Category Archives: 3.5 stars

'REBUS - Absurd Logic Game' Review: Buy Coins To Solve Over-Hard Puzzles

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March 30th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Andrew Smith in 3.5 stars, Free, Puzzle, Reviews
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The name won't mean anything to people in many countries, so to explain, rebus are words or phrases represented by pictures. Historically they were used to represent surnames on coats of arms, but nowadays you're more likely to encounter them as obscure puzzles, also known as dingbats...

A while back, I reviewed the original Five Nights At Freddy's [$2.99], and while I could appreciate what it was doing from a clinical point of view, I didn't really get the game properly. When Five Nights At Freddy's 2 [$2.99] came out, I thought I'd step aside and let someone else take a crack at it, but with how busy the holiday season was, the game ended up falling into the dreaded TouchArcade sofa cushions instead. Before anyone could catch their breath, Five Nights At Freddy's 3 [$2.99]'s release was imminent. I'll own up to a couple of little quirks that I have. First of all, it really bugs me when I don't get why something is popular. I don't have to like everything, but I do like to understand points of view other than my own, and exploring them often leads to me finding new things to enjoy. I see it as a failing on my part when I'm not able to do this. Another odd habit of mine is that I don't like gaps, so if I'm to come back to the series to review the third game, I really needed to do this one first. Hopefully, that explains why we're running this review at an admittedly late stage of the game. You can expect a review of Five Nights At Freddy's 3 pretty shortly after this one...

'Jump'N'Shoot Attack' Review - Fun Shooter, Boring Jumper

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March 26th, 2015 11:00 AM EDT by Andrew Smith in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Action, Arcade, Reviews, Shooter
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Not long in to playing Jump'N'Shoot Attack I sent an enthusiastic message to some of the other Touch Arcade writers, telling them that it was "super fun". Chatting to the developer on Facebook, I said the game was "right up my street". So this is a game that makes a great first impression. Sadly, the fun that is promised and delivered by those early stages, soon gives way to some unimaginative level design that is more tedious than it is challenging...

Heavenstrike Rivals [Free] is out and is one of the newest forays Square Enix has made into making mobile focused titles. Relying on a number of market-proven mechanics, Rivals doesn't break a lot of new ground. It does, however, manages to impress with it's mastery of the familiar. This is Squeenix we are talking about after all. ..

We've seen plenty of games that take after the kind of endless wave-sliding popularized by Tiny Wings [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)], and refined by Kumobius' Time Surfer [Free] which threw its own wrinkles and a monetization-friendly metagame into the mix. RAD Boarding [Free] from Other Ocean and Noodlecake feels like it could be that next milestone game in this genre, at least at first. It has a gorgeous look and a game structure that could ideally make it a game worth checking out. But the problem is that RAD Boarding focuses way too much on its structure and metagame, and not enough on making getting high scores and actually playing the game feel important at all...

I'm a sucker for pixel art. No matter how many years have passed since the retro era, I'm still fond of that old school style. Kind of like hand-drawn animation over CGI, I'm at least there to take a look at something even if the game isn't necessarily worth playing. That's what initially drew me to Combo Queen [$1.99]. While it's a bit too simplistic to warrant extended play, the art style is worth checking out at the very least...

There are a lot of pieces of Pixel Heroes [$6.99] that would have had a much stronger effect on me a couple of years ago. The well-designed faux-retro graphics and sound, the roguelike elements, and the referential sense of humor are all things that have appeal for me, but even the marriage of these particular aspects is getting a bit too familiar to be exciting. That means the game has to carry forward on its gameplay, and it's honestly a mixed bag. This is a challenging streamlined RPG that doesn't take itself too seriously and offers a lot of replay value, but its repetitive nature and tedious combat eat away at the fun, bite by bite...

When I received the Turtle Beach Ear Force i30 Headphones for review, my hope was that they could solve the problem that exists with cheaper Bluetooth headsets that I've used: audio latency that makes them unpleasant to use with games. If anyone could sort it out, why not Turtle Beach, with a $300 headset made specifically for iOS? They are well-known for their gaming headsets, and I have a wired headset that I bought a few years ago that works well for what I need when I need it...

Man, what is the deal with Sensible Soccer? That game is popular for its top-down soccer play and two-button controls, a formula that I see a lot of other soccer games try to replicate. The latest is Active Soccer 2 [$3.99], a soccer game that I wish would try to break free of the two-button limitations, though I do find the soccer action to be quite entertaining here...

"Well, that was something that happened." That was my reaction after completing Potatoman Seeks the Troof [$1.99], an oddball little platformer from Pixeljam Games that's certainly an experience. It's a brief platformer, with five different levels, which don't take too long to beat, necessarily, but it's as much about the odd story running through it. You control the eponymous Potatoman, seeking the "troof" – about existence, life, who knows? It's a game that you probably shouldn't play for pure platforming challenge, but because it's an odd experience...

