Category Archives: $4.99

If you want a taste of how it would feel to be one of the cogs in a totalitarian machine, check out the just-released Beholder [$4.99]. In Beholder, you are a State-installed landlord, and your purpose is to ensure none of your tenants is planning any kind of subversive activities or posing any threat to the State. And, of course, why would they? They should know they live in the equivalent of heaven on Earth and should be thankful for it. But I digress. Your duties include bugging apartments, going through belongings for anything that doesn't belong there, and, of course, reporting anyone who seems like a current or potential threat...

'To The Moon' Review - When the Moon Hits Your Eye

To The Moon [$4.99] is an experience that depends almost entirely on the way its story unravels, and the exceptional music backing it. Spoiling the story, any bit of it, beyond the premise would be doing any potential player a tremendous disservice. And while I can offer up all kinds of praise for the audio, it's not as though that's easy to convey through text. So what should I write here? Let's start with this: To The Moon is an amazing journey through the memories of a man who has reached the end of his life, and as long as you don't mind the fact that the gameplay doesn't involve much more than walking around and clicking on things, you really ought to play this...




While mobile ports of hit PC and console games are pretty common nowadays, back in 2010 it was a pretty big deal that Hemisphere Games' critically acclaimed puzzler Osmos [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)] was heading to iOS. It was also one of the first times I felt that the touchscreen version of a game actually made for a better experience than its desktop counterpart. In Osmos you play an orb floating around sucking up smaller orbs, which then makes you grow larger and thus able to gobble up ever larger orbs. The twist is that as you propel yourself around the screen, you lose some of your size, so the entire game is a delicate balance of going where you need to go while still maintaining enough size to gobble up the orbs you need to in order to complete a level. It's a really brilliant game, both relaxing and challenging at the same time. ..

As most of you probably know, it's tough covering the onslaught of new mobile game releases on a daily basis. We do the best we can to be as thorough as we can when we put together our weekly new games lists, but inevitably there are games that launch after that list is posted or over the weekend which I try to group lovingly into a "leftovers" pile on Mondays and sort through to see if there's anything interesting that we missed. Today I came across an email sent to us over the weekend from Lemondo letting us know that their PS4/Steam/Wii U multiplayer platform arena shooter WinKings [Free] had made its way to iOS. I hadn't heard of this game before but the videos looked pretty awesome, as you can see in their launch trailer for the desktop and console version...

Over the past week or so, London has been spared of the typically bleak English weather - essentially dark, dismal clouds, chilly temperatures and perpetual rain, if you're lucky enough to be unfamiliar - and has instead been blessed by beautiful sunny spells. Hopefully readers from around the globe are experiencing similar improving outlooks as we slowly creep towards Summer, and what better way to celebrate such heat waves with a brand new Kairosoft skiing game! In fairness to the Japanese developer, the alpine season is still in full swing over the Easter period, and nothing is better than propelling yourself down a mountain in the glistening sun. Shiny Ski Resort [$4.99] also looks like a radical iOS simulator - with the typical Kairosoft formula of building a hotel supplemented by some neat skiing mini games, this latest title appears to hijack the developer's downhill descent of late, and is available to download for $4.99 today on the App Store...

Mobile has perhaps been lacking the great Spelunky-like game that could at least imitate one of the best indie games of all time while being something you can play on the toilet while at work. Orangepixel steps up to the plate with Meganoid 2017 [$2.99], the nebulously-named reboot/sequel to one of the solo developer's earliest works. Where the original Meganoid games, both Meganoid 1 [$1.99] and Meganoid 2 [$1.99], were more challenge platformers, Meganoid 2017 is a procedurally-generated platform that takes a lot of cues from Spelunky. Exploring the Meganoid spaceship, you have nothing but your platforming wits, some explosive charges, and whatever you find as you venture further into the spaceship, taking on a different layout when you die, and you will die a lot. Spelunky 2017 had a rather rapid development time, and while it gets the core gist of the Spelunky formula right, and does some rather cool things, the game suffers from its short development time, leading to a lack of variation in level designs. Also, the game just doesn't have the tight platformer feel necessary for what the demanding difficulty requires to give the player a good shot at succeeding...

