Category Archives: 2 stars

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 EST 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)...

I've been experiencing different levels of excitement for Monty Python's Cow Tossing [99¢ / HD] since I saw the first details on the game at the International Mobile Gaming Awards last month. Since then, I posted the trailer, and generated a bit of excitement from fellow Monty Python fans in comments and on our forums. The game launched yesterday, and I couldn't wait to try it...

Dungeon Defenders [$2.99] is an ambitious title full of carrots that propel a basic hack-and-slash experience. It also has systems and content out the wazoo, providing a level of good depth rarely seen in App Store titles. But as effective as its smoke and mirrors are, and as much as it has to offer, its controls and interface are a pain to use and navigate, making it hard to recommend...

Despite the overwhelming popularity of the genre, I fully admit I've never been able to get in to most hunting games. The ones I've played on the iPhone either seem entirely too basic, diluting the sport of hunting down to basic wild animal shooting galleries with a few gimmicks or attempting to recreate arcade light gun style gameplay by tapping on the screen. In Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011 [$4.99], Activision takes some steps in the right direction to make a hunting game that's more entertaining than most by injecting a single player adventure campaign in to the mix...

When bringing up the topic of vertical shoot 'em ups, it's nearly impossible not to mention Capcom's seminal 194X series. Since the original 1942 was released way back in 1984 the series has spawned a number of sequels and has been ported to practically any system you can think of, minus the iPhone. That changed tonight however as 1942: First Strike is now available on the App Store...

Nearly five months ago now Tapulous first announced Riddim Ribbon [App Store] on stage at an Apple keynote. Oddly enough, aside from graphical changes, the game that is available today is almost exactly what Tapulous promised at the event. Three songs from the Black Eyed Peas are included along with three additional 99¢ tracks available via in-app purchase. (Two by Tiësto and one by Benny Benassi.)..

Undoubtedly we are all quite fond of our iPhones. After all, never has it been easier to bring our favourite games around with us wherever we may be. But how would it be if the roles were reversed-- if our games instead brought us around with them? That is the question on which Glu Mobile has rested the success of its latest foray into the AppStore...

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