Category Archives: Free

UpUp: Frozen Adventure [Free] by developer Sioux is a fresh take on iOS puzzle platformers. The crux of the game is to guide an unnamed hiker safely up the mountain before he freezes to death. There is a health bar in the upper lefthand corner that slowly empties as you get colder and colder. The goal is to balance speed and collection strategies, as there are small yellow gems scattered throughout each level...

I feel like it's pretty hard for a letter game to distinguish itself at this point in the App Store's life. Much like any long-in-the-tooth genre, new entries are starting to feel far more similar to each other than different. AlphaBear [Free], the latest from Triple Town [Free] developer Spry Fox, looks into the developer's past for inspiration. Panda Poet is a web game that has you making words to create bigger and more numerous pandas than your opponent. It's kind of a word game crossed with Othello, and if I may put on my day job hat for a second here, it's been invaluable as an English study tool for some of the kids I teach. Though it works fine in mobile browsers, it's not available as a native mobile app, and you really do need two human players to get the most out of it. In short, there's room to grow the concept, and that's sort of what AlphaBear does...




SNK has had a large presence on the App Store for a number of years now, mostly thanks to the many excellent touchscreen ports of their legendary fighting games. However, they've put out some original stuff too, like Metal Slug Defense [Free] which takes the Metal Slug characters and puts them into a castle defense game. Or Beast Busters [Free / $2.99], which crosses over the on-rails gallery shooter arcade game of the same name with King of Fighters characters. Another of SNK's original mobile titles is The Rhythm of Fighters [Free], a game that tasks you with keeping the rhythm during classic SNK tunes while a massive cast of fighters duke it out based on your performance. The Rhythm of Fighters was a really novel idea for a game, and it's only barely a year old, but unfortunately SNK is yanking it off the App Store next week...

It's tough to really tell what's interesting these days on the App Store, but something the other day caught my eye with Downhill Riders [Free]'s app icon -- a kid in a shopping cart going downhill, bringing back fond memories of watching Jackass with friends. It's not quite everything I had hoped for, but most runner enthusiasts will want to give it a shot...

I don't know about everyone else, but for my money, the best part of using a tomb-raiding setting for a story is when the main character has to escape from a collapsing death-trap. I'm not sure why ancient civilizations would rig things to collapse in such a precise and deadly manner, or how annoying it must have been when they were setting it up and Bob accidentally tripped the whole thing just before the last piece was set, but watching someone try to outrace a series of perfectly-timed traps lest they be buried in the very location they sought to loot never gets old. With the rise of Indiana Jones happening almost in step with the booming popularity of early home gaming, it's not surprising we've seen many interactive takes on the concept. When it's done well, it's just as exhilarating to play as it is to watch. Trappy Tomb [Free] is a relatively simple game that focuses exactly on that kind of escape sequence, and while it has some issues, a few clever ideas help smooth things over...

Freebie Alert: 'Card Wars - Adventure Time' Goes Free For The First Time

There sure are a ton of Adventure Time games on the App Store these days. I'm not sure which is the best one, but I've certainly noticed which seems to be the most popular one: Card Wars [$3.99]. Its combination of being a paid app while making use of a stamina meter with timers didn't win it a lot of friends around here, to be sure, but it certainly did well for itself in the App Store. It stuck around in the top ten paid app charts for quite a while and received a bunch of good updates, with the most recent one adding an expansion called Doing It The Card Way, featuring Fiona and Cake, for the price of $2.99. Well, if the price tag on the app was your issue, I've got some good news for you today. For the first time ever, Card Wars - Adventure Time has dropped to the affordable price of $0.00...

Back in April, during the G.I. Joe-themed convention called GIJoeCon (yes that's a real thing!), Backflip Studios announced that they were releasing a new mobile game utilizing the G.I. Joe IP, which is owned by Backflip's parent company Hasbro. Corporate synergy! Anyway that game, titled G.I. Joe Strike [Free], has just released in the App Store. It's actually a pretty awesome premise. You play as all-around bad ass ninja Snake Eyes in gameplay that's extremely similar to One Finger Death Punch [Free] or Fatal Fight [Free]. Basically, close-quarters twitch combat...

Given the economics of the mobile market, it's hardly surprising that we're seeing developers try to figure out how to make a workable free-to-play model out of every traditional genre. Some have taken to it well. Puzzle games, racing games, and building/simulation games in particular have made fairly smooth transitions. RPGs, on the other hand, have seen a lot of experimentation. After some misguided steps like Tales Of Phantasia and Final Fantasy: All The Bravest [Free], it seems like the model set forth by Puzzle & Dragons [Free] has settled in as the default template. That might be good for developers, but as a player, it's kind of bittersweet. I've enjoyed a lot of games built in that vein, but few of them hit what I really enjoy about RPGs. Unfortunately, the discovery of a successful model means most have given up experimenting with anything else. We still see the odd attempt at something different, though, and Beast Bound [Free] is one such example...

One of the finest publishers, curators even, of mobile games has always been [adult swim]. Every game they bring to mobile through their partnerships is either funny, creative, or at least different or interesting in some way. Try Harder[Free] from Glitchnap falls violently and repeatedly in the latter camp. It’s an endless runner, which isn’t exactly a rarity on the App Store, but it’s almost an experimental game. While it isn’t amazing and it isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely interesting, and worth playing for the unique experience. If you enjoy difficult games, this might be your jam...

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...

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