Category Archives: $4.99

Off-beat simulation game developer Kairosoft has slowed down their iOS releases considerably in the last couple of years. That was probably a wise move, given how many elements each of their games tends to share with the rest. With new games from the developer coming only a few times a year now, it's easier to appreciate each one of them on their own merits, and it hasn't hurt that their recent releases have demonstrated an effort to break out of the reskinning that categorizes most of their work. The Ramen Sensei [$4.99], their latest iOS release, isn't as innovative as it could be, but its tight focus on its unusual subject matter helps it stand out a little. That said, unless you're really into the subject of ramen, this game is still essentially preaching to the Kairosoft choir...

In December of 2012, developer Renegade Kid released their excellent action platformer Mutant Mudds [$4.99] on iOS following its release on 3DS the previous January. The game's main hook revolved around jumping between the foreground, middle ground and background of each level in order to discover new areas and solve puzzles, and it was incredibly fun. In fact, despite being initially build for a handheld with physical buttons and relying heavily on precision platforming, Mutant Mudds translated extremely well to the touchscreen. ..




'Badland 2' Review - The Pursuit of Flappiness

It’s weird how much gaming has changed since I was a kid. In the old days, sequels usually meant a game would be bigger and better in nearly every way, with more levels, characters, new modes, etc. Consider Perfect Dark, the spiritual sequel to Goldeneye 007, for example. It was absolutely bursting with new stuff to do. There was the campaign and multiplayer (like Goldeneye), but it also had a brand new challenge mode, a gun range, a co-op and counter-op campaign mode, a main menu that you could walk around in, and a massive customizable bot mode that I lost a large chunk of my adolescence to. These days, though, things are a bit different. Because games tend to have more content added through updates and DLC, that means version 1.0 of a sequel can often feel a bit lacking. It’s especially striking when you consider iOS classic Badland [$2.99], which is certainly one of the most updated games I can think of. It’s the reverse of my Perfect Dark example, where the original game is the one now bursting with levels and modes while the sequel feels a bit sparse in comparison. It’s an interesting problem to have, but even despite that, I think Badland 2 [$3.99] is a superior game to the original, with the potential to surpass it many times over in terms of quality and amount of content...

It's often said that in game development, ideas are cheap. What that means is that everyone has ideas for games, but actually bringing an idea to the finish line and creating an honest-to-goodness final product requires a lot of hard work and dedication from people with particular skills. I think it's not so much meant to say that a good idea is worth nothing, just that it's easier to come up with a decent idea than it is to actually make it. Good ideas are still an important part of any great game, and every once in a while, someone has an idea so good that it can carry entire games or series. Such is the case with Scribblenauts, previously seen on iOS in the form of the best hits-style Scribblenauts Remix [$0.99]. The game has plenty of rough edges, but the idea behind it is 100% solid gold. More stunningly, developer 5th Cell was able to largely realize that golden idea, and were richly rewarded for their efforts...

The release of Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey [$4.99] was fraught with controversy when people found that the game was buggy and ended before all of the content in the game was made available, with the seeming episodic nature of the game being made clear only later. Well, Kobojo, after some behind-the-scenes discussions, has decided to make some changes to the game's price and to try and keep original buyers happy...

It seems like 2015 is the year of long-awaited games finally releasing. This year we've had Spider: Rite Of The Shrouded Moon [$4.99], Galactic Keep [$3.99], The Room Three [$4.99], and Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome Of Ice [$9.99], among others, and it looks like we're going to be ending the year with another game that's been stewing for awhile: the follow-up to 2010's Aralon: Sword And Shadow [$4.99], from Galoobeth Games and Crescent Moon Games. For its time, Aralon was almost unbelievable for a mobile game. Offering a big 3D world that felt considerably more detail, open, and alive than the one found in Crescent Moon's previous title, Ravensword, Aralon felt like a big step towards having a fully-featured, modern, WRPG-style game on iOS. That was in 2010, however, and I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone how the market and player expectations have shifted in the intervening half-decade. Aralon: Forge And Flame [$4.99] is stepping out into a much different world than the one that welcomed its predecessor, and it doesn't quite have the sizzle to fill the footsteps it's walking in...

