Category Archives: 3.5 stars

Terminal Velocity [$2.99] is one of those games I vaguely remember playing from my childhood. It's something my uncle may have brought over once, and ended up leaving in my PC, allowing me to play it for an extended period of time. But even after all that gametime, it sort of went in and out of my memory banks, and after playing it recently on a mobile device, I can see why...

There are plenty of things I appreciate about Cartoon Survivor [Free], a new isometric platformer from Australia-based Spunge Games. Most immediately, it has a strong and cohesive visual design, full of bright colors and cute animations. The level designs are clever and packed with secrets to find, some of which may require you to come back with gear you'll earn later in order to get the best time. There are unlockables both of the cosmetic and practical type, giving you something tangible to shoot for as you play through. It also gives you enough levels for free to get a feel for the game before it asks you to pay to unlock the rest, and in an unusual turn, allows you grind up in-game currency and pay that way. You're probably waiting for the other shoe to drop right about now, and it will. But don't worry, it's only a little shoe. A booty, at best...




When I got my very first iOS device, there were a few genres in particular I had hoped and imagined would be well-represented on the App Store. I've talked before about my early search for a good Picross-style game, but the other kind of game I was looking for was a first-person, turn-based dungeon crawler, along the lines of Wizardry, The Bard's Tale [$2.99], or Etrian Odyssey. I felt that would be a pretty good kind of game to play on a smartphone, and surmised that there ought to have been plenty by the time I made my late entry. The problem is, even with the recent renewed interest in the sub-genre, it's actually pretty niche, and even the genre descriptor causes confusion thanks to the conflation with Diablo-style dungeon crawlers. I asked many people at the time, but nobody seemed to be able to point me towards anything that satisfied what I was looking for...

'8-Bit Waterslide' Review - Why the Long Face?

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June 15th, 2015 3:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Reviews, Runner, Universal
$1.99 Buy Now

I often find myself wondering if humanity is heading for a future like the one portrayed in Mike Judge's Idiocracy. The gist of the film, for those who haven't sent it, is that smart people don't "breed" as often as stupid people, which will therefore create a future society populated entirely by idiots. Everything from the food they eat to the shows they watch on TV are as unsophisticated as possible, and--even though the film is a comedy--I must admit it sends a small chill down my spine whenever I see something particularly low brow take off in our current popular culture. Could this be the beginning of the end? I think to myself...

'Dead Eyes' Review - 28 Apps Later

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June 3rd, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, iPad Games, iPhone games, Puzzle, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

How many zombie games can you take in a lifetime? A thousand? A million? Some people can't even take just a few. These days, you don't really have a choice. Thankfully, Dead Eyes [$2.99] is a decent game by any standard, whether you're fed up with the shambling dead or can't get enough of their lifelessness...

This game almost completely slipped under my radar. It released last week to virtually no hype or buzz at all. I downloaded it along with a bunch of other weekly releases and nearly forgot about it entirely. Man am I glad that I decided to boot it up while cleaning my phone's storage instead of deleting it outright. Dynamix[Free] from C4Cat is one of the most interesting and unique, if ultimately flawed, music games in recent memory...

'Bad Dinos' Review - Yabba Dabba Defense

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May 26th, 2015 12:30 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Games, Reviews, Tower Defense, Universal
99¢ Buy Now

I, Nathan Reinauer, have a problem. Buried somewhere deep in my soul, I think I may have known it all along. I’ve tried to blame others, but I’m starting to believe it is, in fact, my fault. Yes, it’s time I face the music and finally admit it to the world: I’m bad at tower defense games...

Imagine you’re in a room by yourself. Every so often someone comes by and slips a piece of paper under the door with Chinese characters on it. You don’t know Chinese yourself, but you do have a book that can help. You simply look up the characters in the book and it’ll tell you what should be said back based on the rules of Chinese language and conversation. You don’t actually understand any of what you’re writing, but the person on the other side of the door is convinced they’re conversing with someone who is fluent. This is John Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment, and I was reminded of that while playing Sleep Furiously [$0.99] by Playmation Studios...

'Oddwings Escape' Review - Shiny Wings

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May 22nd, 2015 1:45 PM EDT by Nathan Reinauer in 3.5 stars, Free, Racing, Reviews, Runner, Universal
Free Buy Now

I wish I could love Oddwings Escape [Free] by Small Giant Games. Don’t get me wrong--I definitely like it. But in order to love something, I need to feel a drive deep in my soul to go back to it over and over, because That Thing is super enjoyable and puts a warm glow in my otherwise darkened husk of a heart. Like pizza and cats. Oddwings is more like… fireworks. I like fireworks. They’re pretty and fine and I’ve been known to enjoy a firework or two when the time is right. But I’m not the sort of person who seeks them out. Maybe you are, though, and that’s fine. And this game is fine. Let’s talk about it...

