Category Archives: Free

'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...

'Tofu Hunter' Review - Tofu Isn't This Bland

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May 27th, 2015 4:15 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, Reviews, Shooter, Universal
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Sometimes a parody can be just as shallow as the very thing it attempts to lampoon. Take Tofu Hunter [Free]. It makes every attempt to poke fun at games like Deer Hunter, subbing out living pieces of bean curd for real live woodland creatures. Just like a bad batch of soy milk, it's a little too bitter...

'Earthcore: Shattered Elements' Review - A Great and Innovative CCG

When I previewed Tequila Games' Earthcore: Shattered Elements [Free] a bit over a month ago, I talked about how I enjoyed the developers' attempt at making a CCG that moved in a different design direction than the likes of Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone. I liked how they implemented some different ideas that departed from the commonly-used gameplay strategies and tactics while retaining what makes CCGs such an enjoyable genre. Now that I've finally been able to play around with the released version of the game (since it was in soft launch for some time), I'm glad to say that the game meets and exceeds my expectations by providing an intriguing battle system while also offering an abundance of features as well as some of the best, if not the best, multiplayer features I've seen in an iOS CCG. Earthcore's not the perfect game - there are some issues with the menu design and the overall color pallete - but it's pretty close...

'Oddwings Escape' Review - Shiny Wings

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May 22nd, 2015 1:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Free, Racing, Reviews, Runner, Universal
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I wish I could love Oddwings Escape [Free] by Small Giant Games. Don’t get me wrong--I definitely like it. But in order to love something, I need to feel a drive deep in my soul to go back to it over and over, because That Thing is super enjoyable and puts a warm glow in my otherwise darkened husk of a heart. Like pizza and cats. Oddwings is more like… fireworks. I like fireworks. They’re pretty and fine and I’ve been known to enjoy a firework or two when the time is right. But I’m not the sort of person who seeks them out. Maybe you are, though, and that’s fine. And this game is fine. Let’s talk about it...

Fresh off their recent launch of new permanent records and characters to unlock, the folks at Square Enix and DeNA have already restarted their weekly event that offers an opportunity for players to earn new characters and loot. This week's Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] event sees the launch of ‘The Fire Crystal Awakens,’ which is a Final Fantasy V based event focused on the heroic attempts to save the Fire Crystal from exploding (spoiler: they fail). Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is the big reward for participating in this Collector’s Event and we’ve got the tips and strategy needed to make it an easy endeavor...

Sometimes, the most simple experience is the best experience. That goes double for the mobile platform, where often times your only method of control is a basic tap motion. Orbits [Free] follows that principle to a tee, and although it can be a tad too simplistic in its presentation, it's definitely worth looking into...

Rebel 1…. Action! Full disclosure up front; if you couldn't tell. I freaking love the BlazBlue games. Not only are they complex, highly competitive fighting games, but they have a genuinely awesome story that is actually the focus. The mastermind of BlazBlue, Toshimichi Mori, has even said his intention was to create an epic fighting game saga with a deep, interesting  story that mattered from game to game, which is pretty much the opposite of the standard. Also, the soundtrack is pure excellence to my taste. Tons of epic Prog Rock/Orchestral hybrids. Very metal. Listen to This song here to get psyched up while I tell you about a brand new iPad exclusive BlazBlue  Collectible Card Game (CCG), BlazBlue: Battle Cards...

'Capitals - Free Word Battle' by NimbleBit Review - Real Game, Really Fun

Capitals [Free] from NimbleBit is their take on a long-running genre: the turn-based multiplayer word game. Thankfully, they manage to deliver a fun and worthwhile take on the genre by making it a simple strategy game that just uses familiar word game mechanics to feel familiar. It's a game that's accessible, but leads to an intense battle between folks. You form words from tiles on a hex grid using Scrabble/Words With Friends [Free] rules, with each tile you play being replaced by another tile. Any tiles you play connected to your color of tile are added to your tiles, and if you capture the enemy capital, you get an extra turn. Wipe out all the enemy territory, and you win!..

Well, I guess I opened a can of worms when I reviewed Hakuoki [$27.99] a while back, because we've received numerous reader requests for more visual novel reviews. Let it never be said that TouchArcade does not aim to please, so even though it's a few months old, I've decided to write up the most commonly-requested title, Queen's Gambit [Free]. This one comes from Voltage Entertainment USA, one of the more popular American developers in the genre, and it follows the adventures of an elite spy working for a private organization dedicated to keeping the world safe. Like most visual novels, you can count on a lot of reading, a little bit of decision-making, and a whole lot of romance...

'Ire: Blood Memory' Review - A Hardcore F2P Game that's Challenging in all the Right Ways

I often hate when I'm right; you tell a friend not to climb that tree, he does, he falls, and then you have to rush him to the ER. Yet, there are times when I'm glad to be right, and the case of TenBirds' Ire: Blood Memory [Free] is one such case. When I decided to draw attention to the game recently, I did so because of the influences cited by the developers: Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Monster Hunter, three games that are demanding and relatively-slow paced and that aren't the kind of influences most iOS developers will cite. I was quite positive in my write-up, and even though most commenters dismissed the game outright because of its F2P monetization model, now that I've played the game, I'm glad to say that I was right about this game being one to look forward to. Ire is a brave and successful attempt to give iOS gamers a challenging, tactical Action-RPG that offers a great and complex battle system wrapped in a demanding inventory and forging system. While the game isn't perfect, it might actually come pretty close to that if some of its issues are addressed in the future, provided you enjoy difficult games that punish you often but reward contemplative, tactical gameplay...

