Category Archives: $5.99

Death Point [$5.99] is a prime example of my favorite feature of the App Store, as it's one of those games that appears out of absolutely nowhere but ends up being deceptively awesome. With its exciting stealth-infused take on the dual stick shooter, Death Point made quite a splash on our forums when it released in August, and comparisons that equated the game to a top-down mobile Metal Gear Solid really sum up the very essence of Andiks Ltd's surprise App Store hit. However, the game was by no means perfect, and many enthusiastic gamers were sceptical of the inconsistent virtual dual-stick controls - by no means a deal-breaker, but something that would inevitably necessitate some time to get used to in the title. Thankfully, the developers have been actively listening to feedback on our forums, and have today released an update for Death Point that introduces MFi controller compatibility alongside a multitude of additional fixes and tweaks...

There's nothing quite like the App Store for dropping some cool looking game without any sort of warning. Such is the case with Death Point [$5.99], a new top-down dual-stick stealth game from developer Andiks. Arriving on the App Store with zero fanfare yesterday, it has since gone to capture the attention of our community, and after giving it a brief try for myself, it seems like a really high-quality title if you're looking for a new premium game to chew on going into the weekend. As mentioned Death Point is a stealth game, inspired by "Metal Gear Solid, PayDay and HITMAN series" according to the developer's website. Check out this trailer of the desktop version to get an idea of what Death Point is all about...




As a premise for a ChoiceScript game, the one Demon Mark [$5.99] uses is a promising one. Set in a world of Slavic mythology, the story sees your young sibling kidnapped by a dangerous demon. Named the Uhin, she brands your characters with a curse called the Demon Mark and challenges you to come and rescue your family member. With a sword at your side and provisions in your bag, you set out on a road trip-style adventure through a veritable who's who of Slavic folk tales. Although we've started to see more games taking advantage of this rich source of lore, it remains a relatively untapped setting that offers high potential. Demon Mark is at its best when it drops you in the thick of these fables, and the author's passion and knowledge certainly shines through. Unfortunately, it ends up dropping the ball on some of the more fundamental elements of a choice-based game...

'RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic' Review - The Perfect Classic Ride

RollerCoaster Tycoon is as beloved a classic simulation series as any, but up until now it had yet to show its true classic root on iOS. After the ridiculousness of the freemium-filled RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile [Free], players eventually got a decent title in RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 [$4.99], which brought the core simulation gameplay to iOS. However, as we’ve mentioned in previously, RCT3 doesn’t quite nail the look and feel that hardcore fans of the series were looking for. Enter RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic [$5.99], which combines the best of both RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 in an amazing mobile package. Rest assured, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic is the real deal and is a must-own for everyone that loves simulation titles...

'Empyrean' Review - Empyrean Rex

'Empyrean' Review - Empyrean Rex

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Empyrean [$5.99], one of the recent releases of prolific gamebook publisher Choice of Games, doesn't start off on a good foot. Major events are happening to your character before you can even get your bearings, and it feels like the story is telling you a lot more than it's asking you. It doesn't help matters that the game's primary setting, the dieselpunk-styled city of Actorius, has a lot of lore to explain. The whole thing comes on a bit too strong initially, and I had to force myself to push through it in the early going. Give it some time to unfurl a little, however, and Empyrean proves to be great fun. It's a pulpy thing, to be sure, but it's high-quality pulp. I ended up enjoying it so much that even though this is one of the longer ChoiceScript games I've played, the time seemed to fly by...

A bit over a year ago, we got the PC classic Rollecoaster Tycoon 3 on mobile, and personally I had loads of fun with it. Now, fans of the classic franchise have another reason to celebrate because a new game called Rollercoaster Tycoon Classic [$5.99] has just hit the App Store, and it looks very promising. This new game combines the best of RCT and RCT 2, and it sounds like great fun. The game lets you build roller coasters either from scratch or using pre-made ones and also lets you design a whole park, including the food and drink stalls, transport, even the toilets and the scenery...

Eisenhorn: Xenos [$5.99], the latest release from developers Pixel Hero Games, proved to be highly divisive when it launched for various reasons. Some thought it was a rare glimpse of console-quality action brought to the smaller screen of the iPhone; others, including our own Carter Dotson in his review back in August, were not impressed by the clunky combat and confusing narrative that was hidden behind the veneer of graphical prowess. With such a contrasting array of opinions, it's understandable that many were somewhat skeptical of plunging into Eisenhorn: Xenos at its initial $9.99 price point. Today, the developers have put the game on sale for $5.99 for the first time, which is slightly more palatable for anyone on the fence, or anyone looking to truly flex the muscles of the new iPhone 7 with some stunningly gorgeous graphics that make the most out of the graphical capabilities of the most recent devices...

