Category Archives: 3.5 stars

'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
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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
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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 / $0.99] 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 [$1.99] 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...

'Kayos' Review - Star Faux

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Over the course of my entire iOS lifetime (which started in 2009), I've probably played a couple hundred runner games. Although I haven't given them an equal time of day, for some reason the genre just doesn't get old, and I can spend at least an afternoon with them as long as they're semi-competent experiences. Kayos [$1.99] is another cool little endless runner based on flight that won't garner your interest long, but enough to make an impact...

'The Paris Dossier' Review - Spying in WW2 Paris

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May 1st, 2015 2:00 PM EDT by Tasos Lazarides in $1.99, 3.5 stars, Adventure, Reviews, Universal
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When most think of WW2, they think of grainy black-and-white footage of exploding planes and of exhausted soldiers running to their death. That this is the dominant imagery of WW2 is not surprising, of course, since most of us are drawn to the visual spectacle of explosions and destruction. Yet, there was an even more intense aspect of WW2, one that was in a way a war of individuals rather than armies, and that was the spy-against-spy war whose theater consisted of the cities and villages behind enemy lines. It's in this quiet battlefield that Lexica Games has set its noir-ish adventure game, The Paris Dossier [Free], a relatively-traditional adventure game that is entertaining, especially for those with an interest in cryptography and word puzzles, despite its relative brevity and occasional UI issues...

How many "city building" tap games have you played before? The answer is usually "just one and I hate them" or "five on a daily basis," with very little room in between. Yes, Century City [Free] is another one of those "wait and tap" builders, but it sets itself apart with a few extra mechanics that allow you to play a more active role in your cities' quest for unfettered expansion...

Spirit Lords [Free] from Kabam is their twist on the popular free-to-play hack 'n slash genre. Daniel Erickson, lead designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic and Phil Shenk, lead character artist on Diablo 2, played significant roles in the creation of this game. Additionally, Kabam wanted this to be what they term "white hat" free-to-play, where you can earn all loot through normal gameplay. What they've made is a solid action-RPG, with good touch controls, and a monetization system that can provide hours of play at no cost, but demands lots of grinding to be powerful...

I am definitely a formalist when it comes to video games. I don't think that games without structure or failure conditions are any less valuable as interactive works or as artistic achievements. I just enjoy my time with clickers more than I do, say, The Sailor's Dream [$3.99]. I like structure and progression, having a goal to attain. It motivates me to play, and when I no longer care about the goal, that will get me to stop playing. Simple as that. ..

There's no doubt in my mind that Devious Dungeon 2 [$0.99] makes some worthwhile improvements over the original game. Most of them are things that people directly asked for, even. In the end, though, it can't quite escape that feeling of repetitiveness that permeates the titles released by Ravenous Games. It's absolutely worth its price, and it's as engaging as any of the coin-grinders they've put out, but like most of their output from the last few years, it feels like all of the edges have been sanded off to make the safest, most widely-appealing product possible. Is that a bad thing? I guess it depends on what you're looking for out of it...

Super Hexagon [$2.99] still has an outsized influence on mobile gaming, as minimalist, high-difficulty, arcade-style games keep coming out. Tiltagon [Free] from Jyri and Piia Kilpeläinen, decides to skew closer to Super Hexagon where many games are now taking influence from Flappy Bird and Crossy Road [Free]. The high-tempo electronic music, the hexagons, the frequent deaths, they all seem familiar. Tiltagon does an admirable job at mixing things up by being a tilt-based game that can't match the speed of touch-based games, but finds clever ways to fit in this arcade challenge genre...

'Shades' Review: A Strikingly Simple, Tetris like Puzzle Game

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April 15th, 2015 2:30 PM EDT by Ben Jarris in 3.5 stars, Free, Puzzle, Reviews
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Shades [$1.99];the notably unique Tetris like puzzle game came out late last year and flew under the radar. Since it’s launch the game has grown a huge following, been featured by Apple as their ‘Free Game of the Week’, and even been recreated within Minecraft by seriously dedicated fans. A recent major update of the game and the release of Shades Free [Free]; made me take notice and have a closer look. If you love sleek design and you’re good with color like me then you should definitely take on this challenge and give Shades a try. ..

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