Category Archives: 3.5 stars

Developer Osao dropped Chronology: Time Changes Everything [Free] on the App Store last week. If the title didn't give it away, Chronology is a platform game that grants you, the player, the ability to manipulate time. Straddling the time periods directly before and after an apocalyptic event, it's up to you to discover the cause and ultimately try to prevent the disaster. Born from a sketch of a snail and a man with a fez, this game has a quirky sense of humor that should prove to have a pretty wide appeal...

I wanted to love Phantom Rift [$2.99]. I wanted to give it my unabashed affection. I am quite fond of the Mega Man Battle Network series because of, well, everything about it. Certainly, paying homage to Mega Man is something Phantom Rift isn't doing, but the series itself is paying homage to boasted a unique combat system that took the best aspects of card games and mixed it with fast-paced real-time combat. But where Phantom Rift falls apart is not respecting that speed. Not so much in the combat, but in the overworld that governs getting from fight to fight, and managing the character and deck: it's just too slow to get anywhere in this game, both figuratively and literally...

Occasionally, a video game has a brilliant new idea that it builds itself around. Sometimes it gets it right the first time, sometimes it's left to another game to capitalize on it. Most games, however, have to be content with coming at an existing idea, hoping to provide a new angle, presentation, or mix of other ideas to set itself apart. Such is the case with Partyrs [$1.99], a charming puzzle game with a premise that should ring pretty familiar to avid mobile puzzle game fans. It's a game about arranging guests in a room according to their desires in order to ensure maximum party satisfaction. In practice, it's very similar to the popular games Girls Like Robots [$2.99] and Joining Hands [$2.99], a puzzle type that stretches at least as far back as those old logic puzzles about ferrying sheep and wolves across the river with one boat...

Several months back, mobile gamers were treated to Alphadia Genesis [$9.99], the first kind-of-3D RPG from Kemco, courtesy of developer EXE Create. Since then, Kemco's released another half dozen or so games, but they were all using older 2D engines, even EXE Create's Fanatic Earth [$7.99]. Well, we've finally got our second game using the 3D battle engine in Illusion Of L'Phalcia [$3.99], and it just goes to show that if you're dedicated to churning out an RPG in a span of weeks, it doesn't matter if you're using 2D or 3D graphics, the results are still going to be mixed...

Duke Dashington [$1.99] is the kind of game that exists in a kind of quandary. It's a game built around brevity, and for mobile devices: it's a platformer where players must swipe to get the eponymous Duke to the exit in no more than 10 seconds. It's frequently challenging but failure never leaves the player washed too far ashore to not just go back and try again. It's a game built around maximizing its brevity, but because it's so small, it winds up limiting just how well it succeeds at what it sets out to do...

Reviewing a game like Dragon Quest [$2.99] is never easy. First of all, as many of you probably do, I have a very deep childhood connection to this game, which means it's a nostalgic trip for me every time I play it. Then there's the fact that this is a genre-defining game, and as a result, can't possibly be expected to be as refined as the games that followed in the path it carved out. Ultimately, this game is both a classic and a curio, a piece of history that feels like one, no matter how much Square Enix tries to pretty it up. Its age is in its fundamental structure. I think it holds up very well relative to other games from its era, but that's perhaps faint praise, given the state of console RPGs in 1986. A completely new player without any sort of fondness for the history of the series would be better off checking out Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] first. That doesn't mean that the first Dragon Quest has nothing to offer, but it's probably not the best way to break the ice in 2014...

I have a very simple wish. I don't think I'm asking for all that much. I want Etherlords [Free] to be the vanguard for the death of energy systems in free-to-play RPGs. We've seen a rise in these kinds of games that make game design purists recoil in horror – ruled by automated battle systems that don't always work in favor of the player. But here's Etherlords, which at least has the decency to let the player play as much as they want. Oh, and it's also a puzzle game with battling that's really just incidental to the whole experience...

Why did Epic Eric [$0.99]appeal to me? Because it's a game all about swinging around, which is one of my favorite gameplay mechanics, the cousin of grappling hooks, my number one favorite. I mean, it's why I was so excited by Deep Under the Sky [$3.99], those grappling hooks, and the swinging on them thereof. So, Epic Eric intrigued me. And I must say, it lived up to my intrigue for the most part...

It's been a long trek from student project to full blown game concept and beyond, but Bedtime Digital Games has finally released their collaborative creation, Back to Bed[$3.99] . Arriving on iOS just a few weeks after it's steam release, this beauty is here to entice you with a graphical pedigree rarely seen on a mobile game. Even though the lionshare of intellectual stimulation offered by the game is by way of art appreciation, there is not much to get in your way as you take in the sights offered up by this title...

Having just finished my review of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two [$4.99], I thought it might be nice to decompress with a little pinball, as I often do after finishing a story-heavy game. Luckily for me, the developers behind Zen Pinball [Free] just released a thematically-appropriate new table as both a standalone app and an in-app purchase within the regular app. The Walking Dead Pinball [$1.99] follows most of the well-established trappings of Zen Studios's take on silverball, so it's hard to say if people burnt out on their offerings will be all that excited with it. For fans of The Walking Dead game, however, it brings just enough of the character of Season One [Free] to make it worth checking 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[$1.99] 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 [$7.99]. They're the developers behind Grinsia [$0.99], Chrome Wolf [$7.99], and Covenant of Solitude [$7.99], and if you've played any of those, you've probably got a good idea of how well you'll like this one...

Carcassonne [$9.99] is one of my favorite board games, and I still play the mobile version to this day. There's something about the combination of depth with the relatively short length of a session that really calls to me, and there aren't very many experiences like it on the market. So when I heard that Damn Little Town [Free] was a new take on the classic board game I jumped at the opportunity to try it out...

Dungeon Slots [Free] is the kind of game that I'm glad an independent developer made as a curious side project, rather than by a large company looking to monetize it. This is a game that is somewhat mindless and random – but unlike many other slot games, it owns this fact, and manages to be surprisingly player-friendly for a game where there's little control over what happens...

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