Category Archives: Free

'Time Locker' Review - This Free Shmup is Super Hot

"Good artists copy, great artists steal." It's a line that essentially means that explicitly mimicking something is easy enough to do – making a clone of a game is simple enough. But it's another thing to take the ideas of one game and use them in another to create something that is original all in itself. Time Locker [Free] explicitly steals the gimmick of Superhot, the first-person shooter where time only moves when the player moves. It even uses a very similar low-poly graphics style. But instead, it turns the game into a shoot 'em up with some hints of Crossy Road [Free] to feel like a unique iteration on previous ideas, one that uses existing concepts liberally, but to form its own thing that stands on its own merits...

As has been predicted a couple of days ago, the world-consuming phenomenon known as Pokemon GO [Free] has finally launched in Japan. Seems like kind of a bum deal that they had to wait this long, seeing as The Pokemon Co is based in Japan, but better late than never I always say. Also this lag time has (hopefully) given developer Niantic some time to beef up their servers, which have been notoriously spotty ever since the game launched in the US and several more regions a couple of weeks ago. ..




There's nothing finer than when a great game from years past gets an update out of the blue. That's the case today with the fantastic Picross game Paint it Back [Free], which originally launched way back in October of 2013 and hasn't seen an actual content update in nearly two years to the day. Developer Casual Labs rewrote the entire game in Unity and released it on Steam in October of last year, and this update is essentially that improved rewritten version, minus the Workshop level editor portion. That means that you can now play in Master difficulty in addition to Normal and Pro. As the puzzles in Paint it Back get larger, Normal would break them up into smaller 10x10 chunks, or 15x15 chunks in Pro. Master means that you'll be solving the whole enchilada all at once, none of that chunk business. Despite the cute graphics and overall charm of the game, the puzzles get absolutely brutal in the later portions so Master should be a nice incentive for the hardcore Picross solvers among us...

In October of last year, Next Games launched a very interesting game based around AMC's The Walking Dead series called The Walking Dead: No Man's Land [Free]. In the game you were tasked with building a compound in order to keep your survivor friends safe from the zombies, so pretty typical base-building type of stuff, but when you actually had to engage in combat with them it turned more into a tactical turn-based strategy game. There were also plenty of RPG elements peppered in, and overall No Man's Land was a very cool way to experience the world of The Walking Dead. Today Next Games has connected the game even closer to the show as a new update adds Heroes to the game based off of many of the characters from the show...

These past two weeks, we've been talking about Blizzard's whispers that a new Hearthstone [Free] Adventure announcement is incoming, and it seems that next week, those whispers will turn into an actual announcement. According to this invitation sent to us as well as to many pro players and Hearthstone personalities, Blizzard is preparing a "once-in-a-lifetime event that will be full of magic and celebration," and there's also "something very special in story for you." "Please be prompt," the invitation concludes, "as we have an unforgettable adventure planned!" The chances that this is not an Adventure announcement are pretty slim to none, but we won't know for sure until next Thursday, July 28th...

After the successful launch of Taichi Panda [Free] last year, Snail Games has been going hard with the new releases in 2016. Their latest is yet another free to play action RPG called Chaos Legends [Free]. Now, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the action RPG genre. I actually love hack 'n slash games, but holy jeez, they are like a dime a dozen nowadays and most of the time it's hard to tell one apart from another. With their grindy free to play systems it's nearly impossible to be actively playing more than one at a time, so while most of these games look and play pretty awesome, realistically I just don't have time for them, you know? At any rate, Chaos Legends does look really cool based on its release trailer...

If you feel like playing Hearthstone [Free] with friends this week, then you're in luck because Blizzard has given you plenty of reasons to do so. From today until July 24th, Hearthstone is running an event called Friendly Feud where you can complete your quests by playing against your friends. If you've never tried to challenge a friend before, know that you normally don't get credit for winning against a friend - unless it's a specific friend-related quest - so this weekly event will help make playing against friends more than just good practice and a fight for bragging rights. If you don't have any friends, you can use the new Recruit A Friend feature to help people who haven't played the game before join you for some card slinging...

When the schedule for San Diego Comic Con first came out a week or so ago, I noticed that there was a Pokemon GO [Free] panel in one of the smaller rooms on Thursday, July 21st. The game had just launched, but it was already becoming a huge hit, so I was pretty sure that there would be crowds of people pushing and shoving to be one of the 480 people to get in the room. Fortunately (and as predicted in the TouchArcade halls), SDCC organizers figured out that the game has become so huge that it deserves to get a place in the SDCC spotlight, so now the panel has moved to the famous Hall H that fits over 6000 people...

If you've been enjoying Infinite Dreams' Sky Force Reloaded [Free], which just launched at the beginning of June, then today you have even more of it to enjoy as a brand new update has added a tenth level to the game as well as a new tournament level. This update has been dubbed the "Green Update" because, as you can see in the screen on the left below, the new level 10 has quite the green hue to it. The screen on the right shows the new Tournament stage, which has more of a Mayan or Aztec theme. In addition to these new levels there is also a new ship introduced which "modifies one of your weapons" according to Infinite Dreams...

Every now and then, a game comes along that has wonderful ideas, but sadly fails to live up to the promise of those ideas. Mainly because the awesome ideas are either under-funded or come from inexperienced developers. That's the case we have today, but when I saw this game, I could not pass it up. Not only did it look super hectic and crazy, but it's pretty unique in that it's both a castle defense and an endless runner. Endless Defense? Castle Runner? Anyway, in this case, your castle is a gargantuan pedal to the metal tank, and it isn't stopping for very much. I give you Mega Tank [Free]...

