Category Archives: $4.99

It's really hard to find anything bad to say about Pixelbite's Space Marshals [$4.99]. When it first burst on the scene in January this year, it took the often overdone dual-stick shooter genre to a whole new level by injecting strategy and stealth into the typically "blast everything in sight" nature of the genre. The only real drawback was that the experience didn't last too long, but Pixelbite has been rectifying that in the months since with new content updates. ..

Way back in 2011, developer Almost Human were hard at work on their old-school inspired first-person dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock [$4.99]. They planned on bringing it to PC first, but an iPad version was also in consideration. Well, the PC version launched in 2012 to critical acclaim, and a sequel was even released in the fall of last year. Yet, there was still no iPad version in sight. In May of this year, the iPad finally did receive the original Legend of Grimrock, and it was totally worth the wait. Now only one problem remained: iPhone owners were left in the cold! Well no more, as Legend of Grimrock has been updated with Universal iPhone support...

'Champion Of The Gods' Review - Destiny's Child

The gamebooks released by publisher Choice Of Games are a bit of a tough sell to the uninitiated. I mean, gamebooks in general are a tough sell, but many of the other gamebook publishers on the App Store put a lot of work into the stuff around the text. Whether it's a plethora of illustrations, a unique visual presentation, added music or sound effects, or even just playing around with the appearance of the virtual pages, considerable effort seems to be spent to try to get people to give the actual meat of the experience, the text, a proper chance. Choice Of Games offers little more than a splash image, generic radio buttons for choices, a couple of splashes of color in the status screen, and black text on white pages. There is no sleight of hand here. It all falls on the plot, the quality of the writing, and the success of the choices presented in creating a compelling personal experience for the player...

'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' Review - If It Ain't Broke, Make it Faster and Add Bombs

Screwing up Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99] on mobile seemed like it would be difficult. All Namco would have to do is to basically port the game over, maybe make some tweaks to help it work better on mobile with touch controls, as the ludicrous speed of the console and PC version might not work so well with most people using swipes to move. Maybe throw in iCloud and support for both iCade and MFi controllers, and you've got yourself a five-star package. Namco almost did screw this up with a wacky free-to-play version of the game based around levels and energy timers, but thankfully they came to their senses and decided to just drop the game with minimal mobile tweaks on the App Store as a premium game. The world is better for it...

'Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch - Tyranid Invasion' Review - Glorious Space Hunters

Rodeo Games has a niche, and they're getting better and better at satisfying it with each new release. Their last game was a fairly well-received conversion of the classic Warhammer Quest [$4.99] board game, and their newest release is another Warhammer-themed turn-based strategy game. Of course, before all of that, Rodeo Games made their name with their excellent Hunters series of turn-based strategy games, and its from those roots that Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch [$4.99] draws most strongly from. This is basically Hunters 3, albeit with a Warhammer 40K skin. Some might frame that as a negative, but it's been a few years since the last Hunters game. I'm more than willing to entertain a sequel at this point, especially one as high-quality as Deathwatch...

It's been almost a year now since Bandai Namco soft-launched a free to play version of the updated take on their classic Pac-Man franchise Pac-Man Championship Edition DX [$4.99], but at long last the game has finally gone worldwide as of earlier today. What took so long? Well, the version that soft-launched last year was built with all the typical free to play trappings, like in-game currencies and timers, and was met with plenty of criticism from fans, especially those who have enjoyed the various premium Pac-Man Championship games on consoles and even right here on iOS over the years. ..

'Cally's Caves 3' Review - Cally Powers Up Yet Again

Going back and playing the first Cally's Caves game, it's stunning how far this series has come in such a short span of time. While the core action gameplay is solid, just about everything else in the game looks and feels, well, like the small indie game that it is. Cally's Caves 2 [Free] upped the ante significantly, not just in terms of presentation but also in gameplay mechanics, adding a compelling Ratchet & Clank-style weapon upgrade system and smoothing out the overall difficulty. A quick glance at Cally's Caves 3 [Free] would make you think you're getting more of the same from the second game, but although the game may not appear all that different at first, I'm going to go as far as to say that this third game represents almost as significant a leap over Cally's Caves 2 as that game had made over the original...

