Category Archives: Ratings

'The Witness' Review - Lost in a Maze

'The Witness' Review - Lost in a Maze

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September 21st, 2017 5:00 PM EDT by Rob Funnell in $9.99, 4.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$9.99 Buy Now

From the outset, The Witness [$9.99] is a video game that defies convention. After a loading screen that suggests ‘for the best experience, use headphones’, you immediately awaken in a dimly lit underground tunnel, amidst deafening silence. No title screen, no contextual introduction, no long-winded tutorial - in The Witness, you’re simply left to your own devices, and the curiosity that such a brazen start instills in the player serves as the primary catalyst to explore its luscious, vibrant and expansive environments. This core ethos permeates into every inch of The Witness, whether it’s solving puzzles, navigating complex terrain or attempting to work out how to access a seemingly out of bounds point of interest, and its respect for the user is one reason why the game received such universal critical acclaim upon its console release in 2016. However, the hands-off approach that is fundamental to The Witness’s identity is also its biggest source of frustration and, because of Thekla, Inc.’s impressive efforts in emulating the experience on mobile devices, a flaw that is as prominent as ever in the iOS iteration of the game...

'Drag'n'Boom' Review - Being the Khaleesi on Drogon in 'Game of Thrones'

Ankama's Drag'n'Boom [Free] couldn't have come out at a better time because what better time to come out with a game where you're a dragon than right after a big Game of Thrones season where Drogon, the biggest of the dragons, got to burn quite a few people on the ground. And this game really makes you feel like a dragon, burning everything in your path and pulling off some really fun combos by, well, shooting your enemies again and again. The only thing missing from this game is a bigger enemy variety to fill the game's 50 levels, but even with the enemies it has, Drag'n'Boom is a really entertaining platformer that controls great and lets you feel like a bad-ass...




'Tales of the Tiny Planet' Review- A Refreshingly Simple Physics Puzzle Game

The App Store has come a tremendously long way since its humble beginnings in 2008. It was the first time that Apple had officially introduced the distribution of third-party applications on its platform. It was an exciting time and many developers were taking their first steps in exploring the possibilities of gaming on iOS devices. I can recall numerous games from this time that had extremely simple mechanics, yet their simplicity was their greatest strength. Since then, the App Store has continued to acquire an insane amount of games, especially in the physics puzzler genre. Physics puzzle games may have gradually become more complicated overtime, but Tales of the Tiny Planet [$1.99] hearkens back to the aforementioned era of physics puzzle games that were purely simple and fun...

'Thimbleweed Park' Review - It's Not Over Til The Weird Uncle Sings

With around a half century behind the video game medium at this point, it's clear that it is taking after other forms of entertainment media in at least one point: no idea that was ever bankable will stay dead forever. Genres wax and wane, creators leave their beloved IPs and return, companies collapse and get bought up by the next ambitious up-and-comer, and franchises thought to be rendered toxic by a low quality installment or five can spring back to life with incredible force. You can't stop this train we're on, even if you wanted to. Like many other genres, point-and-click adventures were declared dead a long while back, a condition which never really stopped them from going about their (substantially reduced) business anyway. It's not that they ceased to be released altogether, but it's certainly arguable that changes had to be made to accommodate survival. If you liked them just fine the way they were? Well, you were out of luck...

'Iron Marines' Review - 'StarCraft' for Mobile

'Iron Marines' Review - 'StarCraft' for Mobile

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September 15th, 2017 4:45 PM EDT by Eli Hodapp in 5 stars, Reviews, Strategy
$4.99 Buy Now

Earlier this week, I posted some pretty exhaustive first impressions of Iron Marines [$4.99], and consider this review a continuation of that article. In it, I cover most of the basics of the game and how various mechanics work. To avoid endlessly repeating myself a bunch, I'd recommend going back and reading that as this review will mostly confirm suspicions that I had and answer questions about the game's monetization methods which have been fairly controversial in our community...

The latest SEGA Forever release is upon us, and like many of the releases so far this one was already released on iOS several years ago before being pulled due to compatibility issues. Space Harrier 2 [Free] is a game of some historical significance as it was one of just two launch titles for the SEGA Genesis's debut in Japan, but it's also a firm reminder that the SEGA Forever celebration of the company's history remains steadily focused on one particular period of it. The emulation is solid enough and it's a decent game that is well-suited to touch controls, so nostalgic SEGA fans could do a lot worse than throwing a couple of bucks at it. Any appeal beyond that group might be a tough sell, however...

