Category Archives: Prices

'Shobon Flip' Review - There Has To Be A Twist

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May 29th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $0.99, 3 stars, Games, Pinball, Reviews, Universal
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What is a Shobon? This was the biggest, most pressing question nagging at me while playing Shobon Flip [$0.99] by Masami Kodaira. A brief, incredibly confusing google search informed me that it has something to do with a cat character (who may be suffering from depression) that has appeared in various Mario-like platformers on the internet. Maybe you already knew that, and good for you if you did. The reason I needed to know is that he, she, or it is also the star of this weird little pinball game. The ball is a Shobon, and the background is often filled with a giant naked Shobon flexing his muscles and shaking his pearly white butt around. Readers, welcome to my nightmares...

This review comes with a small caveat: you have to like the rock band Queen even a little bit to appreciate this game. Otherwise, read this review as a commentary on how a "band" iOS game should be made. And now that we are done with that, let's talk about Queen: Play the Game [$2.99], a mobile game released yesterday out of the blue. I'm quite a Queen fan ever since forever; still, I approached this game to see both what it could offer Queen fans but also how it stands as a model for licensed band games. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed playing the game, and as long as content keeps on coming its way (as the developers said it will), Queen: Play the Game will stand as a great "gameficication" of everything Queen...

'Chaos Rings 3' Review - Put A Ring On It, This One's A Keeper

Chaos Rings 3 [$19.99] is hauling a lot of baggage with it. It carries the hopes of a series that seems to be hanging on by a thread, the expectations of a fanbase who were heavily engaged by the storytelling chops of the series to date, and potentially the future of original, premium mobile RPGs from Square Enix. Like the protagonists of the previous games, it's a creation pulled out of its context, struggling to find relevance in a changed world that offers little mercy. The entire game feels like it was heading down a particular path only to get yanked in an entirely different direction just before it was finished. This whole situation likely explains why this game has a lot of cruft and loose ends hanging from it. It feels like they threw in everything, the kitchen sink, and the whole housewares department while they were at it. As a result, I think this game has a little something for everyone, but few people are going to indulge in everything. It's just the sort of messy RPG that Square Enix used to fill our bellies with on a regular basis when they weren't quite so risk-averse, and I personally love it for that...

'Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions' Review - Finally on Mobile, and I Couldn't be Happier

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's what Activision's Sierra imprint and Lucid Games have done with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions [$4.99]. They iterated and tweaked upon a winning formula without rocking the boat too much. The game is this: it's the base modes of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, which formed the base of the long-gone Geometry Wars: Touch. It then adds in the adventure mode, centered around what Geometry Wars: Galaxies introduced. These are levels where you have to hit certain score thresholds to get stars and to advance. Mix those in with the new modes introduced by the Retro Evolved 2 game, and throw in some original creations, like Sniper, where there's limited bullets to use. Visually, it sticks the glowy geometric style of Geometry Wars, but throws in some new touches, like spherical 3D boards similar to Super Stardust. Yet it has a particular color scheme that makes it something that's familiar in many ways, but ultimately is its own creation. And with all that, you get Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Lucid Games absolutely knocked it out of the park when it first came out on console and desktop, and now it's on iOS. It is a wonderful game...

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...

'Drylands' Review - A Great RPG/Platformer that's Anything But Dry

It's one thing for a game to promise players the moon and the stars, and it's another for it to actually come close to delivering what it promised. Angry Bugs' Drylands [$2.99] has managed to both promise and deliver a great iOS game that manages to artfully blend RPG and platformer. A few weeks ago, I decided to preview Drylands because the promises of a Fallout-like game for iOS were sirens too enticing to ignore. My time with the game back then left me hopeful that Angry Bugs hadn't made their promises lightly; the developers were really trying to evoke those old PC RPGs that have gone down as among the most influential games of all times. Even though the game had a failed launch (technical issues due to the 8.3 iOS update), the developers weren't deterred and even managed to improve the game for its second, official launch. The game is a pleasure to play and adds to iOS a kind of game it was missing, a quality RPG platformer that will keep players entertained for hours...

'Grim Fandango Remastered' Review - Dust off the Bones Before you Roll Em

It's not every day you get to say that a Tim Schafer/Double Fine creation just released, but today we can celebrate the iOS port of Grim Fandango Remastered[$9.99]. This is a game that for so many of us requires no introduction whatsoever. The stars have aligned and now we have another treasured piece of history that has been given new breath to once again delight and mezmerize...

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...

