Category Archives: $9.99

'Neon Chrome' Review - The Roguelike That's Just Right

I can't get enough of dual-stick shooter roguelikes, but often the time and effort requirement is too much. I'm more of a gaming tourist – I want to enjoy a lot of different experiences in gaming rather than having to decdicate tons of hours to get the joy out of a single game. Thankfully, Neon Chrome [$4.99] from 10tons, adapted for mobile from PC and console, scratches that itch. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination, and it can be punishing, but it tones down some of the harsher parts of the roguelike-inspired genre to be more accessible up front for players who just want to enjoy a game of this type. This is a game where you can extract genuine rewards from it in the early hours, while still getting long-term challenge and satisfaction. ..

I've been a huge F1 fan for over twenty five years and still watch it religiously. And I've also had the chance to play a couple of the Codemasters' F1 PC games in the past, so I have a pretty good sense of what the developer brings to the racing genre. So, when I heard at the Apple keynote that Codemasters was bringing what looked like a full F1 game to mobile, I was very excited. I love racing games on mobile, and I always thought that a well-made F1 game with the actual license and tracks would be great. Now we finally got F1 2016 [$9.99], and I have to say I'm impressed in some ways and quite disappointed in others. First of all, this game has way more content than I expected it to have in terms of modes and ways to play it. At the same time, half of those modes are marred by incredibly dumb AI opponents. And on top of that, there are numerous bugs and design decisions that make playing the game frustrating at times. When the driving clicks, though, the game is really fun...




Things are really hotting up in this season's Formula One world championship, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg able to tie up proceedings with a victory in Brazil this weekend. With such high stakes, it's understandable that hardcore supporters of the motorsport are excitedly anticipating Sunday's race, and to help fuel the fervent fires of such fans Codemasters have today surprisingly dropped an iOS version of F1 2016 [$9.99] on the App Store. With all the iconic drivers from this year's series, coupled with all 21 classic circuits visited over the course of the championship, and unsurprisingly stunning graphical detail to the vehicles and environments, F1 2016 could be the next big premium racing release on the iPhone, and for $9.99 certainly has the price tag to support such claims...

One Man Left have a pretty incredible track record on the App Store, as despite varying commercial success, the exhilarating twitch action gameplay of the Tilt To Live [$2.99] series was a lot of fun to play, especially in the early days of iOS as a serious gaming platform. Therefore, when the developers released Space Food Truck [$9.99 (HD)] on Steam back in March, it was incredibly interesting to see how the One Man Left team would step up to tackle a larger and more complex experience having plied their trade on relatively fleeting games prior to its release, the outstanding Outwitters [Free] aside. Thankfully, Space Food Truck was warmly received amongst the PC gaming community, and has finally made the transition to handheld devices, as today the game has launched on iPad (sorry, no mobile release as of yet), so anyone looking for a meaty strategic sci-fi adventure can snack on Space Food Truck now...

If you like wargames, then you definitely know the saga of the excellent Shenandoah Studio, the developer that brought us the great Battle of the Bulge and the pretty good Drive on Moscow and Desert Fox. Even though Shenadoah made some of the best wargames on the App Store (and the app themselves worked flawlessly), for reasons unknown it ran out of money, and Slitherine jumped in and bought the developer. After a long time reorganizing, Slitherine republished Battle of the Bulge to more than just mixed reviews since it really felt like the new app had come out a few years before the original one. Menus felt clunkier, some functionality was removed, and so on, all in the name of making the game cross-platform...

'Jade Empire: Special Edition' Review - Everybody Was Kung Fu Grinding

As one of the most well-known RPG developers in recent times, Bioware is primarily known for two things: Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy, and space operas. Back in 2005, as the original Xbox was fading out and the Xbox 360 was on the horizon, Bioware was able to slide a little something different down the line. Jade Empire [$9.99] was a martial arts fantasy action RPG inspired by wuxia films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers. It was the developer's first real foray into incorporating real-time action into the RPG framework that had become known for, a blend that woulds  be revisited with greater success in the Mass Effect series. While it was well-received critically, the game failed to sell anywhere near as well as Bioware's other titles, so the developer went back to the more reliable fantasy/sci-fi salt mines. That's a shame, because Jade Empire is an excellent game with some flaws that could have been buffed out to marvelous effect in a sequel...

