Category Archives: $4.99

If you loved Final Fantasy Tactics [$13.99 / $15.99 (HD)] but thought it would be better if all of the characters were anime girls, then Japanese indie SRPG Rime Berta [$4.99] may have caught your eye. It's a clear tip of the hat to games like the aforementioned, and in a lot of ways does a very competent job of aping its overall presentation and many of its systems. It's a bit lean on content, which is perhaps understandable given the size of the developer, but its biggest failings are in the fundamentals. It's a serious problem when there are quite a few excellent strategy RPGs on the App Store that, even if nothing else, manage to nail those aspects. In the end, Rime Berta is all dressed up with no place to go...

'Ghost Blade' Review - Something Wicked This Way Comes

If you asked me a couple of months ago to make a list of game types that were highly unlikely to ever be realized in a satisfying way on a touchscreen, I can guarantee that stylish action games would be on the short list. The sub-genre launched when wunderkind director Hideki Kamiya sat down to make another Resident Evil game, decided that it would be more fun if every attack felt as good as doing a headshot with a shotgun, and ended up creating Devil May Cry. One game does not a sub-genre make, but once Tomonobu Itagaki created his masterpiece re-imagining of Ninja Gaiden, we were off to the races. It's not the most prolific genre, probably because it's so hard to do right, but it's seen its share of hits including the mainstream-friendly God of War series, the campy and cool Bayonetta, and the amazing parry-focused Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. These games are usually characterized by their highly-technical, deep combat, where players are graded according to how well they can dance to the game's beat. This usually involves a lot of different buttons, and we all know how well that usually works out on a touchscreen...

'Skater' Review - Two Shoes and a Board

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October 24th, 2014 4:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Game Center, Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation, Sports
$4.99 Buy Now

Skating games were my life for months at a time. Whether it was the next Tony Hawk iteration or EA's SKATE, every time a shiny new skating title would hit my doorstep, I'd be engrossed in that world for weeks on end. I wasn't the best skater in the real world, but digitally I was a pro, ready to ride with the best of them. That feeling has been missing for quite a while now after both franchises have been put on hold, but Skater [$4.99] for iOS recreates some of that magic on the go...

As fans of Pixbits' Junk Jack X [$4.99] are well aware, the developers of the 2D crafting adventure game are always on top of holiday-themed and seasonal content updates. With Halloween approaching at the end of this month, Pixbits has pushed out their latest update for Junk Jack X, and it's stuffed like a scarecrow with all sorts of spooky new goodies. There's a new Halloween biome, new mobs like a Zombie Witch and Black Cat, spiders that will drop from trees (yuck), new Halloween cooking recipes, and lots more...

Final Release Version of Mojang's Card Battler 'Scrolls' Expected Late Next Month

A small team in Mojang’s studio in Stockholm, Sweden has been quietly and unassumingly developing Scrolls, a card-based tactics battler, for over three years, always seemingly overshadowed by something else. First, always and inescapably, by Minecraft [$6.99], a world-conqueringly massive phenomenon that grabs attention like a black hole grabs light. In 2012, the game was the subject of a trademark dispute with Bethesda Softworks, who argued that the title infringed on their Elder Scrolls series. The lawsuit was settled and Scrolls moved into open beta last year, without much fanfare. Microsoft’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire Mojang for $2.5 billion once again dominates any discussion about the studio or its games...

Reckless Racing 3 [$4.99] delivers a style of racing that honestly is reckless, with the loose-controlling cars making perilous turns and drifting around, rubbing paint and just generally making a mess of the proceedings. This has been the series' modus operandi, and it does its job very well, at being a chaotic racing game that's easy to pick up but always hard to control, by design...

To a great degree, I applaud Electronic Super Joy: Groove City [$4.99] for managing to bring a challenging trial platformer from PC to iOS without much compromise. It's a game that will test players, but thanks to its simple control scheme, it winds up being a great fit on iOS. It's perhaps more built for replayability than completion, as the dozen-or-so levels are far more rewarding to those trying to complete them quickly and with as much collectibles as possible, but there's still a lot to like for those who like to be tested...

House on Fire's point-and-click adventure game The Silent Age [Free] just got updated with its second episode, available now. Serving as the finale of the game, this episode has players still controlling Joe, the time-traveler who's trying to discover the apocalyptic event that wiped out humanity – and to just maybe try to stop it, solving puzzles by swapping between 1972 and 2012. Episode Two is available as a $4.99 in-app purchase, with Episode One being available for free as always...

