Category Archives: $4.99

To celebrate the release of Stealth Inc. 2 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows (via the Humble Bundle store), Curve Digital has slashed the price of it's iOS predecessor. For this weekend only, you can snatch Stealth Inc. [Free] for free on the App Store...

'Crowntakers' for iPad Review - A Royally Good Roguelike Spin

Some of the earliest video game RPGs were roguelikes, but if you didn't notice them around for a couple of decades, nobody would blame you. After being fairly popular in the early stages of home computing, they soon gave way to bigger, more persistent adventures. They still had a dedicated following during those years, with games like Nethack, Angband, and Japan's Mystery Dungeon series carrying the torch for the genre. The boom of indie developers and the surging interest in more compact gaming experiences in the last ten years has seen the genre make a big comeback. The basic elements of the genre have been used in many popular games that might not be strictly considered roguelikes but owe a massive debt to the genre nonetheless. A genre once almost totally represented by so few games that you could count them off on your fingers now has a strong influence, especially in the PC and mobile gaming markets...

Baseball is finally back after a long winter. It's looking like another rough season for my Texas Rangers, with more season-ending injuries and prospects they traded playing for other teams. Thankfully, baseball simulator iOOTP is back for another season on iOS. Boasting a fresh MLB license and a new name, MLB Manager 2015 [$4.99], the time has come for me to try and change my favorite team's fate, and develop them into perennial contenders. Previous iOOTP games came with what amounted to incremental improvements from year-to-year. MLB Manager, despite the fresh new license, follows the same tack: a few new tweaks and features rule the day...

'Gunpowder' for iPad Review - Explosive Rube Goldberg Play Sets

After first seeing the trailer for developer Rogue Rocket Games’ Gunpowder [$4.99 (HD)] last week, I was instantly taken by the game’s Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic, and more specifically, that of the old Wile E. Coyote episodes of "Looney Tunes". It’s a style rarely seen in today’s cartoons, much less in any video game, so it was a refreshing hook that baited me to pay attention to the game. Fortunately, Gunpowder is more than just a pretty face, and brings with it physics-based puzzle gameplay that balances on the fine line of accessible yet satisfying...

'Shadowrun: Dragonfall' Review - The Matrix, Reloaded

I'm of two minds about Shadowrun Returns [$2.99 (HD)], the 2013 Kickstarter-fueled return to the cult cyberpunk setting. On the one hand, it's a really strong RPG that pays respect to the beloved 16-bit games. The pacing is snappy, the systems are enjoyable to play around with, and while the setting isn't quite as unique as it was twenty-five years ago, it's still unusual enough to help invigorate the experience. I mean, this vision of a dystopian cyberpunk future is almost adorably retro at this point, like looking back at the 1960s idea of where the space race would lead us. The writing quality is strong enough that those feelings of quaintness are quickly shaken as you get into the plot. On the other hand, the iOS release was extremely buggy at launch, the developer was slow to fix anything, and it's still missing content from the PC version, a situation that will likely never be resolved. The game has a tendency to grab you by the wrist and drag you along, with little in the way of role-playing options or any real agency on your part. That's a valid choice and I enjoy many games that use that kind of design, but at least where I'm concerned, I tend to feel that Shadowrun RPGs are best when they're a bit more open-ended...

'Tales from the Borderlands' Review - Less Loot, More Talk

The idea of Tales from the Borderlands [$4.99] was certainly an intriguing one once it was announced. The Borderlands series definitely has a unique feel to it from its setting, dialogue, and characters that can be easily screwed up by a developer not quite in tune with the way the series operates. The good news is that Telltale Games are experts at story, so the idea that they could approach and do justice to this universe while also expanding on it in a way that isn't just a loot-filled first-person shooter is an interesting proposition...

'The Trace' Review - Tracing Clues and Taking Names

'The Trace' Review - Tracing Clues and Taking Names

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March 25th, 2015 8:16 PM EDT by Tasos Lazarides in $4.99, 4.5 stars, Game Center, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$4.99 Buy Now

One of my favorite gaming experiences back in the late 1980s was playing the fantastic Police Quest series by Sierra Entertainment. I had perhaps too much fun playing the cop and roaming the streets as an incompetent instrument of justice. So, I was quite happy that The Trace [$4.99], the new game by British award-winning games developer Relentless Software, out now for iPhone and iPad, brought me back to my glorious crime-solving days. As Detective Sam Pearce of Baltimore PD, you get to follow a long trail of bodies in the hunt for a killer. Relentless Software has developed the game from the ground up for tablet and mobile devices, and it shows both in the game's influences and its controls. If you've been gaming on mobile devices the last few years, you'll easily recognize the genres that make up The Trace...

