Category Archives: $4.99

'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 [$4.99]. 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...

Here at TouchArcade, we try to keep our eyes open for lesser-known treasures, since not every great game has a great marketing budget to go with it. I feel like we do a pretty good job of it, but sometimes, we do miss something interesting or cool. Star Saver [Free] assuredly qualifies as both of those things, and I'm sad to say that I don't think we're the only ones who missed it. This game is a huge Metroid-style action-adventure game that has elements of Kirby, Mario, and Knuckles Chaotix of all things woven into it. This is probably one of the longer games in this genre I've seen on iOS, and although it's not much of a looker and has a few rough spots, I think it's something any fan of the genre should at least check out...

'Tactics Maiden' Review - Now It's The Maiden's Turn

Let me cut right to the chase, for once. Tactics Maiden [Free], the latest strategy RPG from Mangobile, is basically the next game in the Kingturn RPG series. It's a new story in a new world, and there are some small differences in the gameplay systems that have a pretty big ripple effect in places, but it's very similar in most respects to the developer's previous games. As such, if you enjoyed any of the Kingturn games, you can safely dive into Tactics Maiden, confident that your money will be well-spent. If you tried those games and didn't like them, it's very unlikely you'll feel differently here. If you're not familiar with those games, you've got some reading ahead of you...

If there's one thing you can say about developer Kairosoft, it's that they crank out games at an incredible pace. Unfortunately, none of those games have been Game Dev Story 2 just yet, but still, if you're into their particular brand of simulations then you have more quality games than you likely even have time to play. Their latest game is The Pyraplex [$4.99], which a few people in our forums have described as "Like Mega Mall Story but in a pyramid."..

'Valiant Hearts: The Great War' Review - In the Trenches

One of my favorite poems in the English language canon has, ironically, a Latin title: "Dulce et Decorum est." In it, English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen tells his audience that, had they seen the chlorine-tinged carnage of trench warfare first hand, they..

'Anomaly Defenders' Review - Oh, How the Tables Have Turned

I admit that I'm coming into this Anomaly Defenders [$4.99] with a bit of bias because I've played each of the Anomaly games. I liked the games, but I'm hardly a raving fanatic for the series. But still, it's hard not to play this and think that this is kind of fan service for people have played the previous games in the series and wonder what it would be like to play as the aliens defending from the humans. Well, let me just say – it turns out 11 bit is as good at tower defense as they are at tower offense...

There are plenty of negative things to be said about Goat Simulator [$4.99]. Its controls are difficult to manage, and lead to many awkward camera angles and difficult attempts at navigating. The visuals...are not the peak of 3D modeling. The world is a bit small, and while there's plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you can see most of this game in a short amount of time. The game's general clumsiness makes it difficult to manage the skill-based aspects, and to complete some of the achievements. And the game is generally kinda buggy, with the goat's head getting stuck and warped in fences, occasionally just falling through the earth, and the odd crash or two. The whole thing is a joke that runs its course not too long after playing it...

One of the cool things about video games is how they let you do things that you might not be very good at in real life. For example, in the real world, I am about as stealthy as a cow on ice skates, but in video games, I can be a master big boss ninja. Stealth games were around as early as 1981's 005 from SEGA and enjoyed a few brief spikes of popularity around certain titles like Castle Wolfenstein on the Apple II and Konami's Metal Gear on the MSX, but for the most part, it was a genre waiting for technology to catch up with its ambitions. Finally, in the late 1990s, the genre broke out in a big way on the backs of titles like Metal Gear Solid, Thief, and Tenchu, and would keep going strong with heavy hitter franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed. These big franchises are still going at it, though at times with a reduced emphasis on pure stealth, but the genre's recently been seeing a lot more small-scale projects. I think Stealth [$1.99] represents one of the smallest yet, having been created by just one person...

'The Journey Down: Chapter Two' Review - Bwana's Big Adventure Kicks Into High Gear

Nearly two years ago, or longer if you're a PC gamer, we were introduced to the world and characters of The Journey Down [$2.99], a point and click/tap adventure game from developer SkyGoblin. It was a mechanically sound example of the genre with charm to spare, but it definitely suffered from the usual chapter one problem of doing a whole lot of setting up and not much paying off. If you played it, chances are good that you fell in love with its jazzy, dark atmosphere and lovable protagonist, Bwana. Chances are also good that after finishing the game's two and a half hour adventure, you went looking for a magic lamp to wish up the next chapter. It's been a bit of a wait, but The Journey Down: Chapter Two [$4.99] is finally here, and it's an excellent continuation of the story...

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