Category Archives: $7.99

Arriving a bit later than the week's other new games, Sega and developer Picomy have finally released their gorgeous touchscreen platformer Heroki [$7.99]. I say "finally" because Heroki has been in development since 2010, which might as well be a century in App Store terms. However, after experiencing just the initial intro video and tutorial portion, I can tell this one was worth the wait. You play as Heroki, a young boy with a propeller on his head who has the ability to fly around. In fact, everyone in this world seems to have propellers on their heads. It's just normal for them I guess! ..

I rag on Kemco quite a bit sometimes, but I really have to commend them for sticking to their guns even as the whole market has changed around them. Just about every month, we can look forward to getting at least one traditional JRPG, albeit with wildly varying levels of quality between titles. To the best of my knowledge, they are pretty much the last publisher on Earth regularly serving that niche, as even companies like Square Enix are shifting further towards the popular social RPG model that has captured the affections of Japanese gamers. I may not like every game they release, but I greatly appreciate what they're doing. Their latest iOS release in English, Legend Of Ixtona [$3.99], has the publisher taking on a slightly different, but no less traditional, model of RPG. It's an isometric turn-based strategy RPG in the style of Yasumi Matsuno's Tactics series of games, and although it's a bit rough, it's surprisingly decent for a first effort...

In the ever-present artistic struggle between playing it safe or trying something new at the risk of failure, most of the games that Kemco releases fall in the former camp. Sure, almost every game has something unique about it, but it's often buried in minutiae that even most genre fans don't pay much attention to. Their latest game, from developer Hit-Point, is the most unusual RPG they've published in quite some time. I'm an old hand at this genre, as regular readers know, and my initial reaction to Valkyria Soul [$3.99] was a disproportionate amount of excitement. The game looks like nothing Kemco has released on iOS before. The tone of the story is different from Hit-Point's usual breezy fare, and it even has a more competent translation than we typically see from that developer's works. The game doesn't even have the standard top-down dungeon exploration, playing out instead from a pure side-scrolling viewpoint...

I've reviewed a lot of Kemco games in the last couple of years here at TouchArcade, and while the quality varies wildly, I can easily say my least favorite of that two dozen, give or take, was Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99]. It basically encapsulated everything that I dislike about developer Magitec's games. The archaic engine with its jerky scrolling, the localization so stiff you could iron a shirt on it, the irritating dungeons that have you doubling back and forth hitting switches with damage floors everywhere, the asinine approach to character development, and more all added up to one sad little reviewer. Every time I see Magitec's name on a new Kemco release now, I take a deep breath, flinching the way one would when a static shock is expected from a touch...

I've reviewed more than 20 RPGs from Kemco since I started at TouchArcade in mid-2013, so I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on what to expect from each game at this point. Oh, the quality varies somewhat unpredictably, but the basic outlines each developer for the publisher employs are well-established by now and all too familiar. Every once in a while, however, one of those games dares to color outside the lines just a little bit, and when that happens, you can usually find Hit-Point's name listed as the developer. Such is the case with Seven Sacred Beasts [$3.99], a strangely experimental title whose chief virtue is that it doesn't just feel like a new story plugged into the same old gameplay. Instead it's the opposite, which might seem like a good thing, but ends up causing some serious problems...

The new year is already off to a great start for iOS RPG fans. We've received a port of the wonderful Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99], an excellent puzzle RPG in Hero Emblems [$1.99], and even a couple of indie surprises in the form of Lowlander [$1.99] and Adventure To Fate: Battle Arena [Free]. I'm feeling pretty good about 2015's potential RPG line-up already. While we don't know exactly what's in store for us, there is one thing we can surely count upon: Kemco will be here with about a dozen new RPGs, some of which might even be good. That said, they're not getting off to a great start with Dead Dragons [$3.99], their first release of 2015. While it's not as lousy as some of their efforts, I'm not sure it's actually worth your time and money, either...

