Category Archives: 3.5 stars

With our present knowledge of how well puzzles mix together with dragons, it's almost tragic that it took gaming so long to bring the two together. Fortunately, if there's one thing the video game business is good at, it's making up for lost time. The brilliant mash-up of puzzle and RPG in Puzzle Quest was pounded into a more specific shape by Puzzle & Dragons [Free], and with that game's success, the floodgates opened. Generally, games following that blueprint tend to come in with either a variation or replacement of the puzzle element, or an interesting new theme. Occasionally, you get a game that does both. Fable Age [Free], from Blue Tea Games, brings a bunch of new twists to the sub-genre, but the most prominent one is cosmetic. Instead of the "mythology plus Batman, Angry Birds, and whatever other cross-overs we can swing" approach of P&D or going with wholly original characters like Brave Frontier [Free], this game uses characters from fables such as Goldilocks or King Midas...

Even if you've never heard of the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks written by Joe Dever (with their sporadic publishing history I wouldn't blame you), Joe Dever's Lone Wolf [$4.99], a new adventure made specifically for mobile platforms, has got a lot of initial punch. While everything seems to start like any other gamebook you've played on iOS, as soon as you reach the first battle of the game, it's clear that this game has got some strong ideas about where to take gamebooks in the future. The 'Wow' factor of turning the page to an illustration that comes to life in full 3D can't be underestimated, but in its quest to escape the shackles of its old format, Lone Wolf trips over some very familiar problems inherent to its new one. In the style of our reviews of The Walking Dead [Free] and The Wolf Among Us [$4.99], this review will be appended to as each new act releases...

Connoisseurs of specialized arcade cabinets have probably heard of DJMax Technika , the South Korean touch-screen based rhythm game. Being an arcade music game with touch controls, an iOS version would seem to be a natural fit and that’s exactly what we have with DJMax Technika Q[Free]. With an incredibly fine-tuned and enjoyable rhythm engine, Technika Q is unfortunately hampered by the bloated systems placed on top of its core gameplay...

The genre our hobby labels as "puzzle games" has got to be one of the broadest categories in entertainment. As such, the variation we see within that genre is massive. Sure, wherever there is success, there will be clones, but outside of naked attempts to imitate something great, it's fairly unlikely for any two random puzzle games to resemble one another, even in broad strokes. I'm not sure if it will prove to be a blessing or a curse for developer Radiangames, but it's certainly a bizarre bit of kismet that their new puzzle game, SideSwype [$1.99], a game about swiping blocks around on a grid, has landed just after the phenomenal Threes! [$1.99], which is also a game about swiping blocks around on a grid. There's absolutely no way this was cobbled together in the brief period of time since the release of Threes!, as it's incredibly polished and well-thought out, so we're left with one of those situations where we have to marvel at how interesting life can be sometimes...

Take a gander at the top grossing games on iOS and one game that’s been there for an incredibly long time is Supercell’s Clash of Clans [Free]. Combining freemium elements with base building and combat, Supercell managed to create a compelling system to encourage players to come back (and spend some money). Now, the freemium powerhouse has returned with the worldwide launch of Boom Beach [Free], the spiritual successor to Clash. Offering a similar experience in a different setting with just enough tweaks to make it unique, Boom Beach isn’t going to offer a radically different experience, but that might not be a bad thing in terms of approachability...

There are four types of people in this world: those who love Wipeout, those who love F-Zero, those who love both, and those with bad taste in racing games. When it comes to the battle for the best futuristic racer, it's been a real tug of war between those two franchises for years. F-Zero of course came first, but wasn't followed up on until after Psygnosis's brilliant launch of the Wipeout franchise. Wipeout took the crown in the 32/64-bit era, with F-Zero making a surprising comeback in the following generation with the SEGA-developed F-Zero GX, still one of the finest racing games ever made. Not content to sit on their laurels, the Wipeout team came into the next gen hard with what was one of the best-looking PlayStation 3 games for a very long time, Wipeout HD. Sadly, both franchises appear to be dormant, with Captain Falcon of F-Zero seeing more time Falcon Punching than driving the Blue Falcon, and nary of a whisper of Wipeout after the release of 2048 and the disbanding of Studio Liverpool...

Heart surgery, eye transplants, and dentistry. If this sounds like a horror movie, then you’re not far off. Except this time you’re the one in control, and all your patients are called Bob. No, you’re not dreaming, this is Bossa Studio’s Surgeon Simulator [$5.99 (HD)], which has been remodelled and released for the iPad, and if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a bit of a surgeon, well now here’s your chance...

Combining some super addictive and challenging physics puzzling with four classes of the cutest zombies, Artifex Mundi’s Deadlings [$1.99] is a joy to play. In a similar fashion to Lemmings, you, as the player, must navigate each of the zombie babies around and across the most death-defying traps in an attempt to "train" your minions...

Dawn of Play’s Roll Back Home [$1.99] doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to tilt-based platformers. While it has a few tricks up its sleeve in regards to the physics puzzles you do eventually take on, I’d say it’s still pretty traditional as far as the genre goes. Combine it with an impressive showing of sketchbook visuals and some pretty catchy music, and that’s really all Roll Back Home needs to be a fun game worth downloading...

I find it kind of interesting that although one of the appealing aspects of flying is the freedom from our earthly bindings, a great deal of games built around the concept opt to set themselves up like a dark ride at Disneyland. You get in your ship, or on your dragon, or into your fighter jet, and are pulled along a rail while all kinds of craziness unfolds around you. Usually you're more the gunner than the pilot, since you can really only move yourself around in the little one-way tunnel the game has set up for you. There are a lot of good reasons for this kind of set-up, including a desire to guide the experience for the player to create more cinematic scenes, technical limitations of one sort or another, or a simple lack of the resources required to create a full, free 3D world. I suspect with Star Horizon [$3.99], the new space-themed rail shooter from Tabasco Interactive, it's that first reason more than anything else...

Two years ago, iOS players received a gem in Autumn Dynasty [$6.99], a beautiful real-time strategy game with a unique art style and excellently implemented gameplay. With the recently released Autumn Dynasty Warlords [$6.99], the stakes are raised significantly with a fully functioning turn-based strategy game incorporated on top of the core RTS gameplay. While this sounds like an awesome combination in theory, Warlords implementation leaves plenty to be desired...

The Winter Games may be behind us for a few more years now, but Old Man Winter's grip on the Northern Hemisphere seems to be holding strong. With flaky white stuff inevitably on the minds of more people than just the usual dandruff shampoo marketing executives, we've been seeing lots of great games that take place in or around snow. Not long ago I reviewed SuperPro Snowboarding [$0.99], which called back to the Tony Hawk era of extreme sports video games, albeit from a 2D perspective. Cubed Snowboarding [$0.99] takes things back a bit farther, with a feel more reminiscent of 8-bit computer sports games. Rather than trying to stuff in all of the intricacies of the sport, it gives you a limited and somewhat simple moveset, a mountain full of increasingly difficult courses, and a challenge to get the highest score you can in a single run of the whole sequence...

'Dual Survivor' Review - Seeing Double

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March 13th, 2014 1:30 PM EDT by Chris Carter in $2.99, 3.5 stars, Action, iPad Games, iPhone games, Reviews, Universal
$2.99 Buy Now

There aren't many games that ask you to do two things at once. One character to move about in a platformer -- one cursor in adventure games -- limiting control to one thing at a time is a common practice. But with Dual Survivor [$2.99], you're controlling two ships through two separate tracks -- which is as tough as it sounds...

If you're a big mobile gamer, you've probably played more running games than you can shake a sneaker at. Whether it's side-scrolling or behind the back, the App Store is full of unimaginative examples of the genre. Because of this crowded market, there are quite a few games in the genre that depend on a gimmick, particularly if they don't have a popular character or license to lean on. Adventure Land [Free], in most respects, is a pretty by-the-numbers side-scrolling infinite runner. You run towards the right, shooting or jumping over obstacles, collect coins, and pick up the occasional health pick-up. Things go faster and get more hectic the longer you play, seeing how far you can get. Adventure Land has a gimmick, though, and it's a truly cool one. In fact, it's probably the most interesting gimmick I've seen in a runner in quite a long time...

In a throwback to the days before fictional whiny teenage boys who sparkle in the sun, cute, quirky, stealth action game Midnight Bite [$1.99] manages to recapture the essence of the cool, caped retro style bloodsucker and replenish the hunger of the vampire-loving public...

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