Category Archives: 3.5 stars

You really have to hand it to The King of Fighters series. Not only has it survived through 20 years and more than one company sale, it's actually seen fairly regular releases throughout that span, proving to be just as prolific, if not more so, than its more well-known competitors. It also has long roots on handhelds, with semi-regular handheld versions dating all the way back to the second installment, King of Fighters '95. I feel like the series has never quite gotten its due from the general public, but it enjoys a strong reputation among fighting game fans, and The King of Fighters '98 [$3.99] is arguably the best of the bunch...

Dragon Raiders [$0.99] is not your typical endless runner. It may seem like Temple Run [Free] with dragons on the surface, but what lies beneath is a clever game with a bit more to it...

Adventure games are currently enjoying a renaissance after a long period of dormancy. Telltale's dialogue-heavy episodic games are enjoying excellent sales and general critical acclaim, Kickstarter's main legacy in gaming may well end up being dragging many veteran adventure game designers back out for another game, the PC market just might be the strongest it's ever been, and touch interfaces have proven to be a natural second home for point and click-style games. It's an interesting situation for this latest version of Secret Files: Tunguska [$4.99] to release into, a game which has a history of arriving in slightly drier climates. Originally released in 2006 for PC with ports a couple of years later on Nintendo's DS and Wii systems, Secret Files has been fairly successful at taking advantage of a lack of competition, something that obviously isn't the case on iOS...

Appeals to nostalgia have become something of a commodity these days in video games. With the generation of kids who grew up on 8- and 16-bit sprite-based games all grown up and making their own games, the relatively low cost of producing assets in the style compared to assets that push the bleeding edge of technology, and the generally favorable response from an audience pining for the carefree days of their youth, it's not really a surprise that what once was a rare treat has now become commonplace, particularly in indie and mobile circles. The most common way games tip their hats to the past is in the presentation, using graphics, sound, and music that reflect popular hardware of the past, such as the NES and the Spectrum...

Orbitum [$0.99 / Free] by Happymagenta is a twisty little challenging arcade game. A challenge of keeping an orb from getting sucked into the central vortex by moving it outward, one orbit at a time, while collecting point orbs and avoiding obstacles and going too far out, this game can be rather rewarding once it is understood...

No, gentle reader, you are not seeing double. Though it shares a surname and a great deal of assets with early summer's Bill Killem [Free] from Everplay and Chillingo, Buzz Killem [$0.99] is a completely different game that takes place in the same universe. Rather than the timed running action of Bill, this game puts you in control of Bill's father, Buzz, in a stage-based arena battling action game that will feel instantly familiar for fans of Super Crate Box [$1.99]. This isn't the first time Everplay's name has been attached to an arena battler, of course. They also acted as the publisher for FireFruitForge's awesome melee action game Spell Sword [$0.99], and there are certainly elements of that incorporated into Buzz Killem's design as well...

The original Civilization Revolution [$2.99] represented acclaimed designer Sid Meier's attempt to make the Civilization series more appealing to a wider range of people than before. The main Civilization series is extremely well-known and beloved for being an incredibly deep game series, with each game offering nearly infinite replay value. The aim with Revolution was to take the core concepts of Civ and make a game that wasn't as intimidating by streamlining certain aspects and reducing the average length of each game. While hardcore fans of the original series were a bit mixed on the results, it was fairly well-received overall. Originally releasing on PC and various consoles, it made a big splash on iOS with a slightly late port in 2009. The game was a great match for mobiles, offering a reasonably deep gameplay experience that fit the stop and go nature of many mobile gamers. It was also quite well-maintained by publisher 2K Games, and was still receiving occasional updates as recently as late last year...

Uppercup Football [Free] is an intriguing take on soccer, one that's somewhat turn-based. It takes the core rules of the sport and makes it so that the player with the ball is stationary, with the ability to set shot power, timed to a rotating arrow. The game is actually set up to be an interesting match of soccer, but it just decides to layer too many extra bells and whistles on top...

Long time indie aficionados may remember Oscura, a somewhat obscure platformer with a beautiful art style reminiscent of Limbo. While the original is no longer on the App Store, Surprise Attack Games recently released a sequel in Oscura Second Shadow [$2.99]. Keeping to the themes of its predecessor, Second Shadow retains its visual flair and with a new set of levels, traps and baddies to avoid...

On the list of things I would never have guessed I'd be playing on my iPhone in 2014, a rhythm game from SNK based on the King of Fighters franchise has to rank pretty highly. I'm not going to question what led SNK to make their first new music game in over 13 years, but given how fondly I remember their last one, I'm glad to see them return to the genre, even if it's in quite a different form. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that most people haven't played SNK's Cool Cool Toon for the SEGA Dreamcast, given it was a fairly late Japan-only release, but if you have, The Rhythm of Fighters [$0.99] borrows heavily from it, along with a little inspiration from Theatrhythm Final Fantasy [Free]...

If you’re into water physics puzzlers, H2FLOW [$1.99] by Haptix Games is the latest entry into the mix. Differentiating itself from the rest of the pack is the fusion of a few elements from other genres, making it part-action, part-puzzler with water physics tying it all together. Alas, some significant issues with controls, combined with an exceptional emphasis on difficulty may take the game beyond the typical casual audience for such puzzlers. However, endure and you’re left with a satisfying, though challenging, experience...

Today's law enforcement officers have many tools at their disposal for catching bad guys. Tasers, handguns, tear gas, forensic investigation, DNA testing, and more are used to their utmost effectiveness to keep normal citizens like you and me safe from nefarious fellows. Vigilantes, too, have their tricks, whether it's martial arts skills, expensive tank cars, or goopy web fluid. However, some criminals are so devious that they fall between the cracks of the police and superheroes. The secret to stopping them is known only to two entities: Macaulay Culkin and the developers of Get Fiquette [$1.99]...

There are many things you could accuse the Trese Brothers, developers of Star Traders 4X: Empires in Exile [Free / $4.99] of with regards to how they handle their games. You can't ever say that they lack ambition or industriousness, however, and that has never been more apparent than with this latest release. Although most of their past mobile work has been for Android mobile devices, the Trese Brothers have released two games before this on iOS. Their first release, a couple of years ago, was Star Traders RPG [Free / $2.99], a sci-fi themed trading game with an impressive amount of universe lore. Then, several months ago, they released Heroes of Steel RPG [Free / $3.99], an interesting turn-based strategy RPG that again featured an impressive amount of world-building. Both games were in many ways too deep for their own good at times, and both were pretty rough around the edges at release. On the positive side, both have received a mind-boggling amount of updates in response to player feedback...

There are an awful lot of games involving cats on the App Store. Sometimes, their inclusion doesn't even make sense. Like most of the Internet, I love cats, so I'm not going to complain, but there are plenty of people out there who have a slightly more negative appraisal of the feline species, and I can only guess how many games they miss out on as a result. If that describes you, perhaps you've gazed longingly at Cat Physics [$1.99], the popular puzzle game released a few years back by Donut Games, wishing you could enjoy its physics-based puzzles without all that shedding on your freshly-laundered slacks. Well, person with an unusually strong hatred of digital cats, have I got a game for you. It's called Lightlands [$0.99], and although it has a few new ideas to freshen things up, at its core, it's essentially Cat Physics after TV's Alf has made the scene...

DUNGEONy [$2.99] is a curious game because while it's a turn-based roguelike, and certainly those are not rare, but it's more of a puzzle game set around roguelike mechanics than an actual roguelike...

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