Developer EXE Create seems to have their business all sorted out when it comes to putting together an enjoyable JRPG on a Kemco-sized budget. Even at their worst, we end up with something like Infinite Dunamis [$3.99], a solid effort whose chief offense is in its lack of ambition. More typically, however, an EXE Create release will fall among the best of prolific publisher Kemco's mobile catalog. The developer has a particular strength for characterization, casting their adventures with clashing personalities and a hero that shows actual growth. This work is backed by surprisingly strong localizations, resulting in a story that's fun to play through even if the overall plot isn't all that special. In terms of gameplay, they tend to play it safe most of the time, but unlike their stablemates at Kemco, even if they're not strong at a particular design element, they at least turn in a good enough effort that it doesn't detract from what they do well...

If you haven't played Papers, Please[$7.99 (HD)] yet, I am going to save you some time. Go buy this game. I don't care if you buy it for your iPad, your computer, your tivo, or your pocket watch, just get it and start playing. A little over a year ago, developer Lucas Pope struck gold with a game that ostensibly is about being a clerk for the fictitious, yet highly Russian influenced, country of Arstotzka. Now that it's out for iOS we wanted to give you a little assistance with getting through the game and into those 20 different endings. ..

You know, I've had a lot of people ask me why I cover every single one of Kemco's RPG releases. They're a big time sink to play and few people seem all that interested in them until they're on sale for $0.99, at which point people tend to buy them blindly without even knowing or caring about their merits. Sometimes, I even ask myself if it's worth the bother when I could be working on other things. Then, a release like Shelterra The Skyworld [$3.99] comes along and totally clarifies why I started writing about these games in the first place. ..

'RPG Asdivine Hearts' Review - Credit Where It's Due, This Is Really Good

Well, friends, it was bound to happen sooner or later. A couple of the developers of Kemco's regular RPG releases have been dancing at the knife edge of quality for a while now, and it was only a matter of time before one of them finally lined up all the pieces and created something truly excellent. I always knew it would be you, EXE Create. Asdivine Hearts [$3.99] isn't just Kemco's best RPG release to date, it's one of the better original JRPGs available on mobiles from anyone. It doesn't transcend the genre in any meaningful ways, but every aspect of it not only shows a desire to change things up a bit, but to make sure all of those ideas actually work well together. If you like JRPGs and want something that isn't a port of a classic, this game should definitely be on your short list...

Let's be frank, video games based on team sports aren't known for revolutions between updates. That reputation was mostly earned by them being among the first types of games to adopt a yearly release schedule. As it turns out, games take a lot of work to make, and if you're committed to meeting a particular date every year, there's only so much you can risk upheaving. Given this long-held tradition in the genre, I almost instinctively wasn't surprised to find that NHL 2K [$2.99] is, shall we say, a modest step forward from the last hockey game 2K released on iOS. Shaking away that initial gut reaction, I then remember that this isn't a yearly update, and it has in fact been over four years since NHL 2K11, and in that context, it's almost embarrassing how little has been done here. If you're looking for a decent hockey game and you don't have NHL 2K11, it's easy enough to recommend NHL 2K. It's competent, and there's honestly little competition even across the entire handheld spectrum. If you do have 2K11, the question of whether it's worth it gets a bit trickier...

Fans of Kemco's RPGs are in luck this month. We only just saw the release of Soul Of Deva [$0.99] a couple of weeks ago, and here we are with another release already. Granted, this is Kemco trying to catch iOS up with previously released Android games, but let's not look a potential gift horse in the mouth. Amazingly, Crystareino [$3.99] is done by the same team that did Deva, Hit-Point, who at this point are probably in dire need of a vacation. If you read my review of Deva, you know that I ended up liking it quite a bit thanks to its sharp 2D visuals and strategic, unique battle system. Well, I also like Crystareino quite a bit, but for almost entirely different reasons. This game plays things very safely, eschewing innovation in exchange for delivering a solid, content-rich adventure. If you're tired of the tropes of the genre, it might not be the best choice, but if you thrive on them, you'll find this to be a decent meal...

'NBA 2K15' Review - Technical Foul

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October 22nd, 2014 3:03 PM EDT by Eric Ford in $7.99, 2.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Sports, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

2K has been experimenting with sports games on the iOS for a while, with NBA 2K15 [$2.99] being its latest attempt to bring its 2K Sports brand to the platform. In some regards, 2K15 does a great job of bringing that experience to iOS, with a full featured Career Mode, great graphics, and a look and feel that excels beyond most of the iOS competition. Unfortunately, some significant technical issues remove a good deal of the enjoyment that should be had with the game...

