Category Archives: 3.5 stars

It's always a downer when a game you really like at its core is dragged down by external factors. Such is the case with Trap Da Gang [Free], the latest release from Japanese publisher Obokaid'em Games. The basic gameplay is challenging, fun, and wonderfully reminiscent of vintage arcade games from the mid-1980s. But being a free game, it also has an economy that you have to deal with, and while that's not always bad in principle, the extra cruft it brings to the game hurts it. It's still a fun game, but I couldn't help but wish there were some way to play it in a purer form...

What is our fascination with post-apocalyptic media? Maybe it's the fear of the unknown, in that things may actually be that dire one day, and a peek into the future is relatively harmless. Maybe it's because some of the greatest filmmakers of our time, including George Miller, flock to projects like that because they provide a blank canvas of expectations -- the world is theirs to create as they see fit. Chrome Death [Free] isn't necessarily that magnificent, but just like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon on PC and consoles, it really nails what makes that genre so special...




LEGO games on iOS are, by this point, nothing if not reliable. Apart from the earliest releases on the platform and the occasional experiment, the LEGO games based on licensed properties all essentially do the same things. They tell (or retell) a humorous story using a selection of stages from the console versions, offer up some mindless action gaming, and have a ton of unlockables. How much you enjoy them usually depends on how much you like the property involved, but all of the games kind of fall in that sticky zone that lay just between boring and interesting, and LEGO Jurassic World [$4.99] isn't any different. Except, you know, that this one has playable dinosaurs...

While there's a zombie game released every five seconds, there aren't nearly enough alien games out there. I mean sure, there's a handful of titles based on the actual Alien franchise with Xenomorphs running around causing havoc, but think of how many games are around with actual aliens, whether it be little green men or humanoid creatures from another planet. With a bold and obvious title, Crazy Alien Invaders [Free] seeks to rectify this unfortunate shortage...

Generally speaking, I'm not the sort of gamebook fan that replays books terribly often after finishing them. I'm usually okay with getting whatever story and ending comes from my choices, so long as it's an ending and not a "game over". With The Daring Mermaid Expedition [Free], however, I found myself going back a few times. It's a relatively short adventure, and it's almost impossible to satisfy your curiosity about the game's mysteries in a single play. The author takes a light approach to whole affair, and there's a playful feeling running through the whole story. I can't say it's one of my favorites from Choice Of Games, but if it catches you in the right mood, you'll probably enjoy it...

While many genres are forced to stick with conventions (action games typically have an ending, for example), puzzle games can basically do whatever they want. That's both a boon and a curse, as developers can often completely blow your mind or go so far out there that the concept doesn't quite land. Perfect Angle [$1.99] actually manages to encapsulate both of those concepts, oddly enough...

Sure, a while back I said I was done with idle clickers. But I'm done with them in the same way I'm done with match-3 games, for the most part: I'll play the occasional one because I still enjoy the core idea, but I've just played too many of them to want to keep diving back in on a regular basis. Doomsday Clicker [Free] from PikPok is my occasional exception to clickers, particularly as I enjoyed the concept, and the typical PikPok production values go a long way here. But it's still a clicker, and it can only really go so far at this point. Plus, it's one of this new generation of non-clicker clickers, and I'm not sure I enjoy that development...

The Swords [$2.99] is an interesting little experience because it's this mixture of gorgeous art and animation combined with gameplay that's fun but sometimes frustrating. The story that sets up The Swords is that a master of swords is telling a story about his grandmaster, an expert swordsman proficient in many different types of swords, and the very idea of them. Microgames wind up comprising the gmaeplay here, as you perform sorts of different actions through swipes and taps depending on the section of the game you're in, so that you can progress. You'll be swiping to deflect enemy swords, utilizing a spinning sword to deflect enemy blows, controlling the sway of a tree in the wind, and more. You kind of get to do anything and everything sword-related here...

Dungeon Raid [$0.99] was one of those games where, if it got its hooks into you, you probably weren't going to play anything else for a good long while. There wasn't a lot of mystery behind that, to be honest. The mechanics were familiar and simple to learn, but offered a lot of depth to the player looking for more. The RPG elements gave you a feeling of progression that isn't typically found in many other puzzle games. You could pick the game up whenever you had a few minutes and have a good time, or settle in for a longer session. I Keep Having This Dream [$1.99], the latest from Dungeon Raid developers Fireflame Games, is not the same kind of game. It's a little more opaque, a little more complex, and it comes off like it's aimed at a narrower target in general...

Over the course of a few months I've gone from not knowing who Nitrome was to being schooled in a master class by their games. I've played through their entire catalog at this point, and whenever a new offering is available, I'm ready and willing to snatch it and give it a shot. Ultimate Briefcase [Free] is merely published by Nitrome (the developer credit goes to Quite Fresh), and as an arcadey action game, it delivers on some level...

I think there's a pretty good game buried somewhere in The First Tactics [$0.99]. It's hard to be sure at times because there are so many bad choices with the presentation. If you can cut through the obvious vestiges of the game being designed as free-to-play, and somehow comprehend an extremely poor English localization that only makes things more confusing the more it tries to explain itself, you'll find a small-scale yet pleasingly complex turn-based strategy game. I'm just not sure if the good part of the game is worth dealing with the multiple barriers it's encased in, particularly in a genre that has so many strong examples on the platform that don't require you to jump through such hoops...