Late last year, iOS gamers were treated to an excellent port of the cult classic Xbox title Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath [$1.99]. In my review of that game, I sounded off on the series on the whole, making no bones about my admiration for the tight design and excellent gameplay found in Stranger's Wrath, referring to it as without question the developer's best game. I also made no secret of my feelings about the previous games in the series, which I've always felt were lovingly-crafted but ultimately quite middling outside of their production values and strong art direction. I think there are valid reasons why they were like that, but the point remains that I don't think very highly of the gameplay they offer. I guess that's kind of a foreboding way to start this review, but stay with me...

Yesterday we learned that Telltale Games would be releasing the newest trailer for Episode 3 of Minecraft: Story Mode [Free], their story-driven take on the hit sandbox game Minecraft, and true to their word the trailer has arrived today. We originally mistook their announcement that Episode 3 itself would be arriving today, rather than just the trailer, and were really excited at the brisk pace which the team had been releasing new episodes compared to their other episodic games. However, along with today's new trailer comes a release date for Episode 3 and it is in fact continuing that brisk pace with Episode 3 set to begin rolling out next week on November 24th...

Wizards and Wagons[$4.99] is out now from Touch Dimensions and it is one of the more active and engaging item shop sim games I have played. Known for more traditional strategy games, Touch Dimensions is stretching their dev skills to reach into the sim genre. Rather than sitting in town and waiting for customers to come to you, W&W mobilizes the store and puts you in the drivers seat. As last week's Touch Arcade Game of the Week, I was not surprised to find dynamic gameplay and an addictive quality that has put some extra rings under my eyes for the last several days from lack of sleep. ..

'Lumino City' Review - Point and Tap Adventure

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November 18th, 2015 2:30 PM EST by Chris Carter in $4.99, 4 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$4.99 Buy Now

Point and click adventure games had a wonderful, whimsical feel to them, amidst the chaos of pixel-hunting. One minute you were searching for that perfect "eureka" moment, and the next, slamming your keyboard in frustration because that one tiny little item you needed that was barring your progress for eight hours was in the corner, behind a window. It brought out the duality of emotions like no other genre, and the same goes for Lumino City [$4.99] on mobile devices...

Holy moly! Here's a fantastic surprise release. Well, it's not exactly a surprise because Oddworld Inhabitants teased and then confirmed back in June that this was coming, but we didn't know WHEN it was coming. Well, I guess if you follow their Twitter you knew. But it was still a surprise to me, so get off my back! The classic 3D platformer and original Xbox launch title Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee [$1.99] is now available on iOS, and will be coming to Android later this month. Here's a quick look at Munch's Oddysee in action...

One of the games I've been looking forward to is Wizards and Wagons [$4.99] from Touch Dimensions, so I was worried when it didn't show up in time for our weekly Out Now post. Turns out it was just running late! As the story goes, you're the hero who vanquishes the Demon Lord and returns peace to your land. You're a bonafide hero, and you enjoy all the spoils that go along with that. But, your fame and fortune don't last forever, and before you know it you're penniless and living on the streets. That's no way for a hero to live! So you snag yourself a wagon and try to reinvent your career as a traveling salesman...

Finally on mobile, Young Horses' Octodad: Dadliest Catch [$4.99] has you controlling the eponymous Octodad, an octopus who has a wife and two children, and is just really trying to keep this good thing going. Don't ask why the children are human, you won't get any good answers. And if the game feels like you're jumping into something you should know more about, that's because it is a sequel to a student game that the principals of the studio made while they were students at DePaul. You'll catch on pretty quickly, though – you control an octopus that is pretending to be human, trying to do normal human things like going grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, and avoiding the maniacal chef who wants nothing more than to reveal you for the fraud that you are. This all while you have octopus limbs that don't do a great job at simulating human legs and hands, and the human tasks that you must accomplish...

Correction: The premise of this entire article is incorrect. Telltale's warning about previously purchased episodes not transferring to the new Universal app was actually from when the game first went Universal back in 2013, and from what I understand they actually DID have a mechanism in place to honor previous purchases of the separate app episodes. With recent removal drama I took a reader's tip at face value without properly looking into the situation. I regret the error and would like to apologzie to our readers and to Telltale Games for giving the wrong impression...