Sometimes I see people share negative reviews of Steam games that have massive playtimes on them. They're shared in a context of this being ridiculous, that implies that the person with the negative review doesn't know quite what they want. And the people who share these seeming contradictions are often rather progressive people, sharing a rather ironically regressive view. It's a more complicated question than both parties realize. The negative reviewer perhaps should question whether the journey was worth it. But also, the critic should question just why they think it's hypocritical. Is it possible that people enjoy certain parts of experiences, but other parts become too grating over time? That, if they had the choice to take those hours back, they would have spent them differently knowing the end result? Or were the hours getting to that point worth it, even if the end was sour? This is a philosophical dilemma that deserves greater inquiry. I bring it up because I find myself quite conflicted with MLB Manager 2017 [$1.99]. It's another solid baseball simulator, but as a major baseball nerd, I find myself frustrated by so many of the little things that this game continues to not get right. Yet, I find myself more hooked on this game than perhaps any other that I come across...

The iOS port of Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion [$4.99 (HD)], the standalone expansion pack of the cult classic PC strategy title Rome: Total War [$9.99 (HD)], has been one of the most eagerly anticipated upcoming releases over the past few months. While Barbarian Invasion still retains the meticulous empire-building emphasis of its predecessor, the implementation of some interesting new mechanics, as well as the subtle yet dramatic change in the historical context, gave the expansion its own unique identity that saw it achieve critical acclaim when it first launched in 2005. Feral Interactive did an excellent job in porting the original Rome: Total War to the App Store, and it seems this trend has continued with Barbarian Invasion, which has today launched for only $4.99 on the iPad and should please not only those looking for a more in-depth strategy experience on-the-go, but also any fans of the original PC release...

Great news for fans of the terrific Orphan Black TV show; Orphan Black: The Game [$0.99] has just quietly made its way to the App Store. Orphan Black: The Game is a turn-based adventure puzzle game that deals with the same issues the TV show does, namely the adventures and misadventures of a group of female clones at the center of a global conspiracy. If you haven't watched the show, it's a dramatic series, with plenty of comedic moments, that raises questions around who owns the human body and explores the nature vs nurture debate—do your genes or your upbringing make you who you are...

Adventure gamers rejoice because Wadjet Eye Games has dropped another great adventure game onto the App Store, Shardlight. [$4.99] This apocalyptic story - since we haven't yet moved the to post part of this apocalypse - is all about Amy Wellard, one of the many citizens dying from the Green Lung disease, and even though everyone has pretty much given up on life, Amy still has hope that she can find a cure for this plague. Vaccines are in short supply, and the rich seem to be getting them much more easily than the rest of the population, which isn't a surprise...

'Djinn Caster' Review - This Djinn's a Tonic

At this point, I'd forgive anyone for having a genuine case of Kemco fatigue. On the one hand, they're one of the few publishers left in mobile who frequently deliver new, traditional RPG experiences, and I really do appreciate that. On the other hand, it wasn't hard to notice how similar their games were to one another, particularly as their number of sub-contracted developers started to dwindle. Even with me being as enamored of RPGs as I am, my enthusiasm for new releases with Kemco's name on them has been ground down to the point that I tend to kick them off to the side for a couple of weeks after buying them. This is a publisher sorely in need of a new trick, and as luck would have it, I think they found one in Djinn Caster [$0.99]...

'Dungeon Rushers' Review - Rush and Attack

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March 6th, 2017 12:59 PM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$3.99 Buy Now

Dungeon Rushers [$3.99] makes a really strong first impression, and if I had only played the first hour or so of the game, I might have been inclined to give it more praise. Depending on how you want to look at it, it's either a simplified dungeon crawler or a more complex take on Dungelot [$0.99]. You start off with one character and slowly assemble a group of 10 adventurers, 5 of which can be in your party at any given time. Your team will make their way through grid-based dungeons, revealing one square at a time and dealing with whatever may appear. The battles take place on a separate screen and use a simplified turn-based RPG system. With a quick pace and a fair amount of strategic options, it's pretty fun at first. It's a longer game than you might expect, however, and by the end it's far more stick than carrot...