Ambition Of The Slimes [Free] appeared on the App Store worldwide a few months back, but until recently, the only language it offered was Japanese, making it tough to play for people using every App Store except Japan's. An English patch was promised in the notes, but after a few updates came with no sign of a translation, I had assumed the developer meant it in a 'someday' kind of way. Apparently not, however, as the game's most recent update finally opened up the game to English players. So, as I promised back in the first article I wrote about the game, I'm here to give the game a proper review...

There's no two ways about it, sometimes an RPG fan just gets the urge to play a good, classic CRPG. While iOS offers plenty of options for the gamer who wants to revisit 90s CRPGs or early roguelikes, adventures that recapture the 1980s era of Ultima and the SSI gold box games are a bit harder to come by. Fortunately, we've seen a few developers try to fill the gap in recent times, and one such game is the iPad-only Dungeons Of Chaos [Free (HD) / $1.99 (HD)]. While it doesn't quite have the scope of some of the great games of old, it's certainly got the feeling down pat. For many, that might be a turn-off, but for some of you, and you probably know who you are, you're going to find this one hard to put down until you've finished it...

Tin Man Games has been applying their considerable gamebook know-how to the Fighting Fantasy series for a couple of years now, so far releasing eight of the most popular and noteworthy installments of the franchise. While there are a couple of conspicuous absences remaining, the developer has shown a good eye in its selections thus far. The latest release, Fighting Fantasy: Bloodbones [$5.99], is an interesting choice for a few reasons. This is the first of Tin Man's Fighting Fantasy releases that isn't written by either Ian Livingstone or Steve Jackson, instead being the work of Jonathan Green, one of the writers from the later days of the series. Bloodbones was considered a lost book for several years, as it was initially planned as the 60th entry in the series before publisher Puffin canceled Fighting Fantasy with the 59th book. Like its titular character, death didn't hold it back for long. In 2006, fans could finally put their hands on Bloodbones as the 26th release in the Wizard Books revival of the line...

Combo Quest [$0.99] is a game that infuriates me and tantalizes me simultaneously. Its concept is pretty clever and fun to play with, walking a constant tightrope act to where you have to not screw up in order to succeed against increasingly-steep odds. But the balance of the game's elements feels out of whack, which I think keeps the game from being great, but causes it to remain endlessly fascinating...

Gunslugs 2 [$2.99] is a really sloppy game that revels in that fact. It's fast, you might not be able to tell what's going on all the time, and it just feels unrefined. But the game caters to the fact that it's chaotic, and makes for another great run 'n gun from Orangepixel, the veteran iOS solo developer who keeps putting out solid stuff...

Some developers take a long time between game releases, making each one an often-painful wait between titles. If you're a Nitrome fan, you have no idea what I'm talking about. The pixel art aficionados and creators of Icebreaker [$0.99 / $2.99] have been on an utter tear on mobile in the last few months, with five games since August 2014, and three since December 2014, with the third being Gunbrick [$2.99]. Where Roller Polar [Free] and Platform Panic [Free] were both meant to be smaller arcade-style games, Gunbrick is a more fleshed-out, level-based puzzle-platformer. It's a game that's here and gone, though, being all too brief...

There are lots of different reasons that a person might enjoy an RPG, from the story to the battle system to exploration, but I think the one aspect that speaks to just about everyone is seeing numbers go up. It's such an appealing element of RPGs that it's been wholesale lifted by other genres over the last several years to massive success. Some games have even gone as far as to ditch everything else, allowing you to mindlessly tap away to see your numbers go up. Templar Infinite Crusade [$1.99] doesn't go quite that far, but it's certainly in the neighborhood. It looks like the dog's breakfast, it's so random that you'll need as much luck as strategy to survive, and yet, there's a certain basic appeal to the game that might get its hooks into you if you give it a shot...

FIFA 15: Ultimate Team [Free] is a game that lives and dies by its monetization. Where previous entries in the series had a bevy of modes that soccer video games will have, this latest entry in EA's soccer series scraps them all for the Ultimate Team mode being the exclusive focus of the game. This is about building squads of players obtained through card packs, earning coins from matches, competing in seasons and tournaments, trying to get rewards and buy more card packs to build deeper and better teams in the quest to form the Ultimate Team. While the core game is better than ever, and the Ultimate Team mode has its perks, the shift to just being about this monetized meta-game hurts FIFA 15...

If Super Meat Boy had a rhythm based mini-game, it might look a lot like Give It Up![$0.99]. A strong techno beat drives the latest offering from Invictus. The first time I died the game told me 'Maybe you should go watch TV.' As a fan of good burns, I took this as a good omen of things to come. I was not disappointed...

The tag line for The Witcher AG[$5.99 (HD)] says a lot. "The Witcher Adventure Game is CD PROJEKT RED's board game set in the brutal, dark fantasy universe of monster slayer Geralt of Rivia!." I don't know if its intentional that one hero gets top billing over the other three that are involved in the game, but after playing some rounds, I think we have a pretty obvious Mary Sue case on our hands. Geralt is the guy that right off the bat is best in combat. No one fights like Geralt, rolls his dice like Geralt, In a wrestling match nobody bites like Geralt. If you are ok with a slower start, the other characters are ok to play too though...

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