Category Archives: Free

Poor old Sonic The Hedgehog. He's been celebrating his 24th birthday recently, and to commemorate the occasion, SEGA has baked him a moist, delicious cake and topped it with inedible sludge. Sonic Runners [Free] has finally come out of its soft launch, and it's unfortunately still plagued with all of the problems it suffered from right from the very moment it set foot on the Japanese App Store. That this particular mixed bag comes from Sonic Team themselves is hardly surprising when you break down exactly what's wrong and right with it. Is it salvageable? Absolutely. Will it be? I wish I could say...

Oddly enough, a lot of the buzz surrounding Apple's keynote at WWDC wasn't necessarily new features or future major iOS revisions... But the odd inclusion of a surprisingly long segment on Apple's new music service dubbed simply, "Apple Music." Well, if you were following along with our keynote coverage and anxious to give Spotify, Pandora, or whatever else you're using the boot, Apple Music and iOS 8.4 is here...

While folks in certain regions are eagerly waiting for Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory [Free] to launch worldwide (along with Android support) on July 2nd, those of us that can already enjoy the mobile MOBA can also check out the game’s newest update a little early.  Version 1.6 not only adds a new hero, but also adds a few welcome additions to player queueing along with added card collecting methods...

Foursaken Media's genre mashup Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] launched about a month and a half ago, but if you've been unwilling to drop the initial two bucks on the game, or its more recent 99¢ sale price, then Foursaken has you covered with the just-released Heroes and Castles 2 Free [Free]. What's cool is that there are very few compromises between the paid and free versions of Heroes and Castles 2. In the free version, you'll earn slightly less crystals, and heroes are slightly more expensive to unlock. Also, in order to collect dropped loot after a battle you'll need to watch an opt-in video ad. But other than those small changes they're the same exact game content-wise...

'KKRacing' Review - The Kart Racer We Deserve

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June 26th, 2015 11:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3 stars, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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I have a question: What would you get if you crossed an antelope with a human baby? I have no idea. No one does. One more question: What if you crossed one of those Puzzle & Dragons [Free] style social RPGs with Mario Kart? Hey, I actually have an answer for that! You’d get KKRacing [Free] by Beijing Kaku All-dimensional Media Co. That may sound like an awful combination, but it’s actually pretty good. And loads more fun than a babylope...

There are plenty of things I appreciate about Cartoon Survivor [Free], a new isometric platformer from Australia-based Spunge Games. Most immediately, it has a strong and cohesive visual design, full of bright colors and cute animations. The level designs are clever and packed with secrets to find, some of which may require you to come back with gear you'll earn later in order to get the best time. There are unlockables both of the cosmetic and practical type, giving you something tangible to shoot for as you play through. It also gives you enough levels for free to get a feel for the game before it asks you to pay to unlock the rest, and in an unusual turn, allows you grind up in-game currency and pay that way. You're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop right about now, and it will. But don't worry, it's only a little shoe. A booty, at best...

Earthcore: Shattered Elements [Free], the innovative CCG by Tequila Games, continues to pleasantly surprise me. If you haven't had a chance to play the game yet, this is a CCG that innovates by using a Risk and Element system that makes even the weakest card actually useful. By using this Risk system, the game forces players to rethink many of the strategies often used in most CCGs. The game has just received its first major update today that adds a new feature, Events, new unique cards (with new skills), and also an upgraded matchmaking system (the old system irked some in our forums). ..

The beauty of mobile and this era of digital distribution is that with small games, we can see how games can become wildly different affairs from the same idea. Sure, this is the same system that leads to rampant cloning, but sometimes you see developers legitimately iterate on the same idea. Take Hue Ball [Free], for instance. It credits Wouter Visser's Gimme Friction Baby as its inspiration. This is the same game that inspired Orbital [$2.99 / Free], a classic App Store puzzle game, that both start from the same idea: you launch balls from a bottom cannon into a playing field, trying to break balls in the playing field to earn points, and to keep balls from landing and expanding below the border line where your cannon sits. What Hue Ball does is to tweak the concept just enough to feel like a very different experience, going from a slow, tactical puzzle game where one mistake can doom you, to a fast-paced high-score chaser that's somewhat forgiving...

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

'Radical Rappelling' Review - Rock & Roll

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After a few years of reviewing iOS games at Touch Arcade and elsewhere, I've begun to notice something. You can usually tell how "good" or "bad" a game is by the specificity of your gripes with it. If I'm writing generally about how the controls don't work or the graphics are ugly, the game as a whole probably isn't that great. However, if I'm spending an entire paragraph about how disappointed I am that one level is too hard or too easy, or that there aren't enough pants to buy in the shop, there's a good chance the rest of the game is pretty enjoyable. Why waste time pointing out every little flaw if there are bigger problems to discuss? And conversely, if a game seems to nail everything, what else is there to discuss but the tiny annoyances that don't really amount to much?..

Scrolling through the App Store screenshots, I can see how one might be led to believe the latest Angry Birds game is just another free-to-play match 3 battler. It appears to have all the trimmings and trappings of the popular (if a bit tired) genre: a grid of colorful tiles, characters to collect, loot to be gained, and--of course--multiple timers and currencies, all dressed up in that familiar Angry Birds style. I see how it looks. But you're wrong. Angry Birds Fight! [Free] is actually a bold exploration of the concept of free will in a deterministic universe...