'Danmaku Unlimited 3' Review - The Depths of Bullet Hell

The 32-bit Appocalypse is upon us, friends, and some genres are going to get hit worse than others. By the looks of things, shoot-em-up fans are going to have plenty to be upset about. Just about every fantastic Cave shoot-em-up is headed for the scrap heap, and if the company plans to update them, they haven't said anything about it. It's a real loss, not just because they were relatively pricey by App Store standards, but also because they represent some of the finest the bullet hell sub-genre has to offer. You know what, though? I think we're going to be okay, because as long as there are developers like Doragon Entertainment out there putting out games like Danmaku Unlimited 3 [$4.99], we're still eating well on iOS...

'Cat Quest' Review - An Interactive How-to on Mobile RPGs

We've had our teeth sunk into Cat Quest [$4.99] here at Touch Arcade Towers for a while now. It's been just about a year since one of our first looks at the game at TGS 2016. Since then we also took a peek into the dev process Gentlebros went through to cook up this Action-RPG offering. A lot of times our Patreon supporters will ask us about games that shape or define a genre, and Cat Quest, for all its levity, has left an indelible paw print on that list. ..

After a pretty fun and quite long Minecraft: Story Mode Season 1, Telltale returns to the world of Minecraft with Episode 1 of Season 2 [$4.99], and although it has some fun new ideas, I wasn't too crazy with the direction of the narrative and, especially, with the decision to add complex fighting sequences in a game that can barely handle simple swipes. I have to admit that I died more times in Hero in Residence than in pretty much any other Telltale game ever, and that wasn't because I'm not good at swiping at the right time. I had fun getting reunited with some of the characters from Season 1 and seeing how things have turned out after those events, but Hero in Residence didn't really impress me, and I'm hoping the rest of the episodes deliver a more coherent narrative and fewer action sequences...

I love puzzle games. Lucky for me you can't swing a dead Pokemon in the App Store without hitting several dozen. Not all of them are good, of course, and many are shallow copies of much better games. There are enough good ones, however, to keep me entertained and seeking more. Those moments when I come across something really compelling and get that "oh cool" feeling make the search well worth the effort. Glowish [$1.99], a recently released pattern-recognition puzzler, definitely gave me that feeling...

I have always been extremely fascinated by the Victorian Period. Its aesthetics and 19th century industrial technology definitely allure me more than other periods of time. However, I am an even bigger sucker for Neo-Victorian (A.K.A Steampunk) aesthetics and its different technologies. I think they are a unique mixture of different aspects that you wouldn't initially imagine to be together. My choices in playing past games such as Dishonored and Bioshock Infinite were definitely influenced my my fascination with Victorian science fiction. These aforementioned personal fun-facts are why I absolutely had to try out Noblemen: 1896 [Free] by Foursaken Media...

'Darkest Dungeon' Review - Brave the Darkness for One of the Better RPGs on iPad

You've probably read headlines, and maybe even entire articles, about Darkest Dungeon [$4.99 (HD)]. There's been plenty of them. The game was officially released on Steam in early 2016 and has garnered all kinds of praise and game-of-the-year accolades. It also has a reputation for dishing out one heck of a beating to victory-seeking players. For every "this game is great" comment there seemed to be a couple "this game is impossible" disclaimers. Darkest Dungeon has built up quite the reputation for both excellence and challenge and those of us in the mobile crowd finally got our first crack at it with the recent release to iPad. Does Darkest Dungeon live up to the hype? Short answer: definitely, go buy it. For the long answer, read on...

A few years back, I reviewed an enjoyable puzzle game called Circix [Free]. In that game, you had to connect circuits in the correct fashion to get past each stage. Setting aside the theme, the core puzzle of the game was in thinking about how each node had to relate to its neighbors. Well, the developer behind that game recently released a new puzzle game called Taps [$1.99]. On the surface, it's completely different from the neon electronics theme of Circix, but it follows a similar idea of building its puzzles around logical relationships. Taps feels more polished, more unique, and more carefully thought-out than its predecessor, and it's just as devilishly challenging once it gets going...

