Category Archives: $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 [$2.99] 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...

When Don't Starve: Pocket Edition [$2.99] arrived on iOS back in July of 2015 (has it really been that long already?), Klei Entertainment provided a beautiful port of their critically-acclaimed survival game that was revamped and tailored to work with the touchscreen. It used a tap-to-move and tap-to-interact-with-stuff control scheme that worked perfectly, but it was one that didn't suit the tastes of a lot of players, myself included. I mean, in theory, a truly native touchscreen control scheme is far better than just slapping some virtual controls on a game and calling it a day, but I'm among those who actually prefer virtual sticks and buttons most of the time, and it's always nice to at least have the option. ..

I often find myself into a bit of a bind when I review a game that's well done in terms of design but also has major technical issues. How do you separate the plot and design ideas in the first episode of BATMAN - The Telltale Series [Free] from the engine's obvious shortcomings that make the game almost unplayable on all but the latest iOS devices? I've been playing the game on my iPhone 7 and even though I got some relatively long load times here and there, overall the experience was relatively fine (minus some typos, blurry text in the Codex, and graphical glitches). However, when I tried playing it on my iPad Air, I couldn't enjoy the game because the minutes-long load times really messed with the flow of the story (it's like watching a movie with long commercial breaks)...

'Mini Metro' Review - Train Braining

'Mini Metro' Review - Train Braining

StarStarStarStarStar
December 30th, 2016 12:30 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 5 stars, Arcade, Game Center, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Simulation
$4.99 Buy Now

Continuing our year-end mop-up of games we missed out on reviewing at the time of their release for various reasons, the next requested title by our readers was Mini Metro [$4.99]. I've had an interesting relationship with trains over the course of my life. Passenger trains more or less vanished in the part of Canada I'm from when I was relatively young. Like most places in Canada, my town was far too small to merit a local metro system. I mean, we barely had buses. Thus, I didn't end up riding a train of any sort until I was in my twenties, and I picked a wild place to start. Imagine a small-town bumpkin arriving in Tokyo, Japan, and trying to make sense of the colorful spaghetti that is the Tokyo Metro system. After a while, though, I got the hang of it, and I now consider myself to be pretty good at navigating the sometimes seemingly nonsensical connections from place to place in that city...

Ted Alspach's city builder Suburbia [$4.99] is one of the best board games on the App Store, and now it's finally available for the iPhone after a universal update. If you haven't heard of or played Suburbia, this pretty good port of the award-winning board game has you building your city by placing hexagonal tiles with various buildings next to each other. While that might sound like a simple mechanic, the way you match those tiles has a huge impact on how your population grows and how much money is left in the bank. A few wrong moves, and you'll be broke before you know it...

Nomads going on massive treks across the land with their tribes in tow. A lot of quality entertainment has been mined from that concept, most notably in recent gaming history with The Banner Saga [$9.99]. This time, Choice of Games is taking a crack at it with Saga of the North Wind [$5.99], a relatively lengthy adventure gamebook from writer Tom Knights. It's a good idea for a game like this, and the quality of the prose here is strong, but a few elements keep it from being all that it could have been. If you've got an interest in the topic matter, though, you'll probably find something to like here...

For those anxious to see the end of Batman - The Telltale Series [Free], you don't have to wait any longer because Episode 5, City of Lights, is now available to download on the app. Despite its many, many technical issues, the Batman series is one of the most interesting takes on the Dark Knight - and especially on Bruce Wayne - which is why it's a real shame most of you haven't been able to really play the game. If you've managed to play it because your device is top of the line (though even then issues abound), then get ready to enjoy the final showdown between Batman and the Children of Arkham...

'Kathy Rain' Review - The Nightmare of the 90's is Alive in Conwell Springs

The point-and-click adventure game genre has seen quite the resurgence. Once seen as incredibly niche, a growing gaming audience has helped provide a market for many future games, many from those who enjoyed the genre back in the day. Kathy Rain [$4.99] deliberately pays homage to the 90's era not only by taking place in the decade of grunge, but through a low-resolution aesthetic that tries to make the game feel like it came from that original era. And thanks to a compelling story, this is a great way to spend a few hours solving a dark mystery...

Apart from being a really creative, awesome RPG, the biggest thing that struck me about the original Siralim [Free] was just how frequently and magnificently it was updated. Everything from balance adjustments to new graphics to entirely new systems was added to the game after its release, and for quite some time, you could be confident that there would always be something new when you fired up Siralim. The sequel, Siralim 2 [$4.99], hasn't seen quite as frantic a schedule when it comes to updates. It appears that the developer is going for bigger, less frequent updates instead, which is fine by me. The latest one has just hit and it's a whopper...

Punch Club [$4.99] made quite a splash when it came out partly because of how well it captured a long-gone era (sorry guys, the 80s are ancient history now) while still managing to modernize the tycoon-genre gameplay. We liked it quite a bit in our review, and I personally really enjoyed the pixel art that looked like a refined (but not too much) version of games like Double Dragon. An article by the developer's art director published yesterday goes into the art process in depth. He talks about how the artwork is drawn and then scaled, and how the scenes are created in terms of making sure the geometry works well...