When Konami "mispoke" about its future plans and claimed that the company would be shifting its attention to mobile and the App Store, many were disappointed from what they saw as Konami shifting from "real" games to "casual" mobile games. PES Club Manager (PES CM) [Free], a soccer manager game just released, is the first Konami iOS game since the recent debacle, and I'm glad to say that it's a pretty good F2P sports game that shows that Konami can have a fruitful future on iOS, which is nothing but good news for mobile gamers. The game has plenty of content, a real-time 3D match engine that utilizes the console-version game engine, and a more robust team management system than I expected to find in a F2P game. And the monetization system never got in the way of my enjoyment, so all was well on that front too. Overall, PES CM is an enjoyable sports game that will entertain any lover of the sport for many hours...

'Fallout Shelter' Guide – Strategies, Tips and Tricks for the Industrious Post-Apocalypse Vault Overseer

Bethesda came out of the gate swinging at their first ever E3 Conference Sunday night. Among all the hype for Doom, Dishonored 2, and Fallout 4 came a few smaller announcements. One of those announcements was a new Fallout mobile game called Fallout Shelter[Free], a partnership between Bethesda and Behaviour Interactive, and it is just adorable. I mean, in a horribly grim-dark sort of way. Basically it’s a Tiny Tower [Free]style town management game set in the alternate history world of Fallout, and it is just oozing that Fallout style. The main points I’ll be covering are the Basics, Population Control, Baby Making, Caps Acquisition, Room Rushing, and Happiness...

Brickies [Free] is not a bad game. It is an excellent game in many regards, and a top entry in the brick-breaker genre. The problem is that it's still a brick-breaker. No matter how it mixes things up, I just can't shake the fact that it's a brick-breaker, and it's quite the familiar game. And while it's not bad at all, and is really quite good, it's also not an essential must-have in a venerable, oft-imitated genre...

King's got their formula down pat by now. First, take a puzzle concept that has shown some success in the past, be it Bejeweled, Peggle [$0.99], Puzzle Bobble, or anything else. If it's not already stage-based, change it so that it is. Then dial up the difficulty gradually, spiking it now and then to tempt players towards buying power-ups. Introduce new levels regularly, new gimmicks almost as often, do the whole thing up in a sharp package, and wait for the money to come in. No one can deny the success they've had at it, to be sure. But apart from Candy Crush Saga [Free]'s follow-up Candy Crush Soda Saga [Free], King's had trouble making their games stick of late. Their major successes, the two Candy Crush games, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], and Pet Rescue Saga [Free], continue to hang on the higher positions of the top grossing charts, but other efforts like Diamond Digger Saga [Free] and Paper Pear Saga [Free] have gone nowhere. My gut tells me there's a pattern here, and that same instinct tells me that King's latest, AlphaBetty Saga [Free], might suffer the same fate...

'Nubs' Adventure' Review - A Tale Of Home Ownership In The 21st Century

Poor old Nubs. He had defied the odds of the modern economy and purchased a nice house with a great view and plenty of land to build on. Sure, the land taxes were a bit tough to manage each year when tax season came around, but he had things sorted out nicely for the most part. Then one day, a couple of guys swing around, kick him out of his house and off the nearby cliff, then burn the whole thing down. I mean, are debt collectors getting rough these days or what? Luckily, a fairy offers to help you rebuild a home in a new, even better location. You're just going to have to grease the wheels a bit with some fairy dust, which can be extracted from crystals that are just laying around the world, protected by deadly monsters, cunning traps, and treacherous terrain. All things considered, it's probably still safer than a bank loan...

'One More Dash' Review - Disc Divin'

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June 5th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Arcade, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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As a casual fan of developer SMG’s other games, One More Dash [Free] was one of the first things I downloaded this week. I played a few rounds, and it seemed pretty good. Alas, there were a lot of other games to potentially review, and it fell by the wayside. As usual, some of them turned out to be great, and some were not so great. As I closed one app and flicked through my homescreen to find another, my eyes kept falling on Dash. I began playing it more and more, and it slowly began to take over my free time. Don’t be put off by it’s simple appearance, readers. This one’s a keeper...

Skiing Yeti Mountain [Free] is the kind of game that's best in a bunch of small doses over time. The gameplay is solid, the controls excellent, and the structure of this skiing game is great for mobile. But in trying ot be this experience that you play over a long time, it doesn't do a great job at being a game that you'd want to play a lot of in one sitting. It's a blessing and a curse for Featherweight's otherwise fun title...

'Lara Croft: Relic Run' Review - Temple Fun

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May 29th, 2015 4:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Free, Games, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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Some of you may recall a bit of controversy earlier this year over the fact that Temple Run 2 [Free] (and many similar games) didn’t let you play as a female character unless you paid for the privilege. This was brought to the attention of The Washington Post by a pretty awesome 6th grader who argued that it could be a form of gender discrimination, even if the developers didn’t intend it that way. Luckily, Imangi and several other devs took steps toward fixing the situation, but it’s no secret these types of games (and the industry as a whole) still have a ways to go. Well, stepping into the fray with tiny shorts and guns blazing is Lara Croft with her own take on the behind-the-back-runner formula. You’re welcome, women everywhere...

This game almost completely slipped under my radar. It released last week to virtually no hype or buzz at all. I downloaded it along with a bunch of other weekly releases and nearly forgot about it entirely. Man am I glad that I decided to boot it up while cleaning my phone's storage instead of deleting it outright. Dynamix[Free] from C4Cat is one of the most interesting and unique, if ultimately flawed, music games in recent memory...

Physics has always been a staple of the App Store. Slingshot Physics, Ragdoll Physics, Skateboard and BMX physics, and so on. Playing a game with finely tuned, consistent physics just feels so right. I don't know why these games are always so popular, but man, are they satisfying. That's how I'd describe Ball King[Free] from developer Qwiboo. Eminently satisfying to play...

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