At this point, some 30 or so RPGs in, I really have to wonder how many people are actually playing all the games Kemco's putting out there. As regular readers know, I really love RPGs, and even I'm starting to feel like we're reaching some kind saturation point with this company. Nevertheless, we must put one foot in front of the other, because the games do at least improve over time, and you never know when something worth getting excited about will come along. Soul Of Deva [$0.99] is not quite that game, but like many other recent Kemco efforts, I feel like we're getting very close. Given that I can make decent claim to having written more words about Kemco mobile RPGs than just about anyone on Earth, a tragic title if ever there was one, I tend to build expectations about their releases before I even start them up. Typically, I base this on the specific developer, and it rarely fails...

Several months back, mobile gamers were treated to Alphadia Genesis [$9.99], the first kind-of-3D RPG from Kemco, courtesy of developer EXE Create. Since then, Kemco's released another half dozen or so games, but they were all using older 2D engines, even EXE Create's Fanatic Earth [$3.99]. Well, we've finally got our second game using the 3D battle engine in Illusion Of L'Phalcia [$3.99], and it just goes to show that if you're dedicated to churning out an RPG in a span of weeks, it doesn't matter if you're using 2D or 3D graphics, the results are still going to be mixed...

It would be nice if, one day, all four of Kemco's development teams could get together and make an RPG that combines all of their strengths and covers all of their weaknesses. After just over one year of reviewing Kemco's near-monthly releases, I'm at the point where all I need to do is look at which team is behind a game to make a strong guess at which areas the game will succeed or fail in. This time, we've got Magitec's latest, Soul Historica [$0.99]. They're the developers behind Grinsia [$6.99], Chrome Wolf [$3.99], and Covenant of Solitude [$6.99], and if you've played any of those, you've probably got a good idea of how well you'll like this one...

At times, it's hard not to anthropomorphize Kemco as that student who is always in such a rush to turn in their assignment that they cut every possible corner. This behavior is particularly evident in the works of developer Hit-Point, who have so much potential that seems to get thrown under the bus in favor of churning out a half-dozen RPGs per year. Rusted Emeth [$3.99] is, sadly, a near-perfect example of both what Hit-Point does well and what they do poorly, another strike against my hopes of seeing this developer actually have some time and money for their projects. They're trying so hard to do something new, but on the way, they're making more sloppy mistakes than ever before...

Generally speaking, RPGs tend to stick to the same sorts of settings and broad plot strokes. Some big evil thing is threatening a typical fantasy world, and it's up to some plucky young guy and his ragtag group of accomplices to defeat the bad guy, save the world, and bring about a happy ending. Even the recent shift towards more dark fantasy settings still has us exploring a fantasy world of some kind, and still usually going after that big evil threat that will end the world. That plot outline loosely describes just about every game released by prolific mobile RPG publisher Kemco, and though I can usually find something interesting in the mechanics to catch my attention, it does get a bit tiresome at times watching the same story play out again and again. Of course, given the rapid pace of releases Kemco works with, a lot of the similarities are down to neccessity, but it's hard to deny that there's a certain stubborn streak running in the genre in spite of a few great counter-examples...

Die-hard Kemco fans, or sufferers as we are known to normal people, know that for whatever reason, Kemco's games usually hit Android before iOS. Typically, the iOS versions lag behind by a month or two, but there have been a couple of instances where Kemco skipped to the next game instead. As of this month, one of those two skipped titles has finally seen release on iOS, some eight months after the Android release. For any other publisher, that's not a very long time, but for Kemco, that's somewhere around eight releases ago, and as a result, Link of Hearts [$3.99] feels a bit outdated in several respects. Well, more outdated than usual, I guess I should say...

I'm not going to try to put one over on you guys. I wasn't exactly excited when Kemco's latest, Band of Monsters [Free], popped up on the App Store, since it hit right about five minutes after Agarest War [$14.99] and five minutes before Final Fantasy Agito dropped. I'd say I have an appreciation for Kemco's fare that exceeds many people's, but there's such a thing as too many RPGs at one time. Starting the game up, I was at least relieved to see it was from developer Hit-Point, whose system-based focus usually results in something interesting, if not extremely iterative...

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