Category Archives: 2 stars

There is no way to sugarcoat this: ShaqDown [Free] is not a great game. It is, at best, a merely serviceable game ideal only for anyone ravenously massaging their hands mad scientist-style with anticipation. This also probably is going to really, really bum out Shaq who is himself a hugely outspoken Apple enthusiast...

Borderlands Legends [$4.99 / $6.99 (HD)] doesn't lean on enough of the series' strengths. Instead, it turns a lot of them on their heads to its detriment. ..

Square Enix' Guardian Cross [Free] is exactly the game it wants to be. Coming from me, that would usually be a compliment, but in this case, it's more of a sigh and a shrug...

Manos - The Hands of Fate [$1.99] is a retro adaptation of the 1966 film that involves a family that accidentally stumbles upon a lodge run by a mind-controlling, polygamous pagan cult...

I'm surprised my minions haven't gone on strike yet. I work them all day, every day. They're only allowed to take a break when they get violent after having been subjected to a backed up bathroom or a frigid work environment. They have to produce, and produce, and produce without end. They probably cheer when a dragon arrives—sure, a guard or two might die, but at least there's a little excitement for once...

The ideas behind most hidden object games are fairly cliche by now, with the majority either focusing on spooky mansions where apparitions talk to you, or in victorian era villages where steampunk and high society are the main themes. Criminal Investigation Agents: Petrodollar$ [$2.99 / $4.99] does things a bit differently, and isn't a great game, but is so fun to laugh at while playing it's worth checking out...

When I was a kid I had a jumping-jack toy that looked like a dancing cossack. He was a little wooden man with a pull-string dangling between his legs, and when you tugged on the string his arms would move up and down, as if he were jumping, or dancing. Every Christmas he’d get pinned to the coat closet, and I’d spend way too much time making him dance to the hummed tune of the Tetris theme (I was obviously not a very politically correct child, growing up on a farm in rural Virginia)...

We’ve witnessed the creation of many recurring themes in iOS gaming. Some of these include dodgy FPS touch controls, gameplay that leans heavily on grinding "optional" IAP currency, and of course the never-ending onslaught of titles starring zombies. For better or worse, Dead Trigger [Free] hits each one of these themes and attempts to compensate by wrapping the package up into one of the most visually impressive games I’ve seen on the App Store. Unfortunately, its excellent implementation of the Unity engine isn’t enough to carry what is otherwise an entirely mediocre, freemium-ish zombie FPS...

Urban Crime [Free], the newest game from Gameloft, is the latest title attempting to take a traditional genre and infuse it with free-to-play elements. In this case, it’s the open world third-person shooter made popular by the likes of Grand Theft Auto III that gets the freemium makeover. Normally, these types of games are treated as forums discussing the merits of freemium and whether the gameplay and overall presentation outweighs whatever hooks are put into the game. In the case of Urban Crime, that discussion isn’t necessary as the game has so many issues (freemium and otherwise) that you really should just avoid it completely...

'Jurassic Park: The Game' Review - A Technical Disaster

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November 17th, 2011 4:35 PM EDT by Brad Nicholson in $6.99, 2 stars, Action, iPad 2, Puzzle, Reviews
$2.99 Buy Now

Jurassic Park: The Game 1 HD [$6.99] is a mixed bag. On one hand, it's a technically messy and poorly optimized iPad 2 exclusive. It stutters and drops frames so consistently that it becomes nearly impossible to enjoy, no less play. And even when you're willing to forgive this fairly fundamental flaw, the roller-coaster-y placement of its sluggish and mundane puzzles has a habit of obliterating the tension it succeeds in building. But on the other hand, this is a Telltale production. The characters, which are newcomers to the universe, are handled with care and written as if they were, actually, people; the story is laced with excitement and drama conveyed with a palpable reverence for the source material; and when the game is actually clicking, the tension and the pull of its beats are enormous...

Duke Nukem Forever proved earlier this summer that if you find something ancient, non-functional, and barely relevant, with a minimal amount of effort you can turn a profit by selling it purely on the basis of historical curiosity. This is also the premise of the History Channel’s Antiques Roadshow, where people bring in old items to experts hoping to strike it rich by stumbling upon rare and sought after pieces...

Ever since the moment as a child where I first saw Kyle MacLachlan crush a metal-underpantsed Sting with the force of a single word in Dune, I’ve wanted a game that gave me that same feeling of power. Any time I re-watch an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where the holodeck is featured, I find myself wishing that spoken controls were a bigger part of gaming. I mean, TNG accurately predicted the tablet computer, why can’t we have voice commands that work, too?..

We’ve seen a lot of physics-based puzzle games since Angry Birds hit its current pop culture status, but Bizango Blast [$.99] is one of a handful that has something new to share. Rendered in 3D and presented in first-person, creator Olivier Archer’s game attempts to be a more in-your-face experience, while still being centered on perspective and angles of approach. Sadly, the only thing it knocks out of the park are its Unreal Engine visuals. The real meat of the game -- the physics, the puzzle design, and the canon play -- feels clumsy and unpredictable at the best of times, and flat-out bad the rest of the time. It’s a unique attempt, but not recommended...

Gameloft has had a recent track record of enjoyable titles (9mm [$6.99] and BackStab [$6.99] come to mind). Silent Ops [$6.99], the latest part-stealth, part-third-person shooter looked to extend Gameloft’s streak of decent titles that provide a good iOS alternative to a variety of genres usually reserved for console and PC gamers. Unfortunately, Silent Ops, with its generic story, poor presentation, and lacking gameplay definitely takes the genre back quite a few steps and should be avoided in lieu of other, much more deserving titles...

Alright, so I'll fully admit I was likely a little more excited than I should have been about the (then) upcoming Dragons' Den game when we first posted about it last week. It's one of my favorite guilty pleasures that I watch on TV, as I've always had an odd interest both in wacky inventions and business ideas as well as everything that takes place behind the scenes when people try to raise money for those inventions and ideas. The Wikipedia article has an exhaustive listing on the history of the show, but it originated in Japan and was popularized in English-speaking countries by the UK version originally broadcast on BBC Two (then eventually BBC America)...

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