We're busy little bees running around GDC meeting with developers and checking out cool games, but this is just a quick heads up that the latest update for Pixelbite's tactical dual-stick shooter Space Marshals [$4.99] is now available as a free update in the App Store. The update adds Chapter Two to the game, which includes new weapons, new gear, new missions to complete and new enemies to defeat. Check out the trailer...

We were already well aware that Pixelbite Games were experts at making racing games, with the excellent Reckless Racing series and Repulze, but in early January they released Space Marshals [$4.99] and showed the world that they've also got a lock on tactical dual-stick shooters. We loved Space Marshals in our review, noting that it really focused on forethought, skill and strategy, which is a contrast from most dual-stick shooters which are largely blast-a-thons. The one bummer about Space Marshals is that it was designed as an episodic game, and the first chapter, while a nice meaty ride, still felt like it left you hanging when it was over. Good news, then, as today Pixelbite has announced that the Chapter Two update to Space Marshals is arriving next week on March 5th. They've released a new trailer showing off some of the awesome new stuff you can expect in Chapter Two...

'Pinball Arcade: The Addams Family' Review - And Now, This Mamushka Is For You

The developers behind The Pinball Arcade [Free / $0.99], FarSight Studios, are nothing if not extremely passionate about pinball. They've been in the games industry a pretty long time, over 20 years now, but they didn't truly find their niche until the 2004 release of Pinball Hall Of Fame: The Gottlieb Collection on the PlayStation 2. Its initial release was perhaps a little too early to catch the renaissance of video pinball, but it at least did well enough that they followed that up a few years later with The Williams Collection. With Williams tables being a lot more well-known among Americans, that release ended up doing pretty well, earning high praise for its faithfulness to the real machines. While this was all happening, digital storefronts started to become more popular. Soon, retail retro collections were becoming retro themselves, with a la carte offerings proving more popular with fans. It was a natural fit for the type of work FarSight was doing, and so The Pinball Arcade was born...

I love the idea of Adventure Time Game Wizard [$4.99] because of the power of its license. Pixel Press Floors [Free] was cool technology, in the way that it let people sketch out levels on paper using a system of glyphs, and then take a photograph to scan them into the game. It's a remarkably cool tech and idea. But really, the greatness of the idea and its reach was somewhat limited by the new intellectual property and the limitations that Pixel Press had in terms of PR and reach on the App Store. Thus enter Cartoon Network. The kids love them some Adventure Time. So, why not combine that license and the Cartoon Network marketing muscle with the latest Pixel Press tech? What is here is not just a competent platformer, but an incredibly powerful creation tool that I think could be really great because of the way that it opens up creation to a young audience in an accessible way...

Evoland [$4.99] is an odd experience. It's packed to the brim with genuine enthusiasm for my favorite genre and many great games of that genre and outside of it. Like an experienced stage magician running through his act, it has a brilliant set of tricks that it cleverly lays out one after the other, upping the ante each time to maintain your awe and excitement. At first they come at breakneck speed, not unlike the progress of gaming technology itself. After a half hour or so of this, the designers must have realized that they had to space out their remaining cards so that the game wouldn't be finished too quickly. Things slow down. They ride out the previous trick for a while, perhaps too long. Then, having exhausted their bag of tricks and understanding that even a patient audience can get restless, things come to a swift, sweet finish. Evoland is too short at times and too long at others...

Kairosoft makes a lot of games. Rather, I suppose they made a lot of games and have been diligently porting them over to smartphones ever since. They're not bad games. If you happened to be trapped in an elevator for a couple of days with one, you might not even notice you didn't hit your floor. That said, they are extremely similar to one another, relying on the same few templates spread across every single job anyone ever had or will have. It wears on you after a few games, especially if you fall into a row of their building simulations. I've often said that any given Kairosoft game is going to be amazing if it's your first and mind-numbing if it's your fifth. The sad thing in all of this is that the template that brought them to the dance, so to speak, is the least-recycled of them all. Game Dev Story [$3.99] put Kairosoft on the international map years ago, and the biggest request everyone has made since is for a sequel. Kairosoft marches to their own beat, though, and that beat apparently dictates that there shall be only one Game Dev Story per Halley's Comet appearance...

I hate when a game lets me down. Exiles [$4.99] had a cool premise, and was from a developer that has done big, expansive open-world games on iOS before. Yet, this just falls way short of what it promised to be. This is the latest open-world RPG from Crescent Moon, having you deal with a government conspiracy involving a deadly virus, and the eventual fight against a politician riding in a giant mech. The game is mission-driven, but there's a giant, expansive world that you can explore, though there's not a whole lot to actually find beyond what the missions have. At least you can ride in mechs and on sweet air bikes, and shoot the ironically-named Peacebots...

We're really going down the meta-rabbit hole here. The latest release in the long-running and prolific LEGO series of video games from TT Fusion and Warner Bros. is The LEGO Movie Video Game [$4.99]. It's a game based on a movie, based on a toy, whose sense of humor and visual style was heavily drawn from the games based on the toys made from licenses of other movies. This version specifically is a slightly modified port of the game as it appeared on the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, so don't expect any open world shenanigans or levels drawn from the console version of the game. It most closely resembles LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe In Peril [$4.99], which I enjoyed more than the usual fare due to it being less of poor imitation of the console versions and more of a game built for handheld play...

'Space Marshals' Review - Some People Call Me Maurice

Space Marshals [$4.99] is not the dual-stick shooter you probably were expecting – at least not as a mobile game. This is a slow-burning, tactical shooter, eschewing the typical fast-paced, high-score-obsessed affairs that many dual-stick shooters try to be. Instead, this is about stealth, and using sounds to distract enemies, and trying to avoid wild firefights as much as possible. And it's from a company known for racing games. Yet, Space Marshals does a lot right, including with its reward-based loot system. This is the first episode of a series, and there's plenty to look forward to from this game, though there's a solid amount of game here already...

10tons' Crimsonland HD [Free] has just gotten an update with a feature that not a lot of folks may be able to use, but should be pretty fun to play with for those who have it: local co-op with multiple MFi gamepads. The co-op mode was available in other versions of the game, but wasn't on iOS – until now. While MFi gamepads are still a bit pricey, if you and a friend have the game and an iPad or at least the ability to hook up to a TV, you can go through the entire game in co-op mode, with support for up to four players, all using their own gamepads...

This news flew under the radar a bit, but a few weeks back Coffee Stain Studios spelled out their plans for Goat Simulator [$4.99] on mobile, and fans of the wacky sandbox game should be pretty excited about it. As they explain in a post on their blog, they're currently working on bringing a new level, Goat City Bay, as well as "a ton of new goats" to the iOS and Android versions of Goat Simulator. Even though this is content that's already in the PC version of the game, they have to essentially build everything from scratch in order to make it work in the mobile version, which is then followed by ""months of optimizing, building and testing in a cycle that takes a really long time." So it's not like they're ignoring you, mobile goat enthusiasts, it's just time-consuming work...

I don't know about you guys, but out here on the Northern California coast, it's been raining like crazy. Which means it isn't exactly ideal conditions to hit the streets and go skateboarding, which makes virtual skateboarding on your iOS device a lovely alternative. This week, two of iOS's best skateboarding games, True Skate [$1.99] and Skater [$4.99], received updates adding in new content. Check out the details of each update below and go hit the virtual streets...

The Kingdom Rush [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)] series has been one of the most popular tower defense franchises out there, and it's thanks in part to its introduction of action and RTS elements with the summonable reinforcements, and the hero units that can be sent across the battlefield to help take care of any threats. It gives this genre a fresh feel, and not just about sitting back and watching towers annihilate enemy creeps. Now Ironhide Games continues the franchise with Kingdom Rush Origins [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)], a game that iterates on the formula that previous entries established. It's still a solid game, but it's pretty clear at this point that it's a series just for fans of it, and I failed to find any reason for newcomers to particularly jump in to this entry in particular...

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