'Space Marshals 2' Review - It's 'Space Marshals', Too

Pixelbite got a lot right with the first Space Marshals [$3.99]. They eschewed much of what is common in dual-stick shooters on mobile, going with a slower, more thoughtful, stealth-based game. With an array of interesting weaponry and tactics at your disposal, such as using noisemakers to distract enemies to take them out away from the prying eyes of other enemies, it was a cool concept and a fun game. The controls were great for mobile, with MFi controller support, and iCloud to boot. It was not a perfect game, but a great example of how to make an original, stylish title for mobile. Plus, they updated the game with 2 new episodes months after launch. Space Marshals 2 [$4.99] returns and basically is the same game, streamlined with a couple new features, and skipping on the whole episodic aspect to give you 20 beefy levels of tactical stealth action in a space wild-west setting. And like any sequel where iteration is the key difference, it's not bad – this is the superior game – but the lack of surprise can be a bit disappointing...

The Chaos Rings series holds an important part in mobile gaming history, as it was among the first truly full-featured sets of original games made specifically for mobile devices. That coupled with the fact that Square Enix was the developer lent a lot of credibility to mobile as a true gaming platform back in its formative years. Sadly, Square Enix pulled the older Chaos Rings games, among other titles, last month due to incompatibility with newer iOS hardware, and as of right now only Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99] is still available. So it sure was weird when a week ago Square Enix announced a brand new game in the Chaos Rings series, only this time it was exclusively for the Apple Watch. That game, called Cosmos Rings [$8.99], is now available...

'Severed' Review - I'd Give my Left Arm to Play This on Mobile

Consider it a testament to the power of mobile that developers still want to make and release games for it, despite the challenges of selling on it. After all, when games are customary a third of their price on other platforms, it's no wonder that games are rarely announced first for mobile. Severed [$6.99] was that exception, as mobile was a core platform for the game at its announcement. Then, it became a PlayStation Vita exclusive, before eventually being re-announced for mobile. And here it finally is. This first-person Infinity Blade [$5.99] meets Zelda type game – is a really cool experience that feels like it should have been on mobile all along...

Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] knocked off a lot of socks around here when it released on iOS last October. Originally an Xbox 360 release, Dust made its way to iOS in style. We liked it enough to give it our Game Of The Week and a five-star review, and I personally included the game in both my Best Overall Of 2015 and the RPG Reload 2015 Golden Pancho Awards. In short, the game has fantastic production values and it plays like a dream. That said, if you weren't using a newer device with 1 GB of RAM or more, or simply couldn't get on with virtual controls at all, you couldn't join the party. Well, friends, your invite's in the mail and you can RSVP tomorrow, because Dust has a really nice update coming this Thursday...

Much as I've enjoyed recent releases from gamebook publisher Tin Man Games, I have to admit there's been one area I've wanted to see some improvement in that has remained largely static across the bulk of their releases: the combat system. Given that the raison d'etre for the company has been to bring Fighting Fantasy-style gamebooks to mobile as accurately as possible, it's hard to complain too much about the simple dice-based back-and-forth battles they've used in many of their releases. Still, the occasional tantalizing flash of something more, as in their brilliant conversion of Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$2.99], has had me wishing they would take greater advantage of not being shackled to the rules of physical books...

'Dust: An Elysian Tail' Review - This Dust's No Bust

Dust: An Elysian Tail [$5.99] is the kind of game you can really lose yourself in. The sort of game that you want to take to a comfortable corner and just give all of your attention to until it's finished. In spite of the many releases each week on iOS, plenty of which are good games in their own right, we don't see efforts like this terribly often on the platform. At least half the time we do see titles like this, they're ports from another platform, as Dust itself is. That's a sad economic reality of the iOS ecosystem. The platform's main appeal, judging by the charts, is in games that entertain in short bites, perfect for the busy player or someone on the go. That's fine sometimes, but other times, you really want to get into a game, and players on mobile devices perhaps don't get as many opportunities to do so as we'd like. Luckily, it's easy to forget those gripes when you get stuck into something like Dust...