Fans of DeNA’s Final Fantasy: Record Keeper [Free] will notice that the freemium RPG didn’t have a new timed event this week. Instead, players that logged in over the weekend were met with the English version’s second large content update...

Curling as an influence to a high score game? What? That's what Gameblyr's Into the Circle [Free] promises and delivers on. Curling is an underappreciated sport here in the United States. It's something I always try to catch whenever the Winter Olympics happen, or if ESPN3 has some on. It's surprisingly entertaining! It's better than watching golf on TV. There's not a lot of great curling games out there, so hey, we'll have to settle for curling-inspired ones like this. And Into the Circle winds up being a fun little game, albeit suffering a little bit from pay-to-win syndrome...

'Fatal Fight' Review - Two Finger Hurty Whack

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May 14th, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 4 stars, Action, Free, Games, Reviews, Universal
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One of my favorite things about being a gamer in the indie/mobile/Steam age is how many new genres seem to pop up all the time. You’ve got your twitch games, Minecraft-likes, Hex-likes, Flap-likes. A lot of “-like”s. Of course, there’s a fine line between inspiration and cloning, and the App Store is rife with examples of both. Toghrul Samadov’s Fatal Fight [Free] is clearly inspired by the PC game One Finger Death Punch (which itself was inspired by those stickman flash cartoons that were all the rage a hundred internet years ago). Fatal Fight may not be the first, but it’s still a great example of a pretty kick-ass new genre of quick fix gaming...

Developer Nordeus has just announced today that its football (the one you actually play with your foot) manager game, Top Eleven [Free], is celebrating its 5th birthday and a great milestone; the game has now over 100 million registered players, making it the most popular mobile sports game. For those who aren't familiar with the game, Top Eleven let's you be the manager of a football (again, feet, ok?) team, and you get to control the formation, tactics (though not at a great depth), and the transfers (which is where this F2P game helps you part ways with your real life cash). As seen from the numbers released by Nordeus today, apparently there are many people around the world who enjoy competing with other players in the best sport in the world (yes, I said it). To celebrate the game's 5th birthday, Nordeus is offering players special club logos and outfits, so if you are one of the 100 million users, go get your free stuff...

'Seek: Find Your Friends' Offers Players a Lovely Window into a Vibrant, Mysterious World

Constantine Cavafy, one of my favorite early-20th Century Greek poets, once wrote that when you set out for a destination, you should hope that your journey is a long one. Why? Because once you arrive, you'll realize that the destination's only value was that it spurred you to undertake your journey. I've often found that unlike Cavafy, most game designers often privilege the destination over the journey by positing  level- or game-ending bosses as the moment when the hours a player has spent with the game acquire meaning. More often than not, the journey to the game's end credits is a blur with all elements of game design pushing with single-minded purpose towards that enemy waiting for you at the end. Yet, there are often exceptions to every rule, and Five Pixels' Seek: Find your Friends [Free] is precisely such an exception. Seek provides a literal window into a lovely, mysterious island and allows the players to blissfully meander inside the game world without inorexably pushing them towards a singular, rigid goal (despite the fact that the game does have an ending). This is definitely an island worth exploring if you, like me, enjoy savoring the journey and not just the destination...

Upcoming 'Deadliest Catch' Game Promises to Throw you into the Icy Alaskan Seas

I remember a few years ago when most cable channels, especially the Discovery Channel, started producing shows that let us enjoy an often-sanitized and idealized view of different dangerous or weird occupations, from being a lumberjack to flipping real estate. However, the show that really stood out for me, and for critics since it was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, was The Deadliest Catch, the show about crab fishing in the Bering Sea. After two relatively unsuccessful games based on the TV show, Tapinator, a mobile game developer, announced today that it's developing a game called Deadliest Catch: Seas of Fury for mobile platforms so we can all finally dare Alaska's icy waters from the comfort of our couches...

Have you ever seen a trail derail or a Juggernaut slowly grind to a halt? If you've been following Zynga's finances the last few years, then you have. The once-mighty icon of F2P success, for many the personification of the bleak but unavoidable future of mobile gaming, has lost 40% of its share price over the past year alone. Earlier this week, Zynga announced that it's closing down its data centers and moving back to Amazon's cloud computing services, which it had abandoned in 2011 in a move that for many signified the company's immense growth potential...

If you were trying to play Hearthstone [Free] in the EU servers last week, you probably got quickly frustrated from being unable to log into the game. Apparently, Blizzard's servers were experiencing some kind of undisclosed issue that prevented many from enjoying the game. It's unlike Blizzard to have such issues for such a long period, so many were surprised (and frustrated). This wasn't the kind of advertising Blizzard was looking for so recently after unleashing the game on mobile devices, but the issue is now fixed and everyone can go right back to dumping dozens of hours into the game...

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