Category Archives: Free

When it comes to the games business, I'm not sure if there's any task that offers quite the same challenges as trying to convert a series from premium to free-to-play. Generally speaking, the upfront price tag ends up being the main advantage a free-to-play game can tout, with its paid predecessors usually offering a better longterm value for more frequent players. Some types of games have it easier than others, since certain genres almost demand improved visuals and major content updates as time goes by. In the case of a puzzle game, however, it's often hard to get people to buy into a sequel even without changing the deal much. Did anyone really go in for Tetris 2? People are often happy with good puzzle games as they are. Of course, one approach a publisher can take is to pull the previous games in the series, artificially shunting people to whichever version you want them to go to, but outside of that, it can be a minefield, as the creators of Dungelot [$1.99] found earlier this year with the initial blowback from Dungelot 2 [Free]...

A year ago yesterday, Mighty Rabbit Studios released Breach & Clear [$3.99] into the App Store, a tactical strategy game built for mobile devices. Now, to celebrate that first anniversary, Mighty Rabbit has dropped the price of Breach & Clear to free for this weekend. Our original review of Breach & Clear talked about the flashes of brilliance showcased in the game, but we were really put off by how much content in the game was labeled as "coming soon." It just felt like an unfinished product, and we can only really review the game as it exists at the time of review. To Mighty Rabbit's credit, they've since updated the game numerous times, not just adding in the "coming soon" content but also making many tweaks and improvements to the overall experience...

Orbitum [$1.99 / Free] by Happymagenta is a twisty little challenging arcade game. A challenge of keeping an orb from getting sucked into the central vortex by moving it outward, one orbit at a time, while collecting point orbs and avoiding obstacles and going too far out, this game can be rather rewarding once it is understood...

Lots of people in our forum are having fun with Gameloft's take on the social RPG genre, Dungeon Gems [Free]. As you can read in my review, it didn't exactly knock my socks off, but if nothing else, it's a fairly competent variation on Puzzle & Dragons [Free] with some spruced up visuals. Like I do for most games in this subgenre, I've spent a fair bit of time playing it during my downtime, and have put together a guide to help out beginners who are looking to dip their toe into the game. Some of this advice will be familiar to people who have played similar games, while other tips are unique to this game, but if you're getting started, you should find most of it helpful...

If you're looking for another freebie to fill your iPhone with this week, check out Bitforge's Orbital [$2.99]. I'm pretty sure the gameplay mechanic has been done about a million times before both by other games on the App Store and in Flash games before the App Store even existed, but it hardly matters- Where Orbital shines is in its presentation. Rad music, bright colors, particle effects everywhere, it's got it...

Siralim [Free], the rookie effort from Thylacine Studios, is hard to fit into a box. Well, it's easy to fit it into a big box. It's definitely an RPG of sorts, but from there, it doesn't fit neatly into any of the sub-genres that we perhaps too gleefully like to use to organize these things. It's an odd fusion of elements, a stew made of up various pieces of different types of RPGs. Games that try this kind of thing run a high risk of ending up with something almost entirely inedible, but on very rare occasions, everything comes together nicely, creating a dish that is both familiar and fresh. You know, I'm kind of hungry. I'm going to get a sandwich and then come back and tell you why Siralim is an awesome game without using food metaphors...

'Fates Forever' Review - An iPad MOBA Built to Last

'Fates Forever' Review - An iPad MOBA Built to Last

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July 15th, 2014 1:00 PM EDT by Carter Dotson in 5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, MOBA, Prices, Ratings, Reviews
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Fates Forever [Free (HD)] is a MOBA. This isn't so much a description of the game's genre, as it is acknowledging what the game's intent is. It's a MOBA for iPad – and it's meant to make as few concessions as possible toward providing a full-fledged MOBA experience. What this means is that the game isn't really meant for pick-up-and-play sessions, but it stands out because of it: it's a limited-compromise game that can be played for hours on end on an iPad...

Transworld Endless Skater [Free] is a game that should be really great. It's essentially the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series, but repurposed as a lane-based endless runner. Sure, that's what Tony Hawk's Shred Session sounds like, but that's more of a simplified experience. And after playing Transworld Endless Skater, I can see why. To try and transplant that formula as closely as possible to a mobile-friendly format is a Herculean challenge, and one that this game mostly fails at...