The Alphadia series represents something of an oddity in prolific RPG publisher Kemco's line-up. For all of the iOS games they put out, roughly one per month for the last few years, there's only one sequel in the bunch that isn't part of the Alphadia series. Alphadia [$3.99], on the other hand, has three sequels, though the links between them are becoming increasingly tenuous as time goes on. Of course, with at least two more Asdivine games released in Japan, that's going to change soon enough, but it's still quite interesting. Are these games particularly popular, or does developer EXE-Create just like the trappings of Alphadia's mythos? That's a question I can't answer, but it's clear that the developer and publisher both give the Alphadia games a bit of special treatment. Alphadia Genesis [$9.99] was the game that debuted EXE-Create's new 3D combat engine, used in a few other titles since. Now that title is getting a follow-up, Alphadia Genesis 2 [$4.99]...

'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...

'The Last Warlock' Review - A Strife Less Ordinary

Like every genre, turn-based strategy RPGs have a certain common grammar to them. Most decent ones will bring their own ideas to the table, but the core gameplay rarely ventures outside of the well-established rules of the genre. Likely owing to its roots in chess and similar strategy board games, there's a certain rigidness inherent to this particular sub-genre that you might not see in others. While many games try to push against that by trying to offer the player a more free-form experience, balance is generally considered paramount. The more freedom a game gives the player, the harder it's going to be to maintain that balance. The end result is that once you've learned a good set of strategies for one game, that training will often serve you well in many others. It's not necessarily a bad thing, since most of these games are trying to simulate wars. It's not exactly reasonable to expect a commander to eschew time-honored strategies in favor of sending a pegasus-mounted zombie to chuck home-made bombs at a castle...

'Bad Dinos' Review - Yabba Dabba Defense

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May 26th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Reviews, Tower Defense, Universal
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I, Nathan Reinauer, have a problem. Buried somewhere deep in my soul, I think I may have known it all along. I’ve tried to blame others, but I’m starting to believe it is, in fact, my fault. Yes, it’s time I face the music and finally admit it to the world: I’m bad at tower defense games...

On-screen controls haters, take notice. If you play Sword of Xolan [$0.99], you'll have to rethink many of your arguments, and we all know how people love to hold on to their opinions. Sword of Xolan is a retro platformer that's just come out and is an entertaining action game with lovely art and strong level design whose only downside is a difficulty curve that often doesn't offer the right kind of challenge at the right moment. While this issue doesn't make the game repetitive, it does detract from the challenge and keeps the game from platforming perfection...

Imagine you’re in a room by yourself. Every so often someone comes by and slips a piece of paper under the door with Chinese characters on it. You don’t know Chinese yourself, but you do have a book that can help. You simply look up the characters in the book and it’ll tell you what should be said back based on the rules of Chinese language and conversation. You don’t actually understand any of what you’re writing, but the person on the other side of the door is convinced they’re conversing with someone who is fluent. This is John Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment, and I was reminded of that while playing Sleep Furiously [$2.99] by Playmation Studios...

'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...

'Digit & Dash' Review - Domo Arigato, Mr. and Mrs. Roboto

I was recently reading a science fiction novel that featured a central character who argued against the idea that consciousness is a good thing to have. On the surface that sounds absurd, but think about it a little deeper. Computers absolutely demolish us when it comes to things like math and chess, and some of our most creative ideas come when we’re sleeping or thinking of other things. Your brain stem is an incredibly quick chunk of meat, and it could be argued that consciousness just slows it down. Imagine if self-awareness was required to remove your hand from a hot stove, for example. Yikes...

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...

Heroes and Castles 2 [$1.99] runs into the problem that trying to bring big-scope, console-style games to mobile often have: these games are often well-made and can be fun to play. But sometimes, they're terrible fits for the actual platform. And that's where my issues with Heroes and Castles 2 lie: the game's good, I just came to dread playing it because it isn't a good fit for the mobile platform...

Kids today are all about Minecraft [$6.99]. Mining this, mining that. Back when I was a young fellow, we had a different kind of 'craft: Lovecraft. Okay, if you're still reading, you're probably strong enough to handle a bit of Lovecraftian gamebook horror. The problem is that up until recently, most of the horror gamebooks on iOS have been focused on zombies, vampires, or other such classic monsters. Tin Man Games has had a couple of promising-looking titles up for a couple of years now, but they were French books without translations, leaving them out of the reach of most English players. Well, it seems like May 2015 is the month where Tin Man is finishing some old business, because in addition to the recent release of Gamebook Adventures 10 [$5.99], they've also finished up an English version of Les Fils d'Uruzime, translated directly as Sons Of Uruzime [$2.99]...

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