'The Quest: Cursed Stone' Review - On The Quest Again

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February 23rd, 2016 2:45 PM EDT by Shaun Musgrave in $2.99, 3.5 stars, iPhone games, Reviews, Role-Playing
$2.99 Buy Now

In a lot of ways, Redshift's The Quest [$4.99] is one of the best mobile RPGs. Its huge open world is a great place to lose hours in, but its quest-based structure makes it equally suitable for shorter play sessions. You can enjoy it as a straightforward hack 'n' zap, skipping around from dungeon to dungeon smashing the monsters that get in your way, or you can dig in deeper, building crafting and alchemy skills, collecting flowers for recipes, reading books, and so on. Still, most games like this have an end, and when you run out of things to do, that's usually that. In the case of The Quest, however, a massive amount of content has been added through expansion packs, most of which have been handled by third-party developer Zarista Games. Their latest effort is Cursed Stone [$2.99], an adventure that sees you trying to save a small fishing town by restoring the magical stone that brings them luck...

Card games have existed long before Hearthstone came around, and will exist long after it is shut down, however many years away we are from that point. But there's no denying that some titles lift a little too generously from Blizzard's recent cash cow, almost to the point of creating a new "Hearth" subgenre. That's basically what Kung Fu Panda: Battle of Destiny [Free] does, but with more...erm...pandas. Wait Hearthstone already has pandas! Well this has...Mr. Ping and a few lines from Jack Black...

As I've said before, there's nothing wrong with chilling out with a mindless arcade game. I grew up playing flashy shooters and beat 'em ups just as often as deep RPGs and point and click adventure games, and both philosophies scratch certain itches on any given day. The former mindset is most evident in Call of Commander [$0.99], which has some RPG elements, but mostly caters towards the part of your brain that likes to shut itself off...

'Mountain Biker' Review - Pay To Schwinn?

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February 4th, 2016 10:30 AM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, Racing, Reviews, Sports, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

Tiny Wings [$0.99] is an amazing game. Not a terribly controversial statement, but I’ve always found it kind of surprising that more games didn’t take the idea and run with it. Sure, there are lots of games on the App Store that use a similar mechanic (my favorite, by far, is Kumobius’s Time Surfer [$0.99]), but it’s not nearly as many as I’d expect. I mean, think about how many Threes [$2.99], Flappy Bird, and Clash of Clans [Free] clones there are compared to Tiny Wings. Of course, every now and then a TW-like game will still randomly appear, and the latest I’ve seen is Mountain Biker [$1.99] by Escape Velocity...

Many 20th century governments have risen and fallen on the power of the word. While sudden explosions of dissent have marked the often-televised end of regimes like Romania's Ceouseskou in 1989, it was the power of the official or underground press that often initially held these governments in power and fomented the dissent that led to their downfall. And these words in official propaganda or unofficial, subversive propaganda (because any information with an angle is, technically, a form of propaganda) caused suffering and death and ruined millions of lives. That's why when I started playing The Westport Independent [$4.99], a "censorship simulator" according to the App Store description, I was expecting my words to cost many lives, my decisions to matter both in terms of gameplay but also in terms of making me care about the lives lost, even the imaginary ones...

To be frank, I always expected the semi-frequent requests I'd heard for a Harvest Moon iOS game to turn out to be a monkey's paw wish. I figured we would see the series on iOS sooner or later, especially after the Harvest Moon name was disassociated from the actual series, but I was expecting it to be a free-to-play game laden with IAPs. Harvest Moon: Seeds Of Memories [$9.99] is likely not what fans of the series would ideally want, but it is a fully premium title without a stitch of IAP to be found in it, and it retains enough of the appeal of the series that it will likely satisfy would-be farmers, if not excite them...

So here’s the deal. For one reason or another, I never seem to get around to playing titles from the Daedalic Entertainment. I own several of them because of Steam sales and Humble Bundles, but I just keep putting them off. Games like Edna & Harvey [$2.99 (HD)] or Deponia [$9.99 (HD)], also available on iOS, which seem great. When I saw the 2009 classic The Whispered World [$9.99 (HD)] come out exclusively for iPads, I downloaded it with the intention of finally playing one of this studio’s fascinating looking titles. This was nearly two months ago, around Thanksgiving of last year, and sure enough, I did it again! Caught up in the holiday hubbabaloo, I completely neglected this story of a sad clown who’s set to bring about the apocalypse. So dang it if this review was going to come way past the game’s release, I wanted to analyze and discuss this experience with you all...

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have one lesson to teach us, it's that pizza is awesome. If they have a second lesson to teach us, it's about the value of teamwork and watching out for your friends and family. The thing is, outside of the multiplayer TMNT games, we're usually only seeing one of the brothers in action at a time. Sure, you can usually choose your favorite turtle, but what would Master Splinter say if he saw the team separated all the time like that? TMNT - Portal Power [$3.99]'s main claim to fame, as near as I can see it, is that it allows you, nay, requires you to control all four of the turtles at once. If that sounds like it could get hectic, you're right. Portal Power isn't quite as deep as some other TMNT games, but it's still a pretty fun game that fans of the characters should enjoy...

When it comes to modern games trying to pay tribute to retro classics, nailing the balance between making a fun modern game and an appropriate homage is really tough. It can be done – Shovel Knight on console and PC is a fantastic example of how to pay tribute to Mega Man, Castlevania, and the like. And we look at Horizon Chase [Free] on mobile, which did an amazing job at balancing out the feel of retro racing games while not being as clunky, frustrating, and unfair as many of those games were. There's a balance to be had. Venture Kid [$0.99] from FDG Entertainment clearly wants to pay tribute to Mega Man in everything it's about, and in doing so, it's kind of a solid platformer, but it mostly just misses the point of what made the game it's paying tribute to so great...

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