Category Archives: Ratings

'The Executive' Review - Like a Boss

Riverman Media's latest game The Executive [$2.99] is a masterpiece. The new game from the creators of Pizza vs. Skeletons [$4.99 / Free] is brilliantly absurd and absurdly brilliant. Riverman has combined a touchscreen-friendly brawler with an idle clicker, all set in an absurd universe full of things like wolves wearing Guy Fieri shirts, and featuring a distinctive art and animation style. It's an amazing game, and you need to play it...

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

'Lines the Game' Review - Dot You Forget About Me

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July 7th, 2015 10:00 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 4.5 stars, Games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
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Take a look at the screenshots for Lines the Game [$2.99]. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Pretty lame, right? I mean, it’s a bunch of empty, basic shapes on a white background. I’ve seen sweaters that looked more fun to play. Heck, even the name is painfully uninspired. “Lines”, huh? Oh, and it’s a “Game”? You don’t say. How about I pour myself a glass of warm water and prepare a big ol’ bowl of lettuce, ‘cause “Lines the Game” is here and we need to celebrate this. Well, the joke’s on me (as is often the case), because Gamious’ new game is actually shockingly great. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my favorite puzzle game at the moment. It’s brilliant, satisfying, supremely relaxing, and--to borrow an amusingly awkward phrase from the literary world--unputdownable. So… what is it?..

For those that dig on swine, bacon seems to have such a magical allure that people will put it on the craziest things just to enjoy it. Bacon’s mysterious power even translates to the video game world, where even a rooster will do everything within its power to save the world’s bacon supply from being abducted by aliens. If the thought of such a ridiculous premise appeals to you, you’ll enjoy The Abduction of Bacon at Dawn, the Chronicles of a Brave Rooster [$2.99]. It not only hits the mark in terms of theme but it’s a fun little platformer in its own right as well...

'Furdemption' Review - A Great Puzzle-Platformer Brimming With Whimsy and Gore

Imagine a cute bunny hoping around a hellish landscape, leaving the bloody trails of his repeated failures all over the wonderfully-drawn landscape. Sounds fun, if somewhat macabre, doesn't it? Well, it is indeed. Furdemption [$2.99], the puzzle platformer (or bunny-suicides simulator) from Raresloth (apparently a very philozoic two-person company), is a very fun game with great art and animations and a responsive control system that almost always delivers. Puzzle games don't always excite me because I find most of them too reliant on trial-and-error design, which requires more time than I'm willing to put in games of this genre; fortunately, Raresloth expertly designed and molded Furdemption into an intuitive puzzle game that is a pleasure to play...

'Pixel Dungeon' Review – Simple Name, Legendary Game

Eons ago, a roguelike was created, and lo, all was good. The game was highly praised, and many flocked to bask in it’s simple but difficult glory. This congregation became a community, discussing the game’s many elements and even creating a wiki, raising the lowly game to great new heights. The roguelike grew over time, incorporating new mechanics and levels, but still something was amiss. This game was not to be found in lands of iOS. Thus a prophecy was born, that this game would come to iOS, heralding a great new age of…. Something, something. That’s getting tiresome. Long story short, Pixel Dungeon [$2.99] is here, fools!..

Amazon's been bringing over several of their mobile games to iOS now, and Tales from Deep Space [$6.99] is their latest and their best. It took some time to make the leap from the Kindle Fire tablets, unlike Lost Within [$6.99] and Til Morning's Light [$6.99] which launched simultaneously on both Fire OS and iOS. This is a puzzle-platformer where you control two characters, and it's got clever puzzles to play with, though the combat portions tend and clumsy controls do drag the experience down a bit...

Start singing "nahnah-nahnah-nahnah", and people will immediately think, if not yell out, "Batman!" Utter the words "and here... we... go", and the image of Heath Ledger's excellent portrayal of the Joker clearly comes to mind. Similarly, if I tell you there's a new LEGO Batman game, your imagination can likely fill in most of the blanks. The only surprises here are narrative ones, and they're not really that surprising if you understand the usual LEGO game wavelength. LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham [$4.99] is a fun game in the way most of the LEGO games on iOS are, but the series has pretty much exhausted all of its tricks by this point. If you're okay with that, you'll certainly get your money's worth out of the new levels, characters, suits, and jokes...

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...

The Quadsphere's latest game, Icarus-X: Tides of Fire [$2.99] comes out firing with a great idea: combine a bullet-hell shoot 'em up with the loot systems seen in modern RPGs. You play levels, and can get new weapons and shields to do more damage and deal with enemy threats more effectively. You can also level up, applying points to a skill tree. It's an idea that really works for the game, and is a cool fusion of two notable genres into one package. The problem is that the game tries to stretch a limited amount of content into a full game, and it grows tiring quite quickly...

I start this review of Til Morning's Light [$6.99] off with a treatise on WayForward Technologies, the developer of Til Morning's Light. They are, to me, a solid B-grade developer. They make games that are usually good to decent; I don't know if they have any truly great ones on their resume. I'd say their best game is probably the original Shantae, which I actually own the original cartridge of. Regardless, they're a developer that you should generally get reasonably excited for when they get to work on a licensed project, because it means that it's probably not going to suck. Well, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW was not good, but I think that might have just been them going outside of their comfort range, not knowing what makes a dungeon crawler great, or maybe that game needed more than a year of development. But hey, at least the two Zelda-aping Adventure Time games they did weren't bad! And Double Dragon Neon is a solid beat 'em up. ..