If you're tired of matching colored blocks, vegetables, candies, bubbles, and so on, King's Pyramid Solitaire Saga [Free] can make for a nice change of pace, while still offering you many of the things you would expect from a game developed by the Candy Crush Saga [Free] giant. The most familiar thing it offers up is an often maddening level of difficulty. As I noted in my review, sometimes you can make all the right moves and still come up short thanks to the heavy luck element inherent to most solitaire games, but that doesn't mean there isn't any merit to playing with strategy. While it's hard to make much of an absolutely terrible draw of cards, there are plenty of cases where the difference between winning and losing rests on making effective moves. Having poured a fair bit of time into this game, I've once again put together a bunch of tips to help you along the way...

No, gentle reader, you are not seeing double. Though it shares a surname and a great deal of assets with early summer's Bill Killem [Free] from Everplay and Chillingo, Buzz Killem [$0.99] is a completely different game that takes place in the same universe. Rather than the timed running action of Bill, this game puts you in control of Bill's father, Buzz, in a stage-based arena battling action game that will feel instantly familiar for fans of Super Crate Box [$1.99]. This isn't the first time Everplay's name has been attached to an arena battler, of course. They also acted as the publisher for FireFruitForge's awesome melee action game Spell Sword [$0.99], and there are certainly elements of that incorporated into Buzz Killem's design as well...

One of my favorite scrolling shoot'em ups got a fancy modern remake this year with Infinite Dreams' Sky Force 2014 [Free]. It took the original game and gave it a massive graphical overhaul, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with modern mobile gaming like online leaderboards and tournaments. This remade version turned out really phenomenal, but Infinite Dreams still has some more planned for Sky Force 2014. They've posted some new screens in our forums for the forthcoming Stage 8, which you can see in the screenshot on the left while the screenshot on the right is from a cutscene that'll play just prior to the boss battle on that stage...

The Sonic The Hedgehog franchise has a tough line to walk. It's still SEGA's most reliable means of generating sales, and these days, that's more important for that company than ever before. At the same time, the reputation of the character has taken a real bruising over the years from some of the more questionable attempts at leveraging his popularity. For what it's worth, SEGA seems to be aware of the problem, and I would say a good half of the Sonic games released these days are quality efforts like Sonic Generations, the Christian Whitehead remakes of the classic Sonic games such as Sonic The Hedgehog 2 [$2.99], and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed [Free]. I'll even go as far as to say that Sonic Dash [Free] was a pretty decent behind-the-back runner that only got better with updates. Then there's the other side of Sonic, the games that are a poor fit for the franchise, just plain mediocre, or both. Here I'm talking about things like Sonic: Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, and yes, the original Sonic Jump [$2.99] for mobiles...

Late last year, a rough little indie platformer named Cally's Caves [Free] won over the hearts of many members of the TouchArcade forums. No sense mincing words, the game's visuals were pretty bad, both in design and execution. That said, the gameplay was fun, the music was excellent, and for reasons I can't exactly understand, the game in its entirety was free, with little more than inobtrusive ads and a single wholly unneccessary IAP to pay the bills. The game featured large, sprawling levels and a less forgiving checkpoint system than today's games typically use, giving the game a pleasantly challenging bite. Well, it hasn't been all that long, but Cally is back in Cally's Caves 2 [Free], and the months have been kind to her. It's still a bit rough around the edges, and in some aspects rougher than the first, but there's no denying the game is a huge step up from the original overall...

When I was a kid, nobody ever played solitaire. You would see people playing it in the movies, usually in prison or something like that, but there were a million things more fun to do than play solitaire even if you were alone, such as counting the lines on the carpet pattern. That all changed with the advent of home computers becoming the norm instead of an exception, especially once the Internet started existing in the basic form we know it as today. Suddenly there was all kinds of waiting to do, and a game of solitaire was just a couple of clicks away, no shuffling or cleaning up required. You could even choose the design for the back of the cards! These were the salad days for solitaire. As the Internet and computers themselves became faster, and equally mindless but more colorful timewasters became prevalent, solitaire faded back into the pits from whence it came...

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I think Noodlecake and Massive Damage have just written a crown of sonnets to Candy Crush Saga [Free] publisher King. Like one of its previous releases, Flappy Golf [Free], Noodlecake's latest release, Zombie Puzzle Panic [Free], is a reply to one of the biggest hits of the App Store. While that game took the main mechanic from Flappy Bird and gave it an excellent twist to create something new, Zombie Puzzle Panic is altogether less exciting and almost cynical in its fairly strict adherence to Candy Crush Saga's gameplay. One might say King has earned this, but whatever your feelings are about that company, the result in this case is a game that is almost exactly like Candy Crush, but a little bit worse...

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