developers Butterscotch Shenanigans have continued to strive to make the game even better through successive updates that have fixed numerous minor niggles as well as add more substantial features. Today, Crashlands has received arguably its biggest update yet - the Juicemancy 1.2 patch brings with it some major gameplay mechanics as well as support for Bluetooth controllers, which is a suitable excuse for any fans to revisit the game, and a compelling reason for anyone who missed out on Crashlands first time around to experience a true iOS classic...

After what has felt like a horribly long and drawn out 2016, it's finally December, which brings with it a whole host of yearly traditions. Forget the holidays, advent calendars, snowmen and the like - for iOS gaming, it's the inevitable 'Best of 2016' lists which will begin to emerge amongst both critics and consumers, and while there will be some heated arguments along the way, it's a great time to evaluate the past twelve months and revisit some of the classics that have released on our favorite touchscreen platform. For me personally, one of the first games that comes to mind is Human Resource Machine [$4.99] - its programming-based puzzles were extremely compelling and suited to mobile, which coupled with some subtle yet supremely clever presentation resulted in an essential App Store release when it launched back in June. Today, Android gamers can join in the fun, as Human Resource Machine has finally launched on Google Play for $4.99, which is a bargain for the amount of frustration and fun you will get out of Tommorow Corporation's latest release...

'Super Cat Tales' Review - Don't Paws, Play This Nya-ow

In spite of the seeming limitation of having no physical buttons by default, iOS has a lot of really great platformers. Some of them get by with virtual controls, putting some of the burden on the player to simply get used to them. That's fine, but unless the game is a port from another platform, I'm not sure if it's really the best way to go. I think some of the best platformers on iOS are the ones that avoid the temptation of using virtual buttons and find a way to build a game around a more fitting setup. Sure, you have to sacrifice some of the conventional ways of designing levels and obstacles, but in doing that, many games find something new and interesting...

I hope everyone is enjoying their Black Friday, and if you feel like spending a bit more money today, episode 4 of Batman - The Telltale Series [$4.99] is now available. Episode 4's called Guardian of Gotham and (spoilers) finds Bruce Wayne hanging out at the place he usually locks up others, Arkham Asylum. The announcement from Telltale came with a special note regarding Episode 4. Apparently, Episode 4 will leave players in very different places depending where they choose to go in Episode 3. So, expect to have very different experiences from your friends playing the series. A (very) few words about the episodes plot. Bruce is now at his lowest ever and outside the walls of the Asylum, all hell is predictably breaking loose. Now, Bruce will have to pick allies to help him break out, but as you can imagine, there's an interesting selection of allies in the Asylum...

'Demon's Rise 2: Lords of Chaos' Review - And Now, the Other Side of the Coin

More than ever before, a game review these days is often little more than a snapshot of a work in progress. Developers are rarely finished with games just because they've launched, and in certain cases, so much is added after the fact that whatever I thought at a game's release no longer fits terribly well. A fine example of that is Demon's Rise [$4.99], the debut SRPG from developer Wave Light Games. Wave Light worked hard on balancing the game, adding lots of content, and implementing features, taking it far beyond what was in the initial release. In fact, the developer recently updated it again, and will be doing more in the future. It's great, but it also presents something of a challenge when it comes to a follow-up...

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$4.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

If you enjoy reading about game development, then you should read this article about the lovely Burly Men at Sea [$4.99]. The blog's written by Brooke Condolora, the artist, writer, and designer behind the game. She talks about the way they constructed this story-building game and how the branching scenes combine to form one overarching theme. They designed the game around the idea of folklore, which influenced the design in terms of length, tone, and moral. The way they went about designing for a cohesive moral was keeping the beginning and end consistent and letting players influence the events between those two narrative points. The game began as a more traditional branching narrative with dialogue choices, but they decided to abandon that for the discovery play style they finally went with...

If you play CCGs, you probably know the name Richard Garfield. If you don't, all you need to know is that he is the game designer who designed Magic the Gathering and also had a hand in games like Netrunner, Battle Tech, and many, many more. Now we just got a drafting card game called Treasure Hunter [$4.99] designed by the man himself. Per the description on BoardGameGeek, Treasure Hunter is all about trying to grab as much treasure and coins as you can in the game's five rounds. There's treasure that isn't treasure, though, so you have to be careful about what you're collecting. You draw a number of cards, and then you pick one and hand the rest to the next player. You continue doing so until everyone has 9 cards...

Back in early August, we caught our first glimpse of an upcoming courtroom drama game from developer Atreyu Games called Twelve Absent Men, and just over a month later we saw it in action with a humorous trailer. Apparently, the game quietly snuck out last week and as of today you can download Twelve Absent Men [$4.99] on the iOS App Store as well as on Google Play. Twelve Absent Men pokes fun at the tropes in your typical courtroom dramas on television and in movies, which always have a way of doing magical things like instantly going to trial after arresting a suspect and of course angering a judge into holding someone in contempt of court. ..