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...

Oftentimes, when we look at a game, we focus on its mechanics and how it fits within the parameters of its genre. Has this first-person shooter managed to get the controls right, is this platformer too bouncy, or is this endless runner just too twitchy? Yet, sometimes what makes a game stand out is not so much its mechanics but, rather, its theme, and Slitherine's Warhammer 40K: Armageddon's [$19.99 (HD)] theme raises what would otherwise be a relatively-traditional Panzer Corps re-skin into a pretty good strategy game in its own right. Slitherine uses its strategy gaming expertise along with the fantastic Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K universe to create a game that's so much more fun to play than any WWII game - and this comes from someone who loves WWII and Vietnam strategy games. In Warhammer 40K: Armageddon, Slitherine delivers a strong wargame that acts as a great introduction to the universe for the uninitiated while also being a treat for the Warhammer 40K faithful. However, as I've mentioned in my review of another Slitherine game, Space Program Manager, while the Play by Email (PBEM) probably works well for multiplayer games on the PC, it doesn't take advantage of what the mobile platform has to offer and even hampers the multiplayer side of the game, which should actually be Warhammer 40K: Armageddon's highlight...

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...

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

'Piloteer' Review - Joyride in a Jetpack

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June 30th, 2015 12:24 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 5 stars, Arcade, Games, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

I was about five years old when film The Rocketeer hit theatres, so I don’t remember a whole lot about the characters or plot. What I do remember is strapping a pair of 2-liter bottles to my back and zooming around my backyard like a lunatic. I’m almost afraid to re-watch the movie now that I’m older, because I have nothing but good feelings about it currently and I don’t want cold hard reality to tarnish them. That childhood wonder I felt while pretending to fly around in an awesome dieselpunk jetpack was pretty priceless, ya know?..

Terminal Velocity [$2.99] is one of those games I vaguely remember playing from my childhood. It's something my uncle may have brought over once, and ended up leaving in my PC, allowing me to play it for an extended period of time. But even after all that gametime, it sort of went in and out of my memory banks, and after playing it recently on a mobile device, I can see why...

I hold two very strong opinions about the Dragon Quest series, one of which is agreed upon by many, and the other of which is slightly more controversial. First, Dragon Quest is like pie in that there is no bad one. My least favorite is either Dragon Quest 2 [$4.99] or Dragon Quest 8 [$19.99], but I'd still hand over a weekend to replaying both, no questions asked. With that being said, the other thing that I believe is that the series hit its creative peak with Dragon Quest 5 [$14.99]. That's not to say subsequent games didn't sometimes hit some very high notes, as my pie opinion shows. But if there is such thing as a work that a creative mind invests in so completely that they leave a big piece of themselves with said work forever, Dragon Quest 5 would be a huge example. That's an ominous way to begin a review of Dragon Quest 6 [$14.99], I'll admit, but I felt it was important to be upfront about that...

FireWhip [$0.99] is a perfect example of a game that shows that you shouldn't just judge a book by its cover, but if the book is good, having a rad cover sure helps! This is a unique high-score chaser that puts work in to feel like a standout experience. FireWhip delivers exactly what it its title promises, as it has you swinging a whip made of flames, trying to fend off enemies that want to get to you. You have to swing the whip around to make it large and fast enough to hit oncoming enemies, but some of the base enemies are cowards – literally, they're called cowards – and will shy away. The enemies that come at you directly? They have shields, come in large numbers, or attack really quickly. And if you swing your whip too fast, it flames out, and that's not going to be any good for you...

The Harmony series knows what it is and is quite comfortable in its skin. That might be one of its better qualities overall. The games use a basic, simple-to-understand mechanic to set up increasingly devious puzzles, trying to wind you up more and more. While the games work hard to frustrate you in that respect, the most relaxing, gorgeous music plays in the background, making it nearly impossible not to chill out. This odd discord makes for a compelling combination of flavors, and each installment simply drops another few scoops on your plate. Harmony 3 [$0.99] follows the pattern to a tee, which makes this an awfully short review if you've played a game in the series before. Did you like it, and want more? Buy this one, you won't be disappointed. Did you dislike it or become tired of its bag of tricks? Then you won't find anything to grab you here...

The App Store is just feeling so nostalgic these days. First we get a sequel to Fragger [$0.99]in Fragger 2 [$1.99] last month, which I also reviewed, and this month we get a sequel to another IP from 4 years ago. That IP is Drop the Chicken. The original can’t be found on the App Store anymore, but thankfully the original developers at AppinTheBox have brought us a sequel that tops it in every way imaginable, bringing Chuck the Chicken into modern times. Drop the Chicken 2 [$1.99]is the name of the game, and it is anything but lame. No, I don’t know why I felt the need to rhyme just now. Jeez, get off my case about it...

'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
Free Buy Now

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...

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