'Ember' Review - Keeping the Old-School RPG Light Burning

When 505 Games and N-Fusion released their old-school inspired RPG Ember [$9.99] last week, there were a few interesting things we noted. First, with a stated longevity of 30+ hours (coupled with no IAP), it’s certainly one of the longest premium RPGs we’ve played in awhile. Second, as a near simultaneous release with the PC version, it’s one of those increasingly rare games where the developer isn’t trying to hide the fact that a mobile version was developed concurrently with the PC version. Both are typically good indicators of a well-made game, and Ember certainly fits the bill. It does an excellent job paying homage to the old-school RPG and its controls make an acceptable transition to touch screen...

Carcassonne [$9.99] has been one of the best looking and best digital board games for many years now (and also has the best music ever), and it's a gift that has kept on giving. Today, we got three mini expansions that will give you more ways to enjoy the game. The first one is Abbot, which brings a new piece you can place on Cloisters or Gardens (a new tile that just comes out of nowhere and lands on some of the existing tiles). You can recall that tiny little Abbot at any point during the game while still scoring points even without finishing the Cloister or Garden. The second expansion is The Old River, an expansion that was actually the first expansion ever published for the physical version of the game back in 2001...

So, you thought you were getting a technical marvel of an action game in Eisenhorn: Xenos [$5.99]? Wrong! This adaptation of the 2001 novel set in the ever-expansive and convoluted Warhammer universe, starring inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn, has disappointing combat, and the game largely tries to hide it and convince you that it's unnecessary. Instead, this is about telling the story from the novel, featuring Mark Strong as Eisenhorn, while presenting some gorgeous backdrops, with you at the controls driving the narrative. And if Warhammer lore is your bag, this is a game for you. As an action game? Eh...

We've had our eye on Eisenhorn: XENOS from developer Pixel Hero Games, makers of the ultra-underrated action RPG Spiral Episode 1 [$3.99 / Free], ever since we got a quick demo of the game at GDC 2015. An impressive-looking trailer followed about six months later, and before we knew it we were back at GDC 2016 this past March getting another great demo of the game. People who had been following along had been very excited for Eisenhorn: XENOS to arrive, and just yesterday we learned that the game was set to launch this Wednesday, August 10th. Pixel Hero even posted a brand new developer diary video in celebration of the much-anticipated launch. Well, the weirdness of digital app stores and world time zones strikes again and as it turns out Eisenhorn: XENOS [$5.99] is now available as of just a few moments ago...

If you're an owner of a PlayStation 3 or 4 as well the owner of a Sony handheld device, you're no doubt familiar with the Remote Play feature that allows you to stream your console games on a Vita or PSP. A couple of years back the service was even expanded to the PlayStation TV, Macs and PCs, and certain Android devices. But what if you're a PlayStation owner and an iOS device owner, and you want to stream games to your iOS devices? Well, now there's a solution for you, too, as developer BitWise Solutions has just released the PlayCast [$9.99] app to the App Store...

Every time I write about Sentinels of the Multiverse [$6.99], the digital version of the hit co-op card game, I get at least one person wishing the game shrinks down to phone size because ever since release, the game has only been playable on the iPad. Well, Handelabra Studio has decided to make most Sentinels players' wish come true as seen in this recently-released trailer showcasing the iPhone UI. The UI is subject to change, of course, but the trailer gives you a good idea of how the game will look on your phone. According to the announcement, which came out of the company's current Kickstarter, smartphone support had been on the list before they even launched the game, but they knew it would take time to get it right...

For as far back as last June when Apple released the private beta of iOS 9 during WWDC, Game Center has been plagued with issues. For some reason the service just simply stops working out of the blue. I didn't personally become affected with the Game Center bug until sometime last fall, after the official release of iOS 9. Since then, various versions of rebooting, signing out of the App Store, turning on Airplane mode, or voodoo dancing have gotten Game Center to work intermittently, but even those crazy methods eventually stopped working and ever since about December Game Center has been as dead as a doornail to me. ..

It would be an understatement to say that we really like Rayark's Implosion - Never Lose Hope [$9.99]; we gave it 5 stars in our review and haven't stopped looking for more content to play through. A couple of months ago, we wrote that the game was getting a new character somewhere in January, and the 1.2 update has finally hit the App Store just now. The game just got a 6-mission chapter, Last Man Standing (which you need to finish mission 1-8 to unlock), as well as a new Warmech called Jonathan Carloway (that you can see in the trailer below), new ferocious bosses, and a new skill system. The most impressive part of this update is of course, the new playable character. He uses a gun in each hand and should feel pretty different playing the game again with this guy (as if you really need an excuse to play through this fantastic game again). The update is out, so go check it out...

