Category Archives: $9.99

'Planescape: Torment' Review - What Can Change the Nature of an App?

Oh. Really? Another one of those old isometric dinosaurs got released on iOS? No. I am sorry, but that's wrong. THE old isometric dinosaur that devours and spits out other isometric dinosaurs is finally out for iOS. Fresh off solid remasters of Baldur's Gate [$9.99], Baldur's Gate II [$9.99], and Icewind Dale [$9.99], Overhaul Games is back with the magnum opus of the CRPG world Planescape: Torment [$9.99], and yes this terrible thunder lizard still has teeth. Much commentary of this recently revamped game is devoted to how the upgrade was handled. As many of you, dear readers, may not be very familiar, I will also be unwrapping my personal experience with the actual content of Torment. Even though I have been an avid gamer through the decades, this was one I did not get the chance to play back in the day (I blame Diablo II, personally). Now given the chance to remedy this grave personal flaw, I present to you my humble take on a giant of the industry. ..

Every since we first heard that a game based in the Lords of the Fallen universe would eventually hit iOS, we were curious as to how the Dark Souls-style gameplay would translate onto the mobile platform. When we finally learned that it would be, in essence, an Infinity Blade clone, we were met with even more questions. Would it offer anything to the genre? Can it successfully be a successor to the aging Infinity Blade series? Unfortunately, the answer to both those questions is a definitive ‘No.’ Lords of the Fallen [$9.99] is simply a sub-par clone in a genre that requires perfect execution to be worth playing...




'Xenoraid' Review - The 'Marvel vs. Capcom' of Shmups

I like playing games that may exist in a particular genre, but are willing to defy the conventions of that genre to create something different. That's exactly what 10tons has done with Xenoraid [Free], their entry into the shoot 'em up genre. It does things differently from other games, and maybe you won't like it! Western shmups are already so different from Eastern ones, due to cultural differences. Xenoraid manages to even transcend that difference, and feels like its own unique shoot 'em up. But you might just enjoy what this heterodox title has to bring to the table...

While the big N has stated that their first mobile game release Super Mario Run [Free] wouldn't be getting major content updates during the course of its life, they've still been pretty active about updating the game in general and running new events and sometimes even adding new features, like the "Friendly Run" mode back in December and the "Loads of Coins" event a couple of weeks ago. Today they've gone and done it again by updating Super Mario Run not with actual new content but with a major tweaking to how the game works in an effort to appeal to those who find it too challenging. It's called "Easy Mode" and you'll get the option to replay a level in this new way once you've failed it at least once. Easy Mode removes the time limit and also gives you unlimited bubble redos, meaning you can die as often as you want and can take as much time doing so as you wish!..

In virtually every respect, Empire of Angels 4 [$9.99] is a completely average SRPG. The latest in the line of a twenty-year-old series from well-known Taiwanese publisher Softstar, it doesn't stray far from what you've likely seen in a lot of other games in this genre. You'll go from point to point on a map, advance the story, fight some turn-based battles using an ever-increasing group of units, level up your team, and move on to the next challenge. Units can come in a variety of job classes, which define what moves they have at their disposal. Battles are broken up by cut-scenes that move the story along, but the meat of the game is left to the combat...

'Super Mario Run' Review - Mario and Luigi Are Doing What They Can

I feel pretty confident saying that Super Mario Run [Free] is the most hyped game release in the history of iOS. It has had the full marketing weight of two of the biggest giants in the industry behind it since its announcement, with Apple even going so far as to introduce a new notification system to allow players to pre-order it. That hype is there for good reason, of course. This is a historical moment for the video game industry. It's the first time a Mario game developed by Nintendo has released on non-Nintendo hardware since, I think, the original Mario Bros. back in the early 1980s. The legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto took a direct hand in the development of Super Mario Run, something he hasn't done for a Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy back in 2007. While the concept of Miitomo [Free] felt a bit underwhelming, Super Mario Run is Nintendo committing to mobile with unexpectedly fierce intensity...

One of the most interesting and challenging aspects of Super Mario Run [Free] is the five hidden coins that can be located throughout each level. While the initial pink versions are relatively easy to locate, the final black coins can be extremely difficult to attain, even if you know where they are within the colorful environments Mario has to traverse to save Princess Peach. While I'd highly recommend trying to discover where each black coin is located by yourself, there may come a point where it is just too frustrating without successive retries to find them all. If you are truly stumped by the black coins in Super Mario Run, here is a guide to where each of the elusive item can be found in the game's levels...

Nintendo's 'Super Mario Run' is Now Available!

It's been a long wait since Nintendo officially announced Mario coming to the iPhone in early September, and even longer if you consider that people have been clamoring for Nintendo to bring games to mobile even since the arrival of the iPhone a decade ago, but the time is finally here that Super Mario Run [Free] has arrived in the App Store. Well, arrived in "GET" form rather than the "NOTIFY" form it's been in since September, at least. As most everyone knows by now, Super Mario Run isn't exactly the Mario you know and love from the past three decades. This Mario runs, vaults over enemies, and does every other action besides jumping on his own, leaving you to focus all your attention on the jumping by simply tapping on the screen. It'll be interesting to see if Miyamoto and Co. have still provided a rewarding, skill-based Mario game despite the extreme distillation of its hallmark mechanics. ..

'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 [$9.99] 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 [$4.99], 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 [$4.99] 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 [] 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...

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