Category Archives: $5.99

It wasn't that long ago in gaming's history where the trend was to come up with the gameplay first, and then fit whatever story you could onto it. There are still plenty of games like that, but recently, the major attention-grabbers have been games that seem to have started with a story first. While there are rare cases when things just come together beautifully, games with the former attitude tend to have stories that feel vestigial, while games of the latter type often have gameplay that feels that way. I can't speak for the motivations of the developers of Revolution 60 [Free], but it sure feels like it's the latter. This is a game with an intriguing plot, excellent presentation, and more endings than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately, this is also a game with an over-reliance on quick-time events (QTEs), a morality system without a hint of nuance, awful pacing, and RPG mechanics that don't quite come together in a satisfying way...

Last week, we detailed the first big update for Rockecat's epic dungeon crawler Wayward Souls [$5.99], and late Friday the update went live in the App Store. And it's quite a doozy. It contains a brand new dungeon called The Labyrinth, which is a ridiculous 20 floors long. This dungeon also features a new boss fight and concluding story bits for all of the characters. Speaking of characters, there have been a number of tweaks to the different classes, as well as a number of changes to the game in general. The full change log can be found on Rocketcat's website...

Thomas Was Alone [$5.99] by Mike Bithell now has the "Benjamin's Flight" DLC previously available in the PS3 and PC versions, but available as free content. This adds 20 new levels to the game, with players controlling the character Benjamin through his own story that runs parallel with main character Thomas', with a variety of other new characters introduced. ..

Back in March, Bossa Studios brought their hit, medically inaccurate surgeon simulation game Surgeon Simulator [$5.99 (HD)] to the iPad. It was strange though. You'd think a game that has you virtually handling tools to perform operations would translate better to the touchscreen of the iPad, giving everything a more direct and personal feel. But that wasn't really the case. It turns out the awkwardness of using individual keys on a keyboard to control your surgeon's hand was a big part of the charm of Surgeon Simulator, and while the iPad does feel intentionally awkward in its own way, it just wasn't quite the same. However, the iPad version of Surgeon Simulator is still a hoot and it's fun to be able to take it with you on the go...

For the uninitiated, Michael Brough's 868-HACK [$2.99] is a masterpiece. It's a roguelike that's much more than it appears to be at first glance, and could be mistaken for yet another retro-inspired, throwaway dungeon crawler. It's anything but that. It's impeccably designed, brutally tough, and has enough layers of strategy to suffocate an elephant. In our review of 868-HACK we likened the game to an onion, as once you peel off one layer you're left with another, then another, then another and with every game you're left with new knowledge and are better equipped to excel on a subsequent try. It's the kind of game that you feel like you're always getting better at, but that you'll never truly be able to fully master, because it's just so damn deep...

'Fighting Fantasy: Starship Traveller' Review - Choose Your Own Kirk-Venture

Do you like Star Trek? Specifically, do you like the original series, with reckless Captain Kirk going on tons of away missions with Spock, Bones, and Redshirt, breaking the Prime Directive whenever he feels like it all in pursuit of adventure and alien love? If so, you're going to want to check out Tin Man Games's latest mobile conversion, Fighting Fantasy: Starship Traveller [$5.99]. It's an utterly shameless love letter to Star Trek, and it happens to be one of my very favorite books in the Fighting Fantasy series. I've played plenty of Star Trek games over the years, more than the franchise has deserved given the somewhat sorry state of quality they usually offer, but in my opinion, nothing has captured the feeling of the original Trek quite as well as this little gamebook written by Steve Jackson...

Heart surgery, eye transplants, and dentistry. If this sounds like a horror movie, then you’re not far off. Except this time you’re the one in control, and all your patients are called Bob. No, you’re not dreaming, this is Bossa Studio’s Surgeon Simulator [$5.99 (HD)], which has been remodelled and released for the iPad, and if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of a surgeon, well now here’s your chance...

'Shin Megami Tensei' Review - A Genuinely Classic RPG Gets Its English Debut

We've reached a point in gaming where, at least when it comes to major franchises, there are very few great JRPGs that haven't been eventually released in English. There are no lost Final Fantasy mainline games, all the holes in Dragon Quest have been filled, and even less famous series such as Ys and Monster World have had previously skipped over installments finally brought to English gamers. There are still a few significant gaps, though, and for me personally, none more significant than the missing games in the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is a franchise that, largely through the popularity of spin-off series Persona, has never been so relevant in the west as it is now. Sure enough, missing games connected to the franchise have made it over, one-by-one, with the entire Persona series now available in English and even the cursed Soul Hackers finally finding its way overseas, but we're still missing the games that started the whole ball of wax...

One of the problems with adaptations of existing works is that no matter how perfectly the conversion is pulled off, the end result still depends heavily on the quality of the source. If you're familiar with developer Tin Man Games, I probably don't even need to tell you that Fighting Fantasy: Island of the Lizard King [$5.99] is a perfect iOS version of the classic gamebook. The thing is, there are a lot of Fighting Fantasy books, and they're not all winners. Island of the Lizard King isn't a bad one, and oh my, are there some bad ones, but I've never been a big fan of it. The unfortunate result is that while I will once again applaud Tin Man Games's fine work in the gamebook genre, I don't think this one is all that great, through no fault of their own...

'868-HACK' Review - A Cyber-Roguelike that Excels in Design

868-HACK [$2.99] is: a risky pricing-experiment, a rogue-like, a tightly-designed machine, a Michael Brough game, and an onion…..

One of the best recent surprises was when an iOS port of Digital Reality's visually impressive shooter Sine Mora [$5.99] popped up on the App Store earlier this month. Critically acclaimed when it launched early last year on XBLA and later on Steam and PSN, the iOS version retained just about everything that the original did, earning it a high mark in our own review...

'Sine Mora' Review - An Excellent Time Jumping Port

Originally released in 2012 on XBLA, Sine Mora [$5.99] was an excellent, well-received shoot 'em up that combined impressive visuals, enjoyable gameplay, and a narrative that weaved a story far above the standards of the genre. Fast forward to today and the folks at Digital Reality have seen fit to port their masterpiece over to iOS. Despite some possible issues with its controls, Sine Mora is an excellent port and really shouldn't be missed...

When game books first started appearing on the App Store, I wasn't quite sure how well they would be received. For our younger readers, game books were basically the only handheld RPGs we had for the better part of the 1980s. They provided a lengthy adventure, packed full of surprises and action, and sometimes even told a good story along the way...

Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright started out life on the Gameboy Advance system in Japan in 2001 and since then has seen multiple sequels, re-releases and even a spin-off. The original game has also seen a straight port to iPhone from the Nintendo DS. So, what makes this version so special, I hear you ask in your Barry White tone (okay, Betty White, in my case)? ..

With its large screen and multi-touch controls, real-time strategy titles have had somewhat of a resurgence on iPads (and its smaller iOS brethren, to a lesser extent). Bitmen Studio's Galactic Conflict RTS [$5.99] is the latest such title, with a focus on tons of spaceships on-screen and the requisite massive scale of dogfights. While Galactic Conflict certainly succeeds in that regard, the rest of the game is relatively benign, leading to an otherwise standard real-time strategy game...

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