While it may seem a little dated nowadays with the fast paced technological advancements that are one of the defining attributes of iOS devices, the original Aralon: Sword and Shadow [$4.99] was one of the most noteworthy releases on the App Store, and for good reason. After an age of excited speculation on the upcoming forum thread, the game launched to universal critical acclaim in late 2010 for its ambition, scale, and graphical fidelity which was unprecedented in the early years of the App Store. The 2015 sequel titled Aralon: Forge and Flame [$4.99] may have not been as groundbreaking or revolutionary as the original, but still managed to further refine the formula that was so well received back in the day, resulting in an essential App Store release for anyone looking for their Elder Scrolls-esque RPG fix on mobile devices. In the near future, Galoobeth and Crescent Moon Games are planning on releasing a brand new content update for Aralon: Forge and Flame, with a whole new dungeon as well as some other enhancements that should give fans who have completed the campaign even more adventuring to do on the go...

Crashlands [$4.99] kicked off 2016 with a bang (or, if you'd prefer, a crash) when it launched back in January, and with its incredible attention to detail and interesting amalgamation of action RPG and crafting action, Crashlands is a sure-fire contender for any impending Game of the Year compilations. While the original launch iteration was already outstanding, developers Butterscotch Shenanigans have continued to strive to make the game even better through successive updates that have fixed numerous minor niggles as well as add more substantial features. Today, Crashlands has received arguably its biggest update yet - the Juicemancy 1.2 patch brings with it some major gameplay mechanics as well as support for Bluetooth controllers, which is a suitable excuse for any fans to revisit the game, and a compelling reason for anyone who missed out on Crashlands first time around to experience a true iOS classic...

After what has felt like a horribly long and drawn out 2016, it's finally December, which brings with it a whole host of yearly traditions. Forget the holidays, advent calendars, snowmen and the like - for iOS gaming, it's the inevitable 'Best of 2016' lists which will begin to emerge amongst both critics and consumers, and while there will be some heated arguments along the way, it's a great time to evaluate the past twelve months and revisit some of the classics that have released on our favorite touchscreen platform. For me personally, one of the first games that comes to mind is Human Resource Machine [$4.99] - its programming-based puzzles were extremely compelling and suited to mobile, which coupled with some subtle yet supremely clever presentation resulted in an essential App Store release when it launched back in June. Today, Android gamers can join in the fun, as Human Resource Machine has finally launched on Google Play for $4.99, which is a bargain for the amount of frustration and fun you will get out of Tommorow Corporation's latest release...

'Super Cat Tales' Review - Don't Paws, Play This Nya-ow

In spite of the seeming limitation of having no physical buttons by default, iOS has a lot of really great platformers. Some of them get by with virtual controls, putting some of the burden on the player to simply get used to them. That's fine, but unless the game is a port from another platform, I'm not sure if it's really the best way to go. I think some of the best platformers on iOS are the ones that avoid the temptation of using virtual buttons and find a way to build a game around a more fitting setup. Sure, you have to sacrifice some of the conventional ways of designing levels and obstacles, but in doing that, many games find something new and interesting...

I hope everyone is enjoying their Black Friday, and if you feel like spending a bit more money today, episode 4 of Batman - The Telltale Series [Free] is now available. Episode 4's called Guardian of Gotham and (spoilers) finds Bruce Wayne hanging out at the place he usually locks up others, Arkham Asylum. The announcement from Telltale came with a special note regarding Episode 4. Apparently, Episode 4 will leave players in very different places depending where they choose to go in Episode 3. So, expect to have very different experiences from your friends playing the series. A (very) few words about the episodes plot. Bruce is now at his lowest ever and outside the walls of the Asylum, all hell is predictably breaking loose. Now, Bruce will have to pick allies to help him break out, but as you can imagine, there's an interesting selection of allies in the Asylum...

'Demon's Rise 2: Lords of Chaos' Review - And Now, the Other Side of the Coin

More than ever before, a game review these days is often little more than a snapshot of a work in progress. Developers are rarely finished with games just because they've launched, and in certain cases, so much is added after the fact that whatever I thought at a game's release no longer fits terribly well. A fine example of that is Demon's Rise [$7.99], the debut SRPG from developer Wave Light Games. Wave Light worked hard on balancing the game, adding lots of content, and implementing features, taking it far beyond what was in the initial release. In fact, the developer recently updated it again, and will be doing more in the future. It's great, but it also presents something of a challenge when it comes to a follow-up...

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$9.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

If you enjoy reading about game development, then you should read this article about the lovely Burly Men at Sea [$4.99]. The blog's written by Brooke Condolora, the artist, writer, and designer behind the game. She talks about the way they constructed this story-building game and how the branching scenes combine to form one overarching theme. They designed the game around the idea of folklore, which influenced the design in terms of length, tone, and moral. The way they went about designing for a cohesive moral was keeping the beginning and end consistent and letting players influence the events between those two narrative points. The game began as a more traditional branching narrative with dialogue choices, but they decided to abandon that for the discovery play style they finally went with...

Copyright 2014, TouchArcade.com, LLC.