Sentinels of the Multiverse [$6.99], one of the most entertaining card games on the App Store, is getting its 3rd full expansion this Friday, and it's a big one, too. Shattered Timelines is all about, you guessed it, alternate worlds clashing with all kinds of crazy results. Heroes turn to villains and the other way around, and environments blend and crumble. So, as you can imagine, this is a fun expansion that was quite well received when it came out for the physical version of the game. The update includes 8 new decks, just like Rook City and Infernal Relics, with 2 heroes, 4 villains, and 2 new environments. The heroes are Chrono-Trigger and Omnitron-X, the villains are The Dreamer, Kismet, Le Capitan, and Iron Legacy, and the environments Time Cataclysm and The Block...

To be frank, I always expected the semi-frequent requests I'd heard for a Harvest Moon iOS game to turn out to be a monkey's paw wish. I figured we would see the series on iOS sooner or later, especially after the Harvest Moon name was disassociated from the actual series, but I was expecting it to be a free-to-play game laden with IAPs. Harvest Moon: Seeds Of Memories [$9.99] is likely not what fans of the series would ideally want, but it is a fully premium title without a stitch of IAP to be found in it, and it retains enough of the appeal of the series that it will likely satisfy would-be farmers, if not excite them...

So here’s the deal. For one reason or another, I never seem to get around to playing titles from the Daedalic Entertainment. I own several of them because of Steam sales and Humble Bundles, but I just keep putting them off. Games like Edna & Harvey [$2.99 (HD)] or Deponia [$4.99 (HD)], also available on iOS, which seem great. When I saw the 2009 classic The Whispered World [$4.99 (HD)] come out exclusively for iPads, I downloaded it with the intention of finally playing one of this studio’s fascinating looking titles. This was nearly two months ago, around Thanksgiving of last year, and sure enough, I did it again! Caught up in the holiday hubbabaloo, I completely neglected this story of a sad clown who’s set to bring about the apocalypse. So dang it if this review was going to come way past the game’s release, I wanted to analyze and discuss this experience with you all...

During E3 in June of last year, Natsume Inc. announced Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories [$9.99], a new entry in the long-running farming/RPG series and the first "true" Harvest Moon game to land on iOS, as the previous mobile game bearing the Harvest Moon name was a puzzle game. Great news, right? Well, maybe. As many know, the Harvest Moon franchise is a convoluted one, and later entries in the series haven't quite captured the magic that the original SNES Harvest Moon did back in the mid-90s. So fans of the series were understandably cautiously optimistic when it came to Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories, but as of today they can find out for themselves as the game has officially launched on the App Store. Also, even though it would make TOTAL sense for this type of game to be free to play'd out the wazoo, Seeds of Memories is actually a fully paid game with zero IAP. Check out the official trailer...

It feels like there's a lot of news about Rayark's excellent stylish action game Implosion [$9.99] lately, but not much of it has been about the game itself. There's been an animated movie announced, and its Kickstarter campaign appears to be going well. Rayark has also started a serial comic based on the game, which you can read here. It's another cool way to build on the world of the game, but hey, what about that game? Is it being left behind for the sake of more passive forms of media? Worry not, friends. Rayark hasn't forgotten what brought Implosion to the dance, and they're proving it by putting together a big update for January 2016...

The first Dragon Fantasy [$7.99] game had a few things going for it when it released on iOS back in the summer of 2011. It was similar enough to classic JRPGs to feel like comfort food while simultaneously presenting a solidly-constructed, original adventure. It had a great sense of humor, and since the game was originally written in English, there was none of the awkwardness that could be found in many similar games. It received pretty substantial support after its release, getting a few new chapters at no additional cost. The game itself had a pretty heartwarming story behind its development, with the hero patterned after the designer's late father. It's also worth pointing out that at that time on the App Store, there were no Dragon Quest games and about 40 fewer Kemco JRPG releases. Thus, even though Dragon Fantasy was a pretty humble game in many ways, it still found an audience among mobile RPG fans...

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