Category Archives: Free

An entourage of cute animals, some beautiful hand-painted visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack with music supplied by Leavon Archer, Mighty Mill’s Tanuki Forest [$1.99] is a huge breath of fresh air compared to the increasing number of mediocre endless runners that are gradually finding their way onto the App Store. This may be Mighty Mill Games first project, but the team behind this charming new and exciting game has had plenty of past experience, with titles like TimeSplitters and Criterion's Black as part of their credentials...

I always enjoy it when a sequel makes a strong effort to surpass its predecessor without losing the core concepts that worked in the first place. Bloo Kid [$1.99], released in 2011, was a vaguely Bubble Bobble-like single screen platformer where you had to clear the screen of enemies by bouncing on their heads to finish each stage. The controls were pretty decent, the graphics were colorful and cute, and there were 84 stages with a few goals on each, so if you enjoyed it, there was a fair bit to chew on. That said, single screen platformers, while enjoyable, were knocked nearly into extinction when Super Mario Bros. first came around, approximately 25 years or so before Bloo Kid tried to get some attention with a fairly rote take on the concept. When Bloo Kid 2 [Free] popped up on my radar, I assumed that like many sequels, this was going to be little more than a level pack with a few new things stapled on at best...

Early last week Hutch Games revealed details about their new update for Smash Bandits, which would add a new racing mode among other things and was scheduled to go live later in the week. Well, things happened, and the update got pushed back. But fear not: The new update is now live, and with it the game is now officially known as Smash Bandits Racing [Free]. The new racing mode is great fun. The way it works is there are 5 tiers of races, with 5 races per tier. The 25 total racing courses are set in the same environments as the regular Smash mode, but aren't random. Instead, they're specific routes that will be the same each time you play...

If you're a big mobile gamer, you've probably played more running games than you can shake a sneaker at. Whether it's side-scrolling or behind the back, the App Store is full of unimaginative examples of the genre. Because of this crowded market, there are quite a few games in the genre that depend on a gimmick, particularly if they don't have a popular character or license to lean on. Adventure Land [Free], in most respects, is a pretty by-the-numbers side-scrolling infinite runner. You run towards the right, shooting or jumping over obstacles, collect coins, and pick up the occasional health pick-up. Things go faster and get more hectic the longer you play, seeing how far you can get. Adventure Land has a gimmick, though, and it's a truly cool one. In fact, it's probably the most interesting gimmick I've seen in a runner in quite a long time...

'Fright Fight' Review - Super Grimm Bros.

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March 11th, 2014 2:27 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3 stars, Free, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
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Bringing the feel of Super Smash Bros. to the mobile platform is a tall order, but APPSolute Games is attempted to do just that with Fright Fight [Free]. The game is free, and its IAP structure is introduced to you immediately after booting it up. Put simply, you'll be able to choose "buy" your first character for free (either a Grim Reaper, Yeti, Werewolf or Vampire), while the others remain as paid add-ons...

One of my very favorite platformers, Renegade Kid's Mutant Mudds [$8.99], is currently free on the App Store. Originally released on the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2012, Mutant Mudds made its debut on the App Store in December of that same year, and proved to be quite a hit. It's more of a slow-paced action platformer, as you'll need to take your time and make precise jumps in order to get past the many enemies in the game. It's very challenging, but also very satisfying. There's a hint of Metroidvania in it too, as you'll slowly unlock and upgrade new weapons and abilities that allow you to revisit previous levels and gain access to new areas. Finally, one of its key elements is the ability to jump in-between three levels of depth in the environment. There's a normal middle plane, a farther away plane in the background, and even an extreme close-up foreground plane. It's a neat effect, but it also ties into much of the puzzling and exploring in Mutant Mudds...

Not long ago, word got out that Square Enix would be releasing a new, free-to-play mobile installment in their long-running Seiken Densetsu/Mana series, which fittingly got its start on the most popular handheld gaming device of its day. Reactions were mixed, to say the least. There's a lot of fondness for Secret of Mana [$8.99], and it speaks to the depth of that fondness that even after 20 years of failing to repeat its success, people still hang onto hope that Square Enix can deliver a similar experience again. Well, since Rise of Mana has released in Japan, I've sunk a bit of time into the game, and I don't need to tell you that it isn't that game. In truth, Rise of Mana appears to represent Square Enix's latest attempt to grab onto the success of Gungho's popular Puzzle And Dragons [Free]. Still, I think if you can take the game on its own terms, you might have something to look forward to here...