SEGA is a company that has made its mark in multiple arenas, but perhaps none so much as the arcades. They took a little longer to get going than some of their fellow members of the arcade royalty, but by the mid-1980s they were starting to hit a stride that wouldn't slow until arcades themselves did. They achieved that through a variety of means. Sometimes it was pure technological spectacle. At other times, it was through clever gameplay innovations. But SEGA also knew how to recognize a good thing and make their own spin on it, a skill shared by all of the very best arcade game makers. The 1989 release of Golden Axe [Free] was a fine example of that, combining a few popular trends into one slick, enjoyable gaming experience...

Kemco is continuing their series of experiments with a familiar face this time around. Before 2017, the publisher generally only cranked out a near-monthly procession of JRPGs. They weren't identical to one another, but they were certainly similar in a lot of ways. This year, they've slowed down their release schedule on mobile a little and partnered up with some new developers to try to freshen things up. What Hadjane Says Goes! [$4.99] comes from Hit-Point, one of their old standby development studios, but it's not like any of their previous games. Instead of being a turn-based adventure across a medieval fantasy world, it's an action-RPG set in the depths of the underworld itself...

'STANDBY' Review- A Brutally Difficult Precision Platformer That's Tremendously Rewarding

As a child, my first forays into gaming involved me experiencing many platformers on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. I loved the difficulty and the learning-curve of certain platformers, such as Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, Earthworm Jim, and the Super Star Wars series. Sometimes I blow the dust out of my old cartridges and fire up my trusty Super Nintendo in order to take the games of my childhood for a nostalgic spin. I have no idea how I beat some of those games so quickly back when I was a child. They were pretty dang hard back then, and they still are now. Anyways, there have been many additions to the platforming genre on the App Store which continue to fuel my life-long love for them, and that includes the recently released STANDBY [$3.99] by HypeTrain Digital...

'Strike Team Hydra' Review - Trading Walking Guns for Regular Guns

Wave Light Games came virtually out of nowhere with the excellent tactical RPG Demon's Rise [$7.99] a couple of years ago. Perhaps more impressively, the small developer updated the game frequently, responding to player feedback to hammer out many of the game's dents and rough edges. All of that work paid off when Demon's Rise 2 [$7.99] was able to launch last year in a much more polished form than its predecessor. Naturally, that game got more than a few updates as well. One problem that sequel faced was that the original game was updated so often, the sequel had trouble distinguishing itself, an issue that likely would have afflicted a third Demon's Rise had that been Wave Light's next project...

'Bottom of the 9th' Review - Handelabra Knocks the Cover Off the Ball

Handelabra Games, known for their digital adaptation of the cooperative tabletop card game Sentinels of the Multiverse [$6.99], has a brand-new offering in the App Store. This time they've tackled the dice-rolling baseball game Bottom of the 9th [$4.99], yet another tabletop to digital transformation. As the name suggests, Bottom of the 9th focuses on the pivotal final half inning of a tied ball game. The scrappy, overachieving home team is surprised to find themselves on the doorstep of victory against the powerhouse visitors and are hoping to pull out a win by scoring a run. They know they had better do it in this half inning because they lack the steam to hang with the big boys in extra innings and would most certainly lose. It's baseball distilled to its central idea—the duel between pitcher and batter...

I kind of feel bad for the developers of Glyph Quest, We Heart Dragons. They've got a sound concept for their puzzle/RPG hybrid series, one with a satisfying amount of depth that nevertheless manages to be quite straightforward. The problem seems to be in finding the right balance of elements that allows them to make some money with the idea. After trying two player-friendly models and not getting great results, I guess I can't blame them for veering things hard in the free-to-play monetization direction. That's a tricky road to walk, however, and Glyph Quest Chronicles [Free] can't quite keep itself from stumbling into the ditch now and then...

In Cityglitch [$2.99], a new puzzle game in app stores now, the world is filled with haunted cities full of glitches—strange, irregular, and dangerous beings that torment the residents. It falls on a red-headed protagonist to fly through each city from rooftop to rooftop and light runes in order to conduct a magical ritual that will free each city from their glitches. Naturally you play as this protagonist and must solve a puzzle to light each rooftop rune. Each puzzle takes the form of a five-by-five grid. One or more of these spaces will be occupied by pink oblong circles which are the runes of that rooftop. When your protagonist steps on a rune it will light up becoming two oblong circles, one nested within another. Your goal is to light up all of the runes...

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