'The Warlock of Firetop Mountain' Review - Warlock Has Changed

Ever since prolific gamebook developer Tin Man Games acquired the Fighting Fantasy license a few years back, there were a couple of releases many fans were waiting for. Tin Man has done a wonderful job of choosing books to adapt from the well-known line, but the more they released, the more a couple of titles really stood out by their absence. Well, I don't know when we'll see Deathtrap Dungeon, but if it turns out anything like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [$4.99] has, I'm willing to wait as long as it takes...

'MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL' Review - You'll Have a Ball With This Game

Riverman Media has delivered two excellent titles in a row with Pizza vs. Skeletons [$2.99] and The Executive [$2.99], and they deliver again with MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL [$2.99]. Somehow, they've taken Pong, and turned it into a chaotic action game where you're trying to stay alive while enemies try to ascend the screen, and you're there trying to manage multiple balls, paddles with special abilities, and all manner of powerups. It's a chaotic game, and a remarkably engrossing one...

It took a while, but it feels like the changes in the iOS market over the last few years are finally catching up to Kemco. Releases are more sporadic and increasingly reliant on one obviously overworked developer. Their games are now released in free and premium versions, both of which are typically packed with extra monetization techniques. If that's not bad enough, it feels like monetization techniques are almost the only aspects that these games are changing or improving. I wish I could say Fairy Elements [Free / $4.99] bucks that trend, but that would be fibbing. At its best, this is no better than the average EXE-Create game published by Kemco. At its worst, it feels cheap and hungry. The most notable thing about it is its soundtrack, where Kemco has made the bold move of pulling in someone with some name value...

Just barely slipping past our normal weekly list of new releases was Grimnir and Snow Cannon Games moody new point-and-click adventure game The Frostrune [$4.99]. The game is heavily inspired by Viking legends and ancient Norse culture, and the gorgeous artwork does an amazing job of creating creepy and unsettling environments for you to explore and puzzle around in. We've covered the game several times over the course of the past year or so, and have really fallen in love with the tremendous atmosphere the game is able to create. Check out the newest trailer for The Frostrune to see a glimpse of the mood in the game...

Ever since we first heard about Prevail [$4.99] all the way back in September 2011, the mobile community has been eagerly anticipating Johnny Two Shoes's open world exploration epic, with the thread in our Upcoming Games forum attracting a total of 601 replies and almost 129,000 views (as of publication). Since that fateful month over five years ago, we've seen Prevail brought back from purgatory in 2015, and an optimistic declaration that the game was finished back in January - but no news since as to when the title would land on the App Store. It's therefore baffling, but wholly unsurprising owing to its turbulent and secretive development period, that out of nowhere in the early hours of this morning, Prevail has finally launched on the App Store for $4.99...

After a small delay, the digital port of Potion Explosion [$2.99] has finally made its way to the App Store this morning. If you haven't heard or played the game before, Potion Explosion puts you in the shoes of a witch or wizard as you try to beat everyone in class by creating the best potions ever. Think of it as Hermioning those poor dimwits, Harry and Ron. In order to get those potions brewing right, you try to collect the correct ingredients to make potions like the Elixir of Blind Love, the Potion of Prismatic Joy, or the Sands of Time. And you can occasionally consume those potions to get all kinds of boosts or mess with your opponents in magical ways...

It's been a while since the last Kairosoft game landed on the App Store. Unless any slipped through the cracks, The Manga Works [$4.99] launched all the way back in August 2016, and that five month gap is uncharacteristically long for the pioneers of iOS simulation games. Thankfully for any hardcore Kairosoft enthusiasts, the wait is finally over - today, March to a Million [$4.99] has released on the App Store, and features the developer's first major foray into the music industry, as you look to locate the brightest stars to form an elite band and eventually win the highly coveted 'Million Award' when you reach the big time...

The original Don't Starve [$4.99] started a revolution of sorts in my house. My wife, who typically doesn't enjoy punishing or permadeath games, took to it for weeks on end, and started a revolution of sorts in terms of her gaming habits. She's spend days trying to perfect a certain run, learning new ways to survive in the process, die, and then have to start all over. We did it together all the way through two expansions, and although it's not for everyone, the process of picking up on every little minute detail every playthrough and coming out stronger for it is incredible. That second expansion has finally made its way to iOS in the form of Don't Starve: Shipwrecked [$4.99], and although it's one heck of a mixup in terms of the survival formula, it's not without its iOS specific faults...

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