Movie tie-in games are notoriously bad, and movie tie-in mobile games even more so. Oftentimes the game's release is tied to the release of the film, so development cycles are rushed in order to get the game out in time resulting in a far worse experience than if the game had the proper amount of time needed to develop it fully. But that's not always the case, as the surprise release of Suicide Squad: Special Ops [Free] this week has shown us. It's a wave-based first-person arena shooter of sorts starring three of the main characters from Suicide Squad, which opens in theaters August 5th. The mobile game is an arena-style survival shooter where you take on waves of enemies while also running around gathering up supplies to keep the party rolling. It's pretty similar to the Call of Duty: Zombies [$4.99] games that were super popular on mobile a few years back...

There weren't a lot of games that used the "draw a line" mechanic before smartphones, but the ones that did exist really stand out. One such title is Kirby: Canvas Curse, released on the Nintendo DS in 2005, among several other follow-ups and clones. Most of them follow the same formula -- simply draw on the screen to manipulate the character, which was usually cruising through a world drawn with a cutesy veneer. Don't Be Squared [Free] follows that same path, but with a decidedly less interesting aesthetic...

The whole Pokemon GO [Free] craze is unlike anything I've ever seen before. I totally get that people who aren't partaking in all the craziness are sick of hearing about all things Pokemon, and to be perfectly honest I'm pretty sick of it myself. But that hasn't diminished my sheer amazement at how this strange, barely-working game has brought people together all over the world and become such a household name it's being discussed by presidential candidates and South Korean cities. Love or hate the game, this sort of thing doesn't happen everyday, and I can't think of any video game, mobile or otherwise, that's had this sort of effect on the entire planet. And it's not even out in all parts of the world yet! Anyway, Gamasutra has a nice roundup of the "quotable pop culture impact" of Pokemon GO, and has collected some quotes about the game from some pretty unlikely sources. Two of my favorites:..

You know, even if I didn't love kung fu movies and think of Bruce Lee as an inspiration and a hero, I would still probably love this game. This is the kind of game touch screens were made for. Simple, unique, original, fun gaming on the go. I love games that personify this philosophy. Games like Lonewolf [Free], Redden [$2.99], and Ball King [Free]. Games that may not be perfect or are maybe a bit repetitive, but they just have that addictive magic. The latest game for me in that list is The Counter of Death [Free], and it has nothing to do with mathematics, step counting, or kitchen surfaces...

Update #2: Now Italy, Spain, and Portugal can try to catch 'em all!..

A little more than a month ago, we learned that Cartoon Network was readying a sequel of sorts to their massively popular card battler Card Wars - Adventure Time [$3.99], and earlier today that game, Card Wars Kingdom [Free], went live in the App Store. Just as the first game was adapted from a fictional card game that was played in an episode of Adventure Time, Card Wars Kingdom is loosely based on the latest episode Daddy-Daughter Card Wars where Jake has to win an underground Card Wars tournament. Fittingly, Card Wars Kingdoms has a brand new online PvP feature and tournaments...

If you like your Hearthstone [Free] Tavern Brawl with a side of RNG, today's Brawl should be just your thing. 'Servant of Yogg-Saron' Tryouts has you picking a class and then gives you a deck full of random minions. For every minion you play, a random spell is cast on a random target; in a way, it's a one-shot Yogg-Saron effect. As you can imagine, this Brawl is great for completing your dailies because even if you aren't very good at playing the game, Yogg-Saron might still come through for you with his random spell-casting. If you're the kind of player who hates RNG, though, better keep away from this on because it will possibly drive you insane (which is a common effect of the Old Gods)...

For quite some time, whenever someone wanted to make a generalized statement about how popular mobile gaming is, he would use Candy Crash Saga as the example, and that made sense given the game's 20 million peak active users in the US. However, there's a new kid in town now, Pokemon GO [Free], and according to this Surveymonkey data, it has just surpassed Candy Crash Saga to claim the US mobile gaming throne and officially become the biggest mobile game in US history. The game now haz 21 million active daily users, so it's handily beating games like Clash Royale, Slither.io, and pretty much everything else around. And the game hasn't been out in the States for that long either, so we've definitely not reached peak Pokemon GO...

'Combo Critters' Review - Combo Breaker

'Combo Critters' Review - Combo Breaker

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In the fleeting ecosystem that is the App Store, games live and die by the strength of their core concept, and how well the developers are able to execute such pivotal ideas. Owing to the ease of development for iOS, there are innumerable innovative ideas in games - in terms of raw numbers of releases, eclipsing virtually every other platform out there - yet it is still rare to see them implemented with the quality and distinction of Combo Critters [Free]. While it would be easy to draw parallels to Pokemon, and the creature catching action isn’t particularly unique, Lucky Kat Studios manages to shake up the formula enough to stand alone as its own game. By being able to fuse critters together, amalgamated with an incredible sense of charm and whimsy, Combo Critters is an extremely enjoyable experience that has a lot of potential to expand, grow and develop in the coming months...

Although many indies have tried to replicate the tiny racing feeling of classic early '90s release Micro Machines on mobile, the actual licensed IP has been strangely absent from the App Store. Way back in October of last year, Chillingo and original Micro Machines developer Codemasters announced a partnership to revive the series for mobile, and after a fairly lengthy soft-launch period their new Micro Machines [Free] has hit the App Store just ahead of its previously announced July 14th global release date...

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