One of the finest crafting/survival/world-building games on the planet is Pixbits' fantastic Junk Jack X [$4.99]. The very first Junk Jack released around this time way back in 2011, but as iOS hardware and software improved and expanded, it led Pixbits to release a greatly enhanced version in August of 2013 which we know as Junk Jack X. As with the first game, the team kept updating and improving Junk Jack X at an almost absurd rate for years, and if you were looking for the most bang for your buck in terms of hours of play then it really fit the bill. Things slowed down a bit though as Pixbits worked on bringing the game to desktop, and the last significant update for the game was in December of last year. Well, Junk Jack X is back with a massive version 3.0 update that pretty much blows anything they've done in the past right out of the water...

Hunters: Episode One was the first real taste mobile gamers had of a complex and console-quality strategy game in the mould of XCOM, and its sequel Hunters 2 [$4.99] was beloved amongst the iOS community for improving on the original whilst retaining the compelling gameplay and stunning graphics (at the time, at least) of the series. When Rodeo Games quietly removed both titles from the App Store earlier this year, many thought the were gone for good - neither had been updated for many years, and with the onset of iOS 10, it appeared this was the death knell for the Hunters series. However, against all odds, today Hunters 2 has returned to the App Store with iOS 10 and widescreen support, as well as other minor bug fixes, which is fantastic news for any veteran gamers who longed to try Rodeo's strategy series again on their newer devices...

Let's be honest: Kemco's RPG release schedule on mobile has always been pretty absurd. They've only been at this for around five years on smartphones and they're nearing 50 RPGs on iOS in English, and even more than that on Android. That works out to an average of just under one RPG per month for five years running. Now, there's a fair bit of repetition from game to game, particularly if you're just looking at the broad outlines, but I feel they've historically been able to mitigate that issue by keeping a handful of developers on tap. This has helped differentiate the Kemco catalogue, to at least a small extent, and has also ensured that each developer has a bit of a buffer between releases...

Batman - The Telltale Series [$4.99] has had a peculiar existence on iOS. The first episode came way after it hit PC and consoles, the second episode came briefly after the first one - but still well behind other platforms - and now episode 3 has hit iOS only a couple of days after PC and consoles. Maybe this means we'll get episode 4 pretty much at the same time as everyone else. You can now g and grab New World Order for $4.99 and continue playing as Batman and Bruce Wayne, if your device can actually play it since most iOS devices have been having quite a few technical issues with the series so far. Hopefully, Episode 3 will play better...

'Primordia' Review – B'sodding Brilliant

Of all the adventure games I’ve reviewed for this site, this is probably my favorite. The writing is stellar, the voice acting is ace, the style is top notch, and the soundtrack perfectly sets the tone. What is this game upon which I lavish such high praise? It’s an adventure game called Primordia [$4.99]. A very modern adventure game with a very old school feel, where the puzzles are challenging but not because they’re goofy and absurd. Puzzles and interactions serve the story and characters first, in a bleak post-apocalyptic world that is very well built. And the kicker? Nary a human being in site. This is a robot’s world now, though humans still play a pivotal role...

Every now and again I like to look through old weekly new game posts to find worthwhile games that may have been overlooked. Especially with the light speed pace of the mobile market. If you like RPG survival games that capture a real sense of struggle with an atmosphere of otherworldly dread, then you’ll probably adore Dead in Bermuda [$4.99] from CCCP and Plug in Digital. The stuff that it does right, it really does right. It’s hilariously (probably realistically) difficult, but it was definitely worth the price of admission, which is way cheaper than an airline ticket to Bermuda and the psychological cost of crashing and having to survive with your wits alone...

Batman - The Telltale Series [$4.99] is unfortunately plagued by pretty serious technical issues that have drowned out the intriguing work Telltale is doing in reimagining the Batman mythos. As I wrote in my review of the first episode, Telltale included a big twist to Batman's story (which I won't repeat here for spoilers' sake) that has made the series much more intriguing than expected. This new behind-the-scenes video focuses on how Telltale created the Bruce Wayne character while allowing players to mold him to their taste through their choices. I like how the developers let you play Bruce as a variety of different people, from a suave, easy-going charmer to a brooding loner...

It's a testament to the work of Dinosaur Polo Club that they've been able to make something as mundane and infuriating as public transport into a clever and captivating puzzle game. Mini Metro [$4.99] has kept us waiting at the platform since September 2014, where we first caught a glimpse of the PC version, with a suggestion of an iOS release a few months down the line. Over two years later, Mini Metro has finally launched on the App Store, however the severe delays appear to have been worth it. With critical acclaim on its original Steam launch, and an extremely positive showing in our GDC 2015 preview, Mini Metro looks like an essential purchase for any fans of meticulous city design, or even just puzzle game aficionados in general...

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