'Gamebook Adventures 12: Asuria Awakens' Review - A Truly Epic Close

I can't recall if it's been formally announced, but this twelfth installment in Tin Man's long-running Gamebook Adventures series is, at least for now, the last. The series has had ups and downs, but even the weaker installments helped flesh out the fascinating fantasy world of Orlandes, so I'm a little sad to see it going on hiatus. I am, however, ecstatic that it's doing so with Asuria Awakens [$2.99], which is not only the best Gamebook Adventures yet, but also one of the finer traditional-style gamebooks I've ever played. The creative team behind this game seemingly held nothing back, giving us a quest that takes your character from a lowly gofer to a savior. There are a lot of gamebooks that do that, mind you, but you really have to earn it in this one, and it feels great...

With the Gamebook Adventures series winding to at least a temporary close, Tin Man has opted to release the last couple of volumes at the same time. I'm not going to fib, I'm a pretty big fan of this series and the fictional world of Orlandes it uses as a setting. From a story-telling standpoint, it's great to have a well-realized setting that players can take so many different perspectives in. On the gameplay side, the Gamebook Adventures gamebooks are usually fairer and more enjoyable than the paper gamebooks that inspired them. They're written knowing the player isn't having to stick a thumb in the pages and keep track of their inventory with a pencil, and they're stronger experiences for it. That we only have these last two volumes to hold us over for the time being makes each of them precious. That's why it kind of breaks my heart that I don't like Songs Of The Mystics [$2.99] more than I do...

'Operation Dracula' Review - One, Two, Three Power-Ups, Ahaha

I think I could play shoot 'em ups until the day I die. It was one of the first genres I experienced in arcades outside of fighting games, and to this day, it's by far the genre that I import the most. Ironically, Siberian Strike was one of the very first games I played on an iOS device as well -- it's in my blood. It's good that Operation Dracula [$2.99], in spite of its cheesy presentation, is a solid showing...

Old genres rarely die, they just often end up evolving into something a bit different. That's certainly the case with beat-em-ups, a genre which reached its height in the 16-bit era only to almost completely vanish in the following generation. That happened for many reasons, including market saturation, the popularity of one-on-one fighters eating the genre's lunch, an overall lack of innovation, and the 3D nature of the gameplay meaning it got precious little boost from the shift into polygons the way other genres did. A few attempts were made to keep the genre going on PlayStation and its contemporaries, but they met with limited success at best. It wouldn't be until the release of the PlayStation 2 that the beat-em-up would find its new footing, thanks to Koei's Dynasty Warriors series. That series spawned many sequels, spin-offs, and imitators, and even today serves as a general template for the genre...

Kids today are all about Minecraft [$6.99]. Mining this, mining that. Back when I was a young fellow, we had a different kind of 'craft: Lovecraft. Okay, if you're still reading, you're probably strong enough to handle a bit of Lovecraftian gamebook horror. The problem is that up until recently, most of the horror gamebooks on iOS have been focused on zombies, vampires, or other such classic monsters. Tin Man Games has had a couple of promising-looking titles up for a couple of years now, but they were French books without translations, leaving them out of the reach of most English players. Well, it seems like May 2015 is the month where Tin Man is finishing some old business, because in addition to the recent release of Gamebook Adventures 10 [$2.99], they've also finished up an English version of Les Fils d'Uruzime, translated directly as Sons Of Uruzime [$0.99]...

It's been almost a year and a half since the last volume of Gamebook Adventures, the homegrown series of adventures that kicked things off for prolific gamebook publisher Tin Man Games. The developers at Tin Man have certainly kept busy in that time, adapting several Fighting Fantasy books and a few other treasures like Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be [$4.99], and while many of those have been great fun, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been waiting for a return to the world of Orlandes. The tenth volume of Gamebook Adventures, Lords Of Nurroth [$2.99], brings the setting back with style, casting you as a professional liberator of goods who heads out on a routine job and finds a lot more than they bargained for...

One of the main complaints I hear about traditional gamebooks is that they're too difficult. It's fair criticism. When we think of gamebooks, we generally think of things like the Fighting Fantasy series or Lone Wolf, and both of those make liberal use of some nasty tricks at times. If you're playing an Ian Livingstone book, you'd best be rolling the best possible scores, and if you're playing a Steve Jackson adventure, I hope you're searching every nook and cranny and picking up everything that isn't nailed down. The worst offenders are designed around a so-called golden path, the one correct sequence of actions that can take you to the ending, but even the best will sometimes kill you for flipping to the wrong page. It's little wonder almost everyone cheat at the things to some extent...

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