'Crimsonland HD' Review - Can't Beat The Real Thing

It's fun to think back to the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005, when out of all the possible choices for a breakout early hit, the one that most gamers flocked to was the humble Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Starting as an in-house test demo, it's still amazing to me that this little game not only carried a console through the dry launch period all hardware suffers from, but also dragged a sub-genre back into viability, where it still sits to this day. Suddenly, twin-stick shooters were popular and prolific in a way they perhaps never were before. Mobiles have particularly enjoyed the fruits of that success, with a load of great twin-stick shooters already and more releasing all the time. But although the genre was fairly quiet in the years prior to Geometry Wars, like any dormant genre, it wasn't completely dead. One particular standout was 2003's Crimsonland [Free], an early effort from a name many iOS gamers know quite well, 10tons Entertainment...

'Skullduggery!' Review - Collecting Taxes via Brain Flinging

Clutch Play is headed back to mobile with their sophomore title, Skullduggery [$1.99]. No bones about it, this game is a head turner. You can find platformers of all shapes and sizes on iOS but this one is the head of its class. Just looking at the graphics(and my amazingly funny jokes), you can probably already guess there are plenty of head and brain puns to be found in this app. What you find underneath, however, is a really great game...

Imagine you're the creator of Dragon Quest [$2.99]. You've successfully streamlined the somewhat impenetrable RPG genre to a point where anyone and everyone can play the game and enjoy it, and now it's time for a sequel. Obviously, people are ready and asking for something a bit bigger and more complex, and simply delivering something in the same scope as the first game isn't going to satisfy them. How far do you walk the concept back to its inspirations, Wizardry, Ultima, and the like? That's a question I suspect Yuji Horii grappled with when coming up with Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] , and while he wouldn't hit the sweet spot until the next installment, it's undeniable that the sequel to Dragon Quest is a considerably bigger and slightly more sophisticated game...

'Spirits of Spring' Review - A Powerful, Cathartic Experience

Let me begin this review by lighting the "Experience Game" signal, just so that we're starting off with clarity. I've talked before about the distinction between games focused on mechanics and what I usually refer to as experience games, particularly in my review of Monument Valley [$3.99]. As you would probably expect from Minority Media, the developers behind PlayStation 3 game Papo & Yo, their new game fits firmly into the latter category. In Spirits Of Spring [$1.99], the mechanics exist only to serve the experience, so if you're mostly into mastering play mechanics, I guess this review was a short read for you. There are no fail states in this game, it's relatively brief in run-time, and you're never asked to do anything terribly difficult with the few abilities you have at your disposal. Those who enjoy games that focus on delivering an experience, on the other hand, will find something more than worth your time and money. It's a bittersweet exploration of bullying, from both sides of the fence, and though its hand is perhaps a little too heavy at times, I still found it to be a very precious journey...

Czech Games Edition's Galaxy Trucker [$7.99 (HD)] is out on iOS. This board game port has a lot more features than most, and has a solid sense of humor to help you endure the frozen wastes of the void. When I say a lot more features, I mean it. This board game doesn't just have online multiplayer and it doesn't just have AI opponents. Galaxy Trucker features a full on campaign mode on top of all that. This thing is so full-featured, I am certain that many people will pick it up and only realize later that this is based on a board game at all. Galaxy Trucker, the app, has very few things I can nitpick about it. Solid controls, clear visuals, the truckload o' features, and enjoyable gameplay are all on tap. Galaxy Trucker, the board game, does have some bits and pieces I don't enjoy very much, but I still can appreciate this fun, if flawed, game...

Galaxy Trucker [$7.99 (HD)] got an iPad adaptation recently, and publisher Czech Games Edition has announced on our forums that the game's discounted launch price of $4.99 is being extended until next Monday, October 12th. This is an iPad version of the popular board game by Vlaada Chvatil, which involves players trying to build spaceships from spare parts like sewer pipes, the goal ultimately being to have more credits than other players at the end of the game, with different card tiles representing different ship parts and different events that can happen. The iPad version boasts 12 different AIs to play against solo, single-tablet play for up to 4 people, and both real-time and asynchronous play online, and no in-app purchases at launch...

I've hit a point where I think I'm kind of spent on Kairosoft's isometric build-a-whatever sims. It's one of their go-to variations, along with their isometric groom-a-whatever sims, and while I was completely caught up in Hot Springs Story [$4.99], the first of that type they released in English, I hit rock bottom somewhere around Pocket Harvest [$4.99]. They can throw whatever paint they want on it, and it's still fun if you haven't played the other dozen or so, but there's just too little variation beyond the themes. The groom-a-whatevers are at high risk of getting played out, too, and all without following up Game Dev Story [$4.99] properly on iOS. They've done a couple things outside those two types, such as the recent and interesting Kairobotica [$4.99], and one of my favorites from early on is Mega Mall Story [$3.99], a concept they could have easily milked but haven't yet...

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