'Don't Starve' Review - A Masterpiece of Horror, Humor, and Hunger

Don't Starve [$4.99 (HD)]. A simple imperative that encapsulates so much about this game; it sets the mood and traces your constant, furious, yet ultimately futile attempts to follow that advice (or is it a command?). Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve is a survival game with a lot in common with Minecraft in terms of gameplay, but at the same time it also manages to draw its own path because of its amazing art style and its uncompromising and challenging design that pushes players into moments of desperation punctuated by brief moments of triumph. Played either with the help of the many dedicated wikis or as blindly as a newborn baby traversing Hell, Don't Starve stands as a memorable, meticulously designed experience with a UI and control scheme that make it a real pleasure to play on the iPad. Just remember, Don't Starve...

Let me start this review by apologizing for its tardiness. I've been kicking this down the road for weeks, mostly because I've been kicking the game itself down the road for weeks. I've been doing that because playing Always Sometimes Monsters [$4.99] is not fun, or exciting, or even remotely enjoyable for me. A great deal of that is intentional design. Some of it isn't. The terrible mobile UI is likely not meant to be a commentary on anything, for example. Nor are the technical hiccups that occur during many mini-games. Beyond that, however, the game itself is not looking to give you a good time. It's essentially a series of depressing choices between bad options where anyone and everyone is ready to spew out a fortune cookie at you unsolicited. Being an iffy port of a divisive game, it's both easy and hard to review at the same time. Hence, the feet-dragging...

Imagine an MMO RPG where you venture through fantastic worlds with great environment variety, fun enemies, and an entertaining story. I know, this description fits most good MMOs, so now imagine that in this MMO you get to play as one of over a hundred different characters, each with his or her own skills, special moves and powers, and you've got the new LEGO game, Funcom's LEGO Minifigures Online (LMO) [$4.99], the iOS version of the original computer game. The game offers a variety of fun worlds and environments, one included with the game and four more as IAPs, an incredible amount of ridiculous characters to play as, and the usual LEGO gameplay fare of fighting, smashing, and building...

Start singing "nahnah-nahnah-nahnah", and people will immediately think, if not yell out, "Batman!" Utter the words "and here... we... go", and the image of Heath Ledger's excellent portrayal of the Joker clearly comes to mind. Similarly, if I tell you there's a new LEGO Batman game, your imagination can likely fill in most of the blanks. The only surprises here are narrative ones, and they're not really that surprising if you understand the usual LEGO game wavelength. LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham [$4.99] is a fun game in the way most of the LEGO games on iOS are, but the series has pretty much exhausted all of its tricks by this point. If you're okay with that, you'll certainly get your money's worth out of the new levels, characters, suits, and jokes...

It's been a long time coming, but as was announced last week, Funcom have released LEGO Minifigures Online [$4.99] into the App Store. The game is an MMO-like adventure which features a vast array of the crazy characters and locations from the world of LEGO. It was originally revealed way back in August of 2013, and officially launched on desktop platforms in October of last year as a free to play game. However, Funcom didn't like the direction the game was going, so they made a couple of pretty big changes to the game...

Pixelbite's Space Marshals [$4.99] brought some fresh ideas to the tired dual-stick genre when it launched back in January. Rather than a run-n-gun, blast everything in sight approach, Space Marshals demanded strategy, patience and stealth in order to be the most successful. We loved the game in our initial review, but in March, Pixelbite sweetened the pot with a huge Chapter 2 expansion for the game which added new enemies, new weapons and more. Now Pixelbite has taken the wraps off of a forthcoming Chapter 3 update for Space Marshals in our forums, and it's looking really sweet. ..

