Category Archives: 3.5 stars

Every now and then, a game comes along that has wonderful ideas, but sadly fails to live up to the promise of those ideas. Mainly because the awesome ideas are either under-funded or come from inexperienced developers. That's the case we have today, but when I saw this game, I could not pass it up. Not only did it look super hectic and crazy, but it's pretty unique in that it's both a castle defense and an endless runner. Endless Defense? Castle Runner? Anyway, in this case, your castle is a gargantuan pedal to the metal tank, and it isn't stopping for very much. I give you Mega Tank [Free]...

Tests can be stressful. I mean, that makes sense when you're not confident about the material on the test, but sometimes tests that cover things you know very well can be even more nerve-wracking. You shouldn't fail something if you know what you're doing, right? Now imagine the test you have to pass is checking your humanity. You can pass that test, surely. Most of our readers have been human for a while, after all. That's the premise behind Able Black [$3.99], an interactive fiction game where you play a freshly-booted android who has to pass his citizenship test before he can join society...




There weren't a lot of games that used the "draw a line" mechanic before smartphones, but the ones that did exist really stand out. One such title is Kirby: Canvas Curse, released on the Nintendo DS in 2005, among several other follow-ups and clones. Most of them follow the same formula -- simply draw on the screen to manipulate the character, which was usually cruising through a world drawn with a cutesy veneer. Don't Be Squared [Free] follows that same path, but with a decidedly less interesting aesthetic...

I almost let this particular game slip completely under my radar, but when I saw some screenshots of it, I knew I absolutely had to play it. I just hoped that the game would live up to the aesthetic. Mahluk: Dark Demon [$0.99] is a hack and slash platformer in the vein of Goblin Sword [$1.99] and Sword of Xolan [$0.99] with a super dark art style in which the foreground is completely silhouetted. It’s not dark in the artsy Limbo [$4.99] kind of way, but more the heavy metal crap-sack demon infested Dark Souls style world way, which I am all about. And while the aesthetic is far and away the best thing this game has going for it, it plays pretty decently as well...

By now, the social RPG genre has found a pretty comfortable groove. Take some kind of battle mechanic, staple the now-standard collect, fuse, evolve leveling system onto it, and make sure you have an ever-expanding line-up of desirable goodies for players to chase after. The recipe is simple enough, though finding success with it is another matter. There's a lot of competition, and players have got to be getting a little tired of the same old. That's likely as good an explanation as any for why the social RPG genre has started to stretch its legs out a little. If there's one company that has been trying seemingly every permutation of features to try to score a hit, it's Square Enix. Very few of their efforts have ever left the shores of Japan, but that might be starting to change. Not long ago, we saw a wide release for Kingdom Hearts Unchained Chi [Free], and now we've got one for Final Fantasy Brave Exvius [Free], Square's collaboration with Brave Frontier [Free] developers Alim...

'Drifty Dash' Review - Grand Theft Cartoon

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There's a distinct lack of car combat and otherwise silly vehicular based games in the current climate. Whereas everyone was chasing that almighty Destruction Derby or Twisted Metal dollar back in the day with entertaining, if flawed releases like Vigilante 8, nowadays a true successor is a rarity. Heck, even Mario Kart 8 had a ham-stringed battle mode. But with the multitude of platforms anything is possible, and although Drifty Dash [Free] doesn't come close to honoring its pedigree, it's not a bad way to pass the time...

Beat 'em ups started out with a simple enough premise. Punch stuff, get points. It's that easy! In an era where quarters equated to extra lives, and arcade owners could jack up the difficulty with the flip of a switch before the doors opened, it was a lucrative business. But once they hit home consoles things changed. Players could just opt for infinite lives, which, while great for your wallet, takes away some of the inherent nervousness of using up your very last quarter in X-Men while Magneto is flashing with a critical amount of life. It was a rush to be sure, and although Rockabilly Beatdown [$0.99] captures some of that magic, it lacks staying power...

The clicker meets the action RPG in Nonstop Knight [Free]. Essentially, the progression of action-RPGs with loot, character leveling, and elements of clickers like idle revenue generation, and prestiging to reset your progress in the name of permanent stat upgrades, are combined into one game. Your hero automatically runs through dungeons, and you watch them fight, triggering special timed abilities, and using the revenue you earn to buy more and better equipment. Normally, I'm opposed to clickers without clicking, but having the timed abilities to use means that there actually is a degree of meaningful interactivity. The only problem with Nonstop Knight is that its progression slows to crawl, and stops being meaningful way too soon...

When the Apple Watch released, a number of developers attempted to take advantage of the buzz by either updating old games with new features, or by releasing new games specifically designed with the Apple Watch in mind. One of the more success of the latter group was Lifeline [$1.99], an interactive fiction game that had you guiding a student named Taylor who had been stranded on a moon. As with most games in this genre, the game mostly consisted of reading text and making the occasional choice. The gimmick came from the way the game incorporated real time into the story. Taylor would often become busy after you made a choice, and you'd have no choice but to wait until Taylor notified you, via your watch or your device, that the story could continue. While the game itself was quite simple relative to other gamebooks, this element gave Lifeline the twist it needed to stand out from the pack...

Virtually every Japanese strategy RPG can be said to be inspired by Nintendo's Fire Emblem in some way or another. While strategy RPGs followed their own path in the West, they did so mostly on computer formats that either weren't available in Japan or were very niche. When Fire Emblem's developer Intelligent Systems got the idea to add some Dragon Quest-style elements to their Famicom Wars turn-based strategy formula, they ended up creating a sort of Dragon Quest of their own. Not nearly as popular, mind you, but certainly as influential for its sub-genre. Without Fire Emblem, games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, and Shining Force likely wouldn't have existed, nor would the numerous strategy RPGs that they themselves spawned. That said, while a debt is clearly owed, the genre has widened and evolved considerably over the years, to the point that many strategy RPG games bear little resemblance to Fire Emblem...

'Cruise Control' Review - Nightcall

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May 23rd, 2016 1:00 PM EDT by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Racing, Reviews, Universal
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Growing up in the 80s, I saw a ton of sci-fi films. Whether they were dramatic masterpieces or oozed cheese and camp I loved them all the same, and the numerous references in modern day media like Turbo Kid, Kung Fury, or Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon are palpable. Sometimes creators just go all out in their unabashed love for the era, and that passion shines through in Cruise Control [Free] -- albeit, in light of some unfortunate IAP peddling...

Having played hundreds of action adventure games over the years, the thirst is still very much intact. To many people out there there's only so many times you can adventure with Samus in space, or take an anthropomorphic rabbit on a quest to remember his past before you started to get winded of the concept. But every time I encounter a brand new 2D world, I feel like it's a brand new challenge to undertake -- a new excuse to get to know another universe. While the mechanics most definitely hold up, Soul of Sword [Free]'s world isn't necessarily worth uncovering...

Quirky media can often be a breath of fresh air. Whereas dramas and grimdark settings usually go over well with just about anyone, weird comedies like Arrested Development can break the mold and have us enjoy something we never even knew we wanted. But quirk alone isn't enough to carry every project. Sometimes, studios or developers can go overboard, and made a game so loud, so desperate for your attention that it falls on deaf ears. Despite some solid gameplay mechanics, Egz The Origin of the Universe [$3.99] suffers from some of these issues...

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...

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