Here's something you might not know about me: I'm obsessed with the mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us [Free]. It's funny too, because, when the game first launched in April of last year, I really liked it upon first impression. However, as with many free to play games (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this), I did sort of a value/time assessment with the game, and although I liked the core gameplay quite a bit, I considered the time investment of grinding, timers, and other free to play-isms and ultimately decided it's just not worth it. I've got too many other games to play, you know?..

Following Real Racing 3's [Free] first anniversary last week where they were giving out a free in-game Porsche, EA and Firemonkeys have just released a pretty huge new update to the game adding a bunch of customization options, photo sharing, controller support and new luxury vehicles from Aston Martin. The new customization options allow you to tweak the more than 80 cars in the game, then once you have your personalized ride ready you can use the new Photo mode to pause the in-game action and snap a shot. You can even add filters to your photo and share them on social media. It's like Instagram for your Real Racing 3...

When Hutch Games released Smash Bandits [Free] in August of last year, I instantly fell in love. They took the same vehicular smashing gameplay of their previous Smash Cops and put you in the role of the bad guy, outrunning an increasingly aggressive pursuit of police as you aimed to wreak as much havoc and monetary damage as possible. They also rotated the action into a more friendly one-thumbed, portrait orientation that made Smash Bandits an easy go-to option for killing time throughout the day with my iPhone. It was just an astoundingly fun game to play...

With the new Robocop movie in theaters, I'm sure many people are spending some time with the tie-in game of the same name, Robocop [Free], from Glu Games. I reviewed it a while back and found it to be a bit of a bear thanks to its monetization aspects, but if you're feeling like being Robocop, this is pretty much your best option apart from threatening a druglord and putting your faith in the city of Detroit to put you back together again. So, I felt that, in the spirit of my previous guide for Batman: Arkham Origins [Free], if you're going to play this, you might as well have a guide to help you get through as efficiently as possible without reaching into your cybernetic wallet compartment in your leg, by which I mean, your pocket...

Let me start off by being clear: Dungeon Keeper [Free] isn't necessarily the most popular game out there, and a lot of that has to do with how stingy it can be if you aren't paying money. This might make you think it's not really the best game to offer up a guide for, but in actuality, this is the kind of F2P game that a guide can be most useful for. To be honest, I don't think you can play Dungeon Keeper optimally without spending money, but if you don't want to spend money yet want to play this game, well, there are good ways and bad ways to go about that. One of the challenges of putting this guide together is that EA keeps changing things around, scrambling to find an optimal (for somebody, anyway) balance. That means it's hard for me to use specifics like the costs of things, because they might be different by the end of the week. In lieu of that kind of guide, I've decided instead to focus on some general advice and information about things that are unlikely to change too much...

You don't see a lot of big name "edutainment" titles on the market today. Whereas my childhood was dominated with Reader Rabbit, Number Munchers, Math Blaster and Oregon Trail, it's rare to really see an educational game release with any fanfare these days. That's why Calculords [Free] is so special, because the game is almost entirely based around multiplication, subtraction, and addition. Oh, and blasting aliens into the next galaxy, of course...

Perhaps because of how many of them are made, platformers have often turned to heavy usage of gimmicks to try to breathe some fresh air into things. Whether it's the closet full of special suits from Mario's adventures or the gravity-defying antics of VVVVVV, it's strangely more difficult sometimes to find a platformer that isn't packed full of novelties. There's nothing wrong with gimmicks, of course. When used well, they can make running and jumping from point A to point B feel like something you've never done before. Still, it's nice once in a while to play a game that gives you a straightforward run and jump through cleverly designed stages. Ava's Quest [Free] is just such a game. There are a few little gimmicks as you play through the game's 30 levels, but for the most part, the game simply focuses on using familiar elements to present you with a pleasant challenge. Oh, and to let you know up-front, you only get four stages for free. The rest are unlocked via an IAP for $1.99...

'Disco Zoo' Review - The Funkiest Zoo Of All

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February 28th, 2014 11:05 AM EDT by Eli Hodapp in 4 stars, Free, Games, Puzzle, Reviews
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NimbleBit has garnered somewhat of a legendary reputation around here for being one of the few outfits that consistently releases free to play games without the predatory IAP mechanics that surround typical free to play games. If you haven't played one, in NimbleBit games, IAP truly feels optional. Thankfully, it seems that this vibe persists through their new publishing effort, as Disco Zoo [Free] (Which was actually developed by Milkbag Games) perfectly fits on the App Store shelves next to Tiny Tower [Free], Nimble Quest [Free] and their other titles...

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