I don’t know about all of you, but I was a pretty big Heroes fan when it was on TV. Yes, even beyond the first season, when the plot was crippled by writer’s strikes and a lack of focus and direction. I always found the characters endearing and I liked this less fantastical take on an X-Men kind of world. Great characters like ‘Horn Rimmed Glasses’ Noah Bennet, his lovely daughter the regenerating cheerleader Claire, the ever dramatic Petrelli family, and especially the boundlessly cheerful and entertaining Hiro Nakamura (My love of Sylar is variable to the season I’m watching). So imagine my (guarded) optimism and hope when a new series was announced in Heroes Reborn!..

'The Room Three' Review - My, How You've Grown

'The Room Three' Review - My, How You've Grown

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November 5th, 2015 12:28 AM EST by Shaun Musgrave in $4.99, 5 stars, Adventure, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews
$4.99 Buy Now

Perhaps it's appropriate, but The Room [Free / $0.99 (HD)], the original one, is one of those games where it's hard to take it apart piece by piece and find what exactly makes it so great. Like a real puzzle box, it's almost impossible not to sit there fiddling around with the box, pulling at its many bits and pieces. Its limited scope, with just a big box sitting on a table, means that it isn't too hard to make progress as long as you kept trying things, and if you do manage to get stuck, the game has a really well-designed hint system. You keep moving forward, and feeling pretty clever most of the time. The story sits firmly in the background for most of the game, with little details you can pay attention to or ignore as you like. Whether or not you pay attention to the narrative, the atmosphere is hard to resist. As you keep whittling down the puzzles, it's hard not to wonder what kind of person makes a device like this...

Mi Clos Studios' survival roguelike Out There [$4.99] launched on iOS back in February of last year, and we thought it was simply wonderful. It was also extremely difficult and unforgiving, which turned a lot of people off. Later that year, a major update was announced dubbed "Omega Edition" which landed on iOS this past June and added lots of new content and revamped visuals. It was a glorious treat for current fans, but many still found the game too brutal to enjoy. Welp, in early September, Mi Clos announced a series of updates they had planned for Out There which they called Multiverse Updates. The first of these updates, subtitled Cemetery Gates, adds a massive new feature that people had been requesting but the developers had been resisting since the beginning: an Easy mode. After arriving on Steam a few weeks back, Multiverse Update 1: Cemetery Gates has just landed on iOS...

And just like that, The Room Three [$4.99], Fireproof Games' fantastic puzzle game series, is out on the App Store. I knew the game would be coming out soon, but I wasn't expecting it to hit this early. If you haven't played any of the previous game, first of all, shame on you because the first two are easily some of the best puzzle games on the App Store. The games are gorgeous, perfectly designed for touchscreen gaming, and carry with them an atmosphere of mystery and dread that is surpassed by few games on mobile. The Room Three takes place in a variety of new environments, each spanning multiple areas, and has even better visuals than the previous two games, which I wasn't sure it was possible to be honest. There are better lighting effects and definitely more detail to the various rooms...

Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons [$4.99] is a tragic story about personal loss and the things we do to deal with those situations. For example, when Sony's The Last Guardian appeared to have been canceled and designer Fumito Ueda left the company, I coped by replaying Ico and Shadow Of The Colossus. Starbreeze Studios, on the other hand, appear to have coped by creating this game, a gushing love letter to one of gaming's most unique developers. It would have been easy for this to feel cynical or uninspired, but to its credit, Brothers generally feels like its own gorgeous thing, albeit with a few tips of the hat here and there. While I didn't feel it quite hit the target it was aiming for, it's still a trip worth taking...

It perhaps shows how ephemeral our hobby is that none of the major companies responsible for pushing the first decade or so of commercial computer RPGs exist anymore. Sir-Tech, who created Wizardry and got the ball rolling on the market, collapsed in the early 2000s. Origin Systems, the developer of the mega-hit series Ultima, was devoured by EA and formally disbanded in 2004, though they functionally ceased to exist well before that point. SSI, who made the wonderful Gold Box series of Dungeons & Dragons games, was absorbed into Ubisoft in 2001. Interplay, the original developer of Bard's Tale, Wasteland, and Fallout, technically still exists but only as a loose collection of tenuously-held IP rights. New World Computing, the creators of the Might & Magic series and its spin-offs, was bought out by 3DO and closed in 2002...

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