Category Archives: Ratings

'Dodo Master' Review - Classic Platforming isn't Extinct

I don't usually find myself speechless after playing an iOS game, but Dodo Master [$0.99 / $0.99 (HD)] has given me pause. The game is so carefully crafted, and so well planned, and so well tested that I want to be certain that each word I write about it is equally well thought out. My completely uninformed guess is that Samir Selah comes from a long line of watch makers. Every bit and piece of this game fits perfectly together in a well paced harmony. With his debut iOS release he has struck gold, now its just up to us to go pick it up...

You might recall that with The Walking Dead: Season One [Free], we did something of an unorthodox review due to the episodic nature of the game. There was a basic overview that was appended to with a review of each episode as they released, with the score adjusting appropriately. As it worked pretty well last time, we'll be doing the same thing here. I'll do my best to avoid any serious spoilers for the current season, but I'm going to talk frankly about the first season, so if you haven't finished it yet, consider yourself warned about possible spoilers...

'Appointment With F.E.A.R.' Review - My New Favorite Superhero Is Tin Man

If you ever need proof that competition is healthy for the customer, just check out the gamebook scene on mobiles. What started as simple conversions of the text of existing books has spun out into three developers each, in their own way, trying to combine the essence of classic gamebooks with the flexibility that modern technology allows. It started with Tin Man Games essentially giving you the keys to the game via a bunch of extra features, followed by inkle's brilliant adaptation of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! [$4.99] and Forge Reply's original RPG adventure based on the popular Lone Wolf [$0.99] character. Then, in April, Tin Man released their version of Starship Traveller [$5.99], where for the first time, the developer didn't simply bring the original book over with some bells and whistles, but elaborated on it. Recently, inkle again upped the ante with their stunning take on Jules Verne's classic novel, 80 Days [$4.99], and now we've got Tin Man replying in kind with what is clearly their most confident conversion yet, Appointment With F.E.A.R. [$2.99]...

'Almightree: The Last Dreamer' Review - An Excellent Puzzle Platformer

Nearly a year since we’ve last seen or heard from it, Crescent Moon Games’ Almightree: The Last Dreamer [$1.99] made some waves back then with aspirations of being a “Zelda-inspired” 3D puzzle game. As far as actual execution is concerned, there isn’t much here in terms of Zelda-inspiration anymore, but what we’re left yet is an impressive 3D puzzle platformer. In fact, it’s one of the better 3D puzzlers I’ve played this year, and should be on everyone’s list to check out...

Warbot Assault [Free] is yet another Kongregate-published free-to-play game. The concept is certainly an exciting one: players outfit a giant robot and an army of vehicles, and take them into battle against other armies of vehicles, and another giant robot. These opponents are all based on other players' loadouts, so not only is it possible to punch a giant robot to death, it's possible to punch a giant robot to death, and have someone in the world know that it was their giant robot that got punched to death by you. Unfortunately, that's it for the game. It does little to add much variety beyond "punch giant robots in the face."..

I always love to see a game that doesn't take itself too seriously. If it also happens to be genuinely funny at times, that's even better. Ace Ferrara And The Dino Menace [$3.99] packs in enough self-awareness, charm, and humor, it's easy to forgive some of the failings in its gameplay. It's a space shooter that feels a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon, with a colorful cast of characters, a goofy plot to take over Earth, and plenty of action. The gameplay also feels like it's tuned for a younger crowd, with short, easy to clear missions and very simple controls. Veteran starfighters looking for their next battle probably won't be satisified, at the very least. As a fun little popcorn experience, however, Ace Ferrara has a lot going for it...

'Motorsport Manager' Review - Formula Racing for the Masses

When I sat down to try Motorsport Manager [$4.99], I thought it would be the perfect thing to poke at while listening to a podcast. After all, I wouldn’t be expected to drive the cars; I’d be running the biz and laying out the race strategy. A half-hour in, I realized I hadn’t absorbed a word, because I was so fully engaged in growing my fledgeling racing empire and watching my drivers tear up the track. It’s never overwhelming, nor is it too light to maintain interest. Motorsport Manager finds a nice spot in the complexity spectrum wherein it requires frequent decision-making, without ever inducing paralysis by presenting too many options simultaneously...

Nitrome's 8bit Doves [$2.99] is a game that will try the patience of players. It has challenging physics to contend with, but is also structured in a way that really impedes the replay value of this challenging action game. The goal is to control a flying hero through dreamscape levels, turning clockwise and counterclockwise to control him through the skies, contending with trying not to crash into the walls or other occasional moving hazards. As well, doves fill the levels: collecting these is an objective tracked by the game, but not inherently necessary to completion. Flying in the general vicinity of the doves is all that's necessary to collect them, a fine concession from a game that is difficult to control...

