Category Archives: 3.5 stars

Reviewing a game like Dragon Quest [$2.99] is never easy. First of all, as many of you probably do, I have a very deep childhood connection to this game, which means it's a nostalgic trip for me every time I play it. Then there's the fact that this is a genre-defining game, and as a result, can't possibly be expected to be as refined as the games that followed in the path it carved out. Ultimately, this game is both a classic and a curio, a piece of history that feels like one, no matter how much Square Enix tries to pretty it up. Its age is in its fundamental structure. I think it holds up very well relative to other games from its era, but that's perhaps faint praise, given the state of console RPGs in 1986. A completely new player without any sort of fondness for the history of the series would be better off checking out Dragon Quest 4 [$14.99] first. That doesn't mean that the first Dragon Quest has nothing to offer, but it's probably not the best way to break the ice in 2014...

I have a very simple wish. I don't think I'm asking for all that much. I want Etherlords [Free] to be the vanguard for the death of energy systems in free-to-play RPGs. We've seen a rise in these kinds of games that make game design purists recoil in horror – ruled by automated battle systems that don't always work in favor of the player. But here's Etherlords, which at least has the decency to let the player play as much as they want. Oh, and it's also a puzzle game with battling that's really just incidental to the whole experience...

Why did Epic Eric [$0.99]appeal to me? Because it's a game all about swinging around, which is one of my favorite gameplay mechanics, the cousin of grappling hooks, my number one favorite. I mean, it's why I was so excited by Deep Under the Sky [$3.99], those grappling hooks, and the swinging on them thereof. So, Epic Eric intrigued me. And I must say, it lived up to my intrigue for the most part...

It's been a long trek from student project to full blown game concept and beyond, but Bedtime Digital Games has finally released their collaborative creation, Back to Bed[$3.99] . Arriving on iOS just a few weeks after it's steam release, this beauty is here to entice you with a graphical pedigree rarely seen on a mobile game. Even though the lionshare of intellectual stimulation offered by the game is by way of art appreciation, there is not much to get in your way as you take in the sights offered up by this title...

Having just finished my review of the final episode of The Walking Dead Season Two [$4.99], I thought it might be nice to decompress with a little pinball, as I often do after finishing a story-heavy game. Luckily for me, the developers behind Zen Pinball [Free] just released a thematically-appropriate new table as both a standalone app and an in-app purchase within the regular app. The Walking Dead Pinball [$1.99] follows most of the well-established trappings of Zen Studios's take on silverball, so it's hard to say if people burnt out on their offerings will be all that excited with it. For fans of The Walking Dead game, however, it brings just enough of the character of Season One [Free] to make it worth checking out...

Do you like the review headline? See, what I did there was take Clash of Clans [Free] and clumsily mixed Star Wars with it in a very on-the-nose way, in hopes that it would provide some entertainment to fans of both. Sorry for the sidetrack there, you came here to read a review of Star Wars: Commander [Free], right? It's the latest in a very long line of Star Wars-themed games that give a popular genre or title a healthy coat of Star Wars paint to see if something magical will happen. To the credit of Lucasarts, this has yielded some strong results in the past. Star Wars Baldur's Gate was pretty cool, Star Wars Wing Commander was amazing, Star Wars Battlefield 1942 was really fun, and even Star Wars Doom was pretty good for its time. Of course, there was also Star Wars Fighting Game and Star Wars Twisted Metal, so clearly the pendulum swings both ways here...

Ancient Battle: Hannibal[$4.99] is the latest in the long line of historical battle sim games that Hunted Cow has made for iOS. Between Ancient Battle, Tank Battle: 1944[$0.99] , and Civil War: 1863[$4.99] and the franchises they comprise , they have created nine games across their three series since March of 2012. You might ask how this is possible and I think I have the secret to their prolific abilities. These games are almost direct map packs of the same base game. Now sure, new technology has been added like the ability to zoom. Graphical updates and new unique units(elephants are listed as unique, but they have been in other Ancient Battle games) get added with each title, but I can't shake the similarity...

It would be nice if, one day, all four of Kemco's development teams could get together and make an RPG that combines all of their strengths and covers all of their weaknesses. After just over one year of reviewing Kemco's near-monthly releases, I'm at the point where all I need to do is look at which team is behind a game to make a strong guess at which areas the game will succeed or fail in. This time, we've got Magitec's latest, Soul Historica [$7.99]. They're the developers behind Grinsia [$7.99], Chrome Wolf [$7.99], and Covenant of Solitude [$7.99], and if you've played any of those, you've probably got a good idea of how well you'll like this one...

Carcassonne [$9.99] is one of my favorite board games, and I still play the mobile version to this day. There's something about the combination of depth with the relatively short length of a session that really calls to me, and there aren't very many experiences like it on the market. So when I heard that Damn Little Town [Free] was a new take on the classic board game I jumped at the opportunity to try it out...

Dungeon Slots [Free] is the kind of game that I'm glad an independent developer made as a curious side project, rather than by a large company looking to monetize it. This is a game that is somewhat mindless and random – but unlike many other slot games, it owns this fact, and manages to be surprisingly player-friendly for a game where there's little control over what happens...

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 [$1.99] 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...

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