Category Archives: 3.5 stars

Size DOES Matter [$0.99] is the rhythm game that really isn't. It has levels set to music that feel somewhat tied in to the beat, but is it something like Rock Band? Not at all. It's a game that perhaps could have taken more structure from that series, but it's an interesting approach that's really more of a music-centric challenging arcade game...

There sure are a lot of puzzle platformers around these days, aren't there? This was a huge genre back in the 8-bit days, and it's had a huge resurgence of late, spearheaded by games like Braid and its ilk. There's certainly a lot of them on iOS, which is sort of an interesting outcome when you think of the precise controls they frequently demand. Not that touch controls aren't up to the job, mind you, but it seems like when someone whiffs on implementing them correctly, they whiff hard. Great games can be reduced to mediocrity just by having, for example, a virtual directional pad that lacks responsiveness. Stop The Bots [Free] is not a great game, but it is a good one. Unfortunately, a combination of occasionally-spotty controls and a bit too much familiarity bring the game down some...

There really aren't enough decent 3D platformers on the App Store. There are quite a few good side-scrolling platformers, but even the companies with IP and money behind them seem reluctant to fill the 3D gap. Maybe it's the cost, perhaps it's a perceived issue with controls, or it might even just be down to the waning popularity of the genre in the hobby on the whole. Whatever the reason is, it leaves an opening for a game like Angel In Danger 3D [$0.99] to make its mark. It's not a particularly great game, and I'm not sure if it actually has even one idea to call its own, but it's challenging, competently-made, and by default is one of the better games on iOS to ape Mario's 3D style...

There's a pretty decent assortment of Adventure Time games available on the App Store now, and while they're not exactly blazing trails for the hobby, just about all of them are quite a bit better than a lot of licensed titles end up being. Adventure Time has already tackled the side-scrolling runner, sort of, in Ski Safari: Adventure Time [$0.99], and now it's taking a swing at the behind the back runner with Time Tangle: Adventure Time [$2.99]. This game is coming at us from the developers of Indiana Stone [$2.99], TwinSky, and like that game, it's got a very different idea of how to approach a well-mined concept...

Niman Legends: BrightRidge [$0.99] isn’t going to wow you with an impressive visual engine or keep you enraptured with an epic tale of good vs evil. However, BrightRidge does do one thing that keeps it interesting to any that check it out: Exploration. Focusing entirely on its open world environment and the locations (and secrets) it holds, BrightRidge does just enough right to keep the rest of the game worth playing...

Crazy Taxi: City Rush [Free] is a test for those who play it. How much monetization needs to get in the way of a game that's ultimately pretty fun to harm it? Hardlight Studios, Sega's go-to for making IAP-laden mobile games, are going to hit a lot of breaking points with players who can't stand free-to-play monetization, because this game is full of enticements to spend money. But in my estimation, they can't ruin what makes Crazy Taxi [$4.99]as a gameplay concept great...

For the most part, Regular Show games tend to fit the videogame mold far better than its Adventure Time brethren. Videogames are heavily cemented in the show itself, and there's hardly a season that passes by when stars Mordecai and Rigby veg out on the couch and game for hours on end. This time around the gang finds themselves in a tower defense-like situation, sparked by rival park manager Gene and The Great Prank War [$2.99]...

It wasn't that long ago in gaming's history where the trend was to come up with the gameplay first, and then fit whatever story you could onto it. There are still plenty of games like that, but recently, the major attention-grabbers have been games that seem to have started with a story first. While there are rare cases when things just come together beautifully, games with the former attitude tend to have stories that feel vestigial, while games of the latter type often have gameplay that feels that way. I can't speak for the motivations of the developers of Revolution 60 [Free], but it sure feels like it's the latter. This is a game with an intriguing plot, excellent presentation, and more endings than you can shake a stick at. Unfortunately, this is also a game with an over-reliance on quick-time events (QTEs), a morality system without a hint of nuance, awful pacing, and RPG mechanics that don't quite come together in a satisfying way...

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 [$2.99] 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 [$1.99 / 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...

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