'Tiny Tower Vegas' Review - A Freemium Jackpot

NimbleBit has shown success across a variety of free-to-play titles, but Tiny Tower [Free] seems to take the cake as far as popularity is concerned. When Tiny Death Star [Free] came out last year, NimbleBit’s formula saw some nice improvements but overall we were left with mostly a sprite refresh with some heavy handed IAP incorporated on top of the base gameplay. With the launch of Tiny Tower Vegas [Free], NimbeBit has retaken the reigns back from Disney Mobile and has made what I consider to be the true sequel to its tower building title. Suffice to say, the mini-game improvements combined with a return to the more friendlier NimbleBit IAP approach makes for another awesome F2P from the developer...

I've played a lot of free-to-play RPGs, and they all tend to have the same strengths and weaknesses. That's probably due to most of them being inspired by the model used in the popular Puzzle & Dragons [Free], following its formula as closely as possible in hopes of achieving similar levels of success. Now, I like that game quite a bit, but even I'm getting a little tired of getting into a new game only to see the same old mechanics powering it. There must be other effective ways to monetize your puzzle RPG besides monster-collecting and stamina meters. Spellfall: Puzzle RPG [Free] takes a different approach, avoiding many typical elements such as multiple currencies, drawing random monsters, and nudging you to expand your inventory. Unfortunately, the game also has its own take on the stamina meter concept that seems on paper like it would be better, but in practice doesn't quite work out...

Do you like the review headline? See, what I did there was take Clash of Clans [Free] and clumsily mixed Star Wars with it in a very on-the-nose way, in hopes that it would provide some entertainment to fans of both. Sorry for the sidetrack there, you came here to read a review of Star Wars: Commander [Free], right? It's the latest in a very long line of Star Wars-themed games that give a popular genre or title a healthy coat of Star Wars paint to see if something magical will happen. To the credit of Lucasarts, this has yielded some strong results in the past. Star Wars Baldur's Gate was pretty cool, Star Wars Wing Commander was amazing, Star Wars Battlefield 1942 was really fun, and even Star Wars Doom was pretty good for its time. Of course, there was also Star Wars Fighting Game and Star Wars Twisted Metal, so clearly the pendulum swings both ways here...

Ancient Battle: Hannibal[$0.99] is the latest in the long line of historical battle sim games that Hunted Cow has made for iOS. Between Ancient Battle, Tank Battle: 1944[$0.99] , and Civil War: 1863[$1.99] and the franchises they comprise , they have created nine games across their three series since March of 2012. You might ask how this is possible and I think I have the secret to their prolific abilities. These games are almost direct map packs of the same base game. Now sure, new technology has been added like the ability to zoom. Graphical updates and new unique units(elephants are listed as unique, but they have been in other Ancient Battle games) get added with each title, but I can't shake the similarity...

It would be nice if, one day, all four of Kemco's development teams could get together and make an RPG that combines all of their strengths and covers all of their weaknesses. After just over one year of reviewing Kemco's near-monthly releases, I'm at the point where all I need to do is look at which team is behind a game to make a strong guess at which areas the game will succeed or fail in. This time, we've got Magitec's latest, Soul Historica [$3.99]. They're the developers behind Grinsia [$7.99], Chrome Wolf [$3.99], and Covenant of Solitude [$0.99], and if you've played any of those, you've probably got a good idea of how well you'll like this one...

'Spooklands' Review - A Smart, Strategic and Challenging "One-Touch" Arena Shooter

Spooklands [$0.99] is so interesting because of its simplicity. As a one-touch arena shooter where firing also controls movement, the game invests in this mechanic, and proves to be an extremely satisfying challenge because of it. And boy is Spooklands tough. Because each shot winds up moving the protagonist around, managing this becomes key. Certainly, it was a challenge in Toast Time [$2.99], the obvious comparison to this game, but that game at least had gravity as a constant mitigating factor. ..

'Deep Under The Sky' Review - A Beautiful Physics-Based Puzzler

Deep Under The Sky [$2.99] is a really fascinating game that winds up being a game that's really fun to play – it has a variety of things to do that are enjoyable to play with in motion, the game is set up to not be frustrating to play, and it makes a lot of its premise by presenting tricky challenges to solve. It does so well at so many things, that while calling a physics-based puzzle-platformer is perhaps the closest approximation of a descriptor for the game, it's got appeal beyond just what those words mean – and it's just so gorgeous and well-made that it's worth checking out no matter what...

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