Kids today are all about Minecraft [$6.99]. Mining this, mining that. Back when I was a young fellow, we had a different kind of 'craft: Lovecraft. Okay, if you're still reading, you're probably strong enough to handle a bit of Lovecraftian gamebook horror. The problem is that up until recently, most of the horror gamebooks on iOS have been focused on zombies, vampires, or other such classic monsters. Tin Man Games has had a couple of promising-looking titles up for a couple of years now, but they were French books without translations, leaving them out of the reach of most English players. Well, it seems like May 2015 is the month where Tin Man is finishing some old business, because in addition to the recent release of Gamebook Adventures 10 [$5.99], they've also finished up an English version of Les Fils d'Uruzime, translated directly as Sons Of Uruzime [$2.99]...

Sometimes, the most simple experience is the best experience. That goes double for the mobile platform, where often times your only method of control is a basic tap motion. Orbits [Free] follows that principle to a tee, and although it can be a tad too simplistic in its presentation, it's definitely worth looking into...

Rebel 1…. Action! Full disclosure up front; if you couldn't tell. I freaking love the BlazBlue games. Not only are they complex, highly competitive fighting games, but they have a genuinely awesome story that is actually the focus. The mastermind of BlazBlue, Toshimichi Mori, has even said his intention was to create an epic fighting game saga with a deep, interesting  story that mattered from game to game, which is pretty much the opposite of the standard. Also, the soundtrack is pure excellence to my taste. Tons of epic Prog Rock/Orchestral hybrids. Very metal. Listen to This song here to get psyched up while I tell you about a brand new iPad exclusive BlazBlue  Collectible Card Game (CCG), BlazBlue: Battle Cards...

Well, I guess I opened a can of worms when I reviewed Hakuoki [$27.99] a while back, because we've received numerous reader requests for more visual novel reviews. Let it never be said that TouchArcade does not aim to please, so even though it's a few months old, I've decided to write up the most commonly-requested title, Queen's Gambit [Free]. This one comes from Voltage Entertainment USA, one of the more popular American developers in the genre, and it follows the adventures of an elite spy working for a private organization dedicated to keeping the world safe. Like most visual novels, you can count on a lot of reading, a little bit of decision-making, and a whole lot of romance...

It would be awfully easy for me to say that if you liked Knights Of Pen & Paper [$4.99], you'll love Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 [$4.99]. When I first started playing the game, I know that's how I felt. If I had called it quits an hour or so in, I might have walked away thinking this was a marginally improved, safe follow-up to the original. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I stuck it out to the end, and while I think fans of the first will probably enjoy this game and get their money's worth out of it, Knights Of Pen & Paper 2 is in my opinion a step down from the first game in several ways...

'Tallowmere' Review - Axes, Clubs, and Rocket Launchers

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May 13th, 2015 3:00 PM EDT by Andrew Koziara in 3.5 stars, Reviews
$3.99 Buy Now

Booting up Tallowmere [$3.99] by Chris McFarland for the first time results in two things: eye strain and frustration. At least at first. The charm of this game takes some time to creep up on you, but when it clicks, it really clicks. There are some issues to be worked out, for sure, but there's a reason our forums were getting really excited in discovering this game together...

If nothing else, I'll give the developer of Soul Unleashed [Free / $4.99] this: I've never played anything quite like this before. Oh, all of the parts are familiar, to be sure, but the way they're combined here is quite unique. Better still, the combination actually works. What we have here is part single-player, turn-based dungeon crawler, part social RPG, and a dash of gamebook. It features probably my favorite implementation of the by now well-worn idea of bringing other player's characters into fights with you, and yet you can also play the game just fine without any internet connection. In the beginning, quests feel like little slices from a gamebook, but you're soon having to navigate labyrinthine dungeons and catacombs, fighting off monsters around every corner. It's an odd beast, but I ended up liking it quite a bit...

Goat Simulator Goat Z [$4.99] by Coffee Stain Studios is among the worst zombie games I’ve ever played. It’s also one of the worst survival, physics, and score chasing games I’ve played. It is, however, a very good goat game. And it’s certainly the best physics-based zombie survival game featuring a goat to ever grace the App Store...

Lifeline [$0.99] is a gamebook/choose-your-own-adventure novel that tries to do something a bit different from other games: it is designed as a game where you experience it through notifications as much as you do through the app itself, with simple A/B choices to make. It's got Apple Watch compatibility, so it's meant to be something that you can experience anywhere, at any time. It also plays off of the ways that we receive notifications on our devices, and wait for responses. It's a clever concept, with great writing, but it falls apart after the first playthrough, when the waiting gimmick quickly grows old and hinders the experience...

If there's one thing that Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities [$5.99] should be remembered for, it's the way that developers Psychoz Interactive have listened to players' feedback and quickly fine-tuned their game. After six years in development, the game we were presented with was a masterfully atmospheric but tiresomely difficult and repetitive horror game. But after just one week of hurried tweaking and re-balancing, most complaints were addressed to some degree, producing a game that is extraordinarily good but still agonisingly flawed...

Dungeon Link [Free] is a clever game: it combines line-drawing puzzles, where you have to connect different sets of dots with lines that don't intersect, and makes it into an RPG battling system. Characters have different attacks and do more damage the longer their lines are, and the more they run over and by enemies. You can level up, combine, and evolve your characters, just like many free-to-play social RPGs, but the puzzle gameplay is the real hook here. Once auto-battling gets involved and the concept of the game just proves to be something you can just ditch entirely, then a lot of the charm that Dungeon Link first has goes away...

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