'Her Story' Review - Turns Out FMV Games Just Needed Good Acting and Writing

Her Story [$4.99] is one of the more unique games I have played in recent memory, by far. At its core, you're just browsing a search engine, trying to find the right queries for what you're looking for, but that's pretty much irrelevant. Her Story is a mystery, where you have a mystery involving dozens of segments of police interviews with a woman, where you're trying to piece together the mystery at hand. The game is about putting together the disparate pieces, paying attention to clues to discover the truth of what happened with the woman and her missing husband...

I am extremely conflicted about Hitman: Sniper [$4.99]. It's a great game, a legitimately fantastic mobile title. It's a game that takes a simple premise of sniping and turns it into a complex puzzle game, where you have to learn how your weapons and abilities work to piece together sequences of actions to get the most points possible, through becoming really good at the game. Seriously, Square Enix Montreal has made an absurdly clever game. It may be more 'traditional' than their previous Hitman Go [$4.99] was, but it shows the same sparks of clever creativity that made that game special. I just wish that there was more than one level to play over and over again!..

'Edge of Oblivion: Alpha Squadron 2' Review - Red Five, Going In

There isn't an overabundance of flight simulators in the mobile market. They're generally much more arduous tasks to develop -- at least, more intricate than runners and puzzle games. Despite that, Martian Monkey was up to the task a few years back with Alpha Squadron, and now, with Edge Of Oblivion: Alpha Squadron 2 [$4.99]. If you're just jumping into the series for the first time you'll have an easy time acclimating, and returning fans will find that it was worth the wait...

'Nubs' Adventure' Review - A Tale Of Home Ownership In The 21st Century

Poor old Nubs. He had defied the odds of the modern economy and purchased a nice house with a great view and plenty of land to build on. Sure, the land taxes were a bit tough to manage each year when tax season came around, but he had things sorted out nicely for the most part. Then one day, a couple of guys swing around, kick him out of his house and off the nearby cliff, then burn the whole thing down. I mean, are debt collectors getting rough these days or what? Luckily, a fairy offers to help you rebuild a home in a new, even better location. You're just going to have to grease the wheels a bit with some fairy dust, which can be extracted from crystals that are just laying around the world, protected by deadly monsters, cunning traps, and treacherous terrain. All things considered, it's probably still safer than a bank loan...

It's an oft-heard complaint that simulation game developer Kairosoft spins their wheels a little too much. I've made that complaint myself a few times while reviewing their games. They have a few templates they like to work with. Typically, they select one of those templates, apply a new theme to it, and maybe add one or two small refinements. The result is usually pretty fun, don't get me wrong, but does tend to feel like you're playing the same game again, except this time with a fake mustache. That said, they've been slowing down their releases on iOS a bit of late, putting out more unusual or at least less well-worn fare like Kairobotica [$4.99] and Magazine Mogul [$4.99]. I find myself actually looking forward to their releases again, something that hasn't happened for a while. Their latest release, Biz Builder Delux [$4.99], is in many ways their best one yet...

'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' Review - Finally on Mobile, and I Couldn't be Happier

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's what Activision's Sierra imprint and Lucid Games have done with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions [$4.99]. They iterated and tweaked upon a winning formula without rocking the boat too much. The game is this: it's the base modes of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, which formed the base of the long-gone Geometry Wars: Touch. It then adds in the adventure mode, centered around what Geometry Wars: Galaxies introduced. These are levels where you have to hit certain score thresholds to get stars and to advance. Mix those in with the new modes introduced by the Retro Evolved 2 game, and throw in some original creations, like Sniper, where there's limited bullets to use. Visually, it sticks the glowy geometric style of Geometry Wars, but throws in some new touches, like spherical 3D boards similar to Super Stardust. Yet it has a particular color scheme that makes it something that's familiar in many ways, but ultimately is its own creation. And with all that, you get Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Lucid Games absolutely knocked it out of the park when it first came out on console and desktop, and now it's on iOS. It is a wonderful game...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

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