Category Archives: 3.5 stars

The Kingdom Rush [$0.99 / $2.99 (HD)] series has been one of the most popular tower defense franchises out there, and it's thanks in part to its introduction of action and RTS elements with the summonable reinforcements, and the hero units that can be sent across the battlefield to help take care of any threats. It gives this genre a fresh feel, and not just about sitting back and watching towers annihilate enemy creeps. Now Ironhide Games continues the franchise with Kingdom Rush Origins [$2.99 / $4.99 (HD)], a game that iterates on the formula that previous entries established. It's still a solid game, but it's pretty clear at this point that it's a series just for fans of it, and I failed to find any reason for newcomers to particularly jump in to this entry in particular...

'Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War' Review - A Freemium Sibling

As we mentioned earlier this month when we posted the teaser trailer, Gameloft’s Brother in Arms 3: Sons of War [Free] has been a long time coming. Announced in June of 2013, we took it for a spin back in E3 2013 and enjoyed the big changes to the series - namely the transition from a traditional shooter to one that was mostly a cover-based on-rails affair. Fast forward nearly a year and a half later and Sons of War is significantly different than when last we played it. For folks hoping for a significant shift in the series direction, Sons of War may disappoint as it goes back to its traditional roots, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing...

I don't think I'll ever be accused of being stingy with my words, but if I were to wrap this entire review up into a short summary, here it goes. If you enjoyed Record Of Agarest War [$6.99]'s seventy-something hour campaign, spent dozens of hours more to fully complete everything, and still find yourself wanting another full-sized game offering a similar experience, you should buy Record Of Agarest War Zero [$14.99]. That's essentially the only scenario where I can see recommending this latest release from HyperDevBox, because just about everyone else with an interest in the Agarest series ought to be starting with the first game anyway. Agarest Zero tells a new story with new characters, but the underlying gameplay offers virtually little of note over its predecessor and actually streamlines a few things out that I'm not sure needed to be ditched...

Unless it has some really cool source material or has something new to contribute, it’s really tough to get excited about a new Clash of Clans clone these days. Enter Activision’s Call of Duty: Heroes [Free], a Clash-inspired title that recently left its soft launch and debuted in North America. While Heroes is obviously banking on the incredible popularity of the Call of Duty series, it doesn’t offer a few interesting features to try and distinguish itself from the rest of the genre. Whether or not that’s enough to differentiate itself from the pack remains to be seen...

Honestly, I've just about had it with robots. They're either evil or annoying, and I'm tired of dealing with the fallout of either type. I think the last straw for me was finding out that nice Robo fellow from Chrono Trigger [$4.99] was actually rickrolling me for nearly the last twenty years. I mean, you think you know a tin can, only to find out it's been snickering behind your back. That's the trouble with robots, and if you're like me, you're always up for giving their shiny metal keisters a good kicking. Luckily, there's no shortage of games that let us do that, and the latest one is the pretty clever Trouble With Robots [Free]...

I've been reviewing games for more than 15 years now, and one of the things that is still sometimes hard for me to sort out is how much value to place on creativity, or I suppose, how harshly I should criticize a game that lacks it. I don't think every game needs to reinvent the wheel, but I also think it's important that some games do strive to do new things. Otherwise, we'd all still be playing Pong and Space Invaders clones and nothing else. That said, a well-made game whose only real fault is playing it safe can still be quite enjoyable. Swords Of Anima [$2.99] is quite well-constructed, surprisingly so given that it's a rookie effort from a small developer. It's also a fairly rote take on the turn-based SRPG genre, so if you're looking for something that shakes up genre conventions, this one's probably not going to do it for you...

The sports genre of video games is an interesting animal. It was probably the first genre to seriously concern itself with authenticity, both in terms of the recreating the play mechanics of the real game and acquiring real licenses. One of the first times I heard a licensed song in a game was in one of EA Sports's titles, and the only reason I ever learned who people like John Madden and Jack Nicklaus were was because of video games bearing their names. It took a little while for that to catch on properly with the sport of hockey, with the first licensed products hitting in 1991. Even then, publishers had trouble deciding if they wanted the NHL license, the NHLPA license, or both. After that genie was let out of the bottle, it never went back in, at least until mobiles came around. While you would see the odd unlicensed football or basketball game, hockey games virtually always carried a license of some sort...

Coming into iOS gaming from a background in consoles, dedicated handhelds, and old computers, my first steps into the already-massive catalog were cautious ones. I stuck to familiar brands and the odd breakthrough that had made waves in the traditional media, such as Game Dev Story [$4.99]. One of the first real iOS originals that I fell absolutely in love with was League Of Evil [$1.99], from Ravenous Games. The game will always hold a special place in my heart for hammering it into me that, yes, virtual controls could work marvelously for an action game if they're handled correctly. These guys had their stuff together, I decided, and I began to follow them closely, anxiously awaiting their next big title. By all accounts, that game looked to be Random Heroes [Free], and I bought it pretty much the second it became available...

Being the ever-watchful observer that I am, I've noticed a trend in paid puzzle games of late. Perhaps battling against the effervescent, candy-coated, pastel shine of King's free-to-play offerings, puzzlers from the little guys are turning to the dark side. First, it was Darkin [$0.99], and now, Muertitos [$0.99]. Two games make a trend, right? I'm going to go ahead and call that science. While Darkin gave Dungeon Raid [$1.99] a spin with creatures of the night, Muertitos does something both familiar and unusual with its setup. That little bit of innovation combined with its very stylish presentation is enough to help it rise above the dense crowd, though just barely...

Space Age [$1.99] was a game that intrigued me from the moment I heard of it. The Incident [$0.99] is still a great game (though currently broken on iOS 8!), and last year's Blackbar [$2.99] from Big Bucket's Neven Mrgan was a unique story-driven game that I loved. So them making a new game was well overdue, and I was onboard with the idea of a retro-futuristic adventure game. The game is stated as being inspired by point-and-click adventure games from the 1990s, and certainly that comes through. And Space Age is wonderful when it tries to create a world, populated with interesting characters, that I want to explore and see more of. But sometimes Space Age tries to be an action game, and the experience suffers, because it's just not built to be that...

I feel like the last few games I've reviewed have skirted the line between being a game in the functional definition and being just an interactive experience. Cosmic DJ [$1.99] by GL33k and Devolver Digital is perhaps is more accurately described as a gamified music synthesizer than an actual game per se, it passes the sniff test just enough that it's worth talking about here. Actual musicians might find the basicness of composition rather lacking, and people who enjoy playing games to completion might find the lack of resistance toward achieving their goals dissatisfying. But non-musicians who want a clever way to compose music with only minimal musical knowledge, or want to enjoy the goofy-yet-earnest story here, will want to check this out...

'Micro Battles' Review - Share the Wealth

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November 13th, 2014 11:00 AM EST by Chris Carter in 3.5 stars, Action, Free, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Prices, Reviews, Universal
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The advent of touch technology has created a vast number of innovations that weren't really evident upon release.  While many are quick to damn virtual controllers and the like, one of my favorite things about mobile platforms is the sheer lack of physical controls. For certain games that need precision it can be a pain, but for titles that are custom-created for touch controls it's a dream to just pick up and play something. One avenue that I don't think gets enough love is the multiplayer on one device market. There are a decent amount of board games and asynchronous titles out there that support multiple people, but Micro Battles [Free] does a decent job of adding some arcade action into the mix...

Battle Worlds: Kronos [$16.99 (HD) / Free (HD)] is the iOS debut release for developer KING Art. As a big departure from their previous work, it's surprising how ambitious this game is. The game is a turn based hex grid futuristic war game that focuses primarily on tactical maneuvers, focused fire, and ammo/armor management. With 2 very large campaigns and online play there is a boat load of replay value in this title...

Okay, so if you've been around the block a few times in the mobile or flash game scenes, you've almost certainly come across a time management game before. Going back as far as Activision's Pressure Cooker, this puzzle sub-genre typically requires you to match pieces of things just right while under a time limit. It's enjoyed a bit of a comeback in recent years thanks to games like Diner Dash [Free] and Cook, Serve, Delicious! [$4.99 (HD)], and you can find dozens if not hundreds of games in the genre on the App Store, covering a wide variety of jobs or tasks. The difficult thing, then, for a new time management game is to differentiate itself from the enormous pack. Twisty Hollow [$2.99] opts for a more abstract view of the action, and from there it finds a few tricks to call its own...

Let's be frank, video games based on team sports aren't known for revolutions between updates. That reputation was mostly earned by them being among the first types of games to adopt a yearly release schedule. As it turns out, games take a lot of work to make, and if you're committed to meeting a particular date every year, there's only so much you can risk upheaving. Given this long-held tradition in the genre, I almost instinctively wasn't surprised to find that NHL 2K [$7.99] is, shall we say, a modest step forward from the last hockey game 2K released on iOS. Shaking away that initial gut reaction, I then remember that this isn't a yearly update, and it has in fact been over four years since NHL 2K11, and in that context, it's almost embarrassing how little has been done here. If you're looking for a decent hockey game and you don't have NHL 2K11, it's easy enough to recommend NHL 2K. It's competent, and there's honestly little competition even across the entire handheld spectrum. If you do have 2K11, the question of whether it's worth it gets a bit trickier...

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