Category Archives: $9.99

'Transistor' Review - An Action-Packed, Evocative Journey in an Amazing World

I love stories, always have; give me a book, and I'm a happy man. It's not surprising, then, that I always appreciate games with strong, emergent stories that seamlessly mix with the gameplay. Yet, all too often many of the games I play show a distinct disconnect between story and gameplay or contain any story elements in the few, obligatory cutscenes. Don't get me wrong, I also like games with fantastic gameplay and nothing else, but the games that stick with me are those with great stories. Fortunately, there are those rare occasions, those rare games whose story and gameplay are so intertwined that they blend beautifully. Transistor [$9.99], Supergiant Games' second game, is precisely one of those rare occasions where the story emerges from the gameplay and the gameplay emerges from the story, one of those rare games that prove the importance of cohesiveness in narrative and gameplay. That cohesiveness made Transistor one of my most memorable gaming experiences in quite a while; perfect it is not, but it is a fantastic experience that most iOS gamers will really enjoy...

I love surprises, especially when they have to do with unexpected game releases, and this one today ranks pretty much at the top of my "great surprises of the year" list. Transistor [$9.99], the great A/RPG from Supergiant Games, has just appeared on the App Store this morning. I had been waiting for this game to appear on the App Store for quite some time, but, to be honest, I wasn't even sure that Supergiant Games would bring their sci-fi RPG masterpiece to iOS. Apparently, not only have they ported the game over to iOS, but they are offering an "intuitive new touch interface" in addition to the game's classic controls. And the developers have included gamepad support, which I know will make many of you happy...

'Vietnam '65' Review - The Rhythm of War Has Never Felt So Rewarding

"The line between disorder and order lies in logistics..." -Sun Tzu. It's hard to find a word that evokes as many connotations of hell, destruction, anger, and failure as the word "Vietnam" does for the collective American psyche. The Vietnam War was a war like no other - and that includes the current conflicts. For Americans, sending over soldiers to fight in Vietnam was like sending them off to fight on Mars, such were the differences in the way each country was imagined and represented. In terms of warfare, Vietnam demanded that the U.S. army depart from its WWII tactics of fighting across wide European fronts against a similarly-organized fighting machine; instead, it forced American troops to fight a counter-insurgency (COIN) war, the kind of war that Every Single Soldier's (ESS) Vietnam '65 [$9.99 (HD)] attempts to creatively depict on your tablets. The turn-based strategy game, published by Slitherine, depicts warfare differently than most other wargames, putting emphasis on logistics and winning "hearts and minds," rather than on large scale tactics, and doing so brilliantly. I was very interested in Vietnam '65 when it came out a couple of months back. However, before I had to chance to get to it, the developer announced that he was working on some important improvements, so I decided to wait until the game was updated, which it was a few days ago...

'Sproggiwood' Review - Wood, Could, Did

It's official, everyone: I'm nearly out of clever or interesting introductory paragraphs for roguelikes. So let's just just get down to the business of why you should consider a spot in your likely crowded roguelike folder for Sproggiwood [$9.99]. Hm, it feels like when I typed that name, all of the Aussies in the back of the room started snickering. Oh well. Sproggiwood tells the story of a mischievous little fellow named Sproggi, a guardian spirit who watches over a realm that is apparently doomed to destruction. Wishing to avoid that outcome, Sproggi does a little time manipulation to sucker a group of people called the Clogheads into helping out. The first of these is a humble farmer who Sproggi immediately tasks with taking out a dangerous boss jelly in a nearby forest. Sproggi warns you he's a bit of a silver tongue, so you'll need to mind that...

'Desktop Dungeons' Review - Thats Not a Desk Anymore

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June 3rd, 2015 12:39 PM EDT by Andrew Fretz in $9.99, 4 stars, iPad Games, Reviews
$9.99 Buy Now

You probably noticed the recent influx of roguelikes recently. Just within the last week Sproggiwood[$9.99] and Desktop Dungeons[$9.99 (HD)] released and off the wall Shooting Stars is drawing near as well. I suppose if you have the big bux and can afford to buy a bunch of em, rats off to ya. If you have to choose though, you might want to consider Desktop Dungeons. I have played unforgiving rogue likes before, but this one is a true challenge...

'Grim Fandango Remastered' Review - Dust off the Bones Before you Roll Em

It's not every day you get to say that a Tim Schafer/Double Fine creation just released, but today we can celebrate the iOS port of Grim Fandango Remastered[$9.99]. This is a game that for so many of us requires no introduction whatsoever. The stars have aligned and now we have another treasured piece of history that has been given new breath to once again delight and mezmerize...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

The iOS gaming market has demonstrated a lot of interesting things over the years. One of those things is that even with a library containing literally hundreds of thousands of games, there can still be big holes in the lineup waiting to be filled. Even after a hole is plugged, there's no guarantee that it'll stay that way as games are removed from the App store. One of the biggest holes right now, in my opinion, is that of the Diablo-style action-RPG. I see people all over the place looking for a good one for their iOS device. Now, it used to be that you could just direct someone to Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter series and they would probably come away satisfied. The recent turn into free-to-play has turned the series into something that not everyone can get on board with, however, and the older paid installments have been gone for a while now. That leaves us with a gap, and its continued existence certainly isn't for a lack of trying. The latest attempt is The Barbarian [$8.99], which comes from a fairly small developer that appears to be stretching its legs for the first time. Unfortunately, it shows...

Since its release 5 years ago, Carcassonne [$9.99], the iOS rendition of the award-winning board game, has been mentioned in almost any conversation on the potential for iOS games to be both functional and beautiful. The intuitive UI, the lovely board game look (showing Apple's Jony Ive that skeuomorphism can sometimes look great on a tablet), it's many single-player and multi-player options, all came together to make Carcassonne a great ambassador for iPad gaming. This is one of the games I always recommend to any friend who is taking his first steps into the world of mobile gaming...

'Implosion - Never Lose Hope' Review - Hope Is The Thing With Missiles

Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$4.99] is the latest game from Rayark, the developer behind the wonderful titles Cytus [$1.99] and Deemo [$1.99]. It's an outstanding game, and if you're reading this review because you want to know whether or not you should drop ten US dollars (or your local equivalent thereof) on it, let me cut to the chase for once. Yes, you should. Head over the the App Store, hit the button to purchase it, prepare a cup of your beverage of choice while it downloads, and get ready to settle in for a slick action game with superb production values and seriously well-designed combat. I can't recommend this game enthusiastically enough...

'DuckTales Remastered' Review -  Solve A Mystery, Or Rewrite History

Nostalgia is definitely big business, as the movie industry has known for decades and the game industry only just started catching on to. It's a tricky thing, nostalgia. Some people like to hand wave it away, as though the positive feelings from a familiar situation are any less valid than the positive feelings from seeing a bit of visual spectacle. I strongly disagree with that notion. I think nostalgia is a wonderful thing, and if a game can use it effectively the result is almost always a better all-around experience. That's a big qualifier, though. A game that relies solely on nostalgia is as empty as one that relies solely on graphical flair. Nostalgia only works for the audience that was there at the time. For everyone else, you'd better make sure the rest of the game can support its own weight...

'DuckTales: Remastered' Hits the App Store

After teasing us on Twitter with a screenshot hinting at this, Disney has indeed released DuckTales: Remastered [$9.99] on iOS. The original DuckTales was an incredibly awesome platformer released for the NES in 1989, and it was based on the cartoon of the same name. A whopping 24 years later, WayForward was tapped to create a remastered version of the original for modern consoles, dubbed DuckTales: Remastered. It kept basically everything the same gameplay-wise, but the visuals were entirely redone to look just like the classic animated show. They even got the original voice actors to add even more personality to the game. Now DuckTales: Remastered is available in your pocket...

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (SPM) Road to the Moon [$9.99 (HD)], developed by Polar Motion and published by Slitherine, was first released on PC and is now out on iOS. The iPad version had an eventful launch because of a bug that made the tutorial unplayable on iPad Air devices (in a demonstration of its efficiency, Slitherine quickly identified and fixed the issue). The game puts you in the role of the Director of NASA, the Soviet Space Agency (SSA), or the fictitious Global Space Agency (GSA) as you try to launch rockets, satellites, and humans into space — and, in the case of the US and Soviet campaigns, do so before the other side does...

If you're an iPad owner, into strategy games, and are a history buff, the mere mention of Slitherine's name is probably enough to get your blood pumping. Simply put, they consistently release some of the finest strategy games on iOS. Their games tend to be on the upper end of the App Store price range, but it's a genuine case of getting what you pay for. Each game is typically packed with content, extremely well-designed, and rounded out with a full set of features. Another well-known name in iOS strategy circles is Hunted Cow Studios, who are also nothing if not reliable. For years, their niche was in regularly releasing low-priced games covering a variety of interesting settings. The mechanics of those games rarely held any surprises, but they filled the belly without emptying the wallet. These two major forces in the iOS strategy game scene have come together with the release of Hell: Fight For Gilrand [$9.99 (HD)], an iPad-only release...

'Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition' Review - One Of The Best CRPGs Ever Is Now On iPhone

Okay, yes, this is a pretty late review of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition [$4.99]. The game initially released on iPad about a year ago, and we didn't do a write-up of it for various reasons. There are plenty of reviews of the original Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows Of Amn out there, and given the existence of the first game's Enhanced Edition, we sort of assumed there wasn't much demand for one of our own. With the game's recent update that moves it to being a universal app, we've had a lot of requests from readers for a review of the game. Well, I guess we had that one wrong, but nobody's perfect, right? With that explanation out of the way, let's break down this port of one of the all-time greats of the genre...

In September of last year, developer Beamdog released a patch for Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition [$4.99] that, among many other things, added Universal iPhone support to the previously iPad-only mobile port of BioWare's classic RPG. Sure, Baldur's Gate: EE was teeny tiny on an iPhone, but it was manageable, and quite a treat to carry around in your pocket. The sequel, Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition [$4.99], was released for iPad in January of last year, and had yet to receive the iPhone treatment. Until today that is, as an update has just landed adding in Universal support to Baldur's Gate II along with tons of tweaks and fixes...

There are a lot of issues with Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD [$9.99 (HD)], the spiffy remaster of the 1999 classic PC strategy game. The control layout has done little more than map things directly from keyboard and mouse to touch, with not much in the way of explanation of the intricacies, even in the tutorial. There's significant content missing in the form of the two expansions, which will not be coming to this version due to the source code being lost. The map editor found in the original game and the PC version of this HD remaster is not included in the iPad version. The updates are few in number, with just a bit of spit-polish done on the sprites and text to make them look a little less pixelated. These are all good reasons to pass on Heroes Of Might & Magic 3 HD, especially if you have a computer, where you can buy and play the complete version of the game with all expansions included for the same price...

Craft the World - Pocket Edition[$9.99] is a sandbox crafting game from Devokir Entertainment very much in the vein of Terraria[$4.99] and Starbound. The side view perspective works amazingly well and with multiple characters to control, it very much resembles an interactive any colony...

'Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered' Review - My Kind of Nightmare

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, Quantic Dream’s Indigo Prophecy was recently rereleased on PC. Luckily, the developers also saw fit to port it over to iOS under the full title Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered [$9.99] as part of its decennial celebration. As a narrative-heavy action-adventure, Indigo Prophecy was excellent for its time and mostly makes a successful transition to Apple’s portable devices...

10tons' Crimsonland HD [Free] has just gotten an update with a feature that not a lot of folks may be able to use, but should be pretty fun to play with for those who have it: local co-op with multiple MFi gamepads. The co-op mode was available in other versions of the game, but wasn't on iOS – until now. While MFi gamepads are still a bit pricey, if you and a friend have the game and an iPad or at least the ability to hook up to a TV, you can go through the entire game in co-op mode, with support for up to four players, all using their own gamepads...

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