Category Archives: $4.99

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]...

'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

It would be awfully easy for me to say that if you liked Knights Of Pen & Paper [$4.99], you'll love Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 [$4.99]. When I first started playing the game, I know that's how I felt. If I had called it quits an hour or so in, I might have walked away thinking this was a marginally improved, safe follow-up to the original. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I stuck it out to the end, and while I think fans of the first will probably enjoy this game and get their money's worth out of it, Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 is in my opinion a step down from the first game in several ways...

'Legend of Grimrock' Review - Sounds like a Tenacious D Song, Just as Epic

Legend of Grimrock[$4.99 (HD)] just landed on the app store. Almost Human decided it was time, and I couldn't agree more. For those of you who are familiar, this port doesn't disappoint. I never got the chance to play the PC version, but I am convinced I have lost nothing in the translation. If you only play one dungeon delving game this summer, I feel bad for you, but it had better be Grimrock...

If nothing else, I'll give the developer of Soul Unleashed [Free / $0.99] this: I've never played anything quite like this before. Oh, all of the parts are familiar, to be sure, but the way they're combined here is quite unique. Better still, the combination actually works. What we have here is part single-player, turn-based dungeon crawler, part social RPG, and a dash of gamebook. It features probably my favorite implementation of the by now well-worn idea of bringing other player's characters into fights with you, and yet you can also play the game just fine without any internet connection. In the beginning, quests feel like little slices from a gamebook, but you're soon having to navigate labyrinthine dungeons and catacombs, fighting off monsters around every corner. It's an odd beast, but I ended up liking it quite a bit...

Goat Simulator Goat Z [$4.99] by Coffee Stain Studios is among the worst zombie games I’ve ever played. It’s also one of the worst survival, physics, and score chasing games I’ve played. It is, however, a very good goat game. And it’s certainly the best physics-based zombie survival game featuring a goat to ever grace the App Store...

If there's one thing that Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities [$5.99] should be remembered for, it's the way that developers Psychoz Interactive have listened to players' feedback and quickly fine-tuned their game. After six years in development, the game we were presented with was a masterfully atmospheric but tiresomely difficult and repetitive horror game. But after just one week of hurried tweaking and re-balancing, most complaints were addressed to some degree, producing a game that is extraordinarily good but still agonisingly flawed...

'Trulon' Review - Right On, Trulon

Like everyone, I have my own set of personal biases and preferences that I have to work around. I love RPGs, but after years of social games and broken hearts I've come to flinch when I hear anything about a card battle system. I like card games well enough, but when they're used as an RPG concept, they tend to overtake the whole game. That's not to say I've never enjoyed an RPG with a card-based battle system. The Baten Kaitos games on the Gamecube were pretty good, and I certainly enjoyed the somewhat recent Card City Nights [$1.99] from Ludosity. But I'm not going to lie, it dampens my enthusiasm for a game just a little bit when I hear that cards are a major component. Because of that, even though Trulon [$4.99] was coming from a developer whose work I've greatly enjoyed in the past, I was still a bit hesitant as I loaded it up...

'Ys Chronicles 1' Review - How Much Is That Dogi In The Window?

In my personal experience, I'm not sure if there's ever been as strong a case of sounding awful on paper but being outstanding in practice as Falcom's action-RPG Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished. I'm actually something of a latecomer to the series, though it was always in my periphery. During the old console wars, there were plenty of ads in game magazines for the SEGA Master System version, and later the TurboGraphx-16 collection of the first two games. It certainly got its fair share of positive press in reviews. In those naive years of my youth, however, I was a one-company boy, and my chosen team was Nintendo. Basically, that means my first experience with the Ys series was with Tonkin House's port of Ys 3: Wanderers From Ys on the Super NES. It was a bit of an odd duck in the series, but I didn't know that at the time. I wouldn't touch another Ys game for more than 20 years...

'Sorcery! 3' Review - Live The Mongoose Life In This Amazing Adventure

It's been quite a wait for this third installment in inkle's adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series of gamebooks. It's kind of funny now to look back at those who were impatient over the six months between the release of the first two chapters. With just about a year and a half passed since the release of Sorcery! 2 [$4.99], I imagine those people have champed right through the bit by now and have gone to work on biting their own faces off. With how consistently awesome inkle's work has been on this series so far, who can blame them, though? At the same time, I can't get too upset at the developer. We got the absolutely wonderful 80 Days [$4.99] and the pleasant Down Among The Dead Men [$0.99] in the interim, and Android players got to get up to speed on the first two installments of the Sorcery! games. Let's just hope that we don't have to wait quite so long for the final chapter...